Interview: Tony F’n Lorenzo

Spring 2016 Corpse Collector/Tony Lorenzo interview by Mike Marlinski of WNY’s prime blog aptly called: The Metal.

 Mike Marlinski: “It’s been a while since Sons of Azrael now. You were shot and paralyzed from the waist down over the paper in your wallet on a random robbery in the fall of 2011. Since then, you’ve battled back to return to the metal scene and start playing out again. How much time did it take for you to finally pick up your guitar again?”

 Tony Lorenzo: Those are tough moments for me to visit from time to time. Which moments? All of the above. There’s no quick answer to this question but I’ll try to keep it under 3,000,000,000,000 words. Band wise, After Sons I had the privilege of jamming with some of my personal favorite of Buffalo’s most talented musicians. Vessel, Black Tongue and lastly, Ritual Quarantine were some of my favorite material since I left the first band I ever started back when I was 14 and finally TOTALLY NOT a virgin.. I’m talking about music here, you weirdos. Actually fuck it.. the reason that moment is forever burnt into my mind is because my 15th birthday weekend, lost my virginity, had my first practice in a garage, and met my best friend who I eventually started Sons with.

 To answer this I’ll have to get a bit personal but what the fuck ever. Let me Tarantino this answer if you don’t mind because I write the way I think. Picking up my guitar again to play ANY style of music was fucking dead to me for a long time. Anyone who actually knows the type of person that I am would not believe me that until recently, I gave up completely. A lot of pictures and videos taken while I was really sick a few years ago was all show. I was dying. I didn’t want to bring my personal bullshit into the spotlight because I believed then, I was over. I was extremely sick. I didn’t even have the strength to sit up long enough to even hold a guitar let alone shred on one…. why the fuck was I extremely sick? October 26th 2011 at 10:36 pm I was being rushed to ECMC with a gunshot wound through my right clavicle. That bullet was put there by some shakey fuckin’ low life goldbrickin’ amateur I’d never seen in my neighborhood before who made the decision FOR ME that my usual nightly routine of walking to the corner store for some smokes wasn’t ever going to happen again.

 Back in the ambulance as I tried to figure out what in the FUCK just happened, I couldn’t breathe, my right lung was punctured. I couldn’t feel my right arm and anything below that. I never thought that ambulance ride would be taking me to where I would be staying for the next 14 months of my life. Losing mymy ability to do most of what I loved most, the loss of my right arm and legs, my girlfriend, my best friend and finally, a deadly blood infection fighting its way to my heart. So, I did what anyone would do. I said “fuck it”…

 Light did try to shine it’s way through at moments. There was one night a few months later In January put together by Brian Pattison, one of the most caring and passionate dudes in the metal scene, who had only met me a few times and maybe talked in person once or twice.. who does this type of stuff for so many other thankful families. That guy has the biggest goddamn heart. He went all out and put together a January 2012 benefit show that brought a ton of incredible bands, one of them a legendary Buffalo band, Beyond Death with its original lineup ( which includes the closest man to a father I’ve ever had, Frank Lombardi ) Most of my friends and family were there to cheer me on and wish me the best. That night has always been on the back of my mind. In my darkest moments. In sometimes weeks of being helplessly stuck in bed.
 Four years after that .22 tore into my chest, through my lung and into my vertebrae, My arms were back, I had a clean bill of health, I’d moved on, grown as a man both mentally and physically given the situation I was in and surrounded myself with the right people in the right place and I hadn’t realized I forgot that fucked up October night for the very first time in four years. Fast forward a few months later and I end up picking up the axe again. “It’s like riding a bike”. Bull shit. Yea.. it took a lot of practice to get back to where I was and now moving onward with new techniques instead of staying “comfortable”.. The old saying I’ve always loved is “when a musician gets comfortable, that musician gets bored”… I’m not interested in boredom. I’m also not interested sitting around and doing NOTHING when all the signs were right in front of me. After a few no brainer “Tony you’re a fucking idiot for not playing and selling most of your sweet gear off” types of talks with numerous close friends of mine, I decided to take it seriously and work my ass off to get the right corpses together to create something brutal, heavy and most of all..  Fucking fun again.

