In metal's ever-expanding galaxy, there are those elite few bands that still manage to push the limits of speed, technicality, and sheer intensity. San Diego-based brutal death metal band Disgorge is in that camp. Their music is impossible to describe without getting caught up in violent analogies. I had the enormous pleasure of chatting with guitarists Diego Sanchez and Ed Talorda, who, along with their pretty friend and San Diego Metal Radio-show cohort, Jesse Bishop, happily crammed into a space roughly the size of a handicapped bathroom stall (and just as nasty), to discuss the world of Disgorge and their thoughts on Hootie and the Blowfish.
This interview was conducted prior to the tragic death of bassist Ben Marlin, who recently lost a long battle with cancer. For more information about the band's loss, visit their MySpace page.
We're here with Ed Talorda and Diego Sanchez, of Disgorge, and their lovely friend… What was your name? I'm sorry.
Vanessa. (To the dudes) Are you both San Diego natives?
Diego Sanchez: Yeah.
Ed Talorda: I'm not. But I've lived here long enough I might as well be.
Where're you from originally?
ET: Oh, I was born in Japan, man. But, this is my home.
Neither of you are original members, correct?
So when did you first hear about Disgorge?
DS: Fuck, dude. Seein em at Soma. Old Soma off of Union and Market.
ET: 93. Between 93 and 95.
ET: This was with the Cranial Impalement lineup actually. And uh… yeah… it was definitely well ahead of its time.
DS: Yeah for sure dude, they had their own sound.
ET: Yup. I mean it's like I had never heard any recordings of em or anything like that but, you know, the first time that I seen Disgorge play, you know, I was… it was just like… like a fucking ton of bricks fuckin slammin your face.
DS: Yeah dude.
ET: And then fuckin Matti Way fuckin doin windmills while he's “Euuuurrrghhh…” You know what I mean? Fuckin…
Totally man. So were you guys already into brutal death metal and grind at this point or was this kind of… a new thing?
ET: At the time, for me, I was still doin like thrash and like you know I was still playin total like metal. Thrash. Stuff like that. As soon as I heard Disgorge was right around the same time I had gotten into early Deicide, Hypocrisy, Broken Hope, and Suffocation.
Jesse Bishop: I was gonna say in 93 I was eleven years old. That was the only time I went to the old Soma was when I went and saw Hootie and the Blowfish with my mom.
ET: In 91 or 92, man. I seen Deicide for the Legion tour. I had chicken pox and I went to the Soma to see Deicide on Halloween night.
DS: That’s devotion right there.
That is devotion.
ET: So as far as brutal music, right, I got into brutal music about 90, 91-ish.
DS: When I saw the commercial for Napalm Death and Morbid Angel [incoherent] Blessed are the Sick they had a live clip and they're flashin back and forth showin the artwork, damn dude. It was over.
ET: Just when you thought it couldn't get any faster than like Slayer or whatever.
Yeah, then they pull out something else that’s super quick.
ET: Then all of a sudden grind and blasts came in.
DS: A lot of flavor.
You guys have been through a bunch of member changes. Ricky Meyers is the only original member?
Which almost seems evident on all the records, cause all the drums have always had that distinct feel to them. Which is kind of, I think, a huge factor in Disgorge's sound.
ET: It would never be Disgorge without Ricky.
DS: The majority is just free jamming, dude, and then whatever sounds y'know?
ET: If he were just to hand us the name and split, it would never be Disgorge.
DS: It'd be a Disgorge tribute band or somethin…
ET: Yeah yeah yeah.
And so the lineup now feels pretty firm? Feels pretty good? The chemistry between everyone is pretty solid? Happy?
DS: We've already travelled and know how everybody is. So it's cool y'know? We don’t have to worry about funky stuff happening.
And you joined in 99, right Diego?
DS: Yeah, I jammed with em for a little bit in 96. Went out there, used to go back and forth, Escondido to Mission Beach. And Derek was playin bass and he was showin me some tunes. That’s how I know a lot of the old cranial tunes dude. Cause I was actually fuckin showed by Derek (Derek Boyer ex-Disgorge bassist). And they broke up as soon as I was gonna start jammin with em. And then a year and a half later I see Ricky at some off show and then he's like 'Hey dude, I'm fuckin back.' and I was all, 'What the fuck? I need a drummer dude. Lets jam!' And then it was over dude. I always had ideas I just never had the drummer to slam em.
So were you there for She Lay Gutted? Or was that…
Cool. And Unique Leader put that out. That’s an incredible album, just for the record.
ET: To this day.
Disgorge seemed to be doing pretty well right around then, why did Matti Way leave?
DS: Ehh, just travelling, y'know?
He got tired? Kinda sick of things? Needed some change?
DS: Yeah, yeah he needed to get some money, dude, cause we were all broke and starvin, dude, yeah. And he was just like 'Y'know what, I gotta work and have money.' Guy's on his own now, he's got bills to pay.
