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Epitaph Interview

Epitaph was a death metal band from Tampa, Florida that sadly only released 2 demos before breaking up.

Epitaph was a death metal band from Tampa, Florida that sadly only released 2 demos before breaking up. Luckily for us, Divebomb Records has seen fit to release those demos on CD and I reached out to the band for an interview and lo and behold I got 4 members to agree to the interview. Here is the interview with band members (drummer) Kevin Astl, guitarist/vocalist Tony Teegarden, Wayne Burgess (guitar) and bass player Mark Good (bass).

  • Where were you born and where did you grow up?

Tony: I was born in Georgia but grew up all over since my great grandparents moved a lot. Florida, Ga, Iowa, NC, Ky all before I was 13.

Kevin: I was born in Missouri but moved around a lot, mainly the northeast, and settled in Florida with my parents when I was 12.

Wayne: I was born in Nashville as my parents were young and running
around and happened to be staying with my Aunt who was a country
singer.

Mark: I was born in Cleveland, OH. Till I was 10 or so then my parents
wised up and moved to Tampa, FL,

  • What sort of kid were you growing up?

Tony: Up until I lived with my mom for 5 months and went through some pretty traumatic child abuse I was a pretty happy go lucky kid for the most part. But after that, I was pretty angry, terrified really, and channelled a lot of my anger, hurt and frustration into art and music.

Kevin: I had a pretty typical middle-class childhood and actually have good memories of it.  I was quite mischievous and got into some trouble here and there, but managed to stay out of prison!

Mark: I was the same as I am now, just a lot younger. No really, but I was always outside running around, sports, bikes, nature, recreational stuff as a kid. I eventually got into drugs, alcohol and bass at 15. Bass and music saved my youth from going on a downward spiral, Praise God!

  •  What did you want to be when you were growing up and were you into music at a young age?

Tony: I was into cars and aeroplanes as a kid. Thought I might want to race cards or fly planes. But I began violin lessons in 3rd grade and became a classically trained violinist. Played in the Florida Junior Orchestra by 13 and picked up the electric guitar after that.

Wayne: I always loved KISS and Orchestrations. Van Halen had some great jams in the beginning. I always wanted to play the drums, but the parents gave me a guitar, so I settled on that.

Kevin: I had no idea what I wanted to be, and really didn’t figure that out until well into my 20s. My dad was a drummer in the 60s, so he had an old 4 piece Slingerland gold-flake kit laying around that I got acquainted with. I didn’t start formally playing the drums – all self-taught – until I was 17.  As to being into music, I was, totally.  My parents, who had diverse musical tastes but mainly listened to rock and hard rock, gave me a Black Sabbath LP (vinyl, “We Sold Our Soul For Rock N Roll”) when I was 9 years old and it was all heavy rock and metal for me from then on!

Mark: I wanted to be Indiana Jones and I guess I still could be, but…Yes I was always into music! My parents took me to see ELO when I was 8, a guy behind us was smoking a joint and I asked my Dad, what is
that smell? It was Sabbath, Maiden, Slayer, Venom after that.

  • What kind of kid would you say you were in high school?

Tony: I was the kid who didn’t fit in but got along with everyone. I would wear Disney shirts while listening to death metal. I was really into TV production in high school and learned a lot from it while also having fun doing it. I got to interview Bands like Kreator, Obituary, Death because of it so I found a way to marry TV production and my love for heavy music.

Wayne: I had a lame band in High School and I was in Jazz band, so that kept me busy and connected with people that played music. I think I learned many new (to me) concepts and learned to dissect and build music that was not so basic and boring. Two members of Obituary also attended our school and they were always talking about music that was happening and shows. Fortunately, there were a few all-ages venues in the Brandon/Tampa area, so I was able to see some up and coming bands including the newly-signed Nasty Savage. Savage new how to do a show right. It was amazing seeing them tear up the smallest stages in their hometown.

