The Outcast: So what exactly happened with Jeff?
Joe: Well, basically he quit the band one day and it wasn't the first time he had done so. He's done it a few times before and came back after working out differences between him and the rest of the band, but it came down to the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf, he quit once too many times for us to handle and he quit for the last time. He called us 2 weeks after quitting and told us, "I made the wrong decision and I want to stay in the band." You know, we were not comfortable at all with his position anymore. We didn't know if he was going to do this again, it was a very unstable situation, so we decided to let him go! We decided it would be for the best. Who's to say he wouldn't quit while we were on the road touring or something, what would we do then? So we did what was right, we had to replace him with someone very responsible and dedicated to the band, and not have someone who would quit at any given moment, so I decided to give the vocal position a try!
The Outcast: With you taking over the vocals, will it be similar to Jeff's or will you open a new sound for VITAL REMAINS?
I think I will definitely open a new sound for the band. My range is more dominating and understandable. My vocals are very clear, you will not need lyric sheets to understand my vocals. I made it a point to express this quality that I find to be a major problem with most death metal bands. You can never make out what a lot of vocalists are singing and if you don't include a lyric sheet in your CD, your lost forever!But I think you will find a much better sounding CD with my new vocals. When It comes out, you can decide for your self.
The Outcast: I noticed that your "Into Cold Darkness" EP has more keyboard segments. Will the use of keyboards be used more in the future? What do you think of people saying keyboards are wimpy?
Joe: We feel keyboards are an important part of certain songs. It just makes the songs more ambient sounding and gave the structures more atmosphere to the songs. I wouldn't say we will use more or less in the future, but if we feel a certain song needs or sounds great with keys, so be it. A Fuck off to anyone who thinks using keys are wimpy! First of all, we don't care what anyone thinks about what we do and how we do it. If you like VITAL REMAINS, great, if not, oh well who cares. We have many fans, most of them love the keyboard parts. I think that people in bands who say keys are wimpy are just pissed off because they don't have the talent to come up with or compose any passages with the keys, then there are those who don't use them. Every band is different, and if people judge bands because of an instrument they use in a specific style of music, they are stupid. Who are they to judge it anyway. People can say and think what they want, I'm not going to judge them because of what they feel! I don't care!
The Outcast: I understand "Into Cold..." had really shitty distribution. Do you know if it has sold as much as "Let Us Pray"?
Joe: To tell you the truth I have no idea how many either of the CD sold. PEACEVILLE / M.F.N. never paid us any kind of royalties or sent us statements for that matter. I'm really upset about the whole situation, but not too much can be done at this point. So your guess is as good as mine!
The Outcast: I heard that PULVERIZER REC. might release "Into Cold.." in the U.S., what's up with that?
Joe: Well, I contacted Randy from PULVERIZER and talked to him about it but I kind of lost contact with him. I really don't think it would have been a good thing because he would have probably gotten fucked over by M.F.N like we did, so if you happen to see this interview Randy, give me a call man, I'd like to talk to ya!
The Outcast: How did VITAL R. hook up with OSMOSE?
Joe: First, after we were all pissed off about the entire M.F.N. deal and we knew we weren't being promoted properly, I decided to have the 3rd album terminated that we were supposed to release with them. We went shopping for a new deal and label, and OSMOSE gave us a very fair contract for 2 LP, so we decided to sign with them. We knew that with OSMOSE we had a chance to finally get the recognition we deserved after all these years. They do an extensive promotion campaign. They take very good care of all their bands. Also, they have a close working relationship with all their bands and take the time to listen and consider different ideas and try new things. But in any case, we will soon see how our relationship develops.
The Outcast: Is "Forever Underground" going to be an EP or a full length? Will you have future material released by OSMOSE as well?
Joe: "Forever Underground" will be a full length CD/LPand our next full length will also be released by OSMOSE also. Were also thinking about releasing an EP in between the two. It will be a five song EP of cover songs of some our favorite 80s style metal bands, such as; IRON M., VENOM, OZZY, MERCYFUL FATE, and CELTIC FROST!
The Outcast: Whose idea was it to print the lyrics backwards on "Into Cold.."? I don't know about you or any one else out there, but I found it rather annoying, especially trying to read the bloody words backwards!
