Drawn and Quartered Interview With Kelly Kuciemba

When I saw some new tour dates for the band Drawn and Quartered  I was “like holy sh*t,”  especially with a date in Philadelphia, Pa. I fired off a huge set of questions to guitar player Kelly Kuciemba and got the whole band history and then some with long and detailed answers, and they were great live too, by the way.

Now before we start I wanna clear up something I read. Is Plague Bearer your sort of side project and Drawn and Quartered your main band? I saw Plague Bearer just released something this year and they were around before Drawn and Quartered. Can you clear up the confusion, please?

KSK-In 1993 I was doing my first show on January 31st Superbowl Sunday at the Lake Union Pub in Seattle Washington, USA. INFESTER was also playing. Dario Derna was the drummer, I asked if he would do a project sometime. He joined DRAWN AND QUARTERED 9 years later. Herb Burke was there, as well as other friends and local musicians who we would work with over the years. We did a few of these shows at the PUB, later with DRAWN AND QUARTERED. I met Odin from MORIBUND RECORDS at this show as well. PLAGUE BEARER played, and a few months Herb’s band BUTCHERY played (with the drummer from my band who quit and joined them). Both Herbs band and my line-up had broken up after these first shows. Other bands were important to our history including DISBELIEF. This band had members that would be in some of my bands as well as BLOOD RITUAL and GRAVENLOCH.

A few months later with the DISBELIEF drummer Dave Procopio, BUTCHERY members, Herb on vocals, and Danny Hodge on bass I funded the recording of a demo by PLAGUE BEARER of songs I put together with DAVE and had Danny and Herb come in and help us make the recording. I’d done 3 or 4 demos on my Tascam 4 Track, but this was the true beginning of the band PLAGUE BEARER. We recorded the 4 song demo ‘Bubonic Death’ in 1993. We did a few shows and started writing. We had a couple of drummers and bass players until Matt Cason joined in 1994. Eventually, we left the PLAGUE BEARER name and demo behind to become DRAWN AND QUARTERED and turned the ideas we had into songs for the new band. We’d been rehearsing and writing for a while before the decision was made to change the name. This wasn’t my idea. But I wanted to be in a band so I went along with it.

DRAWN AND QUARTERED started playing and recording in 1996, by 1998 we recorded a self-funded record we called ‘To Kill is Human’. Other than one other song, I think that was the only music we ever played with Matt who left in 2001. Over the years there would be times when only Herb and I made it to rehearsal. We would blast around on the drum kit and switch off making BLACK METAL guitar riffs to play along with it. I started making notes of some of these ideas. We thought of doing a BLACK METAL band. I took some of those riffs and started developing them with a drummer. By 2000 I was recording some demos with Tadd Grinke. We rehearsed and recorded a 7 song demo in 2001. This was the PLAGUE BEARER-‘Defiled By Sodomy’ demo. This recording had Herb on vocals and Greg Reeves from DRAWN AND QUARTERED on bass, this was later released on a Tape and CD compilation.

In 2004 we started rehearsing and playing live as WINDS OF PESTILENCE playing VENOM and SLAYER covers, as well as some BLACK THRASH METAL originals. Herb played bass and sang (which led to him taking over bass in 2008 after Greg left). Greg played drums on this. Around this time I was also developing 4 songs with a drummer in the same rehearsal facility who played in a band called FUNERAL AGE. That project became PLAGUE BEARER-‘Rise of the Goat’ we recorded at the Autopsy Room with Herb on vocals and Greg on bass. This was released as an EP by NUCLEAR WINTER RECORDS and compiled on CD by VOMIT RECORDS with the ‘Bubonic Death’ demo, released as ‘Rise of the Bubonic Death’. In 2008 WINDS OF PESTILENCE recorded a demo, actually produced by Dario Derna. This was compiled for the PLAGUE BEARER-WINDS OF PESTILENCE CD with the ‘Defiled by Sodomy’ demo in 2018 by KRUCYATOR PRODUCTIONS.

Over the years I’d seen Tadd around and we’d kept saying ‘Let’ jam sometime’. In 2017 we started rehearsing and played live for the first time since 1994. Herb plays bass and vocals, and Nihilist (Mike Sheldon) on vocals. We’ve known him from THY INFERNAL, LORD GORE, ABAZAGORATH, and IN MEMORIUM We picked our favorite songs from the CD compilations including the WINDS OF PESTILENCE songs, and have been playing them live. After a couple of years, we decided to record the songs we’d been playing live and made our debut album released in March of this year, 2023. 30 years to make a debut record! We’ve been playing shows and have a new album we’re working on.

PLAGUE BEARER is a band Herb and I participate in. It started before DRAWN AND QUARTERED. I haven’t been pushing PLAGUE BEARER because I’m busy, but we’re looking to do more with it and DRAWN AND QUARTERED in the future.

Now Kelly where were you born and where did you grow up? What sort of kid were you growing up with?

KSK-I was born in Tacoma, Washington. I have lived in the Puget Sound area most of my life. I grew up a little south of Seattle in Federal Way, WA from 1979 until 1987, from 6th grade until my first year in Community College. I was a good student and athlete. I liked the Lord of The Rings/The Hobbit, Dungeons and Dragons, Conan, and Star Wars. I sang in choirs, and composed dark violent symphonies on my grandmother’s Steinway piano when I was little.

