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Ulysses Siren 


Ulysses Siren was an incredible bay area thrash band from the 80's that recently had both of their killer demos put out on cd. I recently got hold of Jon Torres for an interview and you must buy this cd if you are into quality, killer thrash metal.

MC: How did the idea for your 2 demos on cd come about. did you remaster them at all? is there any other material availabel or are the 2 demos it.

JT: Originally we were going to re-record some of the old tracks, but unfortunately that never materialized. The first demo was re-mixed and then re-mastered. The second demo we weren't so lucky with. The original 2 inch tape was virtually (80%) recorded over. Fortunately we did have a mixdown tape that we had re-mastered so it all worked out in the end. There are some songs that could be re-recorded. We shall see.

MC: How do you think the cd will sell? What do you do or the label going to do to promote it?

JT: I believe " Above The Ashes" is almost sold out. Relentless has done all of the promotions for the record. They've done some adds and basically contacts and word of mouth has done the job so far.

MC; I have never heard of you and i did my zine way back when your demos came out. Was the band very known back in the 80's and were you offered any record deals back then?

JT: Unless you lived in the Bay Area you probably never would have heard of Ulysses Siren. We had a few record interests but we were eventually turned away.

MC: How long was the band together and what led to the band breaking up?

JT: From 1983 to 1988. When I joined the band in late 86' they were already broken up...Joe Jimenez(bassist) had quit the band, so I was his replacement. Steve Heuser(drummer) was missing in action at that time. We managed to get Steve to start showing up to rehearsals on a semi regular basis. We did some shows...Heuser the Loser started disappearing not long after that...So we sacked him...Unfortunately we couldn't find anyone to replace him. So we got him back and did the second demo and more shows. By late 1988 I'd ha d more than enough of this lot. I auditioned for the band Laaz Rockit and got the gig. I quit and everyone went their seperate ways. I'd say the main reason for the band breaking up was Heuser The Loser's over indulgence in illegal substances... You draw your own conclusions.

MC; Does the band have any kind of website or any mechandise left to sell besides the cd?

JT: Well, we did have a website. It seems to be down at the moment. www.ulyssessiren.com. We do have merchandise for sale. Go to www.relentless-records.us .

MC: Tell us about some wild times back then? What was the best and worst show you played?

JT: Oh Hell...I could write a book...I'll give you the short version. When I was with Siren it was mostly a whole lotta drinkin and fightin. Not just amongst ourselves but with other bands as well. The great thing about the BA in the 80's was that you could see 2 to 3 different shows in 1 night if you wanted to...All good stuff as well. Every show was a wild time. Our best show was our last. We opened for Nuclear Assault at the Stone in SF. The sound was good, the crowd was good, I thought it was our best performance all in all. The worst show was at the Omni in Oakland...Opening for Death Angel. Mr. Loser had decided to drop a few hits of acid right before we'd gone on..About half way through the set he just got up off of the kit and walked off stage and disappeared. About 10 seconds later there were no less than 5 people SCREAMING at me about where this asshole had gone...After about 5 minutes and almost coming to blows with these people, Here comes the "King" strolling back on stage and decides to grace us with his presence. We finished the set and almost killed him. That was the beginning of the end.

MC: What do you think made thrash metal fade away in the late 80's early 90"s? Do you see it coming back? Would the band do any kind of re-union show ever?

JT: A cycle coming to an end. Too many pigs for the tits! Downsizing. Shall I go on? I do see a "Comeback" for metal ,however, I would be very surprised if it reclaims it's former status. Especially here in the States. Sad but true. We've actually done 2. One in the 90's after I'd joined Laaz. What a disaster...Steve Pickering ended up punching "The Loser" in the face after the show. Years of pent up aggression I'd imagine. Well deserved in my opinion. Our second was in 2002 at the Tidal Wave Metal Fest in SF. Another fiasco...We had to dismiss J.R. Clegg becuase he couldn't get his act together. The promoter practically begged us to find a way to do the show so we had to get Joe Jimenez back on bass. We managed to pull it of but it was a typical Siren gig. Mistakes and resentment. All too typical.

MC: How is it working over at Relentless Records? Do you still follow the scene a lot?

JT: Good so far. Relentless is a small indie label only interested in doing the best they can for the bands and the music. As much as possible...There isn't really a "Scene" any longer so to speak. I keep in touch with the people who matter to me.

MC: Looking back would you have done things differently with the band and stuff?

JT: Absolutely...But to be quite honest I don't think it would have made a damned bit of difference what I wanted or most of the band for that matter. Ulysses Siren was a ticking bomb just waiting to explode, and that is basically what's happened.

MC: I think the 2 demo cd is a killer piece of prime thrash metal. Have you gotten any feedback on the cd yet?

JT: Cheers. I agree...Steve Pickering was the mastermind behind the majority of the musical arrangements. I had nothing to do with the first demo. I helped out with the second a bit. All of the members made Siren what it was in a musical and sonic sence. There has been quite a bit of response actually. All positive so far.

MC; Have you or any of the other guys ended up in any other bands after the band broke up?

JT: Yes indeed...After Siren broke up Steve P. started a band named "Louder Than God". Great band. J.R. was in the band for a while but that didn't last. I think he was in a band called Boner after that. Manuel and Joe went on to join the band Bacchus. That went on for a while. The band eventually split. All of the members have done other bands and projects, but I can't remember them all. Sorry.

As I said earlier...I quit Siren to join Laaz Rockit...I was with them for 2 years and joined the band AngelWitch...Then it was on to I4NI with Bobby Gustafson(Overkill) and Tom Hunting(Exodus). That went on for a year or so and then I went back to AW for about 3 years. I quit AW in 2000 and joined The Lord Wierd Slough Feg...I did one record with them" Down Among The Dead Men". During that time I resurrected the band WarningSF and recorded the "Aftermath" album...After doing the record with WSF it was back to AW for a short European tour...Now I have just recently joined the band Heathen! We are working on a new record as we speak. We are also going on tour this summer in Europe...For details go to www.heathenmetal.com. You can also go to www.warningsf.com and www.angel-witch.net.

MC: Were there any other labels interested in putting your stuff out on cd?

JT: A few...There was R.I.P. Records out of Chicago...A bad joke at best. Mausoleum Records out of Belgium and Sentinel Steel Records all showed some interest. Relentless was the label that stepped up .

MC: Have you seen much stuff on the band on the internet and stuff?

JT: Quite a bit. I've seen reviews and interviews from a good amount of internet Zines....All good so far!

MC: Do you have a favorite song on the 2 demos? Did you guys ever do any cover tunes?

JT: No. I like them all for one reason or another. It would be really hard for me to pick just one. Yeah, we did 2. Back in 88' we did "Cold Sweat" by Thin Lizzy and in 2002 we did "And Then There Were None" by Exodus.

MC; Was the bay area scene as great as i've heard it was back then?

JT: Without a doubt. Great shows...Great bands...Good friends...Multitudes of pretty girls and loads of booze and what ever else you wanted. What do you think.

MC: Any last words?

JT: Have safe sex...Don't swim with sharks..and Keep metal alive!!!!!!!!! Cheers, Jon Torres [email protected]