Originally Posted on: February 6th, 2012
Marquis got lost deep within the forests of the north west and in a desolate little shack, garnished with doll heads and skeletal remains, there sat alone in the cold dank stillness, Overdue Exorcism's Charlie J.J. Kruger, holding a bloody knife. Grinning like an undertaker. Before Marquis found himself walled up within the little shack, he was tied down and then had a little chat with Charlie.
H-P: Well, first off. Why don't you tell us a little bit about the band. A brief history, line-up and how ya came up with your name?
CHARLIE: Well I honestly can't remember how Doug and I came up with the name... I'm going to say he did. But if you ask him, I'm sure he will say i did... so... let's just say he did. But the idea for the band came about after years of just adoring horror films, and being an almost unrealistically large fan of all things associated. I love what horror films (books, stories, campfire stories, so one and so forth) mean, and why we tell them.To me it's the most natural form of storytelling, and storytelling is the most natural form of communication. So it just seemed like the best way for me to talk about my life, my joys, my sorrows, my friends, my ex-friends would be through images and metaphors to the world of horror. Doug is just about the best songwriter i have ever worked with, so he was just the natural addition to the group, and the two of us are the core of the band.
H-P: You have a unique sound blending punk and metal riffs. It’s dirty, gritty and raw, yet refined. What are some of your influences?
CHARLIE: Well, for Doug, I know he is influenced by Pantera, Black Label Society, and a lot of other groove-based guitar players, and I think you can hear that in a lot of his playing. Since he writes the overwhelming bulk of the guitar parts its really his shining strength here. Lyrically I would say I am influenced most by Mister Monster. But I would hope to say that I don't write much like J~Sin, just really get into the spirit of his words when I write, this kinda brokenhearted serenade from beyond the grave kinda feel. But when I am writing songs for this band my influences are from Blitzkid, and Vagora, Darrow Chemical Company (now at least haha), Mister monster (again), H2O, SLAYER, and a lot of Pantera actually. I also play in a hardcore/deathmetal band as the vocalist so a lot of my more harsh vocals end up coming from that world of things, you can hear that on the new album in songs like 'These Walls Are Filled With Corpses 1 & 3', and my sorta rhythmic talking, which you can hear on songs like 'Pink Prom Dress' and others comes from my huge love of Tom Warrior from Celtic Frost/Hellhammer/Triptykon. The last song on this new album even has a bit of a 1476 vibe to it...
H-P: Now let's talk a little bit about your new album, "4; The Revenge". Why this title? Is there some deeper meaning?
CHARLIE: HAHA! Oh yes, there is some deeper meaning. Like I said before, horror is the most natural way to convey emotion, because it is such a huge blanket, it opens sores and rubs salt in them, just by nature, and covers so much space that people are already a little uncomfortable, they are a little put off, now when you delve into issues of self worth, of self loathing, of loneliness, of heartache, and even of joy, people are already in this state where things effect them all the more. So for this album, 'Overdue Exorcism 4 ; The Revenge' (a title borrowed from the 4th Jaws film, see what we did there?) I am not only making reference to a film, but more importantly giving the album some direction. Each Overdue album, lyrically, has its own sorta focus. The first one (As We Eat Your Brains) was a little scattered out, trying to find our voice, the second (Old Stone Curse) was all about isolation, feeling left our and alone, the third one (Emily; Dearly Beloved) was about falling in love, getting used to being a part of a whole with another person, and a lot of fears that come out of that kind of partnership, and this new one is about dealing with regret, remorse, and anger. It's about finding ways to make things better after you screw up everything in your life. So it's about taking revenge, not with a knife, or a baseball bat or anything, but getting back to where you need to be.
H-P: What is the song writing process for Overdue Exorcism?
CHARLIE: Well it depends, like I said Doug writes the majority, the vast one at that, of the guitar work, for the most part I write the lyrics back out here in Olympia, Washington, and then return to New Jersey, write out some drumlines with Doug together, lay down some scratch guitar, he lays down the real guitar, sometimes borrowing riffing, sometimes keeping time but completely changing it up, then I put down bass, and then I track my vocals and some scratch vocals for parts I want him to sing, and then he bangs out his vocals and we are all but done. Doug does the mixing and mastering afterI head back to Oly, and then he sends me the finished songs, and I put them out. That being said, I am always writing, I mean, I wrote 37 songs for this album, only 21 got finished in time, a few others just werent working out/werent done, so they are in the backs of notebooks and in my head now. But I have 7 brand new songs written for our next album already, 4 of which I have NO doubt will make it onto the next one, one of which I want to be the title track... so we work quickly. haha.
H-P: Now your lyrics are pretty graphic, do you have any plans on making a video to give a visual experience to your music?