That makes good sense.
ET: I think he's back on the scene now though.
DS: He never left. He never left the scene which is sick.
In San Diego?
ET: No, no. He lives in Yucca Valley now but I guess he's got a couple projects goin on.
DS: And he jams live now too. He did the Ohio death fest with us, he came out on stage.
No way. That’s fuckin cool. I didn't know that.
DS: The crowd went craaa-zy.
Yeah, I bet. That's insane.
DS: Yeah it was awesome. Matti's a rad dude.
I'm glad to hear that. I kinda miss Matti on some of the recordings. (Directed to Ed) You joined in '04, is that right?
ET: Yes sir.
And your guys’ most recent album, Parallels of Infinite Torture, was released in '05.
It's been two years since then, when are you guys gonna pull some new music out of your asses?
DS: I don't know.
ET: Well, we are actually pulling… the music out of our asses. It's comin like an angel hair pasta.
It's a process.
ET: Yeah, yeah, totally, so just picture an angel hair noodle comin out of the leather donut. You know, it is happening. Diego and I have got a few riffs that are just fuckin… you know a guitarist as versed as yourself, hopefully when you catch it you'll be droppin a jaw still.
Yeah, your own jaw.
ET: Right now we still can't play em up to speed but…but the times we have played em up to speed I mean, we sat there and go 'Oh dude that’s just gonna sound so fuckin sick'.
DS: Fuck yeah. And we can always anticipate Ricky speeding it by fuckin 50 beats a minute.
ET: Like two or three fold.
And normally it’s the other way around too. Normally it’s the drummer who’s like, ‘I can’t play that fast.’ That’s pretty interesting.
DS: He plays more consistent cause once he knows it, and doesn’t have to think about it, then he’s just…
ET: Yeah, as soon as he smith-blasts it, it's all over dude, we sit there and everything that we’ve got down and practiced to a metronome and to each other as fast as we can do it, then once he learns it, it's like ‘oh shit’. At rehearsal it's cool, but then the first fuckin live show we play that new tune then it's just like ‘oh dude he fuckin played that shit so fast’
I bet, plus the adrenaline’s pumping and your arm’s probably all stiffened up.
How do you guys deal with that? With that frozen arm?
ET: Oh I gotta relax it, and then after about the second or third song, for myself, that’s when I start locking in. I know how it is for you man…
DS: Yeah same, even if I warm up for a half hour or 45 minutes before, it's still like the first three or four songs and then…I try and stretch my hands and fingers and then jam or whatever but nope, still.
But then once you get into it and your blood starts boiling…
DS: Oh yeah, once you’re thrashing, dude, it's totally different.
Alright so speaking of which, there’s no getting around the blisteringly fast and brutal aspects of Disgorge. What kind of warm ups and practice regiments, although you just mentioned the hand stretching, do you guys keep to play at that level? And are you both self taught guitarists?
DS: Ed’s a lot more knowledgeable. I don’t know keys or melodies or any of that stuff.
You just play what sounds right.
DS: Yeah for sure.
ET: I’m a lot of application. I’ve played clean and classical guitar, I’ve always had this thing like if you’re gonna write something play it like you fuckin mean it. I go through whatever riffs and there’s gonna be a point where I just turn off my distortion and play it so it sounds out like it's supposed to from the strings itself. Then eventually I build up the speed. Same thing with whatever string exercises, Ill start with single notes, picking as clean as I can, as fast as I can. And then I'll speed it up as it comes along and it just gets cleaner and cleaner.
Do you think any of that has to do with your years as an audio engineer?
ET: No. It has nothing to do with it, I don’t think. I’ve always had to nail every single part so it’s heard like it's supposed to be heard. It’s not just fudged in there. You can’t fake the funk like that.
What’s your guys’ outlook on the current state of San Diego’s metal scene?
DS: It’s fuckin rad dude.
ET: There’s been a lot of killer bands, especially as far as the brutality factor.
DS: And they’re getting love too. Newbies that just start out all of a sudden boom! You got a scene. It's strong. It's cool.
They’re blossoming pretty quick.
DS: And it’s not like a competition like it was back in the day.
ET: And they’re pulling off shit that us old-schoolers are just like ‘oh my god dude that’s fuckin just sick.
DS: Yeah. 16 years old, fuckin shredding. That’s rad.
Yeah there’s a lot of young talent comin out of San Diego.
ET: Fuckin amazing. Amazing talent.
I’m a huge fan of you guys this is actually kind of an awe-struck moment.
DS: Thank you man that’s cool.
ET to Diego: Hey man you gotta hear these guys (My band, Scenester Holocaust) play.
ET to Adam: If you got any demos man, gimme one.
Yeah, Ill give you one before you leave, absolutely.
ET: Alright cool.
DS: Rad dude.
Excellent guys. Well thank you very much for coming in. Can’t thank you enough.
ET: Thanks for having us.
To find out more about Disgorge, check out myspace.com/disgorge.