Back To The Past (27):

Our Back To The Past story looks a bit different this time. I’ll tell you why. We got in touch with Suzanne, who a few of you readers might remember from her days with the eighties metal band DEATHSLAYER. She provided us with some great pictures and her friend Bill send us a biography. We used Bill’s biography as the actual “Back To The Past” story. Who else could have done this in a better way? Right after the biography, there’s an interview with Suzanne to make our story complete. Our thanks especially goes out to Suzanne and Bill for all their time and effort to make this exclusive interview possible. We wish them all the best for the future!

Suzanne was born in a Manhattan hospital to parents, who had come to the US from their respective homelands of Austria and Croatia. She lived most of her formative years in the borough of Brooklyn, New York. Living in a slowing detriorating area near the old Brooklyn Dodger baseball stadium, she kept to herself, she did very well in school, and she did go on to get a scholarship and a degree from NYU. She also developped a big fondness for music. In particular the new breed of hard rock, called heavy metal. Her first group was formed with her boyfriend Johnny, a young shredder guitarist.
The band was called MARAUDER (not to be confused with the later-day Brooklyn group of the same name but with a hardcore/metal sound). This was in 1981. The sound was very based on the bands that were getting big in metal at the time and you could hear a big IRON MAIDEN/JUDAS PRIEST influence in many of the songs. Johnny was the chief songwriter and Suzanne’s vocals were very strong and she stood out among all the male vocalists at the time. The group became DEATHSLAYER in 1982 with the addition of bassist John Forte and drummer Steve Alliano. Suzanne and Johnny adopted the last name Hearts for stage, and they began playing shows locally in NY City, New Jersey and Long Island, as well as recording many rehearsals and demo tapes. They were featured on the ”New York Metal ‘84” compilation LP alongside notables like OVERKILL, BLACK LACE, CITIES and VIRGIN STEELE. And then on another compilation called “Iron Tyrants” which also featured NASTY SAVAGE and TEEZE among others. DEATHSLAYER were written about in many underground magazines that were popping up with this explosion in the heavy metal scene, many of whom from Europe where metal was reaching masses of people in comparison to its underground cult status in the US. Eventually DEATHSLAYER bass player John Forte left and was replaced by Hugh Essay and the group briefly existed as HELICON thereafter. Drummer Steve Alliano left to sing/drum in his other band, the Brooklyn based trash group PRIMAL SCREAM. Suzanne and Johnny got together with bassist Paul Ross and drummer Michael Hamboussi and formed BEWITCH in 1986, which they played one show as before changing the name to MASK.
Their sound was slicker and slightly more commercial, going for more of a complex QUEENSRYCHE-type sound as opposed to early IRON MAIDEN-ish sound of DEATHSLAYER. The band played locally and recorded a well-produced and professional sounding demo before disbanding in 1988. At this time Johnny and Suzanne did a solo demo in the home studio of fellow Brooklynnite Josh Silver in his pre-TYPE O NEGATIVE days (Johnny once auditioned for Pete Steele’s initial line-up of CARNIVORE, his pre-TYPE O thrash/hardcore band). Suzanne and Johnny then went to LA in 1990 as Southern CA was blowing up with the heavy metal scene and they wanted to be part of it. Once in LA, Suzanne and Johnny eventually parted ways and so Suzanne began auditioning for other bands. Johnny was in several different bands, made a few demos, and played lots of shows in LA, but then relocated to Las Vegas and got married before moving back East to PA years later and joined another band.
Meanwhile, in ’91 Suzanne had landed the singer position in the all-girl band WARBRIDE, who had existed locally on the LA glam rock scene but disbanded. The group was being reformed by original founding member, keyboardist and CA native Velia Goray. The new group was sort of an international line-up that included another CA native Kim Smith on bass, young Australian guitarist Samantha Taylor (who played bassguitar briefly in PHANTOM BLUE), Canadian Michele Pickering on drums, and of course Suzanne Hearts from Brooklyn, NY on vocals. They performed at many venues in the LA circuit including in infamous Whiskey and FM Station as well as appearing on a local music channel. They recorded some demo tapes and video taped many of their gigs and rehearsals, and developed a following locally. In time, however, friction would develop and due to ‘musical differences’, they broke up. Continuing on without keyboardist Goray, the remaining four resurfaced as HEROINE, embracing a heavier thrash influenced sound. They recorded a tape with producer Mikey Davis at a studio, he co-ran with then unknown producer Ross Robinson, who was working with KORN on their first demo at the time. HEROINE hoped to land an European deal with their new material, as the songs were hard and Mikeys production was very slick and professional. Once again, though, rifts started within the band and soon HEROINE was no more.
After a brief time of living in Ohio, Suzanne returned to NYC and took a ‘nine to five’ job and forgot about music briefly. It wasn’t long before she was placing ads to find a new band. She met Bill, a PA bassist who spent time in California in hopes of making it in metal music as well, although he had gone to San Francisco to instead of LA as he was working in the harder thrash metal, which San Francisco was known for. After San Francisco and then Denver, Colorado, he returned East. In the cold bleak winter of ’97, the two created four intense songs filled with moodiness and dark wave overtones in a big raw Brooklyn warehouse space with just her voice and his bass. The songs were never fully realized as the two began looking for other bands. But they remained close. Eventually, in ’99 they began talking of playing together again. They wanted to go in a more electronic meets metal-oriented sound as Suzanne loved dancing and was into some dance music and techno, and Bill was into weird experimental electronic music. They wanted to retain their metal pasts though and incorporate dark wave and gothic atmosphere alongside electronic beats, but also the occasional grind/death metal blasts and chunky riffs and of course influences from all their old thrash and NWOBHM records and of course BLACK SABBATH. Hooking up in a small home studio, the two titled this project WORKER DRONES, as they both realize that they are so busy with their jobs and other aspects of their lives, that they don’t have nearly as much time for music as they would like. Suzanne also had a few amateur pictures sent to the infamous NJ death metal ‘zine The Grimoire Of Exalted Deads and her pics have been in three issues so far as the mesmerizing Vexx. She did it for fun, but the pictures generated a small fanclub of metalheads interested in her. Likewise, with the email communication, bands began inquiring about utilizing her as a session vocalist for recordings as well as inquiries about her old material being made available. In the near future, Suzanne will be releasing a video with clips from DEATHSLAYER, MASK and WARBRIDE, and also a CD compilation of re-mastered takes from her massive archive of material. There are plans to establish a website as well as put the new WORKER DRONES material on MP3 as well as a few underground metal compilations. A colorful history that is far from being over!

