Interview with ALL conducted by Bill Zebub for issue #13 of THE GRIMOIRE OF EXALTED DEEDS magazine.
The person known as “It” has left the scene. Why did that happen?
Mainly I think it was because he was fed up with music and black metal and everything. I think he wanted a break.
I am rather suspicious about that. I think that it is a marketing ploy and that the next album will be promoted as the triumphant return of It.
(laughs) Yeah. Maybe. He has completely disappeared. Only his sister knows where he is.
In Europe CDs are packaged as digi-packs. In America, Vondur is packaged in a very strange way. It is in a very big box.
It is a very big box, and it is red. It does not have the name “Vondur” on it. It has thy name, “ALL.”
There are commercials for it on American television. In them, there is a mother washing her clothes, and her child is pointing to the album, which is a big red box, and the child so speaks the letters “A-L-L” – hast thou heard of this?
I thought it was strange that Necropolis would actually advertise an album on television, especially during soap operas.
Yeah. Me too. I did an interview earlier today where a guy heard some rumors about IT – that he left the scene because he received death threats from a lot of black people and Jewish people for the “War” album. and now THIS.
There is a subculture of homosexual Jewish people. They can be identified by their use of the word “wonderful” to describe things. In Germany, it is VONDUR-bar.
In Germany, there are gay bars called “Vondur” bars. I was wondering if that embarrasses thee.
I’t s a pretty poor stretch.
This article is thy chance to tell the truth that the posters of thy album in Vondur bars is not thy idea.
Yeah. Not my idea. Write that in capital letters.
Art thou angry that Joker is promoting thy album and that he is only four feet tall?
Four feet tall? (laughs)
Yes. He is very small.
Actually, IT is very small too. What he lacks in physical strength he makes up for in psychological stature.
Joker writes for the magazine PIT, and it rhymes with IT.
We never got to see each other.
Dost thou think than anyone in EMPEROR looks feminine?
Yeah. They all do.
Dost thou have a picture of Herve in thy house (editor’s note – the label head of Osmose)
No. I don’t.
Who is more handsome, Herve, or Paul from Necropolis?
I like Paul. Mainly for his car.
Paul speaks in a fake English accent because he wants everyone to believe that he is English. England was the first country that had a black metal band, so he wants Necropolis to appear to be a true black metal label.
What band was that? Venom?
It was Paul’s own band, actually. It was called “Pinky.” He gave Quorton his first lesson.
That’s true. I was there.
Americans do not know much about the Swedish government. Thy police do not have guns. They have flowers.
We live by some stupid thing called “Democracy” which kind of destroys thew country. We have a long and glorious history of strong kings and war. I thought that I would get together with our present king who has no power at all, and talk him into a military coup against the government and take the power. Then I will dethrone him.
Is this to have a national anthem with a thrash beat?
Yeah, and so I can get free liquor.
I heard that if a school has a black person in it, the Swedish national anthem cannot be sung.
That’s true. They forbid the national anthem because it is considered racist.
Does the Swedish national anthem have lyrics like “We have blonde hair and we like to kill niggers?”
Nothing like that. Praise of country.
Because of thy feelings about Norway, wouldst thou kill everyone like Hitler wanted to do to Polaks?
I would use them for slave labor.
I heard that in Sweden, the mosquito is a sacred creature.
That’s true. It’s forbidden for a christian Swede to even think about hurting a mosquito.
Swedes think that a mosquito was the first creature to ever drink the blood of Jesus. In case thou hast not noticed, I do not actually like to talk about music.
This interview with Hellhammer, drummer of Mayhem, was conducted by Bill Zebub for Issue #12 of The Grimoire of Exalted Deeds magazine, which was published in time for the Milwaukee Metalfest (the year of publication is not currently known, but Mayhem played)
Didst thou have sex with Kim from Ancient? Wilt thou back down from John McEntee if he challenges thee to a duel?
First of all, I back down from no one. And anyway, that other shit is, like, stupid rumors that follow me. You know?
Whatever happened to Popeye, the vocalist on Die Mysteries Dom Sathanas?
Oh well… he ate too much spinach. He got married to Olive Oil, and we never saw him again.
Dost thou think that thou art wasting thy talent by drumming for a black metal band? Wouldn’t a death metal or grind band be more appropriate for thy skill?
I could play in any type of band, even pop, if I chose. And so, if I thought I was wasting my time, then I wouldn’t do what I do.
Thy new singer, the one who sounds like a cat choking on a hairball, tries to use clean vocals at times. Or is that a different fag? In any case, he sounds more gay than someone who was thrown out of a fag bar. Didst thou allow this, or wert thou outvoted by the other homosexuals in the band?
(sarcastically) Firstly, how come you know so much about facts? Maniac, the vocalist you talk about. is actually the original vocalist from twelve years ago. Have yo been to that homo bar that you speak about? I don’t understand what the fuck you’re talking about – outvoted – you stupid ass!