CHARLIE: haha, well... man, that is a good one. NO, for the time being. We had wanted to do a video for the song 'Jersey Devil' off the last album, because it really explains my feelings about being back in New Jersey... but at the same time... music videos, for as cool as they are, and as much as I love them... they are something bands I love do... they arent something I do. Maybe this is a bit of that self-doubt acting up or something, but I mean, when The Doomsday Prophecy put out their video for 'Long Lost Friend' i was pumped as hell! I loved it, because those guys, Brian, JV, Loki, Jake, they are all class acts and killer nice dudes, I have grown up listening to their music, Gotham Road, Norman Bates, Mister freaking Monster, and now Doomsday and Darrow... they are like.. heroes of mine. THEY make music videos, I'm not on the same rung as them. I am just a fan who is lucky enough to make music. You know? I'm just a guy who loves music enough to write (quite a lot) of it. I feel like I am not quite at a point where I can do something as adult and... authentic as a music video, and do it right. I mean, this album is the 26th one I have written/co-written that I have released in the past 25 months. That's a lot of music, haha, and I love every second of it, but I'm just not... I just don't feel 'adult' enough to make a video quite yet. But who knows, maybe after this month on Horror-Punks I will finally feel like I should. haha.
H-P: So, do you plan to tour to support the album?
CHARLIE: Nope. As much as I would love to do that again I can't right now. My day job kinda gets in the way of that, and I really love my job. I run the front end of a restaurant here in Oly which is owned by one of my good friends who is a bit older than I am, and that takes up a lot of time, but again, I love it. Doug is a manager at CVS, so he makes pretty nice money doing it, and he has a lot of other stuff goin on in his life, so a real tour won't be happening any time soon, sorry! haha. But if enough people keep pickin' up the music (which is free... you can donate, but it is free) then maybe one day that WILL be a reasonable idea...
H-P: Now, I understand you guys live on opposite coasts. Do you find it difficult to work on material, record etc…?
CHARLIE: Well I'm originally from Dumont, New Jersey, and so I knew Doug before I moved, but now that I live out in Washington. Yeah, it's a bit annoying that I'm out here and he is out there, but at the same time, we talk a lot, we both have other bands, we both do things on our own, so when we do get together, we make up for lost time. I mean, the third album, Emily; Dearly Beloved, was written and recorded in a weekend (the structures were prewritten, but it was all fleshed out during the weekend) that I came back to NJ to see the MISTER MONSTER reunion show last February. And then this new one was written and recorded the same way over the course of a week when I came back to see some family and then see Vagora, Darrow Chemical Company, The Doomsday Prophecy, and Mister Monster again... haha. So we find the time.
H-P: You guys have a huge sound, for the gear Heads out there, what tools of torture, er… I mean equipment do you guys use?
CHARLIE: Thanks! that's really Doug's doing. He is a mixing/mastering genius. We use a lot fo Line 6 gear, a lot of digital distortion preamps that he has built himself, jazz bases for the most part, and Doug plays a KILLER Les Paul that he bought, with me actually about three years ago on the same day we went to see Danzig's Black Christmas show, the one that had the Gorgeous Frankenstein & Michale Graves reunion at it. So it's kinda blessed in that way.He also uses a monstrous explorer, and just scored a beautiful SG. But the answer is lots of digital effects, and then some tube work to make it feel warmer.
H-P: When not burying people alive, killing people off, or creating some sort of chaos, what do you do on you’re off time?
CHARLIE: I paint, I do a lot of graphic design for other bands, lots of album layouts and covers and such, I hang out at the horrorfilm themed coffee shop my amazing girlfriend is a co-owner of (it's called Burial Grounds, and its located here in Olympia), watch movies, read books, and fancy myself quite the music nerd. But a lot of hanging out. I'm a real wolfpack kinda guy, so I have my blood out here, my new family of sorts, and they are guys that I really love, really respect and really wanna be around, so if I may take advantage of this spot and give them all a shout out, my brood out here would be buddies like Quinn, John, Morgan, Ryan, Jacqui, Victor, Jake, Ruth, Sean, Ian, Erica, and a few others.
H-P: Now, I understand you’re a big movie fan. Care to embellish a bit?
CHARLIE: My walls are covered in posters, I have blown all my money on DVDs, Boxed sets, books, all of it. haha. My list of my 5 all time favorite films would have to be 1. The Wrestler 2. The Bride of Frankenstein 3. Stand By Me 4. Big Night and 5. Alien 3 (assembly cut). I think they are all killer films that kinda reach into all genres that I love. But yeah, movies, and movie references have really permeated my life in a lot of ways. Like my song 'The Videos Told Me' says, 'Im a B-Movie Gore Junkie.'
H-P: What are some of your favorite horror-movies?
