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Christian Heavy Metal similar to KoRn, Megadeth, Iron Maiden and Stryper!
Amethyst was formed in 1985 by Mark Fekete, Gary Rose, Shannon Corpuz and James Peters. In 1985 Amethyst was a Christian Metal band with a style similar to the hottest Metal bands of that era like Ratt, Dokken, Van Halen. Iron Maiden and Metallica. Through the years Amethyst has had several member changes along with growth in musical styles to keep in touch with the music of their time. To this day founding member Mark Fekete (Lead Vox - Guitar) is still writing for their next release due out winter 2006 titled Back From The Dead. Their style is similar to KoRn, Sepultura, Pantera, Megadeth, Kiss, Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden!
Band/artist history
In May of 1985, four musicians got together in a basement in Newman Lake, Washington for a jam session. During this time, they formed the band, METALSTORM, which would later on become AMETHYST. The original line-up for METALSTORM included Mark Fekete on vox and guitar, Gary Rose on bass, James Peters on guitar and Shannon Corpuz on drums. Prior to this, Mark and Shannon had been in non-Christian bands together. METALSTORM was compiled of a few guys who got together to jam in Shannon's basement and who loved Jesus. Who would have ever thought that anything would become of METALSTORM? GOD!! Even though the original sound had a strange and unique originality to it, there were still definite influential overtones of bands like Van Halen, Queensryche and Iron Maiden. Wow! What a mix! After a few months of the four playing together, James' friend, Dave Burchette, came into the scene on guitar. Not too long after that, James Peters sought after other areas in his life. Also, during this time, Dave Burchette became the official guitarist. It was then that the name of the band changed from METALSTORM to FORTRESS. Fortress was strongly headed more towards the Iron Maiden style of dual guitar harmonies and heaviness. Besides being backed by the youth group of the church the band attended, FORTRESS played several local concerts in the area of Spokane, Washington. A year into the career of FORTRESS, a name change took place, as there were already several bands in the USA using the name FORTRESS. First, they changed their name to GENTILE. After a week, GENTILE was changed to MORDECAI. The name, MORDECAI, lasted a little over two months. Then, one day, it happened. Mark was reading the book of Revelation. He read about Heaven and it's description. Lo and behold! "The foundation of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones...the twelfth, AMETHYST." (Rev 20:19-20/KJV). To this date, AMETHYST is the name the band is using. By the time MORDECAI had changed their name to AMETHYST, Dave Burchette had left the band to join the military. AMETHYST then consisted of Mark Fekete, Gary Rose and Shannon Corpuz. The search for a new guitarist had begun. Sitting at a local Denny's restaurant one day, Mark said these three words to a close friend, "Jam with us!" It was then that guitarist, Bart Stevens, joined AMETHYST, adding an entire new level to the musical direction of Amethyst. As Mark and Gary were still writing very Iron Maiden-influenced songs, Bart's influences would include Def Leppard, Dokken and Ratt. Bart was a part of the first real 'live show' version of the group. Up to this point, AMETHYST had ministered at parties and homes as well as with the youth group of their church as mentioned earlier. With the new songs and styles that came out in their ministry, there was a buzz about this local ministry from Spokane, Washington. It was unexplainable. People began to notice AMETHYST and talk. Early in this line-up, bassist Gary Rose was involved in an industrial accident in which his hand was crushed, resulting in the loss of his middle finger, ring finger and the deformation of his remaining fingers. After consulting several doctors, Gary was told that there was nothing they could do and that his fingers might have to be amputated. Gary had more faith than those doctors. A doctor finally came along and told Gary there was an operation that could be done to save his fingers. After his incident, there was a period of trial and tribulation for the band. Though some had doubts Gary would ever play again, Mark, Gary and Bart continued in prayer and fasting daily, praying for a miracle and that a testimony would come about through this trial. Gary continued to be patient and faithful and continued going through therapy for his hand. The band also remained patient and faithful. Finally, the band's prayers were answereed. Gary came out playing bass better than he had previously. AMETHYST knew that this could be and would be a testimony to other musicians who struggle just as much. It was also during this time that drummer, Shannon Corpuz, decided to go a different direction. This would be the first time a drummer would need to be replaced. After several months of prayer, fasting and other means of spiritual fulfillment, the three remaining members of AMETHYST began writing and practicing again. After some time, guitarist, Bart Stevens joined THEE IMAGE, a Latin/American music ministry that would tour the USA. Mark and Gary were the only remaining members of AMETHYST. For awhile, they were working with drummer, Doug Leblanc. By this time, their sound and style had shaped itself distinctively to the style of Iron Maiden, with the exception of Mark's unique vocal delivery. As AMETHYST is a non-denominational band, Doug's belief in the Catholic faith was conflicting. It was then that John Silver entered the scene. He was a 15 year old drummer who, up to this point, had never been in a band nor had ever owned nor played on