NAPALM DEATH Singer Mark ‘Barney’ Greenway Interview

Napalm Death released its 14th studio album, Time Waits For no Slave, in January and things look bright. One of the highlights for the band was definitely the gig at this year’s Rebellion Festival, in Blackpool/UK, which is known as the biggest independent punk festival in the world. Just a couple of hours prior to hitting the stage, Mark Greenway kindly had a few words with us.

This is the first time you’re playing at the Rebellion Festival, right?
Yeah, we were invited last year but we were busy at the studio. As you know, we just got here and unloaded the van, and there were lots of confusion – it was pretty chaotic actually, but that’s what you expect in a festival like this anyway (laughs) – so I think it will be a good one. The atmosphere here is really good, it definitely reminds me of the gigs back in the day, you know, about 20 years ago. And it’s all good, as long as all that violence of the old days don’t come with it (laughs).

How has the latest album been received?
Really well, I think you can say it’s pretty much 100% approved, I mean, everybody is saying good things about it. People are responding well at gigs too, even though you can’t expect everybody to know the new songs the same way they know the old ones, but yeah, people seem to like it.

How would you compare it to the old albums?
It’s very hard to make a distinction, because there are natural progressions one from another, you know what I mean? The Code Is Red… Long Live To The Code was my favourite for a long time, but I’m more focused on the new one right now.

How long did it take to record Time Waits For No Slave?
Three weeks, from recording to mixing and mastering. We made and rehearsed the songs for about 6-7 weeks before that.

You’ve been working with Century Media for a few years now. How would you compare nowadays as opposed to when you were signed to Earache?
It’s worlds apart. I don’t wanna talk about all the negative things about Earache, because I already did it in several occasions years ago. The points have been made, it wasn’t a great experience in the last few years, but we moved on and everything is far much better now.

You’ve been delivering this very demanding type of vocals for a long time. How are your vocal strings nowadays?
I guess I’ve been very lucky because I don’t have any problem at all. I mean, all I do is letting it out, and it works! The only ‘technique’ I use is: I don’t smoke and don’t drink at gigs. I just try to stay healthy and it all comes alright.

Once the band got badly robbed by a Brazilian promoter, yet you still went back to Brazil a couple of other times and everything seemed to have gone ok. How much did your touring terms changed after that event?
Oh yeah, he literally ran off (laughs). But you know, I don’t have any problem whatsoever with the country, that was just one particular person. The way we book tours vary from each promoter anyway, so I’m not sure we changed anything dramatically after the occasion.

Changing a bit subjects, what changes you think Obama is gonna bring to the USA and the world?
Well, he’s just an assistant, so he’s only gonna be aloud to do so much – though off course he’s still better than some conservative lunatic. If he really doesn’t deal with the poverty in the States, I think he’s a bit of a failure. But I think the world is gonna realize, at some point, that things are not really working. I mean, people get killed all the time for stupid reasons, at some point there will be a change, like it always happens in history. I just wish people could leave in peace. I’m tired of violence, just things in general. Poverty needs to be tackled, things need to change. And unfortunately, it takes somebody to lead others, you might say, because people don’t just decide for themselves about big things like that.

Do you vote?
I did this time, voted Green. I also used to vote Labour when it was worth (laughs). I used to be a Labour Party member, years ago…

Was this during the Conservative days? How would you compare the Blair Years to Maggie’s Years?
Exactly. Well, very disappointing… No social justice; it all seems to be just business. I do understand a strong economy is necessary, but economy for the majority, you know?

Are you into conspiracies?
Well, it depends because mainly conspiracies are a matter of interpretation. If you ask me, in general, if I think there are things out there that we can’t see, I’d say ‘sure’. Let’s bring up an example; did the British government know about the torture carried out in Iraq? Off course they fucking did know. You can see in their eyes that they’re lying, it’s disgusting. So that would be a conspiracy, and I’d say I do believe in that one.

Do you believe man ever went to the moon?
Well, that’s a really tough one. I’m very much into science and I’d like to believe they did get there at that point. But did they really? They do have some pretty strong arguments, but I still don’t know…

I heard you like 80s thrash metal quite a lot. What do you think of those revival bands though, like Evile, Municipal Waste etc?
You know what, I wasn’t really a huge fan a thrash metal fan when it started. I do like the first Metallica albums, the very first Exodus album, some of the early Megadeth stuff, but I thought too many of those thrash bands were second rate. I do like the second generation, when they got lots of influence from Discharge, though. But I’m not gonna stand here saying bad things about it because it’s not something constructive. Some people like it, some people don’t.

You think punk is still relevant today?
I’ve been connected to punk for many years and you know what, punk is not a uniform, it doesn’t matter what you wear; it’s whatever makes you happy, it’s in your mind. Also, there’s no such thing as ‘real’ punk because blind devotion, even to punk, is also bad. I think that’s what killed it in the first place. On the other hand there are bands which call themselves punks and get money from big private organizations, so what’s the point? But again, I don’t wanna go judging people, because it’s supposed to mean freedom and free choice. The whole thing became really bitter when those wSo were supposed to be the ‘real punks’ started to stab each other in the back. What’s the fucking point? They’ve missed it completely.

Denis Augusto



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