Embalmer was obviously a part of the early U.S. death metal scene before disbanding in 1998. You joined the band in 2012 after they re-activated seven years earlier. Were you a fan “back in the day” and how did you end up joining?
Yes, I was a lifelong fan of the band and saw all the various lineups over the years, in addition to being longtime friends with several of the different members over time. Ironically, original bassist/vocalist Toby Wulff is my co-worker now and we still talk about the band and old times during lunch [Laughs]. Although I joined in 2012, I had been a rabid underground fan/trader for many years, and always did a lot of mail. In the late ’90s I assisted Brian Baxter and Ablated Records, who also booked Ohio Deathfest. The ’98 fest was the last show Embalmer played before going on hiatus, and they had a short-lived vocalist at that time named Frank Walls. When they spoke of getting back together in 2004 or so, I was involved behind the scenes, and always hung out at practice once they got jamming again. I was a friend, acting as a general facilitator, which found me booking many of the band’s shows during this time period including their first NYC appearance in 2005. Brian + I later started Gorefiend Promotions which began as a merchandising label, (evolving into show promotion), and we did a couple shirts and hoodies for Embalmer. People may think my stage name “Paul Gorefiend” was made up when I joined the band, but really people had already been calling me that or simply “Gorefiend” for years in reference to the company. In 2009, Brian had already joined Embalmer, and the 2009 demo was released, passed out and sent all over through Gorefiend.
Fast forward to 2012: Rick and the band part ways, and they have two shows booked—the first being less than a month away. Brian was my roommate at the time, and he asked me to come down and try vocals at a couple practices. I thought about it, and decided to join on an interim basis to get them through the shows, then see how it went from there. I wanted to see how the crowds reacted, and sit and ask myself if I would like listening to my vocals as a fan, if I was standing in the crowd and not on stage. I definitely didn’t want to “do it just to do it” if it wasn’t going to do the band justice. Everything ended up going great, both shows went on without cancellation, and we never looked back from there!