Albert Mudrian

January 2, 2006


Photo Credit: www.choosingdeath.com

What led you to decide to write a book about death metal?

I'm 30 and I've been a fan of this stuff since I was 15 or 16 years old and I felt that it needed a book. I guess I was surprised that no one else had actually done one before this. I had written a long time ago, about five years ago in 2000, this piece for an old magazine on Earache Records. It was basically a piece regarding their Immortalized box set that they put out in 2000. I know it was kind of an Earache retrospective piece. I'd interviewed Digby, the owner of Earache, and basically I wrote this 1,100 word piece that outlined the history of Earache. The publisher of the magazine who is a good friend of mine and who is actually the publisher of Decibel now said that he really thought there is a story in there and that I could do a book about this, using that as the anchor to my story. The ups and downs of Earache and things like that. I thought yeah, but I'd never have the time to do that. I put if off for a couple of years and in I think it was January of 2002 that I really sat down and started to work on it in earnest. That was the genesis of it and the fact that I thought it would be cool and that I was a fan and I thought it would be an interesting challenge. It definitely turned out to be.

You damn sure had to dig up a whole lot of people.

There were a lot of old bones that had to be unearthed. Some people were difficult to track down. Others were a lot easier than I anticipated and I will say that the Internet plays into it an incredible role in finding people and from getting from A to B and things like that. I don't know if 10 years earlier I could put together a book like this without the Internet being as prevalent as it was when I started working on this.

I think it probably would have been a real bitch if you had tried to do this without the Internet because I know when it comes to tracking down people to do interviews with them for my publication, it's definitely a lot easier to track them down on the Internet.

Yeah, there's only so many phone numbers some people have in their Rolodexes and those change so frequently. People's emails are much easier to keep track of. It seems more than ever, people are taking their email with them. They don't necessarily change an address as people who have had the same AOL address for 10 years. It's much easier in that sense.

I loved reading the book because it was such an easy book to read. It's like once you start reading it, you can't really set it down.

Oh, awesome. Thank you.

It's a good thing if you just have a whole day to read it in and that way you don't have to put it down.

I haven't actually read it since it's been finished. I reread it in its final editing stages and stuff but since it's been published in full binding form, I haven't actually read it.

You should read it. It's a great book.

Yeah, I've heard good things about it. I'm a little reluctant to read it just because I'm sure there's things that I'll read and I'll wince and I'll think I would have written differently or would have just been done better. I know there's a couple of typos in there so I want to just stay away from it. Maybe in a few years if it continues to sell well and there's interest, maybe in a few years I can convince Feral House to do a revised and expanded edition and correct those things and go back and get it to where I want it. Not in like a George Lucas Star Wars kind of way and fucking ruin the thing but just correct the real errors that are in there.

Luke, I am your father. I'll never forget that line.

No, I don't think many people will.

One thing that I thought was really cool was when these guys started their bands, they were fucking kids. Like 14 or 15 years old. I was thinking damn I wonder if their parents thought they were just nuts.

Yeah, there were a lot of children literally. I think when I was playing in bands, I was like 15 or 16 and that obviously didn't go anywhere. I think that's probably the case for most people but the fact that these kids, by the time that some of them were 18 and 19, they were making really legitimate, viable music. But yeah, how young they were is really fascinating when you think about some of the people who are still involved in stuff whether it's a guy like Justin Broderick who was there early with Napalm and obviously he's still heavily involved in making music or somebody like Shane Emery who was there really early on. They're only in their mid 30s now so it's really interesting in that they're not these washed up old fossils now. They're still young enough to still pull this stuff off. I don't know if Napalm Death will still be around 15 years from now or anything like that but I don't see any reason why they can't carry on until the end of this decade. That's pretty amazing when you think about it, like the longevity of a band like that considering that they started in the early 80s along with even Morbid Angel. I can't imagine that band finishing before the end of this decade. While that had to do with just how young these kids were.

Yeah, that just fascinated me. I read where all these bands said they were 14 or 15 and I'm like oh my God. Their parents must have been really cool. I notice Chuck Schuldiner's mom was pretty damn cool.

Yeah, talk about very supportive of what he was doing. She seemed to really be responsible in a lot of ways for helping him get his feet off the ground and probably saving his ass on a number of occasions there. Getting him out of Canada and things like that.

