Welcome to the musical universe of Steve Cefala. I was astonished when I pressed play on my cellphone. I had heard that he had partly British ancestry, was a distant relative to Jefferson and Washington, and liked guys like Pat Buchanan, General Alexander Haig, Ross Perot, Hunter S Thompson, Newt Gingrich and POTUS Donald Trump. I thought he would do folk music like the songs that must have gone through the heads of the minutemen back in the 18th century (ha ha I was so wrong). Dark heavy metal rarely gets better than this. Anyone familiar with black/doom metal band Dawning could have heard Steve before.
My thoughts go to Black Sabbath and classical 80's metal, but with a new twist. The guitars and bass go deep like Sabbath's best, and Steve Cefala's way of singing is versatile and magnetic, going from growling to a stone hard cool voice like that of a low-pitched ZZ Top smelling of gasoline and one too many "Fuck you I'm Millwall". This is a guy that knows how to put intense emotions into his words. If there is one record that would accompany me on a road trip along a dramatic coastline I would definitely pick this one. It's loud and yet extremely beautiful, you know the feeling you get when you're playing around on the guitar neck when you've just had the world's strongest drink. If this had been the soundtrack for Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas I would have bought the movie.
All in all, Rotten Copper is a prime example of right wing heavy metal coming out of the shell. Each song is different from the other and you get totally new experiences, from the speedy rockabilly-metal-number "Robokill Plaza" (weird or great, you choose) to the short but electric madrigal-like 21st century chamber music wonder "The Baroquen". I sometimes come to think of Cock Sparrer's remake of "Sunday Stripper" and sometimes I think of Nick Cave at his prime. Harmony and disharmony working together.
To all you right wingers out there who long for a cultural revolution, I present to you: Steve Cefala and Rotten Copper.
1. WHEN AND WHY DID YOU START CREATING MUSIC?
I naturally began composing classical guitar songs at the age of 16. The first was for my grandfather, a 2 star general Thomas Lipscomb (who designed the president’s nuclear bunker and was involved in Project Oregon Trail, the US official bio-weapons response).
2. IF YOU COULD BOIL DOWN YOUR MUSIC INTO THREE WORDS, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?
Freestyle melodic rebellion.
3. NAME THREE IMPORTANT DATES IN YOUR BAND’S HISTORY AND WHY THEY MATTERED?
When Trump won the election it confirmed that the neo-surfs had united against their masters. The band tells a prophetic story which gets confirmed by current events.
4. IF YOU COULD PICK YOUR FAVORITE SONG FROM YOUR ALBUM(S), WHAT WOULD THAT BE?
The Green Nebula is my favorite because it is about the Stephen King movie Maximum Overdrive which is my favorite film.
5. HOW DO YOU MANAGE TO REACH OUT WITH YOUR MUSIC?
Because my music is different, it reaches out only to the chosen few. It is like the Excalibur sword that not everyone can pull out.
6. WHAT FUTURE PROJECTS CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO?
I plan to focus on physical cd releases. But it is important that I return to playing classical guitar again , because nothing compares to the music of Bach.
7. I LOVE THE ECHO ON YOUR VOICE, IT MAKES IT ALMOST THEATRICAL AND GOES WELL TOGETHER WITH THE BRUTAL GUITARS, HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THAT IDEA?
One idea I have always tried is to make the vocals sound like a loud whisper, to make it a dream-state.
8. YOUR NAME ”ROTTEN COPPER” MAKES ME THINK OF A POLICE OFFICER PAID BY THE MAFIA, HOW WOULD YOU EXPLAIN THE IDEA BEHIND THE NAME?
That is pretty much the idea behind it. Where I live in Salinas the average dude was working against the system. Old school gangsters , bikers, rock and rollers. They mistrust the system.
9. I HAVE GOT THE IMPRESSION YOU ARE QUITE LIBERTARIAN, IS THAT CORRECT, AND IS THERE ANY CONNECTION BETWEEN YOUR POLITICAL VIEWS AND YOUR CHOICE OF MUSIC GENRE?
I grew up in New Jersey at the time of Springsteen's Born in the USA and Bon Jovie's key albums and there was a connection between love of the country and blue collar hard rock / metal that I still believe in today. Its hard to label my political views. I basically see a ruling elite of aristocrats (Illuminati) globally who run everything against the will of the people. I do believe in a radical concept of personal freedom, but non in the sense of open borders or globalism.
Hobbes, Locke, Harry Browne, and Hunter S Thompson resonate with me in that regard by the way
THE QUICK FIVE
10. HEART OR BRAIN?
The heart is more important because the will to power can overcome the odds of reason.
11. PRECISION OR ENERGY?
Energy is central because it creates impactful events.
12. ELECTRIC OR ACOUSTIC?
Acoustic is better because it emphasizes melodies and chords.
13. LIVE OR STUDIO?
I prefer to be a studio musician because I do not like crowds. The good thing about live, is the challenge. But its not worth it from a cost/ benefit analysis usually.
14. SOLITARY OR SOCIAL?
I prefer to be solitary and socialize with in a small circle. Thanks to you and your readers for spending a moment with me!
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Music is free in the tax-funded snowflake mind only. Our bands and artists work hard to bring us to victory. Therefore we ask you to support them in any way you can. Please check out Rotten Copper/Stephen Cefala and buy his music.