Now when did you discover music and what were the early styles of music that you heard?

KSK-My parents listened to music, I liked the Beatles, and whatever they played was interesting. I started gravitating toward rock music, and pretty soon hard rock and Heavy Metal.

When did you hear of “heavy metal” and what did you think of the style when you heard it?

KSK-I started to hear BLACK SABBATH and DEEP PURPLE as a kid. JUDAS PRIEST, IRON MAIDEN, RAINBOW, MOTORHEAD all this stuff was around and getting heavier with each record. By 1981 I’m going to concerts at around 13 years old. Things are changing fast within a few years I’m discovering VENOM, METALLICA, EXODUS, and DESTRUCTION. I also liked TROUBLE, METAL CHURCH, DEF LEPPARD, STYX, PINK FLOYD, and all kinds of guitar-oriented music. I felt like music had been perfected around this time, in some ways I was right. I also loved BOSTON, MERCYFUL FATE, KING DIAMOND, SLAYER. I just gravitated to the heavier stuff.

Kelly Shane Kuciemba
Kelly Shane Kuciemba

When did you hear underground music of sorts? What were the 1st bands that you heard? Was it a style that it took a few listens to digest and then you were hooked? Are you still fans of any of those bands even today?

KSK-I had been a VENOM fan, and BATHORY, DESTRUCTION. But Thrash Metal got kind of dumb for a few years with videos, ballads, rap, and Glam/Hair Metal milked the last dollars out of ‘Metal’ and left it dead on the doorstep. Of course, people were sick of that slick, goofy parody METAL became and went back to rudimentary sounds of GRUNGE.

I was gifted some CD’s that had music by CARCASS and CANNIBAL CORPSE. At first, I wasn’t understanding the vocal approach on ‘Butchered at Birth’, but the music was insane. It grew one soon after and I started discovering all of the great Black and Death Metal of the late 80’s and early 90’s. More bands like MAYHEM, DARKTHRONE, DISMEMBER, ENTOMBED, SUFFOCATION, MALEVOLENT CREATION, DEICIDE, and MONSTROSITY were my main influences, but the bands that shaped my approach and spoke to me were MORBID ANGEL, IMMOLATION and INCANTATION. Yes, I’m still a fan of all of this stuff, it’s where my influences stopped for my bands at about 1994.

When did you decide you wanted to play guitar? Did you take lessons or were you self-taught? Who are some of your favorite guitar players?

KSK-I sang and played piano a little bit, growing up. I realized I really wanted to play guitar and eventually got an acoustic, later electric guitar. I had a couple of lessons. It certainly helps to get started. I learned mostly on my own by ear, and any book about Metal I could find. Seeing shows taught you a lot at first as well. People would show you things, scales, patterns, and techniques. I sang in bands a little in High School. I studied some guitar things over the years. I try to find time to learn new things, there is so much you can do. I just try to find things to add to what we are doing that make sense. I like Tony Iommi, Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, Yngwie Malmsteen, Ritchie Blackmore, Jimi Hendrix, Tony MacAlpine, David Gilmour, Angus Young. I have borrowed heavily from the Death and Black Metal bands.

How did you come up with the name and logo of Drawn and Quartered, which is a great name? Were any other names thrown around?

KSK-Fortunately Herb came up with that and we weren’t called Morbid Corpse or something. Herb drew the original logo. No serious contenders were considered that I can recall. I wanted to be called PLAGUE BEARER, but it was decided that we would start fresh as a new band. This was probably for the best.

Now with you already having experience in the underground, when your self-titled demo came out in 1996, did you send it out to all the fanzines you could, college radio, local record stores, etc? Did you put ads in your mail to have other people pass out, fuck I miss those days?

KSK-I did send a lot of DEMOS, passed them around, and sold them at shows. The problem was the sound wasn’t very good, the cover was pretty terrible. It just wasn’t very good, it didn’t help us. A good mix could have helped, some better production. I tried, but with no money, We had very little time or opportunity to get it made properly. An investment in a quality demo would have been a good idea. We did just that a couple of years later. These were some great times, but I was struggling personally trying to survive and find the time and energy to get a band off the ground. I got a little better mix of it, but I don’t think we made tapes. I just tape-traded it.

So in 1998, you released a full-length called “To Kill Is Human”. Did you release this yourself? Were you like fuck it let’s put a full length out and sell it at shows and through mail order and at stores, etc? How was the response to it and how much work did you guys have to do as a band to get the word out? Who did the mail? Thoughts on this release these days?