Biography by: Bill Gumble

INTERVIEW with Suzanne

When did DEATHSLAYER get together and was this the first band you played in or did you already have other musical experience before that?
Suzanne: “In 1981 Johnny Hearts and I were in a metal band called MARAUDER. Not to be confused with the modern day MERAUDER, also from Brooklyn, NY. DEATHSLAYER formed in 1982. We later got a different bass player and changed the name to HELICON. We dropped a lot of the DEATHSLAYER songs, and wrote some more melodic songs. We wanted to go for a more commercial sound at the time. After that I was in an all-girl band called TOKYO ROSE. Then Johnny and I got together again and formed BEWITCH, which was soon changed to the name MASK.”

Some magazines stated that Johnny Hearts was your brother and some say he was your husband. Was he in fact a relative or did you just have the same last name?
Suzanne: “Johnny and I were boyfriend and girlfriend at the time. Johnny had been using Hearts as his stage name.”

How did you get on the “New York Metal ‘84” compilation (with the song “Journey For Light”)?
Suzanne: “Through Phil DiBenidetto, who ran a local record store called Zig Zag Records in Brooklyn and wrote for a U.S. metal fanzine called Metal Forces. He knew a lot of people in the local and international metal scene. The singer in TEASER, another band on the record, put together some local metal concerts at which we played. He later put together this compilation and wanted us to be included.”

