Originally published in ‘zine issue #2, 1991
Arthur Vinett, the lead guitarist for Intruder, was en route to a Slayer concert with the rest of the band when they stopped at a phone and he called me. Currently the band is on tour for the new album, Psycho Savant, but the first question I had for Arthur concerned Live to Die.
D.U.: Do you play anything off the first album live anymore?
Arthur: Occasionally we do “Cold-blooded Killer.” That song is kind of like our local hit for us. So they used to play it on the little college radio stations around just, like, constantly. That’s the main one kids remember off Live to Die. I’ve been sick of it for about three years. [laughs] But [if] somebody wants to hear it and they paid and they’re Intruder fans, y’know, we’ll play it.
Has Rev. Don Willis or his ilk popped up again to give you trouble, or are you pretty much accepted now?
Uh, we’re pretty much accepted now. People really don’t mess with us ‘cause essentially, they really haven’t been going after anybody lately. None of the bands who really do thrash or anything [in our area] are Satanic at all, or the real hardcore bands. Most everybody’s real positive with their lyrics, so we don’t really have that super-negative scene in Nashville at all. So there’s, like, really no reason for even the churches to protest, because there’s a lot worse stuff coming from just the stuff you hear on MTV than from a thrash band in Nashville.
Do you have any plans to dust off an old Beatles song or something for the next album, since you’ve done covers like that before?
[laughs] No, pretty much we just write material, and it comes out as it comes out, just whatever hits us. And usually it takes us prob’ly a couple of years to get all the stuff down that we like. Y’know, we start writing one album before we’re done with the other one. And essentially, it’s like, with every album we’ve gone off in different directions. And just as we wouldn’t want to copy another band, we really don’t feel it necessary to be stuck in our own rut and be copies of ourselves. So we just try to go out there and expand and grow and just explore new areas musically and lyrically and whatnot.
How difficult is it for you to express a message in your lyrics without being preachy? I know you want to get your point across without beating anyone over the head with it.
Oh, definitely. Well, basically I gotta tie it in with something. I’ve written a couple of songs, as far as the lyrics, like “Face of Hate.” I dunno. You just express things as they are without being so judgmental. I would avoid condemnation. Like in “Face of Hate,” it traces it to a tradition. It’s not like some kid woke up and said, “I hate [n-words]. I don’t know why, but I hate [n-words], and I hate Jews, and I hate Catholics, and I hate fucking everybody.” It’s because he was taught to be like that. And it’s just like, prejudice is basically out of fear and ignorance. So kids, until they reach the age of reason, more or less, they really don’t have a whole lot of control over their beliefs. You tend to believe what you’re taught. And so you can get the message that prejudice is a bad thing while pointing out where it comes from instead of saying, “You suck because you’re prejudiced.” You know what I’m saying? Open people’s eyes to stuff and try to be positive about it, instead of being preachy. [laugh]
Do you try to express an opinion in the lyrics or be objective?
It depends on the subject matter. It’s hard to be objective with anything. The way I think about stuff is, I try to get as many facts as possible before making a decision on stuff. Even play the Devil’s advocate, you know? If I was arguing with somebody, if I was trying to get a point by, you just have to take into consideration both sides. Just because if you don’t take into consideration how other people think, then it’s not going to make much of an impact on them. The language and tools you’re gonna use to try to get that across to somebody are just not gonna work.
Do you think your lyrics nowadays are more vague than on older albums?
Yeah, they’re not as traceable to specific events, in that sense. You know, the lyrics on the other albums were definitely not leaving very much up to the imagination. With this stuff, it’s just a different way of doing it. It’s probly been about two-and-a-half-years’ difference time-wise in the writing.
Have you read any good books lately?
I’m not the novel reader. [laugh]. I would much rather look through an encyclopedia than a novel or magazines, stuff like that. I just like to read stuff for data. Then I form my own opinion. As far as TV, books, and movies, I’m not a real big consumer of it. The fantasies I come up with are pretty much as far out there as anything I can see.
Do you still run into a credibility problem since you come from Nashville and not New York or San Francisco?
Yeah, it’s to a lesser degree. It used to be so centralized, the scenes, but now, as you see, they’re coming out everywhere. People have this real odd idea of Nashville being so different from every other city. It just happens to be that country music is the main thing here. [pause] Just one more question? They’re yelling at me. We’re on the road. [laughs]
Oh, everybody wants to get going? Okay, how did you do at the 1990 Nashville music awards? I know you cleaned up the year before.
Okay, I won guitar player of the year, and we won song of the year for “Escape From Pain,” and we won metal band of the year. We did pretty good. We’re happy with it. Okay, it was good talking to you, man. ■