The boxes have arrived containing the first book of a project designed to
put my interview archive in the public realm. And it’s 200 COPIES ONLY, so
likely this will get as far as my mailing list and that’s it.
As I said in my letter to you asking to vote which genres to do, it’s been
bugging me forever that I’ve got this interview archive of all these
interviews I’ve done that will never wind up in any of my books, and thus
likely never see the light of day... unless I made books out of them, of
And voters, thank you for all the input and picking a few or even saying you
would take them all. It’s possibly these only go so far as these respondents.
Again, very important: if you have a pile of my books, don’t worry about
overlap—this is material I haven’t used in my books, with minor exceptions.
Don’t ask about thrash bands not in here for example (books coming), or NWOBHM
bands or Thin Lizzy or Accept or Riot interviews. I don’t want to give you
material you already have from me.
So as a way to unlock this material, I’m compiling the raw transcripts, in Q&A
form, with a little background info and historical context to each chat, into
book form. Popoff Archive - 1: Doom Metal, is the first one, given its
popularity in the voting.
And listen, it’s a given 1: Doom Metal will be the first to sell out, as we
work our way through the dozen planned, possibly with a box to put them all
in, once I get the dozen out.
In this edition, we have the following. I’ve included an excerpt from my
lead-in explanation for each.
Johan Edlund, Tiamat, November 1994 (excerpt)
This was an exciting and nail-biting time for Century Media, when things
weren’t selling well, but they are bringing on a lot of groundbreaking
artists. This was for the band’s Wildhoney album, which was quite admired
around the office.
Mike Smail, Penance, December 6, 1994
My chat with drummer Mike Smail was in celebration of this Pittsburg band’s
second album, 1994’s Parallel Corners, a doom classic, and dare I say, a bit
of a blueprint record or cornerstone.
Lee Dorrian, Cathedral, September 7, 1995
So here’s another one, my first chat with Lee Dorrian, after getting totally
into Cathedral (and Entombed), when both bands were an exciting new flavour
for Sony back in ‘92, ‘93.
Pepper Keenan, Down, November 1995 (excerpt)
Unfortunately, this has to be called an excerpt of the original interview,
which I’m sure was double or triple this, easy, but anyway, I thought it was
of some value, because it’s about the first Down album.
Eric Wagner, Trouble, November 28, 1995
Of note, if some of these questions sound stupid, bear in mind, this is
Aaron Stainthorpe, My Dying Bride, March 1996 (excerpt)
Here’s another one of these thankfully few “excerpts,” where I had to rescue
as much as I could from the only place I could find a trace!
Mathias Lodmalm, Cemetary, March 12, 1996
Gonna play me some Cemetary right now, as I copy-edit this. I gotta say, this
project is messing with my head a bit. All these forgotten relationships. All
this whole life lived now 20 years ago that I have almost no memory of.
Pete Steele, Type O Negative, September 22, 1996
This was an interview for which Erin Smythe and the good folks at Attic
Records, the Canadian partner of Roadrunner, had me down to the office to chat
to Pete in person, under much more calm circumstances than at a show, and
perhaps for both of us, less comfortable than the anonymity of a phoner. The
occasion was the release of October Rust a month earlier, a record that all
parties involved were hopeful would be a massive hit.
Lee Dorrian, Cathedral, October 2, 1996
Doom was pretty new as a juggernaut genre in ‘96, and Cathedral were
essentially the leaders of it in the ‘90s, and doing the best job of striking
at the heart of all the things we loved best about the Sabs. This chat was on
the occasion of the band’s fourth album, Supernatural Birth Machine, which
always fell short for me.
Messiah Marcolin, Memento Mori, 1997
This was a phoner, but again, greatest memories come with ever meeting these
legends in person, which indeed happened when Tim and Mark put on one of our
Brave Bashes in Cleveland featuring a reunited Candlemass.
