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Cryptic Slaughter

Scott Peterson was the drummer for the crossover band some of you might remember from back in the day called Cryptic Slaughter who were insanely super fast and released several excellent albums and I recently sent Scott an interview to fill out and in it we talk about the good ole days and what he is up to now:

MC: Scott first off thanks a million for doing this interview. When did you first take up drums and was there any other instrument you considered playing. How fast did you learn to pick up playing the drums? Did you have anybody teach you?

SP: No worries man, it's my pleasure! I was always a fan of drumming, but at first I wanted to be a singer because I was a huge Van Halen fan and I wanted to be David Lee Roth. Once I realized that I sucked at singing I went back to learning the drums. When it comes to drums I am self-taught. In the beginning I just practiced everyday and drums just came easier to me, so I learned pretty quick.

MC: I read where you ended up joining the band when you were 14 and that you met through a soccer league. Tell me more about this and looking back how crazy was it to be in a band at the age of 14!

SP: Yup, it was pretty bad ass and I know it help me get through high school since we weren't part of the cool crowd! LOL! But being in a band at 14 was awesome. Everyone talks about starting a band, but to do it, have it sound killer and be so successful so young was amazing!!!

I played soccer with Adam Scott (CS had two guitar players at the beginning) and he was friends with Les. I found out he was into the same bands that I was and he told me that him and Les were going to start a band like Slayer. So needless to say, I was down! Adam also knew Bill because of soccer, so Adam asked Bill if he wanted to play bass and sing for us. Bill came to my house, we had one practice and it was all we needed! CS was born!

MC: Tell me about some of the early practices the band did and did you guys right away begin to write original material? What were some of the bands that you were into and how serious were you guys back then and in school did most of the people at school know you were in a band?

SP: Early practices were fun, just hanging out playing music, but we were serious from the start. We would (at first) just play covers from Slayer, Venom, GBH, Motorhead, Hellhammer, etc and then Les and Bill started bringing their own songs, so we would work them along with the covers.

As far as bands that influenced me I would say Slayer, Venom, GBH and Motorhead.

Some people did, mainly the metal and punk kids. They would come to our shows and then we ended up going to high school together and being friends. It was cool, that at the start most of our fans were our friends, but they helped us out with getting the CS name out there. So it was killer!

MC: How did you come up with the band name and were any other names considered?

SP: Les came up with the name. At first we were called Cryptic Death, but there was already too many bands with the name death in it that we decided to change it to slaughter.

MC: In 1985 you released a demo called "Life in Grave". Tell me what you remember about the recording of this demo and were you happy with the final product at the time it came out? What was it like going into the studio for the 1st time to cut a demo? Did you promote the demo through fanzines and stuff and what was the response to the demo like?

SP: Recording the demo was a really cool experience. Like I said, most people want to be in a band, but I was in a band that had our own songs and now we were recording them!! I was like fuck, we're really doing this!!!

I think for how we did the recording (pretty much 1 to 2 takes for each song) it came out killer. My drums sound like trash cans, but the energy and attitude was there. I think that everyone caught onto it because it was so raw!

We mainly promoted our tape through tape traders and then eventually did some small ads. But people trading tapes back then helped us out so much, it was insane the fan mail we would get about our demo! It was like, wow people really dig us and now we have fans!!! It was crazy!

MC: The following year, 1986, you released your 1st album on Death Records, which was a division of Metal Blade Records. How did you end up signing with them and were any other labels interested in the band at that time? What was it like going in to record an actual album on a label at such a young age? Were you guys nervous at all?

SP: Well we knew Katon from Hirax and he gave Brain Slagel our demo. We met Brian and a Slayer show and he said, "hey guys, really dig your demo". Let's talk about recording you guys. Two weeks later, Les got a record contract for Metal Massacre 7 and to record an album for them in the mail. It was funny, because when we had to sign our record contract we had to have our parents sign it too, because of our age. LOL!!

It was killer to be signed at that age and then to be recording in a real recording studio, it was such a fun experience. I know all four of us were nervous, but I think after the second or third song, we were fine. Bill Metoyer helped us out a lot too. He was really good with music and a really cool guy, so that helped a lot.

MC: Did you have a good local following at this time and did you get to play many live shows? What are some killer gigs that you can remember and what bands did you share the stage with?

SP: At first it was small, but after Convicted came out it got bigger and as we would release records our crowds got bigger and bigger.

Some of the shows I remember were playing Hoover hall in south central L.A. Small auditorium, but the crowds were always killer.

