Napalm Death

Leaders Not Followers

By Natalie Perez

22 August 2009

Words by Natalie Perez

Two decades after inventing the genre known today as grindcore, Napalm Death continues to demonstrate that their work is far from done. In the intervening years, there have been changes in between but that doesn't mean that the mission hasn't. It has in fact remained the same; to outlet every trend, never compromise, provide a political voice for the voiceless, and create the most brutalizing challenging music on earth! Mark 'Barney' Greenway, vocalist of Napalm Death spoke to me about their reign of terror and what plans to become of the almighty grind masters!

Napalm death

Natalie Perez: Why the name Napalm Death? What does it symbolize?

Barney: "It’s from the 60's. (I'm) not sure if you know what Napalm means. It’s meant to serve as context, as an anti-war method."

Natalie Perez: What was it like to headline last year’s Los Angeles Murderfest?

Barney: "It was pretty good. We almost didn’t because I didn’t think it was going to be a big ordeal. It went really well and everyone really enjoyed themselves. There were some really good bands on there too."

Natalie Perez: How was the recent headlining tour been treating you?

Barney: "Very very well, we are surviving. It's going pretty well. (There's) a lot of people not going out to shows but I can’t complain nor am I going to complain."

Natalie Perez: How have the fans been reacting to the new material?

Barney: "Ever since the album has come out, the reviews have been flawless and great. I’d expect it would have been a mixture of negative and positive but it's been positive all the way. I’m really happy about that."

Natalie Perez: Can you give a brief summary of Time Waits For No Slave? How did the artwork, title, and lyrics come about?

Barney: "The writing process is pretty standard. The guitarist (Mitch Harris) puts down a few tracks and the basic form. Then we look at it and see if it needs work and I look at titles from different sources from my cell phone texts or internet, or even just writing it down. It’s basically about self-discovery, about the world around you and how complex it is around you. The lyrics are challenging a lot of moral standards."

Natalie Perez: What is your favorite Napalm Death song?

Barney: "I can’t give you an answer to that. I can probably give you like ten, but breaking it down to just one. Not too sure."

Natalie Perez: You guys have been together for almost 30 years. Do you plan to celebrate?

Barney: "You know what? It's special enough to go off and play a gig and still be making albums and touring, ya know? There are a lot of bands that are different. I don’t know - I’m just thankful for being with the band so long."

Napalm Death's Time Waits For No SlaveNatalie Perez: What can we expect to see from you guys for the rest of 2009?

Barney: "Just lots of touring, playing in Europe and U.S. and all the places in the world. Trying to make everything enjoyable."

Natalie Perez: Is there a DVD in the works?

Barney: "No, not right now. Maybe in the future. I don’t want to do the usual two hours of footage. I want to shoot us goofing off backstage and other footage and what not but I can’t stand a live DVD. I myself can’t sit through a live DVD."

Natalie Perez: There is a picture of you with crunches, what happened?

Barney: "I had jumped in the air and twisted my ankle and I didn’t know what to do and was wondering whether to cancel or not. It was a very painful but I got through it."

Natalie Perez: Have you cracked a joke about the Swine Flu during any of your performances?

Barney: "I think the whole thing is ridiculous, and I think it’s a scam really. Down in Mexico where people don’t have health care will be a problem for them but as far as I know I don’t know why everyone is worrying about it, wearing masks and stuff that is just a little over the top but I’m not worried about it. I’m not going to spend my time worrying about stuff like that."

Natalie Perez: How has MySpace and the Internet impacted your band?

Barney: "The internet and MySpace in general such as YouTube has helped expose and express us, showing live performances of us online and it’s helped us out a lot. (It's) a really good thing."

Natalie Perez: What is the toughest lesson you ever learned in the studio and on the stage?

Barney: "Probably from the studio would be if your voice is about to die, you got to wait a few days - so that’s a good lesson for me. And as for other studio lessons, just the methods you’re comfortable with and as for live wise I’m going to stop swinging my arms around because I’ve broken fingers while flinging into someone’s guitar."

Natalie Perez: What's your reaction when/if a fan told you a very meaningful statement such as "Your music changed my life?" Has this ever happened to you?

Barney: "I like hearing things like that and how it inspires them and then inspires me."

Natalie Perez: Thanks for doing the interview, anything else you'd like to add?

Barney: "Thanks for supporting us and it’s great we’ve been able to come back every year or every other year to perform and I’m very thankful for that."

Napalm Death's latest album, Time Waits For No Slave, is out now on Century Media Records through EMI Music. For more information on Napalm Death, check out www.napalmdeath.org.

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