After Blackkout’s Ignorance of Man release Blackkout members changed reaching a peak in 1990 with the line up of Jerry Outlaw on guitar, Lee Gibson on drums, Darren McFarland on bass, and myself. We reached a high point in the summer of 1990 winning the Best Metal Band award at the Tampa Bay Music Awards. But by the end of the summer things had disintegrated through a series of unfortunate events. Including bad advice from management and my life spiraling out of control. The fact that we just couldn’t seem to get signed or afford to continue recording led to the eventual break up of the band.
Several months later I would ask Darren to join me on a new project, The Last Things. With Lou Buffo on Drums we started a new journey recording the first 6 songs professionally. Soon after the recording sessions Darren left and joined Atheist. Lou and I moved forward asking Jeff Cinotti to replace Darren on bass. Jeff recorded the remaining songs for us on Circles and Butterflies and performed with us at the Southeastern Music Conference, and at the St. Petersburg Science Center. We added guitarist George Harris. He would perform with us at the SMC. Guitarist Matt LaPorte would replace him when a schedule conflict would no longer allow George to perform with us. Matt performed with us at the St. Petersburg Science Center, and at the Ritz Theater at the Tampa Bay Metal Awards. Darren would return for that show also. It should also be mentioned that keyboardist Jeremy Wilkins from the band Rosewater Elizabeth performed with us at all 3 live gigs.
Another thing that should be mentioned here is that while Jerry Outlaw didn’t record on this project, I am sure that his influence was still affecting us. And his presence if not his writing was definitely with us, especially on the song “The Circle of Willis”.
The Last Things recorded in June of 1991 at Platinum Post Studio in Orlando, Fl. Returning to Platinum Post in December of that same year I mixed the first 6 songs on Circles and Butterflies with Bruce Marshall. Shortly after those sessions while still under the management of Tom Marzullo, things began to stand still. Communications all but stopped as Lou and I continued writing and working on pre production for the remaining songs. Waiting to hear word on new recording sessions it seemed as if the project was falling apart. With Darren leaving to work with Atheist I was forced to take things into my own hands securing several student sessions at Full Sail Studios.
Lou and I tracked the remaining songs together, adding friend Jeff Cinotti on bass. Producer Bruce Marshall had all but abandoned the project by this time. Tom Marzullo became ineffective as a manager and I realized how destructive his advice had been at times in Blackkout as well as TLT. For all the good he had done, the bad had begun to far outweigh the positive. My relationship with Tom Marzullo ended at this point. I learned the hard lesson that just because someone has gold and platinum records on their wall doesn’t mean they can help your music career.
Finishing the project became very difficult and we were forced to use student session demo versions of the remaining songs, as we couldn’t afford to mix them professionally. In hindsight we should have called them bonus tracks. We decided to put the CD out on our own anyway, hoping the last 5 tracks would hold their own as songs. We were hoping the listener would forgive the mix and enjoy the songs anyway.
Cutting a CD was quite different in 1993. The DAT Master was transferred to a PMCD and 1000 CD’s were burned from that. Our friend Chuck Majewski did the artwork. With the help of friends and family we learned how to get our CD booklets and J card printed and cut. We ordered our jewel cases through our friends at a local record store. I then put together 1000 CD’s by hand. We took them to all the local record stores in the Tampa bay area. We went on the radio with Austin Keys from 98Rock. On July 4th the first 6 songs were played over the airwaves by 98Rock during the Fireworks celebration. Several CD’s were sent to Bernd Siegle and Jürgen Tshamler of Thunderbolt magazine. They sent them out to many other magazines and contacts. Kirsten Vammen Larsen of Metalized Magazine out of Denmark contacted Bernd. He passed the contact information on to me and we began to talk business. At first Metalized bought the remaining CD’s I had left. I think it was around 700 CD’s. Nordic Metal offered a deal that would cover our manufacturing cost. I don’t remember how many CD’s Nordic pressed. I do know that our original pressing had dark purple silk screened on the CD with a black and white cover and Nordic Metal’s were done with green silk screening and color airbrushed over our art. I believe Nordic Metal was affiliated with Metalized magazine. At one point we talked with Rising Sun records but nothing ever came through. Nordic Metal may have done a deal with them but I’m not sure. The promotion for the CD was very limited. It just never received the distribution or advertising needed to get off the ground.
Once again lack of funds would limit our recording until I became the audio engineer for American Music Works, a studio located in St. Petersburg Florida. It would be at this studio in 1994 where Lou, Darren, and I would record together for the last time. I would ask several friends to sit in on these recordings, including, Triad from Blackkout, Chris Brown (the original drummer for Blackkout), my good friend Mark Shelton, and Melissa Rae Mileski from Rosewater Elizabeth lending her beautiful voice on Bloom, another song written for my daughter Morgan Jade.
Once again I allowed my life to interfere with the band and that chapter ended.
Over the years I have recorded and written many songs. The Last Things and Blackkout are an important part of my life and I hope to have the new Last Things recordings available soon so keep an ear out for a new release.
The Spirit Lives!
Richard W. Elliott IV