Interviewed by Brian Rademacher
Date: February 2010
Brian Rademacher: Hello Wretched. Brian Rademacher from RockEyez. Ready for our interview?
Wretched: Yeah let’s go
Brian Rademacher: Tell me what Wretched was like as a child?
Wretched: (Laughing) I was pretty normal really. If you’re asking how I got into what we do, my grandmother was a Sunday school teacher that allowed me to watch the classic black and white Universal Monsters horror movies. I was just into monsters as a little kid. I remember seeing Pinocchio and the whale’s name was Monstro. That was the first thing I saw that was really scary. In Snow White, the scene with the witch was a pretty scary scene. I was hooked on being scared and the excitement of it. It’s like a roller coaster; you ride a roller coaster because it’s scary. The first horror movie I remember seeing was Frankenstein. When I saw Boris Karloff, it was over. He was just amazing.
Brian Rademacher: To date what was one of the scariest dreams you ever had?
Wretched: One time I dreamt I was being attacked by demons and they levitated me up to the ceiling. At that moment when you’re half asleep and half awake and your kind of aware of your surroundings, I dropped from the ceiling in the dream. I was asleep on the couch and I swear I fell into the couch. That messed with my head for days.
Brian Rademacher: How were you in school?
Wretched: I was a really good student until my mom pushed me. She meant well, for sure. I mean she wanted the best for me, but it burnt me out. My teacher took me aside after I took like an IQ test and I rated at a genius level, I’m not saying that to brag, it’s just what it was. By no means do I consider myself a genius! He told my mother "you should encourage your kid". Instead of encouraging me, she pushed and everybody around me pushed me. By the time I was in high school I was burnt out. I started pursing music and not really applying myself to school work. I went to college and it took me five years to get a two-year associate’s degree because I really didn’t care about it.
Brian Rademacher: What was your first concert experience and who did you see?
Wretched: I saw JUDAS PRIEST opening for KISS when I was ten years old. I was a huge KISS fan and that’s where GRAVE ROBBER’s costumes and theatrics come from. KISS were super heroes. The KISS comic book was out and I saw them coming up thru the stage. They were larger than life. My next concert was AC/DC. After seeing KISS, and as much as I love AC/DC , it just couldn’t compare.
Brian Rademacher: What was the thing you did as a child that your parent really got pissed about?
Wretched: You know, most kids were outside playing and I was a little bit of a bookworm. They wanted me to go out and quit reading; they would say, "Go out and get some air"! Anything I could read, anything I could get my hands on, I would read it. Then I got my first stereo and bought every KISS, Alice Cooper and David Bowie album out there. I would not just listen to the albums I would actually study the album. Every vocal note, every hit of the drum. I don’t think I was a nerdy bookworm, but then again, does a nerdy bookworm know he’s a nerd? I just loved information. I was the same way with music. I really wasn’t rebellious until I was in my twenties. Over all, I was a pretty good kid, I think.
Brian Rademacher: What would you say your parents are most proud of you for?
Wretched: I think they are most proud of me for sticking to my guns no matter what I do. I stand my ground for what I believe in.
Brian Rademacher: Did the band always wear the same stage outfits with the skull masks?
Wretched: Actually, the reason why we wore the mask is that our bass player has extremely bad eczema, so he couldn’t use make-up. We wanted to just do the make-up, but he couldn’t do it. He would just have a break out on his skin that would actually cause burns. That is why we switched to the masks. We do wear a little make-up around the eyes but that’s it. Everyone accuses us of being a clone of GWAR, SLIPKNOT or MUSHROOMHEAD but that’s not why we decided to wear the masks. We weren’t even thinking about those bands at all.
Brian Rademacher: How much different is the Be Afraid CD compared to Inner Sanctum?
Wretched: We had a line-up change, which means a slight change sonically. You know, every horror band starts out with a blueprint of THE MISFITS and that’s originally what we wanted to do. We wanted to sound like THE MISFITS. Once you figure out how to sound like THE MISFITS, it’s a natural progression to develop your own voice and blossom into what the band members collectively are. With this current line-up, our drummer and guitarist are more metal guys than punk guys. Our bassist is a punk rock guy. So we have two punk rock guys and two metal guys. So on Inner Sanctum it’s got a touch of metal thrown in with the punk rock we started with.
