Oldschool Metal Maniac - English Version



 It was quite a surprise for me, when Awakening Records decided to re-release Bezerker from Australia.

But what a pleasant one - band unknown to me (and I guess that to many other readers as well) turned out to be a pure, hidden gem of technical thrash.

I didn’t want to waste any time and contacted their bass player, Keith Stevens immediately.

Below you can read what I’ve learned from him


1. Hi Keith, how it's going? Let's start from something which needs to be asked nowadays - how is life in Australia? How did you go with COVID Pandemic? Did it paralyze everything, like it did in Europe and United States?
I'm well, thank you. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted different areas of Australia to varying degrees. Here in Adelaide, South Australia, the virus has been circulating far less than in other cities such as Melbourne and Sydney. However, the live music scene, for example, has been hit just as hard as Melbourne and Sydney, with many events being postponed or cancelled
2. Bezerker was a really good band, and after a quick research I can see that it's still collecting a brilliant reviews. Why were you active only for such a short amount of time?
Bezerker was together for only three-and-a-half years because of our relocating from Australia to England in April/May, 1991. Two of Bezerker's members didn't adapt to life in London, and returned to Adelaide, South Australia, just three months into our planned six-month stay. Their decisions to return early to Australia was the end for Bezerker. Myself, Adam, and Shaun, opted to remain in the U.K. after all the sacrifices we'd made, and money spent, in relocating half-a-world away. We'd made valuable contacts through Metal Hammer magazine, on the night of our last gig, in London, on August 3rd, 1991, so, many opportunities were squandered. We cancelled gigs in Bradford and Liverpool, and missed out on playing a show at East London's Ruskin Arms -- the venue where Iron Maiden would regularly perform during their early days. There was every reason to stay in London for the agreed full six months, however, our rhythm guitarist was homesick for life back in Adelaide, South Australia, and so we were doomed from the very start of our relocation to London, England.

3. Shortly after the release of your debut, guitarist Michael Heslop decided to move Bezerker to the UK. On the one hand, it would seem reasonable because it would be easier for you to draw the attention of European labels, on the other hand you had already released an album earlier on the Australian label and probably if you had waited a bit longer and tried to find a label in Europe your career might have gone differently.
What do you think about this decision after so many years?
On the contrary, I believe we should have relocated to London earlier than we did. However, we couldn't, because we had recording-studio debts to pay off before we could leave Australia. We were paying off the recording-studio debts right up until our last show in Adelaide, South Australia, on March 31st, 1991. Anyway, in my opinion, the best approach was to play as many shows, as often as possible, in the U.K., and in doing so, create opportunities as far as any potential record label signings went.
4. What made you choose a young inexperienced label? Was nobody, apart from Extremely Fine interested in releasing this album? Did the publisher provide you with promotions on radio or music magazines? It's hard to believe that such an excellent album went relatively unnoticed.
Our vinyl album "Lost" was financed exclusively by us. Extremely Fine Records was Bezerker's own personal company business. After recording the "Lost" album, we then sent the recording-studio tapes off to CBS Records Australia for the vinyl pressing process. Then, we hired Waterfront Records to distribute the album. However, we didn't possess the necessary extra cash in being able to pay for advertising, other than a one-off, one-complete-page advertisement in an Australian national metal-music magazine.
5. I have interviewed Peter Hobbs couple of years ago, and he said, that Australia is one of the hardest countries in the world for bands, that want to start the real career. Do you agree?
Yes, I agree with Peter Hobbs -- that was most certainly the case, back in the 80s and 90s.
6. For a long time Poland was separated from the west by an iron curtain, so many great albums did not reach us, probably that is why most of us did not come across Lost 30 years ago, it was only thanks to Awakening Rec that I had the opportunity to hear your music for the first time, and to be honest that it made an overwhelming impression on me, I was afraid to think what it would be like if I got your vinyl 30 years ago. Have you sent this promo material to publishers in Europe or the USA back then?
No, we didn't send promotion material overseas, upon the "Lost" album release.
We were completely focused on the massive task of relocating Bezerker over to London, at the expense of all other priorities.


7. In 2013, the Russian label Into The Pit Records released re-editions of Lost and also this time the material was not well promoted. Luckily, now it seems that the decision to release this album on Awakening Rec was your best move because after all, this album is widely available. How did you sign a contract with this young but very dynamic label?
Into The Pit Records is actually an Australian label. They contacted me back in 2013, when they learned I had remastered the original vinyl version via the original recording-studio reel-to-reel tapes. Eventually, when that particular release sold out, Awakening Records contacted me, offering a deal on the album's then upcoming 30th anniversary.
8. Currently, vinyl is going through a kind of renaissance. Have you thought about putting your music on vinyl? I think that people like Steffen from High Roller would be more than happy to release it.
Unlikely, a re-release of the original vinyl version.
9. On the wave of the return of old school metal's popularity, were you tempted to reactivate Bezerker, or at least to play a few concerts in Europe?
No, a reunion has never interested me. The disappointment of blowing all the chances we had, back in the U.K. during 1991, cut too deep.
10 On the Awakening Records release, next to "Lost", there is also "Laugh At The Light" demo as a bonus, is that all you managed to register? Maybe you have some unpublished materials from the past in your archives?
I do still possess 1989 Bezerker recording-studio out-takes, and Bezerker live recordings from 1989 and 1990.
11. Who designed Bezerker's logo? It's a really good one.
A local South Australian artist, named Stephen Powell, created the Bezerker logo.
12. 2013 re-edition of your material was called "Lost:Remastered". Why did you decide to remaster it in the first place? Do you feel it was really necessary? Is "Lost" with original sound or the remastered version on the Awakening Records release
The Awakening Records' 30th-anniversary release of the Bezerker album is the remastered version taken from the original 1989 recording-studio reel-to-reel tapes.
13. What are your memories from the night, when you supported Faith No More?
When Faith No More hit Adelaide, South Australia, on a Tuesday night in August, 1990, it was at a nightclub venue. The joint was named Le Rox, and the place was packed to over capacity. I recall the thunderous sound level of the band, and the riotous nature of the moshpit. Faith No More played a superb set, and it was a night so enjoyable, that it was all over way too quick. It was one of those occasions which one wants to relive over and over again. Bezerker was very privilaged in getting the support slot for that gig . . . Faith No More playing a nightclub venue -- extraordinary. Everyone there on the night was so very lucky to have witnessed the event.
14. You have also played in a band called Epidemic, however I couldn't find any material, not even a demo. Have you ever recorded anything with that project?
Curious, because I never played in the band, Epidemic. They were a fellow Adelaide outfit that Bezerker used to share gigs with. But, I certainly was never ever a member of that band, Epidemic.
15 Thanks for the interview, last word goes to you.
You're very welcome, Wojtek. Thank-you very much for your kind and positive words on the Bezerker "Lost" album, and the interest you have shown in the details behind Bezerker's occurrence. Kind regards, Keith Stevens.
Wojciech Michalak /Necro

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