Charlie Errigo (Guitar) and Derek Boyer (Bass)
How are you doing? Thank you for being able to take a few minutes to do this.
Derek: its crushing man. I mean,. About 50% of the shows are selling out. The other 50% are really packed out. Were doing really good. The package is really good. Were happy to be out here. Its going really well so far.
I remember when i first heard Suffocation. I bought “Pinnacle of Bedlam” kind of on a whim. I was branching out into more heavier music. And i thought the album art looked super sweet. What was one of your earliest metal albums?
Derek: Im a little bit older school of a cat. Obviously started with the early Megadeth, Metallica, Slayer, all that stuff. Then as soon as death metal hit, it just knocked me on my ass. Napalm Death, Morbid Angel, Deicide. The list goes on and on. Charlie would have a different view being a younger generation.
Charlie: well, ironically, Suffocation. I was definitely more of a death core type of kid.
How old were you when you first picked up your instrument and who were your early influences?
Derek: I started playing guitar as a young kid. Listening to thrash and the early stages of death metal. Around 1995 is when I stared playing bass. At that point Bass and death metal was all I ate, slept and breathed. Its all I ever did. Bass and death metal was pretty much everything to me. So ive been playing bass for about 23 years now.
Charlie: I picked up the guitar for the first time when I was about 9 years old. Never really got serious with it until I was about 14 and got my first band and played my first show. Ever since then, ive just been jumping around bands.
Charlie, how did it feel when a band you grew up listening to asked you to play for them.
Charlie: it was very cool how it went down. Because I originally got involved with this with Internal Bleeding. Well, I had my own band called The Merciless Concept. We opened for IB, Dehumanized, older bands like that. I became friends with the guys. IB asked me to fill in on bass for a tour. Made friends with them and Pyrexia, and eventually joined Pyrexia. Went on tour with the Suffocation guys. And the rest is kind of history.
What was the music scene like in Long Island when you were growing up?
Derek: I mean, around then, New York was really more of a hardcore scene. Then you started seeing bands like Suffocation, being one of the first death metal bands signed in that area. Primarily everything we picked up on was like hardcore, then death metal was slowly becoming more prevalent.
After the release of “Despise The Sun” in 1998, Suffocation disbanded for about 5 years. What happened and what inspired you to reform in 2003?
Derek: The industry, at the time, wasn’t really doing what the band needed. Record labels were changing formats. Like when Roadrunner basically dropped all their death metal bands and picked up bands like Nickleback. At the time, bands like Nickleback could probably sell more records than all of RR’s death metal bands combined. Record labels would look at it like “we need to make money”, and that’s super unfortunate because death metal was doing so good in the early 90’s. things change, Grunge came in and knocked out hair metal. Then this new hard rock came in, Nickleback (what ever the hell that is). As for the reformation, Frank moved to Vegas after the hiatus. He started saying he wants to put the band back together. He got all the original guys, and that’s where I came in. im actually a reunion member.
It’s been almost a year and a half since your last release ( ...Of The Dark Light). And its by far one of my favorite Death Metal albums ever made. Out of your entire catalog, which one is your favorite and why? Care to share your least favorite?
Derek: To be honest, the last couple (…Of The Dark Light. Pinnacle of Bedlam) are really where I started shining with the band. But you cant take away the impact that some of the early records ( Effigy of The Forgotten, Pierced From Within) had on people. Of The Dark Light has new energy with the new members (Charlie, Eric Morotti) and we love it.
Obviously we all know that Frank is retiring from touring. When he officially decided so, how did that make you feel?
Derek: We knew it was coming. It was just a matter of time. Frank loves playing, hes definitely going to miss the performances. But hes also one of those guys who enjoys the comforts of home. We are just still at the point where we don’t want to stop playing.
Did you guys hand pick this line up? How do you feel about this line up?
Derek: We knew originally that we wanted to take a really strong package with us. Our management (Extreme Management Group) and our record label (Nuclear Blast) all kind of put a bunch of bands out on the table. It made a lot of sense to go with a good mix for the package. You’ve got a New York band (Suffocation). You’ve got a band from California (Cattle Decapitation), a band from Brazil (Krisiun) and you’ve got a band from Maryland (Visceral Disgorge). Originally it was supposed to be Soreption, but they had to drop due to visa issues. So we are very happy as VD as the replacement band.
Any plans after this tour? Writing? Another tour?
Derek: To be honest, im not sure were allowed to talk about all of it yet. But there are new territories coming up that we haven’t done yet. Some European stuff, and a fly out of EU to go do a new territory that’s been booked. It sounds like Frank will do some Farewell Europe stuff. But nothing crazy like long runs. Were overdue for places like Australia, japan, the Asian market in general. We have to write more material too. Its just a good time to be Suffocation.
BIG shoutout to Charlie and Derek for taking time to sit down with me. Huge thanks to EMG for setting this up. and thank you to The Forge in Joliet for hosting. Be sure to catch the Death Chopping North America: Farewell Frank tour. coming to a city near you.