Thursday, February 22, 2007
As kids, Casson and I used to go to the library in Downey on a regular basis. We would wear our bike-chains like Chewbacca and lock the Schwinns down out front. If we weren't in Beyrooty's playing Asteroids, we were at the library, photocopying Star Wars cards or something. We would go in there and hang out with Mrs. Apmadoc the librarian. I was deep into the mythology. I read it all and then more. I went for the obscure Cronos stories. I went as deep as I could into that stuff. I remember a day when I asked Mrs. Apmadoc if there was any more on this subject. If there were any more stories of superpowered brutes kicking mad ass of strange creatures in ancient Greece. She told me no. Something delicate within me collapsed. I hadn't considered the end of such a road. She tried to turn me onto the Norse stuff, but in all honesty, that stuff was just lame. Vikings were destroying everthing in their path IRL and they couldn't touch anything with their storytelling. Maybe the cool stuff got lost between oar-strokes as they passed the stories up and down the war-canoe.
I mentioned this conundrum to my Grandmother. She tried to turn me onto the Hardy Boys and the Sugar Creek Gang. Fok the Hardy Boys. Fok the Sugar Creek Gang. If those fools were trying to pull their nosey, apple-tree sitting, midwestern, crypto-racist antics in the neighborhood that Casson and I were in, they probably would have wound out on milk cartons. Needless to say, I gave up on my mythological chasings. In all honesty, I have been hunting for literature that captured my inner consciousness the way the Greek Mythology did every since. That was until last year.
Last year, I lost about a month and a severe portion of my identity to THE GOD OF WAR. I play video games, I am not going to soft-pedal this. When one catches my attention, it is like anything that catches my attention; it gets de-marrowed as I work my way through it. Furthermore, this all had the ring of that old mythology that I chased after when I was a kid.
Let me summarize the plot of God of War for you: VIOLENT. People speak up and say, "Resident Evil," or "Halo," or "Gears of War," when citing mainstream violent games. Those games really don't touch God of War though. The chainsaw Gears of War mauever is rough, but you are spared in a big way because the blood spatters the lense that you are viewing with. God of War is a perpetually, brutal beatdown of all objects living and dead onscreen. God of War also has one of the best video game plots to surface PERIOD. Kratos (see buff man above) is this Spartan warrior who commits suicide in the opening scene by jumping off of a cliff. Don't hate on Kratos because he looks like a white-boy. Homeboy is Greek through and through. He is white because he is covered ashes, you cynic. Don't hate because the game is too violent. Kratos is running through mazes killing as he goes, working his way to the end of the game. It reminds me in a sense of Pac-Man. Pac-Man runs through a maze eating dots and powering up eating big flashing dots and then consuming his opponents. Kratos kills his opponents and gets more power for doing so. The flashier, the better. God of War is merely Pac-Man without the dots. Why the hell did he commit suicide? Play on. Then the game pans back 2 weeks for you play as Kratos and find out. Apparently, the Spartan was pinned in battle at one point in his life and called out to Ares, the god of war to bail him out. Ares killed Kratos' opponent and proceeded to disciple Kratos into becoming the ultimate war machine.
In this disciplining process, Kratos is tricked into killing his wife and kid (aforementioned ashes). Thus sets the groundwork for Kratos' attempt to mortally kick Ares' godlike ass. It turns out that the gods themselves are fed up with Ares and his insanity. They all assist Kratos with various pieces of preternatural weaponry in the wargod takedown. Athena offers to help Kratos exclusively as he pulls this superhuman feat. Kratos wants his vicious memories erased as pay for his participation. Cronos, Posiedon, Zeus and others show up in this process. The weaponry needed to fell a god is locked in Pandora's box. If you have just skirted your mythology, it is fun, but to actually rip the head off of a gorgon is something new and refreshing. To go toe to toe with a minotaur is visceral. To put your swords into the head of a hydra and drag it to the floor with gusto is invigorating. These people who made this game knew what my childhood reading was about.
In the end, Kratos puts a unique sword through Ares and sprays that god's blood all over a valley. The gods (specifically some bitch named Athena) tell Kratos no to his requsted memory-wipe. Kratos, dejected and pissed then hurls himself off of the cliff (the opening shot) and is denied death; instead he is caught up in Mt. Olympus. He takes the position as the new god of war. Absolutely brilliant. Just re-write mythology, and make it badass enough that no one will question it. The last scene is of Kratos sitting on his newly aquired throne. For myself, it was a homecoming of extreme internal and external proportions. It was the conclusion that I needed to mythology way back on Downey.