Kevin: I was an excellent student, straight As, and mixed in with all the groups very easily – jocks, nerds, goths, burn-outs (is that even a thing any more?).  But I was a well-known metalhead for sure. Mark: I was an average B or C grade student, just didn’t like school so I just did what I had to, basically to get through it. In high school I smoked weed every day before school, wake ‘n bake which got me through and I guess labelled me as a “burn out” lol…I was always the mellow kid for the most part, but didn’t take much from others either, which I inherited from my Dad! I started playing bass at 14 or 15 and started several bands, mostly original music, but Slayer, Motorhead and Venom were fun to mess around with to get tight as a band.

  • Now how did you discover metal music and then I’ll go a step further and say how did you discover the underground? What were some of the first bands you heard and did you like them right away or did it take a few listens?

Tony: By 13 I was listening to AC/DC but quickly by 14 & 15 I was listening to Metallica like Master of Puppets and Ride the Lightning but also thrash bands like Forbidden, Exodus, Sadus, Destruction, and Testament. I just went down the rabbit hole of thrash. It wasn’t until Wayne Burgess (from the band) introduced me to Death’s Leprosy that I went into the underground. I fell in love with Chuck’s voice and the technical aspect of his playing. Scream Bloody Gore was a favourite of mine too. After that bands like Obituary, Kreator, Atheist, Sepultura, became favourites.

Wayne: While in Junior High, I had a friend who’s older brother was buying all of the latest metal from Europe and all of the Metal Blade and Combat releases. That is where I first heard Slayer, Exodus and early Metallica.

Kevin: As to how I discovered metal, please see the above.  I just got into heavier and faster bands as I traversed my teens. I liked Ozzy, Motley Crue, Queensryche, and progressed to Metallica, Megadeth, Nuclear Assault, Anthrax, Vio-Lence, Overkill, Testament.  As to the underground, I’d go to the Volley Club and Sunset Club here in Tampa, and I saw Xecutioner (pre-Obituary), Mantas, Autopsy, Death, Fester. That opened my eyes to lots of cool and edgy, super-brutal music.

Mark: I was introduced to the metal early on by 10 yrs old by my uncle and my Dad, somewhat…Sabbath and Blue Oyster Cult, Maiden, Slayer etc. I went to my first real pit in 86 when I saw Megadeth with Overkill in Tampa, legendary show! Then the real underground was discovered when I went to The Sunset club in Tampa to see Death and Nasty Savage in 86 I believe, that’s what opened my eyes to the Tampa Death Metal scene! Along with those bands were Celtic Frost, The Accused, Agnostic Front, Crumbsuckers, Venom, Minor Threat, Bad Brains, Primus, etc…all these bands played shows at Cuban Club, Jannus Landing, Club Detroit… There was a show every weekend!

  •  Tell me about the 1st underground metal show you went to and how
    was the experience for you?

Tony: I don’t know about underground but when I was 17 Kevin Astl and Iwent to go see Cynic play in Tampa. It was the original line up and it was just magical. I couldn’t stop my jaw from hitting the ground. Chuck Schuldiner was standing behind us the whole show. The technical aggression and how tight they have inspired the hell out of me.

Wayne: I remember seeing Executioner (Obituary) and AMON (Deicide) back in 87.

Kevin: I saw Death during the very early “Scream Bloody Gore” era when I was 17.  I was literally blown away.  Death was and is one of my favourite bands of all time, and to see them in such a small, intimate club was just seminal for me.  I knew that I had to get into a band somehow.

Mark: Death and Nasty Savage at The Sunset Club in 86 if I’m correct.

  • I know back in the early ’90s (I was doing my fanzine Metal Core at the time) there was a HUGE death metal scene in Florida at the time. What was it like being in the middle of all that at the time?

