Life can definitely be unpredictable. Good or bad, it keeps things interesting.
You can be going about your day and out of nowhere something awesome happens like recouping last week’s lottery investment on a scratch-off. Other times it may be a bird that pooped on your car as you were opening the door and some splattered on your new shirt.
But then there are those extremely rare and unheard of instances. Like your old heavy metal band getting a shot at the ultimate dream after being apart for 30 years.
On top of that, a well-known and respected pro-wrestler (and rock star) Chris Jericho says to you “Dude, we’ve gotta capture this on film!”
Yeah, that does not happen every day or to most people. But it did happen to one particular band. And this is the craziest and most unbelievable story in the history of heavy metal music!
I had to honor of sitting down with Ed Aborn, the drummer for the ’80s heavy metal band Siren. And I’m going to share his perspective of the band’s unpredictable turn of events.
I also have our full video interview on my YouTube channel, which you’ll find towards the end of this post.
Ed Aborn and Siren: In the Beginning
Let’s pretend we’re at Blockbuster for a moment. You know, that place you had to go for new releases every Friday night before things like Netflix and Amazon existed. We’re going to press the rewind button and take a little trip back to the early 80s.
We all have our own stories about how we got into heavy metal music so I asked Ed what lit his fire. It all started with Kiss. But that fire burned much deeper; he didn’t want to just listen to this music, he wanted to be a part of it. And he soon found that his magical place was behind a drum set.
From there, Ed’s musical tastes started to morph towards heavy metal bands like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and Riot. This was during a time where there weren’t as many subgenres of hard rock and heavy metal. It was just that fierce, aggressive vibe that we metalheads are naturally drawn to.
Ed eventually started a band with singer Frank Marsh and some other friends. At first they called themselves ‘Metal Gods’ but quickly changed their name to ‘Deceiver,’ both obviously influenced by Priest.
They soon found out that their guitarist had a cousin (Mike Martinez) who was practicing with another band just over the fence. These were a group of older guys and they were in a band called Siren, who Ed and his bandmates revered.
**Hal Dunn, one of Siren’s current guitarists, was also in Siren during this time.
There was one particular day when Siren’s drummer didn’t show up for practice. They also didn’t have a serious vocalist so they asked Ed and Frank if they wanted to jam with them. Little did they know, this was an audition that turned into Siren officially being formed in 1981.
From there, Siren started playing metal covers long with some of their originals. Eventually, the gigs got bigger and the band started playing in clubs. But that became an issue for Ed as he was still in high school. So Ed stepped aside for a season but still hung out with and supported Siren.
Siren continued playing but nothing major was happening. That sought after record deal was nowhere in sight.
Siren’s Rebirth through Underground Heavy Metal Fanzines
Fast-forward a couple of years later, everything started to change in the heavy metal realm. This was mainly due to underground fanzines. These were magazine publications covering metal acts from all over the world.
Almost every metal band was considered ‘underground’ during these days. Bands like Metallica and Slayer were in these underground fanzines as ‘up and coming!’
At this point, Siren had already started to dissolve. However, Ed was in a position where he could pursue music and saw that Siren had a viable opportunity. So he convinced the band to focus on writing some originals and give Siren a real shot at stardom.
Siren decided to go for it and put out a two-song record (vinyl) with ‘Metro Mercenary’ and ‘Terrible Swift Sword’ in 1984.
Siren was also friends with the guys in Nasty Savage. The lead singer, Nasty Ronnie, was ahead of the game and had been making a comprehensive list of these fanzines. He graciously gave his list to Siren to help them gain momentum.
From there, Siren focused on their originals and playing at local clubs. Ed stated that one of their most memorable shows was opening for Savatage at The Ritz in Ybor City (Tampa, FL).
Siren continued working hard on writing songs and getting tighter as a band. They released a demo ‘Iron Coffins’ in 1985 and another demo ‘Dead of Night’ in 1986. Their fanbase grew and even gained worldwide recognition, especially from European countries.
But for whatever reason they never really broke through; they never got the deal. Their guitarist, Faxon Kotz ended up leaving to pursue music opportunities in California. And with no deal on the horizon, Ed decided to step aside.
Lead vocalist Doug Lee kept Siren going for a while. But around 1989 the band eventually fizzled out. It seemed that the pursuit of the ultimate heavy metal dream was over.
Life Goes On for Ed Aborn…or Does it?
