Jersey Beat Music Fanzine

by Rich Quinlan

2020 is a year we all want to quickly forget, but if there is one positive, it is the fact that angry times create angry bands, and Long Island’s DemonScar provides a punishing outlet for all those quarantine frustrations.  DemonScar is the definition of a blue-collar metal band - no frills, no arrogance, and no hyphenated style; this is old fashioned metal played with a punk aesthetic.  I had the pleasure to interview the band, virtually of course, and Nza, Meds, and Jarrad (not the names found on their birth certificates) provided tremendous insight into their history, their future, and why Green Day is the smartest band in music.

If you're fortunate enough to see DemonScar live or streaming, there is no escaping the towering force that that is Nza: Eyes blacked with make-up, bass strapped low around his waist, his guttural, snarling vocal approach propels DemonScar’s songs into realms from late 70's American punk into the darkest depths of metal’s imagery.  Often donning a classic Headbanger’s Ball t-shirt, Nza wears his influences on his proverbial sleeve (or in this case, his chest.)

The seed of DemonScar was planted in 1998 when Nza joined Meds’ band Tangent, and a spirited conversation on a train to Newark to see Iron Maiden led to the two crafting their own music. As Nza recalls it, “A few weeks later we had completed the Demonscar EP. This whole project really came out of nowhere”.

While DemonScar embraces metal, punk is always a tangible component of the music.  With influences from the Pistols to Social Distortion, there is a grittiness to DemonScar’s playing that recounts the grime and angst of punk.  A staple of the band’s live show is their blistering cover of the Misfits’ “Where Eagles Dare.” Once I heard that song, I was hooked. 

Where Nza may break with some punk purists is this assertion about a certain California trio who was a mainstay on MTV throughout the 90's and early twenty-first century (Google the videos, youngsters:)“Some may consider Green Day to be sellouts. I call them the smartest punk band around. They made themselves into one of the most successful punk rock bands ever. I always love getting into the debate about punk being an image vs a lifestyle.” 

DemonScar is not an image band; these are three hard-nosed guys who eschew any frills for a direct style that embraces all forms of intensity but shies away from any political stance, a tricky line to walk in 2020. Meds points out, “People today have this insane belief that every issue has to be a political one, or at least they try to turn every topic into a political argument to fit their simplistic understanding of the left-right political spectrum. We make rock and roll songs. Don’t read into it too much. Bang your head, throw some fists in the air, and enjoy the show.”

This is a refreshing approach for some, but there will always be people digging into the lyrics of any band. Nza acknowledges, “Sometimes we sing about our truths. Sometimes we like singing about old tales passed down by generations. Sometimes we just like how words sound together. Whatever we feel our listeners will find interesting.”

NZA in action

One interesting aspect of DemonScar’s existence has been their ability to easily embrace new technology and play “live”, even if people are starting circle pits in their living rooms.  The pandemic has made life nearly impossible for bands of all levels to play out, but that has not stopped DemonScar. The band put together weekly “Live in Isolation” that attracted thousands of eyes across the Internet, particularly on social media.  “Most bands are too lazy to put in the effort and then they complain how the music industry is rigged against them. We try to connect with everyone we can. It takes time to grow a real audience, so I think most bands give up too easily”, says Nza, who does acquiesce to the fact that maintaining a social media presence is in itself nearly a “full time job”. 

The band’s energy and creativity even birthed an appropriately titled track, “Quarantine”, spawned from a request via text from Nza to Meds for “a two-minute aggressive sounding punk song”, and “an hour later the song “Quarantine” was completely tracked and mixed. We released it two days later and it became our most popular song on Bandcamp”. The guitarist went on to excitedly add, “We have so much material coming out and the pandemic certainly played a role”.

The guys have been prolific during this time of uncertainty and new DemonScar music is out there to be gobbled up, including the band’s first full-length album. Nza tells the fans, “Our new all-original album DSXX drops November 13 on vinyl, cassette, CD, and digital formats. The presale just went live on The album was written mostly in real time—one song per month—to match up with this year’s general vibes”.  The band’s tracking of the record reflects the tone and tenor of 2020, as “It [DSXX] starts off with January’s more optimistic “We Rise”, Nza notes, “then quickly descends into madness. We had no idea that this was going to be a year for the history books.” 

Not surprisingly, the band’s website has all things DemonScar and is worth checking out, along with the band’s Indie Underworld Mixtape that recently came out, featuring fifteen of “the best independent metal and hard rock bands on the planet”, according to Meds. That compilation is available on 

If that is not enough DemonScar for you - and trust me, it is not - Nza went on to describe how the guys “teamed up with Sharp Violet and Steve and the Not Steves [two of the finest punk bands on Long Island, check out their stuff right away, as well]  to do Operation Ivy’s “Unity,” which should be out soon.

Nza continues, "We were involved in another collaboration project with Torture Drome for The Ramones’ Pet Sematary. Currently we are putting the finishing touches on a song for an upcoming Samhain tribute album in 2021 that is being put together by the Atomic Kavemen, a great Bay Area garage rock band.”

Since the summer is wrapping up, that means the holidays are approaching and Demonscar has your shopping list already started with a Christmas sing; their own heavy-handed interpretation of Elvis' “Blue Christmas.”

Heavy-handed also describes the newest member of the band, drummer Jarrad, who joined the band only days before the world came to a Covid standstill. Practicing on their cell phones, the trio honed their sound despite the two founders only “personally knowing him [Jarrad] for a few hours.” |

A recent show on Long Island captures the world of Summer 2020 as DemonScar headlined a gig with horror-metal stalwarts First Jason and the aforementioned talents of Sharp Violet and Steve & The Not Steves by playing inside an empty club and the show streaming on radio and shown on an inflatable screen in the parking lot.  Like everything for the past six months, it was not ideal, but did give some hope that life may be on the path back to normalcy.

Regardless of pandemics, social distancing, mandatory asks, or flying droplets, DemonScar will continue to carry the banner of pure rock n’ roll. For now, see them on a computer screen soon. 

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