Exclusive Interviews Only Found Here at MetalCore!
Back when some of you were still playingdungeons and dragon games in your parents basement, Revenant was already melting faces with the destruction of their style of metal. Revenant was a killer old thrash metal band back in the 80's and with a recent release of their demo stuff onto cd I got hold of Henry Veggian for an email interview and here is what was said:
# 1: how did the release of all your old demos come about? Was it a hard and daunting task going through all your old material and did you find anything that you though was long lost?
It wasn't as daunting as it was painful. Much of the older material was starting to disintegrate from exposure to humidity. Those old tapes can oxidize if not stored well, and, while ours were stored well, they were more than 15 years old in some cases, some were almost twenty years old. Someone should send a memo around from the heavy metal head office to all the old bands and remind them to transfer their analog tapes to a digital format before it's too late. I did find some things that were lost. For example, there was a third track that was not included on the Rage Records seven inch vinyl release. It was entitled "Infinite Reality," and it is a long, doom-driven song that we sometimes played live. It is one of several gems on the CD. The other has to be the incredibly fast and brutal version of "The Unearthly" recorded during our European tour with Gorefest, and with their guitarist Frank on backing vocals. We received that from a very generous trader in Holland named Patrick Soppe. I also found some later material, from 1994/1995, that was not included on the CD for reasons of quality and duration. There were some rehearsal demos with some very heavy songs. I'll post them on the website someday.
# 2: for those who don't know give us a quick band history and what lead to the break up of the band?
We formed in the mid-1980's when there weren't many bands playing thrash or death metal in the NY/NJ area. Blood Feast and a few others come to mind. We initially started playing original material which was not very good, but driven by a maniacal energy. As the line-up evolved, we moved on to playing Septic Death and C.O.C. cover songs to playing Sepultura and Celtic Frost tunes. By then - around 1987-1988 we had hooked up with other area bands like Immolation, prime Evil, and Ripping Corpse. We started making demos, attending shows, etc. Soon we were opening for bands like Morbid Angel, Napalm Death, etc., and a true scene started to form.
# 3: after the band broke up did you join any other bands or did you just forget about music?
A little of both. I have played for fun with other musicians over the years. I like to avoid the majority of people in the business end of the music industry, and just do my own thing.
# 4: looking back what do you think of the old album release that you put out and can you still listen to it and is out of print? yes, Prophecies of a Dying World is definitely out of print, and I hope it stays that way. It was not well-written, well-recorded, or well-performed. In retrospect, I can only listen to two tracks - The Unearthly and Asphyxiated Time. The rest is a disappointment, to say the least. The material released on The Burning ground CD is far superior; it captures the band's sound more effectively.
# 5: what are some good and bad memories you have about the band and what was some crazy stuff you can remember back in the day?
It is all a good memory, even the bad stuff. Most of all, I am happy to still be friends with many people I met in the early days of the underground.
# 6: I know you have a website. tell us the url and what can people find on the site?
Extreem records hosts the site. It is www.revenant.ws
# 7: are you still in touch with any of the old band members and do they know about all the old stuff coming out on cd?
yes, they all know, and we are still in touch. Some of them live on the West Coast and in Europe, so we don;t see each other often, but they were all involved in the making of The Burning Ground, and pleased with the results.
# 8: do you still follow the scene at all and have you been to many shows?
Of course. I love the scene. Let's just say the only difference is that I am more focused on the music.
# 9: when you went on the Internet, did you find many things about revenant on the web?
I haven't bothered to check, but someone sent me a hilarious website that made fun of the cover art for Prophecies of a Dying World. The part that made me laugh was that the record label chose the cover art and used it without consulting with us. It was a Spinal Tap moment, to say the least. I suspect that cover art drove away quite a few customers, and the website that made the joke hit the nail right on the head.
# 10: do you feel you were an underrated band at the time when you were together?
Not at all. Most fanzines and magazines gave us great reviews and recognized that we were original and uncompromising, as well as one of the best live acts in the underground. You also have to remember that the scene we were in produced very few bands that could be marketed, even in the underground, so our commercial failure was no surprise. We were not the typical underground band.
# 11: I know you found some old shirts a few months back. Any plans on making any shirts at all and do you ever see any of your stuff on ebay at all?
No, not at all. A trader and fanzine writer in Italy named Stefano Zandarin has printed up some throwback shirts of his own initiative, so people should seek him out. He doesn't have e-mail, though. That's truly old school. I occasionally post a CD on e-bay, but that's just because I hate to have extra copies of things taking up space in our house.
# 12: do you feel if your band came out today with all the technology and stuff that your band would be that much more successful?
I doubt it. Machines only make recording easier - they don't write songs.
# 13: what advice would you give to a young band just starting out?
I would tell them to stay away from older industry types with big smiles and sweaty handshakes.
# 14: do you miss doing all the snail mail and posting flyers and stuff back in the day? Do you still have a bunch of your old mail and flyers and demos?
I sure do. I have boxes filled with classic fanzines, letters, and tapes. If someone ever opens a museum for the underground, I will donate them. Otherwise, they stay where they are - in my personal crypt.
# 15: will there ever be a dvd of the band put out?
# 16: what were some of your favorite bands and fanzines back in the day and what memories do you have of places like studio 1 and the fast lane, etc?
I have only bad memories of the Fast Lane. The owners also owned a club in Passaic, NJ, and we played there as well. Both places were cramped, the sound was awful, and there were never good crowds. And the owners were mutants from science fiction films, the kind of people you would find hanging around the jazz bar in Star Wars. Studio One is a different story. Great shows, sometimes great crowds, and a great bar. I recognized it immediately when they filmed scenes for The Sopranos in the place. I can't talk about fanzines, sorry. But I do have to give you credit for keeping MetalCore alive all these years.
# 17: do you think it is easy or hard for bands to capture that feeling and emotion while playing death metal?
Yes, but then it isn't death metal anymore. We attempted it on our Overman e.p., and succeeded on some songs. What happens when you try to capture emotion is what happened to Carnivore - they became Type O Negative. Both great bands, but totally different styles.
# 18: when you hear the word poser, what do you think of?
# 19: if you could go back with the band and do things over, what things would you change?
That's not a fair question, Chris. I wouldn't change a thing.
# 20: was there more than 1 record company interested in doing your demos on cd and how much is your 7" on rage records worth and do you talk to ed or joe at all still?
Yes, there were a few, but Xtreem was the one dedicated to its "Cult Series" of old releases, so we chose them because we liked the idea of the series. I don;t know how much that 7-inch is worth these days. I still talk to Ed and we meet sometimes for drinks here in new York City. Joe vanished from the scene, and I don;t know where he is.
# 21: what are your future plans and any last words?
I'm gonna live a long, happy life, enjoy my family, write some books, and do as much fishing as possible. Last words? I'm still trying for first words.