Tony: Believe it or not most Tampa bands weren’t very inviting of one another. Matter of fact it felt pretty competitive and secretive. In South Florida however, bands seemed to be much more supportive of one another. We became good friends with the guys in Solstice and they’d drive up to our shows or we’d drive down to visit them and it was really refreshing. With that being said, just being a FAN it was really cool to go to shows. One show at the Cuban Club in Ybor City was with Atheist, Obituary, Sadus, and Sepultura. That night was magical and so much fun.

Wayne: You only know what you know, so I kinda thought all metro areas had music scenes. I did think it was a little strange when I joined a thrash band and we practised at a public storage location and there were about 40 other bands also practising there. They included; Iced Earth, Nocturnus, Morbid Angel and many others that did not get signed.

Kevin: I agree with both Tony and Wayne’s perspective above.  I will add, that Cuban Club show was killer (and Sepultura’s “Beneath The Remains” was one of the albums that made me want to drum and up my game), but we had just come from practice and were in shorts and T-shirts, and it was like 40 degrees outside.  We froze our dicks off for metal!

Mark: I was introduced to the scene by going to shows obviously, buying records at Vinyl Fever, Alternative Records locally. I answered an ad in 89 for Incubus (Death Metal band that was on Nuclear Blast) for a bassist, met up with them on Skipper Rd Rehearsal Space, and Decide, Nocturnus, Morbid Angel…etc played there and I went around talking to all of them, that was an awesome experience. Short-lived with Incubus, but a cool experience none the less. Answered an ad Tony n Kevin put out for a bassist, went and tried out and we pretty much clicked instantly. It was refreshing to find a few other metalheads who were on the same metal journey I was. We worked hard and I think it does show in our material, we never listened to too much local metal, which helped us set apart from others in the scene. The shows were minimal but when we played, it was a good time and performance was pretty awesome whether we played to ten (1st show at brass mug) or a thousand (Pantera)!

  • Did you ever have a chance to visit Ace’s Records and if you did, what was that store like? Was there any other great underground metal stores around?

Tony: Yes of course I did. We’d go there and bug Frank all the time. I remember when he had his store set up in a Flea Market and then later on when he got his storefront on Fowler Ave. Frank was amazing. It wasn’t weird to walk in and see David from Morbid Angel working behind the counter or a James Murphy. Frank really liked us and was key in choosing us to open for Pantera in ‘91 when they played the Ritz in Ybor City. Frank was good people and really cared about the music and the fans. Such a good guy.

Kevin: Oh yeah, many times, from the old Oldsmar flea market version to the newer one on Fowler.  Frank was an ambassador for metal and could not have been more supportive of it all, but the local scene in particular.

Mark: Yes, Oldsmar the original location, was awesome. We consigned our demos to Frank, he was a cool dude and was always straight forward, I remember that. Yes, Vinyl Fever, Alternative Records were awesome as well, oh yes Turtles on Dale Mabry where King Diamond did a meet n greet before his show at Jannus in 87 or 88!!

  • Now when did you decide to pick up and instrument and did you ever take any lessons and why that particular instrument?

Tony: I was trained in music theory when I played the violin but when I switched over to guitar I didn’t continue. I naturally had a bit of a classical vibe to a lot of my guitar playing because of my theory background but I married it with the technical play that I originally got from bands like Forbidden or Cynic.

Wayne: I never had any formal lessons. Just a few Jazz related from a schoolmate that was a year ahead of me in Jazz class. I did buy a few books, but I relied mostly on ear training.

Kevin: 17, drums, all self-taught. I dabbled with the guitar for a bit and got good enough to write basic riffs that I have used in Epitaph and other bands I’ve been in.

Mark: I was 15 when I picked up the bass, took lessons for almost 10 months from John Demas, an excellent guitarist/multi-instrumentalist who played in Florida Orchestra, etc. I learned classical/jazz/etc per his persistence, which I am still grateful for. I just wanted to get out and experience playing with others so I quit lessons early on.

  • So now when did the idea come to you to either to try and find an established band to possibly join or form your own band?

