heavy metal

Napalm Death Interview

The Gauntlet: How has everything been going?

Barney: Really good. We've got this US Tour coming up. We've also got this new album we are working on. It's a very productive time. In fact it's probably over productive to a certain extent because we gotta get this album bloody made. We start recording in May because there is a bit of a window there. Century Media wants to release it at a certain time. It's gonna be noses to the grindstone for the next couple months.

The Gauntlet: It seems like Century Media has kept the band busy with tours, recording, interviews and press. Does that help take some of the stress off being a musician when you have good support like that?

Barney: You know what my response is to that? Bring it on! It's been a lot more productive. When you are a band, there are lots of other activities that go along with it. It's great having a really enthusiastic group of people willing to support us. It gives us more motivation to get out there and give it our all. Previous experiences with previous record labels have been a bit fruitless. It matters a lot. With Century Media, I can do as many interviews as I want. It's nice because the more people I talk to the more people will know about my band. We do the band thing 365 days a year from our end. The bands gotta be able to do certain things and we need certain things in place to allow us to do that. I know it sounds really boring and business like, but that's the nature of the beast. But you are right. When you have a decent support structure behind you, it gives you a lot more scope to explore the things you want to be doing on the creative side. I'm sure you'll be getting me into the new album in a little bit so I won't go into all that now.

The Gauntlet: 'The Code�" was a very diverse album, will the new material be as diverse?

Barney: Yeah, we are going to push the envelope. There is no master plan as to where it's going to go, but we are going to push the envelope in places. There was a time were I was afraid to deviate from the standard Napalm Death sound. But I'm not anymore. We can't afford to be. Some people think we should make the same album from 1988. We can do an album like that and it will be good, but that's not what we are about. It's not what the majority of what Napalm Death fans want though. It's not what they come to expect from us live. It's not as if we are moving the band to an area that is not extreme or doesn't have rough edges. We are always going to be Napalm Death. The nature of where we take it is never really going to change drastically. To keep things interesting we should push things in different directions. What those directions will be, we don't often know ourselves.

The Gauntlet: The current political and socio-economic climate should keep you in business for quite some time.

Barney: I've always got tons of lyrical material. There are a few things I've been working on. I've got 4 or 5 songs that are ready to go. There is plenty of stuff basically. I'll give you some info on the album. The main thrust of the album is religion really. I know that is kind of general. A lot of bands discuss religion in their albums. From my perspective, religion is more than ever being pushed into the way we are being led as a world and society. Religion is being crammed more and more into our lives. We have people in the government running things on pure theories. How can that be? With the world as fragile as it is now, how can you rely on theories to guide people on how to lead their lives? But that's the way it is. I know I keep picking on poor old George Bush, but when he comes out and ends speeches with 'will God watch over us', that is dangerous. He should be saying 'for the good of man'. That's what is going to be a really major problem for us. One of the things I have been looking back into and looking over is the whole thing with Ronald Reagan. A lot of people are unaware that Reagan was a big advocate of the Armageddon Theory that basically it was destiny that good and evil were going to meet above the earth. He thought the good was the US, and the bad was the Soviet Empire and that good will triumph over evil and come back down and save America. When you got a guy like that in charge of a superpower who holds the cards, it's so dangerous. He will be the one that pushes you to the brink of it. It's like a stick of dynamite waiting to go off. Although the steps are smaller with Bush, he definitely has the potential to go down that path. And that is the basis of my argument. There are a few strings of things that come off of that. Like that whole thing about Intelligent Design. People are challenging Evolution which to me is scientifically proven. If people are challenging this and saying God created creatures and the whole earth, again it's based on religious theory. When religious theory remains unproven, how can you use it as a counterweight to evolution? You just can't do it. They are stickering text books now that talk about evolution. To sticker textbooks advocates and says this isn't true. It's clouding people's minds and on a wider scale it's confusing the whole issue of life and from that very dangerous things can emerge. People have these religious agendas preventing women from taking control of their own bodies. It's really a follow up to what I was saying in 'The Code�' but I take it off into a different direction. That is going to be the crust of it. What I want to call the album is 'Smear Campaign'. Obviously a smear campaign is what you do to discredit someone, to blacken their name and use things against them. And that to me is a representation of religion. They are telling you your life without God isn't worth living. And obviously my argument to that is I can behave in exactly the same way as someone who believes in God and do just the same things; achieve the same thing. I don't need God or religion to restrict me in anyway.

The Gauntlet: Is the whole Intelligent Design debate going on in England the way it is in the US?

Barney: Less so, obviously the scientific community over here has a greater thrust. I think purely the general populous won't tolerate it. Because there is such a religious influence in the states and elsewhere, there is that real staunch fundamentalist undercurrent, it has more credibility. People over here just won't buy it.

