Interview – Seth Putnam

A few months ago I managed to get an email interview with Seth Putnam of Anal Cunt for Metal Hammer magazine’s 13 questions segment. However, before it could be used, the silly bugger died. For a few days afterwards the internet was rife with mourning. And jokes. Mostly jokes. Seth Putnam wouldn’t have wanted it any other way really.

Lots of people got a bee in their bonnet about the racism and violent sexism in his music, and I can’t argue with that really. What people tend to overlook though is that they sometimes gave way to very innocent silly songs. For every song about killing women or black people there was another about getting athlete’s foot or windchimes being gay. There was also the gloriously sarcastic Picnic of Love album, 10 ballads about respecting women and falling in love. It was unironically quite good too. Maybe by sticking the ultra offensive songs alongside the silly songs he was making some kind of statement about how everything was stupid. Who knows. It’s hard to be offended though at something as overtly horrible as I Snuck a Retard into a Sperm Bank when you couple it with I’m Really Excited About the Upcoming David Buskin Concert.

Anyhoo, I asked Jon Selzer at Metal Hammer if it was ok to publish the interview and he said go for it. Seth’s answers were too funny to be kept under lock and key, and it’s also weirdly candid.

So thank you Jon, and also thanks to Kim Kelly for sorting the interview out.

Here’s how it might have appeared.

———————–

Grind pioneer, reprobate, and children’s entertainer Seth Putnam waxes lyrical about religion, his hectic past, and his favourite Cat Stevens record.

1. When you started did you ever think the band was going to last this long?

No, it was only meant to last one month, one show, one demo. That’s it.

2. Do you believe in god(s) or the devil?

Yeah, I made up my own religion myself when I was a child. It’s kinda personal, so I don’t really wanna talk about it.

3. What has been the high point of your career?

Playing at the Worcester Centrum (local arena for the Boston area) with Pantera in 1996. We never thought we’d ever play a show that size.

4. And the lowest point?

Probably, when… I’d stay up for five days in a row, shooting cocaine. Then I’d shoot heroin to sleep a day, and then shoot more coke and stay up another five days. I tried to eat twice in one month and puked both times, this went on for three months, I just wasn’t used to eating, I couldn’t even swallow a spoonful of soup. Looking back, I had a great time, so I don’t know if this is the lowest point.

5. Is there a piece of art and/or film that’s important to you?

The movie The Bad Bunch is my favourite movie ever made. It’s awesome because it’s the most equally balanced racist film, the blacks hate the whites and the whites hate the blacks, it’s very equal, no one comes out looking less racist, and it’s real extreme racism. It’s very entertaining.

6. Have you made any enemies along the way?

Millions of them yeah, I don’t really know what’s going on. I don’t care if they hate me, I can’t be bothered.

7. Are you a difficult person to work with?

Not really, no. It all depends on who I work with, some people are easy to work with, some aren’t. Earache had a lot of problems, after each show, I’d end up destroying everything… equipment, I destroyed P.A.s, the crowd would be covered in blood, I was too much of a liability at that point.

8. Is there a song you are most proud of writing?

I paid Jim Howell to rape you, I like the song’s structure, it’s really well written and I like the lyrics too. Recently I wrote Beating up n*****s that sell fake crack, Tsunasum, Kicking your ass and fucking your bitch, and a lot of other new stuff. Your kid committed suicide because you suck is one of my favorite songs.

9. What albums would you take to a desert island with you?

Anal CuntIt Just Gets Worse, Vaginal JesusAffirmative Apartheid, BuckcherryTimebomb, Sid ViciousSid Sings, Negative Approach – 1st 7”, Village PeopleCruising, Culture ClubColour By Numbers, HellhammerDemon Entrails, DeathBack From The Dead demo, SlaughterBloody Carnage demo, there’s a Cat Stevens record I like a lot, I just can’t remember the name. SwansCop. That’s pretty much it.

10. If you could shoot any one person in the face, who would it be?

(Oddly, he honestly couldn’t think of one.)

11. What point in history would you most like to visit, and why?

I’d like to go back the early 1980’s to see Hellhammer, Venom, Culture Club, Slayer, Village People. You know, when they all started.

12. What’s the hardest part of the lifestyle you have chosen?

I’m tired of not making a cent, I just keep the band going because you want to.

13. What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned along the way?

To never give up the band. I’ve broken up the band a million times, I’ll never do it again.

————————–

Death is gay.

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The Mustaine Report

Revenant Andi Hamilton wanted to make a feature out of this but alas he’s slipped from this mortal coil and is floating around in limbo somewhere, watching wrestling. So it’s up to me to update the Mustaine report, as I’ve decided recently that I find his madness wildly endearing.

Now this next bit is going to involve me linking to Blabbermouth, which I am utterly ashamed of.

http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com/blabbermouth.net/news.aspx?mode=Article&newsitemID=160943

Look at that. Mustaine in ‘I like God’ shocker. Look at the slew of comments in its wake too.