Well, I have been staying out of the fanboy sites in regards to the highly anticipated sequel, but I did slip up last night and make a slight foray. Apparently, Kratos was tricked by Athena and he isn't a god after all. He is pissed. Maybe this time he will ascend Olympus and take her head? I have no idea. What I do know is that the in-game play that I am seeing released is looking too sexy. The footage that is showing up is looking so hardcore that I am going to have to buy this one right out of the gate. Initially, I thought I would wait...but I am anxious for this one, like a kid on Christmas eve. It is brutal on a newer, grittier level. Check out the cyclops eye pluck:
It is coming people, and I can't wait. The mythology has been added to, and for the time being, that little kid on the blue Schwinn is looking forward to having his imagination sated once again.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
I'm not addicted I'm over my head in freebase affection
I load a bowl, light the pipe suck it as it sucks my life
This is a war of attrition taking my life as I seek a decision
I smoked my check, smoked my car, when I smoked my house have I gone too far
I've got a friend you see, he's my dealer
I smoked his coke, smoked his crack, he said it's time that I paid him back
I've got a problem I've got no dinero
If I sold some coke would he let me go, if I paid him back would he front me
Can't get out
I smoked away my frustrations
Can't Get out
I took them out on my wife
Can't Get out
I even tried to smoke her too
Can't Get out
But she wouldn't fit in the pipe
Can't Get out
I really can't get out
Can't Get out
So I went to a Doctor
Can't Get out
He said he'd help me for sure
Can't Get out
Give me $200 bucks a night
Can't Get out
In 8 weeks you'll be cured
Can't Get out
I've really got to get out
Can't Get out
Then I opened my Bible
Let me out
And it opened my mind
Let me out
2 Timothy 4:18
Let me out
I'm gonna give it to Christ
Let me out
Jesus Let me out
Let me out
He Let me out
Those are the lyrics to a song by Vengeance Rising. More on VR if you read on. A couple of nights ago I was online proving a point. I had referenced John Waters' PINK FLAMINGOS in an email, and was out looking for Divine footage to bolster my point. Well, on Rotten Tomatoes, I found the infamous coprophragous scene featuring a poodle and I was thouroughly wrecked. 1972 was a bad year for cinema as far as I am concerned. I think the scene in question is the absolute worst NC-17 thing I have ever witnessed. F-you, John Waters. Then something snapped in my head. I wondered why I was online watching an overweight transvestite demonstrate a literal shit-eating grin and why I wasn't doing something more productive. I had just finished writing a short story that evening and this was no real positive way to unwind. So I began to surf. I have always known that Vengeance Rising has another album in the chamber, and I chose to put my efforts into securing this blasphemy. In order to do this, I needed to get my update on Roger Martinez.
About every 3-5 years I look this guy up. He was the frontman for Vengeance Rising which was this thrash metal band I used to listen to in the late 80s and early 90s. The interesting fact is that the band was decidedly Christian. They were on the fringe in a lot of ways. The Christian right would never accept them and they were always the underdog. They were easy targets for the suit and tie guys that think that holiness is part of being conservative. These guys were targets for people who quote the bible and say that it is a dishonor for a man to have long hair.
Vengeance was onto something. Furthermore, their music was tight, tight, tight. It stands up. It is musically solid. It is concise. It is (in some ways) some of the best metal that I own. The only issue I ever had with them was the voicebox that Roger Martinez ran his mic through. That was the only thing about the whole system that smacked of "fake".
In order to put this whole thing into context, you need to realize that I have done my time. I was raised in the church. I have done missions time. I have led youth groups. I have more scripture locked in my head that I care to admit. You also need to know that I am totally disillusioned with the organized religion that I see today. I don't care if I ever set foot in another church. There is anger there, and this isn't the time and place for it. But it seethes. I am breaking familial patterns right now on this level and this brings about a lot of speculation and hurt feelings. Perhaps, where I am is agnostic. Like I said, this isn't the place for such a discussion, but it is coming.
Back to the music:
Human Sacrifice and Once Dead are two albums from that season that I go back to on a regular basis. There was some serious thought and dedication behind those two albums. One hundred times more thought and dedication than what was on the latest Slayer album, for example.