Are there any traces of Euronymous’s writing in the new material, or is the riffing created by someone who adored the fat fuck?
No. All material is solely ours shit-head.
I am curious why thou calleth thyself “Hellhammer.” Is it because thou wanted to believe that when people were praising the Hellhammer band created by Tom Gaybird Warrior that they were really praising thee?
No. Of course not. But I think that Helhammer is a way better name than Bill Zebub. What a ridiculous question! Even fags like yourself should know better!
Art thou exploiting the notoriety of the stabbing, or art thou trying to make the world forget about it? I am wondering if there is any pressure on thee to be a continuation of what was started.
To play Mayhem is no pressure. We just carry on, follow our path. And so yes, I am exploiting the stabbing – actually in the most cruel way. And if you don’t back off soon, you can be next!
Is it true that when thou were struggling for money, that thou made ice pops by putting drumsticks in cups of apple juice and freezing them, selling them to kids, telling them that they were the jellied brains of Euronymous?
I’ve heard many times that you have a short dick.
Is it true that some of thy songs were inspired by candy? I heard that, over there, it is common to buy bags of various candy.
How stupid can you be? Of course you are totally misinformed about this,the faggot that you are. But you know, I think that when it comes to drugs, that you could have an answer. you know, I hear that in the gay world they probably call drugs “chocolate” and that’s why maybe I think you are so easily confused.
I heard that Count Grishnak played the bass on thy album despite the protests of Euronymous’s parents. I heard that it was an inside joke that thou wert credited with the bass lines because, in freindlier times, Varg Vikernes sucked so bad that Euronymous used to say “Gay Hellhammer can play bass better.”
I heard many times that you have a short dick.
Didst thou ever give shelter to an annoying American?
Are you talking about Kim? By the way, she was the one who often talked about your dick size, and we all would have a great laugh at your expense.
I am hoping that thou wilt tell me which black metal bands not to listen to.
You better find out yourself. I know what you’re up to here.
What would thou say if I told thee that Judas Iscariot declared himself a more proficient drummer than thou art?
I couldn’t give a shit about it. If someone is bragging about themselves, so be it. That is not something I will do.
Wouldst thou say that drummers are the rarest musicians in underground music? There are tons of guitarists, but bands everywhere complain that they cannot find drummers. Or is it that not everyone can have the stamina to play that style?
At a certain extent it is true. I think that the heart of the complaint is finding good drummers. The underground drummers like Judas Iscariot guys are a dime a dozen.
Dost thou see improvement in the way that extreme drumming is recorded, or dost thou favor poor production?
I’ve been in the game for sixteen years now, and a poor production is for a poor musician. But it is understandable that also it is either a lack of money or a lack of technical ability to play. This was usual in the beginning. It’s accepted if you are an amateur.
I would like to end this chat with the opportunity for thee to insult me and to have the last word, as our history together has been full of insults which might have seemed as if I had the final say. Unleash thy wanton revenge upon me.
Actually, I am not going to do that since you will get off on it. You seem to be like a sado-masochist. But I’m sure that I will see you at the Milwaukee Metalfest bar, and we shall discuss these matters further. Thank you, and fuck off.
This interview with Paul Mazurkiewicz, conducted by Bill Zebub, was published in issue $6 of The Grimoire of Exalted Deeds (1996).
Hast thou done many interviews thus far?
Yeah. We’ve been doing a lot. Today and yesterday as a matter of fact,
Does everyone start out with “What happened to Chris Barnes?”
I guess that one’s going to be the big one tonight. Is that what you’re going to start out with?
No. I wish not to speak of this. (pause) I was just jesting with thee. I’ve heard that it was a very nasty thing. Hopefully thou wilt not be giving me the public relations speech instead of the dirt.
Well, if you want the dirt, I can give you the dirt.
I beckon the dirt.
It’s been a long career for the band, but we’ve really had to go through a lot of bullshit in the past – little things here and there – basically just him being an asshole and us dealing with it. The band almost broke up a couple of times. I don’t know if you’re aware of that. Me and Alex officially quit for like two days after the tour for “Butchered” because we were really pissed at Chris. He was fucking up on the road. He ended up… not really taking money, but doing things behind our backs – things that should be band decisions – he took it upon himself. I could get into many a thing. Just to sum up, things escalated when we went ot do the new record. We had all the music done. When he came to do the lyrics, it just wasn’t what we wanted. He’s very stubborn to work with. He just wants to do everything himself. He wouldn’t take any advice from anybody. When he went to do it, we were very unhappy with the vocal structures. The lyrics were just redundant. There were many instances when we said, “Hey! We don’t like this. We’ve got to changes stuff.” He gets pissed at us. He’d rather get mad than sitting down and saying, “Hey man. I need some help. Let’s all work on this as a band.”
