Part 5: Pagan Love Songs goes to LA
~An Interview with the LA Deathrock Scener by Ralf Thyssen
(photos property of and provied courtesy of Ralf Thyssen)

In May 2001, Ralf Thyssen, one of the good brother's who runs Pagan Love Songs in Germany, flew to LA to rub elbows with the locals and to DJ at Release the Bats. Included here is an interview he conducted with some of LA's scensters: Ben Ra (Diva Destruction), Krissy (Moderator of the Cinema Strange Yahoo! group), Dave Bats (Release the Bats), William Faith (Faith & The Muse), Mark Splatter (, Fate Fatal (The Deep Eynde), Diva Luxotica (, Matt Pee (Cinema Strange's Roadie). (Note: Mark Spatter's Ghoul School night was not up and running at the time of this interview. Please refer to Part 2 for the latest info on that).


Ralf: Why do you think is L.A. the heart of the US-deathrock scene? What makes L.A. so special and attractive?

Ben Ra: Well it has been generally recognized that many of the pioneering deathrock bands came out of the LA scene. Names like Christian Death, 45 Grave, and Voodoo Church to name a few, were instrumental in defining what deathrock is today.

Krissy: Umm...because LA is where all of the "pretty people" live.

Ralf: What makes L.A. so special and attractive?

Dave Bats: Probably because back in the day when the scene was becoming a scene many of the pioneering bands came from LA and the surrounding areas.Dave Skott with Penis Flytrap

William Faith: L.A. is where Deathrock began, plain and simple. It grew out of the punk scene, and this particular mutation was L.A.'s own unique offering.

Mark Splatter: If LA has been the heart of the deathrock scene, I'd say that it's mainly because it was invented here, at least in the form you are referring to - Rozz Williams coined the term deathrock. Right now however, clubs are the same as every other city in the world - mainstream gothic darkwave and EBM rehash music. With the exception of Release the Bats in Long Beach - for three years it has managed to draw in not only the crowd who remembers deathrock as it was more than a decade ago, but all the kids who were dissatisfied with the mainstream gothic clubs. I don't think there is such a thing as a deathrock centre. What I've seen in Germany at Zwischenfall was as good as anything here in the US. I think it's just up to a few small pockets of productive and hard working people, and the audience that responds to it. Looks like Bochum and Long Beach happen to have those in abundance. There's nothing of the sort in New York or San Francisco.

Fate Fatal: It's because the punk scene was thriving, from 1978-1985 there were so many great bands with different styles, at that time they were grouped all together… TSOL, 45 GRAVE, GERMS, CIRCLE JERKS… etc… It wouldn't be a strange thing to see such a variety of bands back then. But now in the U.S., things are a lot more separate and specific. With so many styles, and so much expression… it would be inevitable that another branch of music, darker music would derive from that.

Diva Luxotica: Without doubt, the people. Within the last few years this town has acquired a large concentration of incredibly talented people that have contributed time and energy to cultivate a scene of unprecedented artistic creativity. What's unique about these people is that they span generations - some have direct roots in the original Los Angeles punk / deathrock heyday of the early '80's, but more than a few are young kids who recently discovered this genre and want to perpetuate the legacy by starting bands, fanzines, clubs and web sites. The fact that these people can coexist harmoniously is a testament to the overall attitude that makes the current Los Angeles deathrock scene so special. I've never known a group of people who are so down-to-earth and genuinely friendly - it's like a punk rock utopia!

Ralf: What do you guess, how big is the scene?

Ben Ra: It is fairly large. Clubs like Release The Bats do pretty well, although it is hard to find many goth clubs willing to play death rock.

Krissy: Fairly big I think... but, not as big as Germany's I'm sure. The California deathrock scene is spread between LA and San Francisco… everyone seems to go both places.

Dave Bats: The deathrock scene isn't quite as large as the mainstream "Goth" scene out here. "Deathrock" is the term many of us use to differentiate ourselves (the underground) from the mainstream bullshit that encompasses the Gothic scene as a whole.

William Faith: Unfortunately, I think people are under the impression that it's larger than it really is; the current Deathrock element of the L.A. scene is actually relatively small and, as much as I hate to say it, it really is a bit of a revival brought about by the younger people in the scene who missed it the first time around.

Mark Splatter: It's always hard to tell. Its always circles of friends who make up the scene, and then some people who come to the events because they have no idea what it's about. It's almost always different.

