Interviewed by Dave Palmer
Looking to the bands in today's market who are carrying the torch of metal music, you would have to include Chicago based Bludgeon. The band has some old school influences with a few minor new influences, and as the name portrays, it's bludgeoning. I like to compare this band to earlier 90's era Slayer in many ways. The intensity and sound are similar, but not so much to the point of being clones. The band all about a heavy thrashy metal sound and alot of attitude. I took the opportunity to chat with Mark Duca, guitarist and vocalist of Bludgeon to offer you a bit of inside in this band. I do hope you enjoy!
Heavy Metal Resource: Hello Mark, thanks for taking the time to chat. Lets get started off with an introduction to the band for those who may be unaware at this point.
Mark Duca: Bludgeon started way back in 1993. I got together with some friends. I got Chewie first and then Eric and we had a different guitarist named Tim. We made some demo cd's and Joey got ahold of these. I believe it was in '99 or somewhere around that time. We worked out a deal to make 'Crucify the Priest'. The guitarist at the time had a wife and family and decided to stay back. That is about the time we got Carlos. We then put out 'Crucify the Priest' in 2002 and went out on tour. We put out a DVD in between there. For the new album, we got a couple of new guys because some of the guys decided they weren't into it anymore. They just wanted to pursue other things. We got two new guys, CS and Blaze and that's where 'World Controlled' is coming out.
H.M.R. : Now I believe that 'World Controlled' is set for release in July at this point isn't it?
Mark : Yeah, I think it's coming like July 18th or something like that.
H.M.R. : That took a street date bump didn't it?
Mark: Yeah, it did take a little bump. I think it was actually suppose to be June 27th. There was some printing error or something like that that cause it to be bumped. If you look at the back of the cd, there were some problems with the track listing versus what was listed for the cd. I don't know if any got out to the public, it could have just been the press copies. I just can't tell you for sure on that.
H.M.R. : Hmmm, that's interesting. I guess that would definitely explain the bump then. I was kind of curious about something I read. It goes back to 'Crucify the Priest' and the Metal Blade involvement. I guess that album was being distributed through Metal Blade and Brian Slagel. With this release being issued through Joey Demaio's label Magic Circle Music, will there be any Metal Blade involvement this time?
Mark: Not this time. That was just 'Crucify the Priest'. SPV will be doing the distribution this time for 'World Controlled'.
H.M.R. : Speaking of the distribution, how far out will this album be getting out market-wise?
Mark: I think it's gonna be about everywhere. One of the reasons we switched to SPV was because they have a wider range and more distribution. That's pretty much what I was told. That's the only thing I want, I want it to be distributed more. We just need to get out there.
H.M.R. : I wanted to get into the Manowar connection a bit. How did you meet Joey and the band?
Mark: Well, when we made that demo cd, a friend of ours also has a local radio station around Chicago, heard he was looking for a band and he presented a couple of cd's to them. One day out of the blue, Joey called us up and said he was starting a record company and wanted us to be the first band signed. He flew out to Chicago and watched us jam in our living room. Not even a week later, he brought by Brian Slagel. That's pretty much how the ball started rolling. It was crazy, but for us it was great. I was glad to be on Metal Blade and Magic Circle Music because alot of our favorite bands are on those.
H.M.R. : I definitely feel that it would be a big compliment being signed to Joey Dimaio's Magic Circle Music label first. That was really cool.
Mark: Yeah, for us it was a bit overwhelming having them sit in our living room, we were just so glad. They didn't want to change us which was good about it. You get these bigger companies that say 'wear this, and do this', but this is really what we are... take it or leave it. That was what was good about it.
H.M.R. : That was really what Manowar was about anyway, doing it their way. That doesn't really come as a surprise to me. That really is a good thing. I have to telly you up front that I was introduced to the band with your new record 'World Controlled'. I have really never heard 'Crucify the Priest'. What would you say differs if anything between the two releases?
Mark: 'Crucify the Priest' was more like seven to ten years in the making of all of that aggression and frustration and death metal oriented. 'World Controlled' came together in a year and a half. It was a different time in my life, different events. I just wanted to do something different, not so much a death metal, but maybe scream and yell a little more. Maybe just try to change it up a little. When we do perform live, you get a little bit of everything, not just one thing. It is more rounded.
H.M.R. : With the name of your band, you are definitely gonna get some preconceived notions, but I found the album had a very metallic edge to it. It is definitely heavy which the fans will expect, but nothing is really overdone. There is a fair amount of flash in places, but it never goes overboard.