We played shows with Dark Angel, Possessed, Discharge, D.R.I., The Decendents, Attitude Adjustment, Excel, Final Conflict, The Accused, Wehrmacht. There's more, but I can't remember. All of those shows were insane. People would be stage diving, singing our songs and the pits were insane. Back then everyone was so into the scene and all the bands would have great shows. It was a really great time back then!

MC: Did you do any type of touring for this release and was Death Records happy with the band at this time and for those who don't know the band, what would you say the band sounded like?

SP: Yeah we would do small tours during the summer or on the weekend, but I know that Death was really happy with our record. Even Brain Slagel thought the tapes were sped up, because he couldn't believe that a band could play so fast!!!

I would say we sounded like (in the beginning) like GBH, D.R.I. meets Slayer Motorhead. Fast, aggressive, but with tempo changes and chanty choruses.

MC: Now you guys were mega fast, Scott did you have any trouble at all playing with suck intensity and speed? Looking back can you believe when you hear your old stuff just how fuckin fast the band was?

SP: To me when we first started, we never said, "OK, were going to be faster than everybody". We just wrote our songs and we all just played. To me it wasn't hard; it was the way I played. Plus being so young, I had so much energy; I could just keep going and going. I'm still blown away by how fast we were back then. I mean listen to how fast Rob, Les and myself are playing and then you have Bill singing a million miles an hour, it was insane!

MC: How serious did you guys take your lyrics? Who wrote most of the music and lyrics? Was it hard at all coming up with music and lyrics and what did your parents think of you being in a band at the time?

SP: We all wrote lyrics and we all took them seriously. We didn't want to just write about Satan, death, etc. we also wanted to write about what we knew and understood. So as the records went on we got more away from the death/Satan stuff and went more to songs about being yourself, about the arms race that was going on back then and anything else that inspired us.

Our parents were really happy for us. Not only are their kids in a band, but the band is touring and making records. They were really impressed.

MC: Did all you guys finish school and stuff and how much time was spent doing band stuff and was it a crazy time getting mail from all over the world?

SP: Yup, we all graduated. All our free time was spent on the band, practicing, playing shows, recording, etc. it was part of our everyday routine.

Yeah it was crazy when we started getting letters from other countries. We were blown away that people were hearing our music from so far away.

MC: In 1987 you recorded your 2nd album, Money Talks. Do you feel this is your best release? Did you guys do anything differently in the studio with recording this as opposed to the debut release? Did you do any type of touring for this and if you did, who did you tour with and looking back what are your thoughts of touring and the like?

SP: I personally feel it is and I think the rest of the guys would agree with me. When we recorded "Money Talks" we were more prepared, better players, song writers and we got to record in more than just one place. We all had a fun time recording "Money Talks" but we were also more focused this time than we were when we recorded "Convicted". We understood the process of recording better and I think that is why the album sounds so killer!

We did some touring for sure. We toured through the Seattle/Portland are with Wehramacht and the Accused.

Touring was like going to a thrash metal/punk camp, but with no counselors telling you what to do. It was a non stop good time. To be so young and to be able to play in front of so many people, it was really unreal. But we always had a killer time when we were out with the Wehrmacht dudes!

MC: Did there ever come a time when you almost passed out from playing at such crushing speed? What are some other drummers that you admire? Did you get a nice mix of hardcore and underground metal fans coming to the shows? What made you decide to call the album 'Money Talks”?

SP: LOL!! Naw, I was just so amped when we would play, that it was easy to keep up!!

Drummers that I admired back then and even now were Dave Lombardo of Slayer. John Bonham of Led Zepplin and Gene Hoglan of Dark Angel/Death.

Yeah I had people come up to me from time to time. Asking how I played so fast and what technics was I using to do it. Most people watched me play to make sure I wasn't just playing the snare, but that I was using the bass drum too. Which I was.

Well we really liked the song and we thought the title was really strong title, so went with it. Plus once Jeff Harp (Guitar player from Final Conflict and the artist who did the album cover) gave us the art work, we were just like, yup this is it. All of it came together and it all worked together.

MC: Now at this time was the band making any kind of money? What was the morale of the band like at this time?

SP: We were making money to help us with gas, food and hotels, but that's about it. There wasn't a lot of money to be made back then, but we weren’t' doing it for the money, we were doing it because we loved playing music. I don't think any of us thought we could make a living by playing in CS.

The morale of the band was always good, even at the end right before we broke up.

MC: The original line-up recorded in 1988 your final album with that line-up 'Stream of Consciousness". I read where the band was not happy with the recording process of this release. What was it that made you feel that way?

SP: We all felt and still do that those were some of our strongest songs, but the production was garbage. We thought we could do it ourselves (without Bill Metoyer) which was a mistake. I really wish we would have recorded it with him, but what can you do.

