Interviewed by Brian Rademacher
Date: September 2011
Bobby Lucas: Hey Brian, how ya doing?
Brian Rademacher: Good but a lot of work needs to be done with the hurricane that just passed.
Bobby Lucas: We got hit pretty hard too here in Woodbridge Township. Lost power for some time but hopefully everything should be getting back to normal. I think we are screwing up this planet...global warming as much as the government wants us not to believe in it is very real. We go from summer to winter now--it's warm in places that have been ice for centuries. Look at all the natural disasters as of late--hurricanes and earthquakes? We NEVER had shit like this in New Jersey, itís very scary.
Brian Rademacher: So letís get on to music. How did you get into the music as a young guy?
Bobby Lucas: Actually I have a lot of musicians on both sides of my family. My dadís side of the family there was Tommy Lucas and THE HOUND DOGS. They were very close to being signed... it was way back in the day, and they were doo-wop (50's music). One of the brothers got killer in a car accident and that ended the band. My Uncle Micky's a guitarist, and my Uncle Cookie who recently passed away was a smokin' blues guitarist. My father was a huge music fan--a big music collector with TONS of vinyl, collecting the 50ís doo wop to the Motown stuff and beyond to rock and hard rock. My Dad is the person who turned me on to the band BLOODROCK. That song "DOA" is so morbid and creepy and is one of the songs that scared the crap out of me. When he found out I was just turned on to SABBATH's debut and I thought that was creepy, he busted out "D.O. A." by BLOODROCK! I am a huge fan of Jim Rutledge's vocals--they really should have been as big as say DEEP PURPLE, URIAH HEEP and LED ZEPPELIN. On my motherís side my cousin Al Simon is a guitarist, and was in JERSEY HOME GROWN. They were a Southern Rock band who covered SKYNYRD, ALLMAN BROS., THE OUTLAWS, BLACKFOOT and so on. He went to college and got a very good job and gave up the music. He inspired me a lot my cousin Al. He turned me on to BLACK SABBATH, ALICE COOPER, KISS, LED ZEPPELIN, and DEEP PURPLE. If it wasnít for BLACK SABBATH, KISS, Alice, and PURPLE, I probably wouldnít be a musician.
Brian Rademacher: The first band you actually were in was?
Bobby Lucas: HARLOT it was a bunch of guys from high school. My friend John Schieni, who was a drummer, was looking for a vocalist to play with the band. It was walk-in situation since they had been jamming regularly without a singer and had lots of covers down. Well, one day I happened to be imitating Rob Halford and doing 'Victim Of Changes' in the locker room because I liked the echo in there--and people would hear it and freak out! This kid comes running up to me, and it's Johnny. I didnít know him yet and he says: "Dude, dude, dude! Can you do that on a microphone?" I said I never had, but I guess I could try! I went to a Catholic school for nine years of my life called Holy Rosary, and I was singing in church. My music teacher snagged me and this girl Annette and said "you two are the most powerful out of the boys and girls in music class-- I want you both to be the leads." So she put us in a separate pew in front of the church group and she wanted us to lead the choir. She said if we didn't sing loud enough, we were going to sing solo and I didnít want to do that, so I made sure I sang loud. So I guess my initial chops came from doing that. When I was in high school and into the heavier music, I went to HARLOT's band practice with Johnny, and the guys were all older than me. They were all juniors and seniors, I was a freshmen and never did this before. I was sixteen years old. I grabbed the mic. and started singing and these guys were blown away. So I started with them, and it was a garage band we had for fun. We did covers like early IRON MAIDEN from 'Killers' and the debut, old JUDAS PRIEST--stuff from "British Steel" and "Stained Class", TWISTED SISTER "Under The Blade" & 'What You Don't Know' from the "Rough Cuts" E.P., and a couple KISS songsó"All American Man", "I Want You", "Parasite"--It was a lot of fun and at that time I knew what I wanted to do, and I stuck with it. I'd watch