“BLESSED CURSE” Interview by David Maloney
First off I would like to thank you guys for taking the time and speak with us and answering a few questions for our Online Publication Metalheads Forever Magazine. How are you guys doing? Hows life in your world? And can we start the interview with you introducing the band members and their respective roles within the band?
Hello, cheers from Northern California! We’re doing very well right now rehearsing as much as possible, promoting the new EP, and trying to get our latest CD, Beware of the Night, out everywhere so we can play live. We have been working very hard playing getting shows all around our area and networking with fellow bands, fans, and clubs as much as we can. Blessed Curse is blessed with an incredible new bassist Dan “Danimal” Keenan, atomic skin-beating berserker Derek “D-Rock” Bean on the drums and myself Tyler “T-bone” Satterlee on guitars and vocals.
You guys are based out of Northern California and from what I’ve heard and read making quite a name for yourselves in North America and spreading over seas. Do you contribute your success to hard work and playing shows and being a touring band?
We definitely have had a hard working mentality since day one in Derek’s garage when we were barely 14 in 2001. The band has been together 16 years this August, which is crazy, and has a lot to do with just hitting the road and playing every club and venue you possibly can with your limited resources opening for legendary bands as well as starters who just formed and our peer friends bands in our scene that are about the same age. A big mixture of networking and slugging it out for many, many years.
Do you feel with more gigs and shows you play the better you are getting as a unit collectively as well as maturing individually? From what I understand you guys for the most part were childhood friends with a love for music, Metal in particular, is that fair to say? Can you elaborate a little for your new fans?
I do think, especially with up and coming bands, you really need to turn into road dogs and get very used to a sort of nocturnal existence. The more shows, the better so you can hone your metallic craft and meet people and see other bands. Seeing the world and different places really enhances you culturally and you’re fortunate to see just how big the real world is. It’s an adventure filled with good and evil and the goal is to keep on a steady road, which is very hard, but you do come out a changed person after a while for sure. Freeways, city lights, 24 hour diners, fast food, gas stations, sleeping at random people’s houses, (hotels when you can afford it), truck stops etc. You have to get adapted into that vampiric kind of lifestyle where you start the day when the sun goes down and then you awaken when the metal moon rises haha. My drummer Derek Bean and I always wanted to form a band to try and help bring back real, true headbanging metal and to see where that takes us because we were so sick of all the pop and nu metal stuff going on in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. We kept asking ourselves, “Why is there no more bands like Iron Maiden, Metallica, Pantera, Slayer, Megadeth, Priest, moshing, medieval looks and dark atmospheric imagery?” Then we just said, “Fuck it, let’s use your garage dude and see if we can meet other like-minded outcast loser nerd people up here in the woods like ourselves”. Not once did we ever think that not only all the greatest and legendary bands would reform or rejoin and start writing new records and touring the world, our own friends’ bands with us started to network and start playing all over California, little touring here and there and then boom, before we knew it, we had our own awesome underground metal scene in California. Other young bands and scenes started to pop up all over the USA and the world again. Tons of friends like Warbringer, Hatchet, Exmortus, Merciless Death, Fueled By Fire, Toxic Holocaust, Havok and a bajillion more started heavily touring and networking which was and still is, fantastic. Mind-blowing and awesome, like the return of true metal finally started to happen. It was like, “Did we somehow find a time-traveling Delorean and went back to a time when things didn’t suck so much in the music world?” Haha.
Are you guys tight and primed and hungry and ready to take your act internationally? What do you feel it takes to be a successful band in 2017 moving forward? It’s no secret the musical landscape has changed exponentially over the past 20 years. Especially with the computer/internet age and file sharing etc. With that being said what are you guys doing to get your name out there in a very competitive environment? What makes Blessed Curse different from everyone else or sets you apart from the rest rather?