Mark: Exactly, we wanted to keep it more simple, still heavy, still gonna pound ya. It's not so much grind beats and speed. It's less technical and more feeling. I just wanted to do something a little different.
H.M.R. : After listening to this record, I was curious about who you listened to early on that influenced your writing and sound.
Mark: I really listen to everything. Zeppelin, Sabbath, Yes, The Who, I listened to AC/DC, Slayer, and Testament. I do have to say that if it wasn't for Testament's 'The Legacy', I probably would have never picked up guitar. At first it was Slayer and Dave Lombardo and Metallica that really started to make me want to make some music, I wanna play the drums. After I heard that 'Legacy' album I decided that I wanted to play guitar. I started way back in 1983 or 1984 and it wasn't until 1989 or 1990 that I decided that I wanted to buy a guitar and start playing. There are just so many bands, Exodus...I could just go on forever..Slipknot and System of a Down, I really listen to everything. I don't listen to Rap music or Country though. Maybe here and there I will hear I song I like, but I am just mainly into heavy Rock 'n' Roll.
H.M.R. : So if someone came up to you and had not heard Bludgeon, who would you tell them you sound like?
Mark: Hmmm, I really don't like to compare myself to anyone, but I've heard everything from Phil Anselmo to Henry Rollins to DRI. I've heard Slayer. I had one guy write a review and say if there wasn't Slayer we would have nothing to play, but since I love Slayer, I automatically love you. I just really don't compare myself to anyone. I just would rather be myself. I don't aim to sound like anyone. When I try to write, I pretty much don't listen to anything the whole time while I am writing just so I don't get influenced by anyone.
H.M.R. : If I was to mention someone, I would probably say Slayer, maybe 'Divine Intervention' era in sound a bit.
Mark: Well, I'm a diehard Slayer fan. I'll always say my favorite album is 'Reign in Blood' along with everybody else's. They have alot of great albums. There's just something about that album. I just love those songs. It's just like that Testament 'Legacy' album. That album changed me from drums to guitar.
H.M.R. : Yeah that was a really good album. I am definitely an old school thrash guy myself. I loved all of that old school stuff as well. I wanted to ask you about the album title 'World Controlled' and how it relates to the cover artwork. If it does that is.
Mark: Well, it's like a rebirth. Like a new world, that's what the children signify. Being kind of an angel being. The songs on the album all have some sort of control in them. When I was writing the album, that's kind of how I was feeling. People are like you should do this or you should do it like that. There's just too many people trying to control what I wanted to do and that's why the title came out. I still did what I wanted to do. That whole concept. You look around today while you are driving down the street and you have lights at intersections with camera's on them taking pictures if you cross through a yellow light. You know it's just a matter of time before they start sending you tickets in the mail if you cross from point A to point B in too fast of a time.
H.M.R. : They have already done stuff like that. That was going on in Salt Lake awhile back.
Mark: That's what I am talking about. Even with what we listen to on the radio. One day you'll be listening to a rock station and then, without warning, it's an oldies station. What the hell happened to the station? Nobody even said anything about it. They play what they want you to hear. Society wants to force feed you music, what they want you to listen to.
H.M.R. : There's nothing worse than corporate radio. Don't even get me started, we don't have enough time.
Mark: Exactly, it's the worst.
H.M.R. : The album will be out in July as we mentioned which takes us into the Summer touring schedule. What are you lining up at this point?
Mark: We're going to try to do some festivals in the Summer over in Europe. There's always so many people at a festival, you can get a wider audience at one time and then try to get on some existing tours in the U.S. and in Europe. That's pretty much what we are working on now. We're all itching to get out there and play. We're ready to go.
H.M.R. : Those festivals are really cool over there.
Mark: They are just like Ozzfest, but there are more of them. It's a little different. Over here we have some great metal bands and they also have great bands over there, they are just a bit more liberal over there.
H.M.R. : If you could share the stage with any band right now, who would you pick?
Mark: There's no question, it would be Slayer.
H.M.R. : There's no doubt that you both would match up pretty well. I really think that if anyone is into Slayer, they will more than likely like your music.
Mark: Oh definitely. That really is a band I would love to tour with. I would also really love to tour with Testament. A Slayer/Testament/Exodus/Bludgeon tour would be my ultimate tour. Metallica would have been in there too, but they kind of strayed off of the path.
H.M.R. : At this point in the interview I don't really have alot else. I will just let you mention anything that you would like that we may have missed.
Mark: I just want to say, come to the show and you will be bludgeoned. Get your necks well rested!
H.M.R. : Ok, I do appreciate it Mark. Good luck with the record!
Mark: Ok thanks!
More info: Watch for 'World Controlled' July '06