CHARLIE: Favorite horror movies? Oh man!... well Candyman, obviously.It's real life horror, the blending of race-relations and urban legends to create a truly romantic villain... perfect! The Blair Witch Project, say what you will now, but this movie is groundbreaking, thought provoking, and shocking to it's core, and the first time you saw it, you were scared. Admit it. haha. The Bride of Frankenstein, this movie is beyond beautiful, it's beyond visual and stunning, it's just the perfect representation of heartbreak. No other film has shaped my lyrics for this band more. Every album has at least one song that takes cues from this one. Even Old Stone Curse, our 4 song EP. I mean, 'We belong dead, underground, six feet under, in a hundred different graves' from the song 'My Bride' really pulls it together. haha. But then of course the 1910 Frankenstein, the original Karloff Frankenstein, Son, Ghost, all the Frankenstein films really... Near Dark, The Lost Boys, Ginger Snaps, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the original Alien trilogy (there was no fourth film... what are you talking about?), Night of the living dead, and we cant forget the killer RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD... man... too many to name. interview me again, I'll give you more. haha.
H-P: What are your thoughts on the current state Hollywood, with all of the remakes, lack of originality and so on?
CHARLIE: Oh man... it's not just hollywood, its horror in general. So many horror bands are just looking like my chemical romance and sounding like crappy versions of AFI now... so many horror novels are just poor excuses for poor writers, writing (you guessed it!) poorly. Horror has become easy. People aren't pushing things like they used to. i mean, look at Black Christmas. ok? The original is shocking, evil, dark, sad, charming, and then ultimately, the set up for something heinous. It's twisted and nerve-wracking, the remake... a pile of shit. Paint by numbers, nothingness. It's just a 'horror for dummies' version of a classic. Same goes for Prom Night, The Hitcher, Texas Chainsaw, the Hitcher again (I really hated this remake... god I hated it... the original is SUCH a classic) My Bloody Valentine... I mean the list continues. People have given up on what really scares us. Now it's all gore. For every Saw film, which actually plays with your mind and gives you something to think about (other than the second one... god that one was the worst...) we get a freakin Hostel or something. It isnt about Candyman anymore. Horror isn't about wondering who the real badguy is, it isn't about feelings of guilt and remorse, horror isn't passion and fear, now it's all blood, tits, and a few gallons of CGI. Screw all that. I don't need it, and I dont want it.
H-P: Which do you prefer, Classic or Modern Horror?
CHARLIE: Classic like the 40s? or classic like the 80s? Both winners. haha. I'm also a fan of the Scream era 90s-early '00s horror generation. It's the stuff I grew up on. I'm 22 now, and movies like Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Urban Legend, these were the films I watched at sleepovers, and alone late at night. These were my "Freddies", my "Jasons" and I love them for it. But not much of new horror films, for the most part. I think after 28 Days Later, zombies became a little played out. Now they are just the excuse for a shitty movie. 99% of all zombie movies are passionless wastes of digital space... every now and then though... like The Hoard, there is a good one. I am really into movies like Lake Mungo, or the shockingly underrated Home Movie. I'm into a lot of fake documentary or found footage films because I think they are the last new breath mainstream horror has seen... now, I haven't seen one that beats Blair Witch, but that's fine, Lake Mungo and Home Movie come as close as humanly possible, I actually recommend them!
H-P: Are there any current bands that "rock" your tomb?
CHARLIE: Oh hell yeah! So here goes the shout out time... Darrow Chemical Company, Vagora, Blitzkid, 1476, Mister Monster, The Doosday Prophecy, Trainyard, Big Quinn and the Broken Hearts, Dead N' Wasted, Pig Destroyer, SLAYER, Goddamn Gallows, 108, Eshas, Lamb of God, Darkest Hour, Social Distortion, The Hangmen, and Wolves in the Throne Room.
H-P: What's currently in your CD player (or mp3 player)?
CHARLIE: Tom Waits' new album 'Bad As Me', and the Summers End album that came out forever and a half ago. Thought I'm thinking tonight it may be a little bit of the new Mighty Mighty Bosstones album, and some FTTW by H2O.
H-P: What does the future hold for Overdue Exorcism?
CHARLIE: Well, we are just finishing up a HUGE remix/remaster of the first 2 albums that will be coming out soon, and it sounds AMAZING... so much better than they sound normally. And then the next album, which I have a working title for, 'The Hangings on Niagara Street'. Named after the street in Dumont i grew up on. Doug is getting ready to put out the debut album from his other project titled 'Healing Bruise'. I like their stuff. Really melodic almost Nirvana Foo Fighters kinda stuff. not my normal taste, but totally interesting and powerful. you should give it a spin. Also, I'm gearing up to put out an album with another of my bands called WORTHLESS. And I'm getting some work done on a few other projects. So we will be busy!
H-P: Any final words?
CHARLIE: Yeah, this is an amazing site, run by amazing people, who do amazing work. I am honored to be a featured band, and I am proud to have my name here next to some greats. Thanks Marquis and Horror-Punks, and thanks readers, pick up my bands album FOR FREE here: http://rustyhack-sawrecords.bandcamp.com/album/4-the-revenge
H-P: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us and we wish you much success...
CHARLIE: You too man! I hope you find your way out of the shed...
Visit Charlie JJ Kruger online: www.charliejackjosephkruger.com