Diva Luxotica: In the grand scheme of things, the scene is small…but it makes a lot of noise! Just about everyone in Los Angeles is doing something to move the genre forward, through their music, fanzines, pirate radio stations, clothing design companies - you name it. With the worldwide adoption of the Internet as a means of gathering and disseminating information, the L.A. deathrock scene has gained notoriety through the efforts of its participants. Web sites such as and download sites like have helped tremendously to spread the gospel and magnify the movement.

Ralf: Who was the first L.A. deathrock band ever? Was it Christian Death? Voodoo Church? ...?

Ben Ra: It is hard to say... Since Christian Death ended up gaining the most notoriety, they are deemed responsible for bringing the deathrock sound to the masses.

Krissy: I can't really say... so, from knowing lots of deathrockers... I'll say Christian Death.

Dave Bats: It's really hard to say who was the first. There were many good bands that brought all of their different styles and ideas to the growing scene. Bleed them all together and bam, there it is, an underground scene composed of many talents and ideals.

William Faith: Actually, that would be Castration Squad, Dinah Cancer's first band. They were the first.

Mark Splatter: Voodoo Church? ...? I believe it was Rozz from Christian Death who invented the term deathrock, but even before him there were bands that were doing pretty much the same thing. Alice Cooper, Screaming Jay Hawkins, they all made horror rock. There's no such thing as firsts. There are obviously originators and imitators though. LA was lucky enough to have a lot of originators.

Fate Fatal: I know that they were around at the same time. I was too young to remember the details… But Dave Grave's mom was my Spanish teacher in 1980… I remember going to school, I was about 11 years old… and there was this guy who wore all black… with a pale face… kind of like Lux Interior of the Cramps. Back then, especially where I lived… there was not a lot of people who looked like him. I remember my Spanish teacher said that she was going to The Whisky A GoGo to see her son's band that night and she was excited. The next day when I asked her how the show was… she looked like she was a little in shock… she told me that there was a coffin… and there was maggots all over his face. I would have to say, that was my first deathrock experience.

Diva Luxotica: I don't think anyone can accurately comment on this question. For me, there were 4 records that changed my life as a teenager, and they were "Only Theatre of Pain" by Christian Death, "Sleep in Safety" by 45 Grave, "Dance with Me" by TSOL and "Closer" by Joy Division. Those albums will always be my personal deathrock desert island recordings. But to grant definitive status as THE seminal band discredits everything else that was happening in L.A. and even the U.K. in the late 70's/early 80's, because they all influenced and inspired one another.

Ralf: What other bands are offsprings of the L.A. scene?

Ben Ra: 45 Grave, Kommunity FK, Wreckage. Nowadays Dinah Cancer's band Penis Flytrap is carrying the torch for the deathrock scene here in LA.

Krissy: Cinema Strange... enough said.

Dave Bats: Other offspring bands? Go look at you record collection.

William Faith: Let's see... Castration Squad, 45 Grave, Christian Death, Voodoo Church, T.S.O.L., Kommunity FK, Super Heroines, Corpus Delecti (not the French goth band), Die Schlaflosen, Vox Pop, Nervous Gender... and then a little later I'd add Screams For Tina and Radio Werewolf as probably the last of the original L.A. Deathrock bands. At least that all I can remember at the moment -- I'm sure I missed a few...

Mark Splatter and FriendMark Splatter: Countless bands. Some left behind recordings, some didn't - there are still bands forming.

Diva Luxotica: Antiworld from Portland, Oregon remind me of 45 Grave - brilliant! Cinema Strange seem to hail from the school of Sex Gang Children and the Virgin Prunes, but while the influence is definitely there, they still manage to deliver something fresh and new. Element remind me very much of the cold, dark new wave I loved so much in the early 80's. The Deep Eynde are an entity all their own, and to me they embody the energy and originality of what I imagine the original L.A. punk scene to have been.

Ralf: What did the death of Rozz Williams mean to the L.A. scene?

Ben Ra: He pretty much IS LA Goth. As far as I am concerned, he was the heart and soul of the goth scene, especially here in LA.

Krissy: Nothing to me... cause I don't care for Christian Death... but, a lot of people seemed to be very affected by it and it made people stronger wanting to keep the scene together.

