A Tale Of Two Chrises (Interview with Internal Bleeding)

30.11.2001  :: АрхивАрхив интервью Автор: Chris Alfano

Upon receiving the contact info for Internal Bleeding guitarist/founder Chris Pervelis, I was overcome with apprehension. In all my years of combing through one metal publication after another, I had seen (at most) a small handful of articles on his band, and I figured there had to be reason. Maybe Chris was hard get a hold of. Maybe he was a reclusive introvert who shunned the media. Perhaps he was just difficult to interview (we know the feeling…). But then again, it could have been something more serious. For one thing, I had yet to see a picture of him where he wasn’t scowling at the camera as if that roll of film would be the photographer’s last. Then there were the interviews. They were few in number, but I remembered Chris coming across as a confident, outspoken individual who wasn’t afraid to let his more sociopathic side take over as needed. Don’t get me wrong — I think everyone has a «sociopathic» side. But with Chris, it was the element of control that I found intriguing. Sure, there were certain topics that were guaranteed to set him off. But as soon as the next question rolled around, it was forgotten about. There was no residual passion or rage. He would proceed to answer all subsequent queries with a clear head; almost as if a new interview had begun.

When it came time to contact him, I was pleasantly surprised at Chris’ enthusiasm. I still wouldn’t want to piss him off with a wayward question, only to have him recognize me at a gig, where I would have nowhere to run. However, I did (boldly) manage to ask a couple of off-color questions, to which Chris responded with an unexpected sense of humor. Maybe I won’t get a vicious ass-beating after all…

…I hope.

— (CA) What made you decide to release «Alien Breed» which is essentially a collection of your original demos? Was it the kind of thing where you stumbled upon a box of old tapes in the attic one day, or had you been toying with the idea for awhile?

— (CP) Ever since Wild Rags Records went under, we have gotten so many requests for Internal Bleeding to re-release all our demo materials. Pavement Music never wanted to release any of our demo material, but when we switched to Olympic, Martti Payne was very enthusiastic about the idea. We decided to add one new song to the whole package and create a retrospective of sorts… something special for the fans that have supported us through all these years. Originally, we weren’t going to include the One-Dollar Demo on this release, but I ended up finding the original 4-track recording in my closet. I sent that along with the other masters for inclusion on the Alien Breed CD. The overall product, I think, is a great historical retrospective of the band over the last 10 years.

— (CA) One of the things I really like about the demo tracks is their rawness. Each one is an «uncut gem» in its own right, although your studio albums have traditionally had an «unpolished» appeal to them as well. It would seem that mixing your style of death metal with a gritty production might muddy things up, but this has never been the case. How have you managed to balance clarity with abrasiveness over the years? Any special techniques you can fill us in on?

— (CP) Well, here is our theory behind it all: If you play your music TIGHT and with PRECISION, you can have a raw sound and it will still come through as a tight, cohesive sound. A lot of bands have an incredibly raw sound because they are sloppy and not completely tight with each other… and it shows. Missed notes, sloppy drumming, etc… when you mix them all together, you get MUD. One way to cut through it is to be tight. Personally, I would like to achieve a sound where you can hear and understand every single note that is played, but still maintain a raw, hard sound. So far, we haven’t quite succeeded, but we still strive to try and get that sound. The song Alien Breed is close. With a little more refinement, I think we will get it eventually.

— (CA) We’d like to express our gratitude toward (drummer) Bill Tolley for the time he devoted to helping out in New York City. He is an excellent ambassador not only to the metal community, but also to humanity in general. Has he talked to you about his experiences «on the scene»? Did he offer any special insight into what’s going on there?

— (CP) I think one thing Bill expressed to me and the band that few know about is that the media never really captured the essence of what the scene was really like. Bill told us stories of body parts literally EVERYWHERE. Arms, legs, tattered flesh, etc. He said it was completely awful… the amount of carnage. He told me the news should have shown the true reality of the situation… it would have helped galvanize our resolve. He also expressed that peace-loving protesting assholes should take a look for themselves at the reality of the situation down there at ground zero. Their minds would change quickly. I can tell you, I have been to ground zero, after the fact of course, and the devastation is total and complete.

