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Frankenbok have been a mainstay on the Australian metal scene for 25 years now.

From the outset, Frankenbok were a band who went well and truly against the grain – or, for that matter, against EVERY musical convention put in place up to that point – ensuring they never quite fit in with the cool kids or current trends.

Not that they would have it any other way.

Since bursting onto the scene with Greetings And Salutations in 1999, Frankenbok have very much been a band for the underdog. Musically, socially and geographically.

Their refusal to bow down and conform to musical hierarchy has seen them become more of an underground institution despite supporting heavyweights such as Slayer and System Of A Down. They have always done things their way and in their own time, along the way gathering a loyal army of supporters who have stayed with them through thick and thin.

This weekend, to fully celebrate their quarter of a century in Australian metal, Frankenbok will host a party unlike any ever seen in this country.

On Saturday, December 10, every major incarnation of Frankenbok – totalling five in all – will assemble to play songs from their part of Frankenbok history in one night at The Tote in Melbourne.

It is an ambitious and brave venture that has already proved a success, with friendships mended, past ailments buried, and music the overall winner, despite not one live note being played in anger.


It is a night made possible by the collective efforts of every past and present member of Frankenbok, with guitarist Aaron ‘Azza’ Butler the only member to have played in every line-up.

Azza sat down with HEAVY for a frank and open discussion about the life of Frankenbok in a must-listen for every fan of the band, or lover of music in general.

We start with the very early days of Frankenbok, when Azza returned from the US in 1997 with a renewed musical vision.

“I basically moved over to Florida chasing the death metal dream,” he began, “and I was lucky enough to land in the right circles where I was hearing people talking about Morbid Angel -which were my heroes at the time – and talking about them unlike we talk about them, as in blokes. One guy was talking about Pete Sandoval, the drummer from those days, and he said “yeah, he still owes me fifty bucks” and I was blown away because these guys were heroes of mine. So I was very lucky to be taken in by the inner circle of all these people that were – before I moved over to America – they only existed in CD’s and posters on my wall and next thing you know I’m having breakfast with some of these people and getting to know them personally. It’s kind of a strange thing when once you get to know someone more personally you start to forget who they were to you once upon a time. You have to remind yourself. You start to get comfortable and give them a bit of shit (laughs) and then you go wait a minute… I was lucky enough to get taken in to the inner circle where I learnt a lot from all these guys in bands like Malevolent Creation and the Morbid Angel dudes and another band over there called Pain God, but these are all serious hard hitters in the death metal scene. All of these guys had done time with the big bands, and I got to know these dudes really well, and I would often see them in between shows when they came down to Tampa Bay, and they would be staying the night and rather than drink the night away and get fucked up one guy would say to the other guitarist ‘let’s do that thing’ and they had all these side projects. Just with eight-track recording gear and while they were in town they would work on these things with a drum machine and some primitive recording gear, and at the time I started playing in a band called Shrill, and they were a punk band, which I really enjoyed but I really, really wanted to play death metal stuff. Then I realised that if I got myself a drum machine and a basic four-track the Hell with waiting around to find the right musicians, I could just start writing music straight away and not have to wait to find somebody who is a competent musician and part athlete to be able to play some of the drumming I wanted to do. So I did a couple of demos like that, which is what evolved into Frankenbok eventually.”

In the full interview, Azza goes through the early days in more detail, the formation of Frankenbok, their early sound and where it came from, the sonic leap between Greetings And Salutations and the EP Loopholes And Greatest Excuses, their cover of Don’t Call Me Baby, playing that song live with Ladybeard in Japan, Hutchy‘s involvement with Frankenbok, the decision to go with Adam B. Metal when Hutchy left, Dan McDougall‘s addition as frontman and what he brought to the band, the inherent sense of family within Frankenbok, Dan White taking over as frontman, the decision to bring McDougall back, Frankenbok’s legacy and more.

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