BURN SATAN BURN Lyrics:
[G. Rodgers / R. Martinez]
Burn, Satan, burn
Burn, Satan, burn
The separations coming, the sheep from the goats
There are only two sides, no inbetweeners hope
For all our friends that you've got hold
And made them slaves they don't know
For them I will not sin in ceasing to pray
But I'll be glad when your damned, time will not delay
Burn, Satan, burn
Burn, Satan, burn
The separations coming, the sheep from the goats
There are only two sides, no inbetweeners hope
For now we must deal with it as it is unto this day
We wrestle not against flesh and blood, so we'll be glad to say
Burn, Satan, burn
Burn, Satan, burn
Back when I was working at the now-defunct Furniture Mart in downtown Monterey, I caught the dirty-ass look from an old lady when I was wearing my BURN SATAN BURN t-shirt. She told me it was demonic. I really was at a loss to explain to her the true meaning behind the whole thing. If I remember correctly, the old lady went and complained about my devil-worshipping antics to my boss. My boss at the time was an ex-marine who had embraced a downright flamboyant homosexual lifestyle and really could not have cared less.
Then something happened in the Vengeance court. Money issues or something, that caused the whole band to bail. The rest of the band left and started this hard-rocking outfit called DIE HAPPY. Die Happy was good, but it didn't have the swinging crunch that Vengeance had. I traded my copy to Fascinating Rhythm in Nanaimo BC several years ago, and I am sure you can get that very copy there still, if you want it. Now apparently, they pal around as a group called ONCE DEAD. Same old Vengeance beats, some new stuff and some new singer. I don't think I will look them up. Blogspot has been acting lame of late and I haven't been able to load pics as easy or I would post a pic of how fat these fools are. They really have let themselves go. [edit: check the top, yo]I saw Vengeance in their skinny heyday in Chicago at the Cornerstone Festival in '88 or '89 I think. Shit was popping. These guys were walking around without their shirts off and they were just about the coolest people on the map. They were down to earth and they were sincere. The set that they played was perfect. I saw them play several months later in LA, and it was the same thing. Plus there was a cool little band opening for them called EVICTION. I have never chased Eviction down, but I thought that it was a wicked name for a thrash band at the time.
Mulligan's Stew lyrics
Friday night is coming so you're saving all your money
Cause you need to buy some buds and some beer
You won't be doin nothing cause you spent up all your money
So you smoke until you choke and drink your beer all alone
You drank up all your beer and you're feeling fine
You look up at the clock, it's only quarter till nine
So you woof a bunch of munchies cause there's nothing to do
But when you find they don't mix, you're chunkin' mulligans stew
Now you're moving up
Smoking major league base balls
Your price is getting higher each hit
The night keeps getting longer, a couple hits will make you stronger
So ya smoke another 8-ball and get deeper in debt
You've got this young blonde
Who's as thin as a dime
She's inhaling all your blow and leaving nothing behind
As your debt keeps coming with the rising sun
When you look for what you want you know that she'll be gone
(You got it)
Jesus Christ is coming
So we've got to get ready
For broad is the road to death
Jesus hasn't come to call the righteous (but the sinners)
For all have fallen short of the glory of God
So Roger kept the Vengeance Rising monicker and continued on. Without Farkas on guitar, he was nothing though. Roger picked up guitar and bass and tried to make it happen, but the stuff was lackluster at best. Seriously pedestrian at worst. Bottom line? It pretty much sucked. Then Roger snapped. How far was his snap? He has his own blog here at blogspot...checkit: http://vengeance-rising.blogspot.com/ as you can see, he is a ranting lunatic. The issue for me is more and more simple as I dive deeper and deeper into it. I understand Roger. I understand his anger. I understand how someone could get so pissed with a system that they had bought into that they turn their back on it. The anger comes from betrayal. Oh, I fucking know this one well. There have been moments in my life where I have been able to see all of this stuff. If I am protesting too much, then there is a reason behind it (to butcher Shakespeare completely). I go back to the Roger Martinez story, because I could very well turn my back on all that I have known in regards to religion and God and embrace the walk that he is walking. I haven't yet, but I understand this stuff. I see the kernel of this behavior within me. Once again, I will say that now is not the time for me to let loose what I have been stewing on in regards to Christianity and what it means in North America...but soon I think.
The rest of this blog is going to be a cut and paste of an interview with Roger and anything else that I have found in my online VR takedown of late. It will be lengthy, and most of it is so that I won't have to go all over the damn internet to chase this info down when I get the hankering again in about 3 years. The HM interview that will be first up is the most level-headed interview that I have read with Roger to date. It is the most level-headed, but that doesn't mean that it actually is level-headed. I don't know when it was done, but it shows how far he is from where he started. It is downright fascinating to me. Furthermore, the imploring at the end to not purchase Roger's new music is that same conservative bullshit that I referenced at the beginning of this blog. What, the poor Christians out there need to be told wtf they are supposed to do with their cash? American Bride of Christ? YOU PISS ME OFF.
