- Hello, Robert! Let's come back to those days when you were still a young metal-head. Could you remember what was your local underground like? What were the first metal bands around that you remember? Was it Rotting Corpse, huh?
- I'm originally from San Antonio, TX and moved to Dallas when I was 13. The scene was just starting to take off when I moved. I grew up on the basics like Slayer, Metallica, Anthrax, S.O.D, D.R.I, Cryptic Slaughter etc....In Dallas, the well known local bands were Sedition, Gammacide, Morbid Scream, Gruesome Fate, Rotting Corpse, Embalmed, Interment, Torment Defined, Prophecy and of course CRUCIFIX.
- Alright, tell us about your first band, Anarchic Destruction. Who initiated to start this band? What was the original line-up?
- I started Anarchic Destruction in 1987 right out of high school with two brothers. Mark Rodriguez on guitar and Gus Rodriguez on drums. I played bass and did vocals. Two tears later, I was asked to join CRUCIFIX.
- Somewhere in 1989 you released your first demo. Tell us, where did you record it? Did it have any artwork? How many copies did you distribute?
- We recorded the A.D demos at Reel Works Studios in Garland, TX. The first 5 songs were done in 1988 and the next 5 were done in 1989. Artwork, pictures (in song videos) can be found on YouTube. We recently did a 28 year reunion show on August 8, 2015 and are no longer jamming as a band. You'll find a video of one of our songs from the show on my Anarchic Destruction page on Facebook.
- Actually, about the tape trading. How involved was the band in it? Did you do the correspondence with other bands?
- I did ALL the tape trading and correspondence with other bands, zines and fans. I wish I would've utilized the internet back then. Who knows what could have become of us if communication was faster....CRUCIFIX got mail from all over the world...except Africa. LOL
- The first Crucifix demo was released in 1991. Tell us about this tape, where did you record it?
- We recorded it at Reel Works Studios. The first song on it, "The Beast Within" was the first song I wrote for the band. It's a 4 song demo from when we were still in our thrash days. Our logo was different too.
- There is an unclear information, that before "Barriers" you also released some other material. If it's true, could you please clarify what kind of records those were?
- There was nothing recorded before "Barriers"...unless you count the 4 song demo that was out BEFORE I even joined the band and recorded the 1991 demo...and that wasn't even thrash. LOL
- So, "Barriers" demo. Recorded at Sound Logic Studio in 1992, this tape showed the real power of your music. What do you remember about the recording sessions? How long did it take you to lay everything down?
- I believe that recording cost us $700 and we we were in and out of the studio in 3 days. I wrote "Vaporized" and "Devious Conceptions".
- By the way, Kelly Smith replaced Clayton Humphries on bass, why did Clayton leave Crucifix? Was it easy to find a replacement for him?
- Kelly Smith quit for personal reasons and Kelly Smith was already a friend of the bands and played too so the transition was quite easy thankfully. However, I had to do BOTH (bass/vocals) for a major bill that we were on as opening act with Morbid Angel, Entombed, & Unleashed. It went quite well.
- The opening track starts with some nice orchestral stings, and you invited 4 people to perform it. How did you come up with that idea? Wasn't it easier to just use some samples? And who wrote that part?
- The main riff is from our lead guitarist, Mark Bagwell. Our manager at the time was also in the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and he recruited a few of his friends to accompany him as well for the intro piece. The band contributed with some minor details such as build ups, fade ins, etc...and cymbal work and percussion. That is a TRUE CRUCIFIX composition and no one else. Sure, we could've got a sample of something but we wanted to write our OWN intro and not take or borrow anything from anyone. I think it was beautifully done.
- Who was in charge of the cover? Is it some kind of cells on it? How could you interpret it?
- The artwork was our rhythm guitarist, Jeff Ross', idea. He got it out of some medical journal and it's depicting neurons in the brain. We liked it because it was colorful and different from the expected morbid cover you would expect from most Death Metal bands in 1992. Our drummer, Robin Kennon, has said that "Barriers" was our "Reign In Blood" (Slayer), so to speak, because everyone STILL talks about it. It's inevitable that it will come up if you're talking about CRUCIFIX.
- How often did you play live? Do you remember any important for you concerts? On your Facebook page I found one interesting flyer, where you played with Morbid Angel, Entombed and Unleashed. What do you remember about that one?
- We usually played at least once a month. That Morbid Angel show was my first show as bassist AND vocals for CRUCIFIX! I was nervous as hell but did alright for one month of preparation time. We've also played with Grave, Napalm Death, Internal Bleeding, Dead Horse, Incantation and Cannibal Corpse a couple of times.
- Later on, in 1993, you signed to JL America for a full-length, but it never saw the light of day. Why? What happened? Did the band split-up?