the guitarists because playing fascinated me, and I picked up on rhythm guitar. After a couple years everyone went their separate ways. My senior year is when I formed MORBID SIN. That was actually out of a dare. These guys were always winning the battle of the bands locally, they were called METAL STORM. Itís funny because later on I ended up being in a band with two of them. They were the arch rivals of MORBID SIN, and at this time I was playing guitar--I wasnít singing yet. My best friend Brian Bubbenheimer was the original singer in MORBID SIN and I was playing guitar. My buddy Chris was playing lead guitar, and Andy "Six" Zeleniak was our bassist. We signed up for a Battle of the Bands that METALSTORM was doing next, and got ready in a month. We were only together for a month and we beat METALSTORM. We were playing stuff that no one else would touch--VENOM, SLAYER, CELTIC FROST, EXCITER--we ended their winning streak and started ours. Some stuff went down with Brian and the other guys in the band behind the scenes. The guys wanted to do music that Brian didnít have the range for. We were originally into 100% thrash--and the guys wanted to do stuff with more vocal range. They knew I could sing because they knew all the guys in HARLOT, so they wanted me to be the singer and put the axe down. I said no because Brian was my best buddy--and Chris and Six quit. I was writing originals on guitar by now, and we took Bob Peterson and Rob Nemeth as replacements on bass and guitar respectively. One thing lead to another and rumors started and Brian heard about WHY Chris and Six left and began wondering if I was going to want to start singing in the new band. I didn't.
We had a band meeting one afternoon and they said: "Look Bobby, we are going to be a one guitaristís band and keep Brian singing and weíre going to go on without you and have some originals of our own. I said ok no problem-- just remember youíre not using the name MORBID SIN-- thatís my name & logo that I came up with and copyrighted. They became NOCTICULA, and the rest is MORBID history!
So I went and got the guys back together and told them I was ready and willing to take the band to the next level--which meant becoming the frontman. The fist order was to find a second lead guitarist as we were fond of that twin guitar sound that MAIDEN and PRIEST had. So we stole Wade Tyler from METALSTORM! This is around 1987 when we started playing out and I had soon written the first demoó"The Arrival Of The Sin". All the music was written by me except SISTERS OF SALEM, which was written mostly by myself with the outro by Wade Tyler--this was when Wade first showed his awesome writing skills, and he's been my writing partner ever since! We started to play out and we were really legendary in this area. We won five out of five Battle of the Bands, and we were on the Uncle Floyd show on cable TV for his 'Battle of the Bands' at Escapades in Jersey City. It was the ONLY Battle we lost because it was not judged on talent-but on how many fans the bands brought in the door! We lost to a 'hair band' who we were calling 'Posers' during the after battle interview with Floyd! It was hysterical! We lost but it was great because I was a HUGE Uncle Floyd Show fan as a kid. It was on channel 68. He was a Jersey underground legend. I saw Uncle Floyd live at Club Bene' with my cousin Joe who plays bass in SIN with me again now. We were just kids--I was around 13, and our mothers bought tickets to go see him and the show was SO dirty our mothers were turning red as beets laughing saying "Oh my God-what did we do?" That was probably my Aunt Cathy's idea-she always had THE sense of humor! I miss her a lot--we ALL do--we lost her to cancer years back, God Bless her.
I played Club Beneí many times with MORBID SIN. They would carry me through the lobby in a coffin and my pallbearers would take me through the aisles up to the stage. Chicks would be screaming and flipping out as the coffin was brought on the stage, we had real cemetery fences made of roared iron we had shrunken heads impaled to the top of the fence.
Brian Rademacher: So why are you bringing back MORDBID SIN now after all this time, what kept your passion?
