Brian Daniels did an awesome fanzine called Invincible Force back in the 80’s and we used to trade zines and we were pen pals back then and when we are connected on Facebook I thought it would be cool to take a trip back in time with him and I sent him some questions and here are his answers …
- Where were you born and where did you grow up?
BD: Well I was born in St. Petersburg, Florida on October 28, 1972. I grew up in a number of cities because my Dad’s job had him move a lot. I remember being in kindergarten through 2nd grade in New Symerna Beach. I lived about a mile away from the beach. Then we moved to Cutler Ridge Miami. Then to Palatka, Florida where I kind of grew up.
- What sort of kid were you growing up? What did you want to be when you were growing up?
BD: I guess I was a normal kid. Played soccer and baseball. I was really into baseball, I use to watch it on TV all the time and collect baseball cards. I had books about baseball history so I was very knowledgeable. I liked monsters and the unknown. I used to love that show “In search of” hosted by Leonard Nimoy. I wanted to track Bigfoot when I was a kid!
- Where you into music at an early age or did that come later on?
BD: Yes I think I was a music lover at an early age. My parents had an eight track juke box that I would listen to for hours. They had Billy Joel, which I really enjoyed, “Glass Houses” I believe. Also Kenny Rogers, Crystal Gayle, Olivia Newton John and some others. I also had some records. One was a compilation that had this song “Witch Queen of New Orleans” loved that song. A little later an older boy introduced me to classic/hard rock on the radio. I discovered ACDC, Ozzy, Rush, Pink Floyd. I think that really dropped the seeds in my head. ACDC were such a power packed thing to listen to at that young age.
- What got you started listening to music and what styles of music were you into?
BD: I covered that a bit last question but let me add a few things. I listened to the radio a lot before I could go out and buy records. I liked hard rock and the sort of pop at the time which was early eighties. I also loved movie soundtracks. I loved the soundtrack for Star Wars, Clash of the Titans, Conan the Barbarian, Shogun and Excaliber. So you could say I liked classical type music as well.
- So now take me who/how you ended up discovering the wonderful world of heavy metal? What were some of the early bands that you liked and are you still a fan of any of those bands still today?
BD: Well I supposed when I was in 5th grade I was a member of the BMG tape club. What did I get back then? ACDC, Judas Priest “Screaming For Vengeance” Iron Maiden “Piece of Mind” and Power Slave. I also liked Motely Crue , WASP and Raven. Then I discovered Metallica and Motorhead and it was on. After that I was on a quest to find the fastest and heaviest I could find. Venom, Slayer, Voivod, Celtic Frost, Bathory. You get the picture. I like most of these bands still. Especially Voivod, Celtic Frost, Bathory and Motorhead.
- Now as far as underground metal goes, who introduced you to it and did you like the music right away or did it take a few listens to get into it? What were some of the early bands that you listened to and are you still into any of those bands these days?
BD: As Far as underground metal goes? Well as I said I heard Metallica “Ride the Lightning” and that was the first real thrash I heard. I was all about speed in those days. Venom and Slayer had scary looking covers, so I was intimidated at first but eventually my curiosity won out. I heard about bands from the metal mags and also Thrasher Mag had an section that Pushead wrote and I discovered bands through that. I discovered Slipped Disc Record store in New York and ended up ordering Metal Forces and Total Thrash which was my first fanzine I saw.
- Did you do any tape trading back then and about how many people did you trade with?
BD: I did a ton of tape trading back then. After I discovered fanzines and wrote to people I started doing my own zine and tape trading. Just a few people at first. Mick Harris of Napalm Death used to make me tapes for $4 each and I got a lot of cool stuff that way. Most memorable people I traded tapes with were Alan Moses and Laurent Ramadier of D.O.D zine. I couldn’t tell you a number though.
- Now when you discovered this style of metal, was it like a drug that you wanted more and more of?
