Exclusive Interviews Only Found Here at MetalCore!
Crucifier has been spreading their black/death metal sounds since 1990! They have been silent for a bit, but main man Cazz is back with a new line-up and ready to crush the weak and here is a long interview with the man:
CF: Have you always lived in Boothwyn, PA all your life? What sort of kid were you growing up? Did you come from a small or large family?
CAZZ: Up until 1980 I lived in a surrounding town called Chester (2nd most dangerous city USA represent!) Then we moved to Boothwyn/Chichester area and I still reside close to there now, in Linwood, Pa. I was sheltered, shy, a bit funny, but mainly kept to myself. Didn't come into my own until 1982 or so when I turned 12. My mother's and father's families were all large. Mine was a little smaller, at 5 total siblings, I am the oldest.
CF: What did you want to be when you were growing up and was music a part of your life when you were a young age?
CAZZ: I don't recall ever having aspirations of growing up and working, etc. My parent's kept me away from the rigors of "the real world" I think. I remember liking music in 1980, but just what was on the radio. I can't recall exactly how I found metal in my life, but I know it was in 1982, and as soon as I heard it, Ozzy's Blizzard of Ozz in fact, I knew that was my new love. I shut off the radio and from then on it was metal metal metal! And as soon as I discovered it, I brought it into every aspect of my life, especially school. On the bus going to and coming from school, it was Ozzy....it got so bad that the whole bus scolded me for playing "All Aboard!!!!!!!!!!" every day! Ha ha
CF: When did music start to enter your life and what were some of the 1st bands that you heard and liked? Do you still like any of them even today?
CAZZ: Only as early as 1980 did I remember liking music for me. Before that I was an aural prisoner to my dad's music, of bee bop and Motown and various 50s-70s era music. As mentioned above 1982 was the year for me for metal. I was 12. I'm 45 now, and it's still my main focus personally, second only to my two children. Ozzy started it all, then Sabbath, Maiden, Slayer, Sodom, Venom, Autopsy, and literally ALL the bands that were out and were coming out. I overdosed on everything hard rock and metal!!! I really only like older stuff. Once in a while a new band will catch my ear, but other than that I enjoy the stuff from my past to up until around 1999. Some call me a metal elitist. Well, I won't deny that.
CF: What led to you playing the drums and how long have you been playing them now? Did you ever want to play guitar or the bass? How about singing, when did that start up? Is it hard to play drums and sing, like was it hard in the beginning and how easier to get it get over time?
CAZZ: In 1983 I picked up the drums, only really to help out a couple classmates. They had guitar and bass covered and needed a drummer. On a whim, I said, "I can do it for you, just need drums." We managed to find a priest in the Catholic School we were in who actually had a kit and lent it to me. I never did return it. So I've been playing drums for 32 years now. Best decision I made was that so-so whim! Some of the first songs we were trying were Sabbath songs and Twisted Sister songs and I think we may have tried to do a Maiden or two. My career only blossomed from that first band, which actually was called Pyramid I think. I picked up guitar and bass in around 1985 and fooled around with them only, when I could find a friend that had one. By now, 2015, I am actually a pretty good metal guitarist! Singing I picked up in about 1989, just to try it out. And it stuck and I was pretty good at it. I always tell them, "hey I'm breathing out anyway, might as well put some lyrics to it!" I don't remember it ever being hard. So I'll say for me, it was very natural.
CF: How would you rate yourself as a drummer and a singer? What are some of your favorite drummers and singers?
CAZZ: Singer, I'm so so, but pretty good for black death metal stuff. Drummer, I'd say, I'm okay maybe more so near the top than the middle or bottom of the metal drummer pile. Lombardo, Ruzz, Sus, Peart, Buddy Rich, Ward, Aldridge, Powell, Bozzio, Sandoval, Reifert and the list goes on. Love singers from all genres, like Midnight from Crimson Glory, Messiah Marcolin, Ian Gillan, Tony Martin, old Ozzy stuff, Dio, Ross from Immolation and that list goes on too!
CF: Now how did you end up discovering the underground? Did you ever do any tape trading at all or read many fanzines back in the day? If so, what were some of the zines you read back then?
CAZZ: The underground just fell into my lap I suppose. Once I picked up Hit Parader, etc. I found pen pals and then that all blew up for me. I was doing many metal bands starting from 1983 on, so I was slowly getting exposure that way into the Underground. Yes, I would find all the fanzines in the local record stores and bought them all. I went haywire just showing the Underground my skills and art, and sharing that with the world, it was a great time of my life. Wow I can't remember them all....Comatose, Slayer Mag, Holocaust zine, plus a million others.
