Friday, June 25, 2010
Regicide - The Most Unholy of Alliances
Here is the download: Regicide "You're Such a Disappointment" Demo
From the desk of Gray Kiser (Regicide, Line Drive, Hands of an Angry God, Black Venus, Sonn Av Krusher):
When I first heard the name "Regicide" it was within the context of "Sandy Springs", and at the time, that translated to another Greg and Clay project band. Between those dudes they had well over 5732 riffs, all birthed within that razor thin margin of grindcore on this end, to thrash on this other end, and Japanese hardcore over here (I suppose that make it a razor thin...triangle?). They seemed to have a million of these weird bands that never played shows, but somehow had stickers and "fans". Sandy Springs is an odd burg. This fact would later be validated when the smoking hull of Gheisch was raised from the belly of the Fifth Green, but alas, that is a another story for a later day indeed.
So you can excuse me for not catching the first few Regicide performances, as I took my hardcore seriously, and could not be bothered with anything daring to besmirch her valor. Ask anybody, they'll tell you that I take my hardcore very seriously, it's a real point of pride, I even have a full chest piece that reads "Serious As Fuck" with some eagles and hammers and shit around it. It's really cool. In a serious way.
Eventually, I did cross paths with Regicide, in the basement of the Driver Dome actually. Who knows who else was on the bill, because Regicide stole the show. They did not seem intent on taking the piss out of hardcore as I had originally assumed, but instead they yielded a mighty sword of ripping fastcore, accented by a mallet of oddly constructed mosh(?) parts. To this day, I can't say with any certainty who was even in that lineup, that's how potent the rocking was, it blurred their identities! I feel confident that Meir was singing, Mat Hunter was playing guitar, Greg King was on drums, and Stuart King was on bass, but don't hold me to that...I may have been stoned.
As if that portion of the story weren't vague enough, we then enter the period of time between when I first saw the band and when I was contacted on the auspices of becoming a member of the troupe. I have no clue how long that time period was, or even what year it was really, but I do remember how they asked:
I was watching them play a late night set, and realizing that I had to get back Athens, Georgia for morning class, I requested they play "Penetration", because that song best exemplified my collegiate ambitions. The band obliged, and offered me the mic, allowing me to helm Regicide for one song, for one night. What a rush! The next day, back in Athens working my afternoon shift at Haagan Daz, I got a phone call from Mat Hunter asking me if I wanted to come back up to Atlanta and audition for the band. He said the guys liked my vocals, and that Meir was moving to second guitar (or first vocals...in another band...or something...I wasn't really listening, as it was a hot afternoon and the ice cream shop was going off). Well, that night, I took the train (Honda) up to Atlanta to a practice space (Greg's parent's basement) that the band had rented, and ran through a few Regicide classics with the full power of the group at my back. After a few numbers, the band left me alone for a bit as they mulled it over, and eventually Mat asked me if I wanted to be in the band. I immediately called Ian Mackaye back home to weigh the decision with him, and he told me, "go on man, you'll be great", and that was that. All the encouragement I would need. I went back to Athens, but in my notice at work, packed my shit, and was on the road with Regicide, embarking on a journey who's end I could have never foreseen.
Generally speaking, that's how it went. I think.
My first show with the band was on New Years Eve at the I Defy house playing with a bunch of other bands who I don't remember, but Inkwell headlined, and there seemed to be lots of folks from Florida there, so maybe Reversal Of Man played or something. Didn't matter. That show marked a decided shift for the band, as we would now file the music down to a dull, blunt instrument of assault. The fast parts were to be more intense, the heavy parts more suffocating, the noise factor more piercing, and the lyrics more combative.
Regicide at the I-Defy House - December 31, 1995
Everything was to be administered at the highest volume available, and with maximum prejudice. If the music wasn't going to be enough, we would literally hit you in the face with a dead animal. Literally. That show had it all, fire, blood, interpretive dance, flying squirrels...everything.
Nutty J. Squirrel (above and below)
From then on, we tried to make every show something special, whether that meant donning corpse paint, employing homemade pyrotechnics (not advised actually), matching turtlenecks, or just utilizing disorienting darkness. We had to do something to get people to unfold their fucking arms and feel something. Get sweaty, get pissed, get happy, whatever your reaction, we wanted it. In the stodgy confines of mid-Nineties d.i.y. punk, that was a tall order, as the mandate had been passed down to stand at strict attention when a band is playing, do not move lest you may impose on the enjoyment of someone else in attendance. And god forbid you obstruct the view of any ladies in attendance, oh boy, that was a cardinal sin.
