Tampa based Oblivion is an obscure, cult band. Back in the day they released two demos, but after the second one they split up. After a long hiatus they decided to reform and released their debut album this year. Reason was enough to interview them, so singer Patrick Brown and guitarist Keith Hancock were so kind to answer my questions.
Was Oblivion the very first act, that you were involved in?
Did you have a common musical interest/taste? Were you on the same musical wave-length?
We were all into hard rock and heavy metal. We all were big fans of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Accept and many other 80’s metal bands. Eddie and Keith leaned a little more towards heavier bands like Slayer, Venom and S.O.D.
What do yo recall of the Florida metal scene those times? Can you tell us more about it?
The metal scene in our area was starting to boom. Almost everyone we knew was starting a band. We would set up a stage made of plywood, supported by milk crates in a cow field, owned by locals when we’d rent a generator and buy a couple kegs of beer. Word spread quickly and before we knew it there was a concert almost every weekend. There was something really cool about playing an outdoor show out in the middle of nowhere. But the night usually ended with the Police telling us to shut it because of the noise violation. The police would leave and we’d start playing again, but they’d return and threaten to throw us in jail if we didn’t stop and disperse the crowd. This was the 80’s so our stage costumes were quite elaborate and revealing, we certainly didn’t want to end up in the county lock up dressed like that. We had great times back then. There was a lot of friendly competition amongst the local metal bands, except for the death metal crowd, they hated anything that wasn’t death metal. Once everyone was old enough to play in nightclubs the concerts moved indoors to the local venues, like the Sunset Club, 49th Street Mining Company, Side Streets to name a few.
Do you agree with, that Avatar/Savatage, Siren, Nasty Savage were the first outfits, that emerged from Florida and opened the doors for newer, young acts?
Yes, Savatage, Nasty Savage, Siren, Vengence were all critical in getting the ball rolling in our area. They inspired bands like Death, Obituary, Massacre and a host of unknown bans to carry the torch of heavy metal.
Was there a healthy club scene? Which clubs/venues can you mention us?
Clubs like Sunset and The Volley Club along with venues like Jannus Landing were instrumental in providing a venue for heavy metal to flourish.
What about your rehearsals? Did you strive writing originals right from the start or were you mostly playing covers?
When we started Oblivion covered Dio- Don’t talk to Strangers, Metallica- Ride the Lightning, Four Horseman and Trapped under Ice, Anthrax- Madhouse, Indians and Caught in the Mosh, Exciter- Pounding Metal, Iron Maiden- Wrath Child and Two Minutes to Midnight, but we always threw in atleast one or two originals to bring our music to the masses. By the time we were headlining our own shows we would still play at least one cover. Usually it was Disposable Heroes by Metallica.
Two demos (Quest for Power – 1986 and Rebirth – 1988) were released back in the day, can you give us any details regarding those materials?
Our first demo was Quest for Power. We were a four piece band at this time. Mike Brown was on lead guitar and did a fantastic job of writing material that ha stood the test of time.We recorded at London Studios in Tampa, Florida with engineer Doug Johnson. Our second offering featured Scott Scarborough and Kevin Kranz on guitars, also record with Doug at London Studios. Looking back I’m sure we could have done better if we would taken things more seriously. We where pretty full of ourselves back then, partying all the time and tensions were rising between bandmates.
Were they heavily shopped around/distributed in the tapetrading scene?
Yes, we shopped the demos as best we could. Nasty Ronnie was very helpful with providing contacts. 30 years later I still have people tell me they have our old demos, mostly collectors.
Did these demos and the Tampa Bay’s Metal Mercenaries: The Invasion compilation help a lot to make a name for the band?
The demos along with the Metal Mercenaries compilation, with Keith Collins, was helpful, but our live show is where we built our reputation.
In 1988 the band moved to Los Angeles, what was the reason of it?
In 1988 the band was at a stand still and members where no longer a solid unit. Scott had left the band to be replaced by Rob Koob, formerly of Kieth Collins Krunch. Tensions between members was starting to rear it’s ugly head. Why weren’t we getting a record deal? All fingers were pointing at the singer so Patrick left the band. Rob left shortly after claiming he joined Oblivion to be on stage with Patrick. The remaining members decide to start fresh and California was the place. Keith, Kevin and Eddie decided to make the move.
Why did you disband in 1988 and what made you to come back in 2012?
