"I just want to play heavy music. That's all I want. That's it, it's such a simple thing."
by Jeremy Wernow
It's rare that I actually get to do an interview with someone that's from the same area that I grew up in. In fact, some of the members of Internal Bleeding live really close to my grandparents. Why am I bringing this up? Growing up in the Tri-state Area (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut) I saw a lot of bands come and go. New York had a mirror metal scene to San Francisco. There were the big names, like Anthrax, Nuclear Assault, MOD, and some of the lesser-known bands such as Demolition Hammer... not to mention the legendary hardcore scene that spawned Agnostic Front and Murphy's Law. I followed both scenes as much as I could. The metal scene was pretty strong -- there was almost as much big hair in that area as there is in my current home state of Texas!
So why is it that while I was living there I never heard of names like Immolation or Internal Bleeding, who are some of the better known Death Metal bands of that area? Hell, I don't know. There are some quality bands there, but New York was never considered a death metal haven by most. Let's face it, Malevolent Creation and Cannibal Corpse both relocated to Florida. Doesn't it make things difficult for a band like Internal Bleeding to survive? Apparently not. Here it is 1998, the death metal scene has since peaked in popularity, and Internal Bleeding has just released a second album on Pavement called Extinction of Benevolence. At this point in any death metal band's career, if they are still together it is for the love of the music... isn't that right Chris?
I formed Autumn Reign in about 1990, my senior year in college. It was like what Eyehategod does now, that really sludgy, Black Sabbath stuff. It just wasn't heavy enough for me so I moved on to other things. I never used any stuff from Autumn Reign for Internal Bleeding. I have one tape of Autumn Reign -- every one has been asking for it and I can not find it! People have offered me money for that! They also offered me money for our "One Dollar Demo" but I don't give out copies of that one.
How was it putting this album out -- what did you do in the two plus years since your last album, Voracious Content?
We've been writing, running into also sorts of problems with rehearsal space. We took a shitload of time to write. We really wanted to craft this album the way we wanted it. We just had so many different ideas of what to do. We really took our time, and I think it shows. I like it, I'm really happy with it.
I noticed you have a heavier guitar on this album.
Oh yeah, much heavier. We made a conscious decision on that. Everybody loves our live guitar sound, and we wanted to capture that sound and we did it!
You worked with Nick Di Mauro this time?
He's a real good guy. He really knew how to bring out the bass, the raw heaviness of our guitar sound. I was real pleased, he totally knew what he was doing. It shows, he did a hell of job.
I would think that any delays you guys had would have come from the amount of time you spend rehearsing. Your timing is so perfect, so razor sharp on all your releases that you must spend all your time rehearsing.
Hell yeah! Our music is so reliant on timing, especially our music. All our material is drastic timing changes, and if we don't practice that much it's just not worth it. It just doesn't have the right effect if we don't get the timing perfect. We work extra hard at getting the timing perfect. We go over things a hundred times over and put a metronome to it to make sure everything is perfect. Fortunately, we had time in the studio to make it perfect. On the first album, we got money to record, which was really cool, but on the second album we had a budget we could work with. We had the extra time to make sure everything was right. We made sure the mix was the way we wanted it. We're real pleased, I'm totally proud of this album. I think it's one of the heaviest albums ever recorded, I'll be so blatant as to say that. It really is, it's just so fucking heavy!
I'm equally impressed that you stuck with the music. Death metal has long since peaked in popularity.
Yeah, but that's what we want to play! If you want to call it death metal, call it death metal. If you want to call it something else call it something else. We are just out to make the heaviest possible music. I don't care about money, fame, or fortune, I don't care. I just want to play heavy music. That's all I want. That's it, it's such a simple thing. We're dedicated to what we do, we always have been, we always will be. It's definitely lost its appeal. Everybody is listening to black metal. That stuff's not heavy to me, it's just weak. That's my opinion, I'm an opinionated fuck.
I think it's part of the environment too, being from New York and all that.
Good point, but I am definitely opinionated. I don't listen to anything that isn't heavy -- as far as metal is concerned. I do listen to jazz, classical, and other weird stuff. But where metal is concerned, it's got to be all-out heavy. If it's not heavy, it's boring. It's what I live for.
I like some of the black metal stuff, but it just doesn't have that heavy edge that death metal or even thrash had, it doesn't have that low end.
It's so trebly, and high-pitched. It's just too annoying to listen too. It's not heavy, it's not hateful, it doesn't move me. It puts me to sleep actually. I mean there are a few good bands, I like Rotting Christ and a few others.
What's it like playing in New York now?
A year and a half ago, two years ago, it was insane around here! Now it's like nothing. A year and a half ago we had 500 or 550 people per show, at this one club called the Roxy. Right after the Roxy closed down things around here just died! Totally! Now we play and there are 150 to 200 per show and we have to do three times as much work to get them there. The Roxy was such a great place because the guy really promoted the shows and was really into death metal. He supported it and now it's just gone. We only have one club around here now and they only let you have Saturday afternoon shows. There are still some good shows that pop up and all of the sudden there are a lot of people, but it's definitely not what it used to be.
I guess a good promoter can really help make a scene.
It has a lot to do with the bands too. There are a lot of bands that are lazy. They sit on their ass and then when there is a show they don't do anything about it. Nobody shows up, and then the club doesn't want death metal bands because nobody shows up and it causes a huge problem. It pisses me off because I bust my ass when a show comes up. They don't do shit and then they complain. But there are some bands that are popping up now like Reputilation (Reh-pyoo-till-ation) and Disfigured. They are both excellent bands and they promote themselves like hell! They push themselves as much as they can. If you are going to do something and you are going to be serious about it, you have to give it your 200% or else, to me, it's worthless. That's my whole philosophy of life, if you are going to do something, then go all out and do it. Hopefully things will pick up around here.
What are your current plans, as far as touring or videos?
No plans right now. Hopefully we can put a tour together. It's not a guaranteed thing that we will tour for this album. We definitely want to get out and play and promote the hell out of this album. We'll see what happens. Otherwise we'll just keep playing our shows, doing our mail and we'll see what happens.
I hear you are pretty dedicated to the letters that you get.
Hell yeah! Answer every one of them for the last five years, and I'll keep doing it! My timing's a little off but -- I can't get it done as fast because of my job.
Write to: Internal Bleeding, P.O. Box 1402, Lake Grove, NY 11755; IBLDNG@aol.com