Time Waits For No One - Barney Greenway Speaks Out.
Napalm Death are no strangers to the Grind Core & Death Metal scene, having been the Godfathers of Grind Core since 81 when original members Nic Bullen (bass & vocals) & Miles Ratledge (drums) & Simon Oppenheimer (guitars). This line-up didn't last long and soon drummer Mick Harris met Shaun Embury (bass), Lee Dorian (vocals) and guitarist Bill Steer to recorded the masterful debut album 'Scum' for Earache Records. The debut was so successful even the likes of John Peel had them on his radio show doing a number of sessions. Touring with the likes of D.R.I. in the UK the band were soon in the studio recording their 2nd album 'From Enslavement To Obliteration' in 88. After this release Bill left to form Carcass, whilst Lee left to form Cathedral. Shane was left with Mitch to find new singer Mark 'Barney' Greenway ex Benediction, and 2 American guitarist were introduced to the band Mitch Harris and Jesse Pintado (ex Terrorizer) for the next album 'Harmony Corruption' 90. With this album heading in a more Death Metal approach but still the band held onto their Grind Core roots which to this day they still hold and have never sold out. With 13 albums released to date and a new album on it's way the band are still one of the finest if not the finest Grind Core band ever. I managed to catch up with Barney for another interview at this years Bloodstock festival, as it's been a while since the last interview. The weather was holding out so the interview was a success. Here is what Barney had to say.
So what's been happening with you guys Barney?
"Well we have been here, there and every fucking where (laughing). After the the stuff we have done it is hard to pin it down, & we do more than almost any other band by twice as many things.
I know you were the singer in Benediction at one point what else did you do before Benediction? Have you ever thought of doing a re-union album with them?
"Well I had a few other bands around Birmingham doing Punk stuff. No I wouldn't go back and do a re-union album. I enjoyed what I did with them at that time, it was great and I love the lads but doing the Death Metal thing was ok but I wanted a little bit more in the end. I think joining Napalm Death was the perfect thing really."
Some people maybe wondering how you got the job with Napalm Death, so could you just tell me how you got the job?
"Well I knew the guys and I use to hang about with them and when they gigged I use to travel with them in the van a few times. I was really good mates with Mick & Shane and they knew I could handle the vocals so I was over the moon when they asked me to join the band. I was so excited I had a BMX at the time and I drove it into a post box (laughing) and fucked myself up!!"
When you look back at the albums you have recorded with Napalm Death, which ones stand out for you and why?
"Well I think my favourite would have to be 'Utopia Banished' because it is overlooked sometimes and it was a really smooth album and fun to make. I also like 'Enemy of the music Business' was a really good album too, and I think every album after that was great. (Ed: What that title chosen because of the way that bands get fucked over by a lot of record companies?) Well yes in a way, it was a number of things really, it was a statement saying that you can be a independent band but don't get rolled over by the the business side of things."
I really like the 'Harmony Corruption' album but I thought the overall sound was a little thin, do you agree?
"Yes it was, but Scott Burns only did what he thought was right at that time. He has taken a lot of shit in the past but I don't think it was right for Napalm Death and I love Scott and I would not rag on him for what he did for us. Scott works great with other band but for us we need a more nasty and horrible sounding album for our music to shine through."
Having been on the T.T.F. Friday show here in the UK, how was it for you to be on that show with Chris Evans?
"Well that was pretty interesting you know, it was a laugh and I can't remember how it came about. Chris Evans was going mad, he was really into it."
You have been a a few labels now with the likes of Earache, Spitfire, Snapper, & now Century Media. What happened with Spitfire and Snapper Records?
"Well you know I would not shout the down in flames, they did what they would do as a label and they were more of a re-issue labels, especially Snapper. We don't ask for the world but we do want them to promote the band enough. Snapper were pretty nice people to work with same thing with Spitfire really."
Before signing to Century Media, what other labels did you approach for the next record deal?
