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Blessed Curse 

Blessed Curse are a crushing thrash band and after hearing their self-titled release I got in touch with the band's singer/guitar player Tyler Satterlee for an interview and here is what he said:

MC: What were you like growing up as a kid and where did area did you grow up in? Did you come from a big or small family?

TS: Hey!!! This is Tyler Satterlee, guitar/vocalist of Blessed Curse. Growing up I was always into tons of movies, comic books, books, fantasy, horror, sci-fi, and also into the usual suburban sports like soccer and baseball. I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1987, baptized in the Pacific (which is rad), but my family relocated to the forests of northern California to Colfax (desolate railroad miner town) in 1990 so my dad could further his teaching in colleges in nearby Sacramento. Our family was decent sized (my father has 3 other brothers with wives and families) and my mom is of Canadian decent (I am half Canadian) with a big family of relatives too.

MC: Were you into music at a young age or did music come later?

Tyler: I always loved music since I could hear and would always dance, rock out, and dress up like a rock star when I was like 3-7 years old with acid-washed denim jackets and jeans and the sick old-school high-tops with a Donatello Ninja Turtle plastic toy staff that I pictured as a microphone so I could sing! I loved very rhythmic/beat heavy music, Motown, some 80's dance songs, MJ, and also a lot of classic rock like Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Elton John, Led Zeppelin, ELO, The Police, Aerosmith, John Fogherty and CCR, and tons more. I wanted to perform for some reason at a very early age. The full-blown heavy metal addiction came a few years later when I was 10-11 years old.

MC: When did you 1st start to get interested in music and what were some of the early bands that you heard and got into?

Tyler: I always loved music but fully took up the acoustic guitar when I was 12 but was bummed out because it was not an electric. My dad told me that if I wanted an electric guitar I would have to prove myself. So I learned the first four Metallica albums in a year on acoustic guitar and played "...And Justice For All" all the way through for my dad one evening. That Christmas I received my first electric guitar Fender Squier guitar and could now do what I wanted. The bands I really dug playing along to and truly influenced me were Metallica, Iron Maiden (my favorite band), Megadeth, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Motorhead, Pantera, Anthrax, Overkill, Exodus, Testament, Sadus, Destruction, Sodom, and Kreator. So many, many bands. The most recent ones I worship are Dokken, Running Wild, Suffocation, and early Savatage. Savatage fucking ruled!

MC: Now how did you end up finding your way into the metal music world and what were some of the 1st bands that you got into?

Tyler: Our band formed in 2001 at the age of 14 and has not stopped since. We have had a couple of brief periods of non-activity(usually due to recording or personal issues) but have never stopped. We started from the ground up in a garage for years and before we knew it we were playing with some of our favorite bands like Sodom and Overkill in far-away cities at legendary venues like The Boardwalk and The Whisky A- Go-Go. Amazing, especially at the time because in the early to mid 2000's not everyone was convinced yet that true head-banging metal rules so we still had to bust ass playing shows everywhere and try to convince people that the old-school is the only school. The bands I mentioned above are in my blood and always will be as in they kept me alive through tough times and continue to do so.

MC: Was metal music like a drug that you wanted to have more and more of? Did you ever read any fanzines back then and was their any cool metal music stores that you could buy stuff at?

Tyler: Very much so. You buy one album, obsess about an awesome band, then get into another and it leads to a metal family tree after awhile ya know? The only way I heard about tours or band information was through the net and imported European metal magazines sold at certain record store locations. Every time I was flipping through those pages I couldn't wait to read something on my favorite bands. There were a couple of local record stores but the cool one shut down and the other one only sells vinyl. It sucks because searching for cool records is fucking bad ass. Including vinyl.

MC: I know the band or you were in a band called Devastator. Tell me about that band and were you in any bands before them and what lead to the idea of forming a band and what did you parents think of you forming a band?

Tyler: Devastator (formerly before that Atrosity) was Blessed Curse before we had to change our name. Almost the same thing except B.C. is more intense musically as in we try to up our skill and technique with every release. Devastator was fun for the time being as in we were able to start destroying cities everywhere and got people aware of our music. The band idea came from hating the music and music videos and sounds that were being played on MTV and VH1 in the late 1990's when we were in middle school. That is why we were always excited to watch That Metal Show on VH1 where they actually played head-banging metal videos on friday evenings. We were also one of the first (if not the first California) true, brutal young speed/thrash bands to form when we were barely 14 in 2001. This is way before playing fast or heavy again became a trend in Cali. Our parents always despised and never encouraged us playing in a heavy metal band and it wasn't only until very recently that my own parents accepted the fact that I am a musician and are finally proud that I try and do that. The guilt caused by it in our early years for Derek our original drummer is the reason why he has had two psychotic episodes and can no longer tour or play with us again. His family fed him with shame which killed him mentally. It is a very painful issue even to discuss or think about now. Incredibly saddening and angering for me and people related to B.C.

MC: I know Devastator released music is it still for sale and what did you end up putting out?