KSK-In 1998 Drawn and Quartered spent a weekend recording our live set as a record. There is a couple of overdubs, but the record is us live, there might have been a second take of maybe one song. We recorded the instruments live. I double-tracked the guitar, I might have had a couple of 2nd guitar parts. We added the guitar solos and vocals separately. The recording was self-funded and recorded at a no-name studio with Keenan, who’d recorded some punk rock demos. It was a 12 Track Analog studio, we had a few hours Friday to set up and get some drum sounds. We then recorded everything on Saturday, finished a few things on Saturday, and Mixed on Sunday. Some of the mixes were completed before I even heard or had any input. We weren’t necessarily going to self-release the CD. We ran a couple of batches of cassette tapes with some of the songs to try and find some label interest, magazines, and radio. Matt and Greg were the main ones pushing to do this project, I think Matt found the studio and booked the time. They might fronted the money that we all paid a share of eventually. Matt coordinated the Artwork, maybe with Herb and the Lyrics/Song Titles in mind. I didn’t have that much to do with it, other than writing most of the music. We did decide to press 1,000 copies, hence the commissioned artwork from Gabriel. I can’t remember that many reviews or what the response was, this was the era of Black Metal, so we missed the boat by a few years. ‘To Kill Is Human’ seems to be fondly remembered and it has its fans. We did as many shows as we possibly could, including a couple of US Tours. I remember having a P.O. Box, I’m pretty sure I did the mail. We got it made quick and cheap, so this is the record that has made money the most over the years. I think it was rushed. We thought we could just do it in that amount of time. The drums sound pretty good, I think it would have been nice to come back and do a mix after listening for a while, I think we did the mix the next day at that was that. We have played the songs even tighter and faster in rehearsals. I think it was exhausting to do it all in one go. On later albums we might have 2 weekends, maybe some follow-up mixes or vocal and guitar solo sessions. We finally did a pretty cool LP and it was re-mastered for that and I found a bunch of pictures that we added to the LP release. I got burned out on those songs, we played them for about 8 years.

It took a few years, but it seemed only natural that you would hook up with Seattle-based label Moribund Records, which is where you’re based. They released a CD called “Crusaders of Blasphemy”. Were all the tunes ready to go before you went in to record them? Did you ever get to go and visit their offices since you are are both in the same city? What was it like if you did?

KSK-Moribund re-released the ’To Kill is Human’ CD with an improved photo for the CD cover in 1999. I met Odin after playing my very first show as PLAGUE BEARER in 1993, and he distributed our ‘Bubonic Death’ demo, and probably the S/T DRAWN AND QUARTERED from 1996. In 2002 Matt Cason was also playing in SERPENS AEON, Greg and Matt were having some tension. We were all a little anxious to get a new record written, I think we had a standing deal or potential deal with MORIBUND, we hadn’t gotten any other interest at that time. It would have been a good idea to put a little more into the first record, looking back. There was no good reason to rush that out, other than we were already getting tired of the songs. I was creatively frustrated and was writing for other potential projects, trying out for other bands, and studying guitar at a community college. The band was frustrated with the slow progress of writing and what we felt was a lack of dedication to the band. Matt was frustrated with us, and a bit with me because I had a work issue that shortened our 2001 tour by a few gigs. This was my longest-running band and I was terrified by the possibility of a member change. It was quite stressful. I ended up being the one who had the discussion and we collectively decided that Matt would step away from the band. I like the SERPENS AEON stuff, they sounded great. I thought we sounded tired with the same old songs, we might have added one new song by that time. Coincidentally I heard about Dario Derna moving back to Seattle and interested in doing a project. We had the better part of an album written. Instead, I started writing all new stuff that became ‘Crusaders of Blasphemy’. This was a rehearsal to which we added some overdubs too, intended for Odin and MORIBUND to secure or Record Deal. It wasn’t intended to be released, we’d only been a band for about 3 weeks. We barely knew the material. We recorded them in our rehearsal room, we’d just written the structures, and we had to come up with lyrics and solos pretty quickly. I had been to various offices that MORIBUND worked out of back in the day. We would usually listen to some current music like the INFESTER record or something and smoke marijuana. I worked at the MORIBUND Office for a few months in 2003, I did some mail orders and we smoked weed all day and packed up merchandise and promotional materials. It was a cool experience for me, I promoted a couple of my records I recall. It was a smoky room with some computers and stacks of CD’s and other merch organized on shelves. There was always a huge stack of CD’s, like promos or new shit that never seemed to get listened to, lol. Odin is my friend and I appreciate what we worked on together and we continue to cooperate with DRAWN AND QUARTERED re-issues.

Wicked DD Photography

Now what was the response like from the underground to the CD? Now that you had a label behind you, did you get to play more shows or even mini-weekend tours?

KSK-We got some opportunities to open for all of the Death Metal bands that came through town and did some Fests and min-tours. And we did the 1999 and 2001 US Tours. I don’t think our CD made much of an impact.

You and Moribund hooked up again for your next release as well, ‘Extermination Revelry’. Thoughts on this release these days?

KSK: After the ‘Crusaders of Blasphemy’ recording we signed a 3 record deal with MORIBUND. I incorporated some of the material we had written previously and we had more than enough for another record. This was the beginning of what I had wanted to do with the band. We still play some of the songs on this record and for many people the favorite from us. It is pretty good, but I think we perfected this on the next record. I didn’t know much about recording, I thought I was Led Zeppelin and wanted to use various guitars and effects that drove the engineer crazy.

Did you feel the band’s sound had changed much since those early demos? If so how?