By whom were you influenced in those days?
Suzanne: “I loved QUEENSRYCHE and Geoff Tate's vocals. Also Tony Harnell from TNT. Some of my other favorites at the time were IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST and early OZZY OSBOURNE. Randy Rhoads was my favorite guitarist. When I began to sing, I loved Ann Wilson (HEART) as a female vocalist.”

I’ve seen a lot of reviews of “Cry Of The Swords”- your full length debut album. But most of these reviews talk about an advance tape. I actually never saw this album. Is the album really existing and how many copies were printed of this very interesting release?
Suzanne: “We had a financial backer who funded the recording of "Cry of the Swords" collection of songs. We spent a lot of time recording and mixing the tape, so the money ran out. We were hoping to press and release the album ourselves, but had to put it off at the time. We got a lot of interest from Europe after our review by Phil D. in the Metal Forces magazine of some of those songs. We decided to send out the demo as it was, instead of waiting for a full length release to be complete. A lot of the magazines reviewed the tape, and it was played on many European metal radio stations. We still wanted to record additional songs and finish the album, but the band split up before that could happen.”

And how did you get on the “Iron Tyrants” compilation with the song “Raven’s Nest”?
Suzanne: “We were very popular at that time in the East Coast clubs, New York and New Jersey especially and the word spread about us. Someone contacted us about being on this compilation. I don't remember who it was or how they heard of us.”

When John Forte left DEATHSLAYER, you changed the name of the band to HELICON, why was that? DEATHSLAYER was already gaining some popularity in the underground scene here in Europe.
Suzanne: “SLAYER started about the same time as us on the West Coast and were becoming increasingly popular with their thrash/speed metal sound. People were confusing us with the band SLAYER. They would think that we were also a thrash band, but we were not. Johnny was also starting to write in more of a melodic style, and with new songs to do we started to drop some of the older material. John Forte had left the band, and we had a new bass player. We decided to change the name of the band for all those reasons.”

With whom did you play back in those days?
Suzanne: “TT QUICK, OVERKILL, WHITE LION, Tony Harnell's band JACKAL Probably a lot of other popular bands from back then, that are no longer together.”

After DEATHSLAYER you formed BEWITCH in 1986, which soon became MASK. Why this sudden name change?
Suzanne: “We only used the name BEWITCH for a very short time and decided we did not like it. To run through the names again of the bands I was in with Johnny Hearts: It was MARAUDER first, then DEATHSLAYER. When a new bassist, Hugh Essay, came in the band, we called ourselves HELICON. The line up for BEWITCH was a new bassist and drummer, Paul Ross and Michael Hamboussi. This band had all brand new material not used with DEATHSLAYER or HELICON. So then we called ourselves MASK.”

Why did you change your musical style with MASK so radically?
Suzanne: “It was a new bassist and drummer so of course the sound changed. The new bassist, Paul Ross, contributed a lot to the writing. Johnny was becoming more and more influenced by the commercial metal bands of that time. We were all listening to new bands then. There were so many new sounds in metal at the time, and there were more and more bands with female vocalists.”

MASK disbanded in 1988. How did this happen? Any musical differences or what?
Suzanne: “It was not musical difference. We all were happy with the sound of the band. Johnny wanted the band to go to Los Angeles, CA, where the metal music scene was booming. The rest of us did not want to go right at that time. It would mean having to make a big move which would cost a lot of money. We would have to leave our jobs, friends, and family in New York, and have to start all over again in a new city. We wanted to continue playing in New York where we already had a growing fan base. There were plenty of clubs in the area that would let original bands play. We wanted to wait at least another year, so we would be stronger as a band, and save up some money. Johnny would get impatient if things did not happen quickly. He felt we could make it faster in Los Angeles. All the record labels were based on the West Coast at the time. Glam and commercial metal were big over there too. He thought the East Coast was not the right place for us with our kind of music. Thrash was getting big in the East, and even L'Amour where we had done most of our shows was not having new commercial bands play anymore. I understood all of those things, but I agreed with the other members that we should wait and not rush into a big move. Johnny would not back down, and the other two members refused to go to LA at that time, so the band broke up. I still think it was a big mistake and sad that we could not stay together. I think that was my best band in New York. I think with more time we would have become an even better band and gotten more popular. We would have stood out on the East Coast. Moving to LA at that time we would have gotten lost among all the hundreds of bands that were trying to get noticed on the West Coast.”