‘Dave, love your music, but this other stuff bores me. In your autobiography you should have said a lot more about the albums you created, and less about your tedious battles with drugs and religion.’

 

Yes, because it’d be fun to read 400 pages of ‘I went into the studio I wrote these songs I played my guitars it was smashing.’

 

‘You are infected with a virus. If you had polio you’d seek a cure, so why not seek a cure for your God infection ? Is it because you’d be all alone in the world without your metaphysical crutch to fall back on, is it because you’d have to take responsibility for your own actions, is it because you’d have nothing else to blame for the state of your shitty existence ? Probably.’

 

Sage words there from, eh, Bongwarrior. I wish I could pretend to know everything after hearing that Richard Dawkins was cool.

 

I literally have no idea what my point is anymore. I like Dave Mustaine now, and Megadeth by default. I also like the way he gets hessians butthurt. Imagine taking anything Dave Mustaine said seriously. Imagine writing into Blabbermouth about it. Imagine standing over a precipice, and jumping to your self-willed doom with ‘I wrote into Blabbermouth about Dave Mustaine’ as the final thought flashing through your mind. Then imagine getting to the afterlife and a celestial Dave Mustaine’s at the gates saying ‘no entry lol you wrote into blabbermouth about me sucks to be you rofl.’

 

You should all get the new Elysian Fields album it’s bloody lovely.

Bye bye.

Silent Witless

In London and New York, all eyes turn on the corporate media, and fail to grasp the point. Gleeful schadenfreude is the overwhelming reaction, as an antipodean plutocrat suffers endless humiliating comparisons to Mr Burns, a popular cartoon character that he owns and which has made him billions of dollars. On the point of vomiting with anticipation, they imagine there will come a moment when the crumbling edifice passes the point of no return and a new era of media plurality and democracy emerges; instead, a new elite will simply take News Corp’s place, and that’s if this damage even proves to be lasting.

In the Middle East, a thundering cry for revolution engulfs nation after nation, leaving a swathe of chaos, death and civil war in its wake. Arrogant westerners call it the Arab Spring, except it’s still happening, and it’s summer now. In Europe, entire economies tremble to the aftershocks of the panglobal financial meltdown of 2007 that still hasn’t had its last word. Unrest is in the air.

And in Covent Garden, yesterday, this happened:

For the uninformed and uninterested, this represents some spoilt, privileged white people complaining – against a background of looming catastrophe, no less – that their favourite band, Bring Me the Horizon, has been ignored by a corporate music prize, the Barclaycard Mercury. Some people thought reacting like this might make metalheads look myopic and cretinous. Some people thought it was just plain stupid (that was us). But some thought different.

Couple of points to make:

  1. Just because you like something really fucking hard, it doesn’t automatically make it not embarrassing shit – or by extension, popular.
  2. You can’t have it both ways, metal fans. Either your scene is the rebellious and headstrong alternative, gleefully defining itself in opposition to corporate rimjobbery the like of which the Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize represents – or it isn’t. Behaving like this just makes the superior attitude you cop whenever you aren’t being snubbed by an award committee look really artificial.
  3. Heavy metal is dead. As dead as my follicles. Deader than your sex life. Deader than a duck called Paul Gray getting bummed off its mates.

‘Heavy metal is dead’ is a pretty mouldy cliché by now, but as this is Demon Pigeon dot biz I have elected to bring something fresh to the table. I’ve gone on a search for heavy metal’s mouldering cadaver, hitherto undiscovered. And I think I’ve found it, or at least I know where to look.

The year is 1986. Diego Maradona invents the God Hand. A space shuttle disintegrates in the sky. Oliver Sykes is born.

Nobody knew it at the time, but heavy metal was struggling, about to breathe its last. Nobody would have seen it coming; it looked in ruddy health. Creatively, the genre was reaching its peak. The genesis of the Big Four was almost complete, paving the way for a string of seminal, genre-defining releases, incorporating all the last truly original ideas heavy metal would ever have; Master of Puppets, Reign in Blood and Peace Sells…, as well as landmark records by Kreator, Exodus, Testament and Death, all followed in 1987 (though recorded the previous year so it still counts, noob), by Anthrax’s Among the Living.

Then, against all the odds, Cliff Burton died, the silly old sod. I’ve a sneaking suspicion he might have taken metal down with him, because it hasn’t done anything genuinely new or innovative since. Hypothesis: Cliff Burton had plugged heavy metal, the genre, up his bum, hoping it would dissolve and give him the trip of his life. Dig him up, and let’s find out.

But what does all this tell us about the state of heavy metal in 2011 (which is now) vis-à-vis the Barclaycard Mercury Prize?