an actual drum kit. It was definitely the power of prayer that brought this drummer into AMETHYST. Mark, Gary and John rehearsed on a daily basis, preparing for what would be AMETHYST'S first recording. They recruited Robin Skouge as their latest guitarist at that time. In the first part of 1989, AMETHYST was still rehearsing and performng. Now in their musical prime, Robin Skouge exited to begin a new band called KIDD ROBIN. Throughout the late summer/early fall of 1989, AMETHYST began recording their first cassette in the studio. Former guitarist, Bart Stevens, played for the AMETHYST recording. He also played for an AMETHYST concert to promote their new release shortly thereafter. It was during this time that John Silver was recruited into Kidd Robin. AMETHYST took about a four month sabbatical. While taking the break, Mark continued to write songs. In 1990, Mark Fekete and Gary Rose decided to begin the search for a new drummer and guitarist. While the year was still fresh, two good friends of Mark's eneded up joining the new lineup for the group. Mark Maye entered on guitar. Chucky entered on drums. From January of 1990 to November of 1990, AMETHYST played many concerts in the area. They also played concerts out of town. AMETHYST became a very well known band in the club scene and always had people wanting to hear more. AMETHYST had also returned to the studio to record 8 more songs. The 8 songs were never released. With the exception of one song, "My Friend", the master for the 1990 project does not exist. (Lost tapes!) Mark still has a rough draft recording of the song, "My Friend". (This song is included on the re-release of the first AMETHYST CD, now available). At the beginning of 1992, Mark was married to his 1st wife, Sheyla and moved to the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas. There, he kept the fire burning by continuing the ministry of AMETHYST without longtime friend and bassist, Gary Rose. Mark was seeking a band and placed ads in churches and music stores. Then he founded drummer, Jayson Byrd and bassist, Mike Hatcher. Both also had the same desire to start a Christian band. The three got together and formed HOLY DEATH. Not too long after their start, the name was changed to AMETHYST. After all, Mark was still the singer/songwriter/guitarist. Once again, a new musical direction had taken course in AMETHYST. Mark was still very Iron Maiden-influenced. However, with the addition of Jayson and Mike, Death metal would become a new style focus mixed in with the other for the band's music. Shortly after starting to define their new sound, Jayson was called into another ministry. The new drummer was William Miller, formerly of EXHORTATION. Once again, AMETHYST was a band. This time, without a lead guitarist. AMETHYST rehearsed and performed as a three piece group. It worked well, In early 1995, (three years into the Dallas version of AMETHYST), AMETHYST released their second cassette and titled it "INANIMATE". INANIMATE is now available on CD under it's new title "Hypocritical Condition". However, two of the three songs from it are going to be re-recorded and included on BACK FROM THE DEAD, AMETHYST'S new 2002 release. In January of 1996, Mark Fekete moved back to Spokane, Washington. There, he reunited with bassist Gary Rose. Mark and Gary spent over 2 years writing material for Amethyst's up and coming release in 2006 to be titled "Back From The Dead. Unfortunately, Mark and Gary managed to somehow part ways in 2001 and since then Mark has been writing to keep the Amethyst sound alive! In January of 2003 Mark married his 3rd wife, Teresa. (3rd??? Was there a 2nd??? Probably, but, WHO CARES!!!) Mark is currently still finishing his final ideas for Back fro "Back From The Dead", which will include Drums programmed by Mark and all the songs written will be by Mark or Mark and Gary Rose. Mark will be playing the bass tracks on this recording as well. Guitarists included are going to be James Peters and Bart Stevens. AMETHYST is preparing for the year to come. BE PREPARED TO LISTEN!!!! PRAISE THE LORD WITH MUSIC PRAISE THE LORD WITH THE GUITAR STRINGS PRAISE HIM WITH LOUD DRUMS PRAISE THE LORD THIS IS WHAT I SING (LYRICS FROM "PRAISE THE LORD"... METALSTORM 1985)
Have you performed in front of an audience?
We haven't played live in over 5 years. In Texas we did a show with Mortification... That was awesome!
Your musical influences
I grew up listening to Kiss, Black Sabbath, Van Halen, The Stones, The Beatles, John Lennon, AC-DC, Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden and The Who. Through out the years though, I never stopped keeping up with the times... In the 80s I liked bands like Def Leppard, Megadeth, Metallica, Dokken, Metal Church, Stryper, Ozzy, Ratt, Saxon, Barren Cross, Petra, Lita Ford, Twisted Sister and Judas Priest. Of course I loved the grunge era and 90s Alternative... Bands like Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Weezer, Lit, The Cranberries, Deftones, Pantera, Sepultura, Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen and Canibal Corpse were awesome. I've always dug stuff like The Ramones and Cheap Trick as well. Today my favs are bands and artists like KoRn, Muddvayne, Creed, Alterbridge, Stryper, Iron Maiden, Rob Thomas, Clay Aiken, Josh Groban, Pantera, Seether, Shinedown, Evanessence and Kelly Clarkson. I love all genres of music even Rap, Opera and Country!!!! But Kiss was my growing up band and Ace Frehley made me want to play guitar!
What equipment do you use?
I have always used either Jackson Guitars or Ibanez... Currently I own 2 7-String Ibanez Guitars, an Ibanez Tone Blaster Amp and a Digitech GSP 21 effects proccessor.
Anything else?
We have a new CD coming out in 2006! As well as a solo album for myself