The Gauntlet: I just read a study that in the four leading European Superpowers (England, Germany, Italy and France) they conducted a poll. The results were about 63% of the people questioned evolution and believed Intelligent Design has merit.

Barney: That wouldn't surprise me except for England. Italy is a Catholic country. A great deal of people would believe in something like that. According to a lot of the research I have done, the Pope wasn't to keen on Intelligent Design. He thought it was obstructive to pulling people into the Catholic Church. Apparently he wasn't a big fan about going down that path. I would never expect it to be that high in England. We do have church in England like the Church of England and the Catholic Church, but most people aren't too into religion. I remember Tony Blaire was on TV saying 'God Bless England' and most people were just saying 'Oh shut up!' I hope that Intelligent Design doesn't become legitimized because if it does it will blow out a large proportion of the good scientific knowledge we have had and will be very destructive. The only thing I will say I don't agree about evolution is about the survival of the fittest. I won't argue with it in the animal kingdom, but as human beings, applying survival of the fittest would suggest leaving someone less fortunate to die. That isn't right, we have to help them. The only way the world will move forward is if we show tolerance and resolve things with words instead of weapons. I don't think survival of the fittest applies in that sense. As intelligent beings, we can adapt ourselves to move forward in certain ways.

The Gauntlet: I do believe in survival in the fittest, but as humans we can adapt and pull those who are less fortunate up.

Barney: Right, if we ran it into a wider scope, we can say that the most financially endowed companies to basically run amuck. But that will get us into really dangerous territory as the rest of us are run into the dirt.

The Gauntlet: As a band that travels the world, you see a lot. Are you ever concerned being in certain radical countries run by extremists being an extreme metal band?

Barney: We tried to get into Vietnam and when applying to get Visas top play there, they looked at the name of the band and said 'no'. We told them they were misunderstanding the name, we are an anti-war band. None of us were born. We were completely against what happened to them with the napalm. It's hard for me to really go nuts about it as they still bear the scares of that from the bombing campaigns. All the defoliage being dropped on them.

The Gauntlet: In a couple months you will embark on the Enemy of God Tour.

Barney: I don't even know who else is on the tour except Kreator. Maybe you can tell me.

The Gauntlet: You guys, Kreator, A Perfect Murder and The Undying.

Barney: Right, I have heard the names, but don't know their music. These package things are always loads of fun. The first few days everyone is shy, but once you get into the swing of things everyone has a blast. We'll go out, do our thing, play our music, and spread the message.

The Gauntlet: Is this a Napalm Death headline or Kreator?

Barney: It's a double with us and Kreator. It will be interesting. We have never played with Kreator before. Whether they have a different audience will be interesting. I am just glad to be getting out. 'The Code�' was such a well received album. For us to not come out and play the states would be absolute rubbish. I would really like to do one more tour but it hasn't really worked out like that.

The Gauntlet: Napalm Death has over 25 years of material to pull from. What can we expect from the live show?

Barney: A lot of old stuff and new stuff. I'm sure for the places we are coming to this tour, we'll play a lot of the newer material from 'The Code�" as they haven't heard it live yet. We'll probably do three to five songs from that and then all the old hits. I don't think for this tour we'll be rolling out the new material we are currently working on. We are in a time frame and don't have time to rehearse it. We are under a lot of pressure to get this album done. I don't want to be thinking of the new stuff now, so the next trip.

The Gauntlet: You are a vegetarian and humanitarian.

Barney: I guess we are a humanitarian band, not sort of but the current interpretations of a humanitarian, but in the sense we don't advocate torture. It's just being a band of people that care basically. Just for me personally, my thing is for tolerance and equality. I'm also for some of the other aspects you talked about like being governed and being led in constructive things and not religious theories. I believe in things like that women have the right to choose what they do what their bodies and again not be told by religion what to do. I can't change the world, but by the same token, I can do little things. If a lot of people do a lot of little things, it will accomplish a lot.

The Gauntlet: What is your involvement with PETA?

Barney: I was a member of PETA when it was a fledgling organization you know. I think animals are still disregarded and are an after thought and are irrelevant to a lot of people. People need to be aware they are there and have feelings and pain. They suffer a lot of the same oppressions that we do.

The Gauntlet: Is it hard to find a good vegetarian meal on the road?

Barney: Not if you apply yourself. You can survive, it's not a problem. I know a lot of bands that say I try and I was there and there. I went to all those places and don't have a problem. I don't have a problem with it because I don't create a problem. Vegetarianism isn't something that I think about because it is so part of my nature now. Being vegetarian is just the way it is for me, like taking a shower. I've been doing it for so long now that it's a natural part of my life.

The Gauntlet: Anything else?

Barney: Just tell people to get out to the tour. I hope people take my word for it that the next album will be as good if not better than 'The Code�'. I definitely see the potential with the stuff I'm being handed by the other guys.

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Tags:  Napalm Death  , Barneyinterviews

    February 01, 2006

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