Tony: I was already in a band with high school friends when I was 14 or 15. That’s when I was introduced to Kevin through Wayne (Wayne was in the popular Tampa Thrashband Roadkill with Kevin’s Brother John – who would later go on to start the death metal band Resurrection) I was treating the other band seriously but when I met Kevin we instantly clicked musically. I had been spending all my time practising and Kevin had done a really good job of learning drums. He’s the one who actually introduced me to Cynic which completely turned my world upside down and made me want to REALLY raise the bar when it came to my playing.

Wayne : I was leaning into getting heavier, but Roadkill was not having it. Funny, as soon as Epitaph got going, Resurrection happened.

Kevin: Tony’s recollection is the same as mine.  I tried out for the band he was in, but he and I had an immediate connection and we ran with it from there.

Mark: I joined Incubus (Death Metal band) for a short time in 89/90 but started a band prior to that in my Tampa neighbourhood playing covers and some originals. Epitaph, same as above.

  • How did you come up with the name Epitaph and were any other names considered?

Tony: I honestly don’t remember but I do remember we were pretty set on the name pretty quickly. I liked it because of the metaphor that what’s written on your tombstone echoes how you lived your life and what you stood for. That resonated with me deeply and I always thought about it when writing lyrics for our songs.

Wayne : I dunno

Kevin: We all sort of remembering this differently.  I don’t know that we know the true “answer”, but it was mutual and we liked the name.  At the time, there weren’t 734 Epitaphs around the world that we knew of.

Mark: I believe we had a book of horror movies, which we used for the first pressed cassette from Black lagoon I believe and possibly the name came from that book as well?

  • So how did the coming of Epitaph come together? Did you go through some early members before coming together to the line-up that recorded the 2 demos that you put out?

Tony: Yes, originally Epitaph was just Kevin and I. Then there was guitar player Harry Hanna. Great guy, we just didn’t mesh 100% when it came to music. Then, after Roadkill disbanded Wayne joined us and it was a very natural fit. After that, I believe Mark Good came last. We ran an ad in one of the local music mags and Mark came out to audition. He had just stepped away from the death metal band Incubus and he had what we considered serious chops. And he was a finger player which we thought was impressive. That was our line up for our first demo. After that, we parted ways with Wayne and auditioned Scott Senokossoff. I’m not sure where we found him but it worked. On a funny note, one of the guitar players we auditioned was James Murphy. We jammed with him once, but then when we found out he really wanted us to integrate us into his Disincarnate project we pleasantly declined. But yeah, that almost happened.

Wayne: I remember it happening very fast. We all knew each other and we knew which direction we wanted to head into, so it was very natural.

Kevin: At the risk of being lame, what Tony and Wayne said!

Mark: It was Tony n Kevin and Harry when I came out…I knew Harry was not working out after that first night and then after I joined, Wayne came in after he quit Roadkill.

  • What were the early practices for the band like? Did you fool around with covers early on? If so, how long was it before you started to write and fool around with writing your own songs?

Tony: We didn’t mess with covers at all. We were all about writing and expressing our original work. We did however put together mashups of songs in what we called “Medleys”…those were super fun to do live. We’d play snippets of anything from Rain in Blood and right behind it the theme song to The Wonderful World of Disney lol. Peeps loved those lives and it just lightened the mood a bit and also showed our love of diverse music because all of us listened to a lot of other stuff besides just heavy music.;

Wayne: We had somewhat of a strict practising regime, so we got really good at the songs that we were making. It was intense, but it showed results as I have never seen since. Sadly, we had some more tunes that we were working on that got lost in time.

Kevin: The medleys were a blast.  We also had the Charlie Brown theme and ZZ Top’s “La Grange” in there too.  Eclectic and fun as hell to play.  We also did a very metal cover of Devo’s “Whip It” that I loved and thought was super sick.

