At what point in your life did you realize that 'metal is the fucking law'!?
I was hooked when my brother left behind all his old 8 tracks when he moved out. Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Van Halen, Boston, etc. My taste in music just got heavier from there. Iron Maiden and Mercyful Fate, then Kreator and Vio-lence, then Death and Autopsy etc.
How was the scene over in Johnstown in the "old" days? Did you ever make it up to Pittsburgh for any shows up there?
We had a few shows in J-town that were pretty cool. We had shows with Rottrevore, Lethal Prayer, Immolation and Gorephobia. We played a lot more shows in Pittsburgh. Playing with Grave and Massacre was a lot of fun. We even opened for The Mentors at the old Electric Banana. We got to see Sepultura and Obituary and tons of other bands there too. That was a great time for metal in Pittsburgh.
I always felt a little jealous of all you cats over in Western PA living in such close proximity to the film locations of Night/Dawn and Day of the Dead as well as just about every film George A. Romero has directed, at least the classic ones at any rate. How do feel about being a native to that whole area and have you ever visited any of those locations and maybe burned one or drank a beer (or two or 20) there?
The zombie genre in general has always been big around here and will be long after The Walking Dead is off the air too. We’ve been to the Monroeville Mall several times for zombie walks and events. Rob and Adam just went to the Pittsburgh Zombie Walk a few weeks ago. I went out to the old cemetery from Night of the Living Dead a long time ago partying with the dead as always.\m/
Tell me a little about your first band, Gehenna. I understand you, as well as fellow Mausoleum members, Adam Kegg and Slim Boast were partners in crime even way back then.
We all knew each other since high school even before we were jamming together. Gehenna was started by Slim and Joe Lombard. They asked me to jam and we wrote most of the first demo then got Dennis ‘Kango’ Sabo to round out the lineup. Slim and I weren’t even out of high school when we recorded our first demo “The Horror Begins” and got a great response from the fanzines and underground tape traders. Adam and Phil were in Necrotomie and both bands used to rehearse at Phil’s place. We played shows together all the time.
How often did you guys gig back then and what's the furthest out you been?
We did quite a few gigs as I said previously. We played most of our shows in J-town and Pittsburgh. Opening for national acts and putting together local metal shows. We played a fest in Cleveland once but that was about as far west as we got.
What led to the demise of Gehenna?
We were young, stupid, and partying too much \m/. Ha ha. I left the band and Adam replaced me. Joe quit and so did the drummer for Necrotomie. Since Gehenna was done Slim joined Necrotomie. I did vocals for Necrotomie for a short stint in the late 90s too. Necrotomie continued to crush playing with Overkill, Death, Cannibal Corpse and several other national acts.
What were the circumstances that led to the formation of Mausoleum?
Rob and Slim would have the details on that. I didn’t join until a few years after the 1st album was already out. Slim just called me one day and asked me to jam. The timing was right so it worked out.
How did you guys get involved with Razorback?
Billy somehow heard that the band had formed and reached out to Rob. The plan quickly changed from doing a demo to doing an album.
Did you guys play out much during this period?
Mausoleum was originally a studio band. There never was any intention to play live at that time.
What led to the bands nearly decade long hibernation?
Everyone was just busy with life in general after the release of the first album. When Rob and Slim wanted to get back together Adam wasn’t available so the guys called me. I was available so joined Mausoleum. We basically rewrote Back from the Funeral from the old demos and new riffs. Our brother Phil Newbaker(RIP)\m/ passed away shortly after completing the album. We took a long break after that. When we first got back together we knew we needed two guitars. Adam was the obvious choice so we asked him to come back to the band. We decided that the time was right to start playing live then as well. We all had the itch to play after all that down time.
I understand you guys just dropped a brand new LP, 'Back from the Funeral'. How's that looking so far and are there any plans to tour for it?
The album just dropped this week. I haven’t even got a copy yet. Ha ha! I saw all the artwork and the total package is awesome. I’m really happy with it.
We just did our first shows ever in NY at St. Vitus Bar and The Cake Shop and we’re going back to St. Vitus to play with Nunslaughter on Nov. 19th. No plans for a full on tour but we are looking to play some select shows out east and are fielding offers and working on appearing at a few fests throughout the next year.
Being an "old schooler", what are your thoughts on the current state of metal, death metal in particular?
There’s some great new stuff out there for sure. Unfortunately there’s a bunch of shit too. Just have to sift through all of it to find the gems. If it’s new I like it to have ties to the older stuff.
What are some of the other bands in the Johnstown area and vicinity?Anyone you want to give a shout out to?
Hell yeah! The Embalmed are a great local band we just played our first local show with last week. Hailz to all the local metal heads I’ve had the honor to jam with and hang out with as well.
Alright Craig, thanks a million for your time, I certainly appreciate it Bro! Any final words for the damned and the dying?
Many thanks from me and the Zombie Cult!!! Stay heavy!!!
Brains, Brains, Brains, I MUST EAT YOUR FUCKING BRAAAAIIINNSS!!!!!!! \m/