One of the privileges of writing about music is the chance to talk to artists who make music you cherish. We've been fortunate enough to spend another year talking to artists that span the wide world of the extremely extreme -- from legends to bands cutting their teeth. Below, we've pulled excerpts from some of our favorite interview subjects from the past calendar year, from old-school hardcore vets to legendary professional wrestlers. Here's to yet another year of conversation in 2016.
Roger Miret (Agnostic Front) on old vs. new:
When you see kids today they don’t go outside and play on the streets. They are inside playing on their video games and laptops and iPads. It’s a different generation. I have a kid now and I want them to grow up like I did. And they go out and there’s no one to play with! But you also need them to stay with the times. It’s a give and take. I back up my theory, though: the way we did it was better and that’s that.
Tad Doyle (Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth/TAD) on older guys playing loud music:
I don’t worry about where I fit in. I’m like water – I seek my own level. If I were to start thinking about it I’d go crazy. I couldn’t give two rat's asses about what people think of what I’m doing. Because there is that stigma that metal is a young man’s game. And to an extent it is because that’s who is doing it. You don’t see many 50-year-olds walking on stage and most 50-year-olds don’t even like listening to loud music.
Napalm Death producer Russ Russell on the world's greatest grindcore band:
The more time goes on, the more they are literally comfortable in their own skin. They will say 'we’re going to do whatever we want to do with no thought of what is expected.' They do whatever comes into their mind and that makes it fresh for all of us. They’ve given me the same freedom. If someone has an idea we just try it. I think that might be why the last album (Apex Predator) took a while to put together.
Legendary pro wrestler/metal vocalist Chris Jericho on the wrestling-metal connection:
I think wrestling fans and heavy metal fans are outside of the box. It’s not the mainstream. Football or pop music are cool things to like. If you like metal or wrestling you are part of this exclusive club; you can be instant friends. You can meet someone in the middle of the jungle and if they like Black Sabbath you'll have something to talk about.
Chris Ojeda of Byzantine on delivering prescription drugs in rural America:
A while ago I had a job delivering drugs for Rite Aid. In the morning they would load my vehicle with $250,000 worth of narcotics and I’d drive to five or six different Rite Aids in my county. I had no idea how dangerous that was. I didn’t carry a firearm. Every Rite Aid I delivered to was robbed! Someone could have just run me off the road and shot me in the head and stolen a half-million dollars worth of hydrocodone.
Rae Amitay (Immortal Bird) on listening to Eminem with her mother:
My Mom is a pretty hardcore atheist so she wasn’t looking up things on religious blogs. But we did go to a bunch of different stores when (Eminem's) Marshall Mathers LP came out because she wanted to get me the edited version. The edited versions of rap albums are so fucked. My Mom eventually decided to listen to it. I can honestly say listening to it with her was the most embarrassing moment in my life. So I sort of live with no fear at this point.
Pete Jay (Blackqueen) on Assück's long afterlife:
That’s another thing in my life where I didn’t think it would get to this point. There was very little grind like that, especially that was socially and politically conscious. The band kind of started as a joke. To see it now as almost a household word for grind is mind-blowing and humbling.
Sera Timms (Ides Of Gemini) on becoming a Tarot reader:
I’ve worked with some talented clairvoyants who can pin down the future. But sometimes they tell you something that doesn’t happen. I don’t believe in absolutes in fate or future. Tarot can tell you what road you are on. It’s better when it’s used to tell someone: “You might want to go in a different direction so you don’t get hit by a truck.”
Oliver Amberg on life after Celtic Frost's Cold Lake:
I’m at peace with it now. It was a really important stage in my career and my life. I had a lot of fun with Celtic Frost and with Cold Lake. I’m sort of astonished because I still receive hate mail about Cold Lake. It’s sort of like, this was a long time ago guys. Get a life. I was not the only person responsible for it. I was part of it but there were three other guys. It’s quite easy to blame it on me. I actually still like a lot of the songs even if the image sucked.
Doug Moore (Pyrrhon) on being a metal musician in the Ivy League:
The vast majority of people at Penn had no idea what I was doing. I often felt a little out of place in class because I’d show up in a band shirt and jeans. People around me were already dressing for their future think tank jobs and were business casual. I was definitely a bit of an odd duck at school. There are a lot of off the wall creative people there so I wasn’t without a community but it was a fringe thing.
Dani Filth (Cradle Of Filth) on famous haunts in his native England like Stonehenge:
In the 1970s you were actually able to go party there! There were these hippy commune parties around the Equinox and Druidic circles. You could just lounge around. I can’t believe they let people roam around and light fires – it’s thousands of years old. If you really look at Stonehenge it’s as exciting as the pyramids or anything made by the Incas.