Brian Rademacher: A lot of your lyric seems to straying towards a high spiritual being does that mean you guys play a style of Christian Rock?
Wretched: Well all four of us are Christians, so it’s just a natural thing. We are not a band that is going to preach in the traditional sense. My answer would be yes and no, yes we are all Christians but no if you saying we are a youth group type band. Actually, we took a lot of subjects from the Bible like the blood, gore, wars, evil and demons and put those subjects to music and gave the presentation a theatrical flair. I mean, like I said we are not a preachy band, but if you want to talk to us after the show about Christianity or the Bible we’re willing to talk to you about it. But don’t expect to hear a sermon on stage out of this band. It’s just not set up to be that sort of thing.
Brian Rademacher: Tell me about your stage show?
Wretched: It’s modeled after Alice Cooper. I was always an Alice Cooper fan. GRAVE ROBBER is also similar to KISS in that our band is four characters that have our own personalities. Being the front man, I am the one talking to the audience with a really creepy character voice I use. There are things I will say that are cryptic and spooky to introduce the songs. We have a scary intro and I carry a bloody shovel that is the symbol of the band. Depending on the venue, we have blood canons that shoot fake blood (or is it?) on the audience. We shoot blood all over the place. I’ve drunk blood onstage and we used to have a big demon head that we beat the snot out of. We have other things that we are working on, but don’t have the budget for yet. We want to shock the audience’s senses and give them a very energetic. visual show. I miss that in rock and roll. That’s what was cool about seeing big arena rock shows. They put on a show!
Brian Rademacher: Did you ever have sex with your costume on?
Wretched: No. (Laughing) Not at all. I don’t think my wife would be into that. Besides the costumes get very stinky! Yeah, she’d hate that! (Laughing)
Brian Rademacher: I see you will be playing in our area of New Jersey next month March 11. What can fans expect from that show?
Wretched: We are really loud and energetic. We plan to have the audience going home in shock. It’s our first time playing there, so we’ll be working extra hard to accomplish that goal! On stage we are characters that are intense and crazy. However, if fans want to come up and talk to us, we are very accessible. We are really pretty nice guys!
Brian Rademacher: Listening to Inner sanctum your vocals are excellent comparable to Elvis and Glenn Danzig are those guys some of the guys you like?
Wretched: Well the first demos we did sounded a lot like THE MISFITS. Once I put my own little flare on things vocally, you automatically add Elvis and JIM MORRISON to the DANZIG vocals. I was never a huge ELVIS fan, but I like Elvis on some level. I was more into CHUCK BERRY, BUDDY HOLLY, and LITTLE RICHARD, but when you compare vocal styles, generally most horror bands are modeled after THE MISFITS. I later went back and listened to some of the older Elvis vocals and you have to admit his vocals were amazing. Considering the horrible, primitive studio conditions he recorded in, for his voice to come across like that. . . you know, that’s why he was called the king of rock and roll! You gotta figure when he recorded the early stuff at Sun Studios, technology was very limited. But, just listen to his voice! He was incredible. DANZIG recorded in even worse conditions with THE MISFITS. His vocals came through massive; he had an inhuman quality to his voice. JIM MORRISON had a snaky, creepiness when singing low, but he could belt out some pretty serious growls and become vocally aggressive at the drop of a hat. He was very unpredictable in his vocal delivery. So yeah, I’m highly influenced by how JIM MORRISON would make his voice explode. I am flattered when people say I sound like any of those three ELVIS, GLENN DANZIG, or JIM MORRISON. I personal don’t think I hold a candle to any of those guys at all. I wish I did.
Brian Rademacher: Listening to the CD I heard the vibrato coming out and if you didn’t hear the CD and just looked at the cover and the pictures of the band I would expect screams and growling but your vocals are amazing.
