NAPALM DEATH

Back

TARTAREAN DESIRE WEBZINE

This phone interview with Mark "Barney" Greenway of the British death metal band Napalm Death was done by Chris Rohde in November 2004.


Is that Chris??

Yeah this is Chris. . . .
Hi Chris itís Barney, Napalm Death here. Howís it going??

Doing just fine Barney.
Good, good, good.

Iíve got a bunch of questions here for you to answer . . .
Okay, okay.

So if it gets a little long cut me off or whatever.
Nah, nah, itís good.

Okay first of all Iím not going to get into the politics with you, since they have been covered in other interviews recently.
Okay, fair enough.

Howís the tour going so far??
Itís going pretty well, it has the usual small problems, but itís been going real well. We havenít been here in a year and a half and people seem pretty keen. Itís been quite good because weíve been able to work in brand new songs from the new album, and a couple covers as well. Itís not as if weíre coming in on the back of doing nothing, weíve got the covers album just out so . . .

Yeah, actually I saw you guys at the Montreal show just a few weeks ago (Okay), it was a pretty wicked show man.
Yeah I was slightly handicapped at the time.

Yeah, yeah howís that going for you??
Yeah it still hurts to be honest. . .

What happened??
Well, its just arthritis. Iíve had a feeling that Iíve had it for some time. I mean Iíve had problems with my knees for a couple years. Before we flew out it just swelled up to like balloon proportions. I was having problems with moving it at first.

Well you seemed to handle the pain, and made jokes about having a stool onstage with you for leaning purposes. Between songs doing a lounge singer act.
(Laughing) Yeah, exactly. Youíve got to make light of a situation you know what I mean. Iím never one to be shy of making fun of myself. You just get these problems sometimes, and youíve got to work through them really. I mean itís something Iím probably going to have for the rest of my life, but itís something I can deal with. It probably wonít severely affect me until I get significantly older. Iím not worried about it too much.

What about your tour bus breaking down recently??
(Laughing) Yeah, things seem to always go wrong in the plural, and never in the singular (laughing again). The bus basically broke down about a week and a half ago, and we were stuck for the week without a bus. And there were things behind the scenes that werenít totally satisfactory with the bus company. It was a pain, but we got through it. There are still some minor things that we need to iron out, like I say youíve got to work through the things and carry on and do what youíve got to do.

It makes for some good stories too (hmmmm). Now, you guys havenít been to Canada since the Enemy of the Music Business tour. . . .
Has it really been that long?? Honestly I canít remember . . .

Yeah almost four years ago now.
Ahh shit, okay we didnít go to Canada on the Nile tour.

Any plans to come out here for the next tour??
Yeah yeah, weíre looking on coming out here, well roughly, because we donít have schedule yet but we figure around May time but. . . . I mean weíve got a lot of work to do in Europe next year because weíve got a new agent over there whoís actually really good, or it seems thus far. I think weíve got a plan out there for us, so weíve got to squeeze the U.S. in between, and of course we will. We just have to map everything out.

Is there a major difference in crowds from the States to Canada, to even Europe??
Ahh no no, itís pretty much the same I would say. But yeah, I mean Montreal has always been pretty rocking. . . Toronto too, but Montreal is always really really good for us.

How was the Ottawa show??
Good, good. I mean itís always something you worry about, because obviously we are closer to Europe and we tend to concentrate more on Europe. Every time we come to the U.S. you wonder, well are people going to be keen in seeing us? Especially with this pain in my leg, I havenít been as mobile as Iíve wanted to be on stage, and Iíve been kinda worried about that as well. Thinking that people would think that heís not as good as could have been. But it seems to be working out okay.

Well what about not having Jesse on stage with you guys??
Ahh, itís been fine, I mean weíre a pretty resilient band and coping with Jesse not being around, it hasnít been that much of a problem for us. When we got all these things going on, you tend to think well thereís enough going on without having to worry about this, so weíll just get on and do our best. And hopefully it will work out, and it has you know. I mean weíve had to cope with temporary loses of members before you know. Shane wasnít with us for a little while because of his illness, Mitch wasnít with us for a while because he broke his foot, and I missed some shows do to illnesses in the early nineties. So you kinda deal with it, get on with it really.

So is that what it is with Jesse, just temporary?? Or. . . .
Well I donít know, I mean the situation, all I can really say is that the situation isnít looking that great. You know you kinda say ďnever say neverĒ really.

