Chris Shawback and Pete Altieri have been friends for more than 20 years. Pete was previously the singer and bass player for Low Twelve, a Central Illinois thrash/death metal band (1998 to 2016). Chris was a fixture at the local metal shows and a huge supporter of the bands.
When they met up at a wedding reception in the summer of 2017 and started talking about Joe Metheny, the serial killer gone cannibal, they grossed out one of the guests. This lit a spark. The guys realized they had a natural way of talking about true crime with a twisted sense of dark humor. It was later in 2017 when they met at Pete's house to discuss doing a podcast together. They decided on Murder Metal Mayhem as the name, and planned to divide the episodes in those three parts - mashing up true crime and heavy metal. With some mayhem sprinkled in.
With Pete's writing background and knowledge of audio recording, the guys began doing the podcast in April of 2018 in Pete's bedroom. By the 45th episode they were doing the show from a newly built Horns High Studios in Pete's garage. Chris did the construction and a local artist was hired to give the studio the blood spatter treatment. "It looks like ten people were hacked to death in there, so it's the perfect setting for murder, metal, and mayhem every Tuesday when we record the show," commented Pete.
Starting with the fourth episode, their friend Chris "CK" Kovacs was a part of the show, doing the metal segment each week. Joey Cashman was added to the cast permanently in March of 2020 - first in studio and now remotely since he moved to Ohio in August 2022. CK died after a grueling 9-year battle with colon cancer in October of 2021. Pete, Chris, and Joey decided to continue doing the podcast. CK would have wanted them to.
The guys do a Killer Cage Match each week where listeners provide random numbers to generate who fights and the objects they've got to kill each other with. It's a lot of fun. They also record hilariously dark fake commercials and they end each episode with a karaoke spoof where Pete sings death metal vocals to a variety of pop songs. There's a reason they've landed in the top 200 of Apple's comedy podcasts!
There are other members of the cast who the guys have on for certain themes, such as "Tex" when they do prison episodes. He's a corrections officer in Texas. They have Shane Borczuch, a Winnipeg listener, who comes on the show for Canadian true crime stories. The guys also do interviews with bands, artists, authors, and true crime experts such as Harold Schecter, Katherine Ramsland, and Peter Vronsky.
They're approaching 200 episodes and nearly five years of Murder Metal Mayhem. It's a unique podcast that doesn't do it like anyone else, which is why the it seems to only be picking up steam!
Horns High Studios, Heyworth Illinois