"I really don't think there was many other labels to be honest, we did have an offer from 'Epitaph' the Punk label but Century Media just seemed like the right choice at that time, and is still the right choice now. We will stay with them and resign with them I think."
Out of the 3 albums you have done with Century Media, which is your favourite one and why?
"Well they have all got there own qualities and I think 'Smear Campaign' I really loved doing that album. It was recorded in Wales, and I don't why I like it so much? I think it could be the flow of the album to be honest. I love the cover for the album too."
Do you think it is difficult to produce an album like yours with all the blast beats?
"I think it is a non production in some ways, Russ Russell produced it but it is meant to be fucking noisy with that level of control is not for Napalm and the production we use would not suit most of these Death Metal bands."
I know you are one of the top bands who have influenced so many Grind Core bands, do you agree?
"That is not for me to say Jason, it's up to the bands in general."
So what are the plans to do a new album? Will it be released or recorded this year 2011?
"Yes it is all done, it just needs to be mastered and the label are going to get some bits together for the title but I don't want to say anything about the album title right now if that's ok (Ed: that's fine Barney)."
Are you happy with the why the album has turned out? Has Russ handled the production again?
"Yes I'm happy with the production, Russ is doing the production again.
How long did it take to record the new album?
"Well it took about 2-3 wks to record, same as we usually do with no special guests on the record.
Recording the new albums must be hard without Jesse, could I be right?
"Well no it's not too hard anymore, I do think about him as a friend, but with the whole Jesse thing I am quiet philosophical about it, it was devastating for his family. I respect freewill and he knew what he was doing and he wasn't oblivious to that fact what he was doing. It was alcohol that killed him. I don't drink on tour but I do drink to the excess."
Did you ever think of finding a replacement for Jesse when he died?
"No not at all, you have to remember that when Jesse was out of the band at that time and he wasn't always there for gigs, so Mitch had to cope with that. We never thought of getting a replacement, because Mitch could handle it and we didn't see the point of having somebody new into the band we didn't feel it was necessary.
Will is the album going to be released then?
"I think it will be early next year, about February. (Ed: No Xmas specials then, no Xmas album? haha!!) No not at all because you have to out all that religious nonsense on there."
As this is your 2nd time at B.O.A., how was it the 2nd time around, how does it compare to the 1st time?
"It was very good, just as good as the 1st time. When we 1st played here we wasn't sure how the crowd would react to us, but this time they loved us."
I noticed you played a Cryptic Slaughter song today, who's idea was it to cover that song live?
"We always do 2-3 cover songs and we just decided to leave that 1 in. We had to shorten our set. Mitch picked that song."
Do you have any more touring plans this year?
"Yes we have a Canadian tour coming up for 3 wks, Russian tour. (Ed: is there any countries you haven't played yet?) Well I would like to play some of the Arab countries, Africa. We do have a big fan base and all our albums are on bootleg labels out there."
Do you plan on doing a live DVD sometime soon?
"Well we might but I am reluctant to put out DVD's that have the 2 gigs, 30 minutes of the band talking shit at the end. Fuck that!!"
I know our friends with Yngwie Malmsteen and Geoff Thorpe (Vicious Rumors), have you ever thought of doing an album with them both, be interesting to hear some great guitar work with Barney vocals.
"Well Yngwie thinks were fucking mad, he thinks were funny and I think the album would be shit (laughing). Never say never?
I don't believe you have played in my home city of Hull, would you ever consider playing there?
"Yes we would, I know there's a venue there, we have played every where else so why not? We don't ask for a lot of money (Ed; Well here's £5) OK we will play then (laughing)."
Well Barney thanks for taking your time out and doing the interview. Do you have anything to say?
"Yeah thanks for the interview Jason, it's good to see you again. We hope our fans like the shows and the new album when it is released. Take care and keep spreading the word!!"
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Thank's to Sarah @ C Media & Barney for the interview.