Okay, now with the Leaders 2 album out, and even the new album coming out, you guys have played some new material at the shows. What has the response been towards that??
Yeah, good good definitely. But obviously itís hard for people to get a grasp through one listen, but having said that, the response has been very positive. Itís nice to ease people into the stuff I think, and if youíve got the material ready to go, then why not play it you know.

Exactly. Well, Lowlife was definitely a highlight at the Montreal show for sure. Wicked song.
Well alright thanks.

Too bad you guys didnít play Bedtime Story though.
Yeah, well, no I know. Itís like I kind of spoke to the other guys about doing different stuff in different places, but because we were in such a rush to get out of the studio, we only actually finished in the studio like three or four days before we were suppost to come over here, and then obviously a couple of us arenít American, we had to get Visaís, it was such a great big fucking rush, we just didnít get a chance to go through all the stuff we would have liked to have done.

How do you guys decide what songs you want to cover for a Leaders album, or even to play in a show??
Well like I said, personally I would have liked to have done a lot more diversity of the covers. Like making them specifically to the relevant places. We kinda just picked, because we didnít have a lot of time, we just picked the ones that we thought people might recognize. So we picked Agnostic Front and Lowlife because arguably for our type of crowds they would be the ones that theyíd listen to. Having said that, in the future Iíd like to possibly do the ones in the different places.

You say there might be a third Leaders album (YEAH); can you name a few tracks that you were thinking for this one, that didnít make it??
Possibly like a Minor Threat track [Cool], umm ďScreaming at a WallĒ.

Was Nik Bullen really contacted to do guest vocals with you guys??
YES YES, for the proper album you mean the studio album he was. Actually I donít know why that didnít work out. Shane talked with him, but he was probably busy or whatever? But Jeff Walker came in and did stuff with us, who used to be in Carcass. Jello Biafra has done some stuff. . . .

Ohh has he??
Yeah he has, we did it the other day.

Cool, for the album.
Yeah the album, and the guy from Hatebreed did some stuff.

Yeah Jamey Jasta. How did that come about??
Well, you know Iíve actually known Jamey for, weíve known Jamey collectively for well over ten years. Jamey used to book shows for us many years ago. So itís not like we just contacted him because he was just in town. We actually know him fairly well. I havenít seen the forums yet, but I find it rather sad that people are ragging on him really. Heís actually a really good guy, and well yeah okay his band has become really successful for a hardcore band, but they have done it on their own terms really. The thing is heís helped a lot of people out, heís got his label now, and heís doing it very honestly, and the label operates in a very honest way with the bands which is something you donít see from many labels. They mostly tend to be righteous. I know he treats his bands really well. Heís done a lot, heís booked shows, and always treated us very well. I canít complain about Jamey. Thereís other people out there who have treated other people a lot worse than he has.

I think that people think he doesnít have the right style in vocals to compliment Napalm. How did he work out??
All I can say is that he does. He does his shouting thing which is obviously not as deep as my voice, but it fits you know. I mean shit, Jello does vocals on there, and you can say that his vocal style is completely different to Napalm. Although the two bands have the parallels ethically, but his vocal style is vastly different, but he works.

What about Shane singing?? Is he ever going to do that again??
He does some stuff on the album. He does some backing vocals and stuff. Itís always mixed in. You donít always recognise it really but heís there.

I did an interview with Tompa Lindberg at one point, and we talked about him possibly doing guest vocals with you guys. Heís willing, but you need to ask him obviously. Any chance for that??
Yeah, I mean there are all kinds of considerations. Obviously we canít get too much on there. . . .

Ohh for sure. It would then sound like a Soulfly album. . .
Yeah. But I wouldnít be opposed to Tomas singing on it. We got our vocalist for this time. We got who would compliment whatís there, but we didnít want to flood it with people. But Tompa has been a friend for years, so Iím sure that in the future something might definitely be a possibility.

Well he mentioned that he filled in on vocals at one point for Napalm.
Yeah he may well have done, yeah.

I read that you guys have also recorded a Swans. . . .
Ohh you know what, I just remembered the show that Tompa filled in on. It was a festival in Sweden. I was kinda ill, really ill actually. I flew out there but Tompa did the vocals.