CF: Now once you heard a few bands was it like a drug that you wanted more and more of? Did you travel down to phila, pa a few times to buy stuff down there? What were some of the bands that you listened to back then?
CF: Metal became an addiction for me starting in 1982. I wanted all of it in my head. It was glorious. I would go to the city and visit the mighty Rock n Roll Plus shop and buy everything! I think the Underground was at its peak here for me in around 1988...from then on I would buy everything, no bullshit. I loved the European stuff, Carnage, Nihilist, Terrorizer, Morbid Angel, Crematory, Nuclear Death, Rigor Mortis, Emperor, Mayhem, Incantation, Goreaphobia...etc etc.
CF: Now did you play in any bands prior to forming Crucifier? How did the idea come to form the band and how long did it take from taking the idea to having an actual line-up take?
Cazz: Yes I played in many....Pyramid, Macabre Forces/Acephalous Vector, Satanic Slaughter, Witchery, Caution which was the early form of Crucifier, then after Crucifier officially formed in 1990 I played in many other bands, either helping out or heading them up or just adding extra vocals or playing live. I think in around 1985 we started with forming the local band Satanic Slaughter and that was the direction I wanted to, and eventually Crucifier came out of some of those writings. To this day I've been struggling with steady lineups for Crucifier. Finding the right bunch of dudes who feel like I do about it is hard to do! But over time, it happens, you find the right guys. If only temporarily. Crucifier has always been my baby and to treat it as such, anyone in the band who treats it like a stepchild, doesn't usually last long.
CF: What were the 1st practices like for the band? Were you always going to be the singer or did that just happen that you could not find a proper singer for the band?
CAZZ: I believe I went into Crucifier with the intention of singing while drumming. The first practices were good. We were tuned down to about A and were doing something new for the local area. We went into it with professional intentions.
CF: How long had the band been together before you released your “Humans Are Such Easy Prey” demo in 1991? What was it like going into the studio for the 1st time? What are your thoughts on this demo these days? Did you send the tape out to zines and stuff and what kind of feedback did you get at the time?
CAZZ: About a year, two different lineups. We were very busy. But we were also trying to come into our own. Crucifier had a basic low tuned death metal appeal back then. We still do, but we're not so tuned down now. I've been in the studio once before Crucifier went in to do our first demo, so I was a little ready for the task. But you find out you are never really happy with the final work. Sometimes you have to program yourself to go into it with pro ideas but know that you won't come out with an EMI Records sounding release. Luckily with the Underground, rawness is a good thing. I love our first demo. I am proud of it, and think that we did right by all the unwritten laws of the Underground. I sent that tape everywhere to everyone! I was happy that all of the feedback was positive. I don't recall one bad review.
CF: In 1992 demo # 2 came out called “Crown of Thorns”. Did you do anything different this time as opposed to the 1st demo? What was the response like to this demo back in 1992?
CAZZ: I was less happy with the vocal production, but I was stubborn and that's how I wanted it back then. I think the difference is the tuning. We tuned down even more on that demo. It was heavy to say the least. And the vocals were less decipherable. I was going for a very low end sound. The lyrics were similar and the Satanic/Death aspect were all still intact. I believe the reviews were mostly good ones. I can recall one or two who didn't like it. But I think it was a stellar release.
CF: In 1993 you released an EP on Pagan Records called “By Disgrace of God”. How did you hook up with Pagan Records (I remember them from back then-cf)? Were any other labels interested in the band? How was the response to the Ep? Do you have any idea how many copies were sold at the time?
CAZZ: I think tape trading and pen pal stuff got me into contact with Tomasz of Pagan Records. He said he loved our demos and wanted Crucifier to be his first release. We did two more with him too. Also GBK did some stuff with him too. So my history with the old European dudes is memorable! I think we had all great reviews of those releases with Pagan. They kind of put us on the map worldwide. I was never happier with the band and the scene at the time. I don't know how many were sold sorry. I was never into that really, as long as our stuff reached those who wanted it, I was happy. Still am!
CF: You also released another EP on the same label called “Unparelleled Majesty” in the same year. Was writing songs pretty easy for the band back then? Overall how was it working with Pagan Records? Out of the 2 EP’s, do you have a favorite?
CAZZ: I believe Unparalleled came out first, and then months later we did By Disgrace. We were writing our asses off back then. I had help with Danny Kamp and Chris Miller (Percussor) with writing earlier on. So the writing process was covered by a few of us. I think I enjoy By Disgrace more. Only because we were learning more and developing our recording skills. Pagan was great to us, and for us. I'd work with him again anytime!