Nothing would make us happier than to take the B.C. Beast everywhere and anywhere we possibly can especially after all of our years of hard work, shows, endless rehearsing and writing, and practicing to the point where you hate your own fucking music hahaha. We really want to go everywhere but always in due time and proper planning with promotion so the given tour and recent musical release can get the correct amount of exposure abroad that it truly deserves. I think in terms of being successful in this really weird time with music, you need to first off, practice to the point of hatred, play as many gigs as possible while in the social media world, which is always strange, take advantage of any avenue to get your music out there and heard and spread. Homemade music videos, interviews, bands goofing off, anything to garner a form of interest and a potential unit, shirt or mp3 sold, that’s what matters and each human being counts. I think those are the proper tools to really take advantage of besides turning your band into road warriors and playing planet Earth if you can. Does Tahiti have a metal club? If it does, let’s fucking go! Haha. I would say what really separates, and always has separated Blessed Curse from our peers was our upbringing and our isolation. Our roots are the woods and gold rush areas of Northern California, about an hour south west of Lake Tahoe in bear country. There were no other bands or outside influences besides our own imaginations, our favorite legendary bands we looked up to whereas I think a lot of our friends bands saw each other’s bands, because they all came from highly populated cities, and then got inspired to form their own bands but to us, we were one of the only bands from our scene to really want to start playing true heavy metal again with absolutely no outside influence besides an Iron Maiden or Black Sabbath video on VH1 and record store browsing. In terms of our own music that has our B.C. stamp on it, I think that our band really pays attention to feel with a major emphasis on songwriting instead of trying to sound like a bland stereotype. We never include filler and never invent filler because we want to listen to our own music like we do to our favorite bands’ albums. If something somehow becomes or feels like filler, it will never end up on a release and will be chucked into the leftovers bin so maybe we can work on it at a later time. We like to make music that is memorable and catchy and you have fans go “Dude that’s awesome you played this and that etc” because they actually remembered what you did onstage and on record instead of making 10 songs that all sound identical with no heart or soul in it. Blessed Curse plays Blessed Curse metal, it may be blisteringly fast, mid-tempo, groovy, slow, doomy, thrashy, melancholy, death metally, etc but no matter what, it’s US and it will make you bang your head and pit.
What events led you to sign with Cyclone Empire Records? At that point in time this is a major move going forward. Could you feel a change in the mindset of the band a this point? Did you guys feel like we have a chance to make some noise here? Or we’re you calm, cool and collected and talking things in stride? Let’s not put the cart ahead of the horse type mentality?
The events with us signing with Cyclone Empire and working with Marco Barbieri on M-Theory Audio were basically building blocks through time as Marco was aware of us and had seen us but understood that we needed a lot of guidance, business sense, growth, and proper knowledge but also needed a boost abroad to give us a little more awareness to people in the scene. We’re beyond fortunate to have worked with him through the years. One of the first pictures I saw was him standing next to Ozzy somewhere, I was like “Dudes we get to work with a guy that has met and hung out with Ozzy!!!” Hahaha, kinda starstruck and innocent we were, I admit. He is completely an Obi-Wan-Kenobi, Yoda and Gandalf type guy in terms of wanting you to truly bust ass, learn, and work hard, like a Rocky movie. An incredible mentor who has a major hand in the modern metal world but will push you when you can be doing much better. I don’t think it was a different change in the mentality of the band just more of, we need to write better, rehearse more, play more shows, better gear take care of ourselves better (we had a party reputation everywhere very much like Municipal Waste and Tankard for quite a while), listen to a lot of bands and just saturate yourself with metal and your instrument. I totally feel Marco helped us get everywhere even into European territories and USA distribution which is great and mind-blowing. Patience in a young band is absolutely key to survival.
I’ve read the you’ve changed the band name several times before deciding on Blessed Curse, can you tell us what led to these changes and why you finally settled on the name “Blessed Curse”? Are you satisfied with the change?
Yeah we went through the stereotypical band changes, which is always a pain in the ass because then your following that you’ve struggled to build has to realize the change and change with you, which is very hard. We went from Atrosity, then to Devastator before another Devastator contacted us and said we needed to change it. I remember getting irritated and pissed like “Fuck man, another name change!” Bands, no matter what level, experience the roller-coaster ride of fun that will always be balanced by a come down, like a hangover or comedown from drugs. I got mad and said to the guys “Playing in this fucking band is seriously like a blessing and a fucking curse!!!” Paused. Wait…change Blessing to blessed…Blessed Curse! Perfect name for a metal band and symbolic to anyone that has ever been in a band since Elvis. Every high will be balanced by a low, hence the name. We used the old Devastator font because it looked cool and incorporated it into the new name with a horror movie glow theme. Completely satisfied with the name, plus it sounds and looks really cool on stuff hahaha.
