Check out these killer bands: Satan’s Host, Anathema (thrash metal band), Psychonaut, Xmortis, and Cadavargrinnz. All these bands have featured the drumming, vocalist, and songwriting talents of Damien Lucifer Stele’. Now making his home in Santa Fe, Stele’ has been around the metal scene for decades, churning out volumes of intense and heavy sounds in genres that include death, black, and thrash metal. Once thought dead, Stele’ is setting the record straight, unleashing a barrage of new projects with old and new allies. Take Five managed to secure a few minutes with the ever-busy Stele’, who graciously caught us up on the current happenings, and more important, the up-and-coming projects that stand to scorch the feet of metalheads everywhere.
Hey, man, I heard you were dead. So, what’s the story about your death and resurrection all about?
Lucifer: “When I walked away from the Denver metal scene, I lost touch with all the people who I had run with. As I had begun a new life in New Mexico, news that I had perished in some unsavory fashion began spreading among my friends back home (in Denver, Colorado) as well as people in the industry. As a result, the rumors grew as to what might have happened to me. The story changed over and over, one rumor said I was killed by a rival black metal band, some say I was killed in a bar , others said it was a government conspiracy or even worse . . . by all accounts, it was murder!
“One thing was certain, it spread like wildfire and the rumor mill was working overtime. Back then, the Internet was still in its infancy, so things didn’t travel as fast as stories do now. I had no idea all this was going on. I had been playing in metal bands across the southwest. As cliché as it sounds, one stormy night I was surfing the Internet trying to find out if Pat Evil was still playing, if he had carried on the Satan’s Host legacy. I was surprised to see that Satan’s Host was very much alive and doing very well, with several releases to their credit. I started reading the bio—and here is the clincher, when it came to the mention of D. Lucifer Stele, Pat Evil said I was dead—DEAD!
“It is very disturbing to see in print that you’re dead. This feeling is sort of like reading your own obituary. Pat Evil and I have long since become friends all over again, I have re-established myself in the metal world! I am working on several metal projects and I am really psyched to be a part of all of them!
“Resurrected from the dead . . . Lucifer has risen once again to wreak havoc upon the earth!”
Lucifer, I understand you’re thinking about writing a book. How far have you gotten and when do you anticipate it being ready? Care to share a synopsis of what the book will contain?
Lucifer: “Yes, I am writing a book, it is called Metal Mayhem, and Murder. My reasons for writing this book were pretty simple. I had reconnected with so many of my friends who had also heard the rumors of my untimely demise. People wanted to know the real story, some were really pissed that this had happened and some never came to terms with it. I needed to come up with a way to convey the truth.
“So I wrote a brief story explaining the order of events leading up to my resurrection from the dead. Once I began writing, the stories just began to flow. I couldn’t stop writing, so I began the telling of my life story. The book is about my life as a metal musician. It starts with stories of my childhood, growing up as a half-breed Lakota Sioux in the White Man’s world, one foot in the badlands of South Dakota and the other firmly planted in the suburbs of big-city life.
“I have been playing musick and metal since the mid 1970s, and I have had some amazing adventures along the way. I talk about my days before Pat and I formed Satan’s Host and a lot of stories of the fun we had while I was in that band. My story did not end with the news of my death—I have played with a number of really great bands since my early days in Denver. I also go into great detail about life as a metal musician and how I came close to death from drugs and alcohol. Finding sobriety and emerging from the nightmare a completely different but whole human being on the other side.
“I am only about halfway through and don’t know if I will ever publish it, but if I do I will do it my way. Metal musick is a huge part of who I am, but I am also a husband, a father, and a business owner. All these things make up who I am and have become.”
So, you’re living in Santa Fe now. What do you think of the town and of the Land of Enchantment?
Lucifer: “Although I am from another part of the country, I love New Mexico, and I consider it my home. Living in a small town has some disadvantages—there aren’t a whole lot of venues hosting metal shows here. But there are a lot of great qualities in Santa Fe as well. The southwest is exploding with diversity, I love that it has so much to offer and the multi-cultural environment has played a huge part in my personal growth as a human being and as an artist.
“This place has some really deep history, both good and bad, through the occupation of the Spanish Conquistadores and the slavery of the local tribes in its Wild West period. There is some really great folklore here, too; I fully intend to exploit that for some killer songs! This is a really great region to create musick. Awe-inspiring visual vistas bring out a creative side of my words could never begin to explain. I simply love it here.”
Lucifer, can you give readers an idea of up-and-coming projects you have in the fire?
Lucifer: “The project I am most immersed in is my newest project called CADAVERGRINNZ. We are currently writing musick for a five-song EP, We are extremely focused on the technical side of metal, combining heavy riffs with a diverse arsenal of wicked breakdowns while telling sinister stories interwoven with very dark lyrical content.
“I am also working with Pat Evil on two projects, possibly playing a couple songs on the Midnight Wind Re-Release. I am also very excited to be working with all the ex-members of PSYCHONAUT! We are all really psyched about this project! Every one of us has wanted to do those songs some justice and share them with all the fans of every band involved. Members include Eddie Lopez (ELO) playing rhythm and lead guitar, Rich Ross on bass, Pat Evil on rhythm and lead guitar, Jason Neudecker on lead vocals, and me on drums and backing vocals. We’re planning a CD release and a possible reunion show in Denver, Colorado.
“I am also collaborating with some local talented people here in Santa Fe to create a full production depicting life as an American Indian in a modern world while still trying to hold on to our old ways and traditions. We hope to create a story-like setting with Native American actors and dancers with a modern rock feel using traditional instruments, Native flute, etc., as well as electric guitars and drums.
“Everything I have done in the past 28 years in metal has been leading up to these next two years, and I am looking forward to putting out some really killer stuff. I am in the best shape of my life as a metal drummer. I have reconnected with so many of the musicians I grew up with, and now we are gearing up for some really amazing surprises in the near future. 2013 is the breakout year for all of us, and I hope to spear head this NEW WAVE OF SOUTHWEST METAL!
“There is mainstream Numetal out of Phoenix, Black Metal out of Denver, Grind thrash Metal out of New Mexico, and an old-school thrash release from members of all these bands! Work has begun on some multi-cultural collaborations that I am extremely excited about. I can truly say that I am happier than I ever have been, with my life as a metal musician mirroring my life as a sober musician. Being sober has allowed me to experience life in an open and honest way. With my resources on the Internet, I am working with a metal revival record company in Portugal called Blood and Iron, to release some reissue demo projects that started in the late 1980s and early 1990s. This will be a very exciting and busy year for Mr. Damian Lucifer Stele’, along with all the other artists that I have joined forces with to leave our mark in the musick world.”