How did you actually get in touch with TYPE O NEGATIVE member Josh Silver in whose home studio you recorded a solo demo tape?
Suzanne: “Long before TYPE O. NEGATIVE, Josh Silver had a home studio at his house in Brooklyn. Johnny and I wrote and recorded some songs with him to use as a demo for our move to LA. We wanted some new material, other than the songs we recorded with MASK. I think we met Josh through Pete Steele, who Johnny met when he was auditioning guitarists for the initial line-up of CARNIVORE. Johnny was all set to play with CARNIVORE, but when he saw what kind of costumes he would have to wear, he turned the gig down. Later on in LA I recorded a solo tape for my own material with Johnny playing guitar. These were the songs "Something New" and "Simple Times" that I sent to you. Johnny was a great guitarist but very hard to write with as a vocalist. After being in several bands with him, and attempting another project in LA with him, it was time to go our separate ways. This was when I joined WARBRIDE.”

You return with WARBRIDE - an all female heavy metal band. Why get back to to this heavier music style and who were your influences at this point?
Suzanne: “A guitarist named Lori von Linstruth, from Sweden I think, had formed WARBRIDE before I joined the band. She was heavily influenced by YNGWIE MALMSTEEN. The music had a darker quality, but was still very melodic. They were very popular in LA at the time because she was an excellent guitar player. Power metal with all-female musicians was something new. Eventually because of musical differences and personality clashes she went out on her own. The first year I was in LA, a friend of mine and keyboard player from New York, Cindi Varsos, had also moved out to LA. (She eventually played with an all girl band called MISGUIDED) We were looking for bands on our own but came across the guitarist Lori's ad looking for a female vocalist and musicians. We liked her material and hoped to form a band with her. She decided not to start a whole new band and ended up returning to Sweden (if that's where she was from). When I joined the band WARBRIDE, the keyboardist Velia Garay did most of the writing. All the members were new except for Velia and the bass player. Velia was starting to get influenced by METALLICA, PANTERA, TESTAMENT, SEPULTURA and others so the sound started to get heavier.”

One of the bandmembers came from Canada, two from California, you came from Brooklyn, NY and your bassplayer from Australia. How did this international band get in touch with each other?
Suzanne: “Drummer Michelle Pickering from Canada, came to the U.S. to make it in the music business. Bassist Kim Hays and Velia Garay were California natives. Guitarist Samantha Taylor from Australia, was only 17 when she left to come to L.A. We all met through musicians wanted ads in the local music magazines.”

Samantha Taylor was later to be found in PHANTOM BLUE. How was it to see her name pop up again all of a sudden? And what happened to the rest of the band?
Suzanne: “Samantha Taylor also played bass, so when PHANTOM BLUE needed a bassist, a mutual friend recommended her. She toured with them in the U.S. and Europe, but never recorded with them. I still keep in touch with Velia Garay and Samantha Taylor, who are no longer playing music. Before I left LA, Kim and Michelle had gotten married and had babies. We did not keep in touch.”

The band breaks up and continues as HEROINE. Why this band name change when only the keyboard player changed places in fact?
Suzanne: “In WARBRIDE Velia and I were the main songwriters. In HEROINE, it was Michelle Pickering, the drummer. It started out as her project. There were personality clashes and musical differences with the members of WARBRIDE. Michelle had songs of her own she wanted to do but her writing style was more a power metal sound with melodic vocals. Velia's style was becoming more heavy sounding, and she wanted me to start doing thrash vocals. She also started to play guitar rather than keyboards in some of the songs. At this time WARBRIDE had started a new demo, but in the middle of the recording the other members did not want to continue. Velia wanted to finish the demo, and she found other musicians to play on the tape. I don't think it was ever completed. I never completed the vocals on it. Michelle, Sam, and Kim then formed HEROINE and asked me to do the vocals. I did not contribute to the writing of those songs.”

