The Deboning Method formed sometime in the summer of 1988. It happened when Jason Skipper met Wade Sellers over a phone call. Jason had been a drummer for a punk band called Government Destroys Society (GDS) and Wade had played guitar in several metal bands. “I met Deboning Method’s first guitarist, Wade, through a mutual friend. Wade was an easy-going guy who seemed to appreciate the punk ethos of what I was into but, was equally into playing aggressive metal.” (Jason Skipper) Together they formed a band that brought together elements of each other’s style, a thrash metal band with a sense of humor but still a serious attitude. “Our band name, Deboning Method, came from those first meetings although I’m not exactly sure the true “origin” of the name.” (Jason Skipper) They jammed once with a drummer named Clint Link before hooking up with Derek Roddy who by age 15 was already a legend around town. “Derek was and still is one of THE funniest people I’ve ever met. We hit it off instantly, and kept each other laughing constantly.” (Jason Skipper)
With Derek Roddy, the band added a bassist named Mike Sharp and soon they had their first two original songs: Try to Forget and Dead Time. The band jammed most of that summer as a four piece while also searching for a second guitar player. During a chance encounter at an outdoor music fest in Columbia, Derek met Rob Peterson. He had been playing in another band with an old friend and former band mate of Derek’s (Kyle Snell). The two got to chatting and decided that Rob would come play for The Deboning Method. Now the band was complete and set about writing originals and getting their songs tight.
Line up from Summer ’87 – Winter ’89:
Jason Skipper Vocals
Wade Sellers Guitar
Derek Roddy Drums
Mike Sharp Bass
Rob Peterson Guitar
“From the start, ideas flowed out of everybody at a ridiculous rate. Between songs someone would be screwing around on guitar or drums and a song would come out of that. Or, we’d be sitting around talking or joking about something and someone would say, we should do a song about that.” (Rob Peterson) Within three months the band had about six good originals and several covers:
• Try to Forget Summer ‘88
• Dead Time Summer ‘88
• Dreamscape (originally called Morbid Love Song from Hell) Summer ‘88
• No Success in Ignorance Fall ‘88
• Contaminated Nutrients Fall ‘88
• Poo Poo Fall ‘88
There was even an adaptation of the music from the movie Halloween that featured original material in addition to selections from the movie score. “We covered Angel of Death just to show off that we could do it. Back then a group of high school kids playing one of the hardest and fastest songs in metal seemed like a big deal.” (Rob Peterson) “I remember going to a record store with Derek and buying a Reign in Blood cassette. We listened to it once on the way home. When we got to Derek’s house I asked him if he wanted to learn and play any of these songs. He said, go ahead I already know them. That was Derek, one listen and he had it down and was ready to play.” (Wade Sellers)
“There was something special about this band. I recall from the earliest days, people would just show up to our band practice and hang out to listen to us. We had maybe three songs and one cover but people dug it. I even remember once, after having just joined the band, standing outside of Rockafellas and overhearing a guy that was in a popular band at the time say, ‘you know who I want to check out’, The Deboning Method. I was like, whoa, there is already a buzz about this band and we just got started.” (Rob Peterson)
Ironically, the bands first public appearance was at a Halloween party. It was at someone’s house in a cramped room, there was no stage or even sense of direction for everyone to face. “We just set up wherever and jammed on our songs, twice I think.” (Rob Peterson). This is the only known surviving picture from that night:
(Rob Peterson foreground, Mike Sharp background)
The bands next public outing was at a high school battle of the bands. “I remember the gymnasium being packed. When we performed, the crowd literally went nuts, this was a time when metal was in an extreme form of change. We began when “crossover” metal was still in its infancy. Bands such as D.R.I., Corrosion of Conformity, Cryptic Slaughter, etc… were getting a lot of flack for their new “metal” leanings. The days of the punk rock “circle pits” were starting to morph into “mosh pits” where all bets were off whether you’d thrash in unison or be carted off in an ambulance.” (Jason Skipper)
The band’s first real show came at Rockafellas late in the summer of ’89. They opened for two local bands that had gotten pretty popular by this point. Antischism was a punk band and played second; and Sovereign was a metal band that played last. The set lasted roughly thirty minutes and featured six originals and one cover and a five-minute tirade by Jason on the ills of laxative abuse.
