Interview with Scott Stearns (May 2015)

Hey Mr. Wizard, how are you doing?

Hello I am doing good. 

Let’s start right away. How did you begin being keen on rock music? What was your first album purchased?

My first heavy rock album was Billy Idol’s self-titled record. I started out listening to New Wave and Punk in the 1980’s and then got into heavy metal.

You’re also known as an artist in certain circles – for making exhibitions, galleries, and stuff. Did everything begin with drawing on a sheet of paper in the 8th grade?

I started very early since around kindergarten drawing monsters, robots and aliens. I was also very into Godzilla and old monster movies in grade school. Then in middle school I was very into Dungeons and Dragons and Monster, Eerie, Epic and Heavy Metal magazines,  and artwork from H.R. Giger, Frank Frazetta, and Boris Vallejo. 

Let’s dig a bit into your hardcore projects. There was a group Die-Hard that turned into Integrity. How long have you been playing together, and do you keep in touch with these guys now? 

Die- Hard was me on guitar, Aaron Melnick on bass, Dwid and then Stork on vokills and Chubby Fresh on drums. We went on a small tour with Outface, Derek Green from Sepultura’s  old Cleveland punk rock band. Then we recorded the album Looking Out For Number One.  We were only were together for a year or two. I keep in touch with Aaron and recently hung out with Chubby Fresh at a Slayer concert.

There was an awesome group Madman Mundt, and you recorded 2 albums of the coolest crossover with it. Dont you want to revive the legend?  

Madman Mundt was a lot of fun and all of those guys were awesome musicians and friends. Mark D. died a couple years ago R.I.P. Me and John and Scott get together every once in a while to jam out some songs. 

What do you think – how important is it to have a good punk/hardcore background to play some terrific sludge afterwards? 

I started out by listening to the Sex Pistols, FEAR, X, The Dead Boys, Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, Discharge, Bad Brains, The Flesh Eaters,  G.B.H.  etc.  Then I also try to learn from Black Sabbath, Bolt Thrower and Saint Vitus worship and mix it all together into a mutated rotting pus-swamp. 

I’ve recently bumped onto your work on the cover of a 2003 Russian group’s Rogatyiye Trupoyedy album “Devki, Sex I Trupnuy Yad”. I was pleasantly surprised, since I’ve missed this masterpiece then and now looking for the CD. It was more than dozen years ago! Perhaps there wasn’t much commercial on your side then. Who found whom and what impressions do you have from this collaboration? 

I think they found my art on the Ballbustermusic website. It was very shortly after I first put my art on the internet in early 2000s and had my own website. Working with a band from Russia was very cool. They were great and paid me by sending me a whole bunch of black market Russian heavy metal cd’s. I am always happy when I can work with people on the other side of the planet in different countries and cultures who love heavy music and weird art. 

Let’s proceed to the cream of society. Tell a little about your work with Fistula. Do you know why Corey changes band members so often? 

I played guitar with Fistula on Burdened By Your Existence, Smoke Acid Shoot Pills, Meth Mouth And The Dead Teeth and some other splits and eps. I have been a fan of Fistula since hearing Hymns Of Slumber. Corey and bahb are two of my favorite vocalists.  Some bands sound like the singer is just trying to sing like a tough guy, but these guys sing from the heart and have a true hate filled sound that can’t be faked. I am happy Corey asks me to record on some stuff and asks me to do different artwork.

Bibilic Blood is a great collaboration and concept, in my opinion. Do you perform together anywhere? 

Thank you, no we don’t really play out. We have an attic in the woods that we play and record in a couple miles south of Lake Erie. The woods are where the Mellon Heads are said to live. They are mutated carnivorous children with enlarged heads that escaped from a medical facility that was doing experiments on them. I have never seen one but I hear weird noises sometimes.

Where did you find Suzy with her charming voice?

Me and Suzy used to burn each other cd’s. When she told me she loved Suicidal Tendencies and Slayer I knew we had a great destiny together. 

It is such a pity that Morbid Wizard broke up. Guess there had to be one more terrific album, hadn’t it? 

Morbid Wizard is not completely broke up we are still working on our next album The Age Of Wizardry. It is just taking a really long time but it will totally be worth it.

Rumors had it that Ultralord resurrected. Are people lying?

I have not heard any rumors. 

I think The Disease Concept became a gulp of fresh air on the sludge stage. Bastard vocals and trash reefs are a unique cocktail. I’m sure that having such a robust crew, there are chances to go on tour to the old land. Did you have any offers?

I just did the artwork for Disease Concept,  I am not really in the band. I asked if I could hang out in the studio with them for a while because I wanted to meet Dave and Tommy two of my favorite guitar players. I was a huge fan of Solace for years, and worship The Blood Farmers. Permanent Brain Damage is one of my all-time favorite records. 

«Pain Clinic» from the all-star The Disease Concept was announced last year and there seems to be stuff for the 4th album. Where and when can we wait for these surprises

I am not sure but I think it will be soon hopefully.

Among contemporary bands in which you’re involved, can you highlight the principal one, to which you’d like to devote yourself entirely? 

Right now I am working on things in phases that slowly alternate over time. Bibilic Blood and then Morbid Wizard and Ancient Sickness.

Tell a bit about the story of Goat Skull Records that seem to be lying entirely on your shoulders. When you launched it, what impacted you? What are the plans for 2015?

Goat Skull Records was something me and Corey always wanted to do to be able to put out our own music and do whatever else we felt like.  We put all the cds out in a dvd case so it gives more room for the artwork and they don’t shatter as easily in the mail. For 2015 we might only release Bibilic Blood’s next cd Maximum Burn. 

I try not to miss releases with your covers and buy them on CDs or vinyl. How many other similar fetishists come to you to get your autograph at the full discography?

I am always honored that people like my art. There are so many good artists out there I am always inspired by them.

Have you been thinking of launching your series of comics, where, for example, Fistula’s texts would be played like dialogues?  

Yes that would be very cool. I need to do more comic books, but with a good story or lyrics to it.

Perhaps Mr. Wizard has another dozen of little-known projects, about which we should know? For example, Blackwell.  I have absolutely no idea what it is about. 

Blackwell was hardcore band that was Me and Corey on guitars, bahb from Fistula on bass, Larry Gargus on vokills and Jeremy on drums. We recorded an album that one song came out on the Will To Fail comp. Some day if I manage to pull my head out of my ass for long enough I will put the cd out on Goat Skull Records. It is very good. Accept Death will also probably record some new songs this year.

Did you have offers as an artist – like to draw a series of porters for a large festival, such as Roadburn or Heavy Days in Doomtown? If not, what would you think about such an idea?

No I never got too much into doing flyers, I just try to stick with cds and album covers and comics.

Thanks for the fruitful conversation, Scott. Hope someday life will bring us together to meet on a gig of one of your projects or in an art gallery, or in a coffee shop. 

Take care! And tell a couple of farewell words to the readers of Robust Blog.