KSK-Our songs became more song-like. Our first record contains music written in the early 1990’s I had been listening to a lot of NAPALM DEATH and Matt was Neil Peart via CANNIBAL CORPSE. I was ready to move on from that sound, but we didn’t get many more songs finished before Matt left. I wanted more atmosphere and more solos. A little more time was spent on a riff to develop the music. We were moving in that direction, we would have done something similar, with Matt.

The next year, 2004, another release on Moribund called “Return of the Black Death”. The relationship was strong between you both. Did you have a contract with them or was it a handshake deal? Did you get to do any touring across the US up until this point?

KSK- WE did have a contract. We also had an artist, a recording studio an engineer/producer, and a full line-up that was motivated to make records. We weren’t touring. I believe Dario had a six-month break at one point. Some of us would have liked to tour, I think I was writing for other projects again and doing as much as I could. We didn’t have the kind of sales or label support to seriously tour much. We were pumping out material, and we didn’t want to be stuck on some record contract for years. We focused on doing music as DRAWN AND QUARTERED, PLAGUE BEARER, and WIND OF PESTILENCE.

Now you were from Seattle where Sub Pop Records was based. Was the whole grunge scene ever that big in Seattle in the mid 90’s ever at all?

KSK-By the time I’d heard of grunge, it was mainstream music worldwide. I liked Metal. This stuff came mainly from punk, and other influences including some Hendrix and Black Sabbath. People were into Metal too, but I never heard or saw any of those bands before. I wasn’t out hanging at clubs in Seattle in the early 1990’s. I would rather have seen a cover band, than listen to ‘grunge’ It wasn’t that good until they started making decent-sounding records. I saw Alice in Chains during the Clash of the Titans Tour, I saw Sound Garden in 1993 at the PARAMOUNT THEATER. I attended a recorded performance of NIRVANA in 1994, which also included a Jam session by some PEARL JAM members. I have never purchased a grunge record, but I like it now. Mainly some of the later SOUNDGARDEN records. Grunge might have been a thing, but not for me. I was pure METAL. If I’d had any brains or musical talent I might have been in a successful band like that. Then again, I’m glad I didn’t because I realize now that I would have ended up dead or fucked up in some way. Everyone wants to be famous at some point, right? Not realizing that it is not what you probably think it should be. I was fucking jealous. No money, no education, working low-paying jobs in kitchens. I was inspired by what I thought was the brilliant musicianship of 1980’s METAL. The grunge stuff was pretty good, but that was about the level I could play. I wasn’t impressed. I couldn’t write good songs or riffs like that, and I didn’t have the social skills or the gear to be a member of a band. So I had to form my own. I wrote and recorded about 40 or 50 songs before DRAWN AND QUARTERED. Another thing is I worked and lived south of Seattle near the Airport at Hotels and Restaurants. I rarely went to Seattle unless a METAL band was playing in town.

Were there many places to play out in the Seattle area? By this time what were some of the bands you shared the stage with?

There were always some places to play. It’s not like anyone was coming to see us. We are doing some brutal death grind and no one was really into it. A few people, and the bands we played with. There wasn’t much of a scene. It grew slowly, now there is a healthy scene with a lot of good bands in our region. Finally, in 1996 CANNIBAL CORPSE played in Seattle. We started getting some opening slots. We played our 2nd Show ever opening for NAPALM DEATH and AT THE GATES. We opened for OBITUARY, INCANTATION, IMMOLATION, MORBID ANGEL, NEVERMORE, MONSTROSITY. It was small dive bars, gradually into bigger bars and small theaters. We also toured with VILE and CEPHALIC CARNAGE.

That must have been cool working for Moribund so you see the inner workings of a label. What was the biggest thing you took from all of those days?

KSK-It was very cool, to have an opportunity to do that. I learned how to pack orders, which I have done on a very limited scale over the years, meaning It wasn’t full-time, just a few orders when new things were released. I learned a little bit about how things worked in that time in that niche, I got some free CDs but ultimately I went back to my previous line of work after a few months. It was a very long commute, and I was more of an intern so the pay was minimal.

Now how do you come up with ideas for songs? Who writes the lyrics and what are they mostly about? Where is the weirdest place you had a song idea?

