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Oblivion was an old thrash band from NJ in the 80's and they recently sent me their CD to review. After hearing it I had to get in touch with the band for an interview, so here is a chat with guitarist Dave Fesette:

MC: Tell me a little bit about this re-release you did of your 3 demos. What made you decide to do it? How many did you print up and how much did it cost you and the flyers inside the cover booklet did you have to find them or did you have them saved?

DF: Over the past 15 years I had lost or gave away all of my Oblivion demos on cassette. Oblivion bassist (Bob Petrosino) called me and had the same complaint so, he dug around and found the old studio reels as well as old band photos, flyers and videos. The next move was to find a studio that had the old equipment to run these reels and the capability to transfer them to digital files. I finally found a studio, who actually purchased some 90's vintage studio equipment just for this project "I guess they don't like to turn down a challenge." Once I had the files digitized, I was able to slightly remix the "Why Did Johnny Kill" demo at another studio. The digital transferring and remixing was roughly $1,000. I didn't have a large budget so, I didn't bother mastering this CD. I basically took on this project to share Oblivions music with old and new fans that appreciate metal. I am a graphic artist so I print the standard trays and inserts as I need them and burn the music on audio CD-R. I must have set up over 300 cd packages at this point in time (most of which were give-a-ways to fans or snail mailed to metal magazines likes of Metalcore for review).

MC: Tell us how the band formed back in the day. Did you go through many members?

DF: Oblivion had existed a few years prior to my entry in 1988. It was the original Oblivion singer and "at the time" Lethal Aggression guitarist David Guitarez that introduced me to Bob Petrosino (bassist) and George Machuga (vocals). I showed up at their Seaside apartment with a Marshall, my Ibanez RG550 and started playing a few songs I was working on, we had a few drinks, laughs and they said I was in. Next, we hired a 2nd guitarist Charlie Alamo and drummer John Provoux. After over two years (1988-1990c) of gigging and recording with this line up, John and Charlie decided to leave the band (at the advise of their girl friends) to per-sue a hair band. Next we recruited ex Oblivion drummer Chris Kelly and Frank Bonanno on guitar and recorded 1990's Contents Under Pressure. Then in 1991 Frank Bonanno left the band and was replaced with Tom Picciotti.

MC: I know you put out 3 demos. Was their any label interest for the band with any of these demos that you released?

DF: Yes. MCA, Atlantic and some indie labels sent letters requesting demos and press kits. I think our ever changing line up set us back a bit. For a while, I really felt we were close to success. It would have been nice to get signed a do a European tour or something.

MC: Give some thoughts on each of your 3 demos and what they meant to you back then and what you think of them now.

DF: 1988's War Gives... demo was my first studio recording experience "Very Cool". I have always been interested in the genesis as well as the evolution of the creative process and this demo (although poor in quality by todays recording standards) has a charm to it that exploits the budding musicianship and alchemy of our ideas. I wrote the music portion of the first three tracks and the band helped me arrange them, Charlie wrote the last track and George writes all the lyrics. My hard core and early Metallica guitar expressions and riff influences can easily be unearthed in these recordings. 1989's Johnny... demo was a balanced writing effort by all musicians. George's lyrical abilities begin to flourish and he sings with more strength and confidence. I remember walking towards La mores in Brooklyn for a Leeway/Overkill show and a crowd starting belting out George's lyrics, "Why Did Johnny Kill, Cause I told him too... I was taken back because we were predominantly performing in NJ at the time. "Funny stuff!" 1990's Contents... demo is when it all came together for us musically. Chris Kelly's drumming was amazing, Frank Bonanno's technical guitar riffs, Bob's thumping bass lines and my off the wall riffs mixed perfectly. I have always had a problem with generic lyrics (especially for metal) that had neither a story nor a hook. George's subject matter, story telling and strong hooks on this demo proved to me that George Machuga is the best heavy metal lyricist ever! Everybody loved this demo from beginning to end. I will always be proud of these recording efforts and will never feel it is dated material. It's classic thrash metal!

MC: Do all of the members that played on the demos know about the release on cd? If so what did they think about them coming out on cd?

DF: I am in touch with Bob and he loves it, he has passed around copies to George, John and I think Tom. We plan on some type of gathering to catch up and get nostalgic. I have lost touch with people over the years and hopefully I can change that.

MC: Tell me some good memories that you have about the band back in the day.

DF: Being interviewed by Missy Colazio WSOU and getting airplay. Gigging with friends bands. Drinking and jamming at friends houses. Finishing a recording session, capturing a moment in time where you and four other people created humanly organized sound. Reading a good review about the band. Illustrating my first t-shirt. Writing music with the guys.

MC: Did you got plays a lot of shows and what are some good and bad memories about them.

DF: Yeah, we played out a lot. The Stone Pony, The Fast Lane, CBGBs... The good: Meeting down to earth musicians from all over the Tri-state area. Getting a good sound out of the PA. The bad: Meeting arrogant (not many) asshole musicians. Their was a fight every night, the mosh pit got out of hand at times. The ugly: A bunch of weak ass metal dudes shaving their heads to fit in at hard core shows.The absurd: I remember some jackass singer of a goofy band pulling out a hunting knife on me.

