Music Discography and History
I started playing guitar like most young kids, around the age of twelve or thirteen, when I bought a Harmony electric guitar off a friend for $25 and a small amp. Needless to say I didn't get very far, trying to learn guitar on my own. A few years later, my Grandmother bought me a $40 dollar acoustic guitar at a pawn shop with heavy brass strings and that's when my guitar skills started to develop. I'd play until my fingers were purple and bruised, and I kept at it for a few years. Slowly, my style emerged, heavily influenced by the metal and punk bands of my youth.
Around 1990 I had saved enough money until I could afford my first real amps and speakers... I started with a very clean Fender M-80 and those garish gray carpeted 4x12 cabs. I cut my teeth on a old tube Traynor amp from the early 70's, and slowly moved up to more powerful set-ups. I played what I could afford, mainly cheap Ibanez and Carvin guitars, anything with dual humbucker pickups.
I was always a fan of live music, and I started sneaking out to go to concerts by the time I was 13 years old. I'll never forget the power and energy of those early concerts, from local bands to legendary national acts, I took it all in. I was a fan, but I also had aspirations to not only play music, but compose, write lyrics, design the art, basically every aspect of making music fascinated me.
Thorns of the Carrion (1995)
I was lucky enough to be alive at a crucial juncture in music, from the end of (mainstream) punk and the rise of hardcore, and from the rise of Thrash metal to the birth of Death metal. I loved it all, but I was always more so drawn to the slow and mid-paced songs. I progressed from what is now considered classic doom metal bands like Candlemass, Trouble, and Solitude Aeturnus to doom/death bands like Cathedral, Asphyx, Paradise Lost, and Tiamat quite rapidly. I also was heavily influenced by goth bands, like The Cure, the Sisters of Mercy, and Fields of the Nephilim. Another influence was Dead Can Dance, and classical composers like Carl Orff, Mozart, and Niccolo Paganini. I wanted to create a band that would combine that atmosphere, with heart wrenching melodies, but extremely ugly heavy sounds in opposition to the beautiful. What I set out to create is now considered Gothic doom metal, and funeral doom, and that is exactly what I accomplished.
Photo shoot for "The Scarlet Tapestry" (1997)
In 1991 I rented a 4 track and set out to record a demo to serve as a recruitment tool in forming my first band, Thorns of the Carrion. I wanted to mix all of those influences, from death metal to doom, from Gothic rock to classical. I envisioned a orchestra onstage, with monumental sounds and sheer heaviness. By late 1992, I had found the Thomas brothers, Ash and Marquis (FaithXtractor, Estuary, The Vladimirs, Shed the Skin) as a foundation for the music I would have a hand in creating for the next decade.
In late 1993 we recorded the "demo" The Gardens of Dead Winter in Louisville, KY. That was released the following year by Wild Rags Records in California as a album on CD. In quick succession we recorded two more demos, The Willow Weeps for Me in 1994 and Darkness in the Elegy Season in 1995. In 1996, we started recording the debut album The Scarlet Tapestry, and released it ourselves in 1997.
Thorns of the Carrion (1997)
During the Thorns of the Carrion years, I was in college pursuing a degree in Literature. So naturally, a lot of what I composed for the band borrows from classic Literature. The song "Lucifer in Starlight" by George Meredith, "Invictus" by William E. Henley, later horribly evoked on his deathbed by Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. For instance, "By the Brilliance of Candlelight" borrows its meter and rhyme from Walt Whitman's "Come Lovely and Soothing Death". Songs like "Carmilla" by Sheridan Le Fanu, "The Drifting Snow" by August Derleth, and "Darkness in the Elegy Season" inspired by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, were all a nod to that time in my life.
Beneath Oblivion (2018)
We were very proud to be part of the underground music scene, trading tapes and Cd's all across the world, in over 55 countries. The name of Thorns of the Carrion spread rapidly, and throughout the 90's the band continued to push ahead with a DIY mentality, a true underground band, with no aspirations of stardom, or even a career. I think that mentality served us well, as the music was the most important aspect, but it hindered us from a larger audience. I think the high water mark for the band was playing a festival in Cleveland in 1999 with perhaps the biggest doom metal bands in the USA, Avernus, November's Doom, and Evoken.
Thorns of the Carrion (2000)
In 1999 and 2000 TOTC recorded a King Diamond cover, “The Jonah” for a Dwell Records compilation and a 5 song EP titled “Eve Songs”. in 2000, TOTC was featured on a CD by mp3.com, one of earliest purveyors of .mp3's online, called Flashback 2000. This free mixed genre compilation was sent out to over 500,000 people worldwide. Momentum was building towards a recording contract, negotiating with several well known labels. Yet, by 2002 TOTC disbanded, sadly, I estimate there was at least 3 dozen finished songs that never saw the light of day.
I wrote about 95% of the lyrics for Thorns of the Carrion, and about 60% of the music, plus doing the design work, press, mail order, etc... I was burnt out by 2002 and took a step back, and got away from performing and recording music. I returned to my hometown of Newport, KY and basically sat of the steps of my Grandmother's house and played acoustic guitar every night for a few years, cutting my teeth again. Around this time, I started writing my first collection of poetry, “Newport to the Dregs”. Refining my style musically and personally, taking everything I had learned to another level. I didn't care if I was ever in another band, or ever stepped foot on a stage again after a few hundred concerts with TOTC. Yet in 2005, at the request of longtime friend and supporter Jason McCash (the Gates of Slumber) I brought a version of TOTC to the Templars of Doom fest in Indianapolis along with Chris Dalcin (...and here I lie/Elusive Travel/Astral Planes). After a one off show with EyeHateGod at Sudsy Malone's in Cincinnati, OH and the Templars of Doom fest, I stepped away from performing music again. Not satisfied with the music or myself, I started a screen printing business and devoted more time to writing and art.
