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1986: I play drums in a band called Invincible Stalker

1988: Having moved to guitar, I formed the core of Scare Tactics with Tim Comery on bass, his brother Mike on drums and Dave Powers also on drums

1989: I meet a drummer named Jeff Dennard and he takes over the drumming duties

1991: Jeff, Tim and I move into a rented house.  Vocalist Al Bittner joins the band and we start writing a bunch of material. We play one large summer gig

1992: Jeff moves away and Al leaves the band but we meet new drummer Shawn Johnson and vocalist Mark Liebelt

1993: Late in the year, we begin to gig in and around the Rochester area

1994: Released a demo tape with four original songs:  Another World, Victimized, Cursed To Live and Psychotopia.  Shawn leaves the band.

1995-1998: Various band members come and go but none stick.  The band is essentially done by now.

1999: Jeff Dennard moves back to the area and we try to re-animate Scare Tactics. Vocalist Lou Nitti and bass player Scott McIntosh join the group.  The band has a very different sound from Scare Tactics so we call the band 7D-ZERO

2000: Bassist Dana Fogle is now in the band and a full-length CD was recorded. Two Scare Tactics songs are recorded. Psychotopia and Last Days of Eternity.

2002: Jeff once again moves back to NYC and Dana moves to Louisiana

2005: I join a band called Intox, leave for a brief period but then rejoin the band again and have been a member ever since

2015: Intox goes on a hiatus playing very infrequent gigs so I decide to re-visit all of the old Scare Tactics material.  Most if not all of the songs are polished and cleaned up and many of the incomplete songs are finished.



I played drums all through my school years.  Around ’86 I started a band with two friends Chris Vandewinkel and Anthony Mangos. Both of them played guitar. We would rehearse in the basement of a machine shop owned by Chris’s father. We played covers from bands like Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Rainbow and Scorpions to name a few.  We never officially adopted a name but would use Invincible Stalker when necessary.


A few different people were brought in to fill in on bass and vocals.  The most notable of these were Jim Gorski (bass) and Brian Wright (vocals) who join Invincible Stalker for a gig at a local talent show.  


Tim Comery was later brought in as a potential vocalist but it quickly became apparent that the role of a vocalist was not his strong suit.  However, because Tim had the foresight to bring a case a beer to the audition, he made a lasting impression on me.  Tim eventually becomes a founding member of Scare Tactics.


After High School graduation, Myself, Chris and Anthony end up jamming less frequently.  We do however come up with some original riffs and basic original song ideas. None of these are ever finalized as complete songs but one of the riffs dubbed “Invincible Stalker” (as per the band name) becomes the foundation of a Scare Tactics song later on.


Shortly after graduation, I buy my first guitar.  It is a Cort Star with a grey-burst finish, gold hardware and a Kahler Pro tremolo. My original intention was to learn some basic skills in order to be able to convey song ideas.  However, I end up spending countless hours trying to learn tunes from classic metal bands like Scorpions, AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Black Sabbath; Thrash metal bands like Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Overkill, Testament; and punk/metal crossover bands like Dead Kennedys, DRI, SOD, and so forth.  Basically, I moved away from drumming and moved to playing guitar.



At this point, I’m interested in starting my own band and need to find some others to jam with.  I recalled when Tim came into the audition (with the beer) and figured he might still be interested.  My request to him went something like: “Go buy a bass and let’s form a band!”  Tim agreed.  At the same time, Tim’s brother Mike (Mikey) was interested in buying my drum set. I sold the set to him and thus had a drummer available for the band as well.  Dave Powers, a classmate of mine, had some experience playing drums during school. And so, with both Mikey and Dave sharing drum duties, Tim on bass and myself on guitar, the earliest incarnation of Scare Tactics was complete. During this time, the skeletal no-vocals versions of  “The Rejected” and “Madman” were written.  “Madman” was a refined version of “Invincible Stalker” which as stated earlier, was basically just a jam riff conceived by Chris, Anthony and myself.



