Hello Mark please introduce yourself to the readers?
Hi Patrick, I am "Metal Mark" James host of the
online metal radio shows "Metal Mark's Audio Aggression" and "Metal Mark's
Vault that has been on air since June 1992. I started out at a college radio
station as a non-student volunteer DJ at WNYO in SUNY Oswego and was there
till 2001. After I left there, I took a break and then in late 2001, decided
to start doing my show on the internet and started out on my own. I have
been a DJ at Open Grave Radio / Records (RIP) and I was also a DJ at a
Christian metal station called Blabberjesus Radio (RIP Dale Huffman) then
after OGR / BR folded I joined Brutal Existence Radio in 2008 (RIP Fowler
who was GM/Owner) and was there till 2015 and after BER folded, I decided to
go back on my own and do the shows DIY style.
When did you first start listening to metal
music and who were the first bands and artists you listened to? Who are some
of the current bands that you are enjoying?
I started getting into hard rock/metal around
the late 70's and grew up on bands like Kiss, Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, Van
Halen (RIP EVH), Black Sabbath and then in the early 80's bands like Saxon
(all time NWOBHM favorite), Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Dio (RIP
Ronnie) then in mid to late 80's I started getting into heavier bands like
Slayer, Metallica, King Diamond, Mercyful Fate, Anthrax, Piledriver and
more. Then in the early 90's, I started getting into death metal from that
era, bands like Cannibal Corpse, Entombed (RIP LG Petrov), Massacre,
Benediction, Asphyx, Massacra, Protector, Pestilence, Dismember, No Return,
Malevolent Creation, Suffocation and tons more. Currently these days I have
been listening to Deranged (Canada), the new Benediction album, a lot of the
newer and classic OSDM (Old School Death Metal) bands like Kurnugia,
Wombripper, Disrupted, Darkthrone (debut album only), new Asphyx, and loads
more. Thrash metal wise Heathen, Razor, Sacrifice (Canada), Witches Hammer
(Canada), Evildead, Blood Feast, and more. Doom metal wise, Elliott's Keep,
Capilla Ardiente, Doomocracy, Dantesco (RIP Eric) and more.
Heavy/Traditional /Power Metal stuff too like Attacker (US-NJ), Hexx, Metal
Church and more. I would be here forever typing all the bands I listen to,
I believe you started your journey into the
underground metal music scene back in the early 90's. What is it that has
kept you going after all these years?
My start in underground metal actually goes back to the mid 80's with the
now classic bands, Metallica/Slayer/Exodus/Anthrax as well as many other
80's independent label underground bands and then in early 90's I jumped
into death metal as well. What keeps me going after almost 30 years (as of
June 2022) is the passion I have for this music. It was a dream of mine to
have a metal radio show and remaining loyal to the music and being true to
the music. Overall I am a old school metal diehard and I do not cater to nu-metal/modern
metal at all and I have no interest in those subgenres. I wave the flag of
old school true metal with no regrets and no shame.
Back in the 90's I know fanzines were huge did
you read a lot of fanzines back in the day? What do you feel made a good
fanzine? What were some of your favorite fanzines to read back then?
Well fanzine wise, Metalcore Fanzine run by Chris Forbes and still going
strong! I was a subscriber to the Wild Rags zine that Richard C had out, he
ran a distro and his zine at a shop out in California. A friend of mine told
me about the zine and later on I featured some of his distros' bands on
Audio Aggression as well. His zine was informative, the layouts were cool,
and his distro prices were affordable as well. I did a zine with a friend of
mine in Oswego NY called "Into The Void", old school cut and paste style!
hahaha! But as time went on, it only lasted for 3 issues due to high costs
of putting it together. I learned a lot from that. Overall, if you have a
nice layout and everything looks good, that's what makes a zine stand out I
think. For magazines, I used to read RIP Magazine and then Metal Maniacs
which i was a subscriber to both. I have TONS of Maniacs and Wild Rags zines
sitting in my closet! LOL!
Besides fanzines I know tape-trading was
huge as well did you ever do much tape trading? What were some of the early
demo's and releases that you traded for?
Well to be honest, I wasn't aware of tape trading at first, but I heard
about it later reading in Wild Rags and Metal Maniacs. I didn't trade tapes
at all and later I learned when you wrote to bands overseas, you sent a IRC
(international reply coupon) and you waited for a response from the band.
However, I have a good friend of mine (West Side Dave) who used to send me
mixtape compilation cassettes of bands he turned me on to and was part of
learning more about the underground bands on those tapes he sent me. I would
call him weekly and tell him I would mail him blank cassettes and then he
dubbed them for me and sent them back and I have still have all those tapes
he did for me and I appreciate what he did for me.
When did you first become interested in being a
DJ of a radio show? How did you choose Audio Aggression and Metal Mark's
Vault as the name's for your shows?
Well I always wanted to be a radio DJ since the mid 80's and then around
that same time, 2 friends of mine told me about 2 radio stations that had
metal radio shows. The first one was a show called "The Rock Shop" on WSFW
in Seneca Falls, NY (RIP Bob Appell) and the other was an underground metal
show called Metal Mayhem on WBER in Rochester NY. Then around 1987, there
was a show that also influenced me to be a DJ and that show was Metallic
Overdrive also on WBER in Rochester NY and that show pretty much introduced
me to the underground / independent metal label artists as well as import
releases. I was an avid listener of all those shows on Saturday nights
from the mid 80's to Metallic Overdrive's final show in 1994. My show was
originally called Audio Aggression until a few years ago, there was another
show with that same name, so I changed it to "Metal Mark's Audio Aggression"
to avoid any legal issues. But the name of the show fits pretty much with
how metal should be, powerful, heavy, brutal, aggressive, you get the idea.
