Long-running, God-poking death metal crew, Deicide released their eleventh album, In the Minds of Evil in late November. This had journalists the world over gleefully rubbing their nubs at the thought of another round of press with the ever-quotable Glen Benton. Those nubs were rubbed a little less vigorously when it was learned that the bassist/vocalist was rumoured to be looking into the backgrounds of folks lined up in the interview queue and turning away those who had dared speak negatively about the band in the past. Don't ask me how in the name of Sally-sweet-tits I made it past the cut - though, it's safe to assume that after this I probably won't ever be granted congress with Benton again - I ended up interviewing the man for a foreign publication and, as these things go, wasn't able to incorporate all the gold dropped into my lap in the piece. So, in the spirit of the editorial of issue #42 (get it here), I figured why not cherry pick the interview for a few classic additions to the Book of Benton?
On lyric writing: After all these years, how do you make sure you’re not repeating lyrics, themes and ideas, especially when you’ve been talking about ways to stick it to God since 1987? The way I look at is “who cares?” [laughter]. Who gives a fuck anymore? Does anybody even read the lyrics anymore? It’s like they’ll release the first SoundScan numbers and it’ll be like 2900 copies sold the first week, but there are like 50,000 downloads. Does anybody even read the packaging anymore? I was going to put in the album this time, “If anybody’s reading this, thanks for not ripping me off!”
On new guitarist, Kevin Quirion: Kevin kind of was an inspiration this time in terms of lyrics. He kind of kicked my ass as far as writing lyrics goes. In what way? Well, he’d be like, “Hey man, I’ll try to write some lyrics.” He would, I’d read them and be like, “Dude, get the hell out of the way." [laughter] At what point did Kevin come in as a full-time member? Well, if it were up to me he would have joined after the first time he played with us, but we kept giving that other guy, who’s got some issues, chances because we’re nice guys. Well, not so much me. I was the one totally against him coming back and forth like that. It was more like [drummer] Steve [Asheim] and [guitarist] Jack [Owen], who are friends with the guy, wanted to keep giving him chances. I’m not the type of guy to give chances. I just kind of went along with it reluctantly. Finally, there was an issue in Europe on one of the tours and I chucked his ass off the bus and called it a day. You’re talking about Ralph Santolla? Umm, yeah. Man, without going into great detail, let’s just say the guy’s a trainwreck and leave it at that.
On inspiration: The new album seems a lot more inspired. What would you say has breathed new life into what you do? You know what man, I’m 46 years old, I never thought in a million fucking years I’d be doing this crap for as long as I have and I just don’t give a fuck anymore. It’s kind of like when I go to the casino and gamble. If you go to the casino and you’re worried about losing, you’ll never fucking win. If you go to the casino and don’t give a fuck what you spend and you’re just there to have a good time and you can walk away from it a winner or a loser, you’ve won. So, I don’t give a fuck anymore. If you like what we do, great. If you don’t, I’ve had my balls stepped on for I don’t know how many fucking years and just because Neil-Young-Booger-Sugar doesn’t like it or some 13-year-old kid wants to tear it apart on the internet, who gives a fuck?
On Roadrunner Records: Roadrunner, on a personal level, treated me great. They hated particular two members of the band, but they treated me and Steve great. If I ever needed money, all I’d do was make a phone call and it’s be in my account before six o’clock at night. They helped me through my first divorce, financially. They paid to have my tonsillectomy done around the time of the first album when I couldn’t tour because my tonsils were rotting in my throat.
On making ends meet between album cycles: I got fortunate and came into a bunch of money a few years ago. So, everything that I own, I own outright. I can basically go out and collect aluminum cans and pay what I have to pay in bills every month.
On longevity: The kids still like to come out and hear the old-school metal. I’ve watched I don’t know how many types of music come and go down the toilet during my career and I’m still working. I must be doing something right. Are you finding the numbers at shows increasing, decreasing or has it levelled off? 95% of the time, if a show tanks or there’s a bad turnout, I like to point my finger at the promoter who didn’t spend any money in promoting the show. If you don’t know we’re coming to town, how can you go to the show? Most of the time the promoter figures, “I don’t want to spend any money on this. I’ll let those guys drawn on their name alone and hope for the best.” As we all know, promoters, agents and all that are the plecostomus of the fish tank; they just swim around eating the other fishes’ shit all day.
On parenting: What does childhood rebellion look like in the Benton household? My youngest one just turned 12 last week and he gets a little bit of a smart mouth, but that’s about it. His stepmother works for the school system here and works with special needs kids, so she knows how to deal with him. Hell, she knows how to deal with me! I’m like most parents, I use his wants to control him. So, he wants a Playstation 4 for Christmas. Well, if you want a Playstation 4 for Chrsitmas, you’d better be on your best-est fucking behaviour while I’m on tour or you ain’t getting anything. If I have to quit my tour and come home because you’re being a pain in the ass, it’s going to be very hard to live here together. [laughter] One thing about my kid, though, is that I get all his teachers, all the people in my neighbourhood, all the older people and that, all say the same thing about him: that he’s well-mannered, very polite and always says hello and is very helpful. As you know, parenting is a very thankless job, so when I hear those things, those are my thanks.
[we will forever wonder if Benton's kid got that Playstation he was hoping for...]
In the Minds of Evil is out now on Century Media.