HELLHAMMER/CELTIC FROST's TOM GABRIEL FISCHER: 'Tape Trading Was One Of The Main Reasons That I'm Even Here Today'

August 16, 2023

In a new interview with Bloodstock TV's Oran O'Beirne, former HELLHAMMER/CELTIC FROST and current TRIPTYKON singer, guitarist and main songwriter Tom Gabriel Fischer (a.k.a. Tom Gabriel Warrior) was asked if he feels the mystery and romanticism associated with discovering new music and especially underground music is "something of a memory" now because the frantic tape-trading network that existed back in the 1980s is a thing of the past. Tom responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Look, that's a very difficult topic. I agree with you, and if I start to embellish all of that, it makes me sound like a dinosaur. The thing is young fans of today, they grew up into a completely different world, and they probably won't understand what we are even talking about. And that's not meant to be disrespectful; it's just a different world. But I agree with you, it was magical, and tape trading was one of the main reasons that I'm even here today. And, of course, you had to prove that you're a fanatic. You had to drive to record stores in other cities to see if they had one single record that they imported, or you had to find the right addresses for tape traders. You had to really put an effort into discovering music, and you had to show that you really mean it. It wasn't just a click away. But as I say, if I say that, it sounds like I'm a dinosaur, because having music by click is, of course, also fantastic. I wish we had that at the time. There's good things and bad things about both approaches. What can I say? But yeah, the magic, of course, the mystique is lacking. And I lament that, of course."

At last weekend's Bloodstock Open Air festival in the United Kingdom, Tom and the rest of TRIPTYKON played a set of early CELTIC FROST songs celebrating the influential Swiss metal band that he co-founded nearly 40 years ago.

In December 2021, Tom spoke about the possibility of former CELTIC FROST members playing concerts in memory of bassist Martin Eric Ain, telling Heavy Culture: "I have talked to the original drummer of CELTIC FROST, Reed St. Mark, who lives in America. He's still one of my best friends. And we've talked about maybe doing one or two CELTIC FROST tribute shows in memory [of] Martin Ain. We haven't really finalized these plans, but maybe we'll do that one day, that we'll play with just ex-CELTIC FROST members who were in CELTIC FROST at the time and maybe play a full CELTIC FROST set that includes all the eras of CELTIC FROST and maybe play one or two festivals and also record it as a memorial to Martin Eric Ain."

Fischer, who played with Ain in both HELLHAMMER and CELTIC FROST, added: "We all think you cannot reform CELTIC FROST ever without Martin but we could maybe do one or two memorial shows for him."

After Fischer's comments were published on BLABBERMOUTH.NET, he took to his personal Facebook page to reiterate that the aforementioned hypothetical concerts would only consist of "former members of CELTIC FROST" gathering to play some of the band's "more significant songs onstage" and that it would not constitute a reunion.

"There will never be a 'CELTIC FROST comeback'," he clarified. "With my departure from the band in 2008 and Martin Eric Ain's death in 2017, CELTIC FROST are, and will forever remain, history. What * might * happen one day is that former members of CELTIC FROST (myself included) might gather to play some of CELTIC FROST's more significant songs onstage, as a sincere tribute to Martin. Should this ever happen, it would not be a permanent project, nor would it be 'CELTIC FROST', in spite of the fact that it would only comprise of CELTIC FROST alumni. It would simply be a means to pay deference, perhaps for one or two concerts, to the deceased co-founder of the band. Will it ever happen? Only Satan knows right now."

Ain died in October 2017 after suffering a heart attack at the age of 50.

CELTIC FROST reformed in 2001 and released its comeback album "Monotheist" via Century Media/Prowling Death in 2006. The band broke up in 2008, with Fischer going on to form TRIPTYKON.

Seven years ago, Fischer told DCHeavyMetal.com that "CELTIC FROST would have existed for many more albums" had "certain people's grand designs on their own fame and certain egotistical stunts" not "interfered with that." He added that "the band became so unworkable" that his "only option" was "leaving it." At the time, Tom said that a CELTIC FROST reunion was "impossible" because he didn't want to set himself up for yet another "gargantuan disappointment."

In a 2011 interview with BigMusicGeek.com, Tom said that CELTIC FROST was "much more than just a band" to him. "It was my life, my ideology and pretty much represented my entire being," he said. "Of course, I didn't want to see it destroyed again, so despite having all the inside information, I tried to disrupt its destruction and probably stayed too long even though it was fairly obvious that I couldn't face the band." He went on to say that he blamed "the final drummer of CELTIC FROST for the group's 2008 split, explaining that said musician's "ego [ran] freely until there was really nothing left of the band."

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