Dave Bats: The death of Rozz? It had a major impact on a lot of people. I think if you really read into his writings, be it lyrics or poetry, his death was foretold by him. With his passing a lot of artists where inspired as never before in ways they could never have imagined. We all miss him very much but we must press on. Rozz will never die.

William Faith: I can't speak for any "scene," I can only speak for myself -- and it was fucked-up, plain and simple.

Mark Splatter: I wasn't in L.A. yet, but I was part of the deathrock scene, I was making films at the time, and one of Rozz's last works was a film - that meant a lot to me. Everything Rozz did was an inspiration to me. It's hard to have the hopes of ever getting to meet your inspirations taken away.

Fate Fatal: I think it was the end of the Blasphemes period of music. Where a specific style of music actually questioned the existence of god, made fun of Jesus, and opening up a whole new music genre. Marilyn Manson studied Rozz Williams carefully and basically ripped off everything that was him almost 16 years before… and all of us that were around that time know it. Rozz Williams was way in head of his time as he had the balls to stand up and attack religion at a time when it wasn't so liberal to do that. Many musical styles today owe their success to Rozz Williams and Christian Death.

Diva Luxotica: His death means nothing. His life, on the other hand, meant a great deal. The fact that his art, music and poetry continue to inspire people around the world is a reminder that we should strive to celebrate his life, not his tragic death.

Ralf: Can you tell me about your instant connotations when coming across the term "L.A. deathrock"?

Ben Ra: DeathFun!

Krissy: I giggle a little cause I'm not really "deathrock"... and I certainly don't live in LA.

Dave Bats: When I hear "LA DEATHROCK", I picture black leather, spikes, alcohol, and a lot of f*cking fun! The complete opposite of the mundane "Goth" scene that the scene became.

William Faith: The sound and imagery created by the bands of the scene during that era. I think the "Hell Comes To Your House" compilation (first Deathrock album I ever bought) sums it up rather well.

Mark Splatter: Seedy city, full of cock rock and corporate pigs. There's a darkside to L.A., and deathrock is a reflection of it. Deathrock came out of punk, pure and simple. Why L.A.'s darkside was enough to spawn a movement more than any other city is beyond me.

Fate Fatal: 45 Grave. To me, they are deathrock. Dinah Cancer is the high priestess of L.A. Deathrock. No bullshit gothic crap… it is strictly blood, guts and horror with her. I remember running into her a while back, and she said deathrock is not gothic. She said, "death isn't pretty… death isn't beauty… death is the smell of rotting flesh… death is blood and guts… death stinks with vile and decay…" She told me that she doesn't like all these pretty make-up gothics. Dinah Cancer is the first woman of deathrock. She was the first woman to scream her voice about the gore and decay… she made blood and guts fun.

L.A. deathrock is a direct bastard bat child of punk rock. It is the evil brother of Punk Rock. It is kind of funny as I see a lot of bands who would rather call themselves "deathrock" than "gothic". When people say "gothic" out here… people do not take it serious.

Diva Luxotica: The Krypt on Washington, Scream at the Embassy hotel downtown, Zombie Zoo at Osko's, Melrose (Flash Feet, Warbabies,outside Que Sera Aaardvarks, Retail Slut, Bleecker Bobs), Aqua Net in the lavender can, ripped fishnets, fake IDs, fanzines and fliers, patchouli, speed, black makeup, buckle boots, cheap gin, thrift stores, cemetery raids and more amazing bands than I can ever hope to remember.

Ralf: Are there any dates or incidents that mark decisive points in the history of L.A. deathrock?

Ben Ra: The most notable would be Rozz's death.

Krissy: This one... I can't answer... cause I dunno.

Dave Bats: The most important date in past two decades to me was October 28th 1998. That was the opening of RELEASE THE BATS!

William Faith: In 1984, The Fetish threw had a themed night which they called "The Death of Deathrock." They had a coffin and everything, and proclaimed it dead; a similar event took place at The Batcave in London close to the same time. That was the end of the original era.

Mark Splatter: Rozz William's death. The first Release the Bats.

Fate Fatal: One of my friends got married in a Cemetery on Halloween under a full moon years back. Meg Reed who was used to organize this performance project called "Undead Poets Society" where people would do vampire performance art and poetry. It was about 1991 when this all happened… and I would always do this strange performance art that would eventually end up in a bloody mess. She eventually got married in a Cemetery. They rented out a cemetery for the night… and we had a picnic amongst the tombstones and mausoleums. The hearse car club was there… it was pretty cool.

