Successfully navigating the music business is like making it across a minefield unscathed. At any moment you could be crippled or worse. It’s even more difficult when that musical style is metal because it appeals to a much smaller portion of the population making success even harder to achieve.
Not everyone is built for this lifestyle but if a group has talent and is hardcore enough to endure the realities of being in a band then they just might hang around long enough to build an audience and find success.
Lecherous Nocturne is that group. I saw the band for the first time on March 10th 2012 as the opening act on the Deicide: March of Death Tour, see my review here.
I was impressed with the band. It was clear they had talent but they also showed attitude and determination. These are must-have ingredients for success. A band can have the greatest songs and sound but if they can’t translate that message to a live audience, they won’t succeed. Metal is all about playing live.
I spoke with Alex Lancia, the drummer of Lecherous that night and bought a copy of the band’s 2008 release The Age of Miracles Has Passed. I researched the band and learned they had experienced some serious lineup changes including replacing their original vocalist just a few months prior. I decided to write a follow up article on Lecherous to see how the Deicide tour was going and how this new lineup was coming together.
A couple of days later I got on the phone with Alex Lancia, who informed me that their new vocalist, Brett Bentley, had left the group just after the Chicago show I attended. Like true professionals, the rest of the members decided to continue the tour with Lecherous guitarist, Ethan Lane, taking on the additional duty of vocals.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t impressed with this group’s attitude and resolve to continue on.
Here are some excerpts of that interview with Alex Lancia on 3/25/12:
David Halbe: Can you give us a brief history of Lecherous Nocturne?
Alex Lancia: The band started back in 1997 in South Carolina. Then relocated briefly to Colorado, I’ve only been with the band personally since late 2009 so I’ll try to do the best I can.
Dave: Thanks I appreciate it.
Alex: They moved back to South Carolina shortly after. In 2003-2005 the band was working on their first full length album Adoration of the Blade. In 2006 they started touring in support of that album. In 2007 while the band was on tour the whole van, trailer, and everything in it was ripped off in Texas. That was a pretty drastic event and that’s what inspired the subsequent album, The Age of Miracles has Passed. The new gear the band got turned them onto different sounds and you can really hear the difference on tracks like “Requiem for the Insects” when you compare it to the earlier stuff. The band toured in support of that album in 2008.
In 2009 they were part of the Grind Your Mind Tour with Embryonic Devourment and Sol Asunder then they did a tour with Gigan and that was when I met the band. I played in a local group at the time, it wasn’t really going anywhere, it was actually our last show and we happened to be opening up for Lecherous so I got my foot in the door then. Shortly after that Jeremy (Nissenbaum), the drummer, left the band; that’s where I came in and then Jason (Hohenstein) left after that tour as well mainly because of the hardships they had to endure.
After that we re-grouped again and did the Cannibal Corpse tour which was definitely a baptism by fire for all of us, that was a big time death metal boot camp experience and that really tightened up our whole approach really. A couple months after that we went on tour with Immolation, Vader, Abigail Williams and Pathology, that was a good tour, had a lot of fun hanging out with those guys. After that we starting working on new material for the upcoming record.
Dave: Where did the name Lecherous Nocturne come from?
Alex: Jason, if I’m not mistaken came up with the name. It’s meant to mean lustful music composition. A nocturne is like a piano piece at night, a late night performance, usually shorter, an avant-garde solo piece for the piano. Basically combining those two terms into our vision for the band.
Dave: You recently let go of your vocalist Jason Hohenstein, what prompted you to make this change?
Alex: That’s a tough question really, Jason was in the band 12-15 years, we’re still really good friends with him. I think he really just wanted to stay home and be with his family, he’s got a daughter on the way and he really needed to focus on that.
After Jason left we auditioned a couple of people and we brought in one vocalist, Brett (Bentley) and he actually didn’t make it through this whole tour. It was too much too soon for him. We gave him a big opportunity and it wasn’t so much his skills as a performer on stage, it was mainly just lack of professionalism off of it.
Dave: Who’s filling in on vocals?
Alex: Ethan (Lane) our guitarist is actually filling in on vocals for the rest of this tour. He’s been doing double duty and killing it. It’s kind of interesting playing as a four piece on this tour for the last two and a half weeks.
Dave: It’s got to be difficult losing your vocalist during a tour.
Alex: Yes but we’re going to be regrouping after this, so I think we’ll be back stronger than ever.
