May 8, 2024

Former DISINCARNATE drummer Tommy Viator has died.

The news of Tommy's passing was shared by DISINCARNATE founder James Murphy, who has also played with DEATH, OBITUARY and TESTAMENT.

DISINCARNATE only released one album, 1993's "Dreams Of The Carrion Kind", through Roadrunner Records. It was reissued in 2004 with bonus tracks.

Earlier today (Wednesday, May 8),Murphy took to his social media to share a 1993 promotional photo of DISINCARNATE and he wrote in an accompanying message: "RIP DISINCARNATE drummer Tommy Viator, pictured here to the far left in 1993. I have no idea what happened, I just know that he is gone.

"Tommy was a key element to the band's sound, with a drumming style all his own... he helped make the 'Dreams Of The Carrion Kind' album heavy as hell without a single blast beat, at least not as that technique is known today. He was wearing my leather in this pic, I don't really remember why.

"We just spoke back at the beginning of April, and he seemed to be in good spirits and having some positive musical activities and plans with musicians local to him near his home in Louisiana. I'm glad we had that conversation, and I'm very glad that I let him know that I appreciated him at the end of it. I would've said so much more if I had known, but we never know."

James added in a separate message: "Tommy was a genuinely nice guy, who went out of his way to stay in touch over the years, despite his various health issues and the way I kind of dumped him unceremoniously to run off and play with TESTAMENT… a development he was very supportive of, by the way. That was Tommy, just a good old southern boy who we all affectionately referred to as 'Cajun Man', a reference to Adam Sandler's famous (at the time, anyway) 'SNL' character."

A few years ago, Murphy told about how DISINCARNATE came together: "It was meant to be my band, helmed by me as the main writer, the main visionary, the captain of the ship. Real members. I created DISINCARNATE. It was my plan from the moment I left OBITUARY. I wasn't going to join anyone else's band; I was going to try to get a deal for my group. That way I can put out my own music and then I don't have to worry about it anymore. I had DISINCARNATE signed with Roadrunner before I even found a member. I sent Roadrunner my demo tapes of my songs. I made pretty detailed demo tapes with programmed drums, layered guitars."

Regarding why DISINCARNATE didn't last longer, Murphy explained: "A couple of things happened to DISINCARNATE all at once. A convergence of three factors. One is the youth factor. I thought if I get young guys that don't have wives at home, don't have jobs they're afraid to leave, they still live at home with their parents, they're like 18-19 and don't have a lot of obligations, they can go off and go on the road for months, no big deal. I wanted guys that had open minds to learn. Well, that came back to bite me. We had a bit of a rough time, and they wanted to bail. They wanted to go back to mommy. Maybe go back to college and get a career. Another factor was grunge. Grunge was starting to explode. The labels that had traditionally put out metal for all those years just started clearing house. We were up on the chopping block at Roadrunner. They were only going to hold on to a couple of death metal bands. They held on to DEICIDE and OBITUARY for a while. They didn't drop us, but they wanted to hear demos. We thought we were past the point of demos. Turns out we weren't, they wanted to hear demos of the new material before they made their mind up. A third factor was as I'm trying to negotiate the first two factors, trying to keep our deal with Roadrunner going, getting them a demo of new material to convince them we were deserving of another record, was that I got a call from Mike Gitter who I had known as a music journalist. He had interviewed me when I was in DEATH and OBITUARY. He said he was working for Atlantic Records in A&R and asked me how I would feel about playing for TESTAMENT. I told him I felt good about it right about this point because I love TESTAMENT, I was a huge thrash fan, one of my routes to death metal was thrash. That first TESTAMENT album, 'The Legacy', I got that while I was on tour with AGENT STEEL in Europe in 1987 when I was 19. I was, like, 'This album is sick! This band is sick!'"

He added: "By the time I was talking to DEATH in that empty lot in Tampa, I was listening by then to TESTAMENT's second record, 'The New Order', and loving it. By the time I got the call and was brought in to DEATH, I was rocking their third album, 'Practice What You Preach'. So, I was a fan already. So, I went for it. Things were going a little rough with DISINCARNATE."

RIP Disincarnate drummer Tommy Viator, pictured here to the far left in 1993. I have no idea what happened, I just know...

Posted by James Murphy on Wednesday, May 8, 2024

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