King Fowley - October 31

Our latest interview with the outspoken King Fowley vocalist For Deceased/October 31!
By: Eric Compton  |  Published: Wednesday, February 16, 2005
King Fowley
King Fowley

EC - So how was your New Year?

KF - New Years was good, I just hung out with this chick and watched some TV.

EC - Did you get any goodies for Christmas?

KF - Let's see...I got some No Doubt shoes, fucking Vans with some rock steady shit on them. I got some gift certificates for places to buy DVDs, got a coat, some other crap.

EC - So how was 2004 other than the health problems?

KF - Got a lot of stuff accomplished with a stroke and all that bullshit. Between the bands we finally got the October 31 album out, we practiced and played again. The beginning of 2004 was really good because we started playing out. Deceased got some stuff out too, "Fearless Undead Machines" on vinyl, "Evil Side Of Religion" out on CD, remixed and remastered "The Blueprints For Madness" and we have that out on CD, we did pretty damn good I guess. As far as me I guess I just sort of found myself after the stroke. Just took it easy and took care of myself. I'm alright, paid the rent, and staying alive.

EC - Well your band October 31 just released "No Survivors", you just finished up recording the new Deceased record "As The Weird Travel On" at Assembly Line Studios. So let's just talk about the new October 31 release first. Why did you choose the indy route for this release? You dismissed your Metal Blade contract and decided to go with Battlezone.

KF - Basically what the deal was we didn't go with Battlezone. I was originally going to put the album out on my label but we got a great offer from Thrash Corner as a package deal with Deceased. He has great distribution now through The End Records so it will be in all of the stores. Even when we were on Relapse it was easier to find the "Up The Tombstones Live" album in the stores than the Relapse releases. With October 31, Metal Blade offered us a five album deal. They released the "Meet Thy Maker/Visions Of The End" two on one as a licensing thing and didn't even count as one of the albums. They offered us a decent budget but then all of a sudden things started changing and the budget started going down. It was all of these hidden costs and things in there.

I don't think they sold as many copies of "Meet Thy Maker" as they could have. It is really strange to me that they sold less copies of "Meet Thy Maker" than I sold of "Visions Of The End" out of my bedroom. I think Metal Blade Records is a bit overrated. I don't think they are as popular as they used to be and they may not be as important as they once were. These days it is indy all the way. If you can't keep control of where the money is going and who is in charge then it is kind of stupid. Not that I give a shit about the money but when you can't get in touch with people there are going to be problems. So we were like look, thanks for everything. How many bands tear up a Metal Blade contract? We did, that is the bottom line. We took the fucking thing and tore it up and went with Thrash Corner. Ray is a nice guy and we are on our own level where we can do things at our pace. We keep it at our speed. We went in and recorded the album and he gave us a good budget. We recorded the album at Obliveon, it was the first time that I completely produced an album around the board. It was good for the money I had to work with. It was a good learning experience. The album is out now and it is doing good and I feel the songs are really strong. I think the sound is much better. I feel that the band is as high as it can ever be right now.

EC - Where is Thrash Corner Records?

KF - Puerto Rico. I see Ray Lopez, the owner, all of the time. I see him over here at Dave's Metal and he is always straight up with you, he doesn't bullshit you, he doesn't cut corners, he will take care of you. Always has and probaby always will.

"Live is where it is at. Word of mouth, wear the shirts, support the fucking scene. Do you what you can do in your area, pass it on type of stuff. Just do what you can do." --King

EC - What sort of vibe or feel were you going for when you were writing this album?

