The following interview was done with the original vocalist of Deteriorate (Mike Trush), a little known, although superb death metal act, who came and went much too quickly from the exploding death metal scene of the early 90's... The first and only release including Trush, Rotting in Hell, is a testament to the unequaled ferocity of this band, and what could have been, but was not to be...

First, it's been over ten years since we interviewed your former band mate, guitarist Frank Ierovante. Further, I guess it's been another 15-16 years since Deteriorate was formed. But, let's start at the beginning. Can you tell us how Deteriorate was formed.
Deteriorate formed in late 1991 at a storage place in Philadelphia. There was about 9 bands that played there and my progressive metal band Existence was one of them. Frank and Rich played in a band called Anathema (not the one your thinking about) and they used to come and watch us play. I always had death metal shirts on, so Frank asked me if I wanted to start a death metal band with him and Rich. So the first lineup was Frank, Rich, Tom Copson (Existence) and myself. Tom didn't work out after a few months so we found Joe from a band called Entrapment and picked him up. I think he was only 16, great guitar player. A few months later we recorded a demo and were immediately picked up by JL. (if we knew then what we know now)

Frank mentioned to us that you parted ways with the band because things did not work out musically, that they wanted to do different things. Can you go deeper into this?
Frank was a creepy little guy. I would have just punched him in the mouth but he's like 4'11 and I would feel like I'm hitting a little kid. First he went to the studio with Joe and recorded my bass tracks without me. He never wanted to hear bass EVER, he wanted the album to sound like '...and Justice for All' or something (all guitar and drums. ) Then, right after it was released, I would call Keith from JL and find out how many we would sell every week and the last time I talked to him he told me that Frank called to find out if the label would drop them if they were to kick me out. And that was it. After they couldn't find a replacement they asked me to come back. I couldn't say no because we were getting to open for all the national acts that would come to town, Entombed, Obituary, Fear Factory, Brutal Truth etc.. Also the album cover that I had originally picked out was shunned by Frank because, and I quote, 'my mom won't like that.' It was an old medieval painting of a priest on an altar with horns coming out of his head. You tell me if that Rotting in Hell cover isn't a joke. I think that hurt our sales. (If I saw that cover in a store and I didn't know who they were I would just pass right over it.) We butted heads all the time. He was a little bitch and would complain about everything. I had to leave even though I really liked the music.

Your debut CD 'Rotting in Hell' was released by the notorious rip-off label JL America. How did this come about? I understand you were burned pretty bad by them?
Some asshole named John sent the tape to JL for us. This dickhead wanted to manage us but I'm happy to say that we were smart enough to say no. He is a notorious prick and EVERYBODY hated him. I don't know why but he would still book us a lot for national acts in Philadelphia. I'm pretty sure that he works for Metal blade Records now. Although we were burned pretty bad by JL at least some people (like you) were able to hear it.

JL America seemed to have bootlegged a lot of other artists back in the day. Some of which are now very well known, like Samael, Beherit, Master's Hammer, as a small example. There was also a comp tape put out by them back in the day, which included Deteriorate, this tape was actually where we first heard your music. So I guess if one good thing came of it, a lot of people were probably introduced to your music through this. Any comments? Did you know any of the other bands on JL America back then? If so, were they similarly ripped-off?
Yes, Morpheus Descends, Vicious Circle and Crucifix (good people). As far as I know, most, if not all, of the bands were ripped off. A friend of mine who owns a small record label in London informed me that JL sent him an offer for the rights to our music. There were three bands on the list and ours was one of them. I'd love to see that guy Keith. Crucifix was a great band.

The last show you played with Deteriorate was in the summer of 1995, supporting Death at the Cellblock in Philadelphia. It must have been a wicked show. What are your memories? Did people seem to like what you were doing back then?
We had a pretty good following. As much as I didn't support the skinhead movement, I have to say that the AC skins really supported us. They treated us very well. I also remember hanging out with Steve from Death/Sadus/Autopsy. Very cool guy. I think that Death show was with Cynic and Sinister, I can't remember because we played the Cellblock so many times back then. It's been awhile. (Sinister was scared of the joints that we rolled but they smoked them anyway.)

After Deteriorate you moved to Florida and joined a band called Fracture, where you mentioned you played a lot of shows but never made a professional recording. What was Fracture like?
Fracture were members from two bands called Brutal Mastication (FL) and Life (PA). It was like super fast blues/hardcore/death metal. I played bass and backing vocals. Great friends of mine. I still keep in touch with them. I liked the scene down south a lot better than in PA. Our best show was with VoiVod and Pro Pain.

