KAM LEE (DEATH, MASSACRE, MANTAS) / JUNE 2016
** I feel it's important for people to know the role you played in the band Death. It is interesting because at first Death was Mantas. People see you as a vocalist but in Mantas and Death you played drums as well as singing lead vocals. Tell us what your role in those bands were and how everything got started. I understand you guys played without a bass player too? Is that why on the Emotional (circa 1984) demo cassette tape jacket it says Unknown Bass?
That's basically it really. I was the original drummer and vocalist in the band, going back to late 1983 when it started. Which was with myself and Rick at first - a few months before Chuck was actually in the band. Chuck came in a few months after Rick and I started working on songs. We started out just doing VENOM covers. Teacher's Pet, Poison... a few track off of 'Welcome To Hell' really. Rick came up with calling the band Mantas actually - that was his name and idea originally. Later Chuck wanted to establish more of a "control" of the band - which is why he split Mantas up... but only a few weeks later re-formed it as Death. It was essentially his parent's garage at his parents house were we rehearsed... so he was basically trying to be the alpha dog. Probably why we clashed and butted heads... I'm always the Omega Wolf... the lone wolf, I do shit my way... he wanted to do things his way. The Omega Wolf will go along with the pack for awhile, until he tires of all the bites and scratches and being abused so then eventually he wanders off on his own - becoming a lone wolf. I've been like this all my life - the "lone wolf" - the "Omega Wolf"... the downside to it is that - I eventually will seek a "pack" to be a part of and thus require some form of a pack to join - but it never last after awhile I eventually return to be the 'lone wolf'.
See - you have to understand up front. I don't like people for the most part. I'm very misanthropic and very cynical - I don't trust anyone - and think that 98% of the people I do come across are selfish greedy individuals that don't care about anything else but themselves.
But... I got off point.
So - yeah I was the original vocalist and drummer.
As far as a bass player - you have to remember this was 1983/84/85... there was NO ONE into the type of music we were doing in our neighborhood back then. We didn't have the spoils of today like the internet and shit. You basically had to work with the people in your hood... or just down the street - around the block - in the next borrow... but outside of that... the world was cut off... so yeah... we had a bassist for A DAY... and only a day - he came it... did a session - took a photo and didn't get along with us... so he was gone don't remember the kids name... it was over 30 years ago. I mean - could you remember someone you meet and only spoke to maybe twice - and was around for maybe 3 to 4 hours from 30 years ago?
I don't think many of us could.
** Your vocals are outstanding in Mantas/Death and Massacre for that style. Very unique. They rip right through you! You have been cited as one of the first to use and develop the signature death growl/death grunt. How did you develop that style? Why did you want to use that vocal style?
Most of the metal bands back then in the 1980's - had the high-pitched banshee howl vocalist. It was like either screaming or soprano style high pitched octaves. Everyone was attempting to stay in perfect pitch and remain in the eight octave range. I felt this music was meant to be aggressive... and needed something that was more primal - more bestial. At first in Mantas/Death I immolated a lot of the modern styles of that era of Speed Metal/Death Thrash was coming out of Germany like Sodom and Tormentor (later Kreator) but still I wanted the vocals to be 'deeper' more like a wolf or dog growl, rather then the banshee wailing. I had gotten a hold of the HELLHAMMER "Satanic Rites" Demo - and really like the inflection and tone of which Tom G. Warrior was doing his vocals. He had a certain alteration of the form by speaking his English words in a particular manner of which I adopted and then made my own. I've attempted all my life to be very coherent and enunciate my English. Because coming from a family in which the English language is often rather 'butchered' - and spoken in what we Pacific Islanders call "Pig English" - because it's spoken so badly - I wanted personally myself to attempt to speak clearly. With being raised in the States - made it a very personal choice to attempt to at least speak proper English (although it's the American version) I still wanted to be well spoken and clear, and this carried over into my vocals - regardless if I'm growling or not - I still attempt to be understood and enunciate my words.
** I understand some of the demos from your days in Mantas have been redone. Is this correct? The Death By Metal Compilation? If so , where can people pick one up?
I have NO idea... and have NO PART of that. All of my intellectual properties and everything I did for Mantas/Death - music, lyrics, and even art work - all have been done with out my involvement and I have NO PART of it at all.
Mainly because Eric and the Death Foundation have deemed it possible to steal my work, as nothing was every copy written or trademarked, so after Chuck's demise it was easy for people to step in and do these things were intellectual properties were never actually established. You have to also consider that a 'hatred' for me was established early one by former members and rumor mills - plus a lot of racism and double standards. The lies created to keep me at arms length and to keep me out and away from certain claims - were created and manipulated by white raciest that alter their racial hate into lies about "me". They set me up and vilified me - in order to keep their racial and xenophobic behavior and agendas hidden. It was never a fact that I'm "hard to work" with - as I have indeed proven with out a doubt been able to keep working bands/projects together for years... but it's a fact that particular racist individuals would not and could not accept that a non-white individual was in fact the ground breaking innovative creator behind this genres roots and foundation. All these hate-filled cowards can do to attempt to continue to unjustly vilify me and to publicly defame and traduce about me - they will do so, because it's in their bigoted nature to do so.
Therefor, anything to do at all with anything with Mantas/Death name attached to it legally is NOT something I have a part of or a claim to - because these raciest individuals saw it fit to keep the little brown/tan island-Asian man out of their pristine ivory towers.