Bobby Lucas: MORBID SIN was always my baby. It was just for love of music and love of playing that I've stuck with it. It was never for money because we never really made any! MORBID SIN was on and off for all these years-we had a 'break' for a few. I would say in 1994 or '96 was the original split. I was a little annoyed with the direction but not with the music--more the dress code and 'jeans and T-shirts' look that metal & thrash bands had adopted thanks to groups like METALLICA and ANTHRAX. I was always into leather and spikes/studs and theatrics. Some of the guys in the band werenít taking it serious, and wanted to go onstage however they wanted. I felt we needed to put on a great visual show as well as a great sounding one. I was majorly influenced by Alice Cooper and KISS-and wanted to fuse that sort of look with MORBID's sound. Then there was the drug and alcohol use. A couple of the guys just wanted to party, party, party and I wanted to take it to the next level and get us signed to a deal. I knew we'd never get there partying our lives away, so I said the hell with this and broke the band up. This was definitely in '96--because I remember beginning to clean my act up at that time. I wasn't content with being a 'local legend' anymore. I wanted to get my voice out there and onto an album. There was another lineup of SIN for a while--we even have a 'lost demo' somewhere. That lineup was myself, Wade Tyler, drummer Lou Olko, and Dave Depietro (not the T.T. QUICK Dave) on bass guitar. Louie Olko had almost made it into OVERKILL a couple years before he joined us in SIN-great guy, and a great drummer. We still played out and wrote some killer stuff. The other guys from the original lineup went on with another singer--a good friend named Elvin Rodriguez. They called themselves KILL for a while...they changed the name quite a few times really. It never really did anything. Everyone who remembered the guys wanted the original MORBID SIN back again. Eventually, things just fell apart and I concentrated on getting straight. Began hitting meetings and hanging out with a non-partying crowd. Olko wound up reconnecting with Wade when we saw each other at the same 12 step meeting! Then we made other musician friends that were clean.
We ended up jamming again, and called the band PROUD FLESH for a while. It was myself and Wade Tyler, Larry Montozzi (also Ex-METALSTORM) on bass, and our guitar player Al Hapstack (who was also clean & sober), and J.J. Petricevich on drums who happens to be Tony Petriís son of TWISTED SISTER. His dad Tony was actually on the "Rough Cuts" E.P., and then he was in the PLASMATICS for a while. J.J. who was a single bass drummer at the time, was AWESOME. But we were not a 'thrashy' band anymore--more akin to a straight metal band with SABBATHY overtones. We recorded the PROUD FLESH 6 song demo at Trax East Studio once again-and it was a great demo. More commercially accessible than what we used to do--but still very much metal. It was more melodic, and I had better chops vocally by now. Wade and I longed to get back to that heavier sound with the pumping double bass drums and razor sharp riffage--that MORBID sound--OVERKILL meets BLACK SABBATH. J.J. was just against that style of drumming. He was just amazing with one foot--that was his style. He's a drum teacher now, and from what I understand he did start playing double bass because his students wanted to learn that style. So we parted ways with J.J., and Brian Vincent who was our MORBID drummer for like ten years wanted to come back in the band--and he is a killer double bass drummer--he was also an original SEVEN WITCHES member with me. So when he came back we got the MORBID SIN sound back and three out of the five that were MORBID SIN were reunited--so naturally we wanted to change the name back to MORBID SIN. We had recorded an awesome full length album at Trax East thanks to a financial backer who believed in the band--(thanks Bob G.!)...we finished mixing and were about to begin shopping for a deal when we opened for FATES WARNING at Club Bene. Jack Frostís band FROSTBITE were also on that same bill. Jack approached me after the performance and we both complimented each other on our shows. He mentioned he was in a band with D.D. Verni of OVERKILL called THE BRONX CASKET CO. and they were signed with Massacre Records in Germany. Massacre had also told Jack that if he had a True Metal project that they would love to hear it. Jack asked if I was interested in getting a band together with him and my rhythm section, and right away i said hell yes--this was what I was waiting for--opportunity! We got together and we clicked. We came up with two songs right on the spot. We wrote two songs in three hours. "Scarlet Tears" and "Second War In Heaven". I came up with the name SEVEN WITCHES from one of my all-time favorite British horror films 'Psychomania', and designed the band logo. We got one more song down--our theme song "Seven Witches", and demoed them with the amazing Steve Deacutis at Sound Spa in Edison. Massacre heard it and signed us right away. We were getting ready to go over to Germany and Larry our bass player said he didnít want to go for some strange reason, so we replaced him with Bill Mez. We had a blast in Germany--we recorded with renowned German producer Siggi Bemm at the incredible Woodhouse Studios. I was born in Germany, so it was killer to see where I had been born and lived for a year and a half before my dad got out of the army and we came back to the U.S. I had dual citizenship until the age of 18. I ended up doing another album with Jack in 2000 that was "City Of Lost Souls". By this time Jack wanted more creative control on the 2nd album, and he only asked for music for 2 songs from me. On the debut, I had written the music for 4 and 1/2 songs. Jack even came up with the name for the 2nd album as well as the song titles "Legend of Sleepy Hollow", and "Atlantis". It was also his idea to cover Pat Benatar's "Hell is for Children"--my cover was EXCITER's "Pounding Metal". This album was my last with the band since Jack began focusing on his career more than SEVEN WITCHES as a band. I sat around too long getting stagnant while he was doing his thing. So we parted ways. Nowadays it seems Jack is focusing on WITCHES.
