Monday, August 6, 2012

Jesters of Recession: An interview with Chris Free of Rottrevore


Could you tell me a little bit about the formation of Rottrevore and at what point did you get involved? 

I am one of the Original members, we formed back in 1989. I have to laugh because I was 16 years old when Rottrevore got started. Back then it was just Chris Weber . mark mastro & myself.. we started writing songs in my parents basement.. our first song we wrote was Disembodied..

What was the metal scene in Pittsburgh like back in the 80's/early 90's?

My opinion of the Pittsburgh metal scene back then is pretty jaded. Pittsburgh in general is not known for its metal scene.. Back then this was a Hair metal/ ac/dc type town. We rarely ever played locally due to the fact that I think we scared people.. I remember when we went to a few open mic nights for fun… The look on peoples face looked like they just got violated.. and im not joking… 

What were some of your earlier musical influences? What were some of the bands/albums that you were jamming out to back then? 

I personally was always a fan of grave, entombed, bolt thrower among other more main stream metal … When I first started playing bass I was hung up on Overkill, because of their bass sound! I have a pretty open mind when it comes to music. I even remember back then listening to Racer X and yngwie malmsteen.. 

Whose idea was it to tune the guitars so low and what were the musical intentions of the band in the early days? 


I believe the idea was a mixture of Mark Mastro and Chris weber.. Back then it was extremely Rare to be tuned to Low B.. now it seems to be common place and guitars even come tuned this way.



How did your relationship with Relapse records come into play?

Since it has been a very long time since we were on relapse records it’s a little hard to remember.. I remember mark mastro was in constant communication with them and they decided to let us release a EP with them . That’s back in the day when relapse was ran out of their basement! 

What are your feelings on how things played out with them? 

I have No ill feeling with relapse records at all. I still talk to bill from time to time. Good guys! 

After the release of the 'Copulation of the Virtuous and Vicious' 7", you guys released your second ep, 'Fornication in Delirium' through the Dutch label, Cenotaph Records. How did this relationship come about? 


I believe mark mastro worked out that deal as well. Since it has been over 20 yrs now it’s a little hard to remember all the details. I do remember the relationship being a Good one! 


Later the next year you guys released 'Iniquitous' through Dave Rotten's label, 'Drowned'. What were the circumstances that led to this and were you guys happy with the end result?

I actually found that deal with Dave Rotten and drowned productions. At that time we were pleased to be working with them.. Some people might have read where mark mastro and dave had a major falling out! This was due to a lack on communications from daves boss at that time.. see back then dave didn’t own the label he only worked for them. And we were waiting for copies of our LP so that we could see them at our shows..

I understand that at some point afterwards you guys had broke up with a few reunions scattered throughout the last 15 or so years. Could you elaborate on the events that led to the band's breakup and the attempts at restarting the band?

Honestly I wont lie, I was the one that left the band first. I left the band even before the LP was released.. I was getting sick of our local scene and even how often we got shows back then.. I was also starting to develop my playing style and was feeling to need to play with as many different people and styles of music as possible… The main part of my leaving was lack of shows.. I did do a few show when chris weber wanted to reform from time to time. But I made it clear I was Not rejoining at that time..




I understand that you were involved in a progressive metal project during the 90's. Could you tell me a bit about this? 

Yes funny you asked that. I just mentioned in question 8 that I branched out a little.. back in 1993 when we played with Bolt thrower I decided to go from a 4 string bass to a 6 string bass.. I knew at that moment I wanted to explore this instrument. I later found a group of trained musicians that needed a bass player.. I tried out with them and instantly got the spot. I had the desire to learn and grow and they had the talent and skills to help me progress further.. We released a 4 songs demo and played some really Great shows! We even won a few battle of the bands (just for fun) I then later decided to leave that band as well.. (see a pattern forming here? Lol) I then got it in my head that I needed to go to school … I then took a many years Off from playing and decided it was time to get my life in order so that I wouldn’t be old and living in my parents basement! LOL I focused on getting my own life in order without relying on trying to make a living with music.. especially with death metal! 

What were the events that led to the eventual reformation of Rottrevore? 

Chris weber gave me a phone call and we talked about recording New songs and songs we started to write but never finished… and at point I had enough of a break from music and my life/career was in order. It was a lot of work to get back in shape to play in Rottrevore.. 

Any idea of what Mark Mastro is doing these days?

Mark mastro is a male stripper.. No im kidding. He has a Great family and is doing the family man thing..

What are your thoughts on the current state of death metal as opposed to the early years?

In my humble opinion, the death metal scene is flooded with bands. Everyone with a computer and access to youtube wants to form a band. There is nothing wrong with new bands, its just people who never played a instrument before go out and form a band and spend more time on building a website than practicing their instrument… I guess im old school? “Learn to play first, then start a band”. 

Any new bands that have caught your ear in the last few years? 

There are a few new bands I am digging.. death and non death metal.. Symphony X, Dethklok, I even listen to and have been for a while Dream Theater. 

Name 3 albums that you cannot live without:

Left Hand Path, War Master, Trilogy 




I understand that Rottrevore hasn't had the best luck in the world throughout the years. Care to share any "horror stories"? 

Hell yeah,. We had so much bad luck we always joked about our BLACK CLOUD of Doom.. we had shows that we would drive a few states to get too then the promoter skipped out and didn’t pay us! We had a rental van break down on us. Then they took US (Rottrevore) to court and they won!! The car lot was brother in laws with the judge! We were doomed from the start.. We had many amp problems in the past. You name it we had it happen to us.. that was part of what worn me down, and why I left.. 

Alright Chris, thanks a bunch for doing this! Any last words for the dying and the damned? 


Thank you very much for taking the time to think of Rottrevore after all these years and I would like to share our 3 new songs that we released late 2011 for FREE online.. Not only are they free to listen too, but these 3 songs are free to Download and share… http://www.reverbnation.com/rottrevore

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