Roger Martinez - Where is he now?
Our "Where Are They Now?" series has received a popular response, and we don't know a band who has received more inquiries than Vengeance Rising. As with any band, there are really five stories to tell, but we will focus on the frontman who took the band over in 1991, after the other four guys left to form Die Happy. That frontman is Roger Martinez.
A few readers have received letters from Roger over the years, one in particular that we call the "f-word letter," due to its repeated profanity, in which he bemoaned the fact that he was "treated wrong" by his record company and other Christians he knew. While many thought his complaints to be compelling and crying for a story, we have declined all these years for two major reasons: One, we didn't want to give a pulpit to a madman (as Roger was basically raving mad, with an emphasis on the raving part!); and Two, we felt like the facts we had gathered showed Roger to be a very bad guy, and we thought there would be no benefit to uncover him publically. With that in mind, some may wonder, "Why do a story now?"
The impetus for this story can be credited to Ted Kirkpatrick of Tourniquet. Like many that Roger knew, Ted received a phone call a year or two ago, begging for money. Thinking to himself, "I'll probably never see this money again, but at least Roger will know that someone is willing to help," he lent Roger $150.00. Well, out of the blue last Summer, Ted received another phone call from a very calm and lucid individual -- Roger Martinez, who offered to meet Ted for lunch and pay him back the money he borrowed.
Since he no longer seemed to be raving, but was very cordial, lucid and calm, we thought we would do an interview with Roger and get his perspective on where he is now with his spiritual beliefs. We knew it would be kind of a "This is what an atheist believes" type article, and we thought it would explain what made this prolific preacher of the Gospel a crusader for non-belief, as well as offer insight into an atheist's mind (kind of like the way our "So & So Sez" stories sometimes turn out). The following was written with no small amount of prayer, and in humility...
"Basically, I came to atheism," explains Roger, "and it happened over a series of years. As you guys knew me, I was doing what you guys are now doing, which is propagating a belief system. And at the time, of course, we all claimed that it was on fact. One of the places that I was baptized at was at the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel in Los Angeles. It was the world headquarters for the modern Pentecostal movement. I was living with the secretary of the heir to the movement. During that time, even when I was with Sanctuary, I did a four-part series on the healing issue. As I was personally investigating it, what I continually and simply found out was that it is all fraud.
"I was personally indoctrinated, like most Americans were, into believing that this God existed, because in 1955 somebody had the brilliant idea of putting "In God We Trust" on the money, so that by the time I was born in 1962 the country was in a religious frenzy. I was into indoctrination centers, and basically did the whole Pledge of Allegiance, 'one nation under God,' and of course, our perspective is that not only is there no god, but that's a very unhealthy psychiatric thing to impose upon children.
"So, the point being, when I began looking into what was happening with the healings, there are no people who were crippled who are walking. There are no people who were blind who see. There are no people who were deaf who hear, no people with dismembered limbs who have been healed -- although these claims are being made that AIDS has been healed and cancer's been healed and all of these other types of things. The bottom line is that it's fraud, and what's happening right now, atheism as a whole is beginning to coordinate worldwide in socially valuable manners, and express a positive atheism that can educate people.
"Here I was slandering people, basically because on several occasions, I was in a very bigoted and biased social environment, like 'Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.' And these types of things aren't healthy for a society. So, when I came to my atheism, which again, was through a number of things, the main thing was healing. What it really boils down to for me, is that we, as human beings, have to live in this world together. My goal, at least, I believed at the time I was doing the whole Christian thing, was that it was for the best of mankind. And having come to my point of faith right now, I'd say it's even far superior for mankind, because it's based first on reality, and second, that it deals with a world view that can encompass the entire world's population in a cognitive and very cohesive manner that can address the issues, such as the Oklahoma City bombing. That was a Jesus bombing. The guy is a religionist, and that's gonna be brought out. It was that City of Zion that they belong to. It was a Christian thing just like the Ku Klux Klan, when they hung black people, the whole thing with the slaves, 'Love your master, obey your master,' you know. And these things are basically social engineering tools that unfortunately, even today, are still being used to jack with people."
(Ed: Attempts to argue with some of these points via email have not been responded to. Points like the unfairness of comparing pure Christianity with polluted and unbiblical doctrines of groups like the KKK; and the intrinsic racism in evolution, which is an atheist's only explanation for man's origin.)