Diva Luxotica: Probably, but since I discovered the scene in 1986 (fairly late in the game), I can't comment on any of them. Recently, I'd have to say the opening of Release the Bats.

Ralf: Can you tell me anything about the club-scene? How many clubs are there?

Ben Ra: Release The Bats is the most popular when it comes to deathrock. There are a couple of newer and smaller ones that have recently opened.

Krissy: Deathrock clubs? I'd say... umm… two. But, both clubs are only once a month.

Dave Bats: There are hundreds of clubs throughout the U.S.A. Some are good, some totally suck. Many promoters are still beating a dead horse with this whole "future" Goth, or the "Electrogoth" bullshit. Techno is for techno parties, not deathrock, not Gothik. This is just me and my friends saying this but we really prefer guitars and drums, you know, talent! My grandmother can program a computer too but I'm not going to pay money to see her perform.

Cinema StrangeMark Splatter: One. It's called Release the Bats. There are others that pop up, but none can last very long for one reason or another. All the other clubs are full of boring shit. You can only hope for one of the deathrock DJs to have a gig at one of them. I had a club that was just a deathrock/punk pub (no dancing) but it closed after a few months. There is a club now called Klinik that has a 'goth' room, but on the main floor the spin only trance, EBM and industrial. There is a club called 'Nowhere' that some of the RTB DJs and I spin at but it's not very popular. Shane and I have done a number of other club attempts but none lasted. Its hard to find a secure venue - they'd rather be playing Latin, Hip Hop, or Techno, let alone even the mainstream gothic stuff.

Fate Fatal: It is not so many clubs, it is more like events. The Deathrock scene in Los Angeles incorporates live acts as well as DJ. Gothic clubs out here for the most part are not supportive of Deathrock bands anymore. Clubs would rather have a DJ instead of a band… and that kills the scene… because the clubs refuses to support their local scene. I would rather play a show with punk bands than to deal with those clubs… because for the most part they respect live bands. You would never go to a punk club where everyone got punked out… and payed 10 bucks to have a DJ spin punk music, would you… that would be unheard of in the U.S. - So what is the difference with Deathrock? Is it because that no one wants to get hurt dancing, or get caught having fun because it might ruin their image?…sounds like a personal problem to me.

Diva Luxotica: One. Release the Bats in Long Beach. Hollywood is filled with your basic "Gothic/Ethereal/Industrial/EBM" clubs and you can find something to do every night of the week if your standards aren't too high and you have no qualms with spending $8 for a pussy cocktail.

Ralf: Is it true that club "Helter Skelter" was the one that had the biggest impact so far?

Ben Ra: Yes Helter Skelter is generally recognized as being very influential in the LA goth scene. They introduced us to the new breeds of LA Goth bands like London After Midnight and Kommunity FK.

Krissy: I don't know...I never went to Helter but, everyone always says... "There will never be another club like Helter." so...I guess so.

Dave Bats: Yes, Helter Skelter had the most impact of all. There was The Crypt and Zombie Zoo at first and those clubs paved the way for what was to come. Helter was the biggest though.

Mark Splatter: A lot of people remember Helter, but that's not the only one. The Krypt, Lycesternium, Zombie Zoo, and a few other smaller ones have been looked upon fondly by people that were there at the time. I think Krypt was more of a deathrock club than Helter Skelter.

Fate Fatal: Probably. I remember when it was open 2 times a week… Wednesdays and Fridays… and it was packed both nights. I remember that there was people who got an apartment closer to the club because they were going so much. I remember seeing 45 Grave, Haunted Garage, and Nine Inch Nails when they were a bunch of computer nerds…(it was their first show)

Diva Luxotica: No. In my opinion, that is completely off the mark. Legend has it that the first important deathrock clubs were the Veil and the Fetish. They were followed by the Krypt, Lectisternium, Scream, Zombie Zoo, Hapihaus and others. Helter Skelter did not appear until about 1989 or '90, and it was only then that I started to hear this term "gothic" being used to describe the scene.

Ralf: Is anyone able to tell me more specifics about "Helter Skelter"?

Matt Pee: Anyway, here's a link to a cool Helter Skelter web page: - It was written by some smart kid for a school project, so it's pretty in depth. I'm sure you'll be able to get some good tid bits from it...

Ben Ra: I only had the opportunity to attend HS once before it closed since I did not live in LA at the time. From what people tell me though, even though it changed locations from time to time, it still remained pretty cool.