BD: Yes of course it was like a drug! I was on a quest to find the fastest and heaviest and I found it all right! My friends thought I was crazy for wanting to listen to that stuff.
- Back then were you into any hardcore crossover bands like Agnostic Front, DRI, and Discharge?
BD: Most definitely! I liked the hardcore punk sound. I liked Dead Kennedys, Kraut, Cromags, DRI, Agnostic Front, Crumbsuckers, Broken Bones, Discharge, The Accused, Septic Death, C.O.C, Bad Brains. They had a different feel then the metal bands but yeah I listened to a lot of them.
- What were the early concerts that you went to and what did you think of the moshing, slamming stage diving? Did you ever get hurt at a concert?
BD: Well my first real metal concert was Megadeth, Savatage, and Dio. It was a shock to see the giant mosh pit at Megadeth and I did mosh briefly for that. Then I saw Kreator , Holy Terror and DRI in St. Petersburg at Janus Landing. I tried moshing during Kreator and some jack ass punched me in the side. I also later fell down but people picked me up. I was a skinny kid back then so I was lucky I wasn’t hurt. Never tried stage diving but it was entertaining to watch. The next show I saw was Slayer, Overkill and Motorhead. They had massive mosh pits during Slayer but I mainly head banged during that. Slayer were epic live.
- How were the crowds for shows back then? What venue or venues did you go see shows at back in the day?
BD: When I moved to Tampa there were a bunch of places to play. Janus Landing in St. Petersburg, Sunset Club, Volley Club The Ritz Theatre and a bunch I can’t remember now ha ha! The crowds were cool back then. You had a good mix of punks and metal heads at shows because there was a lot of crossover going on. Florida was pretty laid back and you could make up stamps if you were underage like I was and it wasn’t an all ages show.
- What did you think of Headbangers Ball back then? Did you watch it at all?
BD: Yeah I used to watch it. A metalhead teenager growing up in the eighties is gonna watch Headbangers Ball ha ha. That’s where I discovered early bands like Raven and watched at least some good videos like Motorhead “Eat the Rich” and “Iron Fist”. Occasionally they would play something cool like Kreator‘s “Toxic Trace” or Slayer. It was entertaining. I remember Dee Snyder was the host at first.
- Did you ever read magazines back in the day like Creem, Hit Parader, or Circus? How about mags like Kerrang or Metal Forces? If so, did you like those mags back then?
BD: Yes at first I read the first three you mentioned. Creem was probably the best of those. It was a British mag and the sense of humor was awesome! Yeah the humor especially influenced me plus they had some pretty cool stuff. They did a concert review of the 1st Ultimate Revenge show with Slayer, Exodus and Venom which was fascinating. Also did album reviews on Possessed “Seven Churches” and Bathory ” The Return”. Also had a cool article on Celtic Frost, which got me interested in them. They said about Frost, they have arrived on their own hand crafted ships of doom.
- Was there any stores back then that carried underground metal that you could buy stuff?
BD: Oh sure. When I lived in Palatka I used to go with my parents to the Mall in Gainesville. They had a record store that had a metal bin and a hardcore punk bin and I would buy lots of stuff there. One day I bought Voivod‘s “War and Pain and Cromags ” Age of Quarrel. Sometimes I would buy albums if they had a cool looking cover or something. Also there was a record store in Gainesville that was by the University of Florida called Hide and Zeek. Another early place was the Mall in Daytona Beach. That’s where I bought Celtic Frost “Morbid Tales”, Death “Scream Bloody Gore”, Hirax, Dark Angel and Frost‘s supreme “Tragic Seranades”. Later on in Tampa I would discover even better ones like Ace’s Record Store and The Alternative Record Store.
- Now what led to you deciding to start up your own fanzine and did you write for any fanzines before you started your own?