What about the Swans style song that you guys recorded??
The Swans song is called ďMoralĒ. To be honest it turned out fucking great man. Better than we expected. Itís kind of melodic, but very gloomy, gothic. But not in the perceived traditional sense of gothic. Itís very, well, Swans basically. Depressing as fuck basically.

Any bonus tracks on the upcoming album??
Actually yeah, thereís going to be a bonus extra track on the new album coming out. Which is another cover by the Japanese band Gauze.

Ohh nice.
But thatís going to be on the Japanese release only.

Of course, Japan. . .
Japan always asks for extra tracks, they ask specifically for extra tracks so.

Just a quick question about Napalmís live shows. With the nineties era albums: Diatribes, Inside the Torn Apart, and Words from the Exit Wound, why do you guys only seem to play Breed to Breathe, and Greed Killing from those albums?? When people enjoy other great songs from those albums, like ďRipe for the BreakingĒ, ďRepression out of UniformĒ, and ďLowpointĒ??
The problem is that itís difficult to please everyone, all the time. The main body of people that appreciate Napalm tend to like the more upbeat stuff you know. So we try and concentrate on that really. I mean Breed to Breathe and Greed Killing and that stuff are all great songs, and thatís why we picked those songs specifically. I mean people tend to like the more upbeat stuff, or I should say the more manic stuff if you like. At least thatís what we found along the line. Looking back though at the Diatribes and those albums, I definitely appreciate it a lot more than what I did back then. There are still some great songs on there, Diatribes is a great song.

Theyíre great albums.
Yeah, they kind of influenced the Dillinger Escape Plan kind of scene, and Converge. I think those albums were a big influence on that particular scene.

What I like about the band is how you guys took everything from Scum to Words from the Exit Wound, and on Enemy of the Music Business you could hear all the progression from over the years placed together as one.
We didnít revert, but we moved on to the more classic fast and furious sound, but still the progression is there. You can hear it in the riffs and the arrangements. I think thatís important. I mean we could do another From Enslavement, we could put one together in fucking three days. But I mean surely you should move on, but without losing your core element.

You can tell that you guys have learnt so much in your song writing. . .
We try, we really try to put out the best albums that we can.

Now Iím going to name some names, if you could just respond with whatever comes to mind first.
Okay.

Ozzy Osbourne:
Birmingham.

The Haunted:
Talented.

Rage Against the Machine:
(Long pause) I would say open minds.

John Peel:
John Peel, essential for Napalm.

Lock Up or Venomous Concept:
Shaneís babies (laughs).

Do you have a preference between the two??
I like both, both have their own quirks you know. They are both quite different animals. Even though some people would say that they are the same type of approach, they are quite different animals.

ďBarneyĒ Greenway, or should I say Mark:
(laughs) What would I sum myself up in a word, umm (pause) humanitarian, I guess yeah.

George Bush Jr. or Sr.:
(laughs) My god (real long pause) Umm, I would say Jr. Because you could at least see heís more of a dummy than his father, so you can actually see through him.

Napalm Death:
I would say cockroach. You know why I say cockroach?? Because only a cockroach would survive a nuclear explosion. (laughs) Napalm Death will survive anything it seems thus far.

Okay, just some information for you now Barney. . .
Okay.

The venue that you played at in Montreal is called Les Foufounes Electriques. . . .
Yeah.

Do you know what that name means exactly??
Foufounes, you know Iím not up on my proper French. Obviously Electric (pause), umm you know probably electricity, or electric something. . . .

Actually it means Electric Butt Cheeks.
(Laughing) Okay. . .Nice!!

Just thought Iíd let you know.
I like that place, itís got character.

Yeah, itís a great place!! Alright Barney thatís about it. Anything you want to say to the people reading this??
Sure, well itís going to sound a bit like a clichť, but thanks for everyone supporting us, itís all certainly appreciated. Weíve been around for a long time now. There are times when you kind of wonder well shit, is it worth carrying on, but thereís always kids there that have encouraged us to carry on. People always stop us at gigs saying that you gotta keep on. People like what weíre playing, and saying as well. We arenít all that wide spread, but the people do appreciate it. It gives us some incentive to carry on.

Alright, awesome talking with you Barney. Good luck with the rest of the tour, hopefully not too much else happens to you guys.
Okay Chris, thanks for your time.

Cool have a good time.
All the Best.


Links of interest:

Napalm Death
Century Media