And it's over.
So this thing began months and months ago when I was interviewing Mike Scalzi for my Slough Feg article. I brought up social media as a possible means for Slough Feg becoming more popular these days, and he countered by telling me about the tape and flyer trading system back in the mid-90s. I asked if that system was what promoted Lucifer's Hammer. For those who don't know by now, Lucifer's Hammer was a metal night on Tuesdays at an SF bar called the Covered Wagon that featured metal shows, or even just metal playing on the PA. Scalzi then spent 45 minutes telling me about how John Cobbett used the Mission punk scene to start Lucifer's Hammer, and how John would intentionally throw together weird bills to kind of wean the punks into becoming metalheads. I thought that was the coolest story that no one had ever heard, so I decided to give a shot at documenting it upon Scalzi's encouragement. He suggested that I hit up Aesop Dekker and John Cobbett. We also nerded out over Raven super hard, I knew that they're one of the best bands ever and Scalzi reaffirmed that, so HA!
I then spent some time doing some small research online and talking to a few people I knew in LA and up north about Lucifer's Hammer, and asking what it was like. I then scheduled interviews with Aesop and Cobbett, and the latter pointed me towards Matt Shapiro as well. During this time, I also emailed the folks at Invisible Oranges and we got the ball rolling for hosting the article on there.
During my spring break, I went home and met up with the three of them at a coffeehouse in the Lower Haight, and we just talked about the history of Lucifer's Hammer and metal in the '90s for two hours. I barely had to say any words, the three would just talk and talk. Easiest interview ever haha. Cobbett went home, but Shapiro and Aesop and I went to a local punk bar after. Shapiro eventually went home, but I had the pleasure of hanging out with Aesop until something like 1AM, just talking about heavy stuff. Hearing about Aesop's life experiences really opened my eyes to how good I have it, and it ended up curing me of the burnout and got me over what I thought were kind of shitty times I had recently experienced at school. I've been totally stoked and excited for the future ever since. That same week I ended up getting lunch with Scalzi and I told him about all the progress on the article and seemed genuinely excited to see it. Then some kid recognized him in the taqueria we were eating at. Fan-"Hey man, I saw you guys at the Eagle a few weeks ago, you were awesome!" Scalzi-"Oh hey, thanks." Fan-"Sure! It's Alex, right?" Scalzi-"Uh no, I'm Mike..." cue awkward apology from kid and me and Scalzi cracking the fuck up when he walked away.
A few weeks after that, I found myself with the Ghoul dudes at a radio station in downtown LA (that's another story in and of itself). Basically, Leon del Muerte and I were hanging out in the lobby waiting for those guys to finish up and I mentioned that I was working on a Lucifer's Hammer article and he gave me a "Dude, what the hell?! I want in!" face/body movement. So we agreed to get him in there as well. I also realized that del Muerte was a cool choice to interview because he was actually underage during the formative years of the club and had to sneak in, and he also arguably ended up having one of the bigger impacts on metal out of all the Lucifer's Hammer alumni (original member of Intronaut, played in Exhumed, Impaled, Phobia, Murder Construct etc).
The week after that when I went home for the Tankcrimes Brainsqueeze festival, I told Ross Sewage and Sean McGrath about the article and they offered to send me photos. Cobbett had sent me some photos earlier, but they were very low-resolution, like only a little bigger than a thumbnail. So I met up with Cobbett that weekend, and picked up a handful of physical photos that he had from Lucifer's Hammer. I tried really hard to scan them and return them that same night (these are actual original photos from 15 years ago, it's precious stuff!), so I found myself literally running all over San Francisco on Easter Sunday looking for a copy center. I had no luck, so I offered to take the photos back with me to LA, scan them and mail them back. Cobbett was gracious enough to allow me to do that, and the scans came out great. Later that night, I ended up actually going to a Lucifer's Hammer show, Godflesh at the DNA Lounge where I got to say hi to Aesop, Shapiro and Laurie Shanaman from Ludicra among many other very friendly faces.
After that, I interviewed del Muerte at a bar across the street from the Echo in LA right before he played a show with Nausea and Nails. At one point, I once again found myself in the Bay Area for work for a few days and I went to another Lucifer's Hammer show, this time it was Floor at Elbo Room. Shapiro stealthed it up as the bartender, not revealing that he had put the show on (or owned Elbo Room entirely) and Cobbett was keeping the sound guy's seat warm. I then had the odd pleasure of nerding out with Cobbett over all things metal. Like, air-guitaring/singing the bridge to High Passage/Low Passage by Slough Feg nerdery here. It ended up being one of the most fun conversations I've had with one of the guys from the scene up north. During those few days, I went to like three shows in just a couple days, and there were shows that I could have caught but I ended up missing. That kind of affirmed for me how rad the bay really is for metal right now.
I then spent my spare time writing, editing and doing final photo gathering. Ian at Invisible Oranges got super into the article, and edited the fuck out of it and took it to a whole new level of rad. A big reason why it turned out so great is because of his efforts.
Anyway, hope you guys enjoy the article. It was definitely a labor of love on my end. Onioner out.