One of the rumors we had heard about Roger was that he was never a Christian at all, who, as a Sanctuary pastor and Christian band spokesperson, was "only putting on a show for money." There is also the theological argument about "true, saving faith" versus "professing faith." When asked about the sincerity of his belief at that time, he responded with the explanation of: "I would say I was definitely what we would call schizophrenic. I did believe that there was a god who existed. I did believe that we were able to communicate with this god by means of the written word, and there were obviously claims of people who claim to have heard. So, I was indeed genuinely as schizophrenic -- and this is point blank -- as you are. And it's not a derogatory manner. It's just a simple psychiatric evaluation. I believed in something that definitely was not real, although I believed it to be real.
"I'm telling you, had you been born in Iran, you would have believed Allah to be God, and Muhammad His prophet. I'm telling you, you would go to death for that belief, because you would believe that anybody who attached Jesus as a Trinitarian in the Godhead was a condemned infidel to the Hell fires. And of course, in your perspective right now, they're condemned to the Hell fires for denying Jesus as the Christ. So, yes, I was truly in that belief at the time."
It is interesting that the label of "schizophrenic" has been used here, as this is not a term that one simply wakes up one day and applies to himself. It is very similar to the way belief in God was officially treated in the Atheist State of the former USSR, where Christians were sentenced to mental hospitals.
Roger's current worldview seems to allow for the peaceful coexistence with Christians, unless they cross the line of labeling people infidels or sinners."People will continue to believe that (Christianity). As so, they can certainly function in a tax-paying society; it's when it crosses the line into harm that I find error with it, as I was personally guilty of. So, for instance, what I'm doing is writing back all the people whom I slandered, about whom I said, ‘These people are either anti-Christ, or wolves in sheep's clothing,' or this or that, who I had no right to do that to. They are simply human beings who are benevolent themselves, who have families, who have no right to have that without even an address. That's like when I went and saw my face plastered on a screen by some guy that claimed that we had some satanic ritual on the end of the first Vengeance album, and he had confirmed that. And again, that type of stuff should not be allowed in a healthy society, because first of all, it's defamation of character. And second of all, it's based upon a ludicrous imposition of thought, based upon a book that is so full of irrationalities that it's incredible."
This is another concept at the heart of atheism -- that the Bible is an error-filled collection of myths. Roger bases his mistrust of Scripture in his failed search to find actual remaining original manuscripts from the New Testament. "They don't exist," he states matter-of-factly. He goes on to explain what the agenda is for his new-found belief system: "Atheism is now beginning to have a formulation of putting together manners in which society can see the benefits, and that atheists are not people who are possessed by some devils, but rather, they're humans who have the same genuine concern and emotions as other people. And they just simply prefer to benefit mankind through a rational perspective in the here and now, versus some after-life after death; which again, is just absurd. It doesn't exist. When you die, when your brain ceases to exist, that's it, bro. It's over. And you have no evidence otherwise, other than a fictional tale that's happened with somebody. But I'll tell you, there's more than one of those tales."
It would have been fun to debate Roger on the validity of Scripture and moral absolutes if we had been afforded more time, but this conversation predominantly featured one person's viewpoint and was cut short due to Roger's time constraints. It was interesting to see my objections and points about the absolute wrong of murder countered with a list of the atrocities performed in the name of God by misguided or unauthentic Christians through the ages (American slavery, Crusades, etc.). It was quite a challenge to argue with one who was formerly regarded as quite an astute apologist and well-read man. It's almost mind-blowing to fathom how someone with so much apparent regard for the authenticity of Scripture and the existence of God could now flip- flop entirely. It certainly inspires one to sharpen one's skill in "giving an answer for the hope that is within," but it also shows the limitations of apologetics itself.
While many can debate and blow away atheists in public and private debate (check out the taped debates between atheist Dr. Gordon Stein and Greg Bahnsen), apologetics most often work to reaffirm a believer who questions why he believes something and has an answer there to fill the question's hole, without needing to return there again. As much as it can cause someone to think, apologetics perhaps does more for the believer than the non-believer. Many reading this have probably been in a heated debate or two that was not resolved with repentance by either party, so was this conversation unable to open Roger's eyes to the fallacy of atheism and the rational sense of Christianity. Then again, we did not expect to convince someone in 60 minutes what has taken a few years to adopt.
