BOLT THROWER bassist Jo Bench recently spoke to Sweden's Global Domination webzine about the return of original vocalist Karl Willetts and the group's upcoming follow up to 2001's "Honour, Valour, Pride", tentatively due later in the year via Metal Blade Records. Several excerpts from the interview follow:
Global Domination: So, Karl is back now. How long will he stay this time you think? With all the vocalists in the scene, how come you decided to use [Dave] Ingram when Karl bailed? He did a decent job but we wouldn't say he was the ultimate vocalist for the BOLTS. Did any other guys try out? Wasn't [Martin] Van Drunen [ex-PESTILENCE] involved at some point? What's the story with that?
Jo Bench: "I guess Karl will stay as long as he wants to, although we did get him to sign a contract until the year 2012, so he'll probably be around long enough to do the box set! We got Dave because he was the only vocalist we knew who had a normal-sized ego. No, he wasn't the ultimate vocalist for us, but he probably was for BENEDICTION. We didn't try anyone else out, we didn’t know anyone else who'd take the job on!! And to cut another long story short — Van Drunen joined after Karl originally left, he didn't record with us, just did a couple of tours, and left because his hair fell out [after being diagnosed with alopecia, an illness that caused the loss of his hair]."
Global Domination: BOLT THROWER was an Earache band for several years, and now you are with Metal Blade. What happened at Earache, or did you complete your contracts and were free to sign with Metal Blade at that time? How has Metal Blade been treating you so far?
Jo Bench: "The best thing BOLT THROWER did was get off Earache. They could've been a great label, they had a lot of good bands, but they got greedy and blew it. We weren't happy for years with them, so when it came to a point when they wanted us to re-negotiate the contract, we said no and that we wanted out. Luckily, they let us go, and we signed to Metal Blade. I don't think BOLT THROWER will ever be totally on the same wavelength as any record label, but Metal Blade are definitely one of the better ones."
Global Domination: You guys have been a huge influence for a lot of bands, there's no denying that. Are there any newer death metal bands you think carries your legacy onward? It would be nice to hear what kind of metal bands makes you tick. What do you think of all these new "old-school tribute" bands like BLOODBATH, CHAOSBREED and GOD AMONG INSECTS?
Jo Bench: "It's obviously very flattering to be part of a band that has influenced a lot of newer bands. I haven't heard the bands you mentioned, so I can't really comment on them. To be honest, I don't listen to a lot of the newer metal bands, I think a lot of it is lacking originality, I've heard a lot of it before, and done better, so I tend to listen to the same stuff I did 20 years ago — early VOIVOD, SABBATH, CANDLEMASS, TROUBLE, SACRILEGE (UK), as well as punk like DISCHARGE, AMEBIX, ANTISECT, etc. That stuff still sounds as good now as it did when it was recorded. And 'new old-school?' Is that possible?"
Read Jo Bench's entire interview with Global Domination at this location.