Krissy: Not me.

Mark Splatter: The people who put on Helter Skelter now do the most tedious clubs in LA. Total Crap - but they aren't doing it for the purists - they are doing it for the club kids and the tourists, and making money hand over fist doing it. You won't find me there for fun though.

Fate Fatal: I want to say that I didn't really go there that much… but, now that I really think of it… I did. I think the thing I remember the most about that club was the acid use. Acid was always available. Helter Skelter was held at this place called The Stardust Ballroom in Hollywood. Entering the club, you would walk past this 30's style box office with always the same beautiful red head girl in it. Inside the club, there was these huge columns holding up the roof. Upstairs was this creepy balcony that overlooked the dancefloor… the chandeliers had cobwebs all over them… ripped linen flowed ghostly in the breeze under the blacklights. I think that was one of the best clubs. Before that there was a great clubs called Scream, Hapihaus and my first club The Crypt… which were run by this German couple who moved to the states. I think of all my memories, The Crypt stands out the most.

Diva Luxotica: I used to go to Helter Skelter because they offered free passes every week and it was something to do. It was located at the old Stardust Ballroom on Hollywood Blvd., which has since been torn down and rebuilt as a Home Depot.

In retrospect, the music was okay (compared to the shit you hear in clubs today) but at the time I thought it was a load of crap - primarily English goth with a lot of jangly guitars. Once in a while they would throw on some Alien Sex Fiend or Specimen, but mostly it seemed like a perpetual loop of Siouxsie, the Sisters, the Mission, the Nephilim and Bauhaus.

The crowd was quite different as well. Giant crimped hair and teased mohawks were suddenly replaced by long flowing hippie hair; ripped fishnets and PVC miniskirts were replaced by velvet Victorian gowns. Fangs began to make an appearance. As far as I'm concerned, Helter Skelter marked the END of deathrock, not the beginning. I will not deny the impact Helter Skelter had on the L.A. scene, but in my opinion, they started the L.A. goth movement and had no involvement whatsoever with L.A. deathrock (with the exception of showcasing some great old [e.g. Christian Death] and new [e.g. Shadow Project] bands).

Ralf: Is it true that nowadays club "Release the Bats" is the deathrocker's paradise?

Ben Ra: Right now, it is....

Krissy: Yeah… or so I've heard anyway... since I'm not 21 yet.Cinema Strange

Dave Bats: RTB became what's left of the original scenes heaven. Many people don't like RTB because it isn't really "Goth" like. There are no attitudes, no immature children, and no fangs! RTB is more "punk rock" than Goth. COME TO HAVE A GREAT TIME AND SOCIALIZE OR DON'T COME AT ALL! There are no "wallflowers" at RTB.

Mark Splatter: Yes, Yes, Yes and Yes.

Fate Fatal: I think it is one of the most "real" side of Deathrock. It is gory and fun. Not like a typical gothic club with everyone stuck up with their head up each other's ass. It feels more like a big house party.

Diva Luxotica: Yes. It's pretty damned fun. The people are amazing, the venue is delightfully seedy, the music kicks ass and everyone is always dressed to the 9's.

Ralf: Tell me some stories about "Release the Bats" please...

Ben Ra: I have no specific stories, but the sense of community that exists at that club is quite refreshing. Seems like everyone enjoys each other's company and get along pretty well. Gitane Demone goes there regularly as well as people like William Faith, and Johnny Indovina.

Krissy: Can't... but, you've been there… right?

Mark Splatter: The best stories come from afterwards... when we move over to someone's apartment after 2am and continue partying. The drunkenness, sex, insanity, and bonding that goes on. I've made friends for life after just one night, I've left the club to go have sex and then come back later. I'm afraid any more than that and I might be called a gossip! Next time we see each other in person I'll have to tell you some though. None are fit to print!

Fate Fatal: The Deep Eynde performed twice for Dinah Cancers birthday, which was held there. One time Dave the promoter of the club bought a new car… and the second day he had it… it was parked in front of the club. Another car came by and hit a person which went flying into his new car. That was my bloodiest time at Release the Bats.

Diva Luxotica: I don't remember any….that's how fun it is!

Ralf: Don't you think it sucks that you generally have to be 21 to get into most of the clubs, that you have to go outside for a cigarette and then everything's over already at 2 a.m.?

