Memphis, Tennessee based heavy metal band Sacrum was founded when guitarist Jeff Williams, who started playing at the ripe old age of 14, met drummer Harvey Waldman. The two musicians soon discovered they enjoyed pushing each other and their music to the limits and easily dodged trends in the music industry and on the radio. Ready to expand and flex their metal muscles, Williams and Waldman brought bassist John Ayers a.k.a. Big John, into the fold. It became clear that Ayers was a 100% solid on the axe & as a friend. In 2003 the group started recording demos and when Jeff's brother and vocalist Brad Williams entered the picture Sacrum was complete. With the Williams brothers contributing the music and lyrics and Ayers's and Waldman writing their own parts on bass and drums, Sacrum is a tight knit band of friends and a true democracy. Their sound, a southern groove-based progressive metal mix, is heavily influence by their heroes Pantera and Dream Theater, yet easily stands strong on its own. Lyrically, Brad Williams is a fearless writer; unafraid to delve deep into the blackest corners of the human mind. On the band's song "No One's Forgiveness" he growls, "So just forget about tomorrow / The deepest depression / A silent regression." Sacrum takes us to a place of deep sorrow and rage where we've all been or will be at some point in this life. Sacrum's brutal energy and raw lyrics are hard won. The group's players have seen, walked through, and survived their share of tragedies including the death of Jeff and Brad's father to lung cancer, the loss of Harvey's own brother in high school, and the loss of several friends over the years to violence. Sacrum has taken that heartache, grown stronger as a band, and turned it into powerful ferocious music that pays tribute to heavy metal heroes like the late Darrell "Dimebag" Lance Abbott of Pantera who was gunned down on stage by a deranged fan December 8th, 2004. Sacrum has been together 6 years. They are currently receiving heavy airplay on Memphis's main rock station, 93X. Their videos can also be seen on MySpace (myspace.com/sacrummemphis) and YouTube. The band is yet to release an album, but 6 songs can be heard on their MySpace page and if it's any indication of what we can expect from these uncompromising heavy metal cowboys, Sacrum are on the verge of ushering in a refreshing, cutting edge new era of heavy metal.
Band Members: Jeff Williams (Guitar), Brad Williams (Vocals), John Ayers (Bass), Harvey Waldman(Drums)
Origin Country: USA
1. Please give a quick introduction of Sacrum, names, what you play, what you are all about?
Sacrum is Jeff Williams guitars, Brad Williams vocals, Harvey Waldman drums, and John Ayers bass. Jeff: Sacrum is a band that is ALL about the fans and that is why we exist; our motivation and our strongest asset is the ever growing legion of die hards that we are so lucky to have. Sacrum is a band of brothers, best friends, and the tightness and chemistry we have is a testament to that very fact.
2. How did you come up with the name Sacrum and what does it mean?
John: The name Sacrum is actually a medical term for the pelvic bone, our friend Austin's uncle suggested it and it sounded HEAVY. Upon further research it is derived from the Latin term and translates to holy bone. The sacrum was said to house one's actual soul which was also a nice touch and further added to the significance of the band name.
3.How did Sacrum come to be, what's the background story and What does Sacrum mean to you?
Jeff: Well, Sacrum was formed when myself and the drummer, Harvey, were basically sick of the trendy, cookie cutter music that was being forced down our throats via mainstream rock radio. Our main goal was to create a distinctive style, and we wanted to be unique. Harv and i gigged out live in Memphis very early on, so by the time Big John entered the picture musically( he had always been a great friend and fellow guitar enthusiast) we had already found the style that further solidified when John held the low end down. As a 1 guitar player band, your rhythm section is everything, and my two guys were just dead on, and we had the wall of sound we always imagined. My brother Brad had been waiting in the wings, and when he finally stepped to the mic, actually on stage in front of a crowd, an impromptu improvisation encaptured the crowd and our own ears, and Brad became the frontman we so desperately needed. His voice put the finishing touches on an already well-seasoned live act, and Sacrum was born. Brad almost died several months after we started, well he did die, but was revived and he pulled through and within two months we recorded our first demos. We are lovers of music in many genres, so of course this band was very personal to us all; we are all brothers, Sacrum is family, us and the fans one and the same.
4. What are your hopes, dreams, and future plans for Sacrum?
Harvey: The sky is the limit, we have achieved some of what we want for the band, we have shared the stage and held our own with national acts like Trivium, God Forbid, Behemoth and Taproot. We had the honor of working with producer of our all time fave Pan-fuckin-tera, who also did King Diamond (our other fave) down in Texas at Nomad studios. That was a dream come true. Mostly, we want to finish our debut album, an album the metal world NEEDS, and to tour the world to jam for AND meet the fans. Europe is on the top of the touring agenda and we are all about our live show, so meeting the fans will be the icing on a cake. We have a showcase coming up for a management company in ATL, and we hope this will get the ball rolling towards a tour and eventually a record deal.
5. Do you all take part in writing the music and lyrics for your songs? What do you think is most important part in doing so?