Having written and recorded over 150 songs, since the late 1980’s, there are so many ways that a song comes about. I have written a lot of the DRAWN AND QUARTERED songs, and there are a lot of collaborations and added elements and arrangements as we develop the music. The easiest way is to just start humming some ideas to yourself. Writing songs is one of the most interesting and challenging parts of it all. It took a long time for me to figure out how to create music ideas. Staring out to you I needed to figure out how songs go. I learned a lot of Heavy Metal songs in the 1980s, but I couldn’t write anything yet. It would be good to just do cover songs starting out, and playing live. It used to be that songwriters wrote songs and musicians and singers would record and perform them. In the 1960 bands such as the Beatles spearheaded the idea of singers not only playing the instrumentations for the records but writing the songs themselves. What I’m trying to say is that I come from a background of viewing songwriting as an art. I combine my knowledge and foundation of popular and classical music and create Blackened Death Metal from that framework. Oftentimes I will see or hear something unrelated to our genre of music that inspires me to manifest a Blackened Death Metal song or riff idea. Often one or two ideas can lead to additional riffs and musical passages inspired by band member feedback or contributions. This is how much of the music was created once we got going. Initially, I would create some songs to get a band started. Depending on the line-up and what people are compelled to create would determine how the songs came out. I have written all of the PLAGUE BEARER music and most of the lyrics, I wrote most of the WINDS OF PESTILENCE songs and some of the lyrics. I have written most of the DRAWNN AND QUARTERED songs for the last decade or so. I don’t usually write D&Q lyrics but have done about a dozen including some upcoming songs yet to be released. Most of my lyrics would have them or underlying concepts amongst a side of a record or an EP, the subjects were usually some mockery of Christianity or the results of horrible Plagues. Also some over-the-top Satanic lyrics for various projects. Classical music often inspires ideas. I have also written many songs that were inspired by weird old horror movie music. Our next album was written in a weekend an is chock full of classic Horror Movie ideas using weird diminished chords and scales and chromatic riffs. Also informed by my pop and classical music sensibilities and through a filter of my early 1990s Death and Black Metal influences. I was watching AMADEUS once a few years ago and was inspired to create the song ‘Horned Shadows Rise’ from our 2018 record ‘The One Who Lurks’.

Now all this time did you get an offer to be on a bigger label? If you did would Moribund give their blessing for you to leave?

KSK- No we didn’t get a bigger label, we went deeper underground after leaving MORIBUND. That was a band decision, we ended up self-financing our next record ‘Feeding Hells Furnace’. We then found a label to produce copies and we get a percentage. That is how we’ve been doing records since we finished our last record deal. MORIBUND would be delighted if we got on a bigger label. It would boost sales of the 5 albums he’s already paid for or licensed in the case of the first record. He encouraged it, knowing that he was not going to be the next CENTURY MEDIA or whatever. We have a budget for our next record and had help with the previous record as well.

How easy or hard were your releases to get overseas at all?

KSK-Mail order from Odin and MORIBUND or from myself, so expensive. Now we have KRUCYATOR based out of FRANCE, so it’s easier.

Now you’re back again in 2006 on Moribund with a release called ” Hail Infernal Darkness”. How did this release come together? Was the morale of the band still strong? No disrespect, I mean I don’t think you would become as big as Cannibal Corpse, but how did the band keep going or part of it was just a love for death metal?

KSK-Our drummer didn’t want to tour, so we didn’t do that many shows. During the making of that record, I was in WINDS OF PESTILENCE doing shows and had recorded the PLAGUE BEARER ‘Rise of the Goat’ EP. We’d also done some rehearsal room recordings for possible splits and 7” that ended up being on a bonus CD. I was playing a lot and the creativity was flowing, we had a lot of contributions from Greg and Dario. I loved writing and recording records, and we were getting a lot done and fulfilling our record deal in a very timely manner. Some of us did want to tour and we did a few years later. We did it for the fun of it. We are just compelled to do this.

Now up until this release you have seen the days of tape trading go away and the internet had not yet become the big giant that it is now, but Metallica was huge, underground bands were on major labels, but changing styles. What do you remember about these days?

KSK-I was just trying to keep my head above water in life, working a lot and doing band shit as much as possible. I remember being busy, working, and trying to survive. I was in a gigging band with WINDS OF PESTILENCE, and DRAWN AND QUARTERED was still opening for bands that came to town, We also made another video. Things got better a few years later, with my health and financial situation. The band wasn’t as active as we wanted so we were doing mini tours and trips as WINDS OF PESTILENCE.

Now in 2007, you were back with another full-length called “Merciless Hammer of Lucifer” also on Moribund. By now was it easy to come up with quality music seeing as you had so many previous releases out before this? Thoughts on this release these days?

KSK-I remember being pretty casual about the writing for “Merciless Hammer…’. I remember spending a lot of time in our rehearsal room, working out riffs and ideas on the spot and having a lot of organic flow to the process. I don’t recall who wrote what, and a lot of ideas being floated around. I must have written some of the songs, like the title track and many of the riffs. I probably brought in mostly ideas and riffs as opposed to completed songs. I cant remember. I knew that we didn’t want to repeat the previous record, which is probably one of the top DEATH METAL records of all time, ‘Hail Infernal Darkness’. We deliberately wanted to do some different things. I didn’t want to overplay as much on this record and have some more subtle music ideas. It was easy and fun to write it, and we just wanted to fulfill a 1 record deal we did as a follow-up to our previous contract. Odin knew and supported the fact that we were going to try for a bigger label with more tour support. That didn’t pan out, because Dario didn’t want to tour. I eventually decided not to tour without him. We did a tour in 2008 to support this record. I like the record. We were on a deadline for a release window. I was in the studio helping make the final master. Unfortunately, the monitors in that studio at the time were not giving an accurate representation of the mixes we were preparing. Unfortunately, we had to release the version we have. It sounds good if you have an old-school stereo you can turn up loud, it’s pretty clean and you can add EQ as needed. But we should have been mixing for Phone and Computer speakers as well, we were going for a slightly different sound, and different from the previous record. In that way, it succeeds, and it’s a good record with some great songs.

A 34 (!) song DVD came out in 2009. I assume this is 2 DVD’s from a couple of different shows. How do you think it turned out? Do you think you played well on these shows (s)? Where were they recorded?