That's how I came up with that name. As far as "Metal Mark's Vault, well
seeing that I have a large collection of older releases as well as reissues
I either purchase or promos I receive from labels for airplay that send
digital reissues, I felt that it was important to have a show to look at the
past of the metal underground so I decided to start that show as
You have been a DJ for many years now what is
it about doing a radio show that you enjoy so much? Would you have any
advice to anyone reading this who might be thinking of starting their own
It will be exactly 30 years on June 5, 2022 that I started the show and I
enjoy it so much because I am an old school metal die hard with a great deal
of passion and I love interacting with fellow metalheads around the world
during my shows and even when I am not on air. So overall simply, a passion
and a love for metal music. My advice to those who want to start doing their
own show is to make sure you are passionate and willing to work hard and if
there's a college radio station or independent FM station in your city that
allows community volunteer DJ's, take advantage of it and learn the process
step by step. It's a great experience, or if you prefer doing an internet
only show, surf online and check all the online metal radio stations that
are out there and see what works best for you.
Are you happy with how things have progressed
over the years with both shows?
Oh I am very happy since I went DIY, I'm my own boss and it feels great,
haha! Everyone loves the shows I do and I understand not everyone can listen
live at the same time because of the time zones hence why I make the shows
available for streaming to listen to at mixcloud.com/Metalmark52.
What styles of metal do you support and play on
your shows? If there are any bands, labels or PR Companies interested in
submitting music how can they get in contact with you?
The subgenres of metal I feature are:
Any subgenres I did not mention I don't play and also do not play modern /
nu-metal either. Remember I am a old school metalhead, haha! Bands/labels/PR
companies can submit their material to firstname.lastname@example.org or they can
find me on Facebook at
If anyone is interested in listening to your
shows what days and times are they on? Where can they readers tune in to
Metal Mark's Vault is on Friday nights and Metal Mark's Audio Aggression is
on Saturday nights, both shows are live and on at 10pm till 1am (EDT-USA)
and you can listen live at
http://metalmark.myl2mr.com If you miss the live shows, they can be
listened to as streaming only podcasts and you can follow at
where you'll find my massive podcast archive of over 500 shows going back as
far as 2015 from the Brutal Existence Radio days!
When you need to take a break from working on
your radio shows what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I prep the shows in advance during the week and check email submissions from
bands/labels/PR companies so during the week I am busy doing all that. When
I am not doing the radio stuff, well since CO-VID started I've been watching
a lot of TV, movies/ documentaries and my family got me a nice Fire TV 2
years ago on Xmas so pretty much I like to stay entertained from that. I see
my Mom once in awhile and we'll go shopping and stuff like that. I also like
to meditate and it helps with my stress and anxiety as well. Since CO-VID, I
only go out for 3 reasons, shopping/doctors/and seeing my Mom. That's it.
Hopefully things will open back up and get back to normal soon.
What does Underground Metal mean to you? And
how do you feel it has changed over the years do you feel it has gotten
better or worse or just changing with the times?
Underground metal to me means a lot. Going to shows (before CO-VID) and I
have made many new friendships in the underground, discovering new bands on
an almost daily basis, the fun of shopping online and buying the artists'
releases and surfing online looking for new bands in the underground. The
internet pretty much makes it easier now as opposed to the pre-internet days
when you had to write to a band and wait for a response. Overall, it is
better since the pre-internet days I think because now you have easier
access than before.
I know before the Covid pandemic you used to
promote shows and tours on your facebook page what were some of the most
memorable concerts you had the pleasure of witnessing over the years?
The past several years before CO-VID I got to see bands such as Morta Skuld,
Morpheus Descends, Solstice (US-FL), Hobbs' Angel Of Death (RIP Peter), the
reunion of Baphomet (US-NY), Derketa, Embalmer, Deceased, October 31,
Funerus, Prime Evil, Absconder, Cardiac Arrest, Warcurse, Scorched,
Faithxtractror, Funeral Nation, Atomic Aggressor, Grave Descent, Hellcannon,
Rottrevore, Oz, Wehrmacht, Master, Cain (US-NY), and tons more.
Who are some of your favorite bands that you
have had the pleasure of seeing live? Are there any bands that you hope to
see play live when bands are able to do so again?
My top favorites I got to see live were Judas Priest / Iron Maiden
(Vengeance / Beast tour), Rush (twice, Moving Pictures and Hold Your Fire
tour), Judas Priest / Great White (Defenders tour and GW's debut album tour
which btw the debut kicks ass!!)
One band on my bucket list that I hope to see before they retire-SAXON! \m/
Mark I believe you live in the great state of
New York what is your opinion of the metal scene in New York over the years?
Yes, I live in the Central Upstate NY region in a small city called Fulton,
which is approx 1/2 hour NW of Syracuse. There are a lot of great metal
bands from Syracuse/ Rochester/Buffalo/Albany/NYC. Before CO-VID, shows were
always happening in all these areas and the scene is great. After CO-VID, I
think the scene will come back stronger than ever once the shows start back
up again hopefully soon.
Who are your all-time favorite bands coming out
of New York and are their any new bands you could recommend to the readers?
All time favorite bands from NY....whew a lot, LOL! Suffocation, Baphomet,
The Rods, Dio (RIP-Cortland NY native), Manowar (from Auburn NY), older
Anthrax, man I could go on, LOL! Too many!
Thank you Mark for taking the time to fill this
interview out do you have any final comments for the readers?
First of all I want to say thank you Patrick for this interview and your
support of my shows all these years and wish you continued success with your
zine and Underground Metal Promotions as well. I also want to say thank you
to my family and friends worldwide for your support of my shows all these
years and supporting the metal underground. I will continue to wave the flag
of old school metal forever! \m/