by Frank Lewis
Calling hours will be Friday June 5, at Ferfolia Funeral Home (356 W. Aurora Road [Rt. 82]), from 1-4 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. Funeral services are scheduled for Saturday, 11:30 a.m., at the funeral home.
Skizenta fronted Mutant Soldier from 1988 through 1992, helping the band hold its own in the second wave of Cleveland thrash. He idolized Metallica frontman James Hetfield, and carried a half mic stand in tribute to Testament singer Chuck Billy.
“That band was everything to him,” recalls bassist Greg Van Krol. “He was a metalhead. He was a good dude, a fair dude. He was always there for you.”
Mutant Soldier opened big thrash shows at the Agora and headlined small venues like Sabers and the Berea Roller Bowl. The well-received 1989 demo Battered Existence drew positive notices from as far away as Japan. The band recorded another EP, Solider of Misfortune, that remains unreleased.
“They were really nice guys,” recalls Bill Peters, longtime host of WJCU’s Metal on Metal and ambassador of the scene. “A very hard-working band, original, organized. They really worked to promote their shows. They definitely had potential. Unfortunately, they came around at a very difficult time. That was when the scene just collapsed. If they could have started earlier, I think they would have gone a lot farther.”
After leaving Mutant Soldier, Skizenta quit music, but remained close with his bandmates. He applied his detail-oriented, keen focus to the next phase of his life. Soon after the band ended, he entered the
police academy. He had been with the Sagamore Hills police force for 10 years. Before and after music, Skizenta’s other great interest was World War II military history.
“He liked the idea of a front line,” recalls Mutant Soldier drummer Jimmy Shore, Skizenta’s friend since high school. “And he wanted to be a part of that front line of defense.” — D.X. Ferris