„From No More Color on we created a different style”

The classic line up in the Music Lab Studios with Harris Johns

Marquis Marky about Coroner’s story – Part II

In 1983 you released the Depth of Hell demo. What do you recall of it in terms of recording, songs, performance, sound, songwriting, cover artwork etc.?

We recorded in a small studio in downtown Zurich. I think it took about 6 hours to record and mix. I remember that I was super nervous. It was the first time in a studio for all of us. As we came out of the recording cellar around midnight, totally exhausted, I found my car with two flat tires. I parked in the backyard in someone’s parking space, and he stabbed my tires in return. It took me about another 3 hours finding a phone and assistance until I finally got home. We recorded I think 3 or 4 tracks. The cover artwork was just a photo of the band with the logo on top and the title underneath. I think we didn’t achieve anything with that tape, but it made us feel more professional, haha…

Was it recorded only for yourselves or was it spread around/distributed for metal fans as well?

We had no fans at all, besides a few friends…

According to Oliver Amberg, the band played several gigs. Can you tell us more about it? How did those shows go?

I recall about 5 shows. One show was somewhere in South Switzerland, together with another band from Zurich called Junkfood. Good friends. We had the great idea to buy a inflatable sex doll in advance and a morgenstern (medieval meapon). The excellent plan was to beat the doll with the morgenstern during one of the songs. Unfortunately, the inflated doll touched a spotlight on the floor before the singer took it on stage. Most of the air was out and it looked shit. He still did the thing with the morgenstern. After the show, on the way back to Zurich, I remember, the drummer of Junkfood complained the whole time how stupid we are to do something like that.

With Messiah Marcolin (Candlemass), 1988

In early 1985 Coroner split up and was reformed by you a few months later with a new line-up, including Ronald „Ron Royce” Broder bass/vocals and Thomas „Tommy T. Baron” Vetterli guitars as a thrash metal band known as Coroner again. First of all, what kind of reasons did lead to the break and how did they end up joining the band?

In 1984 I had to go to the military basic training for 4 months. After I returned, the band did not exist anymore. I was very disappointed, but only had one goal and that was to carry on, but with a different style. Tommy Ritter mentioned to the guys that he knew that were looking for a drummer. We met in a local bar and made up a date to do a jam. 2 weeks later they decided to join me under the name Coroner. I think they were not so impressed by my drum skills but much more about the vision I had. I myself was totally impressed how well they could play. It was lightyears away from my drumming at the time.

Were they immediately your first choices? What about their musical background?

I think I tried to put something together with Olly Amberg first but it didn’t work out. And yes, after I jammed with Tommy and Ron it was clear to me that they’re the ones!

Tommy and you were roadies for Celtic Frost on the Tragic Serenades tour. How did you get to the crew of Celtic Frost? How long did the tour last and what kind of memories do you have from it?

Well, I could talk about that for weeks, haha. Since we were friends with Frost for a while (I was shortly even chosen as drummer for Frost but I cancelled because I wanted to finish my education as graphic designer). Tommy and me went to a few shows in Germany and Belgium as roadies before Tom asked us to join them on their first North American tour with Voivod and Running Wild as supporting bands in ’86. Of course we said yes! The tour was awesome, but for us, roadies, very hard. We had to work from early afternoon, load in, sound check, gig and then drive by ourselves in a fucked up van during the night, sleeping on the stinky clothes in the back. There was 3 of us. Tommy, me and a British guy called Tim Butcher. He later became Lemmy’s personal roadie for years. To get into detailed memories it would take too much time.

Did you gain a lot of experiences during the tour?

Absolutely! We also had a great opportunity to give our demo tape Death Cult to all the mags that came to the shows. That helped a lot to get some attention in the US. Remember, that was the time of fan mags and cassettes. No internet.

What made you to turn into a heavier, faster and more brutal direction?

Because all of us liked fast and brutal music.

At which point did you start writing originals and how long did it take you to come up with new songs?

We only had original songs from the beginning. The songwriting went very fast actually.

You eventually cut your own songs recording your demo Death Cult in 1986 with Tom G. Warrior of Celtic Frost on vocals. How did it happen? Was it unequivocal for you to ask him singing on the demo?

At the time we were still looking for a singer as well as a 2nd guitar player. None of us could speak English so we asked Tom if he would help us out, which he did!

Tom was a friend of the band and responsible for you finding a home in Noise Records later on, wasn’t he? Were there maybe other labels’ interests in the band?

