POSSESSES leader Jeff Becerrawho was shot during a robbery in 1989, leaving him partially paralyzed and in a wheelchair, joined Max and Igor “Iggor” Cavalera on stage last night (Friday, June 17) at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, California to perform the POSSESSES classic “Death Metal”.
Before hitting the trail, Max called I f the “godfather of death metal” while Becerra said it was a “to do list” item for him to share the stage with the Cavalera brothers and BURIAL founders.
POSSESSES originally split in 1987, leaving behind a short but highly influential legacy, including their 1985 “Seven Churches” debut album, widely regarded as the very first death metal album. Internal tensions after the 1987 release “Eyes of Horror” EP leads to band disbanding, with guitarist Larry Lalonde join the bay area tech-thrashers BLIND ILLUSIONthen PRIMEwhile Becerraguitarist Mike Torrao and drummer mike sus each going in different directions.
Two years later POSSESSESis divided, Becerra was the victim of a failed armed robbery attempt, subsequently leaving him paralyzed from the chest down and sending him into a spiral of drug and alcohol abuse. POSSESSES was reactivated by Torrao in 1990 with a completely different lineup, but only released two demos before disbanding in 1993. Becerra then reformed POSSESSES in 2007 with his own band, who released their first studio album in 33 years, “Revelations of Oblivion”in 2019.
In a 2019 interview with The Underground Metal Player, Becerra was asked about the recovery process after being shot by two masked gunmen. “I’ve been in a wheelchair longer than I’ve walked,” he said. “It’s normal. It wasn’t really an accident – I was shot by two different guns during a robbery. I was doing concrete construction. I worked about 13 hours that day- I stopped to pick up a pack of camels [cigarettes] and i guess i flashed a hundred [dollar bill] and on the way out, two guys in balaclavas, little ninjas came running in with guns: ‘Give me all your fucking money.’ I kind of resisted; I should have given them the money, but I was fucked, I was stuck. It’s not the first time I had a gun pointed at me and I knew they were serious. We got into a fight, there was no way out and I ended up getting shot several times. The first guy pushed a 9mm on my chest [points to bullet hole]. It went through the ribs and shattered the lungs and got stuck in the spine, so I still have a 9 millimeter slug stuck on the T3 vertebrate. I think the second guy was covering me from about 15 feet away so there was nowhere to run. It was more like a knee-jerk reaction because the first hit was ‘pow!’ and right after, ‘pow!'”
He continued: “I kind of anticipated this. I raised my hand in defensive mode. It didn’t matter. The 22 caliber would have hit me in the forehead, but instead it hit me. cut the finger back. You can see how it’s still bent. It was like that [shows finger]but we did a bunch of spring rehabs so it clicked and was squirting blood like some Monty Python thing. I pinched my armpit and tied him up and played dead. [The shooter] came to my forehead and his gun jammed and he was hitting the side of his gun and trying to pull the trigger to finish the job. I guess they just freaked out and as they were running away his gun went off and they were just shooting over their shoulders, ‘Pow! pow! Pow!’ all these bullets were hitting around me and I was like ‘Oh fuck!’ Then I hid under that Volvo, playing dead for about 45 minutes. This little girl came over and she was obviously a drug addict, some kind of crackhead and I was, like, ‘Hey, you gotta call 911.’ She said ‘I can’t. I live here. These guys are going to fuck me up. I said ‘I’ll give you ten dollars.’ She said ‘Ten dollars?’ I reached out with my good hand, gave him a fucking ten dollar bill and about 45 minutes later, a solo cop showed up and he was like, he couldn’t have been more than 21, 23. He said to me: ‘This is my first solo! I’m freaking out. I can’t believe this is happening. I said, ‘Call an ambulance.’ He was, like, ‘Oh, yeah…’ That was the first time I was happy to see the police. He kind of covered for me until the ambulance came and that was it.”
Becerra calls the period after the “dark five years” in reference to a spiral of drug and alcohol abuse. “I really didn’t handle it well,” he said. “I basically tried to kill myself with drugs and alcohol. I lived alone for five years and I just wrote and listened to a lot of demo tapes that were sent out and I received thousands of fan mail asking me to come back. That was always the plan, but I wanted to do the things in life that I felt I had to do as a man. I’m not saying that’s everyone , just for me i didn’t want to wake up and be 50 and all i ever have i always had a bit of a fear of college i went to college and became straight alpha gamma sigma and webmaster and i was one of the 20 gold dresses i did i got my four- year [degree] in three and a half years. I got married and had two beautiful children. Then I divorced and it was time to bring POSSESSES return. I was already acting and touring at that time and when you’re gone all the time, it’s hard to maintain a strong relationship. You have to give a lot to be in a death metal band. You just did. I’m still very tight [with her]. Me and my ex-wife are still best friends. It was amicable. It’s a win-win. I have two beautiful kids and a band and everything.”
“Revelations of Oblivion” was released in May 2019 via Nuclear explosion. The album was recorded at NRG studios and Titan Studios with Becerra as executive producer and Daniel Gonzalez as the album’s co-producer. Mixing and mastering were provided by Peter Tagtgren (HYPOCRISY, PAIN, BLOODBATH) at Abyss Studios in Sweden. For the artwork, the band called on a Polish artist Zbigniew Bielak (LOST PARADISE, DIMMU BORGIR, DECIDE, PHANTOM, GORGUTS).
with Jeff Becerra at the MAX & IGGOR CAVALERA show in San Francisxo tonight!!!
Posted by David Rodriguez on Friday, June 17, 2022