I tell you what, he was a brave soul. Oh yeah, I'll just pack off and go to Canada and I'll just pack off and go to California. Don't know what the hell is waiting for me when I get there.

I mean the fact that he was packing up and going to these places to play in these extreme bands. I really wish that I had the chance to interview him about that before he died because I would have really liked to have known if he thought that he was going to become a big star by playing this stuff. The idea of giving up where you live and moving 3,000 miles in one direction or 3,000 miles in another direction. You have to think that was a sure thing that was there waiting for you to make that investment or make that risk. That it's obviously a very brave thing to do.

Something else that interested me was how Earache Records actually started off. You think about how it started out and how big it is now. I think it's pretty big for an indie label. It's funny because you talk to some people who are on Earache and they're really happy with the label and then you talk to some other people and they're...

Not so happy.

Not so happy.

They're not so happy at all.

Like in the book.

Yeah, I'm thinking that with just about any label ultimately. I do think that there are more instances with Earache where there seems to be more disgruntled former bands on the roster. There's definitely more of them on that label than on any other label, I will say that. That's a sad thing. You hope that when you end a relationship like that people can part amicably but for whatever reasons and I will be as diplomatic as possible and not really go into much of it, it doesn't seem to always happen with Earache. Oh, dear. Something else that I thought was interesting in here was the chapter about the corporation pull in. It's always amazing how you get some shit on the road and everybody is digging into it and all of a sudden these major labels are figuring out ways to make millions of dollars off of these bands. Yeah, it's really crazy to think that at that time there was at least more than one person wanting very high up at one of those massive corporate entities for this to be the next big thing. We're going to invest in this and pour our money here and this music is about to turn some kind of corner. Maybe they thought it would be as big as thrash. Maybe they thought that they would be able to replicate the sales of Anthrax or Megadeth or something like that. I think there were a lot of people that thought at the time that Carcass was going to be the next Metallica there. The only problem with that and I guess these major labels weren't thinking very clearly about this, but these bands can't be marketed on mainstream radio because you aren't going to get that many people who want to listen to lyrics like "I disemboweled her and gutted her and shoved things up her ass and ripped her head off.Ē Thereís a reason why this shit is called death metal. Yeah, I think they may have overestimated the audience in a lot of respects for it. In retrospect, Morbid Angel did well. I think really itís a little surprising Carcassí Heartwork album didnít do better than it actually did. It seems like thatís one of those kind of albums that if it was released now, youíd think it would sell a shitload of records or at least generate more interest. It seems like those major labels almost in a lot of ways laid the groundwork for whatís happening now and surely they didnít know it at the time but they expose those heavier sounds like Heartwork to a bunch of people who had never heard it before and it obviously took with a number of kids. Because you look at this generation thatís come after that of these bands that claim that they were heavily influenced by that stuff even if what theyíre playing doesnít necessarily sound that much like it like a band like Killswitch Engage whose guitarist Adam claims that Carcass is basically his favorite band ever. Strange but I guess it was successful in that sense if not necessarily sales wise. These big labels think they can commercialize everything. One thing I kept reading over and over in this book from one band to the next was that they weren't trying to make a career out of this. Yeah, I think there was definitely an element of that. That it was on your time. These bands when they were getting picked up or signed to a major label, they were three or four albums into their careers musically so I guess you could see why they might want to change and make maybe what would be viewed as a more commercial or more palatable sounding album and not necessarily hold their feet to the fire with the idea that now that you're on a big label, you're trying to make a more accessible sounding album or you're trying to make a career out of this by making music that you think more people will buy so it will sustain your career as a band. It seems like that element probably had to be there a little bit especially if you listen to the Godflesh record that they put out. The Selfless album that came out with the Earache/Columbia deal. That was clearly the most commercial sounding thing that that band had ever done to that point and after that record they really went in a different, heavier direction again. I think with some artists it was a case of where they were trying to make a career out of things but for the majority of them, I really think it was just a way that their path of progression as musicians just lined up with them being on a major label at the time.

I think for a lot of these guys, they put these bands together pretty much for the fun of it. I remember reading about this one guy who said he got his sister's medical terminology book and just had fun putting all sorts of crazy shit together. I think with this kind of stuff, you have to approach it with a sense of humor anyway.