CF: Now were you playing a lot of live shows at this time? What were some of the bands you played with and did you get to play out of town much? How many times did you play G Wilker’s and when I mention that club what are some memories you remember about that time?
CAZZ: We played as much as we could. We played the mighty Willikers many times, it was our home, as it was for all the local metal acts. We were sad when it burned down. We played with Bolt Thrower, Sacrifice, Immolation, Brutal Truth, Revenant, Lesch-Nyhan, Goreaphobia, Necrotion, Symphony of Grief, Hazarax, Corpus Rottus, and million others. Those early nineties were spectacular! I remember the fest we played with Bolt Thrower and the giant fight that broke out with the AC Skins and some people in the crowd....good times, violent times, but good times! I recall our first show, with our dead goat heads on stage and how the crowd reacted to it...I think we became "that band with the goat and deer heads!" and I was very happy with that. I think we sort of started that up here. At least I want to think that!
CF: I imagine you were getting a lot of mail at this time. Did you enjoy writing to people back then and spreading your flyers as well as others through the mail back then? Do you miss those days sometimes?
CAZZ: I always miss those days. But I try to keep it alive with Facebook. It isn't the same but I'm meeting up with many of those same folks from back then. I loved the penpal days....nothing will replace that. It was work, and expensive and those who did it put heart soul and sweat into their art. It's too easy now, that is why I shy away from the new stuff. They don't have to work, or put sweat into anything...hell they don't even have to play drums correctly now. It's sad. (your 100% on the money with answer-chris)
CF: Now how did the writing of a song come together? Was it a band effort of did you, pretty much do a lot of that? How about lyrics, since you were singing them, did you pretty much pen most or all of them? What are some funny places that you got song or lyric ideas from over the years?
CAZZ: Earlier song writing was a group effort. I think Danny Kamp wrote many of the great riffs which gave us a blueprint and the other members, me included would put riffs to his. Over time, after his departure, I would take up much of the writing...with help of course. But I always felt that I had a grasp of what this band needed to sound like. I do all the titles and lyrics. I feel it necessary to do that for some reason. Yes I'm singing them it does make it easier to justify. I usually just mock religion so funny places are heaven and church ha ha!
CF: In 1995 a Compilation of some of your stuff was released. What was on it and who ended up releasing it?
CAZZ: It was actually just a comp from Pagan of both our releases with them.
CF: Around this time, how much time was spent doing band related stuff? Was there ever a time when the mail was just getting to the point of overwhelming you? Did you do all the mail or did some other members do mail too?
CAZZ: I did all the mail for the most part. I was never bogged down. I loved it. Obviously nowadays I'm lazier and love an email over having to ship. But it was a great time and a learning experience.
CF: What are some of your thoughts about all the stuff that was going on overseas in Norway during this period?
CAZZ: At the time I kept to myself but made my opinion known that church burnings and murders were NOT acceptable, only because I believed that criminal behavior was stupid and silly. I would have nothing of it. Once I got a phone call from someone overseas who threaten us just because we were American Black Metal....fuck that guy! We had a laugh over this guy's bullshit!
CF: In 1996, you released “Powerless Against” EP. Who released this and what was the response to it like?
CAZZ: Powerless was release by us and then by a soon to be band mate's label Sinistrari Records, who for a short time I joined up with to help. Um, the production was kind of bland so I think it got mixed reviews. But musically it had some good tracks.
CF: How did you come up with the name for the band and the logo? Were any other names thrown around and did you have any problems ever with that other band that had the same name that I believe was on Wild Rag Records at one point?
CAZZ; In 1989 I came up with a big list of possible band names, we all went thru it and finally after short debate settled on Crucifier. I messed around with scrawling a few designs out, and finally got what I was looking for. Then later on around 1999 I used the same logo and added some flair to it and then used Photoshop to elaborate. I like it. Also there were a couple dudes doing alternative logos for us, but eventually I kept the one I did. A lot of folks confused us with that other band, but hey, it's just spelled differently. If you look or read closely you'll see that. Funny we still get confused with them to this day. No big deal. And to anyone else with our name, it's cool; there is only ONE true Crucifier! And we all know it's mine!
CF: In 1999 came the “Trafficking With The Devil” split. Was this a split 7” or a cd split? Who was the other band and who put this out? How was the response to this and looking back, what are your thoughts on this release these days?