Well in 1988 we were heavily entrenched in the music scene in Tampa. We had performed many shows on some very big stages and developed a good size local following in some cases we were playing to 1500 or more in attendance. For some reason at that time we didn’t get the interest from the labels and the death metal scene was really starting to take off. There was some internal tensions brewing after the years. So I had a wild idea to move out to Los Angeles California Improve my chops and Kevin Kranz and Eddie Molina Followed, What a Crazy Ride that was, but you only live once and that is a story in its own. What did all of you do during that 24 years? We all just kind of did our own thing. Patrick toured the country mesmerizing everyone with his magic and the Hatchi Matchi, Kevin Kranz Stayed in LA and was involved in a number of musical projects. Scott Scarboro Became Captain Scott the Fish Slayer. Eddie Molina kept banging on the skins here locally with his love of Music. Myself Formed a project with the late Ralph Santolla (Eyewitness/Millenium) Toured North America wrestling alligators with the Kachunga and the Alligator Show, and started selling sunshine to Floridians (Raydiance Tanning Centers) true story you can’t make that shit up.
Why we broke up was explained in a previous question, so I won’t repeat. We reassembled in 2012 to play a show with Nocturnus AD and Nasty Savage at the Crow Bar in Ybor City. The show went great and we decided to keep things going. Our next show was with Nasty Savage, Siren and Argus at the Brass Mug. This was a warm up show for Siren before they went to the KIT festival in Germany. The show was a huge success we had so much fun that we decided to start writing new music again. During the 24 years after the break up Keith traveled across country as Kachunga the Alligator Wrestler. Than he owned a successful line of tanning salons, selling sunshine to people in Florida. Now he is a highly sought after sound technician here in Florida, with his company Streamline Sound. Scott works in marketing for the sport fishing industry. he also is an accomplished photographer. Patrick is the 3rd generation owner operator of Electric Motor Rebuilding Co. After leaving the band Patrick got involved in musical theatre. In the late 90’s Patrick was a touring magician performing Houdini’s famous MilkCan Escape and the Straight Jacket Escape. Then developing a magical pirate character Captain Bones, Patrick has performed under that name since. In 2019 Patrick joined forces with Rob to produce a show called Argent Rope. this was Robs pet project and turned out to be his masterpiece. The show was brought to the stage under Patricks direction and played to sold out crowds.
Did you take part in any musical involvements?
After moving back from Los Angeles Did afew show with the Guitar God Todd Grubbs and went on to develop Eyewitness with the Late Ralph Santolla until about 1993 and complete drop out of the music scene until 2012. Kevin continued to play in Los Angeles, Patrick Continued off and on for many years. Eddie continued thru out the years until his death, Scott also continued to keep his chops up thru the years and is just shredding today.
During the 24 years after Keith returned from L.A. he joined the band Eye Witness with Ralph Santola. Many years later he went on to join Patrick in a Volbeat Tribute band called Poola Booza. After that they formed a theatrical stage band called SEE ALICE, using magic and elaborate pyro effects. Both bands were short lived but gained favorable recognition from all who saw their shows. Keith is still an active member of a the band Five Star Hooker. He also took part in a band called Rattlesnake Militia. Keith continues to be a driving force in what ever he involves himself with.
Did you, by the way, follow what’s going on in the metal scene?
I myself after 1993 kind of drop out until 2012 an currently have been heavily involved in the local scene. I started a production company in 2013 that’s keep me very involved locally and ther is some amazing talent in the Tampa Bay Area.
At this point you returned to Florida, right?
Patrick, Scott, And myself are all here in The Tampa Bay Area. Kevin Moved from L.A. to Colorado and is now in his hometown of Washington D.C. Kevin stayed in L.A but Keith and Eddie returned to Florida.
Is it correct, that you added FL to the band’s name to differentiate yourselves from other bands named Oblivion?
Yes that is correct, Even though we were one of the first to use the name and I believe we did a poor mans copywrite in 1983. Since then there is just so many oblivions out there and since were all here in Florida why not makes since. Yes we added FL. to the name to end any confusion between us and other bands called Oblivion.
Did you manage to receive a cult status among the fans back in the day?
The eighties were great Tape Trading and all the Fanzines Worldwide. Locally we definitely had a great following and were able to play many amazing shows thru the years. It wasn’t until 2012 after Laurent Ramadier from Snakepit Magizine contacted us that we realized what a cult following we had after all these years.