KF - Well, basically when we were writing this album two years ago "Powerhouse" came through from the other guys. That was when I first took sick because of my lung and they got together and had some riffs and they sent me the tape. They basically went down to North Carolina, wrote the song riffs, gave me the arrangement, gave it to me and I rearranged it some, put song lyrics behind it, and recorded the demo in 2003. Everybody got to hear that song and we started playing it live and everybody liked it. I really liked the song but I didn't want to lose our edge from before. I tried to put a little less of the "trying to really sing" thing, which isn't really my thing, and sort of went with our live sound with the vocals. As far as the songs we just wrote some really heavy stuff that fit with what we do but I wanted to make it catchy, fun, and interesting. I wanted to give each song its own identity, like we have always done. Have Brian's crazy guitar playing, cool rhythms, catchy sing along parts. We added some gang vocals in this time. There have always been gang vocals, not really so much on the first album but with "Visions Of The End" on. It sort of just happened, it felt right for this album. Basically me, Jason, and Brian wrote the album. I went down there a couple of times and arranged stuff and played drums and showed Dave the parts and he learned all of the beats.

EC - This is the first October 31 album with you doing vocals only. How different was it to write the drum parts for someone else and did your approach to the lyrics change any with you doing only vocals this time?

KF - No, the lyrics stayed the same. I have always basically done what I think I can do and what is best for the band. As far as the drums with October 31, way less than Deceased. It is just traditional heavy metal and Dave knows all of that stuff. I just wrote what I play and told him if something doesn't feel comfortable just take it, get the idea in your head, and roll off of it. As far as October I would say 99% just went right to Dave. He has been playing drums so long for October it just came naturally to him. I just wanted to write stuff that wasn't busy-busy for drums. Heavy metal with October 31 is a band effort, it is heavy metal songs, just traditonal 80s styled arrangements the old school way. I think the band just worked the best drum wise "just in your face and go with it".

EC - You chose to go back to Obliveon Studios again. Why did you go back there for this album?

KF - I wanted to work with Mike Bossier again. Before working with Kevin at Assembly Line studios you just got what you got. Mike has always cut me a good deal finanical wise. It just fell into place for the budget we had. All of the guys know Mike, we felt comfortable there. We get in, we know what we are getting into and we know what we are getting out of it. It just felt right.

EC - What makes a good producer?

KF - There are two ways to approach producing. One way is to have a guy completely unfamiliar with your stuff who comes in and his whole life is about getting the band better songs or giving them something to get them to the next level. Now with me, I have to have someone who has metal in their heart. I'll be the first person to butt heads with someone because I feel very strongly about every song I put into a melody line or the whole ten yards. Producing myself or us producing, it is like sometimes you go that route because you know what you are looking for to a degree.

EC - What do you like in a studio?

KF - You have to sort of play with what is up now. Now that I have worked with Obliveon, which is basically all non-Pro Tools and things of this world, just running off of tape and no hard drives and stuff like that. You need a good drum room, a friendly atmosphere, you need to just feel like you are on a professional level. Even if it is a basement studio. Obliveon and Assembly Line are both in basements. That shouldn't make a difference. You don't need a ninety yard factory if it feels right. You would be surprised how many big bands still use small studios.

EC - Let's go through each track and give me a little bit of the thought process and description of each song starting with "Powerhouse".

KF - "Powerhouse like I said was written a couple of years ago. It has been compared to everything from Venom's "Black Metal" to "Fast As A Shark" from Accept . I think it is a great opener, a great anthem with a vicious attack and fast double bass. It is just 1-2-3-4, light 'em up and go.

EC - How about "Rivet Rat"?

KF - "Rivet Rat" I love, it really grows on you. It has a nice little jam session in the middle. Another one that is really catchy with a real heavy middle chorus. This one we just played live and it went over fantastic. A lot of backup vocals, heavy mid-paced October 31 sort of edge to it.

EC - What is the theme behind it?

KF - Rivet Rat is words that Iron Maiden used many many years ago to describe headbangers. I always like those words Rivet Rat, Dave thought it was River Rat. It is basically the anger inside of you that comes out when it needs to come out. That is my own little play on it. When you are in trouble, when you are angry, when you need that little push the Rivet Rat comes out of you. To me it is everything from the metal in you to the violent side of you, it is the thing that is there when you need it to fix something that is broken. It is the beast!

EC - "Commit To Sin".