KSK-We did a US Tour in 2008, called ‘Assault of Evil’ with SATAN’S HOST in their Black Metal vocals phase. I had 2 shows filmed with Multiple cameras, and we tried to record the audio as well. Sadly the audio didn’t turn out for the second night of filming. The main feature of the 1 Disc DVD is the performance with the visuals edited and synced to the audio recorded in Tacoma, Washington. It was the middle of the week and we were heading out on tour. It was challenging as we did back-to-back local shows, and worked our jobs 2 days before we started the driving out for the rest of the tour. Another feature of the DVD is the official versions of our 3 music videos. I animated and two filmed on location. There is a gallery of photos from the tour. And there is a feature of bootleg style video recorded, There are some songs from 2003, and a couple of sets of us playing songs from our first album. I’m a much better player now, but I did what I could. It’s pretty cool. We have some fans that are happy to have that piece of history. There are some copies out there in the world still available. MORIBUND might still have them. The bootlegs were done in the Seattle area.

Your next release was a 7″ on the very cool label, Nuclear Winter Records. Were you just wanting to take a break from Moribund at this point? Did they get in contact with you or did you put out feelers you were looking to record for a new label?

KSK-Anastasis had a band called NUCLEAR WINTER, he contacted me maybe in 2004 or so. He liked the “Extermination Revelry’ record. He was interested in releasing some DRAWN AND QUARTERED music on his label NUCLEAR WINTER. We had an exclusive deal at that time, but I talked him into putting out the PLAGUE BEARER ‘Rise of the Goat’ 7″ EP. A few years later, we’d fulfilled our contracts with MORIBUND. We’d been writing and rehearsing for a couple of years with Herb on bass and vocals at that point before he’d just been the vocalist. We rehearsed and recorded in 2010, We had a couple of extra songs that were being left off the record. I wanted them on, at least one of them. Somehow, we came up with the idea to release those two songs and a couple that we’re going to be on the record on our very first and only 7” vinyl EP for DRAWN AND QUARTERED so far. That was “Conquerors of Sodom’. This is one of my favorite songs, and it has one of the last guitar solos that I pre-conceived, something I’d gotten away from afterward. It was decided, not by me, that we would self-finance the record. It wasn’t that expensive to make a record. We were pretty efficient by that point. I wasn’t sure about it, and the distribution and promotion. I don’t know how the deal came about, that must have been negotiated by Dario on our behalf. Of course, I was agreeable to having NUCLEAR WINTER release our record, which became ‘Feeding Hell’s Furnace’. I’m really happy with that record, I love the art and the songs. At one point I think we’d performed them all live back when we did the record. It was a lot of fun. We’d done some in New York at some shows we played in 2010 before the record came out. It’s at the CAKE SHOP and on YouTube.

So is this 7″ still for sale? How quickly did you go in and bang these tunes out? Why the title “Conquerors of Sodom”? Was it kinda cool releasing a 7″?

KSK-No this was a one-off, and a prelude to the record ‘Feeding Hell’s Furnace’. The title was just having fun with us rolling into a town and bringing our Evil Blackened Death Metal to defile the world. And sodomy. We were thrilled to release the 7″ and we did a small run of shirts with the cover art that we had for sale at the New York shows, with MASOLEUM, DISMA, and MORTAL DECAY in 2010. The songs were recorded during the sessions for the full-length record. It took a couple of weekends, I suppose with mixes and all, maybe another day or two.

You decided, not a bad thing mind you, to work with them again, this time putting out a full length called ” Feeding Hell’s Furnace”. Now did you have ideas to possibly hold back working with them due to them being overseas and you in the US?

KSK-DRAWN AND QUARTERED wasn’t very active at this point. Our bass player of 11 years quit during our 2008 US Tour. We also had a fill-in drummer, Steve Fournier who was in IN MEMEORIUM with our current singer in PLAGUE BEARER, Nihilist(THY INFERNAL, LORD GORE). The drummer from SATANS’ HOST also quit after the 3rd show, so Steve filled in for them too. After that, I didn’t care about touring without our actual drummer. But Steve did a great job, I had a lot of fun. It was a rough tour. Gas prices were $5.50+ a gallon. I didn’t care who put out the album, it took a couple of years to get it released. We recorded it in 2010, and it came out in 2012. Soon after, Daario moved away, after 10 years in the band. Herb and I considered just calling it quits, it was on the table.

I see a cassette release was next in 2016. Did you put that out or did some small label put that out? Why the title “Proliferation of Disease”? Was this a “hit” of sorts or were many people made it wasn’t on CD or vinyl? If it’s not will it ever be?

