Skitz Phrenic - Bass, Saxophone Special Ed - Drums Sado Marquis - Vocals Klaus Trofobic - Guitar
Chicago based sick fiends and killed by death punkers. Interview with Sado Marquis.
When did the Mentally Ill form? Is it true that you all met in a mental institution? The Ill formed in the Winter of '78, although our first record was not released until early '79. We all knew each other through attending an institution, although was are not allowed to specifically comment on the nature of the institution or its unusual practices. Needless to say, a great deal of mind control and discipline was part of the program.
To what extent was the use of electro shock therapy and heavy medication an influence on the fucked up sound and lyrics you had? What medication did you use and do you still use it? To say medication influenced us understates the role it played in the musical content of the band.The Mentally Ill always has been product of modern pharmacology, we don't deny its role....as to shock therapy,we have no recollection of any thanks to our current med regimen.
Do you think tardcore would be a good description for the Mentally Ill? No, do you?
Do you remember if there were any particular records or bands that you could say influenced you as a band when you started? Yes, there was a John Cage recording of a toilet flushing in reverse that we used to play for hours on end....It still gets my fingers snapping even today.
Did you play live much? How big was the punk scene in Chicago at the time? We never played live...the punk scene in Chicago was about as excitng as a cancer ward...it was quite pathetic actually.
Did you have a similar sound to the records when you played live, all distorted to hell and fuzzed out? What did people think of your sound at the time? Since we never played live we never had to endure anybody's worthless opinion of our sound.
Can you tell me about the “Gacys place” EP? Did you release any other singles? We only released one single: Gacy's Place with Tumor Boy on the B side.
Did the song “Gacys place” provoke any form of reaction from people in the Chicago area, how long after the murders was the song written? What was the reaction to the lyrics in general? The song was written as John Gacy was in prison awaitng death. It was right after the murders, and Gacy's actual home where they occurred was located a short drive from where we recorded the single. Pretty much everyone who heard Gacy's Place shared the same reaction, anger, disgust and a general urge to want to kill the people who made the record. That reaction by the way, still continues to this day, something we are quite proud of.
How many recording sessions did you do and how many were included on the Undiscovered Corpses cd? Do you have any particular memories of the different sessions? When were the vocals for the second two demos recorded? Was it difficult to remember the lyrics, or did you write the lyrics more recently? How did it feel going back and recording the vocals? The Ill had many recording sessions, we were under doctor's orders to get as much out of our system as we possibly could, so we recorded often. Usually, in basements, crawl spaces, sewage plants, but some in recording studios. Upon recently re-recording the songs, some additional vocals were added. I recently wrote some new verses and tried to add them in. However, every time I tried to sing them just jibberish came out. I think the Gods of punk rock were standing on my tongue.
How did the CD on Alternative Testicles come about? Jello Biafra contacted us and said he wanted to release our old tunes on CD. At first we said no, but eventually we agreed as long as he would release some of our more offensive songe with them. Jello had some issues with the lyrics on some of the tunes (especially Aryan Rock), but we shamed him into adding them, quite fooloish Jello was.
One of your songs was included on the Killed by Death 2 compilation album, was that an official release? What do you think of that compilation? Did you know of any of the other bands at the time and what did you think of them? Killed By Death was released without our permission or knowledge. We actually are included on two Killed By Death Compliations...we are one of I believe only two bands to share this dubious honor.I knew many of the bands that were included on those records,most of them were a bunch of posers.
Do you still listen to punk or hardcore? I only listen to punk and occasionally Ukranian bluegrass.
The Mentally Ill reformed in 2007 to perform at a DVD launch party, do you have any more plans to play or record? Yes and no.