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©2006 website by Gone West


Reviewed for Girls and Corpses by Robert Rhine

©girlsandcorpses.com All right reserved

G&C: Welcome to Girls and Corpses, Dave!

DM: Glad to be here!

G&C: You have been a musician and bass player for like a hundred years. Did you OD on Viagra?

DM: Let's just say it was "Viagra-related"...

issue #5

G&C: Is it hard to get it up when you're dead?

DM: Not at all, that's the best part about being dead... a constant stiffy. I'm saving a fortune on Viagra. Gotta be a little more careful these days, though, things can get brittle.

G&C: Spock's Beard, huh? Is that like a Star Trek tribute band?

DM: Not so lucky. That would probably be more fun. William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy both put out a series of embarrassingly bad records that would be a blast to cover. Especially if we could wear the outfits. Did any of the other cast members put out any music records? That's a good trivia question.

G&C: So, what is Spock's Beard? How would you describe your sound?

DM: It's Progressive Rock, but we're pretty modern sounding, hard hitting and very listenable. Progressive Rock has a reputation of being this overblown, overplayed weirdo music for geeks, but there is a lot of Prog coming out these days that is really great, fresh new music, and I think we're part of that movement.

We do draw from a lot of earlier Prog influences such as Yes, Pink Floyd, Genesis, King Crimson, etc, but we also infuse our own sound and a lot of modern rock influences as well.

G&C: Who are the band members and how did you all hook up?

DM: A fellow named Neal Morse thought that it would be cool to write some very grand music one day in the early '90's and proceeded to do so. He had his brother Alan Morse play guitar on some of it, and Al really dug it.

They decided it would be a trip to play this material live, so they needed to put a band together. They met Nick D'Virgilio (drums) and Ryo Okumoto (keys) at a jam session, and the original bass player was an old friend of Neal's.

They did a couple shows, mission accomplished, and that was that for a while. Neal and Al decided it would then be cool to keep the project alive and record it properly to see what it could sound like. That's where I came in, and that was in 1994.

It was a real blessing for me, I had just started to become extremely bored with the band I was in and needed something to challenge me and let me explore another musical personality. And this fit the bill perfectly.

Anyway, we did the CD as pretty much a vanity project, and somehow, almost without trying, it got a small indie distribution deal in 1995. One thing lead to another, and all of a sudden we were a real band.

That went along very merrily for a few years, then in 2002 Neal quit to pursue ...er... some other stuff... after six studio CD's, and at the peak of our success.

We bravely decided to keep it going without him, and amazingly enough, pulled it back together very nicely. We've released two CD's as a four piece, and are getting ready to record the next one (Spock's Beard's 9th studio CD) starting in April.

So. .. the current band members are:
Nick D'Virgilio - drums and lead vocals
Alan Morse - guitar and vocals
Ryo Okumoto - keyboards
Dave Meros - bass

G&C: How many albums have you cut and who's your daddy, I mean, label?

DM: We have eight studio CD's released, a few live CDs, and a couple DVD's. We are currently on InsideOut Records, both for Europe and America.

G&C: How difficult was it getting your first album made?

DM: It was surprisingly easy. We just decided it would be cool to do, hired out a friend's studio and played it down. It was all just for fun at that time with no expectations. Al loaned the band the money to record it. It was VERY low budget, but it turned out OK.

photo by Fred Hendriks

photo by Alex Solca

G&C: So, you play bass -- that's the big guitar right?

DM: Yeah, like a guitar with a couple missing strings. It's the thing guys get stuck playing when they suck at guitar.

G&C: Our female fans want to know. Do bass players do it deeper? (That's corpse humor).

DM: Yes, deeper and dirtier. And slimier.

G&C: Did you study music, did you learn to play by numbers, or are you a child prodigy?

DM: I did study music as a child, classical piano for a number of years, then onto various brass instruments, but I've managed to throw away all of that accumulated knowledge somehow, and I'm proud of it!

I actually didn't start playing bass until I was 20, and only because my friend had a band that needed a bass player. As soon as I picked it up I realized that was my natural instrument, and I was playing gigs three weeks later. Life is a funny thing. I'm finding that death is much funnier, however. And I mean that in a good way.

G&C: Who do you look up to musically?