At that time you worked with producer Ross Robinson (KORN, SOULFLY, LIMP BIZKIT). How was that experience and what were his strong points?
Suzanne: “We did not work with Ross directly. We worked with a producer Mikey Davis who shared a studio with Ross at the time. When we were recording the WARBRIDE demo, Ross was working with the then unknown KORN on their demo. Mikey Davis has worked with many bands and artists, such as Ann Boleyn, WASP & KISS among many others. I did not know Ross very well, but he was extremely dedicated and worked long hours with KORN, which seems to have paid off. I am happy for his success.”

What made you decide to give up music for a couple of years and take a 9 to 5 job?
Suzanne: “I have always worked a 9 to 5 job whenever I was in a band, so that was not something new. There was no money to be made with your music, unless you were signed to a record label. The clubs did not pay you, and you had to sell your own tickets if you wanted to make money. All your money went into flyers and advertising to promote your shows, recording of demos, T-shirts and tapes to give to fans, rehearsal space, gas and travel money. It is all very expensive. I never gave up music. The metal scene had died in LA and a lot of the popular rock clubs had closed down. Alternative rock had become popular, and Seattle, WA and San Francisco, CA were the new music centers. Heavy metal was not a 'cool' term anymore. At that time HEROINE broke up due to lots and lots of differences, personal and musical. Our manager had intended to shop our tape to some European labels, and told us he had a lot of interest. The recording went on way too long, and we were all in big debt from the recording. I think too much time was spent recording and not enough time getting together as a band and rehearsing so the ties started to become undone. Eventually it was decided for many reasons that Sam would no longer be in the band. Another guitarist joined, and it seemed like the bands sound was changing to a more rock groove sound. The songs on our demo already seemed dated by that time. It was hard to capture that sound in the rehearsal studio. The drummer became pregnant so the break became longer. I decided then to do a solo demo, hopefully to sell my songs, and not necessarily as a solo artist. The band members did not like this. I felt I was being honest by telling them my intentions, but they felt I did not believe in HEROINE anymore. We tried to keep the band together, but we all felt it was not going to work. So I went my separate ways. I auditioned for a couple of new bands, but nothing really interested me. The metal scene was dead in L.A. For many reasons, I then moved back to New York to my family and old friends. I began placing ads in music magazines right away. I went to meet with several bands and tried working with various musicians, but nothing ever materialized.”

Then you met Bill, a bass player from PA. He was into thrash metal. Did he know you from your WARBRIDE or DEATHSLAYER period? How did you actually get in touch with him?
Suzanne: “No, he did not know any of those bands. He was into the heavier stuff. He had spent time in CA, too, but had been in the SF Bay Area which was know for all the heavier thrash bands. Years later, I met him here in NYC in November '96 through an ad I placed as a female vocalist looking for a band.”

After your recordings with Bill you spend some time in other bands but returned to Bill to cooperate with him again. What was so special about this first experience that you decided to work with him again?
Suzanne: “Well, Bill and I never did any actual studio recordings. He was set up in this big empty warehouse space in Brooklyn and we composed a few songs with just my voice and his bass. The only recordings we did were the few times we had a boombox with us and pressed the 'record' button. The material was quite moody, very much in the darkwave/ambient kind of sound, very bleak and atmospheric. We may eventually re-use some of that stuff. The other projects I had worked on never progressed. I had started playing keyboards and was working with a guitar player for a few months in Queens, NY. He then decided to devote all his time to another band he was playing with at the time. Bill had begun playing in an ambient/electronic band called NEUTRAL, and was playing some of the smaller clubs in the NYC circuit. They signed to a London based label and recorded a full-length CD themselves in their rehearsal room. The label never released the CD, so the band broke up. He contacted me about getting back together and working on some new material.”