Joe: It was actually Tony's idea, I wasn't really crazy about the concept, but every one wanted it and thought it would be different, so we did it. (Being different isn't always good.)
The Outcast: A lot of interviews I've read in other zines, a few of the bigger known bands are always criticizing the underground scene and bands. I think if it wasn't for the underground, a lot of the bigger known bands wouldn't be shit. Also, I've read that they refuse to support a dying scene, which is completely false. Another bitch I have, every time they list the music they listen to, isn't even extreme metal and sometimes not even metal. I've never understood how a band playing this style of aggressive music can claim that they love what they do, yet they criticize and put down the scene. What is your opinion on my bitching? Are you still involved in the underground as much as when you first started? I listen to other styles of music besides metal, metal / extreme music being my heart, soul, and what I live for. Do you and the rest of the band listen to other styles of music?
Joe: Every body is entitled to their own opinion. I think that success has gone to far and deep inside some small minds of some musicians heads. Once they reach a certain status of popularity, they condemn the entire scene, which is too bad, but at the same time, they still release good music of their own. (Can't argue with that.) I am very much into the underground, now more than ever. I'm always listening to death metal, some styles of black metal but not all black metal. I have no support for most black metal trend bands that are more or less talentless, I will not name any names, but do I really need to? You can tell the difference between music and just plain noise, right? VITAL REMAINS listens to all styles of music, except like love songs and rap. Stuff like jazz, classical, hardcore / punk, 80s metal. You know, good music, along with plenty of brutal death metal.
The Outcast: Has VITAL R. played out lately? If so, is the crowd bigger or smaller than say 5 years ago?
Joe: Yeah, we play live in our area regularly and the crowd is always good, we have a good strong following. It was also good 5 years ago, nothing really changed, except that the bands that were around here, either broke up and joined "Alternative" bands, gave up, or just turned into drugged out junkie losers.
The Outcast: What period in your life with VITAL R. has been the most satisfying?
Joe: I'd have to say our tour of America with AUTOPSY in 93. That was like the best time I ever had in my life. It was 100% fun and I can't wait to do it all over again.
The Outcast: Are any members in the band practicing Satanists? What are the beliefs in VITAL R.? What is your opinion of all the church burnings in Norway and in any other place?
Joe: I really don't care to answer about our personal life, for it is very private. All I can say is we are what we are and no one or anything will change that! We believe in what we choose to believe, and that's all. As far as the church burnings in Norway or any other place, so fucking what! Where are the "kids" that committed these crimes now? I'll tell you, they're in jail, because they are fucking stupid, immature, peer pressured, "kids". Most of them don't even know any better. Real true Satanism is definitely not based on how many churches you can burn down, it has a lot to do with respect and respecting your self as a person! What good can you be if your behind bars taking it in the ass every night!? It just comes down to a popularity contest, "Who can be the most evil?" It isn't my job to tell these church burners what they should do, but grow up!
The Outcast: What do you think about David Vincent leaving MORBID A.?
Joe: I think he should've stayed, but David did what he had to do, you know? I can't speak for him, but if he felt like it was the right thing for him to do, then I'll support his decisions as a musician and as a person. It will be really awkward seeing MORBID A. perform live and not seeing Vincent fronting the band, but then again, who knows? They could get a really talented front man. (No one can replace Vincent in my opinion!)
The Outcast: Have you ever heard of an artist by the name, Jim Warren? Just curious, because on your "Let Us Pray" album, I couldn't find who the art work was done by. Any way, Jim Warren has a painting that is / has the same concept as your album cover but it has been modified to where it is different in certain ways. I can't say who painted what first, but it was one of those things I happened to notice. Your comments.
Joe: No, I don't recall ever hearing the name. Doug Graham from Colorado did the cover of "Let Us Pray". It is on the insert of both cassette and CD, you must have overlooked the credit. We were never happy with that cover. It was one of those situations where it was what we had at the time and we had ran out of time.
The Outcast: Well Joe, I appreciate your time and for releasing such killer material. Your final words.
Joe: Thanks Mike. Be sure to look for the "Forever Underground" album out in March.
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