When I play out in tribute bands, a lot of fans bring me the first two SEVEN WITCHES albums to sign. They ask how come SEVEN WITCHES never play anything off these albums live, and why doesn't Jack promote or mention the classic albums. I say you have to ask him. I could never understand it because Iím very proud of the work we did on those albums. They are still among the fans favorite albums.
Brian Rademacher: So whatís going on with MORBID SIN?
Bobby Lucas: We recorded a demo in 2007 called "Thirteenth Child" which we never released. We could never get a good, steady line-up. While I sang in an iron Maiden tribute for 3+ years, I had met the incredible KING DIAMOND tribute band called THEM. Guitarist extraordinaire Eddie Campbell came in and helped us on guitar with a few songs, and Hal Aponte helped on drums but the distance ultimately took it's toll. Ed and Hal lived in New York, and Eddie had a lot of things going on playing with Ted Poley and Ray West. Plus Eddie just had a baby boy. We were trying to send shit back and forth on the computer and record, we came up with some great stuff-- but Wade and I realized we needed the band to be local. Look at OVERLORDE-- we had great critical acclaim for the album "Return Of The Snow Giant" but since our rhythm section moved--John Bunnucci to No. Carolina, and Dave Wrenn to Florida, it kinda fell apart. Mark Edwards and I are chomping at the bit and we still plan on working together in the future. We are talking about a project with Michael LePond of SYMPHONY X and Mike Sabatini of ATTACKER-- but itís not going to be called OVERLORDE. The only way a band can exist long distance is if everyone gives it 110% and you play shows or festivals together every now and again.
Brian Rademacher: Will this band with Lepond play shows?
Bobby Lucas: Yes. Mike and I may also be working together in the band TOTHIC--my friend/guitarist Ron Toth's (COVERED IN BLACK) band that I am doing vocals for. And I'm proud to also be providing vocals for CONSPIRACY CHRONICLES--a Prog Metal band in the vein of early FATES WARNING meets current IRON MAIDEN. The band features former members of DIM MAK and DYERS EVE. IRON MAIDEN artist Derek Rigg's is doing our album art. The material is mind-blowing. One of my favorite vocalists of all-time is John Arch! A HUGE influence on me vocally. I'd like for him to check some of this stuff out-he's a friend of mine on Facebook now as well--another 'High point' in my life!
Brian Rademacher: Will MORBID SIN being playing shows soon?
Bobby Lucas: Absolutely! Thanks to Stormspell Records releasing the '98 album "Sins of the Flesh" as well as 'The Demo Years', we are getting the attention we deserved years ago. People are finally hearing MORBID SIN outside of the Tri-State area! We also have a manager now--Bruce 'The Wanz' Wanzie of Radioactive Monster Entertainment. We have four former members back together now as well. Iím psyched-- itís myself, Wade Tyler, my cousin Joey Bruno, my long time friend Brian Vincent and the new guy Randy Rodriguez who was in a band called DTA who opened for OVERKILL several times. Once for TESTAMENT too. They also did some shows in Germany, and their cd was doing alright overseas before the split up. We are writing in that MORBID SIN vibe again. We havenít lost our sound-- it might even be even better. We will also bring back the theatrics and face paint again, it will be great.