So, what is Roger's next move? He is going to release an album under the name Vengeance Rising sometime in July (called Realms of Blasphemy), and plans on releasing a CD-Rom report called "The Lixivium Letters," which is "an expose of religious fraud" that will surely be a heavily-documented and researched study that makes a case against the existence of God. "It's gonna be a good forum for me to address it amongst the people who have had the past albums," explains Roger, "and the people who were actually deceived into believing the nonsense that I propagated back then." For each teaching tape that Roger ever released as a Sanctuary pastor, he will release a " counter tape to the parroting that I was doing." Musically, the new album will be of the grind/death/black metal variety or, as Roger describes: "good ole Deicide/Slayer thrash."
What is our response to this news? We (in conjunction with our local church leadership -- Mission Hills Church -- as well as Pastor Bob at Sanctuary, and Glenn Kaiser at JPUSA) sadly but firmly implore you to avoid this album and have nothing to do with it. We are not going to the mainstream public and attempt to boycot this anti-Christian album done under the name Vengeance Rising (which would only sell more albums for Roger — like some of the current hub-ub surrounding Marilyn Manson and the resultant ticket and album sales). We are simply attempting to do some "in-house" family business here and just warn all Christians to stay away from this project.
A common reaction to this pronouncement might be, "Well, why?" To which the obvious answer would be, "Why do you want to expose yourself to a sales pitch for atheism?" The Apostle Paul didn't make any bones about these kinds of people in his letter to Titus: "Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned." These steps have been taken with Roger and have been met with rejection. Our loving response is not to coddle or enable, but to rebuke and firmly refuse to have anything to do with. The Vengeance Rising we knew and loved is dead. Unless Roger Martinez turns from his ways to His Loving Father in Heaven, it shall remain dead and seen as an unbelieving and divisive person.
We know it takes courage and a willingness to put to death that curiosity to check this album out, but any true call of God also comes with the grace and strength to accomplish the task. Anyone wishing to "reach out" to Roger will benefit by first talking to their pastor about this kind of situation. Show him this issue and ask him for advice. With this pronouncement of warning also comes a call to pray — not a license to gossip, but to earnestly pray for Roger's soul, mind, and spirit.
Like the potential of any "Where Are They Now?" story, this one ends on a sad note; but it doesn't have to stay that way. Remember that our prayers are conversations with the Living God Who is active in the world today.
[For further reading on atheism from a Christian perspective, check out the following books: Faith and Reason by Ronald Nash; Apologetics to the Glory of God by John M. Frame; Classical Apologetics by R.C. Sproul; A Christian View of Men and Things by Gordon Clark; and Handbook of Christian Apologetics by Peter Kreeft.]
©2003 HM Magazine - All Rights Reserved
Here is another article clarifying stuff even more:
The original Vengeance lineup formed in 1986 in South Bay, CA and was made-up of Doug Thieme, Roger Dale Martin, Glen Mancaruso, Mike Betts (Neon Cross) and a girl singer named Sharon. The name of the band right up to their first gig was Sacrifice. Sacrifice was to perform their first gig with Barren Cross, Malacia and Neon Cross, but the name was changed to Vengeance a week before the gig. Glenn Rogers (Deliverance), who wrote much of the material on the band's first album came in later in 1986. In 1987 Pastor Bob Beeman brought together singer Roger Martinez and Vengeance. Guitarist Larry Farkas would replace Glenn Rogers well before their first album would be recorded. The band was a Christian variation on the emerging thrash metal scene. They were one of the best thrash bands to come out of the Sanctuary Christian metal movement of the mid-80's. Shortly after their first album was released, they had a problem over the rights to the name as another band owned the rights to record under the name, but not to tour under it. They decided to change their name to Vengeance Rising to avoid confusion. Only one thousand copies of their first album were pressed to CD without the word "Rising" under the Vengeance logo. This lineup, considered by most to be the classic Vengeance Rising lineup, produced two successful albums that helped make them one of the few bands in the genre to cross over into the secular music scene. Band leader Roger Martinez became a pastor for Sanctuary, began producing teaching tapes about Christianity, as well as forming alliances with other big-name Christian leaders. After the "Once Dead" tour the band discovered that they were hopelessly in debt. Everyone but Martinez bailed and formed Die Happy, while Martinez scrambled to form another lineup and record a new album for Intense Records, as the band had already missed their deadline for a new CD. He found drummer Chris Hyde (Deliverance) and guitarist Derek Sean and continued forward with himself on guitar and bass. Roger released to more albums that sold relatively well, but did not do well enough to erase the huge debt he was left with from his former bandmates. Struggling with his faith, the strain of his situation, and feeling betrayed by his friends and former band mates, he vehemently turned from Christianity and the friends he had surrounded himself with and began announcing he was an atheist and began dabbling in the occult. He began to make tapes counteracting the tapes he made during his Christian career, and re-formed Vengeance Rising with a new lineup and a decidedly evil message. He built a website that renounced his previous output and posted articles about Christian leaders that were aimed at making them look foolish, but only proved to make Roger ridiculous. Roger began making death threats on people he claimed 'stabbed him in the back' including his friend Steve Rowe of Mortification, a band Roger helped get their first record contract. Roger claimed to release a CD called "Realms of Blasphemy" on Halloween of 2000, but this recording never actually happened and/or never surfaced. Former drummer Shannon Frye (Avenger of Blood) claims that Roger was impossible to work with and could not hold on to members long enough to even record a demo. When the tragic terrorist hijackings of 9/11/2001 happened, Martinez offered a free album from his site for military personal only to encourage the holy war against Christians he constantly talked about. Because of constant interviews and continued curiosity from metal fans and Christians alike, Martinez managed to keep the Vengeance Rising name alive years after the most significant part of his musical career despite not having released anything. All Music Guide lists two releases Realms of Blasphemy (2000) and Smoke Those Motherf**kers [EP] (2001), both of which I doubt ever existed.
