We Asked Gehenna If They Ever Stabbed Someone Over a Bucket Of Chicken While We Listened to Their New Seven-Inch
Be afraid, very afraid. According to the rumors, that is.
All photos courtesy of Rebecca Reed
Legends, rumors, and ultimately total bullshit follows certain bands, and Gehenna's are particularly juicy. Since their inception in the 90s, rumors regarding the West Coast hardcore band and murder, destruction and even a stabbing over a bucket of fried chicken have circulated, making the ever-elusive band one of the most feared in the underground scene before they even play a note.
But who cares about that shit? Are they good? The answer is most decidedly yes. Gehenna have dropped a couple of masterful LPs and a slew of EPs/seven-inches/splits over the years, most mixing elements of black metal and nihilistic hardcore, all of them interesting. Now comes their latest release and first for Dwid Hellion's Dark Empire imprint, the Funeral Embrace 7". Stream it in its entirety below and order yours via the label.
We cornered Gehenna frontman Mike Cheese to ask him a few questions about the rumors, the new release and the future of the band, the answers of which are below.
There is a reason why you guys go by the name "The Infamous..." aside from your love of Mobb Deep and hip hop. Over the years there has been many stories that have emerged regarding Gehenna and your penchant for violence. Has there been any truth to rumors of you killing a man, stabbing someone over a bucket of chicken, or any of these wild stories?
Once or twice things might have escalated in a public place and we might have done some odd shit to protect ourselves, but you know how it goes. History is normally written by folks who were nowhere near the conflict. I mean we’re not really violent people we're just good at coming out of hostile situations physically unscathed. I think it's cause we're all too broke to give a shit. We've dodged a couple of knives and broke a few noses but we’d rather talk to girls about rom-coms, restaurants, drugs and liquor than knock out some college kid that's going to press charges after he attacks us.
Much of what Gehenna does, much like many of my favorite hardcore/metal bands, is shrouded in mystery and unlike many bands who use the information age to the fullest. That said, where does inspiration come from lately?
We get up every day like anybody else....take a piss and look out the window knowing we have to hold our heads up and march through a fucked up world. If we don’t go home and play guitars, write lyrics or do this type of shit its all over... its on to a living death. With the Information age, most of that is because we've spent a good portion of our lives without it. I mean my phone is off at least 1 week a month and most of us don’t even have computers. So I guess that's where it comes from. Isolation. Poverty. Legal battles. Depression and tons of drugs and liquor.
Is it better to be loved or feared? Why?
It's better to be high.
Let's talk about your latest release for Dark Empire, Funeral Embrace. Is this the start of a larger partnership with Dwid and company? What was the reason behind your split with A389 and how did you arrive at Dark Empire?
We've been friends with Dwid for 20 years. He's a great guy and his son Max is a great guy too. I'm sure we'll be working with them again down the line cause they're honest and up front. Mostly though they run punk labels. If everything goes as planned we'll also be working with IRON LUNG RECORDS and TWELVE GAUGE RECORDINGS later this year.
You've released some songs on ultra-ultra limited lathe cuts, flexis and other methods. Why the limited numbers? Will the material only be native to those releases?
We just like to keep things exciting for ourselves and the folks that listen to our sound. we feel its something a bit more personal for someone to have one of these releases and maybe a way to have something possibly unattainable for a person who likes to drool over the hunt for obscure music. Everything will be available at some point. It's just about when we're done listening to it and think it's ready to be released.
It's been 10 years since your last LP, what are the plans for the next LP? Is material in the works?
We're always writing new music. It's coming along really well and we hope to have the new LP completed by the end of the year. We have a new 7" coming out in August on IRON LUNG RECORDS that is a bit different as nothing stays the same but it's still Gehenna. It's raw, dark, crushing, uncompromising and has instrumentation that D.C. and I worked on during my last court case. It's a little bit foreshadowing into things that are going to happen with the new LP.
You currently live in the Bay Area. What do you think the Bay offers with respect to different sorts of bands? Who do you think is doing something interesting in the Bay?
One of the great things about the Bay Area is Medicinal Marijuana and a pretty lenient stance on drugs. It also has a ton of like minded weirdos that are completely open to all sorts of music and make it a lot of fun. Bands like AUGURS, DIRTY GHOSTS, BPOS, REPLICA, JOEL GION & THE PRIMARY COLOURS, HOSTAGE, ghostNOTES, and SERPENTS OF DAWN all make the Bay Area great. But mostly I'm here for the weed.