LORI BRAVO (Ex-Nuclear Death) INTERVIEW - Vomitose Issue 3 2008

Without demystifying the devil.. Lori bravo is foremostly known as the ex singer/bass player of legendary abstract death metal band NUCLEAR DEATH. Nuclear Death was born underground, and that’s where it seems to have stayed for the most part, although well known and respected in the old circles for being one of the unappreciated pioneers in Death Metal, their innovative dark sound inspired a mass of people in the know, but few have been able to capture it completely. Lori Bravo is still a dark artist, but these days her vile inclinations exist only the form of her paintings and her new musical project, Raped.

Hey Lori, Thanks for doing this interview.. As you already know, Nuclear Death and your part in it have been major inspiration to me for years, so I’m beyond stoked to get to drill your brain with my stupid questions.. To start off with some questions regarding Nuclear Death.. What was it like in the 1990s being a woman in extreme metal? What were some of your personal influences when you first started out?
I could say it was lonely at the top....but I LOVED being the only woman doing what I was doing in ND....it gave me the license to crown myself QUEEN! We had the best lyrics, we were the fastest and were HATED even by our own 'peers'!!!! Boys just HATE when a girl can come out of no where and wipe the floor with them!Are you proud of being female in a largely male arena? Or could you care less??Oh yes and I still AM!!! Women still have YEARS to go before we are going to be considered ANYTHING but novelties in the extreme music arena, that’s for sure! If fucking Joan Jett has to still prove herself every time she steps onto a stage( and she is quoted as stating thus), WE aren't even close to being considered valid or 'real' artists!!! Fine by me...I like the challenge and I especially enjoy burning boys on the spit of my guitar!

ND created some of the most horrifyingly original death metal to this date. What was your intention for the band when you first got together? Who did what in the band during those early years??
My intention was simply to create music I wanted to listen to and form the most EXTREME band ever to exist and I did! I named ND after one of my most disturbing, recurring nightmares and together with my guitarist, Phil Hampson and drummer, Joel Whitfield; we made my idea a reality. Phil and I were a couple at the time as well and we shared all the song writing but eventually Phil’s testosterone got the better of him and he tried to take all the credit and became violent with me if I tried to introduce a new song I had written. I was terrified of him! This started soon after our formation in 1986....by 1990,we had fired Joel for negligence and recruited Steven Cowan on drums. Steve and I quickly realized we were meant to create as one and we began seeing each other unbeknownst to Phil! It didn't take long before I had moved out of Phil's folks' house and in with Steve...Phil quit right after and I took my rightful place back on guitar!

What was the story behind Nuclear Death’s demise? Do you still keep in contact with Steve or Phil? Any idea what they’re up to these days?
Phil is in prison due to drug-dealing and other shit and I hope he rots....he was such a homophobic asshole and woman-beater.....I hope he gets raped in there for the rest of his life! Joel and I tried to get together last year and play to possibly record on this record. But he has kids and a wife and it proved to be more talk on his end than anything else(as always). Steve and I were a couple for almost 12 years....we parted in 2000,respectively. We still keep in touch from time to time but I truly am passed that part of my life now.....As for ND,I simply decided that we had made the best records ever...quit while we are still relevant,after all NO ONE can touch 'The Planet Cachexial'! It truly is ND's finest moment

Nuclear Death started to move into a more abstract style in the later years with the release of THE PLANET CACHEXIAL in 1999 and HARMONY DRINKS OF ME in 2000,, did you find there was any backlash of the new direction from the old fans?
Sort of....but I have never made arte' for anyone but me so I just didn't care...fuck 'em! If they can't grow with me then....fuck em'!I had always planned to continue making weirder and weirder music...but I was waiting for my bandmates to catch up to me,playing-wise! I was and am a better musician than them and it would get fucking TEDIOUS to have to dumb-down my music so they could understand it....I mean,I think on terms of ART/MUSIC=same thing...THEY were like boys....like 'we gotta be the coolest and heaviest and blah...'!

What labels released the above albums? Any idea what happened to them?
Only Wild Rags released our first 2....then the assfuck Richard C.,skipped town and ripped us off and all the other bands on his label. After that Steve and I self-released the rest and I still sell them now!

Tell us about the South American tour with gore gods Impetigo. Did Nuclear Death already have a following at the time you toured? What were your highlights of this tour?
It was actually one show in Puerto Rico! It rained the whole time and it was HOT and muggy,shitty sound system,venue BUT GREAT fucking people! Our promoters were really gracious and the fans RULED! Impetigo were cool as fuck and we all got on well!

Back in the 90s, tape trading and letter writing seemed to personify the whole essence of the underground spirit; it’s hard to imagine for me what it must have been like to rely on that sort of medium considering it was just starting to die out as I grew up. I know you personally wrote to a lot of fans, even including some people I know in primitive realms at the end of the earth, New Zealand.What are some of your memories of this time? Did you and Nuclear Death take a big part in this scene? Do you still keep in contact with any of these people?
Yes! Most of them have found me! It is great(the internet). But I still hand-write all my lyrics and shit. I actually still tape-trade...but now it's cd-trade! I have many scrapbooks containing tons of my fan mail that I have kept throughout the years and I STILL receive snail-mail to this DAY! ND was on the FOREFRONT of trading man! A friendly local band called, Desecration, turned us on to that scene in 1986 and we FLOURISHED!