BD: Some guys in the neighborhood did a skate zine so I thought I can do that. After I did the first issue I saw what a real zine should look like when I saw Total Thrash and it was on from there. No didn’t write for any other zines till after I moved to Tampa. I was on my 3rd issue by then. Later I would help Bruce Davis and Chris Aubert with Ripping Headaches.
- How did you come up with the name “Invincible Force” and were any other names thrown around at the time?
BD: I wanted to have a really strong forceful name. Destruction had a song called “Invincible Force” and that seemed to convey what the zine was about. Yeah I thought about the name Obliterated and also Annihilated but “Invincible Force” was the winner.
- So around what year did your first issue come out and what was it like having the finished product in your hands? Did you do most of the writing yourself?
BD: It came out in 1987 I think. The first one was sort of a trial run. It only had album reviews and some demo reviews. I did everything including crummy metal cartoons. Ha Ha! It was very simple but it got me started. I was proud but wanted to quickly improve it. I think I had demo reviews of Necrovore and Sadus. Can’t remember the rest.
- Did you remember how many copies you put out and how you tried to sell them?
BD: The first issue was a test/trial run and I printed probably 25 copies. I gave them away for free. I was just starting to make some contacts. On the 2nd issue I had interviews and I stated to make up ads and flyers to promote it. The 2nd issue had interviews with Nuclear Death, Necrovore, Napalm Death and others.
- Looking back was putting out a fanzine what you thought it was going to be and was it harder or easier than you thought it would be? What was the toughest part of putting out a zine?
BD: When I started out I didn’t know what to expect. I just loved the music and wanted to do something with it. It evolved as I was doing it and I got deeper involved with it. The toughest part was the time management. I was 14 when I started it so I was in school the whole time.
- Now how many issues did you end up putting out? With each issue did your circulation start to go up and did you get more mail?
BD: I ended up putting out six issues. Yes each one the circulation got higher. By the last issue I think I put out 300 copies. Yes I got tons of mail, from tape trading, pen pals, other zines, bands and records from the labels.
- Looking back at putting out a fanzine was it what you thought it was going to be. Was it harder or easier than you thought it was going to be? What was the toughest part about putting out a zine?
BD: When I started out I didn’t know what to expect. It sort of evolved as I put more effort in to trying to make it the best it could be. It was a whole lot of fun but it was very time consuming. The toughest part was the time. Also the money. I did odd jobs doing lawn work trimming bushes cutting down limbs of trees to help me pay for it.
- Now what led to you to stop doing the zine and were you sad to see it go at the time? Did you enjoy doing the reviews or interviews with bands and who was the biggest band that you got the chance to when doing the zine and was there a band or bands that you wanted to interview but never got the chance to?
BD: Well I stopped for a number of reasons. I was done with high school and had to start thinking of my future. There were some issues going on in my family. My dad lost his job and parents were divorced. I just couldn’t go on with the zine, I was burnt out. Years later I felt said about it and missed all the contacts I had back then. I enjoyed doing the interviews the most. It was always a thrill to get your questions answered and in the mail. Also doing live interviews were interesting. I guess the biggest band I did a live interview with was Death at the Sunset Club parking lot. I was very proud of that one. I think it was with Terry Butler and Bill Andrews. Also one of my all-time favorite bands. I also interviewed Napalm Death several times, Carcass, Obituary, Terrorizer and Nocturnus which I was proud of.
- After you stopped doing the zine, did you write for any other fanzines and did you follow the underground at the time?
BD: Well during the time I was doing Invincible Force I was also helping out at Ripping Headaches. I also did an interview With James Murphy, Obituary at the time, for Slayer Mag. in Norway. But once I stopped that was it, I lost my contact with that world for a while.
- What was the feeling like when you started to get demos from bands and albums from labels? What did your parents think of you doing the zine back then?
BD: Like every day was Christmas! Ha Ha! I got a ton of mail back then from all over the world, yeah I was chuffed! My parents were proud of me but I tried to protect them from some of the dark images of this type of music. I came in conflict with my dad over some of the content. But I loved my parents and family very much so I was protective of them.