Mark: covers were a waste of time as far as I was concerned, and all agreed, we worked very hard on our originals. We didn’t have a lot of songs to play live, so we ended up playing medleys as Tony noted above
as filler.

  • What was your first live show like? Who did you play with and where was it at? How do you think you did overall?

Tony: I believe our first show was at the Brass Mug in Tampa. I honestly can’t remember who we played with. I do know we played we assess off though in this tiny little club/bar. It was pretty magical and I can still remember the set up to this day. We were all about keeping the energy HIGH live. Never stop thrashing. I remember Wayne doing the full-body thrash and just going sick. Mark of course was a monster live. We even toyed around with the idea of Wayne doing a backflip while playing but we figured he’d die trying so we scrapped the idea lol.

Wayne: We destroyed that show. I remember multiple people telling me how tight we were together. I kinda wish I could do that damn backflip, but I would have broken my guitar and neck. What I would do to see a video of those shows.

Kevin: That was a blur to me. However, I distinctly recall Mark breaking a bass string within the first 30 seconds of the show starting. He never broke a string in practice ever, and yet, Murphy’s Law snaps one at our first show, first song.

Mark: Yes, it was awesome to play live! I believe we played with Bloodbath or someone like that… Anyway, I think your right Kevin, either the first or second show, I broke a bass string from pure intensity!! But, had a backup bass which was an example of how serious we took ourselves musically. Overall, the show was awesome, a lot of good feedback!

  • Now how long was the band together before you decided you wanted to go in the studio to cut a demo, which was 1991? How many songs did you have ready to go and you went to the infamous Morrisound Studios with Tom Morris producing? What was that experience like?

Tony: we actually went into the studio fairly quickly if I remember correctly. We already had Transgression of Dreams written before Wayne and Mark joined I believe (don’t quote me on that though) but the other two songs we wrote with Wayne and Mark and we just said, screw it let’s get these recorded.  Working with Tom was amazing. He was so professional and easy to work with. He even came out to one of our practices prior to recording and gave us feedback on what to work on before we went into the studio.

Wayne: I remember that we wanted Tom as it was his place and we did not want to sound like all of the other demos that were being churned out at that time. Remember, for every 1 Tampa Metal band signed there were about 30 that were not.
http://www.tampabaymusichistory.com/tampa-bay-metal-awards.php

Mark: I believe we all took part in writing the songs… Tom Morris was awesome as anyone could be…His coming out to our rehearsal was mind-blowing…he was a great inspiration to me to better myself musically.

  • How did you get John Tardy from Obituary to do backing vocals on your demo and how cool was that for you at the time?

Tony: John, Trevor, and Donald all went to the same highschool Wayne and I did. They graduated a few years before us. So when I was taking a TV production class in high school I decided to interview them for the school TV show. I tracked them down and they all 3 were happy to do it. I also got to video the live show they played with Sepultura at the Cuban Club as a part of the interview. So when we were in the studio recording, I can’t remember who suggested it, (maybe Mark) it was brought up that maybe we could get John to do backing vocals since he had met me. Tom Morris had John’s number and called him, and sure enough, he was down! It was a total fluke of luck how it happened but John was super cool about it. We were stoked!

  • How long were you in the studio for any at the time were you pretty happy with how it turned out? Obviously, you knew about fanzines and tape trading a?We recorded the first demo in a matter of a few days. Like over a weekend I’m wanting to say. We didn’t have a lot of money so we couldn’t afford to screw around. But we were VERY tight because we were already rehearsing normally 4 to 5 nights a week and going through the songs up to 3 times a night sometimes. We were pretty happy with it and yes, we send the demo out to as many zines as we could. The first demo cover was pretty rotten lol but the music spoke for itself and we got a lot of good feedback.
  • What was the response to the demo from the underground? Did you get many great reviews and interviews from the fanzines?

Tony: Kevin handled a lot of this and the correspondence although we all did a little bit on our own (well I didn’t honestly but I know Mark and Wayne did some too) From our understanding the reviews and fan mail we got, yes it was a great response. We were thrilled with some of the reviews we received.