Sadly Eddie Molina passed away in 2010, how do you want him to be remembered?
Eddie was a phenomenal drummer and a crafty songwriter RIP. Eddie was a phenomenal drummer, we think he’ll always be remembered as that. He was a founding member of Oblivion and he loved Heavy metal.
From the old line up bassist Keith Hancock, guitarist Scott Scarboro and singer Patrick Brown are on the board, but what about the other guys, drummer Charles Colburn and guitarist Rob Dungan? What about their musical past/background?
Rob is a great friend of many years and such a skilled guitarist. He has played in many great projects through the years and were glad to have him on board. Charles that kid is a monster Multi-Instrumentalist he just picks up any instrument and just kills it .We’re really lucky to have him on the throne.
Rob – I was into surf as a kid and influenced by The Ventures and the Tornadoes. Then I got into rock and was influenced by UFO, Black Sabbath, Rush, Van Halen, Alice Cooper, Riot and Tygers of Pan Tang. I got into a band and won a battle of the bands. This won my band a spot on the American TV show Star Search. I played in a few bar bands, then found my way into Oblivion.
Charles – I’ve been playing drums since the age 4, then fell in love with the guitar at the age of 10. Eventually I started playing bass in my fathers cover band from the age of 14 mil I was 18. i played guitar in a rock opera called Argent Rope. This theatrical production was written by Rob Dungan and directed by Patrick Brown. Finally I’ve been playing in Oblivion since 2018.
When did you start writing the new album?
August 2022 we stared demoing after 23 years of not writing together.
How long did it take to write and complete the material? How did you work?
I believe we demoed around 12 songs musically sent them to Patrick and he picked what worked for him and just killed it. I’m very proud of what we put together. Originally Scott wanted to rerecord some of the older material and was in the process working with Preston Diecarlo our Engineer. We had already been approached by Classic Cult to release an Anthology of our first 2 demos and and live video from 85 to 89. FHM records approached us and we had a few songs that were never recorded (Sharkbait Pushed). He was rerecording new versions of (The Executioner, Maiden of the Dungeons, Rebirth). So we all worked on demos for new material and sent them to Patrick for the finishing touch.
Didn’t you think of re-recording any old songs?
Yes the Executioner, Maiden of the Dungeons, and Rebirth all reworked and they came out great.
What about the recording sessions?
We worked with Preston Dicarlo formerly of Mastersound Studio Tampa as the main engineer.
Did the covid wave leave its mark on you? Did it somehow have an effect/influence on your mood?
Covid did interrupt the recording process, but once things got better we picked up right where we left off.
Can you tell us detailed about the record?
Not much to tell in the way of details about the album. Things just came together organically. Keith wrote the majority of the music on the album. Patrick wrote the lyrics except for Resist Deny Control, that was written by Rob Duncan.
Were all of you satisfied with the end result, after you have finished with the works?
We were all very happy with the finished product. We’re looking forward to recording some of the songs that didn’t make it one the album.
Was FHM Records the only one company, that showed an interest in putting out the material?
FHM contacted us through the band Siren. They were the our only offer to write a new album.
Another release saw the light/will see the light this year, titled Ultimate Anthology, any words about it?
Sonic Age Records reached out to us about releasing the Ultimate Anthology Album. They combined both of our Demo tapes in to one release on vinyl. They put together a fantastic product and has done well in pre-sales. They are a fantastic company that really cares about carrying the traditional heavy metal torch.
Are there shows/tours in mind to support the record?
Touring would really depend on what kind of support the record label gives us. We would like to come to Europe and perform at some festivals. Perhaps with some other Brandon, Florida bands. All of us have families and work regular jobs, so the logistics of something like that would have to be worked out. But it would be great to perform in Hungary too!
What are your closing words to this feature, that was the very first one for a Hungarian media?
In closing we would like to thank all the heavy metal fans around the world for keeping this music alive. We look forward to hearing what you think of our new album, The Executioner. We would like to thank Frank Hirnschal and Holger Geinitz / FHM Records, Laurent Ram / Snakepit Magazine, Manos Koufakis, Chris Papadatos and Kostas Organopoulus / Cult Metal Classics / Sonic Age Records. Last but not least thank you David for taking the time to reach out to us. Best wishes!