When we’re writing, it’s trial and error. When it came to vocals, he wanted to do that himself. We looked at that as wrong. It was starting to slack in a lot of aspects, especially his performance level. there was definitely a hate thing going on. There was a tension for years. It wasn’t like we were friends anymore. It was just business. Before we kicked him out, for months I didn’t even call him or hang out with him. nothing. He was too into himself. Everyone is below him. He’s out of the band and he lost a few friends.
Wert thou terrified of expelling him because Chris Barnes is perceived as Cannibal Corpse? He is a trademark entity.
Initially, maybe for a minute. The people are gonna freak. But George was our first choice. We knew he’d do a killer job. We knew he could write better lyrics and come up with better vocal patterns. We almost didn’t even hesitate. he learned a song in two days, and it blew Chris’s away! It is, by far, heavier than anything that Chris ever did. Chris actually did lay down, like, six songs. That obviously will never be heard by many people.
What wouldst thou say if it came out on a bootleg CD?
Well, if it did, there’s only five people in the world hat own those tapes. It’s not even on a studio tape. Morrisound doesn’t even have it on the reels. It’s just on personal cassette. Chris has one. If it did get out, we’d know that it was either one of us, or Chris.
I give the prophesy that this will happen.
We’d know that it was Chris and we’d have to take some pretty fuckin’ drastic action.
You’d have to. He’s a money-grubing… We had to change the logo because he wanted money. He’s just trying to get money fro previous record sales. So we said “Fuck you! We’ll change the logo! It’s a new band anyway!”
It’s Cannibal Corpsegrinder.
Thou wert rumored to have expelled Chris in favor of a more commercial direction.
I didn’t hear about that one.
A band does not always hear the whispers.
We wanted to get more vicious because Chris just wasn’t anymore. George can belt it out. He’s got the killer lungs for it. We’ve been killing it on the music and we needed somebody up on our level in that way. Chris doesn’t like playing fast anymore. I can tell he wasn’t into Cannibal Corpse. He was only in it for the money. We’re doing good. We’re making a living. He was praised at being the best – placating his ego. He took it for granted. “Whatever I do is gonna rule because I’m Chris Barnes.” That’s why he did Six Feet Under – strictly for the money.I mean, ANYBODY can do that stuff. Whatever.
The irony is that, when I interviewed him for the previous issue, I asked him how the other members of Cannibal Corpse felt about him touring when there was an album in progress, and he was confident that thou wouldst not exile him.
He did delay the mixing because when he did his vocals, he was gonna go out on tour and then mix his vocals when he got back. We were a little ticked about that. The way we viewed it, he was looking at Six Feet Under as his full time band, and at Cannibal Corpse as his side project.
Was Mr. Corpsegrinder trying not to stray too far from the Barnes approach?
We weren’t looking for anyone who sounded like Chris, obviously. We wanted George to be George. He’s got a brutal voice on his own. We wanted it to be better, catchier, faster. We weren’t worried about filling Chris’s shoes. The vocals finally fit the music.
Dost thou think that the position of drummer is the most demanding?
Physically, yeah. Definitely. I’m sweating every night – not that those guys aren’t busting it. It’s a different thing when you’re at practice. They can just sit there and not be furious, whereas I have no choice. I can’t slow down. I’ve got to be belting it out so I can be doing this every night on stage.
Some pretentious mainstream drummers criticize death metal for being nothing but stamina.
Unless they can do it, they shouldn’t be knocking it. It’s a weird style of drumming. You’re not gonna pick up any drum book that’s got death metal drumming. Some of those guys might look at it as noise. I try not to think about it. It’s just what I do.
Is it not ironic that some people who play bubblegum punk rock look down upon metal while their own music is simple?
Yes! They look at our style as shit. Look at bands like Nirvana that write three riffs and sell millions of records. That’s all you need- just one riff and a catchy vocal pattern. I guess they have to laugh in that respect. “Look at us. We must be better. We’re selling 500,000 records. People like us more.” That must be their attitude. We can’t let that bother us. We’re busting our asses out there, and then there are sucky bands out there making a lot more money.
Is anyone in the band going to get a gay alternative hairdo?
No. Not any time soon.
What dost thou think of bands like Obituary that wear baggy clothing on stage?
Whatever. I don’t mind it. Alex and the other guys like to wear black t-shirts and jeans. It’s just that whole changing thing now – a lot of bands are not sticking to death metal, like they should be. They don’t want to. But we want to stick to what we started. We’re death metal. I’m sure we’re always going to portray it in the manner that it should be portrayed.
No slicked-back hair and goatee?
No. We’re wearing shades in the new picture. That’s about it.
That is the extent of it?
Yeah. We might wear a white t-shirt. I guess it’s not that big of a deal. The music should speak for itself. As long as you’re brutal, that should be enough.
Thou maketh thy kit do much.