KF - Twisted Sister style to me. Jason pretty much wrote that one and I contributed to it. We wrote that in my living room, he came down by himself and we wrote that song. It came together nicely, Jason did a good job, he has a sense of melody and stuff. I think the chorus is very catchy. It has been a favorite for fans thus far. We played that one live recently and it went over good. It is the "single" of the album.

EC - The title track "No Survivors".

KF - That has been compared to Exodus' "Bonded By Blood". To me another fast up-tempo one. A little fast, a little short. Just get in there, light your shit on fire, and go. Light 'em up type of song. It is telling a story that only death is ahead. Boom, boom, boom, hit the wall.

EC - Probably one of my favorite songs, "What Waits Beyond".

KF - "What Waits Beyond". A real heavy one, driving riff through it. It has some plotting through it with a little message asking what comes next when we die. The little preacher in the middle giving his sermon, it isn't meant as a spiritual message. It is basically a point of view from me wondering what waits beyond.

EC - "Back Alley Murders"

KF - One of my favorites, I like it a lot. Reminds me of old Maiden. Sounds like Dianno Maiden to me for some reason, it has that rough, raw edge to it. It is weird, everyone thinks it is a Jack The Ripper type song with a murder in a back alley. Basically what it has to deal with is in the back of our mind there are always things coming and going thought wise. It is kind of hard to explain in words, it would take 45 minutes. It isn't what everyone thinks though. Good song, the arrangement could have been a little bit different, there were a couple of things we wanted to change but due to time restraints we couldn't.

EC - Why did you cover "Wrecking Crew"?

KF - Great song, great fucking album. We have been playing that live for some time, it is just something we do because it sounds like something October 31 could have pulled off. It has the thrash vein, the fast riffing, the maniacal ideas and energy to it. We actually started jamming and playing "Long Live The Loud" from Exciter and last minute just went with "Wrecking Crew". It felt more like us and felt right for this album.

EC - Last one, "Misfortune".

KF - The spooky one. Pretty much a Brian and Jason thing. I asked Brian for a main riff and asked him to give me something similar to Saxon's "The Eagle Has Landed" and came back with a riff that sounds like "The Eagle Has Landed". Creepy song, a few people have said it sounds like old Alice Cooper with that whole schitzophrenic "talking to yourself lost in a mental ward" thing. Just about a guy who can't get away from doom and dirge. Stuck in it and it basically takes him over. Kind of like a Poe thing. There are very little happy endings to my songs that are like this. It has a spooky little girl at the end which is Mike Bossier's daughter. She is five years old. I thought it would be cool to put her on there as a twist of "the next generation" are feeling it too. It is a good song, a heavy closer for the album.

EC - Recently we talked about the "No Survivors" album cover and how it fits with the previous two album covers. Tell me some more about the theme you have created with the three covers.

KF - Okay, basically the cover of the first album "The Fire Awaits You" is Hell itself. You know Hell is home. That is really where it all started at. What we wanted to do was take the person from Hell by ship, which is our choice on "Meet Thy Maker". We don't do the EPs that way. We had someone take the ship from Hell to death, just dirge after dirge after dirge. Basically from there we took it to the new album on the ship taking these people to be destroyed, meeting the maker here on the new album and seeing there is no escaping death right now. That is where the story leaves off for now. And those are not pirates on the cover. That is just an old timey captain.

EC - What are you doing on the road to support the record?

KF - We will be playing in North Carolina again this month. The people there have been so supportive of us there. We can do down there and try different stuff, last time we played "Rivet Rat" and "Commit To Sin" for the first time. We played "Waisted", a Def Lepparad cover for fun. We are going to be playing four shows in Texas in March. We are playing the Classic Metal Fest 5 in Chicago. So we will do those shows with October, I would like to hit Florida again, maybe Canada, and hit the West Coast. Ray is talking about bringing us to Puerto Rico and we would love to go back and play Wacken again. It is just a matter of time and money.

