Axis Of Metal: So where to begin? I guess we’ll start at the obligatory beginning, how did you get into heavy metal, and what compelled you to run a fanzine [Chainsaw Abortions] and become so heavily rooted in the scene?
Brian Pattison: I’d say I got into metal because of my parents. I can remember being a real little kid and my parents would always be cranking tunes. My dad was largely an Elvis guy, but often jammed out to the Beatles, The Who, The Kinks, etc. Then in 1978 the first Van Halen album came out and my mom picked it up simply because of the track “Jamie’s Crying”. That was the real start though, hearing that album at a real young age. From there things just made the logical progression, always looking for heavier, faster…even though I didn’t realize it at first. The first couple of Twister Sister albums, Motorhead, Iron Maiden….then into Venom, Sacrifice, Slaughter, Slayer….etc.
I always loved music and once I discovered the local scene here in buffalo and the great local bands I wanted to tell others about it. The ‘zine was my way to spread the word about Buffalo bands and also to spread the word about international bands to people here. The ‘zine (and tape trading) was a great way to discover new bands back then in the pre-internet days.
AOM: Diving right in here, Glorious Times is simply a masterpiece. With praise coming from all over, and the story of all your plights throughout its course are staggering to say the least. So for our readers who aren’t in the know, could you enlighten them on the path to making Glorious times a reality? How did it start, and how it eventually grasped its life?
Brian Pattison: First, thanks! Always a pleasure to hear people tell us how much they enjoy Glorious Times.
The dawn of GT was about June of 2009. I had only just gotten back in touch with Alan Moses who did Buttface ‘zine out of Australia in the old days. Back in those old times Alan and I had corresponded regularly and met in person when he came to the USA in 1990 for A Day of Death in Buffalo. Anyway, Alan and I had just gotten back in touch and after first just catching up on life we naturally started talking music. First we talked about tape trading which lead to us exchanging some tapes, then Alan brought up his love of old photo’s and how rare pictures of some bands from the old days. He then asked if I had any old pictures and I honestly thought all my pictures were long gone but told him I would look. I looked through a few boxes before stumbling onto a bag of pictures from the old days. As I looked through the pictures I found one of Autopsy from A Day of Death 1990 and thought the guy standing at the far edge of the stage in the picture was Alan, so I scanned that picture and sent it to him. He replied back saying it was him and sent me a picture he took at that same moment that caught me on the opposite side of the stage from him. Then as we began to trade pictures Alan mentioned in an off-the –cuff remark that he kept a “book” of his pictures close by. He meant a regular scrapbook type of thing, but in my mind I immediately envisioned a printed book full of our photo collections. At first I kept the idea to myself while I researched the feasibility of having it done. I did a few internet searches and found several “on demand” printers who could literally print a single book if that is what you wanted. So, armed with that knowledge I then told Alan what had been going through my mind and that we should put our collections together and get 2 copies printed. We talked a bit about it then I thought that while a picture book would be killer it would be even cooler if we could get our friends from the old days tell us stories about those pictures. At that point Alan thought I was a crazy American and just humored me for a while. Unsure if we’d be able to get anyone to share the kinds of stories we wanted we started by asking three friends and figured it they were willing we would then hit up others. So, we asked King (Deceased), Sharon (Derketa) and Joel (Nuclear Death). All three said they would share stories, in fact Joel gave his to us in about two weeks. So, we started asking others and then the really cool things started to happen. In addition to their stories people began telling us they had old pictures stored away untouched for decades that they would let us have. Then a few told us that if we did make it to print they would love a copy as well.
