One thing we’ve been talking about doing since starting the blog is interviewing Eareckson Murray. Well, ladies and gents, the man who once supported every band and then joined every band has spoken. Here’s what he had to say when we caught up with him:
The Metal: Name the first band you were ever a part of and what kind of music was it?
Eareckson Murray: The first metal band I was in was a band called Coven (not the 1960s one of course). I was just a young 18 year old with a 35 year old co worker who was in a Black Sabbath sounding metal band that needed a singer. It was exciting to finally get into a metal band. I was doing clean vocals. They were all older, so they were just doing it for fun, while I was talking about getting signed to Metal Blade Records and touring the world with them. We played 3 shows in 3 years, so I had to move on. I think the only person who may remember this is Mike Deitzman.
The Metal: How long have you been involved in WNY music scene and what first inspired you to get so heavily involved?
EM: As soon as I started working and driving at age 18 I was going to national shows that would come to the area. I did go to Showplace for a lot of local shows (even though most weren’t up my alley), but The Icon was my first favorite venue. I think my first metal show there was Soilwork, Dark Tranquility, Hypocrisy, and an opener I forget. After being told about local bands I signed up on wnymusic.com and followed their show listings and tried to get to as many as possible. I had tried to start a band since I was 16 (that’s when my sister Kristina inspired me to play guitar, forever indebted to her for that, and my father for teaching me the basics of playing guitar chords.) I enjoyed the live energy of the bands playing, many many local shows from the Showplace to Hell at the Hall, either at the Eldridge Bike Club or the Stephen Sikora Post, both before and during Madd Dogg’s time there.
Many people remember The Funeral Home fondly. I loved that place just as much as many others in the area and appreciate the time it was here, many thanks to Glenn Szymanski and Clint Carr for everything they did there. No DIY spot lasts forever. When it shut down in the spring of 2013, I knew that it was the only DIY spot that let metal shows be booked there. I wanted to provide a place where metal shows could take place on the smaller scale, something to give back to the WNY music scene that had treated me so well in the previous few years. For those not in the know, basement and house shows are a very punk concept, so I owe the punk scene a huge amount of gratitude for inspiring me to proceed with my own basement venue. My basis for living where I do is that my landlords are 100% OK and supportive of running a DIY spot for touring bands to come through. Thus, The Lair was born. It is by no means a replacement for The Funeral Home, but rather, a place where touring metal bands have a spot to play if they need it in a more intimate atmosphere.
The Metal: You help a lot of out of town bands who pass through the area. Name a few that have really stuck out to you that you think people should be checking out.
EM: CAVERN. They played The Lair in Autumn 2014 and I had them back for my birthday show this past year, they’re my favorite unsigned band I’ve seen.
So Hideous (Brooklyn post-black hardcore), Sewercide (Australian death metal), War Master (Texas Bolt Thrower worship), IDNS (Toronto crust), Thunderforge (Massachusetts Power Metal), Forever Autumn (Acoustic Doom folk), Ruined (Michigan, 2 piece heavy shoegaze)
That’s just a few but there’s been so many, so start with those.
The Metal: What metal bands did you listen to growing up? Who got you into metal in the first place?
EM: I wanted something different from the normal Korn/Nirvana/90s alternative music I was listening to. I originally wanted to get into hair metal, because I knew it was different and wild (even though what I wanted was much different), so I picked up Iron Maiden’s Number of the Beast (they had long hair, what do you want from me?) and fell in love with it. I started on Iron Maiden, Helloween, Def Leppard (High and Dry album only, but that one is GREAT and anyone who wants some badass rock n noll/British metal should DEFINITELY give it a listen.) I eventually got turned onto more aggressive music- Venom, Mercyful Fate, King Diamond, Kreator (my favorite live band ever), Slayer, etc.
The Metal: Talk about your current musical projects a bit and let us know about upcoming releases, tours, etc we should be looking forward to.