Esa Holopainen, Amorphis, June 17, 1997
Me an’ our mag, Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles had a long history with
Finland’s favourite doomsters gone prog, sorta like Opeth and for that matter,
Katatonia and Anathema. All of us staffers got a lot out of the band, and
enjoyed the change from the crude chording of doom classic Tales from the
Thousand Lakes to the dark oak of the band as it’s existed, well, since 1996’s
Elegy to this very day.
Jimmy Bower, Down, 1997 (excerpt)
God knows where this was or even what band was playing. I have a feeling it
might have been an Eyehategod show at the Opera House, but it could have been
a Down show or a Crowbar show. But there are some interesting things on the
first Down album, which is a doom classic, or a classic of some sort, stoner
or straight-up heavy metal.
Jeff Michael, In Ruins, November 13, 1998
At the time, it was refreshing getting some melodic US doom like this,
especially out of Metal Blade. But the main thing I remember is the vision of
poor Brian Ames, indentured graphic artist at Metal Blade, cranking out his
infamous run of purple front covers, overworked near to the point of heart
Ben Ward, Orange Goblin, January 14, 1999
I regret not really keeping up a relationship, interviewing these guys; that
was likely a byproduct of thinking too much in book mode, that I was getting
too old to start in with too many young bands, and to follow their lives
Leif Edling, Candlemass, August 11, 1999
This chat hails from the stoner rocking non-Messiah era, which couldn’t get
much traction, given the intractable visual and vocal domination of the
cloaked one, forever at odds with music-master Edling.
Pete Steele, Type O Negative, September 9, 1999
Always an amusing chat, Pete was, a gracious guy, famously self-deprecating.
Kirk Windstein, Crowbar, December 15, 1999
The occasion here was the writing of the label bio, for Spitfire Records, to
be used with the band’s upcoming album, Equilibrium, issued March 7, 2000.
When I do this with someone, we really hammer hard on the album at hand.
Sammy Duet, Crowbar, December 19, 1999
I totally loved Acid Bath, and even more so post-Acid Bath band Agents of
Oblivion (no Sammy) and Dax Riggs so (also no Sammy), but alas, found
Goatwhore just too nasty. Still, a Goatwhore show at the Opera House was the
one time I got to meet the guy, so I’m glad for that.
Scott “Wino” Weinrich, Spirit Caravan, January 6th, 2000
I got into the warm, accessible doom vibes of Spirit Caravan more than any of
Wino’s other legendary vibes, and so in late 2000, I figured it was as good an
opportunity as any to finally talk to the guy. Great chat, and one I used,
really, to propel myself further into his catalogue, which I did for a spell
but then dropped off again.
Sami Lopakka, Sentenced, January 26, 2000
Just like Paradise Lost at about the same time, there was actually talk of
Sentenced becoming “the next Metallica,” or at least a successful baby version
of something resembling that success and career path.
Josh Silver, Type O Negative, March 3, 2000
I mentioned this elsewhere, but the hang with Josh took place at the now
defunct Warehouse (soon to be condos), where Type O were playing a swell
headline gig on that high-up stage. So laconic, so New York, so real.
Tommy Southard, Solace, April 17, 2000
Every once in a while, a new band would come along where the record was so
good that, a) we wanted to get on the ground floor, and b) putting voice to
name, making the acquaintance, was going to help you get even more into the
record, and thereby just... you’ve made a new friend and you have an album you
really want to play now, repeatedly. Such was the case with Solace’s first
full length, Further, issued in 2000.
Bruce Franklin, Trouble, August 2000
This chat was on the occasion of the intriguing Supershine band that Bruce had
formed with Doug Pinnick from King’s X. Obviously, I also took the opportunity
to talk a bunch of Trouble too.
D. D. Verni, Bronx Casket Co., October 27, 2000
Good stuff—I’ve had a lot of time over the years for the cool branding of this
band, the excellent production, and the straight-to-the-point accessibility
(and camp) of the whole thing. In fact, I listened to it on my walk to work
this fine summer morn. Nice idea.
