Deceased Will Never Die!

King Fowley and Deceased are one of those rare extreme metal bands that is truly in this game for life, no matter what it might throw at them. Hail to the King!

Deceased, along with bands such as Master and Possessed, is one of those names that is synonymous with the rise of underground American death metal in the mid eighties. And despite its name, Deceased is a band that simply refuses to die, thanks in large part to band founder, former drummer, and current front man, the indomitable King Fowley. Deceased has remained perpetually active throughout its 25-plus years in the music business, going from being the first band signed by Relapse Records, to putting out material on another in a long line of Fowley’s own labels, Shrieks from the Hearse. Fowley has seen and lived through it all in the music business and in life, surviving the mines and pitfalls of the industry as well numerous health issues that he has simply refused to succumb to. This year, Deceased is back with a new album, Surreal Overdose, a ripping blend of thrash and old school death metal, and King, as always, is more than willing to talk about his new work, the lengthy history of his band, and life in general. But why wrap up his words in flowery prose when we can just get the story straight from the man himself? Here are King’s responses to Metal As Fuck’s queries, raw and enthusiastic as ever.

Metal As Fuck: First of all let’s talk about the new album, Surreal Overdose. What are the themes you wanted to cover on this release?

King Fowley: Real life horrors this time around. Mental illness, child abuse, terminal illness, technology errors, disease. The world is so run down and running on fumes: horror fumes that is!

MAF: From a musical standpoint, where did you want to take Deceased this time around?

KF: Just a ferocious energy ridden ride through trauma! All the woes and dread of the world set to a fast pace! Ugliness complete!

MAF: When Deceased first started out, it was just trying to be the most over-the-top band possible, which you have stated drugs played a significant role in. Now that you have the benefit of distance from those days, what do you think when you look back on them?

KF: It is what it is. It was fun and teen angst and that's fine! I loved that era of the band. It started the machine's engine! Love the songs too still! Raw and over the top! Has a nice purpose!

MAF: You’ve always been adamant about fans and bands being on equal footing, to the point where you call fans friends rather than fans. What was it that gave rise to this attitude within you?

KF: We're all in this together. Does a recording or stage separate us? Not in my eyes! Human beings with a common interest! Nothing more, nothing less! Many thanks to all for the support!

MAF: The disappearance of egos and maintenance of respect within the music industry has been another subject you’ve often spoken of. How do you feel the music industry is progressing, or regressing as the case may be, in both regards?

KF: Some are learning for the better. Egos are not wanted nor needed. Working together makes things run so much easier. Respect is earned not given. And looking out for a brother or sister makes it that much easier to get there!

MAF: How is your health these days?

KF: It's good. The blood clots have been addressed and I'm rocking and rolling. Thanks for asking, hope you are in good health as well.

MAF: You once spoke of running five to seven miles per day despite having only having 1.5 functioning lungs. What is your current regimen for maintaining your health and what inspires you to keep it up?

KF: Well I'd like to run that much these days. Sadly i don't run much. A lot of fast walking! I try to get out and play hoops about 3 to 4 times a week as well. Weather is better now so that's easier to do. I keep moving in general. I try to limit my 'crap' food intake and try to get proper rest nightly. I'm not much of a sleeper though!

MAF: What is the status of your ability to play drums and/or assume duties as front man of Deceased?

KF: Well in studio I can do it. We can work it in and work around physical issues if they occur. I wouldn't even push it live. With my nerve damage from my 2004 stroke on my left side it could be a terrible mess to play live drums. Sometimes I'm fine and other times not up to par. I’m very happy just screaming for the band now. I’m upfront, in the crowds faces and having the time of my life!

MAF: One thing that can definitely be said, in both a literal and figurative sense, is that King Fowley is a true survivor. When you think of all the things you’ve been through, health wise and in terms of your lengthy experience in the music business, what thoughts immediately come to mind?

KF: Dedication! I'm in this for life! It's not a flash in the pan or 'hobby' to me. Music is my life. My family and friends go hand and hand with this stance. Life isn't always easy. We all have our issues, some more than others. It's those that get up and keep on keeping on that inspire me. Never lose the edge, ever!

MAF: A mark of Deceased’s style has always been the colorful, horror-themed lyrical narrative. What do you believe your strengths and weaknesses as a writer are?

KF: I find myself lyrically improving all the time, which I'm very excited about. I'm also very happy to see the band musically getting better too and not stagnating or regressing. My strength is song arrangements. I do them all for the band. I want parts to be memorable yet not lose that 'edge' to what our sound is. A weakness is I tend to never feel a song is 'complete' lyrically. The tale is written but I feel things are left out a lot of the time. I have to learn to let some of it be left to interpretation.

MAF: Who are some other lyricists, or writers outside of metal, you look up to and what about their style makes you admire them?

KF: I love any lyrics that fit the music. It could be something as simple as a Paul Stanley written Kiss tune or as complex as say a 'dimension hatross' oddity. I love a good song most of all.

MAF: What have you learned from running your own labels over the years?

KF: That it's good to answer to yourself. I know what to expect and how to get things done. I'm impatient when it comes to work. I expect things done now! That's how I do it and expect the same.

MAF: What lessons from your wide range of experiences have you tried to impart to your son?

KF: Drugs suck! Life is full of ups and downs. To be your own person. Be a leader not a follower.

MAF: From 2000 until 2011, there has only been one year without a Deceased release. How have you managed to stay so prolific for such a long period of time?

KF: Luck! We've had so much material that built up and with good friends that run labels asking to release stuff it's been fun to go in a pick things out and get demos out or live shows or outtakes. It's a blessing that people actually buy ‘em all up too!

MAF: Punk music has also played a big part in your life and music career. What are your opinions on the modern state of the old school D.I.Y. attitude of the old days of the punk and metal scenes?

KF: Punk is fun and exciting. The turn it on turn it up let it fly attitude is great! D.I.Y. is cool when done for just that. Some 'labeled' it that and really put themselves into it for a quick fix of so-called respect. There's con men in everything as well as good people too. You gotta keep your eyes open and know the difference. Keeping costs down and fun high is what it's all about to me!

MAF: What are your plans for Deceased for the future in regard to touring?

KF: We'll gig about 10 to 15 shows this year. Not much sore sadly. Last year was our 25th anniversary and we toured a lot in the U.S. Now work schedules have caught up and we're on a limited run. We're planning a lot more in 2012 when time is again built up. Overseas has to take top priority then! It's long past time to bring the graves over the water!

MAF: What would you like the legacy of Deceased to be?

KF: Sincerity, honesty, dedication! A batch of tunes and shows that kept the smile happy!

Cheers and thanks for the interview and support! Take care of yourself and up the tombstones!

-King