Tyler: As far as I know you can still purchase the out-of-print Devastator e.p.'s "Crush and Kill" and "Burn the Beast". We have a total of 5 e.p.'s, most are out-of print and one entitled "Thrash and Burn" was never released by us in early 2007 because we hated the sound this producer and engineer did in the mixing room which made us sound like we had no heaviness or nuts.

MC: What led to the demise of Devastator or did you just change the name to Blessed Curse? If it went from one band to another how many members went from them to Blessed Curse? Who came up with the new band name?

Tyler: It was only a name change because another Devastator and many other "tor" bands were going. It's funny sometimes because people still to this day like to refer to us as Devastator which is ok with us I guess, especially for the awesome people who have followed us through the years, we just prefer to be known as Blessed Curse. I came up with the name Blessed Curse after we were forced to change the Devastator name I realized that being in a heavy metal band is a blessing and a curse. Every pleasure you receive will be balanced by a soul-crushing negative in this music world and I would like to think that that is a metaphor for most human beings in their own lives whatever anyone does. Life is both pain and has awesome stuff but is always balanced. Always, no matter how rich or poor you are.

MC: I know at some point you also hooked up with my old time friend Marco Barbieri. How did this come about?

Tyler: Marco saw us perform at a Las Vegas metal show in 2007 that featured other great metal bands like Avenger of Blood and our bay area pals Hatchet. He spoke of an initial interest in the band at the end of the show and from that we have partnered with him for over 4 years now via a music publishing agreement. We would have hardly anything if it was not for a lot of his insight and wisdom. Anyone reading this right now, if you are in a band and are serious about busting ass, get in contact with Marco. The dude is the Gandalf or Yoda for the whole underground metal world right now. Trust me. I can only say that we have been extremely fortunate to even talk with Marco, let alone work with him.

MC: You then released your debut with the name Blessed Curse. How happy are you with the recording and how has the response been to the release so far?

Tyler: We could not be happier man. This is a musical time-capsule of our first ten years as a band and producer/engineer Juan Urteaga (Testament, Machine Head) did a wonderful job recording and producing the album. He has such an incredible ear for heavy metal and we can only hope to work with him on future projects again. Everything right now has been only positive in terms of feedback on the album. We are very happy with the reaction as in fans and the press are quite supportive of it at the moment. It's time to head-bang!

MC: Who came up with awesome cover?

Tyler: I came up with the idea of a wolf-creature tearing itself apart as it morphs (reflecting the B.C. name in visual form) but it wasn't until Marco let us know we could contact an unbelievably talented artist Mark Sasso (Halford, Dio) to truly bring my idea to life. When I saw the beginning sketches and later the color I almost wept and shit metal tears. It was rad! Could not be happier as in that is our official mascot now. The B.C. Beast!!!

MC: What was it like going into the studio to record the album? Did everything go smoothly or were there some bumps in the road so to speak? Do you feel comfortable in the studio?

Tyler: We worked previously with Juan Urteaga at Trident Studios in the Bay Area for the "Burn the Beast" e.p. which was incredibly heavy so we wanted to record our first album there. No bumps at all just a lot of traveling, sleeping in the studio control room, getting financial loans, drinking massive amounts of beer and blazing weed, lifting weights, eating and repeat. Almost 3 months total after mixing/mastering. Recording is always stressful to some degree, like it should be, because you want it to kick ass as much as possible so you are always willing to put in extra time or work harder if need be.

MC: I know you have played some live shows. Who have you shared the stage with and how good of a live band would you say you are? Are there any live clips on You Tube at all?

Tyler: We have since we formed, performed almost 400 live shows on our own. We have had our fair show of good and bad gigs. So many stories and awesome bands. We have played with some old-school bands like Destruction, Sodom, Kreator, Heathen, Death Angel, Overkill, Evil Dead, etc. as well as great young new bands like Warbringer, Exmortus, Sacrificial Slaughter, Bonded By Blood, Hatchet, Fog of War, Zombie Holocaust, Fueled By Fire, etc. There are so many cool bands out now I just hope the true metal-heads stick with it and don't act like enjoying real metal is some youthful trend when people actually depend on it like me and my band to exist. Our live show is one of the reasons why we even exist. From the beginning it was play this gig like it is your last because nobody knows when we will all die. We are seriously known in California for causing massive pits, frantic head-banging, memorable songs, and above all people appreciating it after and supporting it. There are literally tons of clips on youtube documenting our live stage shows which depending on circumstance can also sometimes suck!

MC: I notice there is a bonus track, a Black Sabbath cover. What made you choose that song and does the band like playing cover tunes every now and then?

Tyler: We all worship Black Sabbath and we did "Symptom of the Universe" because I believe it is one of the real births of "the chug" palm-muted iconic riffs that Tony Iommi invented. I think it is the same as discovering electricity or beer, it is that cool. The main riff is unbelievable. We grew up playing tons of covers by Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Metallica, and Slayer so it was a no-brainer for us to add that to the domestic release.