Yeah. I never really looked at it that way. It probably does not sound like I’m using a massive kit. But I’ve been refining my own style. It seems like it’s a lot more controlled. There might be a song where there’s not one fill at all… not one roll. Then there’s songs with a lot of fills and a lot of rolls. I’m just concentrating on strong beats, doing what’s best for the song.
Hast thou meta many of the publicists at Metal Blade?
Yeah. We met and talked on the phone now and then.
Hast thou met Mat?
I don’t think I met him. I talked to him on the phone a couple of times.
How dost thou feel about a person who lisps and talks like a complete fag to be promoting thy brutal music?
(laughs) What can we do? I mean, he works at the record company. We’re not freaking out too much. He does have kind of a soft voice. That’s all right.
This interview with Dan Swano was conducted by Bill Zebub for issue $6 of THE GRIMOIRE OF EXALTED DEEDS which was published in 1996.
I heard thy one-song album for the first time yesterday. I was wondering if that entire song was recorded from start to finish without any breaks.
The only one-song album that thou hast ever made. “Crimson.”
O.K. Edge of Sanity. Yeah. To be honest, it wasn’t really recorded in one take because, you know, in the studio we recorded each instrument separately, so I guess the drums were playing for like five minutes at a time. But it’s not like any digital editing or anything like that – to make it sound like one song. It’s just that, at one point, you have to change the tape, that’s all. So I think thirty two minutes are actually recorded from the beginning to one point, and then we recorded the next eight minutes on another tape. That’s the only break, really.
What made thee decide to put out an album that is so unlistenable and so unmemorable? Dost thou not think that thou wilt lose the listener?
No, not really, because the reviews we received so far in Europe have been so overwhelming that I think we could do this always. This is a good record to separate the listeners that I want to listen to our music and not, because there’s a lot of people out there that should not listen to Edge of Sanity. They’re not the right people to do it. If they don’t like “Crimson” then farewell. They should never listen to us again, because this is really what we’re all about. This is the ultimate release.
The only people I know who enjoy the song are pseudo-musicians. Dost thou think that thou hast geared this album toward musicians?
Yeah. I guess a lot of people who listen to it are musicians. I think that they realize that we were a cool band already around the first or second album, because our songs have always contained, you know, the stuff that we formed in “Crimson.” We haven’t really changed our style. All we did was we took away the parts and just did one song out of it instead of trying to make ten songs. There is no difference in the music. The weirdest passages we have are very short, like one minute or something like that. We don’t want to win some time. We just wrote a track and it happened to be forty minutes. That’s basically it.
Dost thou think that because it is formatted as one song, if a person likes material on a later portion, it would be a tremendous inconvenience, being that one must manually skit twenty minutes or so?
He should never do that. “Crimson” should always be listened to from beginning to end.
Is that really thy attitude?
Yeah! You can never really listen to the track just to a part. That’s impossible. Of course, you CAN do it, but that’s not the point. I’d rather see “Crimson” as a movie than as a record because, if you have a favorite part of a film, you have to fast forward to that part just to look at it. But we want people to follow us from the intro to the outro. That’s where we want them – on the couch , listening to the music , not thinking of anything else but what comes out of the speakers. So that’s on purpose. They should listen to the whole, or not.
With each album there were increasing amounts of nontraditional elements. Wert thou trying to expand death metal?
We have already done that. We’re not able to take it any further. We have actually touched the extreme for quite a while, and we have been over that line a couple of times doing Goth rock. People just accept it anyway. I don’t know why, but they do it.
Wert thou vocally trained?
No, not at all. My voice flips out after doing a few minutes of growling stuff, so I guess that’s pure torture for my voice. I learned the basic technique over a ten year period. I prefer the long way in anything. When I play an instrument, I never take a lesson. I don’t want a teacher to tell me. I want me and the guitar to work it out together. One is dumb, the other can speak.
Are the Swedish more open-minded about changes in a band than Americans?
I think the Swedish people sometimes change the music of their bands too fast. They play death metal on the first one, and then are grunge on the second one. I guess the Swedish audience has problems accepting that a band can do a major change, but they also have a problem when a band doesn’t do a major change. It’s a contradiction all the way through.
I think that the way is is marketed should be changed.
After the second album we said that we’re a metal band. We’re like alternative metal. I rather see fans of bands like Dream Theater see it as the most extreme thing that they can cope with than to see a Cannibal Corpse fan think it’s too corny. We’re the most brutal band to SOME people. That’s my goal. Myself, I don’t listen to death metal at all. I prefer to listen to soft stuff.
Dost thou not think that it is foolish to say what thou hast confessed?
A lot more bands should say it! they should not hide that they listen to Stryper records. My heart has never been in death metal. The way that I think of our music, it’s not death metal at all. We did, like, one and a half death metal albums in the early days. If someone should think that we’re wimps because I don’t like death metal, they should see the other guys. They only listen to rap. They’re not into death metal at all. They cut their hair – colored it rose and pink. All we have in common is that we’re playing it right now. We like writing it, but we don’t like listening to it.