EM: Cain – I play guitar and do vocals; we’re a three piece death/thrash band that is very aggressive. I think of us as either a very fast death metal band or an extremely heavy thrash metal band. Either way I feel we fit on bills of either genres. Cain is preparing to record our second full length before the year’s end. The songwriting is definitely different than the songs on the debut album, with influences everywhere from Rush to Voivod to Zoroaster. It’s the longest running project I’ve ever been in, with the help of my bandmates Bryant (drums and vocals) and Zack (bass and vocals). We’ve done 3 tours each 9+ days since 2012.
Arcaenium – I play drums. Born of the ashes of Throne of Wilderness (RIP), myself, Josh Mason (Nazgul), Jason Roman (Sertraline, Enthauptung, Rustworm), and James Hallenbeck (Nazgul), wanted to continue to work together. We got vocalist Cameron McClung from Nazgul to sing. We are a hybrid of power and folk metal. We are working on our debut EP to release this fall.
Rebel Scum – I play drums. Consisting of myself, Zack (Cain), Kenny (ex-Theatre Nocturne), and Brandon (HUNS), we play a very aggressive, sleazy rock n roll style of metal. Songs about getting laid and living life on the edge. We’re very in your face and our songs are hard hitting and easy to mosh/rock out to. We will be releasing our debut album very soon.
The Metal: Who were some of your favorite local bands when you first started coming out to shows?
EM: The first bands I was told about locally were Herod and Fireborn. Sunday May 30th, 2005, I went to the Icon to catch a local show, getting there late, but I saw Where She Wept’s last two songs. I liked what I heard so I picked up a burned copy of The Erotic Portrait EP for $2. Then Fireborn headlined, and Scott’s guitar work was stellar. I saw every Fireborn show I could that year. I managed to catch Herod at Broadway Joe’s, I wore my fresh Megadeth tour shirt I picked up a few weeks before, and a couple of the guys (Greg and Jesse I believe) came up and talked to me about Megadeth and what bands I listen to. I was really into Herod’s sound at the time. That was the Jason Russo, Jesse Benker, Greg DiPasquale, Matt Backlas, Mike Jeffers lineup- total Maiden/Priest worship.
Then, soon after came all the heavier locals- Confirmed Kill (later Seize the Soul), The Red Silence (later Theurgist), Beyond Death (freshly resurrected), Pyrolixious (total babes), SyxSycSycos (as the five piece lineup, never got to see The Sycos). I also enjoyed Industrial music quite a lot. I went to see City of God, PrayingForOblivion, plus others that escape me right now.
The Metal: Name a few non metal bands/artists you listen to.
EM: BT, Gary Numan, KMFDM, Royksopp. I do love myself some electronic music of all sorts. In the punk vein, I like bands such as GBH, Broken Bones, Discharge. That ’80s English punk is my go to.
The Metal: Any other bands we can expect from you that are still on the drawing board?
EM: Not at the moment, I’ve had to turn down a few requests to play drums because my three active bands take up so much of my time as is.
The Metal: What are your thoughts on physical copies of music? Do you prefer it to downloads or does it depend on the band? Indifferent?
EM: I was into collecting vinyl up until about a year ago. I’m hardly ever home for long times where I’m not sleeping, so I don’t have time. I appreciate the vinyl (Cain’s debut is on vinyl), but I still pop in CDs into my Walmart CD player that goes into my aux jack out from a small Bluetooth speaker in my van. That’s how you get around paying a hundred plus dollars to fix your stereo. I still buy CDs on the regular. I’d rather have the physical copy myself.
Shoutout to MUSIC MATTERS, the best record store on the planet!
The Metal: Cain does a lot of touring. What would be your dream Cain tour package?
EM: Slayer, Vektor, Cain, Cavern.
As is usually the case, there’s a lot more to talk about, but this is where we left things off for now. We’d like to do an in-person live video or even just another sit down to lead into another interview article with Eareckson very soon. But for now, this is where things will sit. Looks like you’ve got some new bands to check out! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more!