MC: I also read where you began to have some problems on the road and that the band actually broke up before that release even came out. What event or events led to the band breaking up?

SP: Just always being around each other and being young. You know, arguing about stupid shit and just getting on each other’s nerves. No one really did anything terrible to anyone and looking back we should have just took some time off, regrouped and made another killer record. But like I said we were young and didn't really think about why we were breaking up.

MC: You played your last live show on July 14, 1988 in Detroit. Did the band at the time know this was going to be your last show? How bad was the break-up and what is it like going back home after that show?

SP: Actually we didn't know. We were supposed to go to Canada after that show and tour there, but the promoter didn't think we would make it across the border, so he never confirmed the shows. We need those shows so we could stay out on the road. Without them, we had no choice but to head home.

Let’s just say it was a long, quite drive back home! LOL!!

MC: Now after the band broke up, a new line-up was formed without you and singer Bill Crooks. What did you 2 think of this at the time and even though you didn't play on it, what are your thoughts on "Speak Your Peace".

SP: I was cool with it and I know Bill and Rob were too. Les was playing with dudes that we knew, so there was no animosity about him continuing on. I do think he should have called it something else, but I understand why he didn't. I think Speak is a good album. I don't think it's a CS album, but I do like it.

MC: After the band broke up what did you end up doing with yourself and what are you up to these days?

SP: I went to college for a bit, played in bands, toured and just lived life. I'm pretty much doing the same. I play in a punk band called "Black Monday", I'm an accounting assistant at a movie lighting company and I'm enjoying life. Life is good!

MC: How would you rate yourself as a drummer? Do you still at all play drums today and any advice for someone who wants to pick up the drum sticks?

SP: I think I'm a less is more drummer and it's what I'm good at. I don't think I'm the best drummer in the world, but I think I'm pretty damn good! LOL!!

My only advice is practice, practice, practice!!! It's the only way you're going to get good and know if you really love playing. Also to listen to other drummers, hear how they play, how they play the song, what they are doing and just try to find your own style as well. Lastly, listen to all types of music and drummers; you'll learn a lot that way.

MC: In 2003 Relapse re-issued 2 of your releases, did you or any of the band have a say in these being released and what are your thoughts on that?

SP: Yeah, we had 100% complete say in them. Relapse did such a killer job on them and everyone there are such fucking good people, that it was such a simple progress. Everyone was on the same page, so we're stoked with the way they came out.

MC: Do you think if we had the technology back then like My Space, Facebook, You Tube, and the internet in general that a band such as yourselves might have gotten a bigger following?

SP: Totally!!! It's because of the internet now that kids are still finding out about us.

MC: What are some of your fondest memories of the band? What are some of your favorite shows you got to play and did you ever manage to play any shows overseas?

SP: Never played overseas. Les went after the release of Speak, but the original line up never went.

My fondest memories are of all the bands I got to meet and all the friends that I made that I'm still friends with to this day!! It was rad to be part of a scene from the start and to watch it grow, it was a great time!

Too many shows to even whittle it down to a couple. Every show was killer in its own way.

MC: Do you at all still talk to any of the old band members and would there be any shot of a re-union type of show? Is there any unreleased stuff that might see the light of day or was all the unreleased stuff put out on those Relapse releases?

SP: Yup, we're all still friends and we all still talk. Nope, sorry to say, no reunions and as far as I know, there's no unreleased stuff. All that we had was on the reissued. Sorry.

MC: Have you ever gone on say You Tube or Google and typed in the band’s name and see what stuff is on the internet about the band? Do you think you were a good live band?

SP: I check it out from time to time and it's cool to see the live clips. I think we were a decent live band, soundwise. But we put on a killer show live and I don't think we were boring to watch at all!

MC: Do you still listen do metal music and have you ever heard of a band doing a cover of one of your songs?

SP: I do and I always will. I've heard Napalm Death's version of Lowlife and I think it's bad ass!!!

MC: Is there any websites on the band that you know of and is there any merchandise for sale that you know of? What do you think of bootlegs and have you seen any bootleg Cryptic Slaughter shirts around at all?

You can get shirts/hoodies from us at www.warlordclothing.com

I don't like it, but there's no way to stop it.

MC: Scott I am out of questions and horns up for doing this interview and going back in time with me. Any last words and have you found many old fans or band members from other bands and stuff from back in the day on Facebook?

SP: My pleasure man and thanks for the interview. Yup, I still talk to Ron From Final Conflict, Mitch from Righteous Pigs/Napalm Death and Katon from Hirax. To all the CS fans worldwide, it is because of you that CS name will never die!! You guys are truly the most diehard fans in the world! So thank you for your continuing support of CS, we truly appreciate it!!! Cheers!