Kevin: The response was overwhelming.  It seemed like we were doing something fresh and new, not rehashed or blatantly derivative, and peeps were digging it.

  •  I know you shared the stage with Pantera, what was that like? Were they cool to you?

Tony: That night was SO bizarre in a good way. I just remember walking into the dressing room and seeing Cronos from Venom double fisted with beers and laughing it up with Phil Anselmo. And Dime Bag grabbing a
banana peel out of my hand and throwing it up into the risers when I asked where the trashcan was lol.  They seriously treated us SO good and with ZERO egos. They made us feel like we were part of the tour. Mark later told us that Phil loved our show and how aggressive we were. We played for about 1200 people that night which was the largest crow we’d ever play for. I was on a high for a week after. It was so much fun.

Wayne: Everyone in the band and crew was the nicest guys ever. Such a 180 from when I opened for Suicidal Tendencies a year before. Those dudes were awful towards the opening bands.

Kevin: Totally agreed. We were in our own little dressing room at the Ritz, and they came over and told us – we didn’t have an option – to come party with them in their room! They treated us as equals, and I’ve played a lot of live shows since and have never been treated that well, ever.  One of my best memories for sure.

Mark: Yes they were awesome guys. Phil smoked me out and Vin and Dime offered us hot dogs, chips and Heineken like we were in their band! Incredible and not your typical band..

  • Did you ever send the demo out to any record companies or did you wait? If you did, what kind of response did you get back?

Kevin: We sent out to ALL of the labels! Some, like Roadrunner, numerous times (more on that below). Massacre Records had read a bunch of our reviews, both in the US, with Metal Maniacs,, and in the Euro press.  One day, out of the blue, I got a phone call at my parent’s house from a gentleman with Massacre, who relayed Massacre’s interest in Epitaph.  We had all heard of Massacre Records, so this seemed like the band and all the hard work would finally pay off.  As I handled most of the business for the band at that point, I attempted to negotiate with Massacre.  Massacre sent their contract over, and I reviewed it.  In my estimation, the recording budget was lower than what we wanted in order to do a full record at Morrisound.  I talked to the label, who came up some, but not enough as I saw the future of the band.  I also demanded (I’d say “asked”, but I was much more demanding in those days) tour support, merchandise, etc.  Then one day, they stopped replying to me.  Would not answer my faxes or calls. It was obvious that I had demanded too much, and that the opportunity was closed.  We tried to get Roadrunner interested, but we had sort of missed that golden age of death metal with them, so to speak.  At one point, I was harassing Monte Conner by sending him letters weekly, telling him to sign us, sign us.  Monte sent us a very thoughtfully worded – and brutally honest – letter telling us in no uncertain terms why he and Roadrunner were passing on us.

Now the very next year, 1992, you released a 2nd demo, which drifted just a bit away from the straight forward death metal sounds of demo # 1. Was there any particular reason for that change? Now, demo # 1 was produced by Tom Morris and demo # 2 by Scott Burns. Out of the 2, who did you find easier to work with?

Tony: We were so heavily influenced by more technical bands at the time (i.e. Cynic) that it was a natural progression for us. And I can speak for myself, I was just growing and pushing my boundaries as a guitar player. We didn’t want to do what everyone else was doing. Both engineers were easy to work with. I think Scott was kinda burned out on producing bands like ours by that point but I can’t really say. I enjoyed working with Tom because there was that extra effort put in on his part, but that doesn’t take anything away from Scott’s production.

Kevin: We were growing by leaps and bounds – remember, I hadn’t played the drums for that long, so I was experiencing an epiphany in my skills and abilities that directly translated to better writing with the band. Tom and Scott were both absolute professionals and just good guys, you know? They knew their stuff beyond well and also helped us grow as musicians. I recall that both challenged us to be the best we could be (sorry if that sounds like a cliche, but it’s true).