Aaron Stainthorpe, My Dying Bride, May 20, 2001
Glad to meet the My Dying Bride boys, because as it turned out, they were not
to become one of these bands that slammed through town with regularity,
playing the Opera House like dozens and dozens of European acts started to do
in the early 2000s, unabated. From here on in, it was pretty much phone
interviews, as with this wide-ranging chat with the always substantive Aaron
Rex Brown, Down, January 30, 2002
Yes, the subject at hand is the new, relaxed and sludgy Down album, Down II: A
Bustle in Your Hedgerow, issued two months after we spoke. But really,
figuring Pantera the band that saved metal in the ‘90s, I was itching to angle
a few questions in there about Pantera.
Sami Lopakka, Sentenced, May 1, 2002
Sentenced? Well, Canadians and Finns shared many traits, including a somber
world-view. Plus these guys drew a doomy link to the music our increasingly
long-in-the-tooth—and increasingly comparatively conservative—staff could
appreciate. And so we kept talking to them, right?
Petri Eskilinen, Rapture, January 30, 2003
Our good relationship with Century Media over at BW&BK meant that I’d often be
more inclined to talk to newer, younger bands in their stable than others,
especially if it was a cool doomy band like Rapture who fall within that
melancholy Amorphis/Sentenced camp. Good stuff.
Eric Wagner, Trouble, April 4, 2003
This time with Eric, I wanted to keep adding to what I had to the story of the
debut album, in case I ever got around to writing one of my Ye Olde Metal
essays on it, either just for a short eBook or for including to a print book
once I got up into the ‘80s on the series. As I type this, I’ve kind of
shelved the idea of continuing into the ‘80s, so here ya go, some cool trivia
on the early days of the band.
Rick Wartell, Trouble, April 7th, 2003
With this chat, it sounds like Rick thought a new album was imminent, even
though we wouldn’t see Simple Mind Condition for another four years. As I dig
in, I see the main reason for the interview was that it was in advance of the
BW&BK fest we were putting on in Cleveland, and once the bands were
picked—Trouble was the headliner—we shamelessly hyped them in the mag.
Anneke van Giersbergen, The Gathering, February 13, 2004
By the time we all debate whether The Gathering are doom or not—or were
earlier but then became more gothic and barely metal—this interview will be
Sami Lopakka, Sentenced, April 28, 2005
Nice of Sami to call me on my 42nd birthday. Sadly, the occasion was to
discuss what would be the loveable Finnish doom legends’ last record, The
Leif Edling, Candlemass, May 1, 2005
Two days after this interview marked the release date of the much vaunted
Candlemass record that featured Leif Edling and Messiah Marcolin reunited,
sealing the deal with a cloak and dagger handshake of doom.
Ville Laihiala, Poisonblack, July 21, 2006
Poisonblack were essentially the successors to Sentenced, starring Ville
Laihiala on lead vocals and guitar, first on this second album, after a hiatus
and major lineup changes since 2003’s Escapexstacy. The record discussed here,
Lust Stained Despair, was the first for this Sentenced-evoking configuration,
after which there were to be four more albums, before a break-up in 2015.
Phil Cope, Witchfinder General, March, 2007
When I say trinity, past Witchfinder, the most important bands are of course
Trouble and Candlemass, both represented in this book. Doom was a lonely
place, actually, until the ‘90s, when it really became what the kids call “a
thing.” In any event, I was thrilled to talk to the mysterious Phil Cope, who
proved as enigmatic as I would have expected, but only a fraction as oblique
as the still un-contacted Zeeb Parkes.
Leif Edling, Candlemass, June 12, 2007
At this point, we’re but a year away of Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles ceasing
as a print publication. As well, my output had gone way down, given added
duties at Banger Films, which was to include the Rush movie, Metal Evolution
and quite a bit later, Rock Icons. Speaking of rock icons, here’s Leif one
Pepper Keenan, Down, September 14, 2007
Both his bands were killer, helping to make the climate for metal in the ‘90s
bearable. Unfortunately, this chat took place when Hurricane Katrina was still
causing bleeding, over two years after it hit landfall.
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