CAZZ: This was a split vinyl with Nunslaughter. We had only one track on it, and they had like three. But overall this 7" was immense. I think the track we put on it really started defining us in the new age. The song was called Foul Deeds Will Rise, and to this day is one of my favorites. I wrote most of the song, and my co-band mate Gelal of Grand Belial's Key at the time contributed a great riff to it. I love that song!
CF: Also in 1999 came your 2nd compilation. This one was called “The Ninth Year”. Who put this out and what songs were on this? Did you imagine when the band was starting out that it would still be around 9 years later?
CAZZ: I put this out originally as just a best of or all of Crucifier songs. Then Elegy Records out of New Jersey put it out professionally a few months later. I believe all of our songs with the exception of the Unparalleled Majesty songs were on this. Time constraints kept them from being on. But it was a solid release. I never thought I'd live this long, let alone the band would still be kicking it! We are still going strong to this day.
CF: I know you have been through many line-up changes throughout the years with the band. Was there any time at all you thought about just ending the band? Have you ever been asked to join any well-known name bands over the years?
CAZZ: I've oddly never thought about stopping. I would do this if only I was doing it. It is my love...it is my emotional outlet, and my way of staying young and relieving stress. I played with many other bands over the years....GBK, Infernal Hatred, Decieverion, Aryan War, Hearse, Bludgeon, Infantry, amisegadauQ, Brethren and many others. Well known, not so much, but good bands, yes! I always found myself surrounded by good guys and great musicians.
CF: For those who have never heard the band’s music, what would you say the band sounds like? Do you feel you’re an original band and do you think your style has changed much over the years? Have to your knowledge ever heard a band do a cover of one of your songs or read where a band said that your band is an influence on their music?
CAZZ: Crucifier is a mash up of say old Incantation/Autopsy/Sodom/Hell Awaits era Slayer/Venom and the like. We had some of the like sounds of the tri state area stuff, like Mortician and Incantation but we were different, you could hear it. Our sound has progressed, it has come into its own, and has shed that total tuned down to mud aspect but is still keeping the heaviness alive. We are more polished now, and more emotional, songs have more heart now I think, as opposed to straight brutality, as it was early on. But those changes weren't abrupt, they grew as we did and over time it melded into what you have now. I was told that a couple guys do our stuff but haven't heard them. I have heard from time to time that my stuff inspired others, and that means the most to me! It proves our worth in the dying scene and shows that it may be resurrected one day with our music helping that happen. That is a wonderful feeling!
CF: In 2003 you released your 1st full length called “Stronger Than Passing Time”. Who put this out and how did you feel finally releasing a full length after all these years? Where did you record it and how smoothly did things go in the studio? Is this release sold out or is it still for sale?
CAZZ: Death to Mankind Records out of Spain put this out. They were very good to us and put this out on all sorts of killer medium. I think this is our most solid release. We recorded it locally in Philadelphia at Crash Studios, from what I was told Bon Jovi's father helped to build, which is a little tid bit of info. I was always asked why it takes Crucifier so long to release albums. And my only answer is, you can’t rush perfection. I like to write slowly and accurately nowadays and will not put out a release without being happy with the songs on it. In fact our second full length will finally come out next year, if all things go right. The studio recording of Stronger went very well. Took a little while to get it recorded but the overall experience was great! I think you can find it through the label and through Ebay and other places.
CF: Have you ever done a Google search on the band just to see what would pop up? Have you ever seen any of your stuff for sale up on Ebay at all? Do you still have master copies of all your stuff and some of your old flyers and stuff like that?
CAZZ: I do from time to time. I'm arrogant like that ha ha. I find our stuff going up for sale all the time....hell, even I might pay that much for a cassette copy of our stuff ha ha!!! I save almost everything of Crucifier's music. At one point I would give up anything for a fan to have our stuff, now I pretty much hold on to all my stuff....I may just get buried with it all!
CF: Now your next release did not come out till 2008. What did the band or did you do for that period of time. Now this split is called “Deep Grave Dungeons”. Who out this out and how is the other band on this? How was the response to this and how happy were you to have something new out after so much time?
CAZZ: I was also playing in the popular Black Metal band Grand Belial's Key, at the same time Crucifier was looking for new members, so I put it on the backburner while GBK was recording albums and doing its thing. Suffice to say I was busy. But in the long term Crucifier was just reviving itself. The Grave release was just something we had laying around. It was put on with a couple other black death bands as a comp. I enjoy bands like Sathanas, etc. they were on that release with us. I am always happy that someone has faith in us to make a release special. I believe it sold well so I'm very happy.