Wretched: That’s what fun too! It might not be the smartest marketing idea, but I want people coming to our show perhaps a bit confused. That’s part of the whole horror thing. I mean, isn’t losing your bearing and not knowing where you are part of the fun in a spook house? You know, I’m a fan of singers. If you can growl or scream, that’s a vocal technique and the guys that know how to do it really well are somewhat impressive, but I’m a fan of melodies. I’m a fan of actual singers and if you can really sing that’s very impressive! Screaming singers in bands these days are a dime a dozen. Most of the time, it’s because the vocalist can’t really hold a tune. I believe that whole non-singing, growly vocal thing will eat itself. How long can people listen to it before it just gets completely played out? I’ve already been seeing some evidence of that vocal style starting to move out and bands bringing in good singers. Biggest problem bands with those non-singing vocalists have no individual identities. They are just carbon copies of each other. There’s nothing that separates the bands personality from any other. It’s pretty boring and lame. I think that’s why we made a conscience effort to move away from that THE MISFITS blueprint and not be a carbon copy of them.
Brian Rademacher: You guys released a comic book?
Wretched: Yeah. Post Mortem Comics put it out, but unfortunately the guy who was doing the comic book has since vanished. It’s a bummer because it had a really good story. We wanted more comics to sell to our fans, but we can’t find him. We are talking about doing a comic book ourselves.
Brian Rademacher: You guys signed to Retroactive records…
Wretched: As of right now, our contract is up and we are technically not sign to that label now. They do have two of our babies with BE AFRAID and INNER SANCTUM, so no matter what there will always be a relationship with that label. I’m on friendly terms with everybody there and it’s a brotherhood. We are currently negotiating with Hairball 8 Records and I even told them that we will always have a relationship with Retroactive Records and that has to be understood.
Brian Rademacher: Is there anything else you would like to talk about before ending?
Wretched: Yeah we are working on the new record called "YOU’RE ALL GONNA DIE". We might even get a PG13 rating!! (Laughing) We will be writing about darker subjects that a lot of Christian bands will not write about. We’ll worry about the backlash later.
Brian Rademacher: Will you guys be putting out a new record every year?
Wretched: I hope so. The deal with Hairball 8 is a three-year deal with three releases.
Brian Rademacher: Wretched it was great talking to you, would you like to say anything in ending?
Wretched: I want to clarify. I don’t want people to have a preconceived idea of what "Christian band" means. A lot of people hear "Christian music" and assume its cheese ball pop music. We are more along the lines of LIVING SACRIFICE or DEMON HUNTER in the sense that we are a "real band" that cares about our art. Most of our fans certainly are not Christians. GRAVE ROBBER is a creative bunch of fun loving guys that play music. When it comes to the question of presenting my faith, I don’t push my beliefs on anyone. That’s not to say I don’t challenge some pretty seriously misinformed precepts that some people have. I certainly do that! I will defend my faith and my God. I will debate one on one with someone, but I won’t get into an argument that will damage a relationship with another person. In my heart I would love everybody to know the reality of Jesus Christ, but I’m also a realist. I know that not everyone is going to accept that. What I do is lay everything on the table and allow the audience to chose to either pick it up or leave it lay. Ultimately, it’s up to individuals to make a decision for themselves. I don’t force anybody.
Brian Rademacher: Oh so you aren’t like my wife. I come home looking for a booty call and she’s at the end of the bed reading the Bible. She goes to church Saturday and Sunday and always goes to the Revelation Generation festival every year…
Wretched: No, No, No, tell her read the SONG OF SONGS in the Old Testament. It could quite possibly be the most erotic love poem ever written!
One last thing before I go. GRAVE ROBBER’s biggest thing is communication with our fans. Anyone reading this please send us a MySpace request (www.myspace.com/graverobberpunk) and talk to us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/graverobberpunk) and Twitter (graverobberpunk). A lot of people say they love their fans, but we really, really do! Once we become familiar with a fan, they become family. Relationship with fans, friends, and family is what we are all about.
Brian Rademacher: Appreciate you talking today.
Wretched: Thanks for having me. See ya