Tommy Niemeyer - The Accüsed
The Accüsed are a crossover act from Seattle, who have been playing their metallic punk inspired "splatterock", since 1980. They have inspired many bands over the last two decades, including Lamb Of God, and Cannibal Corpse. Unfortunately, a few years ago, the septi-childish, yowling vocalist: Blaine Cook, and the core members of The Accüsed split and formed - Toe Tag. This left founding member - Tommy Niemeyer - down & out, alone, and frustrated; eagerly ready to revamp and reanimate his mascot: Martha Splatterhead, and her disciples; for yet another attempt at penning those hymns for the deranged.
I spoke with Tommy Niemeyer all about the new album - 'The Curse Of Martha Splatterhead' - his new line-up, his straight razor sharp riffs, and the pending future of The Accüsed. After our conversation, which was more fun than any maddest story ever told, Tommy felt ever so motivated, and fulfilled, grinning like an undertaker.
MettleAngel: Hey there Man, Wow, I must say, that it is really cool to get to chat with you. I have been a loyal fan of The Accüsed, ever since I first heard about your band, when I saw Kreator with Voi Vod in 1987. The following year, I saw The Accüsed live with G.B.H., what a show that was! Both acts were then signed to Combat Records.
MettleAngel: I live in Cincinnati, Ohio.
MettleAngel: I know you are from Seattle, In the early '90s, I lived there for a short time up in Sequim, Washington. My brother went to school in Port Angeles.
MettleAngel: I lived in the Pacific Northwest, right around the time Grunge was dominant, and Seattle was the scene.
MettleAngel: I agree! I am originally from California, where I really became ensconced in Metal, after having attended Military School in Texas, in the early '80s. When I thought of the music scene in Seattle, I would think of Metal Church, Forced Entry, Sanctuary, Queensrÿche, Heart, Jimi Hendrix, and, of course, The Accüsed!
MettleAngel: Since you recall the Bogarts show with G.B.H., I'm sure you remember how those hardcore punks were not ready to accept metalheads into their scene. They were not ready to do as Suicidal Tendencies preached, and "Join The Army". That show was so violent, and bloody. Thankfully, I was used to it having seen Slayer with Overkill in '86. The Motörhead and Cro-Mags show, that same year, was also a notable experience.
MettleAngel: What is ironic, is that the album for which Charged G.B.H. were touring at that time, while signed to Combat - 'No Need to Panic' - was more metal than punk!
MettleAngel: Yeah, it is an interesting trivia fact, but your debut release - 'The Return Of... Martha Splatterhead' was the very first full length ever released on Earache Records (Mosh 1). It was a second pressing, as it originally came out on Subcore Records with different artwork. I have also read that 'More Fun Than An Open Casket Funeral', which is my favourite release, was the first ever vinyl pressing for Combat Records.
MettleAngel: I have also learned recently that you played for the Seattle act - Gruntruck. Like the East Coast act: Mindfunk (originally Mindfuck), who had members from M.O.D., Ministry, Celtic Frost, and Uniform Choice; Gruntruck was quite unique.
MettleAngel: Gruntruck signed to Roadrunner, and had some success, touring with the likes of Alice In Chains, Pantera, and later Circus Of Power. I only have the cassette, but at that time there were many weird acts like Mind Bomb, Strip Mind, Greta, Paw, etc. all taking the Metal style into a new direction, and receiving a great deal of MTV exposure. So did you record on both Gruntruck albums?
MettleAngel: Well, the band will always be eternal, even if it is difficult to get their music on CD. Then again, Metal Mind may be planning to properly remaster them, as they have with so many classic Roadrunner titles. Let us discuss your mascot - Martha Splatterhead. She has a strong tendency to dominate many of your covers, and album titles, including your brand new album.
MettleAngel: Yeah, I get it like Eddie, or even Vic Rattlehead with Megadeth. I am so excited about their forthcoming album - Endgame - due in about a month.
MettleAngel: This reminds me of bands like Impaler. You also coined the term for "splatterock", correct?
MettleAngel: It is still the best way to describe the music, and message to this day! I have always admired the gore and horror elements of the band, commonly examined with a real tongue-in-cheek mentality. I could tell by the song titles and lyrical content, that you were inspired by classic horror themes, and artists, actors, and originators ranging from Vincent Price to Herschell Gordon-Lewis.
MettleAngel: I also agree with the term: "splatterrock", as The Accüsed clearly has some serious Classic Rock elements, permeating all throughout their discography. You have always surprised me with your choice of songs to cover, as well. You have attempted to cover Deep Purple, Thin Lizzy, Sugarloaf, Heart, Ten Years After, The Who, Lynyrd Skynyrd, but you have also honoured G.B.H., The Germs, and even Tank (UK).
MettleAngel: One of my absolute favourite covers is "Devil Woman" by Cliff Richards. I can recite the opening to that verbatim, "...Well Satan, it's time for another cheerful bedtime story...tell everyone to dowse the lights..". Where did this haunting intro originate?
MettleAngel: Hah, of course, "Lights Out", which in turn was another cover you did of the band: Angry Samoans. I have also noticed that on several songs, "Down & Out", for instance, that you sample and play riffs from other Classic Rock acts.
MettleAngel: Well it is kind of like what the band Ludichrist were doing during the crossover scene with their song: "Down With The Ship". They went on to become Scatterbrain..."Don't Call Me dude, Dude!"
MettleAngel: Yeah, kind of like what Corrosion Of Conformity did on their debut album, when they attempted: "Green Manalishi". Honestly, some of your covers are killer! "Boris The Spider", The Who cover is great, as is Skynyrd's: "Saturday Night Special". The Sugarloaf rendition of "Green Eyed Lady" is pretty cool too.