- Now Florida was a hotbed for death metal back in the day and you lived there at the time. Did you ever hang out with Morbid Angel, Death, Obituary, Hellwitch, Nasty Savage, Nocturnus?
BD: Yes I knew a bunch of bands back then. I was friends with Mike Browning of Nocturnus. He always had interesting stories to tell. Nocturnus used to practice at this storage place which the brothers from Incubus “Serpents Temptation” used to practice at to. Hung out a lot with those guys we would eat at Mc Donalds after shows. I was friends with Pat from Hellwitch and I think him Alan Moses and the guys from Incubus at Mc Donalds. I hung out at the old Morbid Angel house and watch them practice. How lucky is that? Also saw Terrorizer practice there when they were rehearsing for the World Downfall album. As I said I did the Death interview in the Sunset Club parking lot they also came over to Bruce Davis’s house of Ripping Headaches and we hung out there. Obituary I didn’t know quite as well but did go to one of their parties and gave them a copy of issue #5 which had an interview with them. Cool guys very laid back. Also was friends with the guys in Slap of Reality and Paineater. Oh yeah, I didn’t get a chance to hang out with Nasty Savage until 2004. They played this show in Orlando which was pretty wild. Ronnie was doing his antics and there were women flashing there boobs on stage. I also met my girlfriend Donna there. I was with the guitarist and drummer for the band Negative Plane, which was still in Florida at the time. Anyways they were such cool guys. They gave us free copies of a live cd. I think Richard Batemen ex- Nocturnus was in the band. Oh and Mike Browning was there as well.
How about other fanzine editors. Who else was putting out fanzines back then in Florida besides Bruce from Ripping Headaches? Did you trade with a lot of fanzine editors back then?
BD: Besides Bruce and I can’t think of any. Nasty Ronnie had a cool zine he did but it was a bit before my time. As far as trading with other fanzine editors yes. There was Alan Moses of Buttface, Laurent of Decibels of Death, Jon “Metallion’ of Slayer Mag., Eric of Megawimp, Peardrop, Bleark from France, Chris Aubert of Sprashcore , Kim August of Ultimatum, Deathstrike, and of course you Chris from Metalcore.
- How would you rate yourself as an interviewer and looking back do you think you were pretty fair with your reviews?
BD: I would rate myself an 8. I tried to be creative with the questions but they were from the mind of a teenager so I think I was a little too nice with my reviews, they probably needed to be a bit more critical. I tried to keep positive though.
- What were some concerts that you will never forget? Did you go to the Milwaukee Metal fest?
BD: There were a few really memorable shows. I think I mentioned Slayer. That was the first concert when I moved to Tampa and it was awesome. Enormous slam/mosh pits., very strong appearance on stage. Paineater was really cool at the Volley Club. Mark Odechuck was really athletic on stage. Awesome show. Death at the Janus Landing was amazing. They were playing all these amazing songs I already knew. The Nasty Savage show I mentioned earlier, I had seen them before play with Sick of it All and DRI. There was show that was very memorable. It was a d Airport hanger in Tampa. The show was shut because the cops showed up and shut it down due to noise. But before that you had Nocturnus, Amon( pre-Deicide), Obituary. Morbid Angel was about to play but the cops told everyone to go home. Also saw Morbid Angel on my birthday at the Sunset Club. Obituary opened up. Saw Napalm Death play at Janus Lading, first time in the US. Barney dedicated a song to me which was cool. Seeing King Diamond at the Brass Mug was way cool in 2004. He put on a kick ass live show. I never saw Milwaukee, too far away.
- What were you some of your favorite memories of doing the fanzine and do you have a favorite band that you interviewed?
BD: Favorite memories? Too many too count! I enjoyed writing letters and the friendships with people around the states and the world that I had. It was like being part of a worldwide brotherhood, amazing experience. My favorite band that I interviewed was Death. Musical geniuses and really great guys to talk to.
