Dose Of Metal recently conducted an interview with vocalist Mark "Barney" Greenway of British grindcore pioneers NAPALM DEATH. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Dose Of Metal: So, you play in a very extreme band, yet you're nicknamed "Barney." Could you come up with something better for us, in the vein of black metal bandmembers' alter-egos?
Barney: Well… in the vein of "The Tormentor" kind of thing. I think… "The Pacifier" would be suitable — it's not evil at all, but I don't really do "good" or "evil," so it suits me fine. But to make it a bit more of a mouthful, it should have some meaningless words attached to the end. So… The Pacifier-al-kabob-urath.
Dose Of Metal: Does Barney, the nice guy, get a lot of misconceptions because of Barney, the NAPALM DEATH frontman, and vice versa? How do you cope with that?
Barney: Well, it seems a little pretentious doing the self-analysis thing. But the NAPALM DEATH message is a very humane and compassionate one; it's only the way in which it is expressed which is the ferocious thing. So I would find it hard that people who are of the opinion that I am "a nice guy" would make a distinction between that and what the band is when you get down to the ideas — NAPALM DEATH and myself would be quite the same thing in several ways. Still, some people do assume I'm some kind of merciless beast because of my vocal approach when all I feel in most situations is calm, peace and balance. I do have the odd head explosion, but that goes with just about every human being. Overall, it's not a question of coping with differing opinions about me or the band. I'm definitely a people person, but I have no problems with people forming negative opinions about either me or the band — that's life. So there's no need for me to have to cope with anything if I'm comfortable with myself and confident in the ideas I'm putting forward in what is a very ethically-driven band.
Dose Of Metal: NAPALM DEATH are a few years older than me. The lineup with you on vocals is about old enough to drink legally in the U.S. Yet you're still on tour, still making albums. How does it feel to still be doing what you're doing? Any pro tips for the younger bands out there?
Barney: I don't take anything for granted, and it feels great to make albums — and that they somehow seem to come out quite good in the end — and to be able to go fucking loopy on stage. If ever I wake up in the morning and feel that it's all just a chore, or that we've run out of ideas, I'll call it a day. My tips, for what they're worth, are 1) Always do what you feel is the right thing creatively. If a manager or somebody tells you to do something and you really feel it's a crock of shit, then you should follow your own path. 2) Try to keep your head out of the clouds and in reality 3) The rock and roll life is a stinking myth 4) On the road, always treat other bands fairly and as equals — you'll need somebody's help one day too. 5) If somebody promises you the world, they're usually lying.
Dose Of Metal: You're currently heavily touring with NAPALM DEATH, and it's been almost two years since "Time Waits For No Slave". Are there any plans regarding a new album? Or is time waiting for that one?
Barney: We will be starting more or less from scratch in January 2011 making a new album and will record in May. Don't read that wrong — it doesn't take us that much time to get our stuff together, it's just that Russ Russell, our producer, has his hands full until May. It does seem a while since "Time Waits…", but we recorded the previous few albums in quick succession so thought we'd hold back for a change. Time can indeed fucking wait.
Dose Of Metal: You've made your religious beliefs (or lack thereof) pretty clear, but are you superstitious about anything?
Barney: No, I'm not at all. Really. Everything has a physical or scientific explanation, even if I can't always personally explain things as a lay person. I don't think you want me to go deeply into my faithlessness here, but I will say that it is quite sad how people can't trust in themselves or the physical world anymore — divine faith is like an easy out for people because it doesn't require deep thought or logical application.
Dose Of Metal: We see you use Twitter. Many musicians have complained it's things like it, that are sort of killing the rock star image, there is barely any mystery left when everyone can see what everyone else is doing. Are they right? Or should they just get with the times?
Barney: Who cares either way? Is this something that is really worth any kind of debate? If people want to build up their own mystique, then that's their funeral. I have no rock-star image to live up to because I never went down that road and was never interested in doing so. I'm not concerned with pissing about with all the social-networking detritus, but Twitter suits me because it's a few words and I can say random stuff. I try to throw a bit of comedy in there, but to tell you I'm just going to shave or something is something that nobody really wants to hear about. I would hope people have better things to do with their time.
Read the entire interview from Dose Of Metal.