Oh yeah, I don't think when those guys like Jeff Walker and Bill Steer formed Carcass, they ever had these big ambitions to be on a Sony Records subsidiary. I think it was just they thought it would be fun and they had friends who played this kind of stuff and it happened. I don't think it was until the early '90s that some death metal bands were forming with aspirations of actually being successful or making a career out of it. When there was this glut of death metal bands that came out in the early Ď90s, I think there were some bands that got into it for that idea.

I remember when I was in the Air Force, I was about 18 years old back in Ď85 and I had this one friend and he was into bands like Dark Angel and Morbid Angel and all this other shit. I remember thinking at the time that that was some really wacked out shit. Itís so funny because some people say the older you get the more mellow you get. It seems like with me, the more heavier my music has to be.

I guess that happens to a lot of us in a lot of ways. I donít think there are a lot of people who when they were getting into that stuff at the time completely abandoned it at some point in their lives. There were times when I didnít really listen to it much in the mid Ď90s. Maybe listened to other forms of extreme music and other forms of rock and pop music too but I think if you were there at that time, itís always going to stay with you. Itís always going to be some part of you. At least for me and at least for my friends who from that time still all have this real soft spot for this stuff even if weíre 30 and not necessarily wearing a Cannibal Corpse t-shirt to work or something like that.

Something else I thought was interesting was that there were these little death metal scenes forming in Florida or in another part of the country and another part of the country. You look overseas and there were little pockets in Sweden and England where they were doing the same thing. I thought that was amazing too.

Itís really insane. All of that has to do with tape trading. People getting these things out there and stuff crossing borders like that and itís crazy to think that just a few dubs and some international postage and all of a sudden this thing was worldwide.

And this was so totally before people had the Internet.

Yeah, thatís part of the reason I think that itís really special to a lot of people. I think it was so much work to be into and to be involved with this stuff back then. I never tape traded much at all with people. Probably not even until Ď93 and Ď94 was I doing anything like that. I wasnít 11 or 12 years old tape trading in Ď86 and Ď87 like a lot of these people were. I think thatís why it was so special. It was such an investment that you had to make with time and money.

Itís also a way of bringing people together. Especially when it goes over international borders where people arenít just so fucking alienated in some area from the rest of the world. It brings people together I think.

Yeah, it makes you feel like youíre not the only person out there even if youíre maybe the only person on your block or something thatís into this stuff. You at least know that something else is going on and it makes you feel part of something bigger.

I was also reading where you had interviewed Angela Gossow. Itís really awesome to see females getting into this thing. I thought that was interesting where she said she didnít sing along with some of the lyrics because I guess a lot of these songs are kind of violent against women. I always wondered why people would write lyrics like that.

I think ultimately itís still a minority of bands who do that. Iíll be honest with you, I think any of them doing that is kind of stupid. I think bands are maybe a little bit more mature these days. I think youíre always going to have your gore grind bands. Itís their thing to be as offensive as possible but I think most people just laugh it off at this point.

Yeah, you have to. You definitely have to laugh that shit off. I hope they donít think like that all the time.

I think itís good that there are more people like Angela out there now who can be strong female voices. I canít remember her name but sheís the singer of this band. I think theyíre in San Francisco and theyíre called Light This City. Theyíre really young and she has got a great voice. To me I think youíre going to be seeing more things like that than ever before.

Yeah, when women start infiltrating into the scene and doing vocals or playing an instrument, thatís when you start getting more and more people into it. You start getting more women into listening to that kind of stuff and thatís when you start building up a bigger audience. I think thatís something else that these labels werenít really thinking about.

No, I think they thought that their audience is male and white and here we go. Now itís definitely opening up to people. I think itís become more of an inclusive thing and I think thatís probably extreme music just overall. I think thatís a great thing. Iím excited that it isnít so elitist like it used to be in a lot of ways. I think there are some people who probably long for those good old days when they were the only people who knew about band X or band Y.

Yeah, thatís all cool but at the same time if band X and band Y is putting out some good shit, isnít it a lot cooler when a lot more people are exposed to it and they like the stuff?

Yeah, you should be happy that that band might actually make enough money now to make another record so youíll be able to hear it.