Nope, we immediately took the chance.

What were your views on the Swiss metal scene at this point when newer acts started trying their wings such as Messiah, Excruciation, Carrion/Poltergeist, Calhoun Conquer or Sickening Gore, Babylon Sad later on?

It was developing great. With all the bands you mentioned we were good friends.

Would you say that after the first two albums Coroner’s sound progressed and the production became more refined, resulting in the more progressive albums like No More Color (1989), Mental Vortex (1991) and Grin (1993)?

Absolutely. From No More Color on we created a different style. It had a lot to do with the fact that we were more experienced in playing live. The extremely complicated style from the first 2 albums went over the heads of most of the audiences.

Did No More Color pave the road to a different kind of musical realm? Was it a kind of turning point in the band’s career?


Did the third album feature very proficient instrumentation and incorporation of elements from genres such as jazz fusion, progressive rock and classical music? Is there throughout a wide array of different styles?

It had a lot to do with what every member was listening to at home. It was a wide range going from Frank Zappa and Jaco Pastorius over Zep and The Doors, Bela Bartok and Al Di Meola, Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft and Killing Joke and many more.

The song structures are not very complex, but this only adds to the immense memorability of the songs. Do you agree with it?

Yes! Again, it was also so much more fun to play live for the band and it was received much better by the crowd.

Was No More Color the ultimate evolution of your sound that Coroner would start off with R.I.P.?

Well, they are all our babies, haha. I think every album was a blueprint of the band at the moment. I still like some of the early stuff. Some fans even think everything after Punishment for Decadence is crap, haha..

Did you take a small, but brave step away from the sound of your previous album, bringing something fresh, new and unexpected to your fans while still maintaining the special Coroner sound?

I guess…

Is this Coroner’s finest moment?

No, I think we progressed much more with the next albums.

Did the band become one of the prime leaders in technical thrash metal? Were you the masters in your field and left your mark on the scene?

I think we did a good job but there were other bands around that were at least as technical and special. Watch Tower or Mekong Delta to name just 2 of ’em. Still, I think the older we got the more we did not have the max complicated, technical thing in our head. More and more we realized that there’s another world out there that grounds on feeling and depth…

How would you describe the band chemistry in Coroner?

Tommy is the most outstanding guitar player I ever had the pleasure to play with. He has an unbelievable understanding of harmonies and is able to play pretty much everything. And he knows how to party. Ron is a very quiet guy, almost shy which is hard to believe when you hear him sing or see him on stage. Same as Tommy, he is an outstanding bass player and for me it’s a mystery that he can play that crazy shit on the bass while singing at the same time. Ron was always the most relaxed in the band, what was important next to Tommy and me – who were not relaxed at all most of the time. I was, technically, the least good player in the band but I wrote 98 percent of all the lyrics and was responsible for the artwork and the way Coroner was presented in general. I guess Tommy and Ron accepted my not so good drumming because I could offer other things besides. So you could say, we somehow worked as a good oiled motor or clockwork. Every part was important.

Mark with Martin Ain (Celtic Frost, Tar Pond)

After the band dissolved, you have been in Apollyon Sun and these days you are involving in Tar Pond. What about these activities as a whole?

Tar Pond is doing great. Besides that founding member Martin Ain passed away, which was the most sad moment ever. I’m so glad that I had the opportunity and the honor to play with him in the same band. I’m so glad that, at least, we finished the recordings before he died so the songs with him on bass are kept for eternity. Right now we are just in the process of finishing the second album. There’s two new members in the current line up. Monika Schori took over the bass and Daniele Merico replaced Alain Kupper after he left the band. Apollyon Sun was a great project. It’s sad it didn’t go anywhere in the end. I still like to hear the songs today.

Do you still keep in touch with Ron and Tommy? How do you view Coroner’s reunion?

Absolutely! Since we are recording Tar Pond at Tommy’s studio I see him quite often. Also with Ron I have contact. I guess we are brothers forever. They are two of my closest friends…

Marky, thanks a lot for your answers! What are your closing words for our readers?

Thank you for your interest! Hopefully the new Coroner album will come out this year. I’m sure it’s gonna shred! Keep Tar Pond on your radar. We hope the COVID circus is over soon and we have the chance to play many shows in many countries. Hopefully in Hungary, too! All the best! Marky

2016 (l-r): Mark, Tommy and Ron (the drummer is already not in the band)
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