Matt Pee: Dude, this keeps all the stupid kids out of the clubs. I wish you could have gone to the all ages Frank The Baptist, Antiworld, CS and Element show. There were tons of youngsters there that just get in the way.

re: that you have to go outside for a cigarette
This isn't really that bad. Sometimes it's good to get a breath of fresh air, even if the air is smoky. And keep in mind, this is California, it's not snowing outside. It's actually really nice at night, you remember...

re: and then everything's over already at 2 a.m.?
This might seem weird & wacky to you Euros, but this is how things have always been for us. Even if the club kicks everyone out at 2AM, there's always another place to go. Some one always says, "Hey, come on over to my place. We'll have coke, booze, whatever." Just because the club is over doesn't mean you have to go home.

Ben Ra: Yeah is would be cool to have more 18 and up clubs and all ages clubs where the younger crowd could see live goth bands regularly. I like that there is no smoking in clubs here... And yes, the clubs do close too early here…

Krissy: YES... it sucks!! Hence… not being 21 yet... but, come November... my under 21 problems are over.

Dave Bats: Yes the clubs in California close at 2am. That is a stupid law that we all have to deal with. You can't have everything! Some clubs go till 3am even 5am but those clubs serve food as well as alcohol. "Afterhours" clubs are either private property or a restaurant as well as a club. RTB unfortunately is at an alcohol-serving bar with no food. Everyone usually goes to a private after party of my house. We deal with it all fine.

Frank the BaptistMark Splatter: Absolutely. In New York City it's at least 4am. It's some LA ordinance that makes clubs close (or at least stop serving alcohol) at 2. I heard it was developed so film stars wouldn't stay out all night drinking.

Fate Fatal: Yeah, it sucks being young. I am a little bit older than that… but I did do my time. I definitely think it is ridiculous to have a club that people who want to destroy their bodies with alcohol… but then they can't smoke because it is unhealthy. I could now tell you how stupid the laws that our government makes… but that would take a few hours.

Diva Luxotica: Yes. It could be better. I wish we could have all-ages clubs because I've met some amazing 15 and 16 year old kids that are really excited about new and old deathrock but don't have anywhere to participate. Even though I am a smoker I'm kind of glad that you're not allowed to smoke in clubs and bars in Los Angeles because let's face it: it stinks. Everything over at 2 am? Yes, sometimes that is a bummer, but at my advanced age I can't handle much more excitement so I'm okay with that.

Ralf: Can you tell me of further interesting places other deathrockers might like to visit? (like e.g. record stores, bars, "sights" etc.)

Mark Splatter: Melrose Avenue has the most deathrock friendly shops, but it's a very trendy tourist shopping spot now. You can still have a good time just walking down the street and some of the shops though. Since LA is so large, there are several spots, Cemeteries have been favorite haunts but laws usually make it illegal to do anything there. People have parties every now and then though - sometimes there are several parties a week, counting clubs.

Fate Fatal:
Ø Hollywood Forever Cemetery… on Santa Monica… lots of old stars buried there
Ø Forest Lawn Cemetery… on Forest Lawn Drive… more dead stars
Ø Westwood Memorial Cemetery… on Wilshire… Marilyn Monroe buried there
Ø Necromance on Melrose Boulevard… human bones, Victorian mourning jewelry, funeral accessories
Ø Release the Bats… Long Beach… last Friday of every month..
Ø Bar Sinister… Hollywood… not totally deathrock… but crowded with the usual pretentious goths
Ø Melrose Boulevard… for every cool store, there is about 10 bad ones you have to pass…
Ø Headline Records… on Melrose... indie punk music store
Ø AMEOBA RECORDS… On sunset… the best record store in the world
Ø BENITOS TACO STAND… on Santa Monica… you can eat with the transvestites and drug dealers

Diva Luxotica: Melrose for expensive fashions and good record stores. Hollywood Blvd. for faded glitz, cheap stiletto heels and pervasive sleaze. The Burgundy Room on Cahuenga in Hollywood is a great bar with punk rock DJs. I always recommend a long drive along the length of Sunset Blvd. from downtown to the ocean; it will give any visitor a great understanding of the many faces of Los Angeles.

Ralf: What do you think are the future perspectives for the L.A. deathrock scene?

Matt Pee: I don't know man. Everyone says the scene is getting better, but all I see is a bunch of bands that sound the same, look the same, they're a bunch of silly clones. With the exception of CS & Element of course, but Element isn't really a "deathrock" band.