- Was there any genres that you hated back in the day like black metal, death metal, goth metal, doom?
BD: Not really unless you count glam metal ha ha. Even that is uncertain because I think Faster Pussycat is pretty good now! Black metal was in the early stages and Mayhem was an interesting and weird band that was friends with Metalion of Slayer back then. Don’t remember much Goth metal at the time. I loved doom metal. Candlemas and St. Vitus were two of my favorite bands.
- Do you still have copies of all your issues and do you have any extra copies lying around at all? Have you ever gone on sites like ebay and seen copies of your zine for sale and if so for how much?
BD: No I have nothing at all sadly. If you know anybody that still has a copy please get in touch. I think Jason Beck has a copy of issue #6 and did a review on his webzine/blog. I saw the first issue on sale on ebay, Ben Hogge, who got me started on tape trading. Forgot how much he was asking for it though. I should do a search again!
- Now through the 90’s through the 2000 did you still follow the underground scene at all if so what bands did you get into?
BD: I started to get back into it. I discovered some of the black metal bands like Emperor, Immortal, Enslaved, Satyricon, Ancient and so forth. Also was into King Diamond at the time and the old stuff.
- Now the internet has exploded and you had sites like My Space, Facebook, Reverbnation and webzines. Would you consider doing a blog or writing for one?
BD: I don’t have the time to do my own right now, but would consider writing someone else’s.
- Now we are friends on Facebook. Have you reconnected with many people from back in the day?
BD: Oh yes it is so great! A good number of old friends but I would like to connect with more hopefully.
- Who is your favorite band and why and what is your favorite live band and why?
BD: My favorite Band? I would have to say Voivod because they are so original. They had such amazing concepts. Behind that Death, Bathory and Celtic Frost. Live band I would say Destruction, they are amazing live, saw them in 2005. Just had such a strong presence on stage. Forget to mention them in the question previously. Also Death as I’ve mentioned.
- Did you ever get to visit Ace’s Records or Morrisound Studio back in the day?
BD: Yes I did. Aces’s was in this flea market in Tampa, hung out there a bunch of times. My friend Alan Moses worked there for a time. I got to see Napalm Death record “Harmony Corruption” at Morrisound and that was a good time. I remember eating a lot of tacos during that time because there was a Taco Bell close by. It was an experience I’ll never forget. Also saw Cannibal Corpse recording their first album there. I remember hearing Maggots, skull full of maggots like a million times ha ha! It was a fun time hanging out then.
- When you listen to a song, what are some things you listen for and in your eyes and ears what makes for a good song?
BD: That’s hard to say. Good riffs, catchy sounding, interesting lyrics. I think timing plays an important role. Look at the Slayer song “At Dawn they Sleep” or Metallica‘s “Call of KTHULU” . Amazing songs that seem to build with tension like they’re telling a story. Excellent sense of timing.
- Does it ever surprise you in any way how big bands like Metallica, Slayer ect have gotten big and the fact that they are still even around these days?
MB:Yes it’s funny. The movie “Some kind of Monster” was both sad and hilarious at the same time. Lars singing “We’re we’re searching for donuts” and his dad is saying the new song sucks. Loved it! Also Kerry King doing Jeagermeister ad on TV. Why not, but it is funny!
- Do you think in say in 5 years from now that Cds will be like vinyl and that mostly all music will just be downloads?
BD: Yes probably sooner than that.
- Bryan I hope you enjoyed taking this trip down memory lane with me! Any last words the floor is yours if you want to plug anything feel free.
BD: I just wanted to thank you Chris this was truly a pleasure and joy to do. Thanks to all my Facebook friends out there I hope you enjoy this. If you want to get in touch I’m on Facebook or I can send my address if you want to snail mail me. Go check out Mike Brownings latest band Nocturnus AD if you haven’t already.