History of the band.

Jeff -1989

No one asked but some have always wondered — Hey are you guys that band from back in 1988?
Here is the story from Jeff and his involvement with Chemical Annihilation.

About summer 1988, the guitarist I was playing with and trying to get something going decided to move back to the east coast. I took a chance and put up an ad looking for a band up on the billboard at Portland Music (Now RIP).

This was back in the old days where you found people to jam with by putting up a note on a billboard.

I can’t remember exactly who gave me a call but I suspect it was Mike and I went out to meet the guys in the band.

People in the band at this time.
Craig – Vocals
Matt – Bass
Darren – Guitar
Mike – Drums

Mike around this time operated a heavy metal concert hall called “The Pit”. He had a bunch of metal/punk concerts going on weekend after weekend but the businesses next door complained about it and “The Pit” closed down.

They recently parted ways with the founding guitarist Scott. We jammed out a few tunes at Mike’s parents’ house in a tiny 8×12 ft room. The band had all the material written. Instantly it felt just like some riffs I could have written. Same mosh style and rhythms. The first meeting went well enough that they said you’re in the band.

We practiced every day for a month or 2 and got the first demo material down – So we started to record it ourselves. This went well but Craig wasn’t exactly the singer the songs needed so Mike took up as the singer in addition to playing the drums.

So the first demo was recorded by
Jeff – Guitar
Darren – Guitar
Matt – Bass
Mike – Drums/Vocals

Right after the recording Matt left the band –We soon found Kris, it could have been from a billboard ad in a music store. With Kris right away we started to write – Nuclear Proliferation, Contamination and Resurrection

This is also about the time we moved out of practicing at Mikes parents’ house and rented a room down at “The Palace”. The Palace was a rehearsal warehouse in NW Portland that looking back now – It was a serious fire hazard and would have been a death trap.

Down there we were in Heavy Metal Hell along with Dead Conspiracy, Savior and Gargoyle.

Soon after moving in – Darren left the band. Kris knew Ryan so he came on down to the palace.
With Ryan we created – Why Die, Baptism of Fire and Darkness before the Dawn.

Soon we went into a professional recording studio and did the “Why Die?” Demo.

On this recording
Jeff – Guitar
Ryan – Guitar
Kris – Bass
Mike – Drums/Vocals

We had several shows with a variety of bands and I would say the biggest band we played with was Poison idea at a Starry night metal fest.

We had a pretty good local reception to the “Why Die?” demo and arranged a headlining show at the Starry Night. I don’t know our attendance figures, but it certainly was a respectable crowd. Larry the proprietor of the Starry night (also now a convicted murderer) came up with some bullshit charge about defacing the backstage wall and kept all the money from the show. I think the sum he kept was about $1500.

Around this time Mike bought a house so we moved practice to there and started working on Dying Rights, Anguish and Insanity, O’holy dude, and Gnawing thru. I know someplace I have a cassette with copies of these. Perhaps someday……

Dying Rights and Anguish and Insanity did appear in a video we did at one of the many metal festivals we played in 1989-90. Portland at the end of the 80’s was a pretty active metal town.

While looking back now the life of the band was only 2-3 years we did a lot in that time.
2 Demo recordings
1 Taped Metal Fest show at the Starry Night (you can find it on youtube)
A bunch of shows around Portland and private parties
We were dedicated and practiced 6 to 7 days a week.

Shows I seem to remember
The St Johns Parade – we played on a parade float then went thru downtown St Johns in Portland.
Parade people didn’t know what hit them and kids where all following along on their bikes.
Later that weekend we did a show at the Jackson Amory, had a pretty nice crowd and the money box got ripped off.

So many metal fest shows at the starry night – Larry found he could make good money packing in 10 bands or so that would play for free and then charge all the kids $5 bucks. As I mentioned the PDX metal scene back then was really going strong.

We somehow played in a basement of someone’s house and it happened to be a skinhead party. Ryan almost got in trouble because he played a “living color” riff while we warmed up. As we were packing up and driving away the cops arrived.

Party at Mikes – I thank Mikes parents for putting up with the band and one time we had a giant party at their house. Maybe 50 kids came to watch us play. Amazing the house didn’t get damaged.

Kris was unhappy with the band and decided it was time for him to leave. I was also having some issues keeping up with the speed and technicality of the direction the band was heading so I decided it was time for me to leave also. I am naturally a left-handed person and I had been forcing myself to play right handed. I look back now and wonder what if …. I played left-handed oh well too late time to give it up.

Fast forward — 20 years
Stormspell Records asked about reissuing the Why Die? Release and we talked them into releasing everything, Why Die, the first demo and include the video of the show with Dying Rights and other songs played live.

Fast forward – Some more years
Mike asked if I was interested in restarting the band – I said no sorry I haven’t touched a guitar since 1992. When he got it back up I kept an eye on the band and supported them on Facebook and the website. I got to see them do a big show Metal Fest with the new line up in Bend in March 2017.
Mike, Paul, Tobe and Bill sounded awesome and the crowd dug it!

They did a bunch of other shows the next few years and then Corona virus came around and fucked things up.

So with the Corona Virus and some more free time, I decided to pick up a left-handed electric guitar and it seemed to be a lot more natural right away. Sure, I was a beginner again after not playing guitar for 30 years but left-handed just felt right. I thought maybe I can jam with some friends and talk Mike into letting us open for Chemical Annihilation that would be a trip.

At this time Chemical wrote a few new songs and went in the studio and re-recorded the “Why Die?” Demo songs.

On these recording
Mike – Drums/Vocals
Tobe – Guitar
Paul – Guitar
Bill – Bass

Mike inquired about me playing bass as the Bill was stepping down because of injuries so I said ya I’ll try that. After a few months of playing bass I really love the instrument and look forward to jamming again with Chemical and seeing how that works out. It’s been interesting switching hands and also learning a new instrument. I can tell now left-handed would have been the natural way to play.

Mike has mentioned maybe someday we “redo” the material on the first demo – That might be interesting for a modern update and take on those songs. Some of the riffs had some good mosh beats in them. I’d also like to search my archives for a couple more “lost songs”.

So as I like to think – It took over 30 years but hell did freeze over and sometimes the dead don’t die.
I never thought I would be playing metal again…. But here I am.

Later — Jeff