Pat Stjernquist: Guitars
Kevin Emerson: Guitars
John Secrest: Vocals
Travis LeRoy: Bass
Scott Davies: Drums
After my previous band Sweet Rage broke up, I decided to spend some serious time developing my bass skills. I would spend up to fourteen hours a day practicing my bass. When I was sixteen years old, I joined one of the bigger rock bands in Colorado. We were called Salem Spade. The band was started by Pat and Rickard Stjernquist, two brothers from Sweden. Soon after, Rickard left to join Jag Panzer. In his place, Salem Spade hired the incredible drummer Scott Davies.
Salem Spade was a "technical metal band" in the same style as Fates Warning, Iron Maiden and early Queensryche. Our songs were sometimes self indulgent but always well written, thanks mostly to our amazing guitar players Pat and Kevin.
When I joined the band, we were doing well in Colorado, but we wanted Salem Spade break in to the international underground metal scene. This was an exciting time for bands like us. Lots of demos being traded and many fanzines dedicated to the type of music we played. I sent our promotional package to a magazine called "Metal Maniacs". They reviewed our music, printed our picture and listed our address. Soon after, we started getting fan mail from all over the world and our name started spreading quickly. Of course, we received mail from people in the US, but we were also getting mail from people in Japan, Europe and even the then mighty USSR. Our music was getting played around the world. I still have a box with all of those letters.
I remember in the span of two weeks we got to open up for Great White and Helix. Not exactly our style, but hey, they were signed bands and I was a junior in high school. The night we played with Great White was classic. Their song "Rock Me" had just topped the charts. They were just starting to get huge and the show was easily sold out. The beauty was that a lot of the people in the crowd assumed we were some famous band from Los Angeles as well. After all, we were playing on the same stage as Great White. I realized that if I chose to play the part of the famous rock guy, people would believe it. The problem was that my parents only gave me permission to stay out until midnight. Can you believe that? I mean, here I am playing to a packed crowd with one of the most popular rock bands in the country and I have to worry about getting in trouble from my parents if I break my curfew. They were seriously cramping my style. To make a long story short, I got grounded the next day!
We reached a lot of people but never quite got to the point where we signed a record deal. We were really young. Kevin and I were 15 when we joined the band in 1986. Scott was 17. Pat was 21 and John was the old man at 23. Who knows what might have happened if we stayed together.
In 2007, Steel Legacy Records out of Athens, Greece released our entire catalog. The band got together for a practice. It sounded really good and we considered doing some reunion shows. Sadly, our singer John passed away shortly after that. It is unlikely we will ever be a band again, but at least the music lives on. I have great memories of playing music with these guys, and I value their friendship to this day.