Since the completion of your Debut you have shared the stage with bands such as a personal Favorite of mine Death Angel and Destruction, Warbringer, D.R.I just to name a few. How was it to share the stage with just great talent and peers of the Metal Industry? Whom did you enjoy the most? Have you headlined your own tour? If not any plans to do so in the near future?
That was the biggest rush ever. Being in high school, being told at barely 17, that you get to open for Kreator, than Overkill, then Vader, Sodom, Heathen, Death Angel, Prong, Testament, Sodom, Destruction, the list keeps going through the early years not to mention our friends’ bands like Warbringer, Havok, Hatchet, Merciless Death etc. It was the biggest head fuck you can think of for 3 of the biggest losers stuck in the woods in our area. Doing radio interviews, flyering like it was 1987 etc. It’s always great seeing our friends’ bands opening for the big legendary bands, especially Death Angel and Testament who I had been bothering promoters for for almost a decade to open for, by ourselves and we did it. I know a lot of bands get to tour and open for them, but for us, the outcasts from the woods, it means the world to us. The big one was Testament at Ace of Spades in Sacramento a few years back. They had all their stage gear and scrim with ramps and artwork and our amps are in front of theirs. I couldn’t believe it, it was insane. I need them to sign a ton of shit I brought. That was a blast but they’ve all had great moments and we got to meet many incredible bands and musicians and party with some. Hanging out with Biff Byford from Saxon, Mick Brown from Dokken, Kreator on their bus, Blitz from Overkill, Machine Head, Vinnie Appice, Jason Newsted sitting at our merch table at Rex Brown from Pantera’s show we opened because he was trying to flirt with this blonde babe, hahaha, Very cool stories like that. We have headlined random shows here and there but never a full tour, which would rule because we could finally get a longer set length and really hang with the audience and play our stuff, which would rule. We hella would love to do a headlining tour with rad bands in the near future when the planets align which would be amazing.
You started the band from humble beginnings as young adults and now are grown adults is your commitment to Metal still there? Is the desire and the flame still burning?
It very much is and I think even more so now because after 16 years of headbanging and writing and playing gigs, we now have the ability to reflect a little more because of all the trial by fires that we ran through in all the years and will continue to because that’s the nature of the music industry. Speaking for myself, I feel like I am enjoying metal even more now and appreciating heavy metal and shows a lot more because we have seen so many, friends, fans, bands, promoters, clubs, scenes come and go so often and fluctuate like a wave for years. Metal will always be there but it comes in waves popularity wise. Whoever thought Kanye West would wear Testament shirts, one of the Jenners with a Slayer shirt and Lady Gaga playing with Metallica and she’s a giant metal fan?!? Crazy! Blessed Curse still has that core feeling of Derek and I in the garage in the woods, the height of we will never get laid loserdome Bill and Ted mentality, and to this day, that has not changed. It still feels like we need to try and help real heavy metal become more known and to still make people have fun and give them something to really rock out and headbang to. The thesis and goal/motto of this band still has not changed.
In closing, what can we look forward too in the second half of 2017 heading into 2018? Where can your fans find you this summer? Any final words of advice or a message for your fans and readers of this publication?
2017 all the way heavily into 2018 is just going to be more relentless promotion, shows, networking and hopefully some rad touring options coming up so we can take the new crushing release Beware of the Night EP everywhere that humans have a venue and fans. The summer will be filled with some cool shows here and there throughout California with a very fortunate spot opening for legendary NWOBHM band Diamond Head in Sacramento in August with further booking all the way into 2018 and more. I would just like to say thanks a ton for interviewing Blessed Curse, I wanna thank Marco Barbieri and M-Theory Audio for its continued awesome help and exposure, all our friends’ bands that are touring and promoting their own releases, and most importantly to the friends and fans of rock and heavy metal out there that still believe in its cause and still go to shows, support, and buy records, that is why metal will always exist. Hope to see all of you maniacs out there soon and remember always — beware of the night….
Thanks again so very much for taking the time to speak with us, looking forward to doing it again in the very near future. Good luck and all the best with your future endeavors.
Thanks again David Maloney, we really appreciate your help immensely!!!
David Maloney/MHF Magazine