After Fracture you've said you were in about ten other bands. You seem to have been in and out of many bands in the past decade and a half. Is there a reason behind this? It brings up the question as well, were you in any bands before Deteriorate? Were any of these bands promising, in your opinion? Why wasn't there any releases? Did you do vocals for all of these bands? If so, were the vocals in the style you used on Rotting in Hell?
It's simply like this, either someone gets hooked on drugs or even dies or someone gets married and has kids or someone is just too hard to work with. When I run into friends who don't see me for awhile the first thing that they ask me is "So Mike, how many bands are you in now." I was always known as a "band whore," which was part of the reason that Frank was such an ass. Back than I was in Muthers Day and Paraplegic when I was in Deteriorate and the rest of the band (Frank) didn't like it. I never missed a practice or missed a show EVER. They just didn't like it. Paraplegic was very promising. We actually gave a tape to Mike Patton (Mr. Bungle) back in early 92. I think that he liked it because I gave him a shirt and we would see him wearing it on several occasions (Via Internet). It sounded like Zappa/primus meets JesusChristSuperstar. It was kinda like a metal/rock opera. We would wear masks and the singer performed from a wheelchair and we had knife jugglers and hola dancers. It was cool in a weird creepy way. R.I.P. Jack. (heroin sucks) some other bands were Eyeball, Creature Feature, The Mind Bullies, Existence, Infected Flesh, Krypton, Dead in your Dreams. I thought that all these bands were promising but what the hell do I know. Most of these bands didn't care to send recordings to anybody including myself. It was mainly for fun. Some bands tried but I guess that the stars weren't aligned or something (refer to the beginning of answer). The only other vocals I've done are on Dead in the Face, Perverseraph, Fracture and Dead in your Dreams. All death metal style.

Next you did a project called Dead in the Face. Can you tell us about this?
These guys are from the Philadelphia area and played at the same time that Deteriorate started. They were ex members of Hazarax and Cemetery Earth. Jay (guitar), Russ (drums), Justin(drums), Ron (bass) and myself on vocals. Old school death Metal. You can find it at Myspace.com/DeadInTheFace.

And finally, currently you are with a band called Perverseraph, which includes Craig from Immolation on drums. Can you tell us about this band? How does it sound? You share vocal duties with another person. Are your vocals still in the death metal vein? When will we finally be able to hear Perverseraph?
It is Death/black/Experimental Metal. John Litchko (guitar) is an old friend of mine who also was playing around the time that Deteriorate started. He was in a band called Necrotion. We wanted to get together even back then but it took until mid 2005 for us to finally get together. I started playing with Craig in early 2005 in another band that didn't work out but that's how we became good friends. John and I share vocal duties. Hopefully our first effort will be out by spring of 2007. Please listen to it and than you can tell me what it sounds like.

Back to the beginning... do you talk to any of the guys that used to do Deteriorate with you anymore? What did you think of their following releases without you... "Gather the Nebbish" (demo) and "The Senectuous Entrance" on Pulverizer Records? The latter release showed a shift from death metal to black metal, which I didn't care for much. I never heard from the band after that release, so I assume they called it quits. Any word?
Loved the new demo, liked the second release. I knew John Thorous longer than anybody else. We played together in Infected flesh in 1990. Joe played with me in Creature Feature in 1999. I played with Gannon in Krypton in 2002 with another good friend of mine Jay Anderson who replaced Frank after he was kicked out of Deteriorate. Jay played the Milwaukee Metal Fest with them. I still keep in touch with Thorous, Gannon and Jay Anderson. As of now everybody else is taking a break. Who knows for how long. You'll have to ask them.

To my knowledge, 'Rotting in Hell' was never re-released. Is there any hope of it ever being re-released? Maybe even containing the self-titled demo as bonus tracks? That demo was brutal as hell.
Frank was kind enough to copyright the material in his name. As far as I know he owns it so I doubt it.

Lastly, we'll end with some non-music related questions... what inspires you in creating music? Do you find inspiration easily?
Bad music. You know the stuff that you can't believe is out there. It gets me so angry that I just want to write. Also, the most important thing to me is having chemistry with your band members. It doesn't matter if it's jazz, rock or metal, if you have chemistry with your band members everything comes real easy.

Most bands we've interviewed seem to share a common belief, regardless of where they stand on Earth, in that the situation of the world is a rotten one, and that things will grow much worse before better. What do you think?
I myself am happy to be alive. I don't know what people are crying about. Most of them, if not all of them, never had to go to war or never had to live on the street. They tell you how bad it is while their sitting on their computers plugged into their ipods. My dad flew in a B-29 bomber in the Korean war and I don't hear him complaining. The world is getting warmer, good, I hate freezing. Mow it down and pave it all because we will all be long gone before it's too late. Besides, the earth has been around for millions of years so when we finally destroy each other, this planet will still be here and happy to grow over our city's and streets. I love my life, and yes the world is going to get worse before getting better. So what. Enjoy it because life is way too fucking short.

What do you envision happening, if anything, after your physical death? Is there anything else? Does the process start and stop at birth and death, or...?
Once you're dead it's over for your soul. The small amount of energy that disburses from your body, that goes into the universe and eventually mixes with the gases which starts the creation process over. That's what I believe.

If you could know the answer to any one question, what would the question be?
How did we get here?

Lastly, we thank you for your time and thoughts Mike! We wish you all the best in your future works and hope to hear them soon. Any last comments or words of wisdom to the world?
Destroy all who get in the way of your goals. Thank you for your interest. All the best to everyone.

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