 I’m looking forward to see old friends a lot more again, meeting a bunch of new friends and doing my best to support the same scene that supported me that night of my benefit and every single night I spent on a stage or floor in this town in ANY band I was ever a part of.

 Yeah, Mike; a long time.

 MM: “What can we expect from Corpse Collector, and have any other projects of yours come and gone that you think people should be checking out?

 TL: Death, D-Beat, Thrash, grind. Go ahead and toss us in a Metal sub genre if it makes people feel better but it’s hard to say that any one would fit the description. The Corpse Collector doesn’t feel like playing 20-40 minutes of the same style of metal. He just loves to toss as many riffs from the gigantic catalogue of metal that we all LOVE to listen to, tossed it into a blender, filled it up with riffs, add a little rotten meat, put it on high and just leave the room. Then come back in later and orchestrate it with his corpses until it’s gross enough that it’s music to his ears.

Tony’s projects, from Sons of Azrael, to present day metal:

Current band: Corpse Collector
MM: “I’m sure many people have helped you on your road to recovery. Is there a select group of people in particular you have to thank for how far you’ve come in reclaiming your life?”

 TL: This question warrants two books, a short story, online comic strip, movie deal, video game… fucking franchise, man. Let’s just say that, at the worst moments in my life, there’s always been certain family and friends who have gone beyond for me. In this situation, I’m surrounded by same of those same perfect people who always believed in me, reminded me I could still climb mountains, got me off my ass to get me going again in life, in mind and in shred and it feels pretty fuckin’ good to physically be able to get back into life for a change.

 MM: “The Seplophile show on May 7 is your first show in years…How excited are you about the gig?”

 TL: I am almost TOO excited. I’ve been in many bands but this is something completely different. It has always been and feels like a collective so the name is pretty spot on. 

 MM: “Did you always know you’d be returning with a death metal project, or was there a different approach in the beginning, pre Corpse Collector?”

 TL: Well if my first answer was a bit into the “tl;dr void” the quick answer is fuck no. I started this idea as a way to tap into myself and discover a persona to drive my need to develop a concept, reconnect with old players and meet new ones and with random luck we were able to do a literal from the ground up, starting in a dirty garage and turning way up, just like my birthday weekend exactly 15 years ago… I finally lost my virginity since then. For the set, we have included a few personal tributes but eventually by the fall we will have a full length of new material. It feels weird even typing that because that’s how fucking long it’s been since I’ve started something new this quickly and have the right pieces in place and I feel like May 7th to me is the “this is finally the right place, right time” moment I’ve been waiting for. Also, any musicians reading this and love metal or anything really and you can play ANYTHING, but tried, failed & down on the rails at starting a band or even jamming… Don’t give it up. Playing and writing with other people in a nice loud room and then sharing your art on stage for new people and friends is a feeling that I can easily tell you is an incredible feeling and that there’s pretty much NOTHING like it but.. you have to be there. You have to feel it to believe it.
 MM: “What bands currently active in the scene have you been digging on lately and who are you looking forward to seeing that you haven’t seen yet?”

TL: I’ve been very lucky to make it out to a slew of shows since my release from the hospital but a fuckin’ “slew” whilst going through rehab to regain strength, regain my playing arms and hands, moving my studio, and much much more, these days a fuckin “slew” is not the 2010 slew I was basically living my life by so MOST shows I’ve been able to catch are huge bands that I never get to see so unfortunately I haven’t been able to turn my attention to the local metal scene and what it has become over the past four years. 

 Since I started the new project I’ve made it out to a few local shows and I have actually noticed a few locals that fucking rule with some pretty cool people in em that I’d love to play shows with. Even if I weren’t playing again I foresee a pretty awesome 2016 for this area, for my friends in bands that are getting HUGE and for my friends who are either just beginning or are SOON going to be playing out as well.

 I’m happy to be among my peers again, seeing so many shows out there with interesting lineups, finding new local bands and of course the brothers and sisters who keep this fuckin’ thing worth giving another try!

-Tony Lorenzo

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