Filthboy's Fanatical Fight for Fame
This month's Independant Feature
by: Gino Filicetti
"We don't really care if we sell five records or fucking five million, we just want to get our talents into a real studio." --- Buzzy Beck, guitarist/bassist of Filthboy

From deep within the depths of one of America's first steel towns comes Pittsburgh's Filthboy, the two-man project that defies any and all attempts at classification. In 1993, Filthboy's two geniuses, guitarist/bassist Buzzy Beck, and vocalist/lyricist/guitarist Kevin Sebastian formed this small musical wonder after realizing how stagnant Pittsburgh's metal scene was, and wanting to pump fresh life into the dying scene.

So what was it like actually starting in a scene like Pittsburgh? "IT SUCKS! The fucking scene down here blows. We've pretty much taken the local scene as far as it can go. But the scene is just fucking horrible, unless you're a Biohazard rip-off band or a Dokken rip-off, no one will come see you. The 80's glam shit is big down here. Every club down here has like a thousand pisshead, hairspray bands every night." Then how has Filthboy managed to get anywhere in Pittsburgh? What was it like for the band in its early stages? "The responses to our first demo were horrible. There was a couple local zines that slagged us pretty hard. They didn't really want to accept it basically because we weren't being like everybody else around here. And then all of a sudden, people started coming to the shows and the name started spreading and the following began." Local success is probably the best wish any band can hope for, because it doesn't matter what kind of record company executives like your music, if the local "cult" fanbase isn't there, then you amount to nothing.

How big do you think Filthboy is right now, and how did Filthboy's following grow since your inception? "I think we are as big as we can take the local scene, that's for sure. We're trying to put together an east coast tour right now. In the beginning however, it was weird. Nobody wanted to listen to us or give us any attention for the longest time, and then all of a sudden, like a year ago, everybody started to get into us. And now it's like, we don't ask promoters for shows around here anymore, they ask us if we want to play it. It's really changed a lot. Our draws always depend on the circumstances, we don't play all that much. We'd rather play once every six weeks and have 300 people there than play every other week in front of fifty people, you know what I mean?"

The most interesting thing about Filthboy is their musical direction. The reason being is that it is so difficult to actually pinpoint where these guys are at, and to pigeonhole them in with other related bands. Filthboy's influences show where their variety comes from; "Shit, it's pretty much everything man, Entombed, christ, even Nine Inch Nails. Guitar-wise, it's influenced by a lot of death metal, and the drumming is really influenced by a lot of hardcore. Life of Agony type drums. Just everything man. We're into so much fucking stuff, I mean we even listen to techno." But how much of a part do these influences play in Filthboy's music? "A lot man, really a lot. What we try to do is put everything that we're influenced by into a big melting pot, and form it our own way."

One drawback to having such a varied assortment of influences and actually letting them all loose in your music is the fact that many potential fans feel alienated and out of place listening to the music. Do people see Filthboy as original, or as the bastard children of all the scenes from which they draw? "I'd say everyone that has seen us has considered us somewhat original. But a lot of people don't want to accept us either. You've got the death metal people saying it's too hardcore, you got the hardcore people saying it's too much like fucking death metal, and you got the industrial people saying 'Oh yeah, it's metal, forget them.' You just can never please everyone. But then again, we don't really want to please anyone but ourselves."

Not only are Filthboy not afraid to show their many influences in their music, they aren't afraid to take it one step further and actually play live with an assortment of bands. They have opened for Life of Agony and Crowbar, and have also headlined with a multitude of assorted local bands, everything from cheesy alternative to the most brutal death metal. "We really don't give a shit who we open for or play with." But does the band believe this is beneficial, or do they think that most people just feel alienated and can't get into either one of the bands? "Well, it's hard to say, there's always assholes at every show. I mean, we've had people come up to us and they'd say things like, 'Get off the fucking stage you niggers!' Unless you're pleasing that small percentage of the crowd, they don't want to hear you. But we aren't going to just sit there and reform our music to make somebody happy."

Filthboy is currently shopping for a label that can get their goods out to the world. Their first label, Putrid Mind Records, was a local independent label out of Pittsburgh. "They were as cool as can be for a local label, but we just thought it was time for us to move on. In the beginning, they didn't really approach us, we approached them. They had heard about us, and they listened to some of the other stuff and liked it, and said alright, we'll put it out for you." But how essential is getting a record deal for Filthboy right now? "Well, we really want to be on a label, that's for sure, but not money-wise or even tour-wise, just somebody who will take some time and invest in us and get our music out to people. We feel if people can just hear us, they'll get into us." Most bands that achieve the levels of local success Filthboy have usually want to release their own independent records for a little while to establish their credibility, but for Filthboy, that isn't the case. "No, see we aren't going to be self-centered and be like 'we want to rule the underground' type thing. We don't really care if we sell five records or fucking five million, we just want to get our talents into a real studio. We do want to sell enough records to keep the label happy, but we really want to get our talents surfaced around the right technology instead of an 8-track or a little 16-track horrible fucking recording." But what exactly is Filthboy looking for in a record deal? "We want a fucking calling card man! <laughs> Money doesn't really bother us, what we want is somebody to put us in a real studio, and actually let us go to town with all the technology and equipment. Somebody who will actually promote us and give us a chance."

Another odd thing about Filthboy is their involvement in video. Most indie bands at Filthboy's stage have never even laid eyes upon a video camera, but the boys from Pittsburgh have already shot 3 videos for "Turncoat Angel", "Standing Still", and "My Deadly Wish". To top it all off, they have strung all three videos, plus live footage and a live interview (while heavily drunk) into an independent home video. Does the band think that video is beneficial to music, or do they think it detracts from music's credibility? "We thought it was just fucking fun because we didn't have to pay for it. <laughs>. The videos were produced by Larry Degallow who runs a local public access show, "The Gallow's Pit", which plays all kinds of metal videos. He came down to the first Filthboy show ever, which was really cool because no one wanted to give us any credit or anything, and he came down with his video cameras. We had no clue who he was, and he shot all this shit and came up to us and said, 'Hey, I just shot all this stuff. I want to put a video together. Give me your demo man.' So he played it on his show, and it sprung the idea for a home video. It's pretty cool. This dude, Don Sigmund, really helped us out. He did a lot. We were like 'do this,' 'do that,' and he handled all the controls."

Filthboy are also very involved in computers and the Internet, so the inevitable question, of course came, up. What do you think of the Internet as a medium of information in today's age, and do you think it will prove to be the 'demise of mankind?' "It's great man, too bad there aren't more bands involved in it. It's a really good way to get your music across to people who'd otherwise never hear it, and never have a fucking idea who you are. No, I don't think it's the demise of nothing, I just think it's a sloppy fucking mess right now. It needs to be cleaned up. <laughs>"

In closing, Chronicles of Chaos asked Buzzy what he thought was in store for death metal in the future. His answer is typical of what many people think of death metal today. "I think death metal could really use a shot in the ass right now. Because a lot of the hardcore death metal heads have moved on to black metal now, and the other people who were only sort of into death metal are listening to some other kind of cheese music. It's depressing because death metal is such a great form of music and it's dying."

The future looks bright for these two dudes from the smoke-filled recesses of Pittsburgh. Maybe they will be the first of many to shed some light and spark new interest in this undeniably talented artform.

(article submitted 1/10/1995)

8/12/1997 G Filicetti Filthboy: Catchin' a Buzz
6/7/1997 G Filicetti 9 Filthboy - Diverse Reality
11/8/1995 G Filicetti Filthboy - Whatever You Wanna Call It
9/2/1995 G Filicetti Filthboy - Filthboy
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