Beneath Oblivion (2015)
Around 2006 I played drums for a new doom/sludge band called Beneath Oblivion, formed by long time friend Scott Simpson. After a couple shows I was replaced on drums, but by 2009 I joined the band full time on guitar, composing, writing lyrics, and designing album covers once again. The first song I had a hand in was "Atomic Mother" giving the song its ending and title, moving onto the album “From Man to Dust” released in 2011 by the Mylene Sheath record label. Beneath Oblivion quickly became a local favorite heavy and expanded out, touring across the East coast several times, with two cross country tours. In late 2015, we toured to the West Coast and in Portland, OR recorded my second album with the band, which I titled “The Wayward and the Lost”. Perhaps the pinnacle of my time recording music, getting to work with the legendary studio guru Billy Anderson (Sleep/Melvins/Loss/Neurosis/Pallbearer, etc...) for 8 days. This album was recently released by the legendary underground label Weird Truth Productions out of Japan.
In 2014 Thorns of the Carrion was remembered with a massive 3 CD best of digipak from the Russian label Endless Desperation. Featuring rare demo recordings, a live recording from infamous Cincinnati, OH club Sudsy Malone's, and all of TOTC's official recordings.
During the return of TOTC in 2005, I started working with keyboardist Rinaldo Yulfo III, who performed in that brief incarnation of the band. Later, in 2009 we started jamming, improvising music for a project I called the Opium Doom Cult. Whenever time allowed, we pursued new sounds and I took turns on both drums and guitar, building a connection, recording hours and hours of free form jams. After touring almost 3 months in 2015 with Beneath Oblivion, we took some time off as we fine tuned the new album. During that time, ODC became more active, with Scott Simpson on percussion. In the last year, ODC has performed with Amarok, Choking, and Black Tar Prophet. This band entered the studio in December 2018 to record ODC's first release “Tremors to Signal the End”, exactly 25 years after the first time I stepped into a recording studio.
When I was younger, I never thought I'd be a 'lifer', still creating music after all these years, but I feel like I still have something to offer. Still searching, exploring sounds and emotions, looking for those brief, brilliant moments.
Beneath Oblivion (2018)
Over the last 25 years I've played concerts with some of the heaviest and most diverse bands on the planet. A lot of touring, a lot of long nights, but memories none the less... I've shared a bill with many bands, including The Obsessed, Pallbearer, Chrch, EyeHateGod, Reverend Bizarre, Earth Ride, Las Cruces, While Heaven Wept, Unearthly Trance, the Gates of Slumber, Forn, Usnea, The Gathering, Cough, Salome, Across Tundras, Jucifer, Agalloch, Apostle of Solitude, Ancestors, Destroy Judas, Ocean, Black Tar Prophet, Graves at Sea, Buried at Sea, Buzzov-en, Weedeater, Author & Punisher, Morne, the Great Sabatini, Biipiigwan, Amarok, the Ascent of Everest, Yakuza, the Body, Junius, Pelican, Beware of Safety, Gifts from Enola, Brody’s Militia, FaithXtractor, Tombstalker, Baygon Verdt, Skeletonwitch, Kylesa, Harvey Milk, Fistula, Hull, Highgate, Coelacanth, Mala In Se, Ethicist, Fister, Before the Eyewall, Stoneburner, TwinGiant, Bastard Feast, Mouth of the Architect, Inner Arma, Bastard Sapling, Deceased, Ancient, Incantation, Dead Serenade, November's Doom, Evoken, Avernus, Rain Fell Within, Anal Cunt, Grand Belial's Key, Abominant, Garden of Shadows, Hemdale, Twisted Tower Dire, Decrepit, ...and here I lie, Hellnation and so many more...
Thorns of the Carrion-”The Gardens of Dead Winter”
Thorns of the Carrion-”The Willow Weeps for Me”
Thorns of the Carrion-”Darkness in the Elegy Season”
Thorns of the Carrion-”The Scarlet Tapestry”
Thorns of the Carrion-”Eve Songs”
Thorns of the Carrion-”The Story of the Leaves”
Thorns of the Carrion-”The Jonah” King Diamond Tribute Album
Thorns of the Carrion-”The Naked and the Dead” (Unreleased)
Thorns of the Carrion-”The Shadow Masque” (Unreleased)
Thorns of the Carrion-”Tagedy in Remembrance”
Beneath Oblivion-”Be My Destroyer” Split “7 w/Angel Eyes
Beneath Oblivion-”From Man to Dust”
Beneath Oblivion-”The City, A Mausoleum (My Tomb)”
Beneath Oblivion-”The Wayward and the Lost”
Opium Doom Cult-”Tremors to Signal the End”
The Gardens of Dead Winter 1993
The Willow Weeps for Me 1994
Darkness in the Elegy Season 1995
The Scarlet Tapestry 1997
The Story of the Leaves 1999
Church of the Devil-King Diamond Tribute Album 2000
Eve Songs 2000
Beneath Oblivion/Angel Eyes Split 2011
Beneath Oblivion- From Man to Dust 2011
Thorns of the Carrion- Tragedy in Remembrance 2014
Beneath Oblivion- The City, A Mausoleum (My Tomb) 2015
Beneath Oblivion- The Wayward and the Lost 2018
Opium Doom Cult- Tremors to Signal the End 2020