MC: With so many bands and labels nowadays do you feel it is going to be tougher for a great band such as yourselves to stand out in the pack of all the shitty crap that is being released nowadays?

Tyler: We don't really worry about stuff like that, we're just happy with what we made and hope people fuck their necks up listening to it. If the whole planet liked it or hated it, we don't fucking care. We know we came from seriously nowhere in the backwoods and made a kick ass album so everybody else can fuck off. We always stand out because of our unique live show approach and just try to have a good time on stage. The music industry is always tough and many crappy albums are released every year, we just hope people can enjoy the escape we want to help provide like many of our friends' bands are trying to do on their labels as well.

MC: What are some of the best live shows you have seen and who is your favorite band?

Tyler: Oh man, that is a hard one! Way too many good bands.My favorite show so far has been Motorhead/Dio/Iron Maiden in 2003 and Scorpions/Ratt in 2010. I am a massive Scorpions fan and it ruled. No band though has gotten me through more bullshit, made me feel more alive without any kind of chemical, than the mighty Iron Maiden. I have a Maiden patch over my heart on my denim vest for a specific reason because they are always in my heart, have always inspired me, and will always make me feel like a human when this world does everything to make you feel like shit.

MC: About how much time in any given week is spent doing band related stuff? Do you like going on all these social networking sites and all that?

Tyler: Too much sometimes in my opinion ha ha! The internet is a vital if not, modern tool to get many band related things accomplished which is great. I hate the idea though that people don't value metal like it is something special and sacred to seek out you know? They think that being a real metal-head means you do everything with a click of the button instead of trusting your heart and discovering for yourself what is good through listening to whole albums, not hits or singles. Metal is supposed to be that place where you can be absolutely free in every sense and have freedom of your imagination. People now seem to think that metal is a passing fad for certain ages or that if your good it has to do with the number of "hits" or "views" you get. BULLSHIT!

MC: Does the band have any goals at all?

TYLER: Conquer the Earth and help make true, head-banging metal known everywhere again.

MC: What would you say the band sounds like and do you think you have an original sound?

Tyler: Our sound has been a source of debate as many of our friends, fans, and bands debate on who has influenced us. Our roadie Tony recently said we sounded like the bands Death and Destruction fucked and had an offspring, ha ha ha! So who knows? Others have said a combo of Anthrax and Sepultura? Everybody has their own take which I think makes our bands' sound unique because nobody can pinpoint us. I know we have our own sound because it only comes from us, our inspiration only comes from us, and we are not in any way influenced by our young scene or peer bands ever. We just get heavier with age I guess.

MC: How does the writing of a song come about? Is it one or two members or is it a group effort? How about the lyrics? What has been the hardest song to write so far?

Tyler: It comes from me, as in a song needs to start with a riff, melody, basic lyrics, basic drum beats, for it to become anything. I then work on it on my own and manifest it into something before bringing it to the group. Afterword we have an overall input, but all the songs have come from me so far. Lyrics have to do with an emotion or an idea I am trying to express. This is the area that the other guys don't have the most input in because they know I am trying to tell a story with my imagination and don't want to interfere with that. They can give ideas, but they know it comes from a vision. No song has been hard at all. It just flows and sometimes seems like they write themselves!

MC: Do you think eventually cds will go by the wayside and everything will be just on I Tunes and Mp3 players? Is you release on vinyl and if not would you like to see it come out on vinyl?

Tyler: I hope not, because I hope people still want to hunt and regard heavy metal as a sacred form of intense music and that the true underground will always be there. I would love to see our album released on a vinyl pressing. We are actually getting one of the songs "Something Evil" on a USA metal vinyl compilation called Evil Rage for a Rotting Age (ERRA) the first song on side A! So look out and get it because it is limited!

MC: I saw your release in a store called Vintage Vinyl here in NJ. Is there many stores carrying this release that you know of?

Tyler: As many I hope as possible as in I don't think it is in the mainstream chains yet like Best Buy or anything. I hope it is in the real record stores because that is where the real maniacs go to buy stuff. I hope this can get anywhere a human can see it! We have it released in chains here on the west coast and in other places (including Europe). Anywhere it can get matters to us.

MC: Do you plan on doing any sort of touring to support this release? Any plans of hitting the East Coast or maybe going overseas at all?

Tyler: Tons of shows and touring as much as possible. We just got done doing a west-coast tour which was great and will soon be embarking on another at the end of this week. We would love to get a middle America/ East Coast tour in the works asap. We know there is a ton of metal-heads out there and want to help wreck all of their necks!

MC: Plug any websites or social network sites you have and what merchandise do you have currently for sale?

Tyler: You can hit us up any time for merchandise and our face-fucking debut album through our official facebook page www.facebook.com/blessedcurseofficialor through M-Theory Audio (www.mtheoryaudio.com) for USA customers, or Cyclone Empire for European maniacs. T-shirts, stickers, signed stuff, you name it!

MC: Any last words and horns up for the interview.

Tyler: "My advice is to drink heavily"

-John Belushi (Animal House)