The troubled history of the SoCal Sludgers who are set to release a new album this week
SoCal sludge stalwarts -(16)- are among the most consistent and most underrated purveyors of the heavy riff. The band was formed in Santa Ana, Ca. by Bobby Ferry (guitar), Cris Jerue (vocals), and Jason Corley (drums) in 1991, and was later joined by bassist Tony Baumeister in 1993. The band’s debut 7″, Doorprize, was recorded at the end of 1991, and was shortly followed by their first full-length album, Curves That Kick (released in 1993 on legendary artist Pushead’s label Bacteria Sour). Working with Pushead enabled the band to have the album released in Japan and gave them the opportunity to tour Japan, which happened in the summer of 1994. Soon after, the band performed select live dates with Slayer, the Melvins, Unsane, and Jawbreaker. -(16)-‘s follow-up record Drop Out was released by Pessimiser/Theologian records in 1996 to critical acclaim, which the band followed with a series of local and semi-local performances
Jason Corley was ejected from the band at the end of 1994, and was replaced by Andy Hassler. Phil Vera was also added as a second guitarist. The band released Blaze of Incompetence in 1997 (again on Pessimiser/Theologian), and completed a US tour with Grief in 1998. Andy Hassler was fired shortly after the tour. R.D. Davies replaced Andy, but he overdosed on heroin 6 months later and was replaced by Mark Sanger. The band’s next album, Zoloft Smile, was recorded in 1999/2000, but wasn’t released until 2002 via At A Loss Recordings. By the time the album was actually released, Bobby and Tony had both quit the band. The rest of the guys carried on, while Phil Vera remained as the band’s lone guitar player. Phil then took over vocal duties in 2003 after Cris was forced to go to rehab for alcohol and drug dependency. -(16)– toured the US and Japan as a three-piece (Phil, Mark, and Rafa) before calling it quits in 2004.
The band couldn’t fight its love for heavy music, though, and reunited in 2007 with a lineup consisting of Bobby, Cris, Jason, and Tony. -(16)- subsequently inked a record deal with renowned independent label Relapse Records and released their Relapse debut Bridges to Burn in Jan. 2009. The band parted ways with Jason Corley yet again (notice a pattern?), and recruited Mateo Pinkerton (ex Buzzov-en, Crom) as their new drummer. In early 2012 they released the album Deep Cuts from Dark Clouds via Relapse to widespread critical acclaim from publications including MetalSucks, Metal Hammer, Terrorizer and numerous others. Deep Cuts was followed by an eastern US with labelmates Tombs and still more lineup changes: in 2013 Dion Thurman joined as the band’s new drummer, and Barney Firks entered the ranks on bass. In support of Bridges to Burn and Deep Cuts, -(16)– have toured Europe twice, even appearing at major festivals such as Hellfest in France and Roadburn in The Netherlands. Additionally, the band has performed at US festivals Day of the Shred and Southwest Terror Fest and has shared the stage with a wide range of artists, from Neurosis, Nails, Indian, and Inter Arma to Noothgrush, Graves at Sea, ASG, and dozens of others. Despite constant lineup changes and internal turmoil, -(16)- have persevered, and the new album Lifespan Of A Moth is sure garner the band the recognition they so sorely deserve.
Cris Jerue (vocals)
Bobby Ferry (guitar, vocals)
Barney Firks (bass)
Dion Thurman (drums)