Dost thou not fear being heckled, or violently beaten?
No, because if they’re such narrow-minded assholes, I don’t care.
This interview is from Issue #6 (1996) with Aaron Stainthorpe, conducted by Bill Zebub
Thy video is said to be very controversial. Only to really sort of sad people. I mean, we’re not a controversial band. We don’t go out to shock people. When we did the video for “The Cry of Mankind” it’s basically got me dressed as Christ, covered in all this false blood and stuff. Now for some people, that alone is enough to cause controversy. In fact, when we presented the video to MTV in Europe, the “Headbangers Ball,’ they said “No” straight away.
But they play a Nirvana video with a crucified elderly man! Well, this is it. couple of scenes cut out. I think of them was when I was fondling my crotch with a hand covered in false blood. We knew that was the high point and that would have to be cut out. That did go. Then we presented it again, and they said, ‘O.K. I any backlash, you’re taking the You know! This really isn’t that bad, is it? But obviously, to some people it really is. I’m actually just there with the rest of the guys playing the stuff behind me. There is an image of a cross. . . in fact, we actually blew it up! We had to blow the thing up. MTV really argued about that as well. But we’ve kind of thrashed it out with them. They really did not want to show it. If you see it, you’ll look at it and you’ll think, ‘What the hell were these censorship people talking about?’ There’s nothing there. It’s just the fact that a rock singer is dressed up as Christ. There’s no content in there that justifies censorship.
Dost thou think that Jesus spoke In an obnoxious Jewish accent? (laughs) I have no idea. (laughs) I’ve never even thought about it like that, to be honest.
Maybe they crucified him just to shut him up. (laughs)
I Just wanted to create some real controversy for thee. Yeah. (laughs)
When we refer to ourselves, we say that we are Americans. Dost thou say, “I am a Brit?” I say that I am British. But Andrew, one of our guitarists, says he’s English, not British. We haven’t got anything against the Irish, the Scottish, and the Welsh. But he says he’s English. I don’t think he’s ever left Yorkshire before we toured. Andy’s kind of English, and that’s the way it’s gonna stay.
The reason I ask is, we have a term called, “African American.” Oh yeah.
Is there a like term over there? Dost thou say “”African Brit?” Well yeah. Of course.
Is that what they say, really? They’re all . . . gosh, saying that sounding like they’re some kind of foreign species. Over here it’s “Jamaican.
If I vacationed in Africa and then decided to live there, would I be an “American African”? (laughs) That’s a good thought. Yeah.
People are afraid to speak the truth. Certain things cannot be coated with sugar. A person who is retarded is called “mentally challenged.’ Yeah, all that PC stuff.
As if these ridiculous alternative terms diffuse the harshness . . . There are facts of life that remain brutal even after the word for the condition is altered. But the truth is, a retarded child is happier than an average child because a retarded person will never doubt love, nor will a retarded person ever hide love from another person. It is only an average person who views the condition as cruel. There was a thing in England a few years ago. The conservative government are in at the moment. But the Looney Left, the Labor. . . they were on about banning the word ‘blackboard.’ Now it’s just called “board.’ Can you believe that? It’s absolutely insane. That’s the way it goes, I suppose. Some people out there think that some things are breathtakingly offensive, when in reality the majority of the public think there’s nothing there whatsoever.
It just might be an event for a social club. They probably ask themselves, “What will we attack this week?” I hate people like that. I really do. They really get on my tits. People like that are almost trying to start an argument for no reason. These people probably spent a couple hundred pounds researching that fact, that things should no longer be called ‘blackboard.’ They just throw money away left, right, and center, arguing about things that don’t need arguing.
What is it about Americans that the English despise? Um… uh, what don’t they?
Ha, ha, ha. No. No. No. No. I don’t know how they dare. But the British like to kick the Mickey out of everybody. . . the Irish, the French obviously. . . even I say it. We hate the French, the Australians, the Americans. I mean, don’t think you’re special. By no means. We have a go at everyone, as If we’re perfect. We classify the French as being obnoxious. We classify the Irish as being completely thick. The Americans… I don’t know. In British comedy the Americans as looked at as being “over the top.”
Like in Monty Pythons, “Meaning of Life’ when Death comes to the table of doomed people who ate the bad salmon? Oh yes. That is so typical.
I know that we have cliques, most of which are despised by me. I do not feel a brotherhood to other Americans, especially the more ridiculous subcultures. Is it a certain subculture that is generalized to all Americans, or does thy hatred stem from the Revolutionary War when thou wert defeated? I have no idea. I can’t really comment on that. When we say “American,” we don’t really have a picture in our heads. We see a family… a man, wife, kids … a girl and a boy in the back of a huge car on a sunny day with a huge house and a pool, and not very many brain cells. We don’t see black. We don’t see Puerto Rican. We don’t see skyscrapers. We see that sort of nuclear family thing. It’s a white middle income with a car and all that crap.