Yeah, I know. Thatís always something that gets me. ďOh yeah, this band sold out and that band sold out.Ē You have a choice here. This band can either ďsell outĒ and be able to afford to make future albums and future endeavors and make a living off of this or they can make one album and be totally broke and have to give it up and go work at McDonaldís. Which do you want?

Exactly. Itís hard to fault.

It seems like people always accuse bands of selling out right when these guys are starting to realize some financial reaping from it. We tend to forget that they need to eat too.

Yeah, the moment somebody else cares, theyíve apparently sold out.

How long did it take you to basically get all this material together? You did a really good thorough job.

Thanks. It took about two years to get it all together. I started on it in January of 2002 and I think it took just under two years. I'm trying to remember when I had to finish it for Feral House and then when it came out. I'd say a little over two years to get it all together. It was probably about a year and a half's worth of doing interviews. I probably did a year alone worth of interviews before I wrote a word of the book. It's like going and collecting information and getting all these quotes together and getting the basic storyline together before I even started writing the narrative form. It was a lot of preliminary work before I got down to carve it out.

I can imagine. Something else I liked was I was looking at a lot of the promo photos and it was so funny. When these guys were on these independent labels, their promo photos had them all looking mean and then you look at some of these major label promo photos and they almost look glam.

Yeah, they're all professionally shot. I think so much of that had to do with those early promo photos, they were just taken by their friends. It was like "shit, we need a photo for this guy that wants to interview us." They find out what friend has a camera and they take some shots out in the graveyard or whatever. They're promo shots. I think you probably see a lot of that now. As least I found with Decibel, some of the younger metalcore or death metal bands or underground grind bands that we cover, when we need a photo they just have their friend with a digital camera take a quick photo and then send me an email of it. It's like the more things change, the more they stay the same in that sense. Until you get to Roadrunner and then you've got somebody who will spend $30,000 on a photo shoot for you. Crazy.

Going through the book where they're talking about how death metal went up and then there was a low period and now it's come up again. Do you think there's a future for this kind of stuff?

I think so. I don't know if you'll ever see a pure death metal band on a major label again but it definitely continues to sell and there's definitely an audience for it. You go see Cannibal Corpse any given night and you're going to see 800 to 1,000 people at every show. There's definitely a strong interest in this stuff. The fact that in 20 something years that base even through the really lean mid '90s years has always been there. I think that there's always going to be something going on. I think this larger interest in extreme music in general that's happening right now where you've got bands with really extreme vocals even if they might not be pure death metal bands, like a band like Lamb Of God even which doesn't have any kind of traditional singing, can sell a couple of 100,000 records. You've got something like that happening and I think that always means you're going to have a lot of people who are generally interested in heavy extreme sounds. I think there's always going to be people who want to hear heavier stuff and as long as there are people who want to hear it, you know that there's going to be bands who are going to form out of that and continue to make it. I think to ensure the future for things, in a lot of ways it does have to do with how much progression you are going to have out of the genre. You look at a band like Opeth whose roots were clearly in death metal. They've expanded into something much different yet they clearly still have those roots but they're massive. They played here in Philadelphia on Halloween and I went to the show. It was at a venue that's like 1200 or 1300 people here in Philly and it was shoulder to shoulder. It was completely sold out and they're on a label like Roadrunner who can expose them to a lot of people and they're selling a lot of records. A band like them is an interesting example because they are doing something different and whether it's them or whether it's bands like Ackercocke or Xyklone or even Arch Enemy who are all still rooted in the stuff but taking it in a different direction. I think the fact that you have that and then you have the newer death metal bands like Nile and Hate Eternal and some newer grindcore bands whether it's Watchtower or Kill The Client or whomever, these bands are definitely doing stuff that's rooted in tradition. And the fact that you have the flagship bands like Cannibal Corpse, Napalm Death, Morbid Angel, and even Deicide and Obituary who are back and who haven't deviated from their initial formulas. So as a fan, you've got all these different options now and you've got these people from different generations who are pulling in different influences. As a fan, if I'm 16 it's real exciting. There's this enormous world of things whereas when I was 16 there was a limited number of bands that you had to choose from that were doing this stuff. Or a limited number of really good bands anyway. I'll always be partial to the good old days because I think for me personally, it's kind of difficult to recapture that initial impact and excitement of when you first heard this stuff. The first time I heard John Tardy's voice or the first time I heard a blast beat. It was crazy. You never heard anything like that. Then 14 or 15 years later, you're not necessarily desensitized to it but it doesn't quite have the same impact. That said, there still are all these bands that I mentioned that are doing revelatory really legitimately interesting stuff.