After the release of HARMONY DRINKS OF ME in 2000, you seemed to drop out of the scene almost completely. Did you loose interest in Death Metal? Do you still listen to any Death Metal these days?
Oh no! I was MOLTING! I moved out of me and Steve's and in with my best friend whom I still live with today...I call him my 'gay husband'! In 2000,after I moved,I immediately began working on new material but I never thought it was not as extreme as ND after all,my own life seemed strangely more insane than the ideas we were putting out via Nuclear Death. Rape,domestic violence,child abuse,drug addiction and death all make up MY actual life and I decided I needed to express myself on a more personal level. I listen to so many different styles of music and always have. THAT is what made ND such a standout band! We never resorted to only listening to death metal or the like....that is limited....there should never be any limits where ARTE' is concerned! I still love Slayer and Autopsy,Paradise Lost,Discharge etc. But I also love Tori Amos,Jolie Holland and fucking AMY WINEHOUSE!

Nuclear Death’s lyrics and art have always been extremely disturbing.. Who did most of the art for the Nuclear Death releases? How has your artwork personally evolved over the years?
Phil and I both did many pieces although I eventually began using colour after the 'For Our Dead' EP...That was my first REAL cover! You can tell me from Phil....mine is more languid and his is more like comic book style renderings.

Who created most of the lyrics? Where did the inspiration for these come from?
Like I said....Phil and I BOTH.....inspirations? Horror soundtracks,films,literature and life!
What would you say some of your main influences are when it comes to art and music? Art-H.R. Giger,Salvador Dali,Degas,Frida Khalo,Orozco,Marilyn Manson,Russell Ugly(go to his page...Head in the Oven! He one of my muses and a master painter!),Picasso,Basquiat,Cindy Sherman and Diane Arbus!Music-Pink Floyd,Hendrix,The Doors,Janis Joplin,Diamanda Galas,Billie Holiday,Venom,Slayer,Discharge,Flipper and Black Flag. But it changes daily/nightly as I discover more music and re-discover music I haven't listened to in a while....

What would you say your favourite ND release would be?
The Planet Cachexial Hands down!!! I wrote the whole score and adjoining story. I still plan on making it into an animated film! With CGI the way it is now....my creatures would be so realistically crafted!

Wild Rags Records - How was your experience with this label? Would you want to have the early ND records repressed in the future?
We were robbed blind! Green as fuck,we had NO IDEA what we were doing when we signed! Luckily I own it all now and YES! I want my shit to continue to be released!

What’s the deal with Nuclear Abominations re-releasing the Nuclear Death demo, and a live DVD of the two VHS releases from back in the day - PROFLIGACY, and UNALIVE IN TEXAS. Can you give us some info on these upcoming reissues and your involvement in them?

Well if the dude would ever write me back I'd know more! I released master-cops of my vids to releases DVDs and what not and I am STILL WAITING for the shit to be done so I can hold it in my hands!!! YOU know as much as I do,Rebecca!

What do you think about the Bootleg videos or DVDs that seem to be circulating around Ebay these days?
I think its great because it gives more folks a chance to be consumed by all that is ND!

These days you seem to be more into Grunge, which is kinda interesting as a lot of people seem to get into this early on and then make the transition into heavier genres. When and how did you get into listening to and playing this style? What are some of your favourite bands?
Around 2001 or so, a friend introduced me to '90's' music....see in the actual 90's I was hidden away in the deserts of Arizona writing what would become,The Planet Cachexial. I was pulling a Philip K. Dick and writing ..s of speed and alcohol. It took me about 6 years to work it into the album it is now,plus,I was doing all the artwork for this and illustrating the 19-page storybook that would come with the first 100 cds! It also was our first-ever CD release,so since we were financing this ourselves(Steve and I),it took a while to be released. Back to 2001....my friend turned me on to everything from Nirvana to Alice and Chains and then my fab chick drummer,Jessie Nelson,filled in the blanks with Sonic Youth, Sleater-Kinney,Bikini KIll, Babes in Toyland...etc....I was like Holy SHEEPSHIT!!! I consumed,vomited,shat and reconsumed these sounds....and then, I was raped at a club and so began my new sound that I have now!

Tell us about what you’re up to these days. I understand you have a new project called “Raped”. Can you give us some history behind this band?
It is called,LORI BRAVO RAPED,actually. It seems to flow better and I have always loved the power of my name. I am recording a new record,'HEARTNOIRINFECTED'. Jessie Nelson(who played drums on my first LBR record,'ID MARRY THE DEVIL')will be playing on this as well. I have been suffering from a mental illness and having horrible panic attacks...my heart was broken,I've coped with hard drugs and drink,cutting and sickness....it is all will be splayed for all to hear when I put this record out! Every track is acerbic...I had to go to Hell and back to write this fucking thing and I damn-near lost my self. This new record will be like looking into my darkest corners and having to smell the death that has surrounded me.

Did you always play guitar? Why the transition from Bass to Guitar?
Yes! I hate playing bass! I have had a guitar in my hands for 31 years!

Does Raped play live gigs? Any recording’s available?
YES! AND YES!!! Get I'D MARRY THE DEVIL'!!!How does the concept differ from Nuclear Death?It is NOT conceptual...it is ME in the RAW! It is my womb bleeding,my throat screaming,it is my mania!

What do you think about the following topics:
- Wish I could have it....No body likes me!
Drugs - Love them....but that which nourishes the psyche also destroys it.
Feminism - Like all 'isms' before...it has its good and bad points and I agree with both! In other words...I think I should be paid as much as a man or be able to do or say ANYTHING I want regardless of my gender, BUT,I still like the door being held open for me and I love to play the submissive roll for my boy!
Death - He/ It's my lifelong obsession....

Thanks for putting up with these questions Lori.. Feel free to drop any dying words below…
Thanx and always,always eat your cats!

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