Mark: Just like most good bands, you have to progress…Tom Morris was much better and easier to work with by far and he fit our style, what we were looking for in our sound better. We wanted to work with Tom on
the 2nd as well, but he was busy recording a huge project at the time.

  • Now did you send this demo out to any record companies? I know you had interest from one, which I’ll get to in a minute, but were they the only one?

Kevin: I sort of gave an omnibus answer to that above, which answers this and the subsequent question.

  • Now you were close to having a deal signed with Massacre Records who expressed interest in signing the band. What happened with them and why did things fall apart?

Tony: Kevin can tell you about this. He was pretty much handling all the negotiations at that time.

  •  Did this really hurt the morale of the band after you didn’t get a deal with them or did you vow to continue on?

Tony: Well we can only say the results speak for themselves. Meaning, not that long after this happened we disbanded. Not because we were pissed or anything (at least I wasn’t) And sure we were disappointed but it just rolled that way. I think we were just ready to move on it seemed. It was for the best since we all went on to contribute to other projects.

Kevin: How Epitaph ended is a real blur in my memory. I don’t recall any fights, or huge events, it was just like we were all ready to grow more and achieve more musically, whether that was with Epitaph or with other groups. As it turned out, we went different ways, and we all achieved success with different bands and projects. There was never a “this is done” mentality.

  • Now band member Tony Teegarden (guitar/vocals) left the band to join Cynic. Was this sort of the final blow for the band and you just broke up at this point?

Tony: No, we were already disbanded at this point. I had talked to Rob Barrett (Solstice & Cannibal Corpse) at the time and he told me Cynic was looking for a singer since Paul was having trouble with his voice. He told me then he was going to join Cannibal Corpse and that if I wanted, I could take his spot in Malevolent Creation. I also knew Morbid Angel was looking for a guitarist but in my heart, I knew both gigs weren’t really for me. I got Paul’s number I think from Rob and sent him a demo of me auditioning, doing different things with my voice besides just death vox, along with our Epitaph demo’s. After they got it I was on a Greyhound bus to Miami and sure enough, I got the gig. Brain from Viogression was auditioning at the time with Cynic but after I got there they decided I was the man for the job.

  • I know 2 members, Mark and Kevin joined Resurrection, while Scott Senokossoff didn’t join any other bands. Now throughout the years did anybody from the Florida scene or people in the underground ask about Epitaph at all?

Tony: There was one time I reached out to Rob Barrett to congratulate him on his upcoming marriage and he said to me, “You know what would make me the happiest? If Epitaph would play my pre-wedding party at the Brass Mug.” That was in 2012 I think? The original line up talked about it and we even met, re-learned the songs, and rehearsed but it ended up not happening. Kevin was offered a partner position with a law firm and he had to start immediately driving to Orlando to take the position. Which pulled him from being able to rehearse two weeks before the show.

Wayne: Pre-internet there was not much mention of past bands at all, especially since no large distributed recordings existed.

Kevin: Any time I showed anyone the Epitaph songs, they immediately liked them and usually asked me to burn them a copy.  Otherwise, as Wayne said, I didn’t really get any feelers or bites from anyone about us.

  • Throughout the years, did many people ask you about Epitaph? Did you know that there a few other bands with the same name?

Tony: Honestly not to my knowledge. The other guys may say differently but yes, we learned there were a few other bands out there with the name.

Wayne: Before the internet, the only way to know was usually Maximum Rock and Roll Zine, although that was mostly catered to hardcore bands.

  • Up until now, had any other label or labels ever approach you about re-releasing your demos onto CD?

Tony: A few from my understanding but none of the deals really seemed to make sense.

Kevin: Tony’s recollection is sound. It always seemed like a small label from China, or Argentina, or Zimbabwe, wanted to do a release, but it never felt serious or feasible to me.

  • How did Divebomb Records get in touch with you? If no other label had ever contacted you, were you surprised as hell, here almost 30 years later seeing your demos released on CD?

