many respects Steve Gaines is one hell of vocalist within the 80's American
Trash Metal scene. His performances through Abattoir and BLOODLUST revealed
an awesome power in the 80's. "Guilty As Sin" is the only full-length
from BLOODLUST, but what a vinyl ! "Songs like "Soldiers Of
Fortune", "Chainsaw" or "Rising Power" are now
classics for any Metal fans ! Three years later the band unleashed another
jewel that was "Terminal Velocity". Now the band performs gig
s now and then and Gain is also doing vocals in Anger As Art. This interview
was conducted by Patrick Lefevre from Iron Wolf ezine, and answered by
Earl Mendelhall (guitars) in June 2007
was formed in 1983. Was Guy Lord (vocals), Earl Mendenhall (guitar), Anthony
Romero (guitar), Sandy K (bass) and Mark E. Cuestas (drums) the original
The actual original BLOODLUST line-up had young Steve Gaines on vocals.
Steve joined Abattoir before we recorded "Guilty As Sin", and
Guy joined back up with us from Warlock to do the vocals on that album.
didn’t last long and was quickly replaced by Steve Gaines. What
was the reason ?
The reason Guy, and later Anthony, left was because Guy went on to form
his own band, Lord. They wanted to perform more traditional Metal and
rock (they covered "The End" by the Doors), and we leaned more
to a Thrashier, heavier sound, which you can hear on "Terminal Velocity".
Mark and Anthony
were ex-Warlock (as Guy Lord). Steve was an ex-Prisoner. How did these
two bands sound ? Did Earl and Sandy play in other bands before Bloodlust
Warlock was an excellent cover band that attracted a pretty good following
in LA. They played a lot of Priest, Maiden, Zeppelin, Sabbath, etc. Steve’s
band Prisoner was an original Power Metal band that I first saw &
heard at the Troubadour club in LA. Steve was very young, and had a powerful
rough vocal style that I was immediately attracted to. Up to that time,
I had written a lot of the riff ideas that ended up on the first record.
I had decided that I didn't want to do covers, and eventually Anthony
& Mark left Warlock to help me start up Bloodlust.
In your early
years, you played with Armored Saint, Bitch, Wasp, Abattoir... What memories
have you of this time ?
The early to mid 80's were a special time in Southern California for Metal,
a time when all genres of Metal played shows together & rocked. There
was a very cool brotherhood (with friendly competition & rivalries
!) that was a powerful force. The late 80's, however, found the scene
fragmenting, getting more aggro & chasing off the girls, and sadly
eventually shrinking. An early pre-Joey Vera version of Armored Saint
played in my backyard years ago! Dave & Betsy from Bitch got Brian
Slagel to come to our very first show and offer us a record deal. Dave
Mustaine was a very good friend and wanted to play on "Guilty As
Sin" (but no one I knew had a crystal ball, and we arrogantly refused!!)..very
cool times indeed !
|In mid ’84,
Steve left the band to join Abattoir and Guy Lord was back on vocals. How
did that happen ? How did you get in touch with Metal Blade ? Was originally
the deal for more than one LP ?
As I mentioned before, Brian Slagel wanted to do record right away in '83,
but soon afterwards Steve received an offer to join Abattoir who at the
time were much more established than us. We then brought Guy back to do
the record and eventually join the band. The original deal was for only
one record with an option for a second. The band & Metal Blade came
to a mutual decision not to do the second recording.
“Guilty As Sin” was released
in ’85. It is a power Metal masterpiece album with amazing tracks
as “Ride To Death”, “Rising Power” or “Chainsaw”
to name a few. Are you still proud of that great album ?
I am extremely humbled by the publics' response to "Guilty As Sin",
especially overseas where we received terrific reviews. Before we decided
to regroup, I attended an Abattoir record release party. People were coming
up to me and telling me how they remember the band. Then, I got internet
savvy and freaked on how many people worldwide still listen to our old
recordings...what a trip! Yes, even though there were many shortcomings
in the final product, I'm very proud of that album.
Did Metal Blade give you promotion
and tour support for the LP ? Have you an idea of how many copies were
Unfortunately, we received very, very little support from Metal Blade.
At that time, we had a manager that was very inexperienced & a bit
abrasive, and relations with the label were very chilly. If we had been
given the opportunity to play in Europe, I'm sure that things would have
been very different. I have absolutely no idea how many albums we sold.
you find guitarist John Lisi ? Was he a friend before joining BLOODLUST
John Lisi was 18 years old & ripping in a Florida band that had moved
into a rehearsal space next door to ours. Guy had left, and Anthony was
on his way out, so I offered him the gig. We've been good friends ever
a short time, you had a vocalist named Rich Deathcamps. Wasn’t he
suitable for the band ? Then, Steve ended Tactics and was back...
Funny, I don't remember a vocalist named Rich Deathcamps...what can you
tell me?? (well, I thought this vocalist was shortly in the band before
Steve came back, maybe I did a mistake with another band – Patrick).