Ben Ra: Well it would be nice if there were more bands playing deathrock here in LA but the ones we do have are pretty cool... I will go see Penis Flytrap anytime they play... Their shows are always fun...

Dave Bats: More blood, death, and sex!

Mark Splatter: Not much is likely to change - clubs will continue to come and go, bands will continue to play for each other and for the bigger money venues. There is no money in the scene here for original bands. Record companies only give money and deals to the worst bands. The music industry doesn't take risks. It'll remain an underground thing, which is good for integrity, but bad because it's hard to get outside of LA unless your lucky and work really hard.

Fate Fatal: The deathrock scene has always been in the shadow of other scenes, but it has always been a scene itself. Most of the clubs in Los Angeles with exception of a few are coated over with fake Mall-goths who think they can rebel with their expensive gothic clothing and their stuck up attitude. That is not Deathrock. LA clubs like Perversion, Dungeon, and now unfortunately Coven 13 are all lame. They are all filled with pretentious people who basically suck. We opened up Coven 13 a long time ago… and it was cool… but the club has to make the decision whether they want to make shit loads of money… or to keep it the venue cool… and most of the times, they sell out. To be honest with you, I don't get out a lot… but the reason is that I have not seen anything worth giving the Deathrock name to besides Release The Bats. And I live in Hollywood.

Diva Luxotica: The future looks bright! I'd like to see more live shows, some all-ages clubs and events and some new bands from around the U.S. and Europe.

Ralf: Is the L.A. scene open-minded towards new foreign acts like e.g. german bands such as Murder At the Registry, Bloody Dead and Sexy etc. or do you prefer to stick to your roots?

Matt Pee: I may be a bit biassed after being in Germany and hearing some of these bands, but I would love to see some of them come over here, especially the two you mentioned. Even if the deathrockers here act snobbish and probably say they wouldn't like these bands, I think they'd go to the club if the band was playing. Just to check them out & get a feel for what's going on around the world in other scenes.

Ben Ra: I think as long as it was good would be into it…

Krissy: I think a lot of people would welcome any new deathrock band... but, some people prefer the locals.

Dave Bats: It is difficult at times to convince a stuck up Goth queen that a band from another country that they have never heard of will be a good show to go to. ALL of my friends and associates are open-minded though. We love just about everything coming out of Germany so far. But just like here some of it sucks. If I could, I'd be booking foreign acts all the time with LA "roots" bands.

Mark Splatter: Yes, I think people are interested in original new acts. It's hard to get them though. One thing I've been able to do with the help of Release the Bats through is expose bands to people. That way they have heard the name. With US bands so far it's helped bring in a few new bands to Release the Bats and find them a new audience in LA, like the Phantom Limbs and Frank the Baptist. Hopefully I can do the same for the new German bands. Its not going to be easy getting them over here though - the most bands usually get isn't even $1000!

Fate Fatal: LA deathrock is not a specific scene… or a gang. As much as it might seem like we all know each other… we don't. I been here all my life and seen a lot of people come and go, so it is good not to get too attached to people out here because most of the time they are flakes. I love listening to other bands, every time my friends go to Europe, I ask them to pick something up for me. I think anyone that would limit themselves as much as not to listen to other bands from other countries are lame.

Diva Luxotica: I think people are receptive once they hear it. Luckily, most of the DJs at Bats are willing to risk clearing the dance floor to play an unfamiliar song, and more often than not people enjoy hearing something new. Again, the Internet plays a huge role in disseminating information to people. Without message boards and download sites, a lot of these amazing European bands would never be heard here in Los Angeles. Mark Splatter came back from Germany with a huge stack of CDs and has been slowly introducing bands like New Days Delay, Bloody Dead and Sexy and Murder at the Registry to the L.A. scene, and the result has been extremely positive. We would love to have these bands come over, but unfortunately it is a question of funding hampering the logistics.

© Ralf Thyssen, 2001-11-17

See also our Part 4 on Germany for more photos from Pagan Love Songs provided by Ralf

Continue onto Part Six: Funeral Drive in Dallas


Bands and Labels- want to be featured on StarVox? Click Herefor Details
Advertise on StarVox or StarVoice - Click here
StarVox is Property of VersusMedia,  LLC

Wanna swap banners? Use one of the images below and then email us!