Off-Ramp | Off-Ramp host John Rabe and contributors share thoughts on arts, culture, and life in L.A.

Venice Boardwalk piano player Nathan Pino and his connection to the Church of Satan

Musician, Nathan Pino and his cat Baby Girl play for tips on the Venice boardwalk.
Musician, Nathan Pino and his cat Baby Girl play for tips on the Venice boardwalk.
Rebecca Hill/KPCC

While looking into Venice Beach Boardwalk piano player Nathan Pino’s work, we found the musician as a pretty fascinating CV. In 1984, Pino co-founded a campy Satanic goth band called Radio Werewolf with Nikolas Schreck, Evil Wilhelm, and James “Filth” Collord. The controversial band was influenced by Satanism more than by music, and they often conducted theatrical rituals. During that time, Pino struggled with drug abuse and mental illness, causing him to get kicked out of the band early on.

Nikolas Schreck talked about Pino in a 2008 interview by Christophe Lorenz. “Pino, who was Radio Werewolf’s Brian Wilson and Brian Jones rolled into one, was gifted by the same musical genius and talent as those two tortured souls, but he also suffered from the same drug-induced demons of mental illness," said Schreck. "He was too fragile to withstand the spiritual forces Radio Werewolf’s music invoked.”

In the late 1980s, Zeena Schreck, the daughter of Anton LaVey (founder of The Church of Satan) joined the band and eventually married Nikolas. She was the High Priestess of The Church of Satan, and due to their influential status, she and the band were featured in a TV special by Geraldo Rivera called “Devil Worship: Exposing Satan’s Underground.” She's since left the church her father founded.

Didn't see that coming from a man who plays classical pieces on the Venice Boardwalk!

Curious to hear how Pino's old band sounded? Take a listen to Radio Werewolf here.