Pat McCauley is a bit of a "veteran" of the St. Louis metal and punk scenes, having been playing in bands since 1985. He's also a pretty cool dude. We talked shit for a while, here's the results.
Hey Pat! How are you doing today? Seeing as you’ve been around the block a few times in your local metal/punk scene, lets start the interview off with a brief history of yourself, what bands you have played in, how you got started playing music and all that junk.
I started playing in punk and metal bands in 1985, right after my 12th birthday. I just started playing guitar and most of the bands were total garbage, but you gotta start somewhere. I always wanted to play some extreme metal, especially thrash and grind. A drummer was always a huge problem, as far as that goes. I played in a lot of punk bands in the meantime. A lot of these bands had serious intentions, but the only "shows" we ever did were parties in someone's backyard or basement. Even then, most of them were just "small parties."
I started going to shows here in the St. Louis area in 1986 as well. My first show was D.R.I. on their "Dealing With It" tour. They played the entire first two albums, as well as the E.P. It was fucking amazing. I started digging on the local HC/Punk scene around here, which was small, but definitely bigger than the metal scene here, which has always been rather small. I discovered bands like Big Fucking Deal, Laffinstock, Whoppers Taste Good, Total Control and several others (those were my favorites). I saw Slayer on the Reign in Blood tour with Overkill. I saw Anacrusis open for C.O.C. on their "Technocracy" tour. Anacrusis hadn't even released "Suffering Hour" yet! Many great shows! I went to shows at a little dive called "The Bernard Pub" sometimes 4 days a week. Now you're lucky to get me out of the house! HA!
So, after several years of dicking around and trying to form bands with my friends, when I was 20 (1993), I took out an advertisement in a local musician paper called "Spotlight Magazine" stating I would like to form or join some kind of punk or metal band. I listed bands of several different genres, whether it be punk/hc/grind/industrial metal/doom/etc. I wanted anything at the time, as I hadn't even played an official show at that particular time or released an "official demo." Anything but a cover band!
I tried out for several bands at that time. One band was a metal band that was particularly good, but they wanted me on bass. I don't care for the bass too much. Not enough to join a band, anyway. I eventually hooked up with some crazy mother fuckers in a band called "Very Metal." I ended up playing with Very Metal for 8 years. With various members, we released two 7 Inch E.P's and 2 full length CD's, before calling it a day in May of 2002 because the band couldn't pull itself together to tour with D.R.I. for a month with a nightly guarantee! 8 years of that shit will drive ya nuts!
I planned on taking a year or two off, but the bassist talked me into us still doing something. I wasn't too keen on it, but I did it anyway, with the intention of finding something else. A couple months later, the ol' meth addicted drummer stumbled back into the picture, this time only with a drinking problem. We tried out several singers and guitarists, with the intention of forming a "thrash metal" band or a "Motorhead-ish" type band. About a year later, 2004 sometime, we became Head On Collision. We released the "Arise from the Wreckage" demo in May of 2005. After a huge line up change in 2006, with only me remaining, we once again signed a contract with Beer City. In late May of 2008 "Ritual Sacrifice" was released. We toured a ton, but parted ways in December of 2009. We had been working on a new full length for over a year, but as of December of 2009, we hadn't even finished recording the drums. It just wasn't happening for several reasons.
So now, since December of 2009, I've been taking that year or two off I wanted to take in 2002. I had no choice, actually. I had to have two back surgeries, as well as other "life altering occurrences" that made me just say "FUCK IT!"
In 1996 or so I started working on Lucifer D. Larynx and the Satanic Grind Dogs of Death with my pal Joe. We released a couple demos, a bunch of compilation appearances and a 4 Way Split 7 Inch with Dahmer, The Kill and Needful Things in 2001 on the Australian label, Dry Retch. Last year, I guess due to the internet, people suddenly started showing interest in us, swapping our demos and what not. A California label, Must Play Fast Records got in touch with Joe about releasing the old stuff. Said he'd been trying to hunt us down forever. Other small labels are wanting to release stuff as well. As of May, 2009, I started putting together new songs. I know have about 60 songs, which I started recording a couple weeks ago.
That brings us up to snuff. How's that for brief? HA!
Well that was nice and detailed! Thanks for all the info!
Let’s move onto what you're doing currently, I understand you are working towards "resurrecting" Head On Collision and Lucifer D. Larynx. What are your current/future plans for these two bands? Who is in the new HOC line up?