Brian Rademacher: Will the first show be a Jersey show?
Bobby Lucas: It might actually be at Dingbatz in Clifton. Bob Mitchell the former lead singer of ATTACKER is in WYCKED SYNN, and contacted us recently. They are playing a show in December at Dingbatz, and he wants us to open for them. I said absolutely. Bob and I have been friends for many years now. It will be a night with the sinners mid to late December.
Brian Rademacher: So tell me about Victoria Irizarry Romanienko who hooked up this interview?
Bobby Lucas: I know her from Perth Amoy High School--we had a few classes together. When I saw her picture she had e-mailed me on Facebook, I knew her from school. We didnít hang out or anything--I was hardly IN school towards the end! I got kicked out of high school because of MORBID SIN. Four months before graduation I was booted. MORBID SIN was in full force at the time. I said school be damned we donít need an education to be rockers. (Laughing).
Brian Rademacher: So what is your highlight being in MORBID SIN?
Bobby Lucas: When I was eighteen years old I was listening to a lot of underground metal bands like MALICE, WITCHFINDER GENERAL, AGENT STEEL, METAL CHURCH, and HELLSTAR. James Rivera was one of my favorite singers back then. When I heard he joined SEVEN WITCHES after Wade Black left I was elated. Just having our names tied together in some way was awesome for a fan like myself! OVERLORDE was playing with SEVEN WITCHES at a festival in Chicago and Iím standing watching the show and someone taps me on the shoulder and itís James. He says Bobby Iím doing this SEVEN WITCHES gig to help Jack out. I've only had a few days to prepare, and Iíve been up in the hotel the past three night trying to memorize the material from the last three albums, and have to say I really love your voice and I really love your writing style--its classic metal! Out of the three albums, the two with you I feel is better material. I was just blown away. That coming from a legend like James was one of the highlights of my career.
Brian Rademacher: Do you feel that MORBID SIN's music will survive today?
Bobby Lucas: With the music of today in The United States, metal is an underground entity. There are fans that are passionate but the market is overseas. Europe & Japan is the place for bands like MORBID SIN-- with the music today being Top 40, R&B, hip hop and gangsta, the U.S. is not the best market.
Brian Rademacher: I am glad that MORBID SIN will bring back a stage show because if you donít have a great stage show itís boring?
Bobby Lucas: Yeah one of my friends that is keeping the stage show alive isBill Lindsay of IMPALER. IMPALER's last album was fucking incredibleó"Cryptozoology". They are some great people--I gotta reach out to Bill and let him know MORBID SIN is back--plus we are both monster fanatics. I love collecting Godzilla stuff and my girlfriend Betty wants to shoot me because Iím always buying another model from Japan, she'll say you have no money, but youíre always buying Godzilla, monster, and Superhero stuff. I canít help it. Billís last album was fucking incredibleó"Cryptozoology".
Brian Rademacher: So what are your hopes in coming back with MORBID SIN?
Bobby Lucas: Go overseas, do festivals. I wanna go back to Germany and I want to play Greece and Japan. Iíve been to Germany five times but I feel we have enough theatrics in MORBID SIN to get to Japan and who knows? If we get our music distributed properly worldwide, I think we can swing making it to Japan and Greece. All we need is the right record label that will believe in my vision.
Brian Rademacher: So when is the new album coming out?