Tony: Matt actually reached out to me and I “think” it was through my business site TonyTeegarden.com. Was I surprised? Nah, I was actually sceptical at first lol. But then talked with Kevin and we had the deal looked over. Matt seemed like a first-class genuine guy and had a proven track record of putting out high-quality stuff for other bands. So we ran with it and did the deal.

Kevin: Exactly! Matt Rudzinski is first and foremost, a music lover. He does what he does because he loves killer music and he throws his support 100% behind the bands he works with. He has his shit together in a way we had never been approached by before, and when Tony reached out to me with his interest, it didn’t take much research to see that Matt and Tribunal/Divebomb were the proverbial real deal and the right fit for us.  We knew he’d treat the release with absolute respect, and boy did he ever!

  •  Now tell me about these 3 new remixed tracks done by Mark Lewis. Are there any other demo tracks or live stuff lying around that could possibly be issued at some point?

Tony: Kevin can tell you more about these but more or less there aren’t any other tracks lying around to redo. We had some other really cool songs that don’t exist except on video but they’ll never be officially released.

Kevin: Mark mixed the Adrift album, “Absolution” (my heavy rock band with Jack Owen of Cannibal Corpse and Deicide) and totally crushed it. That record sounds better than 95% of the tripe on mainstream radio, and Mark was only 26 at the time. Talk about talent! I knew that if the Epitaph material could be done “right”, and updated with Mark’s special touch and skills, that it would sound phenomenal. He did not disappoint, and Mark spent some serious time correcting, fixing, and making the 3 Epitaph demo songs we had his work on so much better,
more modern, and infinitely more pristine and powerful.

  • Now that the actual CD is out and you have it in your hands, what is the feeling like seeing it on CD after all these years?

Tony: It’s really cool to see and done so well by Divebomb Records. Matt did an amazing job and I’m proud of it. I think it’s also cool that there are still folks who have an interest in the band and support us.

Wayne: It looks amazing, Matt and the gang did a wonderful job!

Kevin: Blown away.  Just, blown away.  I could not be happier with the end result, both in the layout, the artwork, the sonics (and also, special mention and thanks to Jamie King of BTBAM fame for the remaster of the old Morrisound demos), everything.  Matt did complete justice to this obscure little band from Tampa in the early 90s!

Mark: Its cool and nice to see it with plastic wrap on it after all
these decades!!!

  • Is there any chance of the band possibly doing a re-union show of sorts down in Florida at all or is that just not possible at this time? Have you ever searched the internet in the past to see what stuff is out there on the world wide web?

Tony: I can assure you there will be no reunion show of any kind. I always search to see if there’s a video that shows up but nothing has up to this point.

Wayne: We have grown apart, but some of us have had a few ideas that we might act on! Kevin and I have started writing some new stuff for who knows what.

Kevin: I wish we could, but it appears that won’t happen.

Mark: I don’t look backwards, only to live in the present. Life is too short. God is always working and is in complete control! If it’s meant to happen, it will…

  • Horns up for doing this great interview. It was my pleasure to take you back in time when the scene was on fire, any last words to wrap this up?

Tony: Thanks for the effort and allowing us to get this out into more peoples world. Super cool of you and it’s appreciated!Kevin: Taxation is theft. Statism makes you stupid. Think for yourself. Keep it heavy! And thank you for your time and interest.

Mark: Live every day like it is your last! You never know…Treat others with respect, show love and peace to all no matter how they treat you. You never know what someone else is going through, Don’t Judge!!!

  •  I know you have several social media sites so please plug them and let everyone know where they can get this fantastic release?

https://www.instagram.com/epitaphtampafl
https://www.facebook.com/epitaph.tampa.florida
To Purchase:
https://divebombrecords.bigcartel.com/product/epitaph-echoes-entombed-the-demo-anthology-1991-1992-bootcamp-series-47

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