Dave: Are you going to be auditioning vocalists again or do you have someone in mind?
Alex: Yes. We’ve got somebody in mind, Chris Lollis, he’s been with the band in previous years. He’s actually on both full length albums (guitar and backing vocals) so if we could get him back on vocals I think we’ll be in good shape.
Dave: I gotta say, you guys are tough as hell to stay out there and keep touring despite what happened.
Alex: Definitely, it all happened so fast. We didn’t even fire the guy, he just got in a cab and left. We almost just went home. It was kind of conveniently timed in a way because he (Brett) left on the way to Winnipeg from Chicago, it was a long drive and we had the day to travel. That gave Ethan time to memorize lyrics for the majority of the songs. Luckily Ethan actually wrote the lyrics for some of the new material so picking that up was much easier but we’re still playing, “When Single Shines the Tripled Sun”, “Edict of Worms” and “We Are As Dust” from the last album.
Dave: Do you think there is a level of professionalism that must be maintained on a tour?
Alex: Absolutely and it’s a huge deal for me. The majority of the day you’re just waiting around. We work really hard from the time we reach the show, especially an hour plus or minus leading up to our stage time. At that part he (Brett Bentley) was improving really well. It was just all the other stuff, dealing with the waiting and after the show, making the wrong impressions to people who were much more seasoned. As much as I might seem to be talking the guy down because of his antics, you really can’t blame the guy. He’s younger and has a different level of maturity. We’re basically living in a van. It’s unfortunate he couldn’t handle it. At some point you’ve got to step up as a practitioner and become a little bit more careful about how you handle yourself.
Dave: The current tour has only a few dates left, what’s next for Lecherous Nocturne?
Alex: Most definitely get another vocalist. Lecherous has been most comfortable as a five piece band. We’ll definitely have someone step in and re-record the vocals for the new album, which is sort of a setback, but this whole thing in general was kind of a mess as far as timing. We had everything recorded in December last year to have the new album out before this tour but things got tied up at the label. I guess now that’s not so bad considering we lost the vocalist that was on that album. We’ll probably toss in some minor details here and there now that we’ve had some additional time to reflect on how things are going especially after playing some of the material night after night out here.
We’ll have an album out this year, I hope, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be out this year, and then some more touring, there’s been some talk of that but nothing I can get specific about but we’ll definitely be back out on the road here once the new album’s out.
Dave: You’ve shared the bill with more than a few legendary death metal acts such as Vader, Immolation, Deicide and Jungle Rot. Who do you think could make up a death metal big four?
Alex: Well, I think we’ve already toured with three of them, definitely Cannibal Corpse and for sure Immolation and Deicide. The fourth one would be the hard choice there’s so many different vibes you could go with a little bit more groovy like Obituary or throw in something more aggressive like Angel Corpse. I’ll probably say Cannibal Corpse, Immolation, Deicide and Angel Corpse. I think that would be a fucking ripping show and people would go crazy.
Dave: Death metal seems to have splintered into multiple subgroups such as death-core or blackened death metal; do you think these different classifications are good for metal?
Alex: That’s a good question. I look at it more like there’s punk and metal and if you’re somewhere in between and then trying to classify that stuff, I mean, it’s just too scientific for art. There’s so much of a diverse range of personalities in metal that you can identify with so many different options, attitudes, sounds and everything else that goes with that, it’s really just all metal or it’s not. I think a lot of stuff that has been classified as metal is really more rock oriented or on the technical side of things, really more jazz oriented as far as how the music is arranged and the techniques that make the music happen. I don’t really buy into the subgenera thing too much.
Dave: One final question Alex, (considering what you’ve just experienced on tour) do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?
Alex: The obvious one would be, stick to it. Never stop playing, a lot of people will play their instrument for a couple of years, put it down and pick it up after another couple. You really got to stay with it and make sure you learn some of the business side too. Learn something outside of just being a performer. Like the booking side or something practical like driving or navigating. Maybe learning how to fall asleep on benches or sitting up in a chair all night, being able to adapt to the kinds of hardships you’re going to have to face on the road. Be ready, steadfast and willing to persevere.
Dave: Thanks Alex, I appreciate your time. Good luck with the last tour dates, finding a vocalist, and the upcoming album.
Alex: Thanks for the interview, we’ll be in touch when the new album is ready to be released.
Lecherous Nocturne are:
James O’Neal – bass
Kreishloff – guitars
Alex Lancia – drums
Ethan Lane – guitars