Presently, you’re experimenting with dance and techno rhythms. Why this musical change, ‘cause these styles are far away from all the other more metal stuff that you’ve been doing in the past.
Suzanne: “I like many different styles of music, including dance and techno. It's great for working out and driving long distances. A lot of this music is quite generic but that is true with just about everything. I would say we use techno-type sounds like the band GODFLESH, or even some of the more obscure project bands. It's hard to meet other like-minded musicians who really want to put the time and effort into a full band situation. The whole process of getting together a full line-up and then renting a rehearsal space isn't something we have to worry about. We don't have to pay money to go to a recording studio, nor do we have to cart around gear for a whole band to play an awful 1:30 A.M. slots at local dives for small audiences who could probably care less about us anyway! This is the perfect situation because we don't need to operate as a full band. We just do recording. The drums are always MIDI or from various lo-fi and digital sources. Bill likes to use a lot of cheap analog sources to add that rawness to it. The bass is always live. He plays a tuned-down (and often distorted) 5-string and since he likes a lot of death/doom metal, that sound is present. We come from a metal background so metal will be a part of anything we create. Likewise, we are open-minded to many different styles of music, including gothic, darkwave, psychedelic, and industrial.”

You posed with a few amateur pictures for (death metal) magazine Grimoire of Exalted Deeds. Why did you actually do that? And why did you go by the name Vexx?
Suzanne: “This was a way to promote myself and get some attention in a metal magazine, since I do not have any current metal recordings right now. As a female in metal, looks have always been a big part of it. While it may be frowned upon by some people to use your looks, women in the music business have always used it as a way to bring attention to their talents. I always admired artists such as LORRAINE LEWIS and DORO who had great vocals and stage presence, but were not afraid to be glamorous and sexy. Most of the male artists do it, so why not women. It's not very politically-correct, but who cares? Metal isn't supposed to be! Vexx is a name that sounds harsh, but is also somewhat mystical and sensual.”

The new project you’re working on now is called THE WORKER DRONES. Who did pick that name and why?
Suzanne: ‘Bill has a new name every week. And that was what he wanted to call it at the time. Now he wants to call it THE DRAGONFLY, which is from a song by the band CLUTCH off 'The Elephant Riders' CD that he thinks is such a great song. Until we have some completed songs recorded, who knows if this will be the final name of the project.”

I read that you’re also working on a website and the release of a CD and video compilation. Can you tell our readers a bit more about this all?
Suzanne: “Right now I am concentrating on establishing and creating a website. I have been learning HTML and web graphics, and hope to have it up by the end of the summer. My site will consist of my metal days, as well as any new things I will be involved with. The video will be a collection of clips from live shows of my former bands. I am not sure if I will release a CD of the old material. I do have old tapes that I would need to re-master. If there’s interest, I will press it to CD and put it on MP3.”

I have a picture from a period after WARBRIDE. The story behind the picture is that you girls are looking for a suitable bass player. The band is then called SABRA CADABRA. Did you play long under this name? The name refers to BLACK SABBATH - Did you also play SABBATH tunes in those days?
Suzanne: “We wanted to change the name WARBRIDE since it was a new line up, without the original founding member Lori Von Linstruth. To help us promote the new band, the magazine wanted to write about us so we needed to come up with a new name quickly. We chose SABRA CADABRA, but we decided to go back to WARBRIDE again. I am sorry that the name changes are so confusing. Whenever a new band comes together, you try to get your name in print so people will know about you. At the beginning of a band when you first start playing together, everything is still so new. You spend a lot of time on coming up with a great name and taking good photos. It seems like you need some time to write and rehearse together so you can see in what style and direction the band will go. After you spend more time together you have different ideas of your style and sound then when you first got together.”

From all those bands you’ve been playing with, which one did you like the most and why?
Suzanne: “I can't answer that. They all had songs that I loved, and good musicians. I think I took part in a good variety of musical styles. What I produce in the future will reflect all of those sounds, and I think will end up being my best. I enjoyed playing with male musicians, and being the only female. But I think it is more fun to work with other women in a band. We were like sisters and we were always struggling against the prejudice of women in metal. We felt strong together and we could support each other. We certainly did get a lot of attention being all women in a band. We had some crazy times too.”