KSK-At the end of 2012, our friend Beau Galloway (Bass/Vox-DISBELIEF, Guitar/Vox-BLOOD RITUAL, Guitar/Vox GRAVENLOCH) stepped in on drums. We started working on new material including songs we’d been working on for the previous 2 years. After a month or 2, he got Simon Dorfman (SHADED ENTITY, INQUINOK) to join on drums, Beau switched to guitar. An opportunity to open for HATE ETERNAL pushed us to put together a set and we started playing live again in 2013, we did a few local shows and then started working on self-produced recordings of the songs we’d been developing. Beau and I had a disagreement about the recording, and my guitar not being intonated which is possible, or he wrote shit that didn’t fit the riff without referring to my tabs. His mom was dying, and my wife was having her hips replaced. I was working overnight shifts and driving 45 minutes or so to rehearse at Beau’s house. Due to these conditions, we just couldn’t get the recording done. I wish I had done something different and we could have a recording or even a record made together after many years of knowing each other, sadly we parted ways and reconvened back at my house. We continued to rehearse, re-tooling the songs once again that we’d been writing since 2010, at least. It must have been around 2015 that we recorded a bunch of songs we’d been working on. It must have been for pre-production; we recorded it on my TASCAM 424 Cassette 4-Track recording console. I spent some time layering more guitars, we got vocals on and I did some mixes. I was pretty sick of these songs by this time. I really couldn’t stand them anymore; I’d spent so much time with them. I felt like I needed to start fresh and write for the current line-up in mind, namely writing songs that fit the style of Simon’s drumming better than these older ideas. Looking back, I realize that this is perfectly normal. We should have just made a record using those songs! We knew them well! We would have murdered them in a studio! But we didn’t have a label, studio, or budget at that time. I thought it would be fun to self-release a cassette tape. A one-off, no digital, no CD. I used the best quality tape to try and get the best sound possible from my demo recording. On behalf of the band, I released the tape on my label, PLAGUE PIT PRODUCTIONS. I got some artwork from Thomas Westpha/NECROMANIAC and made the tape. A while after that I was contacted by VAULT OF DRIED BONES. I convinced them to remaster the entire recording of 10 songs and release a CD of ‘PROLIFERATION OF DISEASE’. He also printed shirts and I would use the proceeds as a budget for an album we would record. There is a CD version of ‘Proliferation of Disease’, mastered by Damian Herring. This was subsequently re-issued by KRUCYATOR. I have discussed releasing a vinyl version. I think we’ve pushed that rehearsal quality-sounding demo far enough. It’s an anomaly in our catalog. It is a full-length release; I consider it an album. Not a ‘studio’ album. Our studio albums have all had Gabriel T. Byrne artwork on the covers. We have 8 studio records, a live record, and the “Proliferation..’ demo. It wouldn’t say it’s a hit. It’s just supposed to be an old-school, underground demo. It’s not what most people would expect from a band with full-length studio albums. It didn’t cost anything other than manufacturing and hours of my time making it. As an artist, I’m glad it was created. From a business standpoint, it’s probably a negative. A rehearsal quality release in this day and age of manufactured perfection is not what most Metal fans are looking for.

Were you ever getting burned out by now as the band had been going for over 20 years at this point?

From the end of 2008 until Dario left in 2012, we weren’t doing that much. We did 4 shows in 2011, and 4 in 2012. Maybe some in 2010, I can’t remember. I wasn’t doing PLAGUE BEARER or WINDS OF PESTILENCE. Yes, I was a little burned out. I never practiced and we would rehearse maybe once a week. I was enjoying being a basic dude, just coming home from work and watching TV. I didn’t give a shit about gear, other bands, tech-ing my guitar, or my playing skills. We could bust out 20 songs any time with no rehearsal and easily add more. I vowed that I would no longer do ‘side’ projects. I pursued other interests. I could take it or leave it at that point. I didn’t need to write all the songs; Dario was pushing to contribute a lot at the end so I didn’t have that much to do. I was not in good shape, trying to play live I almost had a freaking heart attack!+

So after a compilation release, you were back in 2018 with a new full-length called “The One Who Lurks”. which came out on Krucyator Productions. How did you hook up with them and how long did it take to put together the music for this release? How was it working with this label?

KSK-We had the ‘Proliferation of Disease’ CD re-issued by KRUCYATOR, who also did some reissues on new formats. We got ‘Feeding Hells Furnace’ on cassette tape and ‘Hail Infernal Darkness’ on LP. I started recording some songs that ended up becoming ‘The One Who Lurks’. This was the result of some experimenting. Instead of spending 2 years writing and rehearsing, we were more spontaneous with this record. We spent a couple of sessions recording the structures, and piece by piece replaced those scratch tracks with new performances. We had about half of the songs written, and the rest we created based on some rough outlines I had written on a whiteboard. It was fun and productive working with KRUCYATOR, so we have continued. It is challenging to do music production remotely, but we are getting pretty good at it.

Now at any point did you manage to play overseas or even down in Mexico? Did you get to do any touring behind the above release?

KSK- We did get some fun gigs like the DEATH OVER MEXICO in CDMX, a tour of Japan and ASAKUA DEATH FEST, and some fun shows in Canada.

A live album followed in 2019 called “Mutilated Offerings: Live at Asakusa Deathfest”, which was put out by Cráneo Negro Records, who are based out of Mexico. Was this from a show in Mexico? Was this your whole 10-song set? Was it difficult putting together a set list for a show like this? What are your thoughts on this and do you like live albums in general?