Hast thou avidly followed the orwegian events? I was really into the black metal stuff in the middle-to-late-80’s. I loved stuff like Bathory who were, for me, the purveyors, and Celtic Frost of course. It’s become a joke now, I think. These kids, no matter how much they mutilate themselves and each other, I don’t think they have an ounce of evil in them. I think they’ve read some good stories, seen some good bands, found some rather good wristbands with some six-inch nails in them, and have decided that that’s what they want to do. Yet to me, the real evil people are the ones who have the high-level jobs and major incomes. To me, these kids in Norway who throw dead cats at their worst enemy’s door, they’re just so unbelievably childish. Someone said to us before we went to Norway, ‘Have you ever heard death threats from Norwegian black metallers?’ We’ve got the I.R.A. to worry about. You think we’re going to worry about some dickhead throwing a dead cat? These are kids who are out just for a good time. Half of them are not going to last for more than two or three years. They’re going to go and get a proper job, and they’re going to look back at these times and go, “Christ! What a prick!”
But dost thou not think it to be a great marketing tool? Oh yeah! They know that as well. Half these tales about… who got killed? It was ‘Dead,” wasn’t it?
Dead, and then Euronymous. I half believe those people are still alive. It’s wonderful publicity. It’s easily done. You can ting a fanzine up, or a major magazine in fact, and say, ‘Hi. My friend. . . ‘and then invent some crazy demonic name, “has just been slaughtered by,” and then invent another crazy demonic name, and they’ll print it in the press before checking it out. It is wonderful publicity. You cover yourself in blood and then you go and set fire to a church. It’s gonna make news. You just mention your record label and your new album, and you’ve sold another few thousand copies. It is good marketing. But I think now people are getting pretty much sick to death of it.
I used to ridicule the black metal bands. But now I just ridicule the people who buy the merchandise. That scene has its own idiotic terminology, describing various no-talent bands as “war-metal” and et cetera. It’s just marketing. Yeah. It’s good business.
How can “My Dying Bride’ be marketed? I’m not really sure. It’s not really for us to say either. It’s up to the record labels and journalists to place us where they feel we need placing. We can’t jump up and say, ‘We’re the new Celtic Frost. Everybody buy our stuff because we’re avant garde and no one can understand what we’re doing.’ We’re not going to do anything like that. We play what we enjoy. We’re six guys who enjoy writing an unusual style of music. It makes us feel good to write the stuff we do.
Are Anathema still around? That’s who we’re going to Poland with. Yeah. I think England reigns in that sense. It’s doing O.K. But I think there are some more inventive bands from outside of England who somehow are marketed in the same sort of magazines as My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost. And yet, the music they do. . . I’m thinking of a band called ‘Elend’ from France. Their album is advertised in the same sort of ‘zines. Yet the music is just female vocals and violins all the way through, with the odd bit of screaming and shouting. This isn’t even metal. And yet, it’s there. I think doom metal is great In England. But the real avant garde stuff is springing up in mainland Europe. There are bands where half the album is drums and half the album is some crazy wailing stuff. You don’t get that from an English band.
I know that thou art modest. But canst thou admit to seeing an influence of My Dying Bride in some bands? Well yeah, we can, especially in bands like Anathema. We know that they really screwed us for a song a few years ago that we laugh about all the time now. I was talking to one of the guys in Anathema in ‘92. We were writing this song called ‘Comfort Me,” which we never got around to completing. But I told him everything about it and how we were planning on this and that and the other. And it appeared on their first album, not under the name of “Comfort Me.” I can’t remember what it’s called now. The rest of the band couldn’t believe it. We got their album free, being on the same record label, and we were listening to it at Peaceville Records. We thought, “Well, we can’t do anything about it now.” We kind of just smiled to ourselves. We knew that it was our idea. I’ve never actually told anyone this before. It’s not to make bad publicity. But I couldn’t really give a toff now. They took that peace of music off us!
I am glad to be the first to whom that secret was revealed. There are these six-piece bands out now with female vocals. We got a tape from a band a while ago, and all the song titles, including the name of the band, were from ‘Turn Loose the Swans.” It was really, really bizarre. I think the band was called something like “Vast Swans,’ and all the songs were words from our song titles just rearranged. It’s kind of nice, I suppose. The music was utter bullocks. But the imagery looked quite good.
The Last song on “Turn Loose the Swans…” Uh huh.