MettleAngel: Those are all great Punk acts. If you really think about it, some bands relied upon covers even to break into the scene, like Zeppelin, Metallica, Quiet Riot, but I digress. When The Accüsed chose to contribute a cover to an album, it sounds to me like you were having a laugh.
MettleAngel: I have a question now, which I ask to satisfy my own curiosity.
MettleAngel: For two decades, I have been wondering about the female vocals on my favourite song by The Accüsed: "Scared Of The Dark". I know you were able to get quite a lot of guests into the studio with the recording of - 'Maddest Stories'.
MettleAngel: Terry Date was quite the assistant, as he helped you secure Kurt Vanderhoof from Metal Church. Kurt played the lead on the Ten Years After Cover, right?
MettleAngel: I can imagine! You even had Sir Mix-A-Lot on the album. He did the backing vocals on the song: "The Maddest Story Ever Told", which was the theme song for the movie: Spider Baby.
MettleAngel: I have Blaine to thank for this. I contacted him through My Space, to make sure I have all my facts right. So, I have to ask you, is the uncredited female part on "Scared Of The Dark, none other than: Lynda "Tam" Simpson from Sacrilege (UK)?
MettleAngel: I assume thanks to Randy of Lamb Of God, and Alex of Cannibal, The Accüsed have garnered a new line of loyal followers? Have you had a chance to hear any of the bands who have now covered The Accüsed?
MettleAngel: Well I do have a small boy, in fact his birthday is Sunday August 23rd. He will be six, six...SIX! Let me tell you, he is a septi-child!
MettleAngel: No, I am just fond of teasing him; which is a way of expressing my love. My nickname for him is "Speed Monster", as he is ever so active. I can relate to your analogy though. Have you hear the cover of - "Wrong Side Of The Grave" by the brutal British band - Benediction?
MettleAngel: Yeah, because when they did it in the early '90's, most people did not even know it was a cover. Like Bolt Thrower, they were Death metal, with discernible vocals. When I first heard the album - 'Transcend The Rubicon', I recognized it right away, and told all my friends. Benediction strove to keep it heavy, and dark.
MettleAngel: Speaking of Death Metal, I heard that Blaine is working with Denial Fiend, who had Kam Lee on their debut album, but he has now defected to Bone Gnawer. I guess now would be a good time to talk about the new album which came out this Tuesday.
MettleAngel: I'll spare all the drama about the split of the band, with most members forming Toe Tag.
MettleAngel: I'm sure that has been drilled into your skull, ad nauseum. I am curious about the new members. I have played my digital promo of 'Curse...', and I must admit that your replacement vocalist: Brad Mowen sure does sound like Blaine, at times.
MettleAngel: How did you get Brad into the band?
MettleAngel: Your new album is the first release by The Accüsed to not feature Blaine, right?
MettleAngel: It sounds like the band is back, after having myself played the new album a few times.
MettleAngel: I am glad to hear that you have reconciled with past wrongs. Actually, the new album is the only one I don't have on CD, cassette, or vinyl. Since it is so short, I am going to burn it with some older material and make a cool mix.
MettleAngel: I was actually able to secure a copy of 'O Martha' with the 'Martha Spatterhead' demos re-recorded in 2005, from non other than Katon Of Hirax. I've always wondered why you keep changing the titular wording for "Fukin' 4 Bux".
MettleAngel: Well, Hirax was playing a festival we were covering in Minneapolis with Tankard headlining...
MettleAngel: I'm close to Gerre, and their manager Buffo, so I'll tell them this...
MettleAngel: You should see all the shit Tankard gave me, as I wrote the press release for their only US appearance, ever, so far. Anyway, how has the press viewed the new album?
MettleAngel: That is what I would have assumed. Your label Sothern Lord, receives some excellent promotion from Dave and Liz of Earsplit, which is how I scheduled this interview, which we are now conducting.
MettleAngel: This allows you more time to concentrate on the band, and the music.
MettleAngel: So what is your favourite album, or recording by The Accüsed?
MettleAngel: When I introduced my wife to the band, I played her -"The Hearse" (Traditional Nursery Rhyme). She just laughed, but understood the sense of humour of the band, and their intent. Now she has heard many songs from the band, and your covers.
MettleAngel: Well, what about the variations on "Fucking For Buck$"?
MettleAngel: Well, I see our time is up, so I just want to thank you again for a great and enlivening conversation.
MettleAngel: What can I say, I love the band, always have, always will. I am just rediscoverering albums like: 'Splatter Rock', 'Grinning Like An Undertaker', the 'Straight Razor' (EP), and even recently some of the older more punk inspired songs, like the split you did with The Rejectors, or 'The Archive Tapes'. I noticed that songs like "War = Death", and "Father's Betrayal" were later reworked on 'Maddest Stories'. "Father's Betrayal" became "Smothered Her Trust", right?
MettleAngel: Absolutely. I was very fortunate to find those Nastymix Records versions on CD dirt cheap at a Camelot Records close-out sale. I have always been partial to the Combat era albums, but those Nastymix albums are strong, too. The Archive material is still pretty cool too.
MettleAngel: I look forward to hearing those rare cuts. Tommy, thank you so much for everthing. All the best with the new band, and new album, and like the song on 'The Curse Of Martha Splatterhead' . and your free downloadable 'Why Even Try?' (EP) from 2007, say, "Fuck Sorry!". I'll continue to spread the good new about The Accüsed.
MettleAngel: That sounds awesome! Now, I better let you move on to your next interview.