Sadus interview with Darren Travis: From the Vault

Below is a cleaned-up version of an interview D.U.‘s editor conducted that appeared in Deathcheese ‘zine #1 back in 1991.

With all the hustle and bustle of the 9:30 Club’s backstage area, it’s hard sometimes to get organized enough to conduct an interview back there. Walking around backstage, I finally ran into Darren Travis, the lead vocalist and one of the lead electric twanger players for a pleasant little band from California, Sadus. He was gracious enough to sit down on a couch with me next to Sepultura’s guitars—Sadus was playing with the “jungle boys” that night—and have a nice chat.

Deathcheese: Question number one: when you released the LP Illusions on cassette, why was the name changed to Chemical Exposure and the cover also changed?

Travis: Okay, because when we made the Illusions cover, we planned on that for the record. And we went to make a cassette; that Illusions cover would look like total shit, real small on cassette. So we went with a different cover, and on the album, “Illusions,” “Chemical Exposure,” it’s, like, the same song. So we just went ahead, called it a different title just to fuckin’ make it a little different, have a different cover and [pause] trip people out!

And create some confusion too, right?

Yeah. And when we make a CD, we’ll prob’ly make a different cover and different title. Everyone’ll go, “What the fuck?!” [laughs]

Where’d you get the money to start Sadus Records and put out your own tape, namely Chemical Exposure?

All the record companies that we were getting offers from were just totally trying to get everything for free, y’know, just totally trying to fuck us in every way possible. And there was no way of makin’ a fuckin’ album without doing it ourselves, without getting fucked, so we just made Sadus Records.


At that point, Steve Di Giorgio, the Sadus bassist, came in, sat down, and started playing Paulo Jr. [of Sepultura]’s bass.

What brands of instruments do you like to play?

Travis: We like Gibson. We all play Gibson, and Steve plays Rickenbacker. We use Marshall and Ampeg.

Photos from the gig: D.U.

So how did you get the deal with R/C?

Well, they called us up, and more or less they wanted to hear our new demo, the Wake of Severity demo we put out—

So you sent it to them?

Yeah, and apparently as soon as they heard it, they wanted us. We didn’t really wanna be on R/C because we heard a lotta bad things about ‘em.

Like what?

Like, every band complains that we know, from, y’know, the way they’ve been treated all the way to being paid. It’s all about the contract you get with ‘em. And as long as we had the best lawyer possible, we got the best contract possible. So there’s no way possible they can fuck us. That’s the only reason why we did sign with them. ‘Cause everybody else was more or less trying to fuck us one way or another, and they really wanted us no matter what.

It’s going cool so far?

Yeah, I can’t complain at all whatsoever. They put out ads, put us out on tour right as soon as the album comes out. Everything’s going great.

It says on the tape that John Marshall engineered Chemical Exposure. That’s not the John Marshall from Metal Church, is it?

Yeah. He produced Autopsy’s record and Hexx’s album and ours. He didn’t produce it; he helped us produce it.

Do you like how [new album] Swallowed in Black turned out? Are you satisfied with it?

Yeah, it’s great. Could’ve mixed it a little better, but that’s about it.

Low end wise, right?

Right, some bass drums. We’re lagging on that just a little.

You know those parental advisory stickers they put on the albums? Do you have anything to say about that?

Uh [pause] I dunno. Not really. I don’t give a fuck, man, actually. [pause] I think it’s cool sometimes. Fuck, it makes it more interesting.

I don’t know if you guys like to be labeled, but what category would you put yourselves in? Like, weedcore, maybe?

Weedcore. [laughs] For Sadus? Yeah. Um, they call us everything from death metal, speed metal, everything. I just like to call it just Sadus, man. And that’s, y’know, in a category maybe by itself. Sadus, man, it’s just a band. I can’t really say that we’re death, can’t say we’re speed, can’t really say we’re anything. We’re all, like, just a mixture of everything kinda.

As far as your lyrics go, are you guys more into telling a story, or do you try to make a point?

We don’t really think about what we write about as we’re writing it. We just more or less go with what we feel at the time. It’s like fuckin’ what the band’s up to, how it’s going, how we feel like that we wanna be. Illusions is more fuckin’, we wanna be gore and death and shit, and on our new album, it’s more about just what we’re striving to be, y’know? Like, more or less what we wanna get out of the music right now.

Have you heard people tell you you’ve slowed down too much on the new record?

No, I haven’t, really. A lot of people like it really fast, and on our first album it’s all fast. And on this new album we wanna do some little more different things. We wanna give it a little more flavor and not just be all fuckin’ “rrraaahhh!”

That’s about it. Do you have anything to tell the fans, to sign off with?

Di Giorgio, as he put the bass back: Yeah, B.C. Rich sucks! Don’t buy it.

Travis: Words from Paulo, that is. [laughs] Fuckin’, uh, I guess fuckin’ trip on the new record, smoke for OB’s, fuckin’ write us, tell us what you think, what you want fuckin’ for the next album. ■

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