I heard that there’s an unusual version floating around that features thee saying, “I want to fuck you baby.” (laughs) There is an unusual version floating around. It’s not as coarse as that. I know who released this. It’s Martin, the violin player. We’d been slugging it out for like 16-hour days on ‘Turn Loose the Swans.” ‘Black God’ was a real problem. The girl who did the vocals, she couldn’t get it right at all, and it took like the whole day and the next day just to get this small part tight. When she left I went down to put my vocals. I was warming up because I had to get rather close to the microphone and they turned the recording level really high, so you could get every breath I took. Obviously, I needed to practice. I’ve got a good sense of humor. While we were there, this is like 4 o’ clock in the morning and I’ve had some beers, I was talking about some odd things. It’s very unusual… stuff about a local sort of fish ‘n chips shop next door. It’s good fun. They recorded it upstairs. When I listened to it I laughed like mad. I said, ‘That’s funny. Now get rid of it.” We know this now, but Martin took the tape and he just copied it for anyone and everyone. Now it’s floating around all over the place. If people are really big fans, it will dash their hopes and make them think, ‘Well, what a fucking shit band!” We are entitled to do things llike this now and again. It’s not gonna kill us. It Is a novelty.
The song, “Sexuality of Bereavement,” was part of the collector’s club. How many other tracks are there that are no longer available? None. That song was recorded in the ‘Tum Loose the Swans’ session. Normally, we record an album’s worth of music, 50 or 60 minutes. Hammy from Peaceville told us that he wanted an extra track. So when we’re at this situation for “Tum Loose the Swans’ we did 60 minutes worth. Then we did the “Sexuality..’ in the same session. The next thing we released was the “I am the Bloody Earth.’ We were told that the American version had to be longer than the European version for some strange reason, and they wanted an extra song. Now, as I’ve said, we have no songs on tape that have never been released. So Hammy thought, “The Collector’s Club is for people who have joined.” He shouldn’t really take songs out of it and put somewhere else. But seeing how this is going to America, and there were only about two members in the club from America . . . it really was a white elephant, I’m afraid. The Collector’s Club was a flop. Well, it didn’t make it on that E.P. So the next thing we were doing was “The Angel and the Dark River.’ We presented all the songs for Music for Nations. Then they said, ‘We need a bonus track.”They didn’t think of telling this before we went into the studio. They tell us after we’ve done everything. We said, “We have no bonus track. There’s nothing.’ They said, ‘Have you got anything unusual, done a B-side or anything?” And again, “Sexuality…’ being the song it was, has been released on the digi-pack version. It sticks out like a sore thumb because it has “Tum Loose the Swans” production. It really shouldn’t have been put on there. We would’ve loved to have written a brand new track for it. Have you heard It at all?
Actually yes. It is truly a great song. I like it very much as well. It’s kind of unusual.
At the time of the Collectors Club I didn’t have a turntable. When I saw flyers for it I was really mad. I was going to order it and have a friend record it for me. When thou had thy licensing deal with Fierce and they put out “Trinity” I was very happy. “Trinity.” Is that what it’s calied there?
Yes. We weren’t to sure about that. I don’t know if you know about the boxed set called “The Stories.’
I already had each E.P. ‘The Stories’ were three E.P.’s that were really difficult to get a hold of outside of Europe. So we were going to box them all up and send them all over the world and say to people, “All right, these records will never be available again. If you couldn’t find them before, now’s your chance.” Somebody had the idea of “Trinity” as well. We thought, ‘Well hang on a minute. Surely we’re ripping people off with this. That-s what people are gonna think.” The record label, In their wisdom decided to go for it straightaway. There really wasn’t a great deal we could do about it. So we kind of went along with it. The English version is better than the American version, by the’way. It is humorous how thou art a victim. When we do venues we do not like ripping people off. We’re really into the underground scene. Every fanzine said, “Guaranteed no tip-off’ in it somewhere. It’s sort of how we’ve always done our thing. Some of the first gigs we did we were virtually giving our t-shirts away. Even still now, we charge the minimum we possibly can when we play live. We do not like ripping people off because we do not like getting ripped off. But the record labels love it! They can’t get enough!
The violin wasn’t as dominant on the first e.p. Was the violinist iin the band, or just hired for accompaniment? He was a guest musician. He joined just after ‘Turn Loose the Swans’ was recorded.
How was it playing out before he became fully fledged? We were nobodies back then. The first time we ever left England was in 1992. He could easily come with us. He was in a university. He didn’t want to give up his education to become a member of the band. IIt was very important to him, psychology or some weird shit. With bands, you know, they’re here one minute and gone the next. If he gave’up his education, he’d have to start again. So he wasn’t prepared to do that. It was early in “Tum Loose…’ when he decided, “I’m going to give up my education for you lot.’
Hast thou heard “Celestial Season?’ Somebody mentioned that last night.
The first album was said to have completely copied thy style. The second album, “Solar Lovers” has two exceptional violinists. I couldn’t help but to think that they followed thy example in regard to instrumentation. But I am glad that they did. We didn’t invent all that. You know yourself that Celtic Frost had their opera’ singers and stuff. That’s who we were mainly influenced by. We thought that the first thing people were going to say about us was, “Celtic Frost rip-off.’ But they didn’t. So we kind of got away with it.