Over the years the various Vengeance members have been involved in various projects. Larry Farkas along with with ex-Accept vocalist David Reece formed a band called Sircle of Silence that release a couple of CDs. In 2002, Glenn Mancaruso and Larry Farkas, together with ex-Deliverance/Recon guitarist George Ochoa formed a modern rock band called S.A.L.T. In August of 2004 the original Vengeance lineup of Roger Dale Martin, Glenn Mancaruso, Larry Farkas and Doug Thieme, along with Ultimatum vocalist Scott Waters performed their first show in Anaheim, CA under the name of Once Dead, performing songs from both of the first two Vengeance albums as well as debuting a new song. This show was recorded for a DVD release.
An interview with the other heads in the band:
Hello Brad, this is Doug Thieme. Larry Farkas and we will be answering the questions. If you have any other questions, or need us to elaborate I would be pleased to help out. Thanks, and have a great day.
1.When and how did you guys originally meet to form Vengeance Rising?
(Doug) -Larry and I went to High School together and played in garage type bands during our youth. When I started trying to put together a band He was always my first choice. I had met Glenn Rogers (now with Hirax) and Brian Khairullah (formerly of Deliverance) and we started playing together. That is when Glenn wrote the basic melodies to Human Sacrifice, White Throne etc back then Human Sacrifice was called Speed King, and I don’t remember what White Throne was called anyway… Brian left the band and I was introduced to Roger Martin through Bob Beeman, afterwards Glenn left the band, and we added Larry, and Glenn Mancaruso filled in temporarily. At that time the band was called Sacrifice. We reworked the songs added different parts what not and wrote the rest of the music. Once we added Martinez it was renamed Vengeance, and away we went. That was around 1986.
2. What have you guys been up to the past 10 years or so? Are you excited about the reunion show?
(Larry) I have been in a band called Sircle of Silence and recorded two albums with them.
(Doug) I have been and industrial design engineer fabricating compressed air and gas systems for Micro-semiconductor manufacturers, and Industrial fluid handling plants. I also am married with 3 children, and I coach their Baseball and Soccer teams. Besides that not a whole lot. I know that Roger Martin has moved to Nashville and has been in a few different blues bands playing guitar and singing. He is a much better guitarist than I and he is a pretty good singer as well. As far as Glenn he has been in a few different bands including Salt which has Larry and George Ochoa in it as well. And we are totally excited about the show, and can’t wait to play it. In fact several promoters are contacting us for additional shows as well, so we’ll see how it goes.
3. What are your thoughts on the Vengeance rising break-up and the turmoil that Roger Martinez caused following the lack of success with his version of the band?
(Doug) – I am sorry that it ever had to happen, It was simply that Glenn, Roger, Larry and myself weren’t able to work with Martinez on a serious level any longer. It is difficult to keep a band together and happy and let alone tour for extended periods of time. As fas as lack of success, I am not aware of the level of success which he achieved with his band. It appeared that he was doing well until he imploded. But I am saddened by the entire situation, and I pray that Martinez will come around again someday.
(Larry) – The break-up of Vengeance was the worst thing ever. I wish that it would have never come to this. I feel bad when I think of Vengeance. If we could have stayed together GOD could have used us in many ways. But apparently that is not the way it was meant to be.
4. What ties have you had with the Christian music industry (if any) since the disbanding of Vengeance Rising and Die Happy.