That show launched the band to a level of popularity that shows after which became numerous and frequent. It also soon led to performing outside of Columbia. Augusta soon became a second home where crowds rivaled those in Columbia. Another exciting performance was at a small club in Augusta Georgia named The White House. I recall the club being smack dab in the middle of a desolate strip of main street America. The crowds at The White House were always great and came in droves. A high school communications class was filming us for an editorial piece; that said, I wanted it to be extra special. I cobbled together an outfit consisting of faux fur tiger stripe shorts, the outer shell of a Darth Vader replica helmet (sorry Derek), the strongest smoke bombs commercially available, and an obscenely large stuffed unicorn. I began the show by galloping from the back of the stage atop the Unicorn, smoke bombs taped and lit on both sides of the helmet. I threw the unicorn into the crowd as I began to feel the sides of the helmet getting hot. The smoke bombs began melting through the plastic of the helmet (sorry again, Derek)! The students were filming from the left side of the stage with no idea of what was to come next. Almost immediately, the crowd had ripped the unicorn to shreds, sending the stuffing flying everywhere. Looking back at the video, it looked like a snowstorm broke out inside the club!
By the winter of ’90, the band had added a number of new songs and was eager to get into the studio and produce something that could be shared outside of the immediate vicinity of SC. What came out was a four-song demo featuring: Contaminated Nutrients, No Success in Ignorance, Dreamscape and Savior. A few copies of that demo survive to this day. The quality of the recording wasn’t the greatest, but it was something and was gaining popularity around the world. It wasn’t long before the band was getting mentioned in small magazines (called fanzines) all over the US and Europe.
We performed regularly and primarily around town (Columbia, SC). We were hungry and game to play just about anywhere. House parties, pool parties, pool halls, dive bars, concert halls, gymnasiums…you name it, we probably played there.
I’m often reminded of our antics by past and present band members. One particular incident occurred at a local university’s performance hall. We were playing a Halloween show and the stage was decorated on either side with real pumpkins. During the frenetic performance, I decided it would be a “good idea” to dive head-first into a batch of pumpkins. This is where it got real interesting. Both the supervisor of the hall as well as the sound person wanted to shut us down. People were apparently getting hurt in the mosh pit; because I had been hurling the demolished pumpkins across the hardwood floor at the unsuspecting crowd. I suppose it was a bit slippery. Needless to say, we were asked to clean up the mess or the show was over. So, I announced over the microphone: “excuse us for a quick janitorial break,” and off I went to find a mop and bucket. The crowd was so worked into a frenzy that some thought it was all part of the show and kept thrashing about despite there being no performance at the moment.
There was also an incident involving a pack of bologna that I’d prefer to leave in the annals of history.
Soon, we began to branch out and play shows across the state and beyond. Another fine performance took place at an all-ages metal and punk rock show at a VFW hall in the upstate. It was great seeing all types of kids at our shows sporting mohawks, leather jackets, studs and spikes, denim jackets – you’d see rockers, death-metalers, surf-punks, Goths, jocks, preps…everyone came out for a good time.
I recall one opening band having an interesting drum set up, a basic three-piece kit with tree branches protruding from the bass drum. The drummer was using them as cymbal stands! We all got quite a good laugh from that bizarre but effective use of available resources.
It was at this same show that I became wrapped up in the heat of the moment and spied an unconnected commode in the corner behind the so-called “stage”. What happened next is still a blur to me but, according to multiple sources within the band and in attendance, I picked up the commode, began performing with it held high above my head, and then proceeded to launch it out of an open second story window, stage right.
By the fall of 1989, three of The Deboning Method’s members were students at USC. Mike was a sophomore in the college of Engineering, Wade was a freshman in the college of media arts and somehow Rob was a freshman in the college of Physics. Unfortunately, bands members come and go and by early 1990 Mike Sharp had decided that school was more important and became the first ex-member of the deboning method. “I remember going over to Mike’s dorm room to tell him that we were going to get a new bass player. I was there for over an hour chit chatting and trying to figure out how to tell him. Finally it was late and I needed to go. I said see ya mike and oh by the way I think we are going to get a new bass player. In typical Mike style, he nonchalantly replied, yea that’s cool, whatever. I had just spent an hour worried about telling him and he really didn’t care one way or the other.” (Wade Sellers)
Mike’s replacement was a friend and schoolmate to Derek and Wade named Jimmy Watson. “Jimmy was a skinny fellow with one of the most uncontrolled, manic heads of hair I’d ever seen. Jimmy was a lunatic, both as a person and as a bass player. He also brought an impeccable, twisted sense of humor to our already warped view of the world. We then had a cohesive band of brothers.” (Jason Skipper)
Line up from Spring ’90 – Winter ’91:
Jason Skipper Vocals
Wade Sellers Guitar
Derek Roddy Drums
Rob Peterson Guitar
Jimmy Watson Bass