It wasn't until I actually started doing my webzine that I came across a lot of these different types of bands. I was contacting different publicists to work with my publication. Then all these people who represent these heavy, heavy bands were sending me shit. I was like my God, there's a world of really good heavy shit out there. I've gotten to like that stuff a lot but I've always been into that. I grew up on Sabbath and shit like that.

It's surprising how widespread it is. Especially with Decibel. Not a day goes by that you don't get a new record dropped into your lap that's either from an established or an upcoming label or a label you've never heard of. It's massive.

My favorite band right now is Children Of Bodom. I love those guys. I've seen them open for other bands on three different occasions. They opened for Iced Earth, Fear Factory, and Dimmu Borgir and I was wondering why the fuck they didn't do their own headlining tour because they are that good. Next thing I know here they come headlining.

Here they come. I still don't even know who the fuck is really putting that record out here in this country. I guess it's Spinefarm or maybe Century Media is licensing it. I have no idea.

I think Century Media licenses it through Spinefarm.

I'm really at a loss but yeah, it's crazy. That band is definitely growing and they have an interesting thing where they're taking something from all different kind of forms of metal and all different generations of it. I think we'll probably see more of that than ever where these bands are bringing their Iron Maiden influence into things and obviously it isn't anything that At The Gates wasn't doing a dozen years ago but just seeing what these people are doing is always really interesting.

Something else I found interesting is where it was being discussed how these bands were sprouting up all over the place and it didn't really matter if they were sprouting up as the result of people living in impoverished conditions or even people who weren't living in impoverished conditions. There just seemed to be a tendency of interest in that sort of music I guess because it was something totally different.

Yeah, it didn't grow out of a response to conditions. I think early grindcore did in a lot of ways like the early Napalm and stuff like that because that was a response to the social climate of Margaret Thatcher's rule of England at the time. You get that obviously with hip-hop and urban music where a lot of hip-hop is born out of a response to an environment but the idea of death metal being born out of a response to an environment, I hope not. Either that or you're hanging out in a part of town where there are zombies walking around. Hopefully that isn't happening.

Well, just last night...

In that sense I think you could be anybody of any age or financial background. You didn't have to come from a broken family. You didn't have to have a family who was loaded. As long as you were at least kind of a weird kid, chances are you were going to be open to interest in this kind of stuff.

I've always been an aficionado of horror books and horror movies. I just have always enjoyed that stuff and you have to be in a pretty good frame of mind actually to enjoy such things. That's what is so cool about this type of music. It just takes it one step further and takes horror fiction and puts it to music.

To a musical conclusion.

I thought it was pretty cool that that one DJ was putting some of this shit in rotation on his show.

John Peel. I think a lot of people in the U.S. particularly just don't know how huge he was for Europe. You have to think about it in this context. The whole area of Europe has national radio. They don't have the local stations. They have a number of radio stations like BBC Radio Network that just spans across the countries. Obviously we have that with National Public Radio but it isn't as pervasive as the BBC is out there. It's difficult to even think of something to compare it to. It's massive. When John Peel was on the radio and he was playing, there were tens of millions of people hearing it. When he got behind it, it was just this massive exposure that I guess the only thing I could possibly compare it to is if back in MTV's heyday and their sphere of influence maybe in the early '90s when they were breaking bands and exposing music to people. I guess it would be like if instead of Pearl Jam or Nirvana, MTV decided to play a Napalm Death video half a dozen times a day. John Peel was really so instrumental in that sense. Opening up the door and exposing it to people that either would have never taken the time to look for something like that or who wouldn't have given any of that stuff the of time of day but were curious about it and investigated it a little bit further. His impact on what happened, I could never over exaggerate it, letís put it that way. It was that important.

MTV had a good thing going with Headbangerís Ball and then they decided to take it off the air for a while. I thought that was the most stupid thing they ever did.