And that was the mission of Regicide; do something that elicits a reaction, and all the better if that comes at the expense of the audience.
A few months into the campaign, Stuart King decided he was no longer up to the task of bludgeoning at all costs, and he dipped. Oddly enough, it was "his" band, but Regicide had to keep moving, the songs were getting better and better, and with some new energy they would become bigger, stronger, faster still. I'm not sure (more ambiguity...great) how James Joyce was tapped as the replacement, but at the time it made perfect sense to us, let's get a seemingly clean cut, well respected member of the Atlanta scene to sully his reputation and alienate his horn-rimmed fanbase. Could he play bass? Don't know, but how hard could it be?
Turns out he was a better musician than most, and more musically perverted than we had given him credit for. He showed up with the bones of some of our best songs, things that would reshape the band as less traditional hardcore and more noise rock. Things got longer (that's what she said), more complex (that's what she also said), and generally more unhinged (she had no comment). In my humble estimations, Regicide was morphing into the greatest band ever, and it would be any day now that people would realize this and come flocking to our shows, anointing us with perfumes and mulled spice wine.
Regicide opening for the Pink Panties at the Dead Body House in Athens - October 30, 1996
We needed to document this shit...post haste! And what's the first name you think of when I say, "recording in Athens"? No, think again. No, not even close, try again. Jesus, are you retarted, I meant John Dohenny of course! Dohenny and his magical four track of doom would be the perfect vehicle to spread our message of hate. I mean, why would you ever need more than four tracks right? So, the band (minus James who was doing something far more important than playing on the greatest audio testimony ever committed to tape no doubt) convened in the John's cinder block box of a house and proceeded to lurch through the songs we had time to. At the time it seemed odd to have Mat record the bass tracks, and play two guitar tracks all in one day, but alas, this was punk (patent pending), and that's just what you did. Not surprisingly though, that plan did backfire, and the recording was rushed and sloppy, not to mention one of those guitar tracks lost to the ether leaving noticeable holes in the songs. The whole thing was a mess, and prompted the moniker "You Are Such A Disappointment" in response. But, again, being punk (patent pending), we made copies and gave/sold them to those willing to go for the ride. Who knows how many were ever produced, but it couldn't have been that much.
Cover for the unreleased "Penetration" single - design by Kenn Two Four
At some point scene luminary Gavin Fredrick offered to release a Regicide album with the caveat that we "stay together for at least a year". Turns out, that was easier said than done. We went out with nary a fizzle at a barely attended show, fittingly, in the basement of the Driver Dome where Regicide had gotten my attention a couple years before, playing with a band from Florida (Florida bands were like fucking herpes back then) called Panthro United 13, who were total dildos. It was an undignified end to a barely credible band, but a heartbreaker nonetheless.
From R to L, Greg King, Inverted Crawford, Claytheist
One final anecdote, and probably a fitting epitaph for the band; we were playing in Gainesville (again with the fucking Florida, what's with that place?) on the partially aborted Regicide/Hal al Shedad tour, when the stocky guy from Hot Water Music, who's name I forget (further proof my memory is terrible), but who was a really nice guy, and our host for the evening to boot, started doing what we as a band wanted people to do at our shows, and that is get loose and go off. He may or may not have been pretty hammered, but that didn't matter, what did matter was that his good time began infringing on good time of someone else there, and the two decided exchange words whilst slam-dancing around to a Regicide soundtrack. At some point in the exchange, the Hot Water Music guy figured his point had not been adequately made, so he felt the need to reinforce it by pounding it into the other dude's face over and over. It really was a good beating, poetic in it's efficiency, but never sparing on the brutality of it's message. So as this is happening, the other audience member s begin the ritual of pretending they are going to break it up, gathering in a loose circle around the action and more or less hooting and hollering. The band played on. One audience member actually tried to grab the microphone from me mid song which was met with a swift push back and the band played on. As an artiste, I could not allow this one person to ruin the enjoyment of the show for others in attendance (regardless if they were currently on the loosing end of a savage ass kicking). This person then approaches a second time, and screams in my ear, "you have to stop this!" implying that the band was responsible for policing the activities of this establishments (presumably) paying clientele. I grabbed his shirt, got as close as possible, and yelled back into his ear, "don't you get it, this is what we want!", and the band played on.
