After the "tragic" demise of Sweet Rage, 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, who are one of the most influential metal bands of all time. In his place, Salem Spade hired the incredible drummer Scott Davies, who now plays with Opie Gone Bad.
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 I 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 stared 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 became a friend of Wendy Pearlstein (now owner of Mosh Pit Records and The Pit Magazine). At the time, she owned a bar in Colorado Springs, CO called "D.J.'s Nightclub". This was an amazing club where "up and coming but not yet big time" bands played. Bands that played there included Megadeth, Slayer and a then young Metallica.
Wendy hooked up my band with some great gigs. 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. We broke up around 1989. By the way, there were a number of guys in the band throughout its existence. I think that most would agree that the band was its strongest with the lineup of Pat, Kevin, Scott, John and myself. Of that lineup, only Pat was an original member.
I recently heard from Pat Stjernquist. He is now married, has a few kids and is doing well. He just moved to Colorado but we have yet to hook up but I'm sure we will soon. John is doing well and singing in a band in Arizona. As previously mentioned, Scott is still playing drums.
I lost contact with Kevin Emerson for over five years but heard from him in December of 1998. That kicked ass with a capital "K". He is one of the best musicians I have ever had the pleasure to know. Turns out, he is also one of the smartest. He was doing well living in New York and working in the investment industry. Kevin is a great guy. He informed me that he will be moving to Chicago to attend Graduate School.
I look back with much fondness when I think about Salem Spade. To this day, people still remember the band and contact me. That is a pretty good feeling. Salem Spade was a group of very talented musicians and good friends. I truly am very happy to be in contact with every member in Salem Spade after all of these years.
SALEM SPADE INTERVIEWS & MEDIA REVIEWS
SALEM SPADE RANDOM PICTURES & FLIERS