Scar Culture

Interviews | Nov 30th, 1998

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You were once Scrape, now it’s Scar Culture. Why the change? Are you Toni Davidson fans?
Pheroze: The name change happened for several reasons. The primary one being that the metal band sKrape (or “Scrape with a K” as some enjoy saying) came out on RCA Records before we had even finalized our contract with Century Media. All of a sudden we started getting emails from people saying, “Hey! We heard you on K-Rock and you guys are even heavier than Papa Roach!” And people started going onto napster to download some “Scrape with a K” songs, and ended up with some of our old demo stuff instead of some slick metal. Our old bass player even went to a Pantera show because he saw that Skrape was playing and thought it was us!!! On top of that, Century Media was after us to change our name because they felt it was too generic for us. We were stubborn at first but once “sKrape” came out, we just decided to go on ahead and do it. As for Toni Davidson, bravo because I think this is the only interview I’ve ever done where someone has caught where our name came from. I love that book, it’s insanely disturbing. So the meaning behind the book and especially the quote he uses from Rex Otto’s The Maelstrom of Memory (“Scars are created within and without, a culture of scars cultivated in petri dishes, welded onto our skins and etched undeniably into our minds”), definitely did a close job of summing up a good portion of the essence of the lyrical matter in my eyes.

Frank: What he said….. who’s Toni Davidson?

What is death metal’s role in today’s music and culture? Do you think that “death” metal being “dead” in America is ironic?
John: I think that a lot of people would dig death metal if only they were exposed to it. People that dig the groove of Korn or whatever metal bands are out there could perhaps dig Dying Fetus; Iron Maiden folk might like Shadows Fall; and then you have a band like Slipknot. If I’m not mistaken, some of the guys were in death metal bands before Slipknot which would explain why some of the hooks on Iowa sound a bit like Gorgasm. Lately there have been some bands trying to break death metal through to a larger audience like Slayer and Pantera taking Morbid Angel on the road, or Tool bringing Meshuggah to open arena dates. Does death metal have a role in today’s music? Absolutely. In today’s culture? Not the mainstream, but that’s ok. The mainstream always bends but the underground remain constant. As far as death metal being dead? I don’t think it’s dead so much as it’s ignored by popular society. If it was dead there wouldn’t be a Shadows Fall, God Forbid, Internal Bleeding, Macabre, Soilent Green, Skinless… or Scar Culture.

Frank: Role? Hmmmm. If it has a role it would be to break our dumbfounded, drool-ridden gaze from MTV. It would be “ignant” to call death metal “dead,” considering that it’s always been an underground thing.

Scar Culture has been described as blistering, raw ass, and fucking brutal. Do you ever wish to be described in more gentle adjectives, like warm, comforting, or fuzzy? How do you describe yourselves?
Pheroze: Raw ass? I’ve never heard that one! And I certainly wouldn’t describe my ass as raw except after a good caning! Whoops! I enjoy adjectives such as “fuzzy” and “warm” because I am fuzzy and warm. I’m a fucking hairy bastard, so fuzzy and warm comes naturally to me and to all who touch me. Apart from that I would describe us all as “Fine human specimens,” “Slippery when wet,” and “Too hot to handle, too cold to hold, ya call the Ghostbusters ’cause they’re in control.”

Frank: “Vomit inducing” would be nice. It’s abrasive, disgusting and foul, but when it’s all over you’re glad you did it.

What is the most adrenaline-pumping experience that your band survived?
Pheroze: I think for me it was when we played the Milwaukee fest a couple of years ago. At that time we had another bass player who was, to put it simply, a behemoth, and it was the night before we were leaving to go home, and we were all sound asleep. All of a sudden at about 5 in the morning, I woke up to my bass player’s voice yelling, “Pherooooooooze!!!!” I jumped up startled out of my mind and looked around. John and Duke woke up too wondering what the hell was going on. I was confused and thought that some kind of emergency had happened. So I kept asking him what was wrong… And all I heard was him snore…loudly, very loudly. Richter scale loudly. So, yeah, having your old scary bass player having dreams about you at night and screaming out your name in the middle of them definitely freaked me out. That and the first time I saw a Manowar video…it was adrenaline pumping mania for me.
John: How can I possibly top that? A fat guy AND Manowar???
Frank: I was not that bass player, but I do hope to top that experience.

Who was your first crush growing up? Do you think she’d be into Scar Culture?
John: I dunno if Princess Leia would dig Scar Culture…

Pheroze: My first crush I believe was in the first grade. And I don’t remember her name. Maybe Amber? All I know is that during recess a bunch of us used to play a version of tag called “Kissy-Girl” where the girls would run around kissing the boys and then throw them in jail (kinda like real life). And then the other boys would have to come and set you free. Yup, and she kissed me. On the cheek, but hell it was something special then. I had the Winnie Cooper music from The Wonder Years playing in my head for days whenever I saw her. Would she like Scar Culture… Um, at this point I would say we use too much tongue for her.
Frank: Damn, that’s a long time ago. I must’ve been 10 or so. My mom was a dance teacher and after school I would go to meet her there until she was done. There was a girl named Stephanie, who was one of the top students there, that I guess would be considered my first crush. I think it was mutual but nothing ever happened….puppy love, awwww.

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