Gray Kiser (Regicide)
From the desk of Mathis Hunter (Regicide, Quadiliacha, Good Friday Experiment, Noot d' Noot, Seventy Spacebird, The Selmanaires, Soft Opening):
Regicide, a flash in the Atlanta Hardcore pan. Or as some might say, the greatest band to incorporate home pyrotechnics and dead animals with palm muted feedback, double bass blast beats and bloodcurdling primal screams you've never heard of. Let us hearken back to the King basement circa 94'-95: If you had a guitar and some riffs, someone would pick up the Peavey, plug it into the Hartke, and someone would get on the skins. Out of thin air, a new band was born. I showed up around the time Justin was splintering off from Quadiliacha to start Thenceforward. After a few months of practicing triplets at breakneck speeds on bass, I filled the empty role. In the interim, the crew would entertain my riffs; the more melodic falling under the 'Phoopher' moniker and the crustier-corroded and rotten riffs went to 'Regicide'. Regicide was actually the name of a band Stuart was in with some of his classmates, but we went ahead jacked that shit.
So there was an early version that I think featured me on guitar, Stuart on drums, Meir on guitar? Clay singing? maybe Greg on bass. I don't really remember. I think we played the Driver Dome and Godless Red with this line up in the Spring of '95, but who knows. We were at shows 3 or 4 times a week and playing a lot of them, so I can't recall.
But at some point late 95, Greg was into it and wanted to play drums. Thats when a Sandy Springs band went from side project to an official band, when Goatravisher got on the skins. With Greg on the drums, we figured we'd try and get Gray Kiser as the front man. Gray had sang in Line Drive and was up in Athens at the time. He was inspired by the best: Rollins, Danzig, Sam McPheeters, and was the type of shit-starter we needed. A guy that would come up with classics like Eating Shit and Loving It, Supermarket To The World, and You Are Not a Threat. Though I don't think he ever made a practice, we gave him boom box tapes and he wrote to that. We put it all together at the 1st Mach 3 show, which was New Year's Eve at the I Defy: 12/31/95.
I suppose the only common thread you might find between Noot d’ Noot and the ‘Cide would be the over the top stage show. Theatrical visuals to help you transcend the mundaneness of your average show and truly open your soul to the music. Enter: Inverted Crawford and Nutty Jay Squirrel.
‘96 would have been Stuart’s senior year. He was tragically torn between the world of his brother, and his somewhat regular North Springs existence (despite rolling deep with a dude known only as “bomb kid”). Senioritis got the best of Stu Maloo, and by March we were looking for a new bass player.
I was already playing music with James at this time in what would eventually become Joyce: a precursor to Chocolate Kiss and Beale Street Green, respectively. As most readers of Beyond Failure know, James loves a musical challenge regardless of musical styles. He even added some disturbing tunes to the roster that were in an abrasive vein we had not even struck on yet. A little more west coast Gravity Records/Antioch Arrow steez. James played his first show with us in April at the Godless Red Athens.
This was an interesting day in Athens because it started early in the afternoon at John Dohini’s house where the basic tracks for the failed Regicide demo were put to 4 track. James couldn't come up early enough to work on it, so I had to play the guitar and bass. I think we spent a total of an hour and a half laying down the drums, bass, and guitar and for some reason, I had left my cabinet at home so I was playing thru some shite blown 4 x 10. Somehow, my "lead" guitar, or at least the one I tracked w/Greg got recorded over, so only the guitar that hits all the cymbal grabs is left.
I thought we shit canned the whole recording, but for some reason Gray put vocals on it and printed up some tape covers. He aptly titled it “Your Such A Disappointment.” Despite all the amputation, I think it provides hard evidence that Greg King is a malevolent mother fucker on the skins. One of the best thrash drummers ever to come out of Atlanta.
Godless Red House - September 21, 1996
James' debut featured Regicide's greatest stage prop of all: The Hellfire Chicken Tower. Hopefully, James has some pictures or video footage. There was no return on the security deposit after that gig. Later, I remember sitting out front of the house and having a long talk with Will and us deciding I was leaving Quadiliacha. We picked a gig in June at BLT’s that would serve as my last show. It wasn’t really leaving to pursue Regicide. At that time I was being exposed to all kinds of different music and my interest in Hardcore was taking a serious nose dive.
James headed out west for the summer of ’96, and I imagine Greg was on tour with Quadiliacha, and not sure about Graybeez. We did a handful of shows in the fall, and even a Florida tour in early ’97.
"Lift the Ban" benefit in Winston-Salem - November 23, 1996
The last classic tune we wrote was “Battle for the Hair Capes” which took some of Greg’s black metal riffs and combined them with Gray’s imagery of a battle between Odin and Satan for the souls of heshers. The end of the tune had Gray manically switching personalities between Odin and Lucifer, enchanting the listener to “Come to the Hammer or Come to the Cloven Hoof.”