— (CA) While we’re on this topic, what are your feelings regarding our current military operations in Afghanistan? What about the innocent Afghans who are being killed in the process? Is the «eye for an eye» mentality appropriate in this situation?

— (CP) Ok, here you go, here is my take on the whole situation (get ready): I won’t talk about the circumstances that lead up to the attack on NYC, only the actions taken by the USA as of now, and possibly in the future. I think America is taking appropriate action in Afghanistan. We are, as much as possible, targeting Taliban and al Qaeda operatives with our attacks. Our bombing raids are doing their job well. They are OVERPOWERING, DEMORALIZING , and DEVASTATING enemy fortifications and Taliban/al Qaeda soldiers. I don’t think America should rest for one minute until the utter defeat of our enemies in Afghanistan is assured. Surrender must be unconditional and complete or else the enemy must suffer destruction. I think foreign fighters, mostly al Qaeda operatives, should be captured and jailed, or simply liquidated by America. As for innocent civilians, sure, it’s bad that they are getting killed, but after all, THIS IS A FUCKING WAR. People die. That’s the straight truth. We do what we can to avoid innocent deaths, but it happens (we are the only country in the world who would ever try to reduce, or even avoid civilian casualties (you think Bin Laden, al Qaeda, the Taliban, or even Hussein care?). People really didn’t complain about innocent Japanese and Germans dying during WWII (except for a few misguided «Blame America First» liberal apologists), so this should be no different. This is a fight for our survival. Al Qaeda wants nukes, they want bio-weapons, and they want to use them on you and me. We are the infidels, the enemy in their eyes. We either stop them or suffer. I think Bush was right by saying, «You are either for us or against us.» There can be no neutrality on the subject. Either you want these people to kill you or you want them killed. I choose the latter. I am tired of hearing fruit loops across the globe, and in this country, saying «Stop the bombing!» etc. They are clueless, stupid and blind to the truth. They are aiding and abetting al Qaeda. They have the right to say what they want, I just think they are so damn blind and ignorant of the truth. After the Afghan campaign, we must confront the situations in Iran, Sudan and other places that harbor Al Qaeda, Hamas, Al Jihad, etc. Finally, after all of that is said and done, we must confront the root causes of Islamic terrorism. From hatred of the west, to the Israeli question, we must address the problems realistically. Unfortunately, we are going to find out that these people hate us simply because they are jealous, and things such as «our bad foreign policy,» etc are merely just a cover for their jealousy. It is not America’s fault that these people are not evolving and prospering. We dump BILLIONS into many of these countries, and they cannot progress one bit. More moderate countries (Jordan, etc — ones that are more open to western society) have managed to progress and prosper. I think the problem lies in fundamental Islam itself, and the stranglehold it has on its followers. Unfortunately, that is something we cannot fix, and will never be able to. I can go on forever about this, but the bottom line is we better wipe them out before they do it to us again, and no political talk/negotiations are going to solve the problem of Islamic terrorists. The only language they understand is violence. It’s a shame really, but that’s the dying truth. Its not an «eye for an eye» mentality, its a «better them than us» mentality.

— (CA) Getting back to your latest release, the lyrics to the title track («Alien Breed») were of particular interest to me, as I’ve always held a fascination for UFOs/ extra-terrestrialism (and the music was pretty damn tight too, btw!). Tell us about your own interest in this topic. Was there a particular film or book that inspired you?