Sometime early in ’89, there was a party at Tim’s house.  In attendance was a guy that worked with Tim named Jeff Dennard. I soon discovered that Jeff was a hell of a drummer! Jeff and I jammed nearly all night long at this party. We kept playing songs like “Tom Sawyer” from Rush, “Black Magic” from Slayer and “For Whom The Bell Tolls” from Metallica. It was clear that Jeff should be the drummer for Scare Tactics.  Not long after starting to jam together, we wrote our first original.  When Tim came over after work, he heard the framework of  “Cursed To Live” for the first time.  The three of us finalized the song structure that night and I would later write some lyrics for the song. 


For the remainder of ’89 and into ’90, we continued to jam on cover songs as well as write new material whenever it was possible to find the space and time to rehearse.  Songs like “Cursed To Live”,  “And Why”,  “The Rejected”, “Madman”, and “Tears Of Fate” were all originally written around this time. We still did not have a full time vocalist so lyrics were a secondary priority.



This was arguably the most important year for Scare Tactics. Tim, Jeff and I decide to rent a house.  This provided the opportunity to rehearse at a moment’s notice.  Songs like “Another World”, “Last Days of Eternity”, “Biography”, and “Victimized” were all written at this time. 

We still had yet to come up with a name. One day Tim came home from work and stated something to the effect of:  “I hate all of the Scare Tactics that the managers at work use on us.”  The name stuck!  And yes, we used this name long before the TV show of the same name hosted by Tracy Morgan was ever aired (haha!).

Another key milestone was that Scare Tactics finally found a vocalist when Al Bittner joined the band.  Al had a punk/hardcore singing style that seemed to fit the songs we were playing at the time. With Al in place, I scrambled to complete a bunch of lyrics.  We rehearsed relentlessly and began to gain a pretty large following primarily because the house became a hotspot for parties!  Just about every day was a “gig” because we played for all the people who seemed to call our house home.  Or at least the place to sleep off their hangovers.

A “real” gig presented itself when coworkers and friends of mine mentioned that they were going to throw a little summer party in June.  They had a band called Kold Shoulder and wanted to have a few other bands over for a jam.  Kold Shoulder, Scare Tactics and Blue Axis were all on the bill and the event was dubbed “Monsters Of The Lake”.  The “little summer jam” turned into one of the most fun parties that any of us had ever experienced.  Many of us still talk about it to this day. Unfortunately for Scare Tactics, Al Bittner was MIA after “Monsters Of The Lake” and we were once again without a singer. The remainder of that year was spent honing existing material, writing more songs and playing for the many partygoers who called our remote country house their home.


Another blow to the band came right after NYE.  Jeff decided to move to New York City to be with family. Tim and I were now without both a drummer and a singer.

In a stroke of luck, I got a new job at a local hospital and quickly became friends with a guy name Mark Liebelt.  As it turned out, Mark was (is) a great singer! Mark, Tim and I found that we shared many of the same musical tastes and quickly became not only band mates but also close friends. Mark joined up with us and Scare Tactics was given a big boost both in moral and vocal abilities.  Mark had a much greater vocal range and style that lent itself to changing the existing songs from rough and unpolished sounding into more refined and accessible sounding. 


One interesting thing to note here was that Mark had ties to the members of Kold Shoulder from “Monsters of the Lake” gig.  He was their original singer! The letters of the word “Kold” were actually formed from the last names of the band members at the time.  The letter “L” was taken from Mark’s last name.



The three of us auditioned and jammed with a few different drummers but none of them really took hold.  Eventually, we met drummer Shawn Johnson.  Shawn fit in with our style and the band was complete again. This lineup quickly refined the original songs plus a few covers and we prepared to hit the local scene in and around the Rochester area.  Late in the year, we start playing numerous gigs around the Rochester and surrounding areas. 


It was either the tail end of ’93 or the very beginning of ’94 that we decided to try to record a demo. A small independent studio run by Jim Morris was selected as the place to record. 



We ended up releasing a demo tape that had the songs: “Another World”, “Cursed To Live”, “Victimized” and “Psychotopia.” Unfortunately, not long after the release of the demo tape, we decided to part ways with Shawn Johnson. The band did not play again for several months. 


During the summer or early fall Jeff Dennard made a surprise visit from NYC.  During his return Tim, Mark, Jeff and I all got together and had a party/jam.  It was on this night that the jazz, clean version of “Madman” was spontaneously born. This was the only time that Mark and Jeff jammed together as members of Scare Tactics. 



