Stardate 08/05/2020 16:18 


Butcher is the evolutionary brainchild of former Coven bassist StoneAge, and Storm lead guitarist Joel Myers.

Butcher's existence is inseparably intertwined with each band it evolved out of. There were four major steps that led to the formation of Butcher. For the sake of simplicity we will list them as Coven 1, Coven 2, Coven 3, and Storm.

What would eventually become known as Butcher, originally began in 1982 as Coven (1). Formed by guitarist Twisted (currently of Australia's Paradigm), and bassist StoneAge, with lead guitarist/vocalist Randy McRill and former Antarez drummer Gary Sheehan filling out the lineup. During this time, Twisted and StoneAge wrote several songs together (many never completed). A considerable number of those pieces would later appear in, or influence to a great degree, many Butcher recordings. Twisted eventually left the band and joined a similar style group, Razor Sharp, and performed his own versions of much of the material.

StoneAge reformed Coven (2) with C.T. Fritts; rhythm and lead guitar, Rick Velasquez; drums, and Roy Anschutz; vocals. Velasquez departed the group prematurely after only a handful of live performances. Vocalist Anschutz expressed his interest in filling the drum slot, as well as continuing vocals. Having been a drummer in previous bands, he was a shoo-in for the part. Now a trio, the decision was made for Fritts to assume rhythm guitar, and to find a lead guitarist to round out the group. Jon Napper was selected for the role.

Coven (3) performed live, as well as recording two songs at Avante' Studios with engineer/producer Lee Lester. 'King of the Hill', and 'Battleaxe', were released in August of 1986. (Both songs are integrated into Butcher's current album as part of a dramatized depiction of a nuclear strike.) Anschutz left the band suddenly in February 1987 for reasons unknown. Shortly thereafter, Napper left as well, to pursue his own musical direction, leaving only StoneAge and Fritts.

After several auditions, they reformed the group with Joel Myers; guitar, who originally (and ironically), had been a roadie for the band. Followed by drummer Richard Ybarra. StoneAge, Fritts, and Ybarra took over vocal duties. With StoneAge remaining as the only "original" member, it was considered appropriate to change the name of the band. Storm was chosen in 1988. This lineup performed live only a few times, choosing to focus their attention more on writing material for a full length recording project.

In February of 1989, C.T. Fritts found it necessary to resign from the band due to numerous external circumstances. The loss of Fritts devastated the band, and forced a change of direction. Rhythm guitarist, Rich Blank, was temporarily called in to fulfill, then current, obligations. At this time, the group even worked briefly with female lead vocalist Dhyanna Sinn, and eventually broke up in 1990.

StoneAge, and Myers decided to assemble a new group to record the material that had accumulated since the band began. During this period, Myers, and StoneAge continued writing, and arranging songs, and collaborating with female vocalist Lil Tang, formerly of the thrash band Compound Fracture.

Butcher came into being in 1991 with the addition of former Iceberg guitarist Cris Jackson, and drummer Gary "The Beast" Vertrees.

Butcher began recording in 1993 with recording engineer Steve English at The Sound Factory studio, which resulted in the groups first three-song single (now out of print). Producer Jim Waters took over the project at his facility, Waterworks West, and continued until their full-length debut album 'Iron Tiger' was released on May 17th of 1996. Shortly after the release of the album, drummer Vertrees relocated out of state and was subsequently replaced with original Coven (1) drummer Gary Sheehan, and a follow-up album was started. Once again at Waterworks.

Due to an extremely unpleasant plethora of events that seemed to continually, (and inexplicably), plague each member of the group, production moved along at a snail's pace throughout ALL of the late 90's and the early years of the new century. During the recording of the rhythm tracks, when Cris Jackson was killed in a motorcycle accident, all recording ceased.

Two years following Jackson's untimely death, StoneAge and Myers made the decision to resume recording of the groups follow-up album, primarily as a "memorial" to their lost friend, and guitarist, Cris. In February, 2008, Lil Tang was called in to record demo lead, and background vocals on several of the existing tracks. Her energy and creativity (coupled with an enthusiastic personality that Cris always found humorous and amusing), complemented the sound Butcher was looking for, and she was asked to stay on as a permanent member.

In November of 2008, bassist StoneAge suffered a cerebellar stroke during the vocal recording sessions and was unable to return to the studio until March of 2009. Butcher continued studio work in a limited capacity until StoneAge had recovered enough to complete vocal tracks and to participate in the mixing sessions later that year.

In May of 2010, just as mixing was complete, drummer and longtime friend Gary Sheehan, found it necessary to resign from Butcher and relocate to Northern California. StoneAge, Myers, and Tang continued forward with the mastering process and graphics layout duties until all aspects of the album were completed on September 28th, 2010.

After a tumultuous four years of recording fraught with interruptions, equipment malfunctions, cost overruns, delays, scheduling conflicts, and health issues, the aptly named follow-up album, 'Welcome to the Night' was released by French label, Infern÷ Records on November 20th, 2010. With dramatization tracks recorded at Double Diamond Studios with engineer Jim Hewitt, as well as all new musical numbers recorded analog at WaterWorks with producer Jim Waters, and mastered by John Gray at The Saltmines studios in Phoenix. Former Coven guitarists Twisted and Jon Napper both make guest appearances on the album as well as do the final rhythm guitar tracks of the late Cris C. Jackson.

(source: Butcher, February 2011)

Related websites:

Butcher (USA) @

Label websites:

Infern├ Records

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Founded: 1991
Status: active
Country of origin: USA



Iron Tiger (1996)
Welcome to the Night (2010) Read a review by Lane