Napalm Death interview – 1992

Originally published in ‘zine issue #5, 1992

Napalm Death, grindcore from Birmingham, England, has just put out a new album entitled Utopia Banished. The following is a conversation with Barney, the Kam Lee wipeout god, which we had before the band’s show in Washington, D.C.

D.U.: Okay, so what do you guys do to relax in-between tours and albums?

Barney: I mean, each person does their own thing. I don’t ever really relax. If I’m not doing recordings or whatever, rehearsing, then I’ll do band mail and stuff. I don’t drink, but I still socialize, I go out, y’know. I do various things. I’m into, like, video games and toys. I listen to music. Just whatever.

What kind of media attention did the Los Angeles riots this year get over in England?

A lot. It was all over the papers and on the news. I mean, Jesse and Danny were sort of at the pre-tension from that, because they were there the day before it happened. They flew out the day that it happened. They were at home with their parents and stuff.

So they got out just in time, huh?

Yeah, yeah. In England [the media] made it look really hellish, and Danny told us that a few people told Danny just that it was really, really fuckin’ bad. And it didn’t matter who you were. If you were in the wrong place at the wrong time, then you’d get fuckin’ beaten up, which really evades the issue, y’know what I mean?

“Gang up together and fuckin’ throw those [Nazis] out, just toss ‘em away like garbage.”

Is there a lot of police brutality in England?

There is a lot that you don’t hear about, because obviously the media and stuff’ll shy away from that. A lot of it happens, like, one on one, y’know what I mean, that you never get to hear about.

How about in Birmingham in particular?

No, not really. I mean, not prob’ly as much as what there is over here by a long chalk, y’know, because obviously [pause] in America there’s a lot more different races of people and stuff which naturally creates tension. And that’s that whole thing which is sort of, to me, linked to police brutality and stuff.

Have you ever been harassed by the police?

I have, yeah, on a few occasions, because of different reasons. And, uh, what can I say? Y’know, everybody prob’ly has in their time.

Photo of Napalm Death in Russia

Mitch did this interview for the Scab Mag 2 ‘zine in which he said the new stuff is a cross between Mentally Murdered and Mass Appeal Madness. Do you agree with that?

Yeah, I mean, it’s got the powerful aspects of early Napalm Death obviously, but at the same time, I don’t think it’s merely sort of a carbon copy, because that would be pointless. It’s got the noisy aspects of Mass Appeal Madness, but it’s also got clarity as well, so you can hear everything that’s going on.

What’s the general consensus of the fans that you’ve talked to? How do they feel about it?

They really, really like it. Everybody really likes it. I think it’s sort of the right step to take, because I think it was a perfectly natural LP for us to do. I think people can pick up on that.

What do you have to say about John Major and the Tories?

Oh, well, I mean, the ironic thing is that a lot of people that actually voted are affected directly by the things he endorses, like poll tax. And people that are totally being destroyed by that still vote for him, y’know what I mean. That’s the really funny thing about it. The Tories promised to radically change and things, and once again nothing happened. It’s just the same old shit.

Are you looking forward to Hellraiser III?

I am, actually, yeah. I mean, all we know is that there is a Hellraiser III. We don’t know nothing about it. Me and Shane are quite looking forward to that.

Has anything really weird happened on the last tour at a gig?

Nothing weird, but we had quite a bit of problems with Nazis and them, especially in Allentown, PA. It was really bad. There was, like, a riot. Me and a few other people got maced at the show, fighting with skinheads and them. What can I say? I don’t have to tell you what these people are like. I mean, I know it’s a bad thing, but it needs people to actually gang up together and fuckin’ throw those people out, y’know what I mean, just toss ‘em away like garbage, because they’re upsetting everyone’s pleasure, and positive things come from these gigs.

Final comment?

Well, thanks to everyone for their support, especially the people in Washington. Y’know, some of the guys came up to New York to see us. Thanks for coming out, and I hope you enjoy the gig. ■

Photo: Napalm Death (courtesy Earache)


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