Stories and pictures began to flow in and the demand seemed to be growing. So, we began to look into either finding a publisher or the feasibility of printing a small run ourselves. Publishers were real long shots as nearly all require you to have an agent or they won’t even respond to you. We started getting prices from various printers and figured an amount we could get done. With little to no cash we knew the only way we could get it done would be to let it be known what we were doing and have people pay in advance for a copy. Doing it that way we also knew we couldn’t accept advance orders forever so we figured what the price would be for 150 copies and kept the advance order window open for that amount, which turned out to be a mere 19 days. Those that bought that initial printing seemed to love it and told their friends and the demand grew for more. Strapped for cash we just couldn’t do it, though we wanted to. Months of frustration finally lead to us deciding to just go balls to the walls and either get a reprint done or die trying. With new found determination we also knew we would have to redo all the layouts to improve the book and since we were doing that we figured we’d hit up a few more bands that we wanted in the first printing but for one reason or another never happened. It took months of trying but we were eventually able to find a group of people who believed so much in GT that they were willing to pay for the reprint/revised edition. Several more months went by as we reworked the old layouts and added new ones until finally in November of 2011 the revised edition was printed.
AOM: With that said, it must have been a trip to re-live all those memories, and revel in the fact that YOU were there! Many metal fans that are in my age bracket, were far too young to experience that scene like you did, we only have books like Glorious Times to fall back on. Personally speaking, what is your favorite moment in that cornucopia of legendary times?
Brian Pattison: It was a trip for sure. Having people turn in their stories, reading them for the first time and having that moment “I was there!” or remembering hearing about that incident or whatever. I’m not sure if it’s my favorite moment from the old days but it’s one that’s emblazoned in my brain. In late ‘90/early ’91 Candlemass and Athiest went on tour (with support act Bitter End). I was a big Athiest fan while a friend was a big Candlemass friend. The tour wasn’t coming to Buffalo but it was going to Toronto. So, the day came and we headed up to Toronto to the Apocalypse Club on College ST. We get to the venue and see a sign stating that Bitter End was dropped from the tour so instead of the doors opening at 8 they would now open at 9. With time to kill we walked a few doors down to Regina Pizzeria to grab a bite. We placed our order that sat in a booth to wait. As we’re sitting there two other guys walk in and I immediately recognized one as Roger Patterson of Athiest. I stated it (not as quietly as I thought) to my friends; Roger heard me, looked over and gave a knod. Roger and friend placed their order then came and sat in the booth next to us and chatted. Real nice guy telling us how the tour had gone and their plans for after the tour. Once their order came up they said they had to head back to the club for soundcheck. After we ate our food we headed over to the venue for the show. I was supposed to be on the Candlemass guest list (besides the ‘zine I was also a DJ on WBNY college radio), but when I got to the door we found that Candlemass failed to put me on the list. The guy running the door asked why I should be on the list then asked me for a business card and asked if anyone there would know me,…just then Roger was walking by so the door guy yelled to him “Hey Roger, do you know these guys?”. Roger turned to look then asked us “You guys want in?” to which we of course replied hell yeah, then Roger just looked at the guy and said “let them in”. Then he turned to us and said “enjoy the show”. They were killer (of course). A week or so later I was at the radio station making my weekly calls when I got to calling Roadracer. Psycho answers then asks if I heard the news about Athiest. Then, he tells me about their accident and that Roger had died.
AOM: One thing that’s always interested me about the glory days was how Canadian bands were viewed. I know in the book you covered many favorites of mine, Soothsayer, Overthrow, Sacrifice to name a few, but how did you, the Americans, view your northern comrades?
Brian Pattison: Well, being from Buffalo we have a different view of those bands than other areas of the USA would. We’re close enough to the border here that we can get Canadian radio stations. In those old days Q107 (or 97.7, I can never remember exactly which) had a metal show that was on late Saturday or Sunday nights. I would also tune in as a teen. Of course Canadian law forced them to have at least 20% of the music of ever hour to be Canadian so in those mid 1980’s they were forced to play bands like Lee Aaron, Sacrifice, Slaughter, etc. In those days crossing the border was much simpler so people did it all the time for concerts, not like today. It was as commonplace to be talking to Canadians at shows in Buffalo as it was to be talking to them in Toronto, Hamilton or Niagara Falls. So, as Buffalonians we really saw no difference between Canadians and Americans. The bands, ‘zines, fans, etc were all accepted and seen as the same on both sides of the border.
