Recently I reached out to the new band “GRUESOME” to find out a few things about the band so I may share it with all the Metal Mofos out there. I was able to get in touch with Gus Rios (former Malevolent Creation drummer) and he was kind enough to entertain us Mofos with an interview.
Sadistic1: First and foremost I wanted to say thank you for the opportunity to interview you on behalf of Metal Mofos. We support all that is Metal.
Congratulations on your debut album!
GRUESOME’s debut is noted as an intentional homage to the first wave Death Metal scene from Tampa, Florida and most specifically the early DEATH period.
It isn’t a surprise that the bandmates in GRUESOME are true fans of the Old School Death Metal sound right from the start of the track “Savage Land”. I am sure we can all speculate on how the band was formed. My vision is all of you were sitting around with a whole bunch of beers and started listening to the “Leprosy” album when it clicked “We have to make a record that sounds just as brutal and brilliant”. That’s just my vision of course.
So, please do tell us how the GRUESOME project really came into fruition?
Gus: It is sort of like that! Both Matt and I were involved with the Death To All tours, he was doing vocals and guitar on the first run and I was guest drumming and also helping out my good friend Sean Reinert on the 2nd run. One night on that 2nd run, Exhumed was direct support and Matt and I hung out, drank, and talked about how much we loved old school metal in general! Fast forward a few months and I had the idea of doing another version of DTA but with Terry Butler, Rick Rozz, Matt and myself doing the Leprosy album top to bottom since that’s my favorite not only DEATH album, but death metal album of all time! When that didn’t pan out, Matt jokingly suggested that we write our own version of that album, to which I of course said, hell yes! Eventually he sent me a demo track which was good, but then when I got a second one I about shit my pants! Matt was channeling the ghost of Chuck and getting riffs it seemed! I immediately got Daniel Gonzalez of Possessed involved since we work together in Miami and he’s a shreddin guitar player, and Robin Mazen I’ve been in bands with since I was 16yrs old! We make a demo, Relapse Records loved it, they own the Death catalog, it was a no brainer…made an album, and here we are!
Sadistic1: Were the songs written collectively by all bandmates or were there just 1 or 2 of you writing?
Gus: Sort of…Matt wrote all of the riffs, lyrics, and arrangements at home in California. When I would get the demo’s he’d leave some room for interpretation on the drums and I so I would just ask myself…what would Bill do?! The solo sections Matt would send the times for the spots like 2:30-2:55 sort of thing, but also would write either “Schuldiner, Murphy, or Rozz” so Dan would know what style to emulate! So Matt definitely wrote the album, but we all had a bit of our own “stamp” on it as well.
Sadistic1: On the track titled “Closed Casket”, was this an intentional play on the Death song “Open Casket” or just a mere coincidence?
Gus: Dude, there isn’t much on this album that isn’t intentional! Believe me, everything that you think reminds you of Death, we are not only aware of, but made very conscious decisions to make happen! Any piece of this puzzle left out and it would have just been another band influenced by Death. I wanted this to kind of “be” the Death that everyone remembers and wished that they could hear more of…especially ME! Goddamn I love those records and that time! haha
Sadistic1: I really like the Band Logo and Album Artwork. They definitely have an 80’s/90’s Death Metal feel about them. Who designed the logo and artwork?
Gus: Another example of thinking things out to lean towards Death! Matt hand drew that logo and it’s quite obviously and intentionally reminiscent of the early Death logo. And of course, who the hell else could have done the album cover but none other than Ed Repka…the artist for the first three Death albums and a slew of others as well!
Sadistic1: Death originally recorded at the infamous Morrisound Studio. Did GRUESOME also record at Morrisound to get the whole retro feel?
Gus: Unfortunately that studio is no longer open. I was thinking of going to Mana since that’s kind of the new Morrisound, but in the end I decided to record it myself at my own studio. I was fortunate to have watched Scott Burns record an album back in 96’ so I learned a few of his tricks and of course asked a million questions! I simply applied that to this production. It was mixed at Mana by another Florida scene veteran, Jarrett Pritchard and he sealed the deal!
Sadistic1: Are there any plans on GRUESOME touring in 2015 in support of “Savage Land” release?
Gus: Yes! We are looking at any and all options right now. But it has to be squeezed in between Matt’s hefty touring with Exhumed and also Robin is probably the world’s most prolific merch girl in metal, so she’s out a lot too. We’ll make it happen though!
Sadistic1: Will there be additional releases by GRUESOME or is that not yet decided?
Gus: Yes again! We signed a three album deal and already have songs in the works for the next one! This was so much fun, how could we NOT?!
Sadistic1: Do you have any final words for all of the Old Schoolers out there who are surely in support of GRUESOME and the Death Metal movement we all grew up with?
Gus: A strong and sincere THANKS to all who have supported us! This band is truly in honor of not only Chuck, but all of the guys who helped make those records back in the day. I’m sure that there are more than a few folks out there that think that we’re just trying to cash in on a dead man’s name, but first off there really hasn’t been any cash, nor will there ever be enough to really consider it a “cash in”! We are just a bunch of old school guys and gal who loved those early Death records and are having a blast reliving those days…and we invite everyone along for the ride! Just close your eyes, crack open a beer or light something up and Ron Reagan is president again, Madonna is young and hot, and a little band from Florida called Death is pioneering what was to become the meanest, sickest, and most brutal form of music ever….DEATH METAL!!!
Sadistic1: In closing, I would like to once again thank you for taking the time out of your crazy schedule to take this interview. One of things I love the most about the Underground Metal scene is the approachability and sincerity the bands have with the fans of this scene. Metal always!
Gus: Thank YOU! We play death metal man, there shouldn’t be any rock star attitude…unless you have the rock star bank account! Haha! Let me the metal flow and HAIL CHUCK!