I know the last show was at the Driver Dome in March of ‘97, but I’m not sure who with. It was ill attended and I remember us having a boom box that was just kind of making this winds of hell sound between the songs. As we were playing the last song, someone cut the lights off and it was blacker than a pitch. When we finished, the winds of hell were still a blowin’. It seemed like synergy.
Mathis Hunter on his Tesco Del Rey guitar
Okay, now for my side of the story:
I was in Ft. Smith, Arkansas on New Year's Eve 1995 with The hal al Shedad when Regicide unveiled their "Mark III" form, with Gray Kiser on vocals, Mathis Hunter on guitar and the King brothers Greg and Stuart on the rhythm section. I had heard that it was a powerhouse of a band, but just a few short months later Stuart was out they were already looking for a new bassplayer. It seems that Stuart was not so much a fan of the Regicide lifestyle, much like Frank Tonche in the Minutemen, so Mathis approaches me one afternoon at the movie theater and asks if I could play bass for an upcoming show in Athens, I believe one week later. Never one to back down from any musical challenge, and usually getting in way over my head, I agreed to the request. Keep in mind that I didn't have a bass, never played bass before in a band, and had only a few days to learn the set. Nevertheless, May 4, 1996 marked "Mark IV" of Regicide with Cavity at the Godless Red Athens Chapter. I borrowed Kim Lemond's BC Rich Warlock bass for the occasion, and my friend Josh Bohannon (previously of the similarly veined San Diego HC band Punishment) built the Hellfire Chicken Tower, which was a rotating air vent stolen from the top of our theater wrapped in cannon fuse with several exploding flowers and two hen-laying eggs on the top. When the fuse was lit, the flowers provided the propulsion to spin the vent to a high RPM, and then the hen-laying eggs shot several fireballs in random directions around the living room of the Godless Red Athens Chapter, ruining the room and any hope of security deposit. This was lit during the mosh part of "You Are Not a Threat" and a fireball shot right past Gray's head as we kicked back into the verse. The room filled with smoke, and most people promptly evacuated to watch the show from the porch window.
We took the Summer of '96 off to pursue other musical projects and attend various Olympic functions, but then resumed on September 21 for a show at the Godless Red Atlanta Chapter with Abyss. This time we went for the full corpse paint look that you see in the photos attached, and did a pretty good cover of "My War". A show at the Dead Body House in Athens with the Pink Panties and Strychnine on October 30 and a trip to Winston Salem to open for a Line Drive reunion on November 23 followed, as well as an I-Defy appearance with Charles Dumar and Sarin on January 11. We now hit every hardcore epicenter of the greater Atlanta/Athens area, and then embarked on a weekend trip to Tampa and Gainesville to play with Combat Wounded Veteran, Asshole Parade, and Palatka, as well as the obligatory trip to Aces Record Store, keeping Manowar's "Fighting the World" on Greg King's tape deck the entire way. One last show at the Driverdome with Clairmel finished us off, breaking my E string on our last song "Penetration" and Mathis turning off the red "Regilamp" to signify the end of the band, plunging the entire basement into complete darkness. This was about as good a time as any to end the band, so why not.
It is important to note while Gray, Mathis and myself did our respective music and personal adventures post-Regicide, Greg King went on to front (or at least drum for) some of the best rock this town has seen in the past decade, including The Carbonas, GG King, The Frantic, and many others I'm forgetting right now. I'll get working on that band genome again, promise.
James Joyce, bass guitar
This is the official show list, starting with the Mach III version:
1. December 31, 1995 at the I-Defy house with In/Humanity, Palatka, Inkwell, etc.
2. January 1996 at the I-Defy house with Code 13
3. February 1996 at the I-Defy house with Damad
Mach IV version:
4. May 4, 1996 at the Godless Red Athens Chapter with Cavity
5. September 21, 1996 at the Godless Red Atlanta Chapter with Abyss
6. October 30, 1996 at the Dead Body House in Athens with Strychnine and Pink Panties
7. November 23, 1996 in Winston-Salem with Line Drive
8. January 11, 1997 at the I-Defy house with Sarin and Charles Dumar
9. Janary 18, 1997 in Tampa, FLA with Combat Wounded Veteran
10. January 19, 1997 in Gainesville, FLA with Asshole Parade and Palatka
11. March 1997 at the Driverdome with Clairmel
Here is the artwork and lyrics from the oft maligned demo - click any image to enlarge and sing along:
In the I-Defy Kitchen, 1995 (from L to R) - Mathis Hunter, Greg King, Stuart King, Gray Kiser