Chat With Fred Barringer (L.V.I)

Fred Barringer was the bass player for the AZ thrash band L.V.I. (Loud Verbal Insanity) who sadly released only one demo before breaking up. Thanks to Thrashback Records that demo is seeing the light again via a CD release and here is a interview I did with Fred:

So Fred, what was your initial reaction when you heard that Eric Hoffman from Thashback Records was interested in re-releasing your demo on CD? Were you aware that over the past few years, a lot of labels have been re-issuing demos on CD and vinyl?

FB: I honestly felt like was 24 all over again. I have been aware of the resurgence in trash metal of our era but never would have dreamed that LVI would be a part of that.

So fill me in on how the coming together of L.V.I. (Loud Verbal Insanity) came to be? I also love the name so how did that name get picked out?

FB: The year was 1987 and Dennis Martinez (vocals) and Tim Acedo (drums) had just parted ways with their band called Havoc. They were in search of a couple of missing pieces to form another band. One night while at a keg party, they noticed a guitar player Mark Johnson jamming out with some friends at the party. That’s how Mark got involved and for me, Fred Barringer I was originally going to be a second guitarist. What happened next was that our original bass player left and I took over on bass. From that point on we were all settled into our positions and ready to create some LVI style metal. So for the name, I believe it was Dennis who came up with it. My interpretation would be that he liked the abbreviated bands such as COC, DRI, and SOD. From that, he just broke down the essence of the music to Loud Verbal Insanity the core of what we wanted to project.

How long was the band around before you recorded your demo, which was called “Mentally Embalmed”? How long did you spend in the studio and from what you remember, was the band pretty happy with the finished product?

FB: We were together for three years prior to the recording of Mentally Embalmed. Mentally Embalmed should have been our second demo, but the first one never materialized because of an incompetent studio that we unfortunately chose. Mentally Embalmed was recorded fairly fast. I want to say in like 3 days for all the basic tracks. Yes, we were happy with the way it turned out, and Given the minimal amount of time we could afford to pay for we did the most with what we had.

Now during the band’s existence, around how many live shows would you say you played who did you share the stage with and lastly did you feel you were a good live band?

FB: In our time together I would say we played at least 50 shows. Opening up for Sacred Reich was my introduction to the club-level gigs. I know Mark had prior experience playing in clubs but I’m not sure anyone else did. We went on to share the stage with bands like Atrophy, Hate Inc, and Alowicious Toole to name a few. On stage, we gave it everything we had every time.

I know AZ had several thrash bands, Sacred Reigh and Atrophy to name 2. Was there a solid metal scene when the band was in existence and did many people show up to shows?

FB: The scene was pretty strong from my point of view. This was the time that Jason from Flotsam and Jetsam rose to the ranks of Metallica from our local scene. Some nights were better than others, but it wasn’t rare to see 100-plus people come out to support us.

Now thrash metal was still pretty popular when your demo came out, with even some bands on major labels. Did you send your demo out to any record labels and if so did you get any response? How about fanzines did you send any out to them and what was the feedback like from them?

FB: The demo was sent out to a number of labels, and as well as reviewed locally. We did get a couple of label offers but nothing that would have taken us to the next level. The reviews locally were always positive and greatly appreciated.

Now what sadly led to the break-up of the band? Was it s nasty break-up or was it more of everyone just going their own way?

FB: As we all know being in a band for many years can be extremely difficult. It’s as simple as internal friction over time can just lead to a breakdown. It happens to the best of bands. You dust yourself off, get back up, and do it again.

So do any of the other band members know about the re-release? Have you ever touched base with them again especially with Facebook being around?

FB: I have reached out to everyone and as far as I know we have all got the great news. The founding member Dennis Martinez has yet to officially respond but he has been given numerous messages relating to this event. I think it’s pretty amazing to get a second chance after 30-plus years.

Have you ever out of curiosity, ever looked on the internet to Google the band’s name at all? Have you ever after the band broke up listened much to the demo? So you think if you had stayed together, you could have really made a dent in the underground music scene?

FB: I have Googled the name and wasn’t expecting much. To my surprise, there was the demo and I believe even a picture of the band. I really don’t listen to it a lot. To me it’s more of a special occasion type of listen. I honestly hear about bands being together for 10 to 15 years before breaking through. We could have been one of those bands if we had just stuck it out a bit longer.

Now from what Eric told me, another band he had recently worked with, Soothsayer, also from AZ, helped with the re-release of this. Fill me in on that, please?

FB: There was a compilation put together by Damon “Elvis Hogjaw” called Arizona Dry Hate that we were luckily a part of. I’m not certain how Damon fits in with Soothsayer but appreciate them both for any help they might have given us.

Can you imagine a demo you released over 30 years ago is going to see the light of day again? Did Eric have to do much convincing before you were like “go for it” ha ha”? What was it like for you to gather up stuff and material for this CD release? What memories were going through your head?

FB: I was literally in shock. I couldn’t believe that anything like this was possible. I didn’t need any convincing I was ready to do whatever I had to. Gathering up everything was very much like digging up a time capsule. It was a great flash of memories and feelings of good energy that I hadn’t felt in many years.

Of course, I am gonna ask if there is any chance the band would get back together and what are you up to yourself these days?

FB: There is always a small glimmer of hope that we could get the band back together. I wouldn’t put any bets on it but never say never. I’m still playing bass for a band called Super Sternal Notch and finishing up an EP we’re working on. Tim is in a band locally called Terashain, and Mark is doing his solo writing and recording from his home studio. Dennis has been hard to track down for the last few years, but wherever he is I’m sure he’s spreading that good ole Loud Verbal Insanity for all to hear!

Any last words Fred for anyone that brought this CD?

FB: I hope these songs will bring back great memories and inspire new ones! Horns Up!

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