DM: Too many to really give a good answer. But to give you a very schizophrenic sample, The Beatles, Miles Davis, Black Sabbath, Yes, Tool, Jellyfish, Tom Jones, Bach, Frank Zappa, Led Zeppelin . .. I could go on indefinitely.

G&C: Please don't. Would you play with Clay Aiken for a million dollars?

DM: Yes

G&C: How about fifty bucks and a slurpie? (By slurpie I mean the drink, though Clay might go for the other).

DM: Doesn't matter, for fifty bucks it's a no either way. For the million bucks, though, I might re-think my aversion to the slurpie part if that was part of the deal. Let's face it, a million bucks is a million bucks.

G&C: Who's your favorite corpse band?

DM: Cannibal Corpse, Rotting Christ, I like 'em all. Especially the ones with a dude that sings like Cookie Monster.

G&C: And speaking of corpse bands... didn't you play with Eric Burdon and tour with him for fifteen years?

DM: Ha!!! That's funny! But yes, it's true.

G&C: He was superstar of the 60's -- but his groupies must keep use walkers to get to the stage.

DM: You're closer to the truth than you know. It started getting very depressing, actually. I mean, we all know that being dead and in any state of decomposition is way cool. .. that goes without saying. . . but that period of time before death, when people are kind of close but still hanging in there is a pretty weird scene, especially when they're re-living their youth and trying to rock out.

G&C: When you played with him were women throwing their dentures onto the stage?

DM: Not on purpose.

G&C: Would you ever put them in your mouth during the show to see if they fit?

DM: No, I'd put them down my pants, rub them around a little, then hand them back with a really sick smile on my face.

G&C: With all those years of touring you must have some sick stories. What are some of your strangest experiences on the road? And what are some of your best (worst) groupie horror stories?

DM: It would have to be the one with the dogs, hollowed out grapefruit, Vaseline and balloons. But this is a family oriented magazine, so I won't go into details. My life is all one big long sick story, really. Kind of a permanent enactment of The Aristocrats as written and directed by David Lynch. But that's the way I choose to live!

G&C: We're family oriented? You must have a verrry strange family. You also played with Iron Butterfly. Wait... are you really a corpse?

DM: Uh. .. let me check. . . yep, still totally corpseified. There were fewer corpses in the audience at the Iron Butterfly show than at Eric Burdon shows, though. That show was actually just a one-off for me. The original bass player, Lee Dorman, was ill, so I filled in for him. He's doing much better now. It was really a fun gig, and a nice bunch of guys.

G&C: Where are your touring next?

DM: Spock's Beard has a mini-tour in May that I'm really looking forward to. We have 9 dates here in the U.S., spanning the country. Visit www.spocksbeard.com to see the tour schedule.

G&C: You have a killer collection of skull and bone artifacts. What got you interested in collecting the dead?

DM: I've been interested in skulls and skeletons as long as I can remember. I don't know why, I have always just thought they were extremely cool. When I was a kid I wanted to be an archeologist or paleontologist so I could dig them up and be around them. Halloween is by far my favorite holiday because that's the only holiday that glorifies skulls, skeletons, corpses, and all that other cool stuff.

G&C: Where do you find these treasures?

DM: For the last few years I've been interested mainly in skull and skeleton artwork, primarily a lot of the Dia De Los Muertos stuff. I like the more primitive style of it. So a lot of it comes from Mexico. Mexico rules in every way. You can also find something that's really cool occasionally at biker rallies, but a lot of that stuff is pretty cheesy.

G&C: Are these actually the bones of groupies? Our readers want to know.

DM: There are still open case files on some of the groupies, so I won't comment.

G&C: What do you think of our corpses?

DM: Your corpses are the hottest I've ever seen. Seriously.

G&C: I'll be sure to tell our corpse digger Kevin Klemm. He has a very descrimiating eye and a strong nose. We also have a photographer who is an expert at making the dead look fresh and youthful, Lon Casler Bixby. If you could serenade a corpse, what would you play and why?

DM: Probably something by Marvin Gaye or Al Green. Their ability to get guys laid with their music transcends even death.

G&C: What do you want on your Tombstone?

DM: "Ahhhh... finally"

G&C: Thank you for not saying, "pepperoni."

Spock's Beard on MySpace