EC - As far as the store shelves go, when can the casual shopper pick this up?

KF - It should be really soon. I know that The End just got their hands on some copies.

EC - Will Deceased fans enjoy October 31 records?

KF - It depends. It depends on what type of Deceased fan. If it is the later Deceased fan, the folks who picked up on us later and picked up on the melody and traditional roots than the real early stuff. It is weird, now more raw, death metal guys and girls can respect the old school more. We have played with death metal bands before and people will come up and say they love that stuff, they love Grim Reaper and those types of bands. We run into people who love Deceased and hate October or love October and hate Deceased. It is hit or miss.

EC - What genre would you put October 31 into?

KF - Just simple heavy metal brother. That is just what it is. These days you have old school and new school. New metal, old metal, dinosaur metal, this is just metal man.

EC - If we were in the mid to early 80s who would October 31 be touring with? What package would you be on?

KF - Is it me making the tour or something that could actually happen?

EC - Let us say realistically...

KF - ...I'm tryting to think of bands I liked that toured back then. You never got tours from the bands I loved. Probably Blessed Death, Agent Steel, Holy Terror, even Chastain. Overkill, Nuclear Assault, we could play with any of that stuff. If it were my show it would be Cirith Ungol, Tyrant, Wild Dogs, Bitch, and Demon Flight would have been playing live as would have Warlord. I would have flown bands in from overseas like Artillery and Cyclone.

EC - How well do you think this album would do if we were in the 80s?

KF - I think it would do real good. I think with all of the other stuff. The band is definitely talented enough with their playing. I think we have catchy songs, we know what we are doing with our music, it comes natural and I think the songs show it. It is catchier than a lot of 80s albums. I think it is really good. It is stuff that I arranged and wrote so of course I like it. Others might think we suck shit.

EC - How can we push the current US metal scene out and get true, powerful US metal back to the masses?

KF - We have to be able to play out. Live is where it is at. Word of mouth, wear the shirts, support the fucking scene. Do you what you can do in your area, pass it on type of stuff. Just do what you can do. These bigger bands, this is what I really hate, these bigger bands don't support none of these fucking bands. Last year I tried to get October 31 on three tours. King Diamond, Overkill, Death Angel. All three of them said we aren't touring with metal bands. We aren't touring with metal bands! King Diamond had something Daycare people. Crap. Overkill was talking about hardcore yo-yo stuff. I'm not sure if they are afraid, they just don't like it, they are doing it for the money, are if they are trying to mix up the crowds. It hurts the scene. They don't even support metal. Maybe it isn't the bands, maybe the promoters. I wish one of us could win the lottery and put on a show with Skullview, Twisted Tower Dire, October 31, Premonition, and Iron Cross. Overlorde, Twilight Odyssey, I like all of those bands.

EC - So you think it goes back to the live shows?

KF - It does. You have to get out and play. CDs are everywhere. Everyone is all about money. The indy guys want to work with you but they can't get any money from the next level up. When you have someone three rings up who won't put their hand out, what do you do?

EC - What are you looking forward to in 2005?

KF - Playing shows, staying healthy, staying out of hospitals. Getting out and seeing some folks, hoping for some great new albums this year. I hope music is more real. Just play, I want to see more bands play good live. So many times you leave a concert and just say that band didn't entertain me. I'm not the biggest Gwar fan, but if you see a Gwar show you have fun. I miss that kind of shit.

EC - Alright man, that is the end of part one. Part two we will focus on Deceased.

KF - Let me know what is up! We will have shirts, hats, buttons, all kinds of merchandise coming soon! We will do the album version of "No Survivors" soon which will be a 7" with a cover of Q5's "Missing In Action". That just needs to be pressed now. There is talk of a lot of other stuff too. We are going to go in and record a bunch of our cover songs we have been doing live. A Cirith Ungol tribute coming up. Doing Classic Metal Fest 5! Gonna be busy. Be good in the hood G!

King FowleyEric Compton2/16/2005

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