There are currently no H.O.C. members. I'm just getting back in a position to do that again, but at the same time, I don't really want to rush into it. While I love doing H.O.C., it got to a point where it wasn't very enjoyable. I'm not just going to pick up the first guy on a bar stool that says he can go on tour this time. Playing ability will come first and foremost. If I can get 3 great musicians that are willing to play in Head On Collision and tour and all that, then I will do it. Otherwise, I'm not sure I see a point in doing it, to be honest. That goes for any "live band," as a matter of fact. I really don't need to waste my time playing with people if their goals aren't ambitious. Lucifer D. Larynx never really "stopped" or anything. The other "main guy," Joe had to move to another state for work/family and while we planned on doing more stuff, we never had the time. I told Joe I was going to write a ton of new tunes and start recording them as soon as I was able to upgrade my recording gear, which I just did. I started recording what is about 60 songs on March 24th. As of today I have my first rhythm guitar track done on 47 of those songs. I'm definitely getting my chops back after a year of not being able to play much in 2010. It's quite fast. I can't wait to see where these songs go. It's quite a large project.
Sounds like you're off to a great (re)start! Keep up the good work my good man.
Let’s take a quick trip into the past. What have you previously released with both bands? And where/how (if possible) can people purchase these releases?
Lucifer D. Larynx released our first demo, "More Evil Than Your Fat Naked Mother" in 1997 (I believe) and the second demo, "Sex, Drugs, Booze, Grind" in 1998. These cassettes are LONG out of print. A batch of those songs ended up on the "Wrong Side of the Tracks" 4 Way Split with Dahmer, The Kill and Needful Things on Dry Retch Records (Australia) in 2001. We had a few other releases planned at that time, but they never happened. We were supposed to appear on a Carcass Tribute compilation that never happened either. Joe got busy with family and I got busy with H.O.C., so we were quiet for the next 8 or so years! Must Play Fast Records released out of California released our "Self Titled 7 Inch" in October of 2010. It is songs from both demos and other songs from different recording sessions. There are still about 30 songs from that era that never saw proper release! Must Play Fast will be releasing them sometime in the future and we're looking for other labels interested in putting this stuff out as well! You can get copies of the self titled 7 Inch from me (through Paypal or snail mail/money order) or Must Play Fast Records.
Head On Collision has only released the "Arise from the Wreckage" demo and the "Ritual Sacrifice" full length on Beer City Records. Another full length was fully written and I have a handful of new ideas as well.
VERY METAL self released the "6 Melodies of Mayhem" 7 Inch in May of 1996. Beer City Records released the "Banned in St. Louis" 7 Inch in September of 1996. We also released the "8 Songs For You Drinking Pleasure" and "D.F.F. (Drink, Fight, Fuck) demos that same year. These releases were sloppy, chaotic, drunken punk/hardcore. Several line up changes later, we released the "Life's Too Short" and "Hit and Run" full lengths on Beer City Records. These releases show cased an upgraded sound. It was the same Very Metal sound from the past, only now the musicians involved could actually play their instruments. "Life's Too Short" is long out of print, but I do believe Beer City Records still has copies of "Hit and Run" available.
What would you say have been your biggest influences musically? What goes into writing a LDL or HOC song? What do you listen to day-to-day?
My biggest influences musically are The Accused, Kiss, Black Sabbath, The Exploited, Razor, Sodom, early Slayer, early Napalm Death, Carcass, Terrorizer, Deep Purple, the first 3 Celtic Frost albums, Legion of the Damned, The Ventures, Master and tons more of these musical varieties. All these bands are an influence on anything I write, one way or another, although nothing inspires song writing for me more than a bad day, week, month or year!
Day to day changes. I tend to latch onto a band and listen to them so much that I memorize their songs or albums note for note, then I get burnt out and can't listen to em for a while. Right now, as I record new Lucifer D. Larynx songs I'm listening to a lot of late 60's and 70's hard rock, psych rock, prog rock, proto metal, aggressive rock...DAD Rock... whatever the hell you need to call it. The stuff that was considered "underground music" in that era. Basically staying away from the grind and thrash so I don't accidentally borrow too many riffs. HA! I always gravitate towards music of an aggressive and atonal nature no matter what kind of music. Even as a kid, I would prefer the "other songs on the album," more-so than the "hits."
When writing a song, I tend to just "go with it." I write best when I have some drums to write with. For instance, all the Lucifer D. Larynx songs... the drums are written first, which is totally ass-backwards! The drums are written, structured and recorded first. I then write the guitar riffs to fit the beats, fills, accents and structures. I don't know why, but if I'm going through a "riff dry spell," I can always count on this to snap me out of it. I sometimes apply the same method to H.O.C., although I tend to take one riff and develop it into several riffs and restructure things before recording anything. I guess you could say a lot more thought and effort goes into H.O.C.'s music. Both are great. H.O.C. is rewarding after you write a killer, well-thought out song and Lucifer D. Larynx is a lot of fun for its "controlled, yet spontaneous" music.
