Genres:Gothic, Pop - Teen, Alternative Pop, Rock - Metal/Alternative Metal, Rock - Alternative Rock, Rock - Alternative Pop
Place: Philadelphia, PA, Time: a few years back – local drummer Eric Fisher was frustrated! He had spent time crackin’ sticks in too many area bands that had started out promising, only to implode before reaching fruition. Frustrated by the limitations of his previous bands, he decided to take the reins and start his own project but was unsure of what shape this new project would take. While interning at a prominent Philly recording studio, he had a chance encounter with programmer/keyboardist Charlie Clouser, who was there to record an album with his band for a major label (he has since gone on to become a member of Nine Inch Nails).
Impressed with the possibilities he heard for heavy music with the use of machines, Eric started writing music with a sequencer and sampler. Soon after, he recruited guitarist Steve Stegg and bassist Lou Louvenir to flesh out his dark, moody, new songs. Paying homage to the newfound creative freedom he felt in writing for this project, Eric dubbed the band TAPPING THE VEIN, a reference taken from the work of famed horror/gore scribe Clive Barker. After a short period of using sub-par male vocalists who weren’t bringin’ home the goods, the trio finally lucked out when a girl slight of frame but large of voice arrived for an audition. When she was through sonically kicking their ass across the rehearsal space, the girl, a.k.a. Heather Thompson was asked to join and proved to be the chemical catalyst needed to make the whole concoction explosive.
This line-up recorded a self-released EP Butterfly over a single weekend and started making the local rounds with shows. Unlike their previous projects, it became obvious from the first gig on that the audience was being blown away, immediately drawing people/fanatics/stalkers from all walks of the musical spectrum that eagerly anticipated each gig. Just when things were starting to take off, Steve and Lou decided to bow out due to family issues, but instead of packing it in, the remaining two members, Heather and Eric, decided to keep the momentum of the band going and searched out worthy successors. They found added musical firepower in the form of Joe Rolland, a versatile player and a veteran of the local Goth scene that TAPPING THE VEIN shared an audience with. The other new jack being Mark Burkert, a classically trained guitarist who loved to play loud music. With the second line up in place, the band recorded a second self-financed EP Undone.
Good things were happening for the quartet, including frequently being thought of to open for big national rock acts coming through town; these acts included Depeche Mode, Alanis Morrisette, The Sisters of Mercy, Switchblade Symphony, The Damned, Gravity Kills, Type O Negative and VAST. This proved to be instrumental in helping to spread the word about TAPPING THE VEIN, as Internet chatrooms full of converted fans from these shows drove scores of people to the band’s web site and MP3.com page. This is easily evidenced from MP3.com download numbers: from November 2000 to January 2002, over 230,000 downloads of TAPPING THE VEIN’s music. In fact, the band regularly receives glowing letters of praise from around the world, from people and places where they have never played, some who have even driven up to 20 hours away and flown cross-country to catch one of the band’s gigs!
In addition to the two self-released EPs, the band was featured on the compilation albums The Unquiet Grave (Cleopatra Records), Diva X Machina (COP Intl.), Compe Noctem” (Carpe Noctem magazine), Unheard (CDNOW.com) and contributed their version of “Cornflake Girl” for Cleopatra Records’ Tori Amos tribute album, Songs of a Goddess.
Even with all these successes as a band on their own, TAPPING THE VEIN knew the next step was to find a label willing to take a risk on the band’s hard-to-nail-down sound. Though not members of the Metal world per se, Eric sent a demo to Nuclear Blast and was surprised when he found a message on the band’s answering machine a few weeks later from the president of Nuclear Blast himself! Signing on right away, the band entered the studio with friend and producer Scott Stallone. The result is the debut full-length album The Damage, the culmination of the band’s song-writing maturity as a unit and music fire-tested during hundreds of gigs.