Like News Corp, the brave iconoclasts and rebels pictured above – who, nearly 30 years ago, let us remember, contributed something worthwhile, inimitable and lasting to their muse – have swept aside their posturing and joined forces, agglomerating into an all conquering, all sweating, all old commercial juggernaut; the apotheosis of which is a 17-piece rendition of a Diamond Head song from 1980. This is a curiosity, nothing more than a museum piece. They couldn’t be more squarely positioned in the mainstream if they tried, and they are definitely trying. These rich, white, heterosexual, conservative men are at the top of the heavy metal tree, which goes to show how far the genre has moved since 1986.

All that remains now is for Amanda Holden or Quincy to get hold of Cliff Burton’s bones and start having a good sciencey prod about. Maybe then we’ll know for sure what truly happened.

RIP heavy metal 1968 – 1986.

You’re haven a laugh

Oh wow a news update. This would not normally have happened. We normally leave news and press releases to lesser blogs run by pig ignorant, thick as shit homophobes, but something mighty important has happened. There is a new Will Haven song and Grady is singing on it. It’s like the past 10 years had never happened. I wish they never happened.

http://www.facebook.com/willhavenband?sk=app_178091127385

Here it is. It’s pretty good. It sounds better than a lot of the stuff off The Hierophant so I am cautiously optimistic.

Here they all are. Looking cool. I hope when I’m in my mid to late 30s I can still dress like a skateboarder.

New album is out October 10th I think. It’ll be called Voir Dire.

This entire post took me about 5 minutes. Imagine if we’d all taken 5 minutes out of every day to update this bloody thing. We could have been Gods.

Amon Tobin – ISAM

(Ninja Tune)

What better time to review an album than three months after its release and the completion of the live tour which coincided with it?

If you’ve ever watched an episode of Panorama, Top Gear or one of those ‘gritty’ BBC crime dramas (the ones that were entirely shot at night with a cast of forlorn shadows dressed in bin-bags) there is a large probability you’ve caught an accidental earful of Amon Tobin. Tobin, a pioneer of experimental music, has been making music for almost as long as I’ve been alive. ISAM, his latest, has set the bar so high it’s become that one tin of kidney beans that sits just out of reach in the kitchen. You’re not quite sure how you managed to put it there in the first place but you’ll never be able to reach it down again.

"A reworking of the old"

Numerous inexplicable and frankly fucking useless analogies aside, this album is phenomenal. Let me tell you how much I love this album – I bought it.

Having been a fan of Amon Tobin for quite some time I wondered exactly where ISAM would be taking listeners. As a matter of fact after reading the response from other (shitty) music zines I was reluctant to listen to it. Some of ISAM’s reviews include comments that it doesn’t sound like an Amon Tobin release, or that it’s trying too hard. So I think I’m going to shit all over those opinions.

To say that ISAM isn’t an Amon Tobin release is idiocy on a fucked up scale. You’d have to have absolutely no idea what you were saying to pull an opinion like that together.  ISAM takes the Tobin of the past and chews it up, but this is definitely without a doubt a record by Amon Tobin. You could suggest that he’s borrowing from the current trend of ‘bass heavy’ music with this album but that would be bullshit since his work has always been thick with depth.  Most importantly his signature remains in that surreal music-making method he is so loved for – ripping paper, motorbike revving, windchimes and for the first time Amon’s voice (albeit distorted to sound feminine) all feature on the album. It’s a soup of sound and it’s fucking delicious.

A YouTube review of ISAM complained of there being no flow to this record, unlike Permutation or Supermodified. However that youtube user was also  adopting the unfavourable attitude of thinking himself the Big Man because he had an unpopular opinion about a well loved artist. I like to call that the ‘Pitchfork mentality’. His statement was absurd. The album’s opener, Journeyman, transitions effortlessly into Piece of Paper’s slow gait. It’s done in a way that could only suggest that this album was carefully and deliberately prepared. And that isn’t the only instance of this, either. Each track glides to the other through a library of sound expertise. It turns the album into one huge incredible soundscape.

Amon Tobin is well known for meticulous assembly and editing of his orchestra of chaos – especially seen on Foley Room.  ISAM takes this a step further and wears its own mastery on its sleeve, each track outdoing the last, every decision forming an incredibly eerie stuttering groove that will change the way the listener thinks of music. I think ISAM is the first time in ages that I’ve listened to an album from beginning to end in one sitting and not been irritated by a dip in quality halfway through. Every single track on this album is consistent in standard.

What I’d say in response to a lot of other reviews of ISAM is this: this isn’t a record that beats Tobin’s last work, but it stands as an equal amongst the rest of his discography without any difficulty. If you want to check him out, ISAM is as good an album as any to have a go at. It’s still more than worth listening to regardless of whether you’re a loyal fan or not. Also, the ISAM Live show was incredible. Go and have a look at the footage and try not to pinch yourself purple wishing you’d gone, like I did.

Alright kiddies, back to your metal, dubstep  and videogames.