Iíll never really understand that. I guess they just really felt at that time when they took it out, I guess it was late Ď94 or early Ď95, I guess in their eyes it wasnít cool enough anymore. I feel like probably the advertising was there and the interest was there for a lot of people but I donít know, I guess they felt like it had played itself out. Now itís back on but itís unwatchable for the most part. It kills me. I wasnít the biggest Riki Rachtman fan when I grew up watching that show but man, Iíd give anything to see that guy doing the show. At least it had some personality and it had a sense of humor and it was fun. Thereís nothing more unfun than the Headbangerís Ball as it is right now. Even if I like some of those bands and the videos that they are playing, itís just excruciating to sit down and watch that for two hours.

Jamie Jasta.

And I like Jamie. I think Jamieís a good dude. The personality of the show, thereís just nothing there.

Yeah, but when Riki was doing it, he was doing it during a time period when things were humorous and fun in general. It just seems like and I hate to say it but ever since Bush got into office, the sense of fun and lightheartedness has flown out the window for a lot of people.

I think also with a lot of extreme music in general, thereís this idea that we have to be really fucking serious about all this stuff. For as much as I love this stuff, I donít think that you need to be completely stone faced serious about all of this stuff all the time because so many of these bands arenít. That was something that Iíve really learned over the years of doing this. Itís something I wanted to do with Decibel as a magazine. Do something that has an element of humor and fun to it and wasnít so furrow browed about everything. You should be able to laugh at yourself a little bit and the Headbangerís Ball as it stands now is a reflection of not laughing at yourself at all. Not having fun with this stuff.

Absolutely. Thatís one thing about my interviews. I try to inject as much humor as I can or if I do show reviews, Iíll review the show and tell people about funny assed shit I saw other people doing just to get a smile from people.

I wish there was more of that going on and Iím trying to bring more of that out with what weíre doing and I think it is connecting with people because we get emails and letters from people who find some of the things weíre doing very funny and get the joke implied. You get some people are like this isnít supposed to be funny. Jesus Christ.

Well sorry dude, I canít help myself. Iím just funny like that.

Choosing Death, Iíll say the way I wrote that book, I tried to be in a very cut and dried way. There isnít a ton of humor in it. There isnít a ton of personality from me. I think there are a lot funny things that the bands say. I think there are a lot of quotes that are fucking hilarious whether they are intentionally funny or unintentionally funny. I think thereís a time and place where you need to present stuff like that but I donít think it should be all the time.

The thing that made this book such an easy read was the fact that it is what I consider to be written in a very upbeat way. In a sense lighthearted. There are things in here that are hysterical like that one guy whose mom kicked him out of her Sunday school class. How often do you get kicked out of your momís Sunday school class?

Yeah, of all the people who are unintentionally funny, thatís the guy. He also has a quote near the end of the book where the idea of what keeps some of these older bands still going, he says what else is he going to do, go work at Checkerís? I guess heís right. Thereís definitely an element of humor and some of the people who are interviewed are really smart and really fucking funny. You find the humor comes a lot more from the Brits. The guys like Jeff Walker, I think he has some hilarious quotes in the book. Thereís more of a cynical side to them I think than a lot of the maybe younger and more naive at times Americans.

My mom is from Europe and one thing I have noticed is that there is a different type of sense of humor with different people. The Brits have their dry sense of humor. The Germans have a great sense of humor. In the States, there seems to be a bit of a mean streak in the humor.

Thatís kind of true. I think some of the funniest humor and some of the coolest humor but there is an element I think where there were a lot of bands that ripped off Carcass for a long time that didnít get the joke. They didnít realize that Carcass were vegetarians who were singing about grinding people up into plant food or singing songs about male rape. There were these big, tall, brooding death metal meathead fans in the U.S. who were ďI like this because itís fucking brutal.Ē They didnít realize some of the things that were going on at another level. I guess thatís cool that you can be appreciated on different levels like that but it would be nice if I think more people got that joke at the time. I think more people get it now than they ever did then. There are a lot of people that understand Carcass on that level now. More people do now than I think when they were actually around.

The first thing I do when I get a CD in the mail is I pop it in the player and listen to it and at the same time I check out the CD cover. Thatís my big thing. I love to sit there and read over lyrics. I enjoy doing that because a lot of times people are doing their screaming and youíre not catching everything on the first listen. You sit there and read the lyrics. People would be amazed if they read some of these lyrics.

Thereís a lot of stuff you can find that you wouldnít have imagined is actually there being said. I agree totally.

