I think a lot of people assumed Denial Fiend was the work of Kam Lee. Now that Blaine Cook is fronting that assumption is no longer. What was the transition like between Kam and Blaine?Terry Butler: Kam likes to lead people on that Denial Fiend was his band. Truth is Denial Fiend is Sam's baby. Sam started the band and asked him to join. He also didn't hesitate to replace him. Blaine stepped into a foreign environment and did an amazing job. The transition has been very smooth. He a true professional.
Do you think the lineup change with Blaine and Rob [Rampy] have affected Denial Fiend’s sound for the better? I’m sure you’re aware of the “first lineup/albums the best” club. Terry Butler: Yes, I do. We are much tighter. More aggressive, meaner. The first album is very good but it’s a little looser. The addition of Rob has tightened things up. He's a solid hard hitting drummer.
From the sounds of it, the writing sessions must’ve been a gas. How would you compare writing sessions in Denial Fiend to, say, some of your previous bands like Six Feet Under, Massacre, etc.? Terry Butler: The writing sessions were done in segments because of touring duties with Sam, Rob and I. There were a couple songs already written when Kam was still in the band. He had lyrics to one, but they were thrown out when he was fired. Sam gets on a roll and cranks out these amazing riffs. Sometimes he has two songs written between practices. It’s similar in the other bands I was in. The only difference is in SFU [Six Feet Under] Greg, Steve and I wrote the music and Chris would come in and write something later. In Death, songs were written at practice for the most part. A few times some riffs were brought to the table ahead of time.
The music direction Horror Holocaust feels a bit more crossover than death metal. Was there a point where you felt you were able to explore anything musically as long as it was fast, extreme? Terry Butler: Yeah it’s definitely more thrash and crossover. There is pretty much an open book on writing in Denial Fiend. If it’s cool its used. Death, punk or thrash. We don't discriminate. A good amount of the music was written before Blaine joined. We thought of having guest singers. I contacted some friends; Jeff Walker from Carcass was one. He was busy with prior commitments. Then we thought that might be too gimmicky. So Sam contacted Blaine.
Explain how punk/hardcore were early influences to both you and Denial Fiend. I think a lot of deathheads forget that punk/hardcore informed a lot of early death metal. Terry Butler: Certainly, Tampa had many more hardcore/punk shows than metal. We had Nasty Savage and Savatage, who were big influences. But the punk shows were more frequent. A lot of aggression and speed comes from hardcore. Autopsy won't show those traits but Massacre, Death (not many people know, but Chuck was fan of a lot of punk like the Deadboys, Battalion of Saints, etc.), Slayer and so forth [will]. It’s weird but death metal has its roots in punk/hardcore music.
You wrote some of the lyrics to Horror Holocaust. What were the lyric sessions like? I gather they were shared between you, Blaine and Sam [Cook]. Lots of eyeballs popping out of heads, zombie takeovers, and unfortunate dudes in coffins. Terry Butler: It was cool for me because I wrote lyrics for the first time. It turned out pretty good. Writing lyrics isn't rocket science. I think the phrasing is more important than the words. Blaine wrote three and Sam wrote two, I believe. Had Blaine been on board earlier he probably would have written them all.
Do you think zombies have been played out? Along with vampires and werewolves, zombies are the next cool ghoulie. Terry Butler: I don't think they are yet. They are the one monster that can't really be romantic, attractive and deadly. Hollywood has the vampires and werewolves as beautiful and glamorous. I hate that. That's why 30 Days of Night was cool. Those vampires were ugly and nasty, the way they should be. A zombie is dead and rotting. Not much you can do with that as far as fashion.
OK, best horror movie of all time and why. Terry Butler: For me probably over all...The Exorcist. I know that might seem a little to mainstream, but it’s my vote. First of all, the music Tubular Bells is scary as hell. Secondly, the subject matter touches everyone who watches it. Religion creates controversy. If you’re religious it scares the hell out of you. I remember seeing that movie as a kid. Way too young to be watching. It ruined me for months trying to sleep at night.
Did the After Party Massacre soundtrack give you a boost in interest? Just curious what, if any, interest in After Party Massacre connected to the soundtrack. Terry Butler: Sure, we were under the radar; off the grid, so to speak. After the line-up change and by the time we recorded the CD a few years had passed. After Party got our name going again. The interest started growing again. People sometimes need a little reminder.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received from another musician or band member? Terry Butler: Wow, let me think. Danzig said he loved my bass tone. Does that count?