AOM: Moving on to more contemporary times, how is the scene in Buffalo currently? Are you still involved in it? Or not so much? Recently, I had the opportunity to travel down to Buffalo to catch a show at Broadway Joe’s and the people that were there, and the support shown for the small touring band was tremendous! They made us Canucks feel right at home! So with that said, is it really all gravy, or?
Brian Pattison: I got back involved in the local scene a couple of years ago (not long after the first printing of GT) and have remained a constant since then. I promote one show a month on average, mostly just bringing bands that I want to see, which most of the times happens to be bands that have friends of mine from the old days. The Buffalo scene is small but growing and really welcoming to outsiders. A number of bands have expressed their surprise and pleasure of coming here and being treated like family. Right now it’s a really great time to be in this area, the local bands are really hitting their stride. We’ve got a great crop of bands here : Seplophile, Grave Descent, Darkapathy, Cain, Hellcannon, Pig Rectum, Vile Vindiction, Avulsion and a slew of others.
AOM: Switching gears, I know there were problems with finding publishers. Why was that? What were some of the offers you received? Personally, why do you think it was such a struggle to get it off the ground, considering the tremendous content you had?
Brian Pattison: Finding a “big” publisher was near impossible as they all will only deal with literary agents. So, if you want your book published so you have to pay an agent to shop your book around and then there is still no guarantee so you can easily be just throwing your money away. Having no money made it an easy decision to not go that route. Beyond that finding even a smaller publisher was hard because of the concept. It as an idea no one had previously thought of…combine old live and candid photo’s with stories directly from the band. Such a simple and great idea, but publishers didn’t get it and didn’t know how to market it. When we did get interest from a publisher they said we’d have to take out all the rare pictures and replace them with lineup shot, then we’d have to hire a copy writer to rewrite the stories from every band. We simply would not do that. What made GT special to us were the rare pictures and the stories that came from the bands in their own words. We could have signed a deal with a publisher to get 10,000 or more copies printed, but it wouldn’t have been the book that we wanted and at it’s heart Glorious Times is a book we wanted for ourselves. We stuck to our guns and even though we could have made a nice profit if we caved to the publisher I am certain we made the right decision as I can pick up Glorious Times every day and thumb through it with pride knowing it is exactly the way we wanted it
AOM: Another point of interest was the co-ordination of the whole project. How was it making sure you had all the right content, and was it a real chore to make sure that you left no band or no figure out of the book? Is there any content you wish you added or wish you didn’t include?
Brian Pattison: There really was no “right” content. We just sought about getting stories from old friends. It didn’t/doesn’t matter to us if the band was immensely popular or a band known only to tape traders. The bands included are largely the bands that responded to us. Some bands that we approached never responded or responded and promised us stories but never came through. Some bands we just had no contact info for so couldn’t even ask them. We could have included dozens of additional bands and there would still be some that we wished we had. The big one that comes to mind is Extreme Noise Terror. When we first set up our myspace page (august 2009) the very first person to message us was Phil Vane from ENT. He told us how he loved the idea and wanted a copy when it came out. Alan and I are both real big ENT fans so we immediately responded back asking him if he’d contribute a story. He told us he was no good at that, but Dean Jones had many great stories. Then he told us that Dean isn’t online and is pretty much unreachable. We tried a few times to get Phil to share even the smallest story, but he always graciously turned us down. Of course, Phil died in 2011 so now we’ll never be able to get stories from him which truly sucks.
AOM: Back peddling a bit, you ran a print fanzine back in the day. With that said, how do you view the “modern” fanzines? Do you think that online ‘zines have that same allure as something tangible? I personally have to side with the print being better, if I had the resources, I’d make Axis of Metal 100% print! So what are your views on the current situation?
