NAPALM DEATH's BARNEY GREENWAY: 'We Get A Kick Out Of Annoying People'

December 6, 2019

Frontman Mark "Barney" Greenway of U.K. extreme metal veterans NAPALM DEATH was interviewed on a recent installment of "Talking Bollocks", the monthly metal podcast hosted by ACID REIGN frontman-turned-stand-up-comedian Howard H. Smith. You can listen to the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On whether he's a spiritual person:

Barney: "I'm not spiritual at all. People sometimes can't get heads around, 'I know you're not religious and I accept that, but you must have some kind of spirituality.' No, I'm not. I'm a pure time-ticking explosion, chemical process sort of person. That's what I am. Of course, I consider myself to be — this may sound pretentious — I consider myself to be a humanitarian, absolutely, one hundred percent, but I'm not spiritual. I believe in the cold hard science of things, the physics, the chemical process, and beyond that, as a human being, at the top of the evolutionary cycle, then I have the capacity to be humane and treat human beings accordingly. That's the way I deal with things as a whole."

On whether life is "too straightforward" to be spiritual:

Barney: "I would disagree with that to a point. I think it's not whether there's too much of life; there's no evidence to suggest there is anything otherwise. That's the point. You're totally right: Life completely feels like a cannonball sometimes, it's rolling and you can't do anything to stop it and that's what it is. But, to me, there's no sort of ultimate plan. I've not seen any evidence at all. I often have this discussion with my mom and I think it's because she's a bit older and we talk about our grandparents who were great, fantastic, and, obviously, they're dead now, and she goes, 'I saw your grandad at the end of my bed once. I'm sure of it.' I said, 'Mom…' I'm trying to be very… I'm like, 'Mom that's because you're in a heightened state of emotion. You didn't see. There's no evidence of a ghost.' 'Oh, I reckon I saw him.' 'Okay, you're entitled to what you think.' But I said, 'There's no physical evidence of any of that stuff in any capacity.' It can be explained psychologically and stuff. She's, like, 'Oh, no, well, I think…' I said 'That's fine. I'm just telling you what I think about the same thing.' Again, I'm not trying to be cold and insensitive."

On strange coincidences happening to Greenway:

Barney: "I've had some fucking crazy shit happen to me over the years, one thing or another. I was there when [notorious serial killer] Jeffrey Dahmer got arrested. I was there on the street. I was there in Milwaukee when it all went down. I was there. Obviously, I didn't know until afterward. I was there when the fucking police and FBI and everybody came out of nowhere. It was pretty wild. [We had a] gig, the Rave Ballroom in Milwaukee is right next to the hotel where they eventually caught him. It was pretty wild. That's what I'm saying. That's what happened when we were there doing a gig. Things happen like that. You're in a certain place at a certain time. It's just a coincidence. You're always going to be somewhere."

On opening for SLAYER during the second leg of their final world tour:

Barney: "Here's the thing: The thing with SLAYER was a one-off thing. Those things don't come along very often. We're a band, we're independent, we're very independent, very sort of self-contained. We don't have that sort of appeal of what a lot of bands do in terms of putting us on the bill because, for a lot of bands, we're just so chaotic and noisy. A lot of fans don't want to go near it. It is what it is. I didn't get into music to someday 'Let's get on these really big bills.' That's not why I do it or do NAPALM DEATH. Yeah, it was nice to be asked. It was nice to do it. We definitely picked up some people, I think, along the way, who hadn't sort of really heard of what we do. But equally, there was also a lot of people standing there, 'What the fuck is this?' [Laughs] There was a little bit of that as well, which I get and fully endorse, actually. [Laughs] Part of the thing with NAPALM, certainly on a sonic level, we also get a kick out of annoying people as well. The more noise we can make, the better. Therefore we fit into anything. We'll do a lot of metal bills. You do a lot of other things. We do a lot of indie rock things as well. We play raves occasionally, and I like that. It keeps it interesting. I'm not interested in one or two dimensions. I want to do as much as we can if we have the luxury of being able to do that."

NAPALM DEATH is continuing work on its long-awaited new album for a tentative early 2020 release. The follow-up to 2015's "Apex Predator - Easy Meat" will feature an appearance by guitarist Mitch Harris, who has been taking a leave of absence from NAPALM DEATH since late 2014 to focus on his family life.

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