I couldn’t help but wonder how it felt for the band to push so hard and be so close only for the band to ultimately die out. This was a tough question but I had to know. I asked Ed if he ever felt that he had traded his true dream for a mediocre life.
You see, this happens to so many. You have those high expectations of being a rock star, fame, fortune but then you wake up one day in a life you didn’t expect (and maybe didn’t want). And you realize that none of those dreams ever came to fruition.
For some, that can lead to years of darkness, resentment, and unfulfillment. But that wasn’t the case for Ed at all. And I was relieved to hear that.
Of course, in just talking to Ed I could tell that he had built an amazing life and then some. His demeanor, attitude, and presence revealed that.
But what I was more relieved to hear is that Ed never gave up on his love for music. Sure, the dreams he once had were left in the past. But he had fulfilled new dreams with an awesome family, meaningful career, and again, he was still plugging himself into several music projects.
Here are some of the projects Ed Aborn has contributed to up to 2021:
- Todd Grubbs – Guitar Parts (demo) – 1989 – Drummer
- Todd Grubbs – Guitar Parts II (demo) – 1990 – Drummer
- Universe – Greatest Hits Vol. 2 (demo) – 1990 – Co-producer
- Fozzy – All That Remains (album) – 2005 – Contributing Lyricist
- Stuck Mojo – Southern Born Killers (album) – 2007 – Contributing Lyricist
- Jennifer Mills – Just Breathe (album) – 2013 – Engineer, Producer
- Jennifer Mills – Tapestry (album) – 2015 – Engineer, Producer
- Intersonic Cyber Symphony – Trials To Triumphs (album) – 2015 – Multi-instrumentalist, Engineer, Producer
- Jason Stallworth – Heavy Metal Workout II (album) – 2017 – Drummer
- Blood Divisions – Cardinal One (album) – 2017 – Multi-instrumentalist, Engineer, Producer
- Intersonic Cyber Symphony – A Christmas Journey (single) – 2017 – Multi-instrumentalist, Vocals, Engineer, Producer
- Jennifer Mills – New Beginnings (album) – 2018 – Engineer, Producer
- Siren – Up from the Depths (triple album) – 2018 – Drummer, Vocals, Orchestration, Engineer, Producer
- Intersonic Cyber Symphony – Hold On to the Promise (single) – 2018 – Multi-instrumentalist, Vocals, Engineer, Producer
- Siren – Back from the Dead (album) – 2020 – Drummer, Vocals, Orchestration, Engineer, Producer
- Kuarantine – “No, No, No”, “Heart of Chrome” (singles) – 2020 – Engineer
- The Wheel Blocks – “Ace’s High” (single) – 2020 – Vocals, Engineer
- James Durbin – Kings Before You (album) – 2020 – Engineer
- Kuarantine – “Love’s a Deadly Weapon” (single) – 2021 – Engineer
“Hey, Are You the Drummer for Siren?”
The heavy metal dream for Siren had died out decades ago. The band members had moved on with their lives, doing different things. But one day, everything turned upside down when the craziest thing happened…
In late 2015, Ed started received several Facebook messages from people all over the world asking if he was the drummer for the 80s metal band Siren. Some were even asking for the original merch and all of them were asking about the history of the band and what happened.
So Ed started reaching out to old band members and started writing a document about Siren’s history. 35 pages later, Ed realized that he had written a book, which spawned an interesting chain of events…
Siren’s Huge Fanbase Germany Still Remained, Even 30 Years Later
As the word began to spread, a superfan from Germany ‘Frank Headbanger’ started the process of getting Siren to play at the Keep it True festival in Germany. Siren had a huge German fanbase that they didn’t even know about.
Ed and Doug discussed this and where it all sounded exciting they weren’t quite sure if they’d be able to pull this off. First, Siren hadn’t played together in 30 years. Secondly, they’d have to find old band members that could play (Siren had gone through multiple lineup changes in their early years).
Lo and behold, they were able to get the band together and started rehearsing for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The dream had become a reality for the band, even if it was just for a weekend.
The loyalty of their fans shined even brighter when Siren realized their entire merch table had sold out.
- Doug Lee: vocals
- Ed Aborn: drums, background vocals
- Hal Dunn: guitars
- Todd Grubbs: guitars
- Gregg Culbertson: bass
This event also resulted in an anthology album being produced with four new songs called ‘Up From the Depths.’