MC: Do you plan on making a website for the band and did you ever do like a web search on your band and did you turn up anything interesting?

DF: I plan on throwing together a website soon "maybe a my space for the time being." When using search engines, I find old reviews once in a while.

MC: What led to the band breaking up and did you guys play a one final show or did you guys break up rather suddenly? Did any of the members of yourself join any other bands?

DF: I left the band after a show at The Brighton Bar in Long Branch and that was the end of Oblivion. It was always George, Bob and Me from 1988' - 1991' and we had a good run but, I got tired. I was trying to attend college, pay rent, write music, play gigs... It was too much for me. Bob started a band Rag Stew after that the band Hate Wagon with ex Lethal Aggression members. George was in a band Chum Bucket and is currently in a Tool cover band, John is in a cover band. Chris and Frank got together in the bands Technikill and The Orphans. In 1999, I released my first self titled solo effort (an ep of progressive style acoustic rock) and later collaborated with my wife on her R&B/Jazz release Donna Rose.

MC: Do you still follow the scene at all still?

DF: Not as much as I should. I've seen Opeth, Porcupine Tree and larger acts but not too many underground shows.

MC: Do you miss doing snail mail and getting all sorts of flyers in with mail when you got it?

DF: Yes, I miss seeing the creativity that was put in to all of those old flyers. The computer has made contacting people and making flyers easy but, something is missing.

MC: Do you still go to many shows at all and what do you think of some of these older bands reforming and playing re-union type shows and will there ever be one with the band?

DF: I think its great! Nuclear Assault, Anthrax... I had a blast at the Judas Priest and Queensryche PNC show last year. I don't know if Oblivion will ever get together for a reunion show. I am open to it though.

MC: Do you have any songs lying around whether they are songs that didn't make your demos or a nice recorded live show that might come out on disc someday?

DF: I am doing some video editing with some cheesy Oblivion shows and plan on releasing a DVD for the fans. The Remixed CD contains just about everything other than some personal home recordings incomplete songs that are laying around on a cassette somewhere.

MC: What was the response like to the band back in the day? Did you get many good or bad reviews? does any review or reviews still stick out in your mind today and did you save all your press clippings?

DF: Bob did a great job of archiving a lot of our press. I have quite a few that I've scanned in. Our late mutual friend John Kraus of Speedzine praising our live performances, calling us "God Live"! another reviewer mentioned Contents Under Pressures songs as being "hard as fuck and as brutal as Satan's barbed cock." Was pretty intense.

MC: Describe in your words what you think the band sounds like. Answer this, somebody should by your cd because:

DF: We started off having a post NWOBHM sound i.e. early Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer and Crumbsucker, Cro-Mags feel and evolved into a more technical West Coast feel i.e Vio-lence, Testament, Forbidden but still with a hard core edge "we had the keep the kids moshing." Someone should by our cd if they like metal and to experience what the heavy metal /hard core crossover underground sound was all about in the late 80's thru the early 90's.

MC: Do you find it funny that a lot of old stuff not released on cd is sometimes bootlegged on ebay and stills for a high price on cd?

DF: Yeah, it kind of sucks for collection completist . I read an interview with Dan Liker, he had to shell out over $80 for copy of Nuclear Assaults Survive CD "his own fucking music!" I almost shelled out major cash for Vio-lence Eternal Nightmare but, I did a little research and found out Megaforce was planning a re-release.

MC; Do you think the scene can ever go back to the way it used to be with more quality bands and less copy cat bands like there is today?

DF: I don't know? These days, everything sounds like a producer is behind it keeping artist within a specific matrix. Their are a lot of talented musicians scratching their heads trying to figure out how to get their music to the public. I don't know if it is a lack of venues, a generation that has too many distractions... (I've spent these past couple of years raising my baby girl so, I am a little out of the loop) I do know Metal was meant to be under ground and that it was destroyed when the bubble gum rock producers attached its name to those crappy hair ballads.

MC: If you could do it all over again with the band what are some things you would do differently this time?

DF: Nothing! It was fun and we worked hard. I don't like to live with regrets it's too counterproductive.

MC: How did you come up with your name? Did you ever discover any other bands using that name?

DF: Oblivion is a popular name. I don't know the internal origin of the name. We wanted to change it but, it just stuck. There was a popular band from Canada with a different spelling.

MC: How do you plan on promoting this re-release or is this just for die hard old school thrash metal fans?

DF: It's strictly for the hard core fans new and old. Once I have a site built, it might be easier to sell a few pieces but, their is no financial gain here, just doing it for the love of heavy music.

MC: Give me your 10 ten all time underground metal releases

DF: I was never good with list their are so many great bands... Slayer(Reign in Blood), Death (Spiritual Healing), Forbidden (Twisted Into Form), Riot (Fire Down Under), Bad Brains (Eye Against Eye), Vio-lence (Eternal Nightmare), Leeway (Born To Expire), Black Sabbath (Sabotage), Metallica (kill em all), Misfits (Box Set)

MC: Any last words? And is their any shirts or any merchandise for sale and how can someone get in contact with you to get your cd or tell us where somebody can purchase it at.

DF: Unfortunately I don't have any merchandise available, other than the CD. People can email me at [email protected] to obtain the CD.

David Fesette
Oblivion Guitarist