What is the NEW JERSEY metal scene like nowadays? Are there any new bands we have to keep our eyes and ears open for?
Suzanne: “I don't get out much so I'm the wrong person to ask. Hardcore is big in New Jersey and New York. There are a lot of newer bands that are doing some interesting things within the local scene. CANDIRIA from Brooklyn and DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN from NJ are two local East Coast bands that are gaining a lot of attention and creating some innovative material. Some of the old thrash bands like WHIPLASH and HADES are back with new releases and are playing shows, too.”

What are your other hobbies besides music?
Suzanne: “I work out and weight train. I'm concentrating on learning HTML and web design mostly. I also like to get away from the city and go to the country when I can. I like to lay out in the sun and go on hikes in the woods. I like to write in a journalistic style a lot too. Who knows, maybe one day I will write a book about my metal days.”

How did you feel when someone from Holland got in touch with you and asked you about your DEATHSLAYER days, after so many years?
Suzanne: “I used to get a lot of mail from all the fanzines and metal fans in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. It was great to have someone from there interested in my music again. I was very surprised that you had remembered me and the band. I think it is great that you have put together this publication and web site Metal Maidens. I didn't know that music fans would still be interested in us old metal chicks.”

Do you have any nice stories you like to share with our readers from all those years that you played in so many different bands.
Suzanne: “I will have to take some time to go back down memory lane. I had been involved with so many different musicians, and played in so many places, sometimes it is hard to remember each small incident. All I can say is that being in bands you learn a lot about other people and about yourself. It can become one big soap opera that the music sometimes can become secondary. I think the most successful bands are those that were able to channel their hard times and personal lives into some great material. Trent Reznor and Kurt Cobain to name a couple. You always have to believe in your music 100%. You can never doubt what you are doing. You have to believe that each member is just as important as the next, otherwise the bond is broken and you can't accomplish what you had started out to do. I sometimes feel sad that the bands I believed in so much at one time, could never make it past all the internal troubles, and never went further then recording a demo and playing the local clubs. Speaking just before about women in metal, I remember doing a show with WHITE LION. At the time their bass player was Dave Spitz who had played in one of the BLACK SABBATH line ups. I remember him coming to me and saying that he thought I had a great voice. He told me that he thought I could go very far. It was great to hear this from someone who had such a history in the music business.”

What are your future plans in music?
Suzanne: “Bill and I are currently working on THE DRAGONLFY. The music is in the experimental electronic vein, but with old school metal overtones, since both of us are oldschool metal people. Bill is into alot of weird grindcore and that offtime metal riffing stuff so that will be a big part of it. He's gradually learning more about recording with the computer so it's been a constant process. He has studio engineering experience but is new to computers, like me....and I thought computers were supposed to make our lives easier.....yeah sure!!!! We both have full-time jobs and busy lives so making music is not a big priority at the moment, unfortunately. When we get about four or five finished songs done, though, we will burn our own CDs and release it ourselves as well as on MP3. We'd consider being on any sort of underground compilation CD's, too, so please get in touch with us. Likewise, if any band would like to possibly release a split CD with us, we're interested in that also. Just contact us. We're nice people - honest!! I myself am branching out from music, too. I will be appearing as Vexx in the upcoming video of 'Metalheads' directed by Grimoire editor Bill Zebub. We will be appearing at the Chiller Horror Convention in NJ on Halloween to promote it. There is also a chance that I will be interviewing KING DIAMOND for an upcoming issue of the Grimoire.”

Have you got any messages to our readers or is there something you’d like to add to this interview?
Suzanne: “Thanks to Rita and Toine for the support and being such great people! Take care, everyone!!!!”

written by: Toine van Poorten/copyright Metal Maidens

Suzanne Hearts (Suzanne Morovic)- vocals [HELICON (US), MASK (US), WARBRIDE]
Johnny Hearts- guitar [HELICON {US), MASK (US)] John Forte- bass br> Steve Alliano-drums [HELICON (US), PRIMAL SCREAM]

DEATHSLAYER discography:
*Cry Of The Swords (provate; demo 1984)
*Demo (self released; demo 1984)