- The label went bankrupt and we never finished the full length because we ran out of money. That's "Barriers" ended up being a 5 song e.p instead of a 9 song full length release. We eventually released the other 4 songs that were supposed to be on "Barriers" in 2014 ("Remains") with Dark Blasphemies Records (Spain).
- Somewhere in 2002 there was an interesting split CD, with Suffocation and Pyrexia. What do you know about this edition?
- That was a bootleg produced by someone from Mexico. We never received any money for it, nor did the other bands, but what an honor to be included with those two bands. Pyrexia and Suffocation are friends of ours. \m/
- What was happening within the band until 2013, when Dark Blasphemies Records released your compilation? Am I correct that the title of this CD, "Visions of Nihilism", was originally supposed to be the one for your debut album, wasn't it?
- Yes, you are correct, kinda. LOL . The first 2 songs on our 2013 compilation with Dark Blasphemies Records (Spain) were supposed to be part of "Visions Of Nihilism" along with other material that we wrote in 1995 (which was lost or destroyed). Since it never came to be, I thought it would be appropriate to give the compilation the title of "Visions..." On March 23rd, 1995, CRUCIFIX played it's last show. We wanted to experiment with other styles of music, since were fans of so many genres. At the height of our popularity, we changed into PRIMITIVECHO and later to LIMBIC NETWERK. Both projects can be found on youtube. There were talks about a CRUCIFIX reunion but sadly, it will not happen. These days, I'm playing bass and doing vocals as well for TORMENT DEFINED. I recorded 2 new songs with them in 2013 that can be heard on youtube along with video. "Majesty Of Infernal Hordes" was the first song I musically and lyrically wrote for the band and "The Arid Thirst Of Vultures" was my next lyrical contribution. I made all the videos too for anything I've been involved in (if a video is included with song).
- The remastered songs sound terrific! Who was in charge of it? Did you monitor the whole process? Tell us about the whole concept of this release. Do you consider it as your full-length?
- David Garcia of Dark Blasphemies Records (Spain) expressed interest in our work and wanted to re release it on his new label. It's because of him that we were finally able to get this on CD, YouTube, etc...to be immortalized. Lot's of people are grateful for the new edition because a lot of them wore out their cassette tapes! LOL We just sent him the masters and put our trust in him and it really turned out superb!! He's a fan of Texas Death Metal as he also has EMBALMED and INTERMENT on his roster as well.
- And in 2014 you released another EP, "Remains". Tell us about this one. Was the whole material new? Where did you record it?
- We found the material we recorded in 1993 AFTER "Visions...." was already released and gave David Garcia first option once again and he gladly released it as well. He has A LOT of good music on his label so check it out. All CRUCIFIX material was recorded at Sound Logic Studios in Garland, TX by Tim "Chopper" Grugle.
- You also included "War Machine", Kiss Cover. How can you comment on such a choice? And how could you compare this cover to the one that Six Feet Under did?
- JL America Records (now defunct) was doing a KISS tribute album using bands on the label. We said, what the hell, were not paying for it. LOL We wanted to do "God Of Thunder" but someone else had already picked that one. So we settled on "War Machine". We were the only band on that compilation that didn't speed up the song we were covering, like the others did. Instead, we flipped the script and were the SLOWEST band on that cd but also the best sounding and best contribution for that particular project. I've heard Amon Amarth and Six Feet Under as well do a version of it. Many others have attempted to create a version but I think were right up there with them in the top 3 of versions of that song in my opinion. (But Gene Simmons can suck it! LOL)
- Was it your last record? What is your current state? Is there still any chance for more stuff from you?
- These days, I'm playing bass and doing vocals as well for TORMENT DEFINED. I recorded 2 new songs with them in 2013 that can be heard on youtube along with video. "Majesty Of Infernal Hordes" was the first song I musically and lyrically wrote for the band and "The Arid Thirst Of Vultures" was my next lyrical contribution. I made all the videos too for anything I've been involved in (if a video is included with song). We'll be playing live again in September 2016 and hopefully putting some new material out too because I'm STILL always writing heavy shit to this day!! I also have a little side project with a couple of friends I work with called FAITH IN VILLAINS that's not Death Metal but pretty heavy cool nonetheless and is also on youtube.
- Thank you for this interview, Robert. Would you like to add anything in the end?
- Thanks for the interest in CRUCIFIX and to David Garcia of DBR and anyone in the world that may be reading this...THANK YOU!! I also encourage everyone to look up my other projects as well on YouTube (which feature CRUCIFIX members) to appreciate the diversity I produced with some unique individuals...my brothers for life. (CRUCIFIX, PRIMITIVECHO, LIMBIC NETWERK)
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