We had a couple of really good guys play with us at one time or another
(I can remember a really good singer named Keith Flax from a band called
Wild Dogs, and a guy named Ice from Las Vegas that stole my original Megadeth
t-shirt that Dave had given me), but it never really worked out, so I actually
sang lead & played guitar for a few gigs, giving the band a much more
hardcore sound (I sound like Lemmy gargling with broken glass). After that
abortion, Steve had already left Abattoir, showed up at my door one day
& I asked him back...to great relief!
was Mark replaced by Craig Kasin ?
We all were in the midst of a drug & alcohol haze at one time, but
Mark seemed to have a harder time of it. Juan Garcia (Abattoir, Agent
Steel) recommended Craig to us. Craig is now making a good living as The
Drummer KC, playing to big dance rave crowds. He's still a very good friend.
you recorded the “Anti-Life” demo. Was the tape well received
in the underground scene ?
"Anti-Life" was a demo that featured the band as a four piece
(with me on vocals), and was very well reviewed by Metal Forces and many
other Metal publications of the day. After Steve rejoined, a decision
was made to record a good quality demo. "Terminal Velocity"
is actually that demo.
I guess this demo tape helped you to
sign a deal with Wild Rags. Was the deal only for one EP ?
The music was only licensed to Wild Rags as a demo, but unfortunately
was perceived by other major labels as a Wild Rags release. There were
only a few thousand of those EPs pressed, and Rich Campos, the owner of
Wild Rags later went AWOL along with our masters. The re-release will
include "Terminal Velocity" off of a vinyl copy. We did play
a few gigs after the release, and briefly had a dialog with MCA Records
(through our friendship with Chris Poland of Megadeth) but soon broke
did this happen that the EP was produced by Dark Angel guitarist Eric Meyer
The guys in Dark Angel would come to a lot of our shows (especially big
Gene.. hey bro, get in touch!!) & we became friends. Eric had expressed
the desire to get into mixing & producing, and Dark Angel was blowing
up, so I asked him if he wanted to record a demo with us. That became "Terminal
Why did you break up the band in ’89
I had begun to be dissatisfied with the changing Metal scene and the musical
direction Sandy & John seemed to be taking. They began to play very
sophisticated & technical riffs that I couldn't play & that I
didn't find rocking enough. I come from a Sabbath, Motorhead, Maiden,
Priest, Iggy Pop background.. heavy, simple, loud rock and roll. The trend
at the time was to play faster than anyone (that's what inspired Steve's
lyrics to the song "Terminal Velocity".. I wrote the music to
that one in 1982, but it was decided that it was too punk for "Guilty
As Sin"), with country & polka-sounding beats on the drums that
,in my opinion, brought the music to the point of comedy. I was also dealing
with some personal problems with women & drugs, and was losing my
focus on creating music. I also had a very young daughter that I needed
to support and be more involved with, and the aforementioned had been
keeping me from being in her life. Sucks, but shit happens.
Sandy and John formed Last Rites. I am
not familiar with this band. Was it still Metal ? Did they record something
Yeah, Last Rites did record. Contact Sandy & John through our myspace
page www.myspace.com/bloodlustla and they'll fill you in.
Steve reformed Tactics (later renamed
Electric Head), played with Dreams Of Damnation, Pagan War Machine, returned
with Abattoir and also plays in Anger As Art. Can we say that Steve is
a die-hard veteran always hungry to play powerful or raging music ?
Fuck yeah, Gaines is the hardest working guy in metal!
BLOODLUST was back in 2004 and played
its official reunion gig in May 2005. How were the feelings to be back
on stage ? Do you think the magic is still here ?
I can't describe how good it felt to play that Keyclub show. Better than
any drug on earth...I actually fell on my ass in front of a big crowd
after jumping in the air during our last song "Soldier of Fortune"!!
Yeah, I believe there's still magic there, and hopefully soon we'll know
if the rest of the world thinks so.
||The current line-up
is Steve, Earl, John, Sandy and Mark. Do you feel comfortable with this
line-up ? It seems to be a stable one, doesn’t it ?
I've always felt comfortable with these guys. We're all very different people,
but we always seem to know what the Bloodlust vibe is-heavy, memorable songs.
Did you play some German summer Metal
festivals ? Or is it on the way ?
Our main goal is to make it to Europe, especially in Germany where they
have some of the very best Metal fans on the planet.
Will you record a new album in a near
future ? Have you planned to re-release the LP and EP on CD ?
Our friend King Fowley will be releasing a limited press of the recordings
combined on one CD very soon...Please don't pay for the pirated shit that's
all over the internet. We worked & sweated creating this music.
I think the BLOODLUST story was covered.
Thank you for taking time to answer. If I forgot something, feel free
in this last question...
Thanks for your interest and the kind words, Patrick. Metal brothers,
please check out www.myspace.com/bloodlustla and our soon to be revamped
www.bloodlust.tv and say "Hey"...thanks for having us in your
lives! Hopefully we'll see you soon!