POSSESSED - Did JOE SATRIANI Play On The Eyes Of Horror EP?
November 3, 2016, a year ago
San Francisco Bay Area legends Possessed secured their place in the pages of extreme metal history with a legendary debut (1985’s Seven Churches) and the overlooked EP (The Eyes Of Horror) which marked a change in direction from Satanic death metal to speed metal madness, produced by none other than guitar guru Joe Satriani. In early 1987, the band - featuring singer/bassist Jeff Becerra, guitarists Mike Torrao and Larry LaLonde, along with drummer Mike Sus - hit the studio with Satch just prior to him releasing his breakthrough album, Surfing With The Alien, that fall.
In 1989, Becerra was robbed and shot by two drug addicts which left him paralysed from the waist down. The band had disband nearly two years prior, but left their incredible swan song, The Eyes Of Horror. Years ago I stunned Satriani with the question: “Are you the Joe Satriani who produced The Eyes Of Horror? Wearing his little white gloves he responded, “yeah, it was nice to meet them, nice to hang out. I had to do a couple of solos.”
“No he never did any solos,” Becerra lays down the truth. “He never did any solos. But he was, um……. I know what he’s talking of, because he definitely was Larry Lalonde’s teacher at the time, so I’m sure he helped him write a couple of those solos. So, in a round about way, yes, they were part of his solos. So it wasn’t like he was telling an untruth, it’s just more of a partial truth.”
BraveWords: That’s a lot of water under the bridge and you all were very young.
Becerra: “I’m just floored that he even remembers it, you know? And I got him for $6,000 too. It was cool, it was really cool.”
BraveWords: That sounds expensive for back then. How long did he work for you?
Becerra: “Like, a couple weeks. Yeah, it was really cool. Well I think they, back then they used to charge you up the ass – like $85,000 to record, and you had to go through their, uh, their people. You had to go through their studios. What they did is they wanted to get you in debt forever, you know? So that’s why you’ve got to be careful. That’s why my advice is, cause even now if you have long hair, and you’re like me who went to college, and taken, you know, law and legal and math. A lot of people – the cartels, they don’t want you having a brain. They want you to be that stupid stoner guy, and not take any part in what you’re doing. And that’s not going to happen to me, so. The digital media is a game changer because it used to be a product, you know? It was an actual physical product. And now all you really need is good promotion – good public relations you know? Anybody can pump out the product now.”
“Well, you’d be surprised at how true the underground Possessed is, there’s not a hell of a lot of money coming in, you know,” Becerra adds about the current state of the band. “And we like that, I like that about being Possessed, I’m not sure I want to be a stadium band, you know? Of course we do the Ozzy shows and the Scorpions, and Priest shows and stuff like that. But I was born in the club, I’ll stay in the club and, you know I like the festivals, but, where am I going with this? I’m not sure I want to let destiny take us where it might, you know? I’m not going to actively go out, and, like, when I was 18 I was like, I need a promoter, I need a manager, I need to get signed. And I’m just, you know, I asked myself, you know, now that I’m older and I ask myself why do I want a manager? Why do I want a promoter? Why do I want to be signed? And it has to be much more than, than chicks and cocaine, you know? Because that’s all you’re gonna get if you’re not careful. And I want to put it out there and do it realistically, like in an underground way.”
(Top photo by Håkon Grav)