— (CP) Ever since watching «In Search Of» when I was a little kid, I was fascinated by UFOs, flying saucers, Hangar 18, Area 51, etc [Chris is referring to a U.S. television show which aired throughout the 1970’s and early 80’s. It primarily discussed real «supernatural» phenomena from a purely scientific/rational perspective, and was hosted by Leonard Nimoy, a.k.a. Mr. Spock from Star Trek. —CA]. I have read a lot of books on the subject, and devour movies and documentaries about it. Guy Marchais our guitarist is also very interested in the subject. He has alien abduction scenes tattooed all over his body, so writing lyrics on the subject was a natural thing for me. As for what particularly interested me, a book named «Chariots of the Gods?» was very thought provoking.

— (CA) What if you were offered the opportunity to look inside the aircraft hangars at Area 51? Would you: a) accept it with vigor b) dismiss it as a colossal waste of time, or c) refuse, for fear of what you might find?

— (CP) Absolutely A! Accept it with vigor and utter enthusiasm!

— (CA) Okay Chris, we’re only on question #7, and I’ve already gone off on a tangent twice! You know — when I was a kid, they once diagnosed me with ADD. Does it show? *lol* Seriously though, at the risk of sounding like an ass-kisser, I want to express admiration at your perseverance. You and I are about the same age, and as you know, it gets harder and harder to walk your own path as you grow older. How have you managed to remain so enthusiastic over the years? Have the younger guys in the band helped you to stay focused?

— (CP) The answer is really easy, actually. I love this music. I really do. It’s what makes me happy. When I plug in and start cranking the hatred, I feel a rush of power. Its unreal. I think that’s what keeps me going. I also believe strongly in what we do, and the music we produce. I think its important work, viable work and socially important. I know that’s strange, but that’s the damn truth. Believe it or not, I think the constant personnel changes keep things fresh and keep me on my toes.

— (CA) Years ago (probably around 1996 or so), I read an interview where you said something to the effect that 99% of the human race should be exterminated. Do you still feel this way? If not, how would you account for your «change of heart»?

— (CP) No, I haven’t changed my mind. What I was saying is that most people in America are so clueless on the reality of things. They are so damn self-absorbed, so concerned with political correctness, so deluded about the real world that they should be shot because they frustrate me so much. I don’t really want them dead, per se, which was just a quip about my frustration. Maybe they just need to be slapped around a bit (ok, slapped harshly) and brought down to earth, i.e. to the real world. If only Bill Clinton wasn’t so damn concerned with screwing young chicks instead of hunting down people after the Cole incident; if people weren’t so overly concerned with such inconsequential things such as the plight of the fucking African Dovetail swallow, or the suffering of the Armadillo in Texas, or some other fucking stupid cause, things such as the WTC attacks would never have happened! The point I am always making is that too many people are so blind to reality. Show some clarity. That’s all I ask.

— (CA) It’s no secret that Internal Bleeding has endured an insane number of line up changes since your first demo was cut in 1991. At present, you and Bill are the only remaining original members. What do you attribute this to? Are you really that difficult to work with? *lol*

— (CP) I attribute it to the following causes: drugs (we don’t tolerate them), women, irresponsibility, immaturity, sloppy playing habits, no progression musically, and most of all, lack of heart. I do admit — right here, right now — that I am a hard driving, success driven son of a bitch, and working with me can be difficult. I demand everyone to work hard, work smart, work together and strive for perfection. I don’t tolerate incompetence or stupidity, and I scorn irresponsibility and immaturity. I think it’s a combination of all those things that have caused the numerous changes.

— (CA) From the following list of band and zine personalities, choose one whom you would most like to to punch in the mouth, and tell us why: a) Seth Putnam (A.C.) b) Jeremy Wagner (Broken Hope) c) Bill Zebub (The Grimoire of Exalted Deeds zine) d) King Fowley (Deceased) e) David Horn (Sounds of Death zine).

— (CP) None, since I know all of them, and don’t really have a problem with any of them. But, if I had to choose, it would be King, because no doubt he would try and steal my Dunkin Donuts! He-he-he. Right, King? (It’s an inside joke).

— (CA) From the previous list, who would you most prefer as a tag team wrestling partner?