Chris Jericho’s Crazy Yet Brilliant Idea to Finance the Documentary ‘I’m Too Old for this Sh*t’
A few months before Siren left for Germany, something else just as crazy happened…
Ed was talking to his good friend Chris Jericho and without any expectations, he just mentioned ‘Hey, by the way, our old band Siren has been asked to play in Germany.’
Chris had the same thought that the band initially had, which was “That’s insane, but is anyone even going to remember Siren?”
Ed, still in disbelief himself, explained that they had somehow maintained a fanbase in Germany.
They had developed a close friendship in the early 2000s through the love they both share for obscure heavy metal music.
A few days later Chris called Ed and asked if he could finance a documentary. The idea was that if this turned out to be a disaster, it will make a great story. And if it turns out to be a success, it’ll make an even greater one.
So Chris hired a director and cinematographer Nathan Mowery and sent a crew to fly to Germany with Siren. The documentary is called ‘I’m Too Old for this Sh*t: A Heavy Metal Fairytale‘
📺 Stream, Buy, and get the Blu-ray on Amazon:
I’m Too Old for this Sh*t: A Heavy Metal Fairytale
*Also available on all major digital platforms
‘Back From the Dead’ Released in 2020 (After Over 30 Years)
With the band reunited, the dream of playing a huge show in Germany in front of thousands of fans, and a documentary under their belt, the next logical option was to record a new album. And that’s exactly what Siren did. ‘Back from the Dead‘ was released in 2020.
The band began working hard at writing songs. I had asked Ed if there were any hiccups or creative differences. But everything just came together perfectly. What’s even cooler is that every member pitched in throughout the writing process.
Ed gives much credit to Siren’s guitarist Todd Grubs, who had continued to pursue music as a career after Siren disbanded in the late 80s. With his experience, he was able to guide the band in the right direction while Ed Aborn acted as the producer.
Ed also shared his admiration for Doug Lee’s vocals. His voice is the one element that makes Siren, Siren.
‘Back from the Dead’ is pure melodic heavy metal holding true to its classic ’80s roots but with a refined sound and vibe.
What’s Next for Siren?
For Ed Aborn, it all goes back to having gratitude. The dream they had in their early years was getting that record deal and experiencing the fame and fortune that comes with that. But that dream looks much different today, at least for Ed.
Siren’s current plan is to simply take things one step at a time. In talking with Ed, he shared how their story has been an inspiration to others. Things like people picking up an instrument again after giving up on it years ago or taking that leap of faith to pursue something that they’ve always wanted but were too afraid to do.
They were scheduled to play again in Germany in 2020, but of course, the pandemic put that on hold. Aside from that, Siren is ready to play whenever and wherever they can while sharing their experience.
Watch Jason Stallworth’s Chat with Ed Aborn of Siren on YouTube
**If this story inspired you, please share it!
How Ed Aborn and Jason Stallworth Met
I met Ed Aborn back in late 2016. He had started following my Facebook artist profile based on a friend’s recommendation. He sent me a personal message and we instantly hit it off.
As we talked more, I started digging into all of the music projects he’s been involved with, and of course, Siren. And even cooler, he lives in the same area (Brandon, FL).
I was also writing riffs for my 3rd studio album around that time and was wanting to take the drums to the next level for this album.
Ed didn’t have the bandwidth at the time to commit to recording his playing, as this was the time when all of the new and amazing things were happening for Siren. But he did agree to handle the drum programming for that album.
This was an instrumental guitar-based album for the purpose of workout music called Heavy Metal Workout II (a much more aggressive sequel to the original HMW album).
Ed really gave that album a serious boost, and it was awesome to have his perspective. It’s not something I could have accomplished on my own, and we were both pretty stoked with the final product.
From that time, we’ve stayed in touch over the years, supporting one another’s endeavors. I’ve considered Ed a true friend since our first conversation. There was that thing, you know when you just know that this is a person you want to welcome into your life. And beyond his success in the music industry, he’s just one of those dudes that’s awesome to talk to and be around.
Keep it Metal,
Album ‘Back from the Dead’
Get the CD and download from Bandcamp
Documentary ‘I’m Too Old for this Sh*t’ (Digital and Blu-ray)
I’m Too Old for this Sh*t on Amazon
Siren on Facebook
Siren on Instagram
Siren on Bandcamp