Thatís my big thing because some of that stuff is all out funny and some of it is introspective and youíre thinking yeah, that guy has a point. I just donít think people take enough time to sit down and read.

I agree. I do think it is hard if youíre a journalist today and youíre a metal journalist. Youíre getting so many records that have a cardboard sleeve and you donít have access to all this information like earlier in the days when they sent LPs in the mail and they all came with lyrics. Not like that should be some kind of excuse but it definitely would be really nice if people looked at things on more than just a surface level.

Now that youíve done this book and itís been a raging success, even Phil Anselmo thought it was an awesome thing, are you thinking about writing any other books?

At the moment, no.

My creative juices have all been sucked up.

Doing the magazine full time is such an investment of my time and such a drain for me right now that I couldnít really imagine getting something else right now. Plus I need to give my girlfriend a couple of years off from it because I think it wore on her a lot that I was working on this thing every night and not a lot of fun for a couple of years basically. I need to take a little step away from things. There are things Iíd like to do. I donít think Iíd ever do a history of a scene or anything like Choosing Death again. Somebody interviewed me about that a while ago and asked if I was planning a thrash metal or a black metal version of Choosing Death and I just thought oh God no. I wouldnít want to do anything like that. I guess there are people who would want to read Choosing Thrash or something like that but for me this stuff was special. Even though there are lots of other forms of music that I like, if I tried to tackle something like that again it might be a little disingenuous. It was just kind of for the moment there what it was. Iíve got some other ideas and I think some day again Iíll probably do something but at least for a couple of years I donít think Iíll be doing anything else.

The black metal thing would be interesting. Those people are just fucking insane.

Lords Of Chaos did a good job I think with it. Lords Of Chaos is a very sensational story with the murders and the arson and stuff like that. I think there are a lot of people who want it presented in more of a historical way. The way Choosing Death is presented. I donít know. If somebody is going to do it, thatís cool. But itís not going to be me.

I think that would be so amazing if somebody did that. Can you imagine someone over here burning down a fucking church? The reaction to that would be fucking hilarious.

Letís hope for our sake we get to see it at some point.

To me that would be a total lark to see these fundamentalist people going ďwe need to ban metal forever!Ē

It will happen again Iím sure. Iím sure somebody is going to get up in arms about something.

What I thought was amazing about Dimebag getting shot was that people said ďsee? You listen to that kind of music and it makes you insane. You go and you kill people.Ē This is the first time in the history of music as far as I know that someone has been shot on stage. The honor goes to Dime as the very first time. How many times has that happened before?

Right. It just happened that this was a metal performer. This idea that this was some kind of problem. Oh, you got to be careful if youíre a metal guy on stage, somebody is going to come and fucking shoot you in the face. That doesnít happen. Thatís one crazy isolated incident and it just so happened that there was an insane guy who liked Pantera so much. Itís just as easy to imagine that thereís some insane guy who loves Smashing Pumpkins more than any band ever and he could have gone up and done that at a Billy Corgan show or something. It wasnít a problem. There werenít rampant murders of metal musicians on stage before this and nothing has happened since then. It was a completely isolated incident and everybody here was getting up in arms at the time about it or getting up in arms about the idea of metal people being these crazy murderous cretins are certainly not justified by what has transpired or what hasnít transpired since.

Itís always amazing how something takes place and ďyeah, they do this all the time!Ē

Yeah, canít go to a show without getting shot in the face.

Just a normal occurrence. I got back from a show last night and five people got shot in the face. Yeah, sure.

Unbelievable.

I wonder what would have happened if all these religious right people would have found out that these 14 and 15 year old kids were forming death metal bands.

Iím sure they would be thoroughly disturbed. Yeah, it is hypocritical at best.

Any other thoughts or comments? I picked his brain and itís dried up.

Iím out of any further thoughts. Thanks for having any kind of interest in this at all and I appreciate the exposure and support. Hopefully people will read the book and see that thereís a lot going on. If you are a hard core fan or if you are somebody who has a passing interest in things, I think you might be surprised by how a lot of the things transpired and the personalities of a lot of the primary players and characters. I think people might be surprised by who these people actually are. It was very informative when I was putting it together and 75 percent of the stuff thatís in the book, I didnít know until I had done the research and done the interviews. I think just about anybody who is a fan can learn something from it that they didnít know.

Choosing Death