Bobby Lucas: We are in the process of writing now. We will demo about 4 tunes and begin shopping for a label. We do have an albums worth of material between myself and Wade, and now that Randy is here, heís perfect for us. That missing piece of the puzzle--a local guy with passion, talent, and dedication. When you've had Eddie Campbell in the band, your hard pressed to fill his shoes. Eddie is fantastic, and a good person. Just for the record, I am NOT singing in the MAIDEN tribute Sanctuary any longer. I want to throw that out there for my fans because alot of them would come out to meet me. I signed a lot of SEVEN WITCHES, OVERLORDE, and most recently Morbid Sin cd's while in that band. I had a great time singing MAIDEN--Bruce is one of my idols, and I naturally have that style in me. But distance made my being their singer an issue after a lineup change-I have a phobia of driving after a few bad car accidents when I was a teenager. The guys in SANCTUARY are from Upstate N.Y., and West Milford. I found us a new guitarist in Jersey--30 mins. away from me. But he just refused to taxi me around to and from gigs. We did some far ones. Things have changed it seems--years back, being in a band was a brotherhood--if a band-mate needed a ride, you picked his ass up for the sake of the band and the bandís sound. When you perceive a band as a 'job', that camaraderie goes out the window. But it is what it is, ya know? I wish SANCTUARY good luck in the future, and I hear the new singer Anthony is a very nice guy and a really good singer. Fortunately, Iím playing out right now in a BLACK SABBATH tribute band called COVERED IN BLACK! Weíre an all eraísBLACK SABBATH tribute. SABBATH is my favorite band EVER. When you come see COVERED IN BLACK you will get to hear the whole time line of BLACK SABBATH. I was crushed when Dio passed on--I was covering Dio material in my band DARK HARVEST back in '97/'98--now that he's gone everyone seems to be jumping on the Dio Tribute bandwagon--and let's get real...it's NOT easy to find a singer who has Dio's sound. Iím a big Ozzy fan but Iím not too hot on the new Ozzy --I canít stand it. The new Ozzy is awful, kiddie metal. But SABBATH is back together, so maybe we SAB Fans will finally get our NEW studio album!.
Brian Rademacher: So would you like to say anything in closing?
Bobby Lucas: Everyone watch for the other projects I'm involved with--CONSPIRACY CHRONICES, and TOTHIC. I hope to come out and meet a lot more hardcore metalheads--you guys RULE, and are the reason I do what I do. I will be playing out pretty often with COVERED IN BLACK in the N.J./N.Y. areas. I'd like to give some shout-outs: to my 'Better Half' --the love of my life Betty Nitkowski, My daughter (who I love so very much) Emilee Rose, to my friends in RITUAL MOON, IMPALER, WYKKED SYNN, EXXPLORER, SINISTER REALM, PRESENT DARKNESS, Jeff Gonzalez and LIVESAY, LORDS OF MERCY, CARNIVAL OF SOULS, Mark M.E. Edwards, James Rivera, Jay Reynolds, Carl Canedy, MORBID SIN's manager Bruce Wanzie and Radioactive Monster Ent., The MORBID SIN STREET TEAM & moderators Robin Souls and Mark Oosterwijk, Iordan Kanev and Stormspell Records, John and Sue Verica, Dave 'Sabbath King' Fuhrman, Manoush, Jeff Shiner (R.I.P. Amanda Shiner), Eric Moss, Karl Hiller and KARL'S METAL, Laurent and Snakepit Magazine, Matt Coe, Mike Cattricola and Heavy Metal Mayhem, Dave Softee of Metal Meltdown, Metal Messiah Radio, Rages Goddess, Malice Cooper, Free Spirit, and W.F.L.M, West Florida Radio, Jon Norberg & Contaminated Tones, Branko, John Emanuel, Eddie Evelyn, and Kelli McCloud of MINDCRIME, WRATHCHILD, MAIDEN IRON, LIVE AFTER DEATH, THEM, KISS ALIVE, BRITISH STEEL, my bandmates Chris Vasquez, Ron Toth, and Alex Rodriguez in COVERED IN BLACK, Ricky, Bob, Mike, & Dave (RESURRECTION/STEEL MESSIAH), E5150, THE FORDHAM BALDIES, SABOTAGE, SACK BLABBATH, and to anyone I may have forgotten--sorry! Keep it True and Horns UP!!!