CF: Now the underground had changed so much by this time. Fanzines were gone and replaced with webzines, more people were downloading stuff and social media was a big thing too with sites like Facebook, My Space, etc. Also writing letters was now done by email. Do you like all this new technology that is available to you and how have you taken advantage of it?
CAZZ: I miss the old days, but I am very happy with progress. I like that I can work on a pc and all this info can be shared in an instant. It is good to have folks download your stuff and work out or cook dinner to your music at a moment’s notice! I love it. I support it. Share my stuff....just remember where it comes from!
CF: In 2009 an EP came out called “Trampled Under Cloven Hooves”. Who released this and how many songs are on this? Was it hard to write new songs around this time? Did you get to play many shows to support this release? Have you ever had a chance to play overseas at all?
CAZZ: This was put out by Paragon Records out of NY. There are 6 tracks on it. One is a cover of Berserker by Viking, who actually have told me they love it! So that is a great thing. Also, when Viking came to town to play, they invited me onstage to sing that tune, it was fun!! Writing was very easy, Spencer Madman Murphy wrote half of the songs with me and it came out pretty good. We played a few shows, home and abroad. Haven't played overseas yet. With life being the way it is, that is a hard thing to get accomplished sadly.
CF: In 2013 a 3rd compilation came out called “Coffins Through Time….A Morning In Nazareth”. Who put this out and it is 2 cds if I am right. What songs are on this and is it still for sale? Does it amaze you in some ways having all these releases out?
CAZZ: This one was from an idea by Patrick over at the great Iron Bonehead Records. He just out of the blue asked me to do it, and I was like fuck yes! It is a 2 record release gatefold with art by the mighty Christopher Moyen!!! And it has a booklet of history and lyrics. It is a great sight to see. It has everything of the old stuff on it. Demo and EP era music. Not the newer songs. I love having different things released. I am hoping that the new lineup can put out many many more releases in the future. After the second album, we are going to concentrate of some 7"s and CDs!
CF: When can we expect some new music to be released? Do you have any idea how much longer the band will be around? Do you feel there are way too many bad bands out now and too many labels releasing trendy, bad music these days?
CAZZ: We have new songs put up on YouTube in preparation for our next album due out next year at the latest. The title will be Thy Sulfur Throne On High and is tentatively going to be released with DTM again. Also I believe DTM will be doing a CD version of the Iron Bonehead double vinyl release, so that should be fun! Crucifier will go on until I die, that is what I vowed and will stick to it. Yes there are too many shit bands out today, hence why I will keep doing what I do. The world is gonna need it!!!!!! (amen to that-chris)
CF: What would you like the band to be remembered by when you hang up your drum sticks?
CAZZ: A true band that kept to its ideals and cowered down to no trends or record deals. A band that gave 100% to its dedication to Underground Black Death Metal, til its last breath!
CF: Have you ever seen a bootleg of any one of your releases? Would you ever consider doing a box set of all your material in a limited release if asked? Is there any unreleased, good quality stuff lying around? How about live stuff? Is there any live clips floating around on say You Tube?
CAZZ: I have seen a nice shirt bootleg once. But it was a one off and I knew the dude, and loved that he did it. He wears it proudly. I would do anything that someone who was devoted to the cause would want to do. But I would wait until the next album is out. It's overdue. I have some rehearsal cassettes that might have something fun on it. Also, there are a few shows online and maybe a rehearsal or two on YouTube. Search Crucifier or Black Lourde, you'll find them!
CF: Looking back, what are some of your favorite times of the band and some of your no so favorite times of the band?
CAZZ: Playing onstage with some inspiring acts like Immolation and Brutal Truth and Goreaphobia and Incantation and Profanatica, those were good times that I'll remember. Becoming online friends with my old idols who actually like Crucifier and my work that means more to me than many things! I've never really had bad times with Crucifier, aside from losing bandmates to dumb shit or even death. Those are the hard things to deal with. Lost Spencer to drugs and a domineering woman...it's sad, but life throws you curves, shit isn't always a slow straight pitch!
CF: Please plug any websites and merchandise the band has.
CAZZ: We have available three shirt designs for sale, please contact me for details if interested at https://www.facebook.com/cazz.grant or [email protected] or
https://www.facebook.com/TheTrueCrucifier or hell, text me at 6103332489!
Keep your eyes open for new releases coming from Crucifier in early 2016!!! And catch us this year at many shows in the northern states....Philly in October, New York in November and Chi Town in December!
CF: Any last words and horns up for doing this interview?
CAZZ: Brother thank you so much for this interview, I've been reading your mag forever and I love it. Glad to finally be inside the pages doing this interview. Love ya bro, keep in touch!!!