Jeff: Well, every Sacrum song starts with me composing and arranging the riffs and the melody. When I am finished i show it to Harv, who never ceases to come up with amazing accompanying drum parts no matter what the riff, he will fit it like a glove. Then John and I figure out what works well on the low end, sometimes i lay back intentionally on a part to let the bass do the talking, a very essential step in a Sacrum song. Last but most certainly not least the Voice comes in and takes the song to the next level; Brad is an excellent lyricist, I usually help out with the phrasing, the timing, accents, and I also write; but i leave that up to Brad 90% of the time. The most important part is the collective result and we all bring in our uniqueness but we are lucky to see eye to eye creatively; we are four hyper-critical type musicians, so we keep that in mind and we keep in mind what will get the fans off live. Sterling Winfield, who produced the last Pantera albums really dug the tightness he heard when recording us, the maturity in the writing, the ability to play to a click and still avoid sounding sterile. The songs mean life and death to us and we never just phone it in, all killer, no filler.
6. How do you feel about the world today... and do you think music still has and could have a big influence?
Jeff: The world today, haha well, it aint no secret that life fucking sucks. Honestly, look around you; the economy is shit, the government and authorities are crooks and liars and hypocrites. Our justice system blows, and the media keeps us living in fear with the news; its all bad it seems. People's priorities are fucked, who cares how much your clothes cost, what kind of car you drive, how much money you have or stand to inherit. Souless, empty, fake plastic people are everywhere, but times still aren't as bad as the Great Depression. We live in a convienence based world, everything at a click of a button and everyone you meet tries to act like the coolest person in the world. I see kids born with cancer, the homeless, the starving, jails filling up and it's pretty real down here in Memphis. When you work shit jobs in crime ridden cities for no money, it's hard to keep up hope and faith; that is why we have this band. It connects us to the people who feel trapped, alone, misunderstood, and helpless. Music is the great equalizer, it transcends this worldly bullshit and takes you to a higher level. Thank God for that, because I don't know what I would do if I didn't have Sacrum.
7. What were and are your influences for getting into music and starting Sacrum?
Jeff: Wow, where do i start, this band has a ton. If you have seen our myspace, you know what i mean. As a whole, the main ones are Pantera, Old Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne, Dio, Megadeth (Marty Friedman era), King Diamond, Dream Theater, Slayer, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Hendrix, The Doors, Guns N Roses, Grand Funk, Allman and Doobie Bros., Eric Clapton, Tool, Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, Al Di Mieola, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Shawn Lane, Jason Becker, Vinnie Moore, Tony Macalpine, Billy Sheehan, Terry Bozzio, Liquid Tension, Badlands, Whitesnake, Queensryche, Return to Forever, Yngwie Malmsteen, Lillian Axe, Testament, Fates Warning, Stevie Ray Vaughan, B.B. King, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Elvis, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Eric Johnson, and about a hundred more; this list could go on forever.
8. What is the most exciting experience you have had since starting Sacrum?
Brad: Oh, that's any easy one; recording and kicking ass in the studio with Sterling Winfield. We really hit it off great with him. Hearing Dime stories was priceless, really surreal. He really got into our sound and the tones we got with him were exatcly like we have always envisioned our sound; HUGE. We loved Sterling and Nomad Studios, and that is where we want to finish the album.
9. You have all had your share of ups and downs...has this effected your music any and if so, how?
Jeff: This band has had more ups and downs than a 2 dollar hooker in an hourly motel with a free buffet for truckers. The reason I started writing was to deal with the loss of my father; He died at the age of 40 to lung cancer, and he was a non-smoker. That is where my intensity comes from. The darkness in Brad's lyrics too. Harv was driving when a woman ran the stop sign near I-40 and killed Harv's 15 year old step-brother and our great friend Ryan Wells. Ryan was watching me and Harv jam that day; he loved us rocking, and I have never been able to get over his loss. Ryan's blood brother Austin is a dear friend of the band, and we almost lost him a couple years ago. This band has seen many drug related deaths, suicides, and the obstacles in our way have at times seemed and felt insurmountable. After almost losing my brother at the beginning of the band in 2007 he got deathly ill and died twice while undergoing surgery due to complications; it was unbelievable. I have had two massive head injuries that both could have easily left me dead or my brain seriously damaged; it was a matter of inches both times. We are still here for a reason, we all believe it's to see Sacrum come to fruition. It has greatly affected the songs, the writing, and the intensity of the live performance. Our songs are about real life, period.
10. In Closing... How do you feel about the fans and their input?
Brad: Our motto has always been "Sacrum: Where the fans and the bands are one". We see the fans as our families, as blood; they are what make us thrive, and they are the reason for being, the motivation, the fuel to our fire. Our myspace means everything to us, and our friend are all REAL people. Not Forbidden, Tila Tequilla, and a bunch of bands and wannabe models. Our 16000+ are people who leave us the comments and messages that keep us going and moving forward. It's frustrating not being signed yet working as hard as we have, but with our fans and new one's corresponding daily with uplifting messages, it's well worth it. Sacrum family, we are coming: that sought-out debut album is coming, and most importantly us getting on tour to come destroy you and meet you afterwards; share a beer, a blunt, some laughs and memories; its all coming. WE LOVE YOU ALL, AND THANK YOU SO MUCH Toni, for the interview and your time. Peace Jeff