A lot of people in the Buffalo and Rochester metal community know of Doug White at Watchmen Studios in Lockport, NY. Doug has recorded the majority of memorable metal, hardcore, and punk bands to come out of the WNY area since 1995. But what the vast majority don’t know about are Doug’s various sludgy/crushing/breakdown-laden bands designed to flatten your skull via blaringly heavy guitar tones.
Matt Tharp was the vocalist for two of Doug’s most noteworthy original musical offerings of the last 20 years or so: Fledgling Death and Circus Grenade. If you’re still scratching your head, then perhaps Matt can sell you on how bombastic these songs are, and how fun the shows were back in the bands’ heyday…
1. What have you been up to musically lately, if anything? I know you’re super busy with your job and you travel a lot, but we’re all wondering if you’ve been churning out any tunes with anyone lately.
I am not traveling much anymore. Pretty grounded these days. But I am working on a new project called ZUUL.
2. I think most of our readers will know you best from Circus Grenade (sludgy breakdowns from Lockport, NY feat. Doug White of Watchmen Studios). Any hope of a reunion or at least another single from CG?
We never broke up, so technically we are still active. We actually collaborated on a new song about 5 months ago.
3. Talk about the bands that first got you into aggressive music when you were younger. What or who made you decide you wanted to be a vocalist?
The Rochester bands PIGMASTER/LETHARGY/FLEDGLING DEATH was the leading influence for me to want to produce heavy vocals. Being asked to do vocals in FLEDGLING DEATH was the turning point for me though.
4. Whatever happened to The Lucifer Device?
The Lucifer Device still exists in concept. We have not done much lately due to scheduling and other bands.
5. Give us your “scene history” if you will. Talk about any and all projects you’ve ever been involved with that you’re willing to discuss, in chronological order.
I mean, really…..Fledgling Death, Circus Grenade, The Lucifer Device are my Majors. But as a young kid I was in Section 8 (Drums) and Ghost (Vocals) and that really was the connection to Doug White. We would record with him as kids, and he brought us into the Buffalo underground.
Section/ 8 97-04
Fledgling Death/ 98-
Circus Grenade/ Current
The Red Devil Report/ Do Not recall lol
The Lucifer Device/ Current
6. Looking back on all the bands you’ve been in, list off some of the songs you’re most proud of having contributed to and what made those songs so special.
The Lucifer Device Digital Satan is my most proud moment. As far as writing goes, that whole album in my mind is a masterpiece. What made it most special was the team I have for that project. Just the best musicians I have ever worked with:
Matthew Westphal ( Magoozler)
Mike Nitro (The Nitro Effect)
Rick Smith ( Gutted Alive)
7. Give us your most memorable show experiences with Circus Grenade or any other band you’ve fronted. These could be local shows or road shows. What made these gigs so special?
The most memorable show experience with Circus Grenade would be…….All of them. Joe, Doug, Phil are just the dopest dudes. Every show we put in 100% never knowing if it would happen again or not.
8. What are your favorite Buffalo and Rochester venues?
The Funeral Home (hands down favorite)
Montage Music Hall
9. Who are your favorite bands out of WNY? These could be disbanded bands or current bands.
Anthropic really stands out, super broootal. RIP Brian! But my all time favorite right now is Gutted Alive. As far as past bands, we may need a separate interview to go through them all. It will take days.
10. A lot of tours have been announced recently. What shows are you really excited to attend in the future?
Pantera at Darian for sure. Also looking forward to Northlane in Buffalo soon. But, I mostly keep an eye out for brutal local shows.