Brian Pattison: It’s tough to compare the modern ‘zine to the ‘zine of the old days. It’s an entirely different world now. Back then the only ways to find out about far away bands were through tape trading or ‘zines. There was no Youtube, Facebook, Myspace, Reverbnation, etc. You couldn’t immediately find out about a band 2 days after it formed. You’d have to pick up a ‘zine and write to the band either because they were interviewed or because the ‘zine printed their ad. Now, discovering music is so much different and the ‘zines reflect that. Modern print ‘zines are few and far between largely because many today simply don’t buy them because of what’s available on the internet. There are some good ones out there though – Compilation of Death ‘zine, Deathrasher ‘zine, Tales From the Sick, BN ‘zine…
AOM: Speaking of fanzines, do you have any desire to resurrect Chainsaw Abortion? Or start something in a similar vein in some related entity? With that said, do you have plans for a sort of “part two” for Glorious Times? Or some sort of “add-on”, if you know what I mean?
Brian Pattison: I briefly toyed with the idea of bringing Chainsaw Abortions back from the dead for an issue. Even went so far as to do a handful of interviews and had a friend write some reviews. Some interviewees took a while to get back to me and I lost my drive to do the printed version so in the end we just ended up putting the interviews and reviews up on our blog page (www.pioneeringglorioustimes.blogspot.com).
Within the last couple of months we began the process of a Glorious Times vol 2. We’ve asked a bunch of bands and gotten promises of stories from twenty + bands so far. We haven’t received any stories yet so we have no idea when it will be out, but at some point in the future there will be a Glorious Times vol 2.
AOM: I won’t keep you for much longer, but since you are still an avid metal head, what are your views on the modern death metal scene as a whole? What bands do you like, and how do you view major label death metal bands? Do you think these younger bands have the same sort of energy that the old school had, or is that energy lost with the masters of yesteryear?
Brian Pattison: I’ll always be biased towards the bands and styles of old. How can the bands of today possibly compare to Possessed, Massacre, Cryptic Slaughter, Wehrmacht, Death, Repulsion, etc. The scene is different, the influences are different. The scene is much more divided now. The bands today have a much different drive than the bands of the old days. In the old days bands would put out rehearsals then demo tapes and maybe just maybe an album after several demo tapes. Now bands are looking to put out full lengths a couple of days after they are formed.
Bands I like are often ones from the old days or ones that have members from the old days….Derketa, Deceased, Insanity, Wehrmacht, Immolation, The Seven Gates, Funerus, Absconder, Cardiac Arrest, Gravehill, Prime Evil, etc. Not really into any of the major label bands that I can think of off hand, I tend to like more the smaller label stuff a whole lot more. The stuff that isn’t as polished, the bands that are either new and hungry or old and don’t give a fuck they just do what they want.
AOM: Thank you for taking the time Brian, it was a true honor and a pleasure! Any last words for the fans of Glorious Times or metalheads in general?
Brian Pattison: I’m not one to have many last words about Glorious Times, as a friend recently pointed out I’m not the “hey look at me” type of guy. So, really I’ll just state go out and support your local venue, your local bands….and truly support them, don’t just like their facebook page, go out and buy their shirt, buy (don’t download off a torrent site or blog) their disc or vinyl, buy their patch…if they don’t have anything to buy harass them til they get stuff for you to buy. Every great band started as a local. Instead of staying home and watching the clips on Youtube the next day, go out and support the live music at the venue and stay for every band even if you don’t know the band.
About the Author
Anyway I'm one of the co-founders of Axis Of Metal, which I created out of a love for all things heavy. Admittedly my first foray into music wasn't so heavy. At twelve i developed a love for grunge music, which then lead to a love of classic rock, and punk. Then as I consumed almost every piece of music in said genres I needed something with a bit more intensity, and something more extreme. One day I was walking through the halls in my high school, and i heard music blasting out of someone's headphones, and it was exactly what I was looking for. So after I found out that it was Slayer's "Disciple" I went home that day, and listened to every song Slayer had ever released, and that's how it all started.
So that's my story, so why not go out and listen to me blabber on, on the podcast or go and read what the Axis Of Metal's writing team has to say. Axis of Metal is created by metal heads, for metal heads.