For a brief period of time, drummer Chris Parker joined the band.  We played one gig with Chris on drums.  The gig was a charity event held at the local school. The funny part about that gig was, I rented what I felt was an appropriately sized PA from Sound Source.  It was nothing more than an 8-channel powered head and two good sized speakers.  Plenty for a school auditorium. Side note: As some of you may recall, John ran Sound Source from his garage at this time!  Anyways, some guy at the gig who claimed he was an expert in sound design, argued with me right up until the show began that the PA I rented was way too big and would blow the eardrums out of everyone at the show. Insert the face palm emoji here!  Once the show began though, he quickly realized that the PA was not the epic sonic disaster he was expecting. He apologized to me and all was good. After that gig however, the band fell apart again.  Tim and I would audition various people and attempt to build new lineups but nothing serious ever emerged. We eventually found ourselves either not playing at all or jamming with other bands.


Jeff Dennard finally moved back to the area and wanted to get Scare Tactics going again.  Jeff and I began to jam and tried to get both Mark and Tim on board.  Tim found himself busy with a demanding work schedule and could not allocate the time.  Mark was also unable to join due to similar commitments.


Jeff and I found vocalist Lou Nitti and shortly afterwards Lou recommended, bassist Scott McIntosh.  With this new lineup came a new direction in the sound of the band. Most of the faster, punkish style riffing was replaced with slower and grungier sounds.  We decided to round out the set with a bunch of cover material.  We chose a selection of tunes from the alternative, Seattle, hard rock bands like Stone Temple Pilots and Soundgarden since they were more suited to Lou’s vocal style. The guitars were tuned lower (CGCFAD) to accommodate Lou’s vocal range. The name Scare Tactics didn’t seem appropriate so we had to get a new one.   


With the new millennia right around the corner, we tried try to find a name relevant to the year 2000.  I thought it might be cool to use the hexadecimal version of “2000” which is “7D0” and see if something could come out of that.  I presented that idea to the band and they liked it. “7D0” was re-written as “7D-ZERO” and thus became the band name. As crazy as that is, the name seemed right at the time and was definitely unique!



Scott left the band and was replaced with bassist Dana Fogle.  Dana was in the band less than a few months when we decided to go record a full-length CD.  During the year, we played many gigs in and around the area while also spending time recording the CD.  The CD was finished by the end of the year and released in early 2001.  Old Scare Tactics songs “Psychotopia” and “Last Days Of Eternity” had remained in the repertoire and were recorded for the CD.



7D-ZERO continued to gig until early 2002 when Dana left the band and moved to Louisiana.  Very shortly after that, Jeff once again moved back to NYC.



I found myself playing in numerous cover and original bands but all of them relatively brief.  



Some time in 2005 I was asked by founding member Jerry Vogel to join his band Intox.  At the same time however, I was trying to form a thrash metal cover band and had a few of the members already lined up.  I did join up with Intox with the intention of lending a hand in getting the band off the ground.  I remained in the band for a few months but I left once the thrash metal band lineup was finalized.  The cover band was called “Forgotten Impact” and we gigged throughout the remainder of 2005, all of 2006 and into the start of 2007.  The band played metal covers from bands like Overkill, Testament, King Diamond, Anthrax, Metallica, Ozzy, Megadeth, etc.  We did get to play some notable gigs such as opening for Stephen Pearcy’s Ratt  as well as Jani Lane’s band. 



By the time 2007 rolled around, Forgotten Impact was, well, forgotten!  When the band ended, I re-joined up with Intox and have remained a member ever since.  Intox enjoyed quite a range of cool gigs opening for bands like:  Overkill, Forbidden, Gamma Bomb, Evile, Green Jelly, Psychostik, Metal Church, D.R.I., Chris Poland, Joey Belladonna, and several more! As of around 2014 however, Intox has been very inactive.  



With Intox on hiatus and a new home studio setup and begging to be utilized, I decide to re-visit all of the Scare Tactics material. I gave a facelift to all of the finished songs and completed several others. The results are what I think is an appropriately titled album "FINALLY". As a side note, there was more than enough unfinished material to complete yet another albums worth!  I hope to release more sometime soon.

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