— (CP) I am gonna say Bill. He is sneaky and smart, and I am sure he can embarrass any opponent to death.

— (CA) Please list three bands that inspired you when you were growing up. Feel free to comment on them as you wish.

— (CP) 1) Black Sabbath: they are my gods. I worship them. They are the best and the heaviest band ever… period. End of sentence. 2) Black Flag/Henry Rollins: lyrically speaking, they were very important to me. The energy, honesty and anguish they put forth is unmatched by anyone. 3) Slayer: old Slayer, without a doubt.

— (CA) When you listen to yourself playing guitar, what do you hear? Can you pick out any of your influences? (I know this is a bitch of a question to answer — I apologize).

— (CP) I hear a lot of Black Sabbath in my playing, and I am proud of that. I also hear some Morbid Angel, Suffocation, Al Dimeola, and Frank Zappa. I cannot deny my influences, and no, it wasn’t a hard question to answer.

— (CA) What have you been listening to lately? Anything that might surprise us?

— (CP) Lately I have been listening to Dave Brubek, P/I/L, Charlie Parker [BIRD!!! —CA], ELO, and Adam and the Ants. I don’t listen to much DM when I am writing an album… I don’t want any undue influences creeping in there, ya know.

— (CA) Compared to the rest of the country, the scene up there in the tri-state area always seems to be alive and kicking. How does it look at the moment? Are you impressed with any of the newer bands?

— (CP) It’s actually pretty quiet around here. Not many shows. When there are shows though, they are pretty good. The newer bands coming out around here are young, filled with fire and desire. I hope that they do well.

— (CA) Given your newest t-shirt design (it’s great, btw), I take it that nu-metal isn’t especially endearing to you. Do you necessarily perceive these bands as a threat to legitimate metal, or do you just brush them off as a minor annoyance?

— (CP) They aren’t a threat to legitimate metal, whatever that is. I just think metal is supposed to be HEAVY, and I don’t think cheesy guitar riffs and rap makes a metal song. There needs to be musical WEIGHT, as well as creativity. Chunka-Chunka-Chunka-scratch-scratch-scratch does not make a song! [I couldn’t have said it better myself. —CA]

— (CA) Given your surname, I’m assuming that you are of Greek heritage — am I right?

— (CP) Indeed — and damn proud of it!

— (CA) Being the Sicilian half-breed that I am, I would say that the Roman name «Mars» (for the god of war) is much more masculine than «Ares», which is the one that your ancestors came up with. Are these fighting words?

— (CP) Well, since you dumb fucking Ginnies stole our religion, our gods and our architecture, I would say you guys are pretty uncreative in the civilization department. Plus, when you tried to invade Greece during WWII, you fucking failed! You had to call in Germany to help! Jesus, you people are bad! He-he-heh. To top it off even more, all you dumb Italians are always switching sides, depending on who is winning the current war. He-he-he-he-he! All us Greeks have a problem with is sticking our relatives in the ass. [*LOL* Well, I wasn’t going to go there, Chris… but it’s good that you defended yourself from the most obvious angle of approach! —CA]

— (CA) Ha-ha — To be honest, Chris — your people picked better names for both the god of the sea, and the god of the underworld (don’t even ask about that one!). So if anything, I’m displacing my own inadequacies onto you! Anyway, that’s it, man — close this out in any way you deem appropriate!

— (CP) Thanks for the killer interview! Thanks also for the support you are showing us. Everyone check us out at internalbleedingmusic.com. Thanks to all our supporters around the world. Metal on, motherfucker!

— (CA) No problem, man — we at Deluge wish you guys luck with Internal Bleeding, keep playing great music, guys! We would also like to thank Jim Forst, publicist for Olympic Recordings, for his invaluable help with this interview.

Visit official Internal Bleeding site @ internalbleedingmusic.com

Visit Olympic Recordings site @ www.olympicrecordings.com

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