KSK-DRAWN AND QUARTERED released the ‘Mutilated Offerings’ CD through El Craneo Negro in Mexico. This was coordinated with our Festival appearance at DEATH OVER MEXICO, we picked up the CD’s and a shirt that had been made when we traveled and performed in Mexico. The recording is from our Festival appearance the year before in Japan. That was the set we had time to perform that particular night, we would rotate in different songs depending on how much time and what we felt like playing. We didn’t plan around the recording. We weren’t particularly aware that we would be recording or that this would be a release. I wish I had known that, but it doesn’t matter we had fun. I like live albums, they are fun to check out and re-live a live performance.

Now in 2021, yet another full-length came out called “Congregation Pestilence” also on Krucyator Productions, so I guess you liked working with this label?

KSK-we were barely able to get drums recorded when the Covid-19 lockdowns began in 2020. I had 4 songs we were intending for an EP. Not long before the drum recording started we decided to re-record some of the ‘Proliferation of Disease’ songs to fill out the record and make a full-length release. Loic is the label manager/owner. He also is involved with music production. We liked the work done with KRUCYATOR and we are happy with the record. A lot of work had been done with re-issues and the ‘The One Who Lurks’ record, so we continued with Loic and KRUCYATOR.

Do you feel by now that the band’s sound has changed much from say your debut or 2nd release or yeah it has changed but not by much? How hard or easy is it for you to bang out tunes?

Every record has a different sound and new compositional experiments. I’m not looking to do anything too different from our first couple of records, improved performances and better songs are always a goal. It’s pretty easy to create new songs. I would create them constantly, but it takes time to learn them, hone them, and write the additional guitar parts and vocals. The vocals are usually added last. I’m trying not to have a backlog of material. I wrote the album we are working on in 1 go basically. It has been a challenge to learn the whole album at once. I will take it song by song next time, most likely.

A few months ago, a 5 CD box set called “Implements of Hell” came out on Back on Black Records. Now how did this come about and is it just the 5 releases or are there some extras on them?

KSK-It’s a collection of the original releases as far as I know, this was licensed by MORIBUND, I’m hoping to get a sample copy. It seems like a cool idea, I haven’t seen one.

Now you’re going to be doing an East Coast tour in October of 2023 and I’ll exactly be seeing you live in a few weeks. How hard is it to put together a set list for tours like this with so many releases?

That’s great, can’t wait to play New York! We haven’t toured in a long time, so we can play our current set, that will be more than enough for this tour. We have added a new member on rhythm guitar, so we have a set in place rehearsed. We want to change some of those songs in the future, but our current set is perfect for what we’re doing this year. There are songs we’d like to add, we’d have to re-learn them at this point.

What is the current line-up of the band these days?

KSK-Kelly Shane Kuciemba-Lead guitar, Brandon Corsair-Rhythm Guitar, Herb Burke-Bass and Vocals, Simon Dorfman-Drums

How do you think the band has survived all these years and how much longer do you see it going?

The band exists because Herb and I want it to be, and never stop working on it. We have made many sacrifices, and have maintained living in a very expensive city. It’s a privilege and an honor to be able to do this. We have at least 2 bands going, giving us that much more opportunity to rehearse, write, record, and perform. I don’t know how much longer. Many more years, I’d say. We’ll be doing some kind of music project. I have other bands I want to do, and Herb could be involved with those. We want to do more with DRAWN AND QUARTERED and PLAGUE BEARER. We’ll probably do it until we can’t. I wouldn’t do DRAWN AND QUARTERED and probably PLAGUE BEARER without Herb, so as long as we can do it we’ll do something.

When do you think we will see some new music from the band and what are your plans in 2024 and beyond?

KSK-We have music. A split CD with RAVENOUS DEATH might be out on VOMIT RECORDS in November 2023. A new full-length CD/LP/Tape will probably be out before the Summer of 2024 on KRUCYATOR PRODUCTIONS. There’s a PLAGUE BEARER record we’re rehearsing. I have some other ideas I’d like to get to as well.

Fill me in on what Plague Bearer (the death metal band Kelly is also in) is up to these days.

KSK-In 2017 PLAGUE BEARER began rehearsing and performing live drawings from our back catalog (including songs from our WINDS OF PESTILENCE band from 2004-2008). In 2018 we released 2 compilation CD’s. ‘Rise of the Bubonic Death’ came out on VOMIT RECORDS and contains 1993 ‘Bubonic Death’ and 2004 ‘Rise of the Goat’ recordings. PLAGUE BEARER-‘Winds of Pestilence’ contains all previously unreleased recordings of the PLAGUE BEARER ‘Defiled by Sodomy’ recording from 2001

The WINDS OF PESTILENCE band recorded a demo in 2008. We put it together on a CD released by KRUCYATOR PRODUCTIONS. After performing the old songs for a few years at some local shows and Festivals we recorded the songs from our live set featuring our favorites from the old recordings. This debut full-length record was released in March 2023, 30 years since the ‘Bubonic Death’ demo. We are rehearsing a bunch of songs for our next full-length record.

Please plug and social media sites you have as well as any music you have for sale and merchandise as well.


Kelly, a mega horns up for doing this chat and taking me through the band’s history. Any last words to wrap this up?

Thank you for helping to document and promote our bands, we appreciate it and will see you on the road!

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