This is the first interview that Bill Zebub conducted with Hellhammer, the drummer of Mayhem, from issue #2 in 1993. To be fair, this is before Hellhammer had ever heard of Bill Zebub, so the replies to questions could have been like those given to children. There was no way that Hellhammer could have known how big the magazine was to become. Please don’t see this as any bravado from Bill Zebub, and do not see it as weak on the part of Hellhammer. It was a silly interview that I am sure Hellhammer did not take seriously. It is only re-printed here as a window back to an earlier time. Bill Zebub and Hellhammer met a few times in person over the years, and it was always a friendly encounter. If there will ever be another interview, it will be a chat between friends, but enjoy the chat before this was the case.
What art thy feelings on Euronymous’s death?
Things will go much faster. Mayhem has a new line-up. I can proceed more seriously without Euronymous.
Wert thou also a target?
No, but if those would like to try, then I knock them down.
Was thy position lost in the war?
You have to have a certain acknowledgement of The Circle to understand, but if you see it as power, that’s where I stand.
Dost thou believe that black metal has the vocals of Popeye the Sailor Man, while death metal is influenced by the Cookie Monster?
Mayhem’s vocals are a lot better than American vocals, which remind me of a dog with the flu.
Dost thou believe that wearing corpsepaint is a lesser form of transvestism?
Of course not, but if that’s turning you on, stay away!
Is it true that thou hast grown tame after the death of Euronymous?
No, not in any way at all. The Count did many a great favor by killing Euronymous.
Hast thou heard of Svarog? It is a barbarian black metal band from central Europe that is set to march against Norway, beating up all known black metal bands with their ancient weapons. (editor’s note – Bill Zebub made a 4-song cassette of Svarog. titled “Dyetski Voyaki” which was his test to see if black metal sold because of the music or because of the story. Bill Zebub invented a biography of a tribe of barbarians that Rome never conquered, and Czechoslovakia allowed a small region to self govern, sort of like the Amish in America. Bill Zebub played all instruments, and his lyrics, in Czech, were absurd, talking about how one should not allow gay spiders to crawl on his arm, or the words described the color and design of a woman’s handbag. The cassette sold out of two pressings on Elegy Records, after which Bill Zebub decided to make the tape out of print. He had proven his suspicion that it way hype, bit music, that sold. He also warned the Neckless Troll that he would one day reveal the prank, so fans might turn against the record label for the deception. Years later, the Neckless Troll and a drummer from a death metal band recorded four songs in a studio, to be part of a bigger album, but this project was not completed. Bill Zebu will resurrect this joke band soon)
I have never heard about any such thing before. With a name like Svarog, it is obvious that they are idiot children. They would be punished for trying.
This is from the very first interview with Slymenstra Hymen in ISSUE #1 of THE GRIMOIRE OF EXALTED DEEDS Magazine, which came out in 1993.
Let’s talk about your role.
My roll? I roll the dice every day, baby. I roll the I Ching too.
The I Ching?
Hell yeah. I’m fuckin’ mind-control girl. What do you think?
You have a very sexual role in the band.
Well yes. I am a woman. But I don’t know why everyone has to compute my presence with sex. I am a woman, and I am going to show it.
I do remember seeing in excerpt from a cable show in which you said something sexual.
Abandon ye all hope who enter her. I do have a very sexual edge. But I also have a self-contained and self-affirming sexuality, which I think is positive.
You’re a space bimbo.
Are you from the same hierarchy as the rest of the group?
Of course. Even a higher one. They’re just warriors. I am a goddess.
You seem to be a dominatrix.
In this world, you have to put people in their place. All I know is, once Mother Nature takes over, everything will be OK. The rich will crumble and burn. The world will go back to the way that it should be.
Since you are above the others…
The only reason I am above the others is because humans have this problem with idolizing people and making hierarchies. You used the word “Hierachy” but this is something that humans like to do. They like to emulate, to have icons running around. Maybe it has something to do with the inner child. Something to do with how they don’t get potty-trained correctly. Something to do with their mother smoking crack while heir father was beating their face in.
Do you share Oderus’ view of humanity?
I don’t know. Me and Oderus are very different. We have a love/hate relationship. Many things I agree with, and many things I don’t. Strange character indeed, and I can’t say I fully agree with him or totally don’t. But he is a sensation-seeking, empty-hearted motherfucker. He likes to destroy things too fast. I realize that you have to destroy things in order to create new life, and all, but… I don’t know… just his demeanor while he’s doing it.
Speaking of destruction, or its opposite, is GWAR going to reproduce on earth?
Not if I have anything to do with it. That’s why I wear my armor. There was a time when I could wander the earth in full nudity and not worry, but I did have to create armor to protect my most ultimate weapon.
A chastity-belt, so-to-speak.
Yes, but I put in on myself, I might add. They always change everything around and make it look like men forced us to do it. You know, i hate this man-taking-credit-for-everything.