Why We Play Metal Volume 1. The Story of Steve
From the day I was born music has always played a great part in my life. My parents were both musicians and so was most of my family. My father was very musically inclined, he played the guitar, was a vocalist, played harmonica, bass, and some piano. My mother also played bass and the piano. They played blue grass, country, rock and roll, and blues. My father's brothers and sisters would get together on weekends and jam out all day and night at either my house or my aunt and uncle’s house. Aunt Charlotte was actually really awesome at the guitar and she was an excellent singer. She happened to become my favorite aunt because she listened to the music that sparked my interest in metal. One Christmas when I was 11 she gave me a gift. It was (The Best of Testament) album! I had never heard of them before, I popped the CD in, gave it a listen and I absolutely loved it. While listening I was very intrigued with the heavy thrashing guitars and the fast paced drumming. My parents were not very pleased with me listening to this, but I did not care, I loved it more than anything my family played. Now let us jump ahead to when I was six, the very first time I ever picked up a pair of drumsticks. I loved it. As a young kid hitting skins, making noise and not getting yelled at was fun. An interest had been sparked that would later lead to me picking it up full time.
Let’s jump ahead to when I began middle school when more aggressive, more extreme metal became influential to me. The first time I heard music heavier than Testament it was like I had struck gold!!! It was the song “Dig” by Mudvayne off of their album LD 50. Not only was there heavy guitar riffs, intricate bass lines, gnarly vocals, and Badass drumming, but they presented themselves wearing face paint! “FUCKING AWESOME!” I thought. I began to paint my face for school because I wanted to represent the music I was listening too. I wore black baggy pants, grew my hair out, put on band shirts, and so on. As time went on I discovered metal that was heavier than Mudvayne. It was death and black metal. Instantly I fell in love with these extreme, dark, and brutal genres!
There was always something this music that made me want to become a drummer. In eighth grade I ran into a kid named Arden Farmer. He played guitar, and for the most part liked the same kind of music. Talking music one day at school he said “I want to start a band”. I piped up and said “I can kinda play drums”. He said “hell yeah, my older brother has a drum set at my house. I'm sure he wouldn't mind us jamming out”. Just like that we set a day up to have our first jam session. After being dropped off at his house on a Saturday morning I went down to his basement and saw a beautiful Pearl drum kit. A six piece kit with an iron cobra double kick pedal, I didn’t know what to make of it. Single bass pedals were all I had ever seen.He lit up a joint, another first for me. We jammed out a Black Sabbath cover, and then proceeded to play a bunch of heavy noise. When we were done I was hooked. Not only to the feeling weed gave me, but to the feeling I got when I was on the kit. After almost a year of playing we talked about adding more members. We never gave ourselves a name. A kid named Tony sang and Brandon Lesly (Spud) played bass. We had a couple of our own songs, but we mostly played covers. We did that for another year and a half before the band began to fizzle out. Arden didn’t really play metal as much as I did. He got a new group of friends and we never really spoke much again.
At sixteen my dad bought me my first drum kit, a Five piece Pearl forum series. Over the next year or so my father and I began to play music together. In that time period I played my first gig with him. It was a local benefit show at Kings Landing Park. As nervous as I was to actually play in front of people, it went over better than expected. The crowd, made up mostly drunken older people didn’t seem to mind us.
Shortly afterwards I switched schools and met a guy named Mike Sharpe. Like myself he was very much in black and death metal. Mike was and still is a beast on guitar. We created a band called (Vast Interment) which means great burial. It was a mix between black and death metal. Around this time I picked up keyboards as well. Our fist demo was recorded on tape and eventually made into CD. “Coffin Made of Nails” was the first song we wrote. It was about smoking cigarettes and being pro marijuana. We tried bringing other people into the band, but the guys we found lived 45 minutes away. This made getting together harder and limited our practice time significantly. Despite all of these difficulties Sharpe and I played music together for 2 years before the project ended.
After Sharpe and I parted ways my sister introduced me to a couple of men she had recently met. Jeff was a vocalist and Brian a guitarist. Jeff and Brian were much older than I was. I was only 17; Jeff was 29, and Brian 25. They were looking for a drummer just to jam with but it became more serious once they heard how hard I hit the drums. A bunch of material already written, they just needed drums and bass. Eventually finding a bass player we began setting up gigs. We called ourselves Nativity.
This is when things got a bit more serious. We played all original music no covers. I wore face paint to all of our gigs while the other guys wore masks. People seemed to enjoy the masks and paint, it definitely added to our stage presence. Nativity was a band for about six years. We gigged frequently in Detroit, played a few shows in Bay City, and a few gigs in Caro at a place called Red Shed. We even tried recording our own album in Jeff’s (our vocalist’s) basement. The quality wasn’t that great, but we tried. In the coming of 2012 it was time to part ways. Brian and Jeff had some family issues that needed attention and left little time for a band.
I spent a few years not really playing much with anyone and things began to feel stagnant. I continued to play my kit but things became boring. During the summer of 2015 I met a bass player by the name of Brandon Goines. We tried to get something going but that didn’t last long. Once winter hit a lack of practice space lengthened the frequency between practices. Brandon ended up joining an awesome local band called A Sleepless Malice. I wouldn’t have a full time band to play with until early into 2016. While leaving Walmart I unexpectedly ran into a familiar face, he was the guitar player of Execrate, someone I had known from my days in Nativity…. Lee Roach