(Doug) – After Die Happy I have had none.
(Larry) – None
5. How long was Die Happy in existence and what other projects have you guys worked on since then?
(Doug) Die Happy was together for about three of four years. The first Die Happy album is my personal favorite of any album which I have done. The entire writing process was fun and enjoyable. The four of us worked closer and more collaboratively than on any other album. And we produced the entire record along with Dave Hackbarth who is the greatest engineer I have ever met. Not only is he talented but the nicest guy you could ever meet. His hard work is as much a part of the album as our music. (Thanks Dave)
(Larry) – Sircle of Silence and Salt. Roger Martin – Pond Scum, Aces Wild, and Glenn Salt.
6. Has the band stayed in touch over the years?
(Doug) – Yes and no. I was out of touch for many years, until the first reunion show with Bob Beeman. After that I hadn’t really had too much communication until now. Larry and Glenn have remained close and were in Salt together. Roger Martin moved to Nashville and I speak with him once or twice a year. Glenn pretty much stays in touch with everybody.
7. What bands influenced you guys? Do you think Vengeance Rising has been a influence on any of the bands out their today?
(Doug) – My influences were Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Ted Nugent, Scorpions, Iron Maiden, Pink Floyd, Robyn Trower, & UFO
(Larry) – Kiss, Led Zeppelin, Pat Travers, Black Sabbath, UFO, Scorpions, & Johnny WinterRoger Martin – Johnny Winter, Mark Farner, and any old southern bands that were around in the 1920’s. Glenn - Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin, and Led Zeppelin.
(Doug) I think that we influenced a lot of different bands. I remember when Doug Pinnick of Kings X told us they were writing a speed metal song because of his appreciation of speed metal, and I recall playing a show in San Diego, when I believe we met some young kids in a band called P.O.D. I am thrilled that there is such a great selection of Christian artists to choose from today and the quality has improved incredibly. I feel that the value of having a group that could hold their ground against any secular band, but who are dedicated Christians is under estimated. It is an invaluable asset for a young kid in order to validate their faith and have something to be proud of, and to share with their peers.
8. What do you think of the Christian Metal / Hard Rock scene today as compared to 10 years ago? What do you think of bands like P.O.D. , Switchfoot and Pillar Breaking through to the secular music scene?
(Doug) I am thrilled, and I pray that many more follow. I think that the umbrella of Styper has finally been removed, and people understand that you don’t have to be an extravagantly adorned Christian, throwing bibles into the crowd. Now you can be an average everyday Joe, who loves the Lord and has the ability to minister to millions through their lyrics and influence. It is everything that Vengeance aspired to be, and I am thrilled. The level of talent has drastically improved, and production value is much improved.
9. This is the speak out portion of the interview. You can air your thoughts about anything you want. Let everyone know what's on your mind about any subject you would like.
(Doug) – I am amazed at the sphere of influence we actually had during our era. Since we agreed to perform a reunion show as the former members of Vengeance the stories of how we helped people come to know the Lord. We also helped them to feel that they are not alone in their beliefs and musical preferences. When we started we were actually being picketed by conservative Christian churches as being a bad influence, and were banned from playing in different churches. The music scene has come a long way, and all of the fans which have let us know how much they appreciated our music are a blessing. Thank you to all the die hard fans we are encouraged by your support, and relieved to know that our efforts meant something, and were not in vain. Finally I wish to thank the Christians who helped us to learn how to become a mature servant of God, and their influence should not go unnoticed. First is Bob Beeman because it may not have come to this without him. Second is the Rez band for teaching me how to be a true servant of God. The time that I spent with them in their mission was a turning point for me in my life and I thank Glen Kaiser for teaching by example. The Darryl Mansfield Band for teaching me how to mature in my faith, and to understand how to stay focused on our goals and not be caught up in the fame of the music scene. Your examples helped me to grow more than you’ll ever know. And finally to a little old lady in Austin Texas named Blanche Paul, You did more for the music scene in Texas than anyone could imagine. You are a saint and I will always remember your love and kindness to us. Thanks Blanche you are a legend.
10. Could you see this reunion show leading to any future projects for you guys?
(Larry) – I hope so, it would be great. I would love to start it up again.
(Doug) – If God calls us to it, nothing could stop us. I pray that something will, and that if God could use us one more time to do something great for even 1 person. I would be willing to endure it.
11. What Cd's do you guys have in your Cd players right now?
(Larry) – Audioslave
(Doug) – Switchfoot, Robyn Trower, P.O.D. & Skillet
FOK. I'm done.