If I recall correctly, Lucifer D. Larynx has an unreleased 7" recorded and ready titled "Boiled to Death". What can fans expect from this EP? Are there any clues as to when it will be released, or what label may be putting it out?
We actually have two 7 inches worth of material ready to go of material that was recorded from 1998-2001 that we'd really like to see come up. One of them will be the "Boiled to Death" 7 Inch. The 7 Inch will be 9 Tracks of over the top grindcore which will have artwork from none other than Tommy of "The Accused." His "Splatter Art" suits Lucifer D. well. He drawn some other stuff for us as well, but the "Boiled To Death" artwork is fucking disturbing! I sent you a copy of this stuff, right? How would you describe it? Now I'm interviewing you!
I know "Must Play Fast" wants to do another 7 Inch in the near future, but I'm not quite sure when that is. I'd like to get as many releases out as soon as possible, so we're hitting up other labels and bands and trying to stir something up. We’ve just started getting it out there, so nothing to report at the moment.
I’d describe it as chaotic, fast and straightforward grindcore with a killer sense of humour chucked into the mix! Very fun stuff, indeed.
What’s the metal and punk scene like in and around St. Louis? Are there any particular bands myself and anyone who reads this should keep a listen out for?
Man, I'm not really the guy to ask right now. I haven't been around much in the last year and a half. Bands in St. Louis tend to have a short shelf life. The only band I really hear mentioned from a couple years ago now and then is Cross Examination, although I really have no idea what they're up to these days. If you like Municipal Waste type stuff, maybe give em a try. Anacrusis is currently back together and re-recorded a bunch of their earlier material. I'd recommend anyone try and track down the 1st Whoppers Taste Good 7 Inch from like 1988, as well as the old Laffinstock demos from the same time. Harkonin was pretty awesome Black Metal as well. Not sure if they're still around or not. Terra Caput Mundi play speed metal. Thorhammer play thrash metal. That's about all I'm aware of at the moment
Cool man, Thorhammer are awesome!
What are some memorable and/or funny experiences from your musical career? And what are some of the high and low points you have experienced during your time as a musician?
The high points for me is meeting new people and talking about music. I love hearing about music history in whatever particular town we are playing. I've had the pleasure of playing with many great bands. The first Very Metal full length coming out and going on tour was a pretty killer moment. I remember the whole band being extremely happy with the results of the recording and songs. Getting a lot of positive feedback on the H.O.C. demo was pretty fantastic at the time.
Funny? Well let's see. One time after a show we drank some nasty draft beer and ate some super greasy pizza at some hole in the wall. Later that night while driving to the next town I unleashed some deadly gases and made the drummer barf. I fell on my face at a highway rest area while pissing with my pants down. Fell on a Cactus right on the palms of my hands in Arizona.
The low points are when the enthusiastic and gung ho bandmate suddenly turns jaded and negative. It's always the beginning of the end. It's so typical that at this point i pretty much see it coming. It happens! That's worse than any expensive mechanical problem on tour, stolen instruments or whatever else I've stumbled into. The broken promises that continuously happen with shitty promoters, booking agents and shit talkers is always the most annoying and low thing to deal with as a musician, in my opinion.
Thorhammer is really good. Me and Kyle (guitar/vocals) were supposed to get H.O.C. off the ground again at some point, but I'm not sure if that's gonna happen or not. It would be awesome! In addition to be the great riff writer he is in Thorhammer, he's also an incredible drummer!
Agreed, Kyle is great in Thorhammer and has a major passion for thrash metal and would be a great fit if you ever do get HOC off the ground again!
Well, it seems like you’ve certainly had your fair share of ups and downs throughout your career! What advice would you give to any young up and coming heavy metal and punk musicians out there?
Don't make shitty music. The world is already full of shitty music. Haha. Honestly, I don't know. I hate people barking out advice to me, so I'm not going to bark advice to anyone else! I'm under-qualified!
Can't say I blame ya there mate!
Before we wrap this up, first off I'd like to thank you for wasting so much of your precious time to do this interview! Any last words for myself and/or the readers?
Yes! Thanks for the interview! I love talking about myself more than anything else, so it definitely wasn't a waste of time! I hope your readers check out Lucifer D. Larynx and Head On Collision. I have material from both bands available, so get in touch!