Long friendship forms strong bond for Tacoma band

A strong band is based as much on personalities that mesh well as it is on common musical tastes. The four members of De-krep-it have known each other since they were teenagers, a factor that works well for the Tacoma heavy-metal band.

Drummer Corey Stanton, singer T.J. Cornelius and guitarist Haus Herrington met each other while attending Mount Tahoma High School. Stanton knew a girl who urged him to meet her friend, Paul Brown. Stanton went to a party and the two jammed for 30 minutes. "It was love at first song," Stanton joked.

Brown played guitar, but switched to bass. Nine years ago he, Stanton and Herrington formed De-krep-it. Herrington came up with the name after reading the Dean Koontz novel "The Bad Place," in which the author described a cabin as "a decrepit place." The phrase stuck in Herrington's head, and he altered the spelling for the band name.

Herrington was really into punk rock, and noted his interest in metal came from hearing Stanton play Slayer and Pantera covers.

The band played instrumentals at first. When they decided to add lyrics to their materials, they shared vocal duties, with Stanton doing most of the singing. "I did not think my pretty choir voice worked well for the material," said Stanton, who sang in choirs at Mount Tahoma.

They found a lead singer who had a wife and children. He eventually left to spend more time with his family, but still hits some of the band's shows.

They brought in another singer, who eventually left.

"We tried to find the piece we were missing," Stanton said of the search for the right vocalist.

They found him in their old friend Cornelius. He had hung around with the band during their formative stage; in fact, their original practice space was in the basement of his mother's house.

Cornelius moved to Arizona four years ago. He returned last year and joined De-krep-it in May.

Herrington was impressed that Cornelius had a notebook of lyrics he had been working on for years.

The band recorded demo CDs in 2002 and 2004. They had recorded songs with their previous singer in late 2006. They stripped the vocals and Cornelius and Herrington wrote new lyrics. Cornelius went in the studio to record new vocals and lyrics over the existing musical tracks. The result is a five-song demo CD they plan to release early this summer.

"I think the band really shines now that we are writing again," Herrington remarked. Brown writes what he considers traditional metal riffs, while he describes Herrington's contributions as more of "the off-time, crazy stuff." Stanton does much of the arrangements and Brown does some vocal arrangements on the new songs. Cornelius is writing most of the new lyrics.

"T.J. is definitely graphic with his lyrics," Herrington said, "while I am more abstract with mine."

They consider Brown the overall musician of the group, since he can play guitar, bass and drums.

The band is interested in doing a West Coast tour later this year, perhaps playing clubs Cornelius hung around at when he lived in Arizona. He has taken over responsibility for booking gigs. "There are a lot of opportunities for sure," he observed.

Herrington feels De-krep-it has the right chemistry now, with four members who have known each other for years. "Our friendship has kept us together through thick and thin," he said.

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