** Have you always been interested in gore/horror themed stuff? It seems all your musical projects are gore themed as in blood, guts, zombies, dead people, vampires etc. It begs the thought: What were you like as a child? Did you watch monster movies, dissect dead birds by chance , etc? haha!
First, let's get one thing straight. I'm not a psychopath. Psychopaths like to dissect animals and later humans because their brain wiring just isn't right, and they are detached and removed emotionally and psychologically from having any empathy. And mostly can't work out which is fantasy and reality and have a hard time discerning the lines between them. I do know the difference between reality and fantasy. So no - I never dissected birds. Although I have killed animals, but every animal I did kill, and gut - mostly fish, pigs, snakes, & chickens - I did so as a child so I could eat. I come from a very poor family... dirt farm poor, so a lot of my youth was - "if you want to eat - kill that chicken over there"
I was born on Halloween, and I grew up with a father that loves the old Universal Monster films... so I learned at an early age to love and appreciate the monsters. Besides, I fit more of the monster's story then the human story anyways, the mis-understood monster, always hunted, always vilified, always hated and feared. Sounds a lot like me - so it's why I tend to side with the monsters more - then the frightened pathetic villagers & masses with their hatred and flaming torches - come to burn the "evil" monster!
** Let's get all this straight. Here are some bands you were/are in: Denial Fiend (2006). That one comprised you, Terry Butler (bassist for Obituary), Sam Williams (guitar, ex Massacre) and Curtis Beeson (drums, ex Massacre, Nasty Savage) It's much like Massacre with awesome guitar riffs, and crunchy, heavy, guitar playing. That lineup produced an album called They Rise. Your other bands include Bone Gnawer, The Grotesquery , The Skeletal, Broken Gravestones, Akatharta, Gigantesque, and Alienanalprobe. How did you come up with the name Alienanalprobe? Is Akatharta going to release an album this year?
Yes... the first part is correct as far as my bands/projects. You left out GRAVEWAX... and you forgot OOZING SCABS - which is my solo D-beat Crust Punk project.
To answer your questions... Alienanalprobe... is my UFO-Grind one man project. It's basically an idea I've had for years. I always wanted to a themed band about UFOs and aliens and make it grind-core. I kept getting musicians who said they were interested, but never followed thru ( * SIDE NOTE* most musicians in the scene are 80% talk and lip service - 10% of verbal commitment... and 10% of actually following thru.)
I got tired of wasting time with people who made all these promises but never followed thru - so I just did it myself. It's just for FUN - just as a fun joking band with some serious grind-noise to go with it. It's lyrically just goofy - Alien ANAL PROBE - is just one of the many rumors told that most extraterrestrials do to us humans. Oh know - they come down from outer space - and give humans an enema. I always thought this rumor was funny and ridiculous.
The two track promo I did has the tracks. Alien Anal Probe and the track Abducted. It's just this 2 track demo/promo for now.
Akatharta is my Funeral Doom band... it has an album in the works, but we don't have a label. So no - there will be no album done for this year... maybe next year in 2017.
** So cool you are in a band with Mark Riddick called Grave Wax. Mark Riddick plays bass and guitars. He is well known for his awesome artwork in the underground metal world. Has he ever made any cover art for any of your other bands album covers? How did you meet him?
Okay - so here is the Grave wax question. Yes... Mark has done several art works for me. He designed the original logo for THE GROTESQUERY.
He's done art for BONE GNAWER, and even did the layout designs for 'Feat Of Flesh' album, he's done art for T-shirts and he even did the art for my upcoming solo demo "Massacred" which is me basically doing 4 old Massacre tracks... which will be exclusive to CASSETTE ONLY release. I meet Mark - pretty much the way everyone meet in the early 2000's thru MYSPACE.
You have a lot of musical projects you are a part of right now. How do you juggle them all?
I'm a wizard that can bend time and space reality - a power given to me by the dark god Yog Sothoth.
** These bands are great! The music is heavy, crunchy, with awesome riffs, and your vocals really are unique. Are there any official releases people can buy and if so, where can they buy them?
People can order the two BONE GNAWER albums on CD from me directly... as well as some other projects - if i still have them in stock. But - if not from me... I'm sure each label has direct links in which to order - but too many labels and sites to list here as I work with so many different labels and distributors.
** Do you have any social media sites / websites people can look you up on to see what is going on with you?
My Facebook is where I do most of caterwauling and carrying on - gobbledygooking and flabbergasting!
** How did you get the role of a serial killer in the 2011 independent horror film Deep Seeded? I think you fit the role perfectly by the way!
** What do you do when not playing music? Any hobbies?
I also do art and am an established artist... I watch a lot a lot a lot of movies. Esp. horror movies, and Kung Fu action movies and a lot of old Tokustatsu Japanese TV shows. I occasional surf internet porn and masturbate feverishly to female ejaculation and squirting videos, I read a lot of horror novels, and read a lot of manga and comic books, I also like to cook and was at one time going to be a chef, but my love of cooking is better as a hobby as I tend to think if I did it a living - I would HATE it. I'm currently working on writing a horror novel too... I was working on a biography book, but that bores me... so I put that to the side. I read a lot about unexplained paranormal activities and cryptids. Those things fascinate me. I have two cats that keep my busy and I often spend most days around them as they make so much better companions then people.
I spend a lot of my time with my beautiful girlfriend /wife of 20 years - as she really is my best friend, and one of the ONLY very few humans I actually do care about. Plus the fact she hates people even more then I do... makes her perfect for me all the way.
** Thank you Kam for this interview. As your saying goes: Forever Underground!
Cheers and yes... FOREVER UNDERGROUND!