In our beloved scene, there are names which can’t let people without reactions, and the one of Martin Van Drunen belongs definitly to this category. Taking his influences from gods like Lemmy, Cronos, Jeff Becerra and some others, we can say that Martin managed to become himself someone really influential in the Dutch Death Metal scene with his unique voice. Few Death Metal grunts from nowadays have got the class and the earcrushing power of Martin’s vocals, and also few have such a strong personality!!! Yeah, the dude is someone who really knows where he comes from, and also where he’s going, and even if nowadays he quit the Metal microcosm, I can tell you that he’s not infected by the PARADISE LOST syndrom… No, he doesn’t spit on his Metal past, nor scorn the people who made of him a cult singer, and no, he’s not big headed at all. So, be prepared to read the longuest interview ever done with him (maybe I should start a Death Metal encyclopaedia, hahah)…
First of all, I’d like you to present yourself to our readers, because some of them simply don’t know you, or just by name.
Well, what can I say? The name’s Martin van Drunen and I’m one of the old farts from a long gone Death Metal era. So skip this page if you’re not bothered with shit from the past. Read on, and you will find this not the standard-protocol interview. Sit back, relax, have a beer or something else for the mind, coz this is gonna be a long one. Erh…where was I? Oh yes, so Martin van Drunen is the name and I played in bands like Pestilence, Asphyx, Comecon, Bolt Thrower, Submission and lately I’m associated with a project called Death by Dawn. Most of the time I grunted, but occasionally I played bass in some of these noisesquads. Age: 36. Length: 1.90m. Long hair (despite all the rumours): grey / brown / blond. Eyes: blue / grey (if not intoxicated). Profession: foreman at a clothing distribution centre, running the ware-house. Things I like: music, movies, novels, games, having a good time, the more intellectual conversations and of course good looking and interesting women (including versatile sex, haha).
When did you begin to listen to our lovely music? When did you start to play an instrument? As a child, were you often a lonesome guy or did you like to play with other boys? What age is the worth according to you?
Now here’s a fine question. That’s why this took me such a long time. Your editor indexes this as no.2, But I read 4 fuckin’ questions! And still 25 to go!!! The first heavy tones I remembered hearing and liking were in ‘Satisfaction’ from The Rolling Stones back in ’69 when I was 3 years old. Never forgot that starting riff and always liking and remembering it. Bones, blood and core were infected for life. In ‘75 I saw Kiss on TV. Killer show, aggressive music, biting riffings. Hard rock to the core. I was enchanted and hooked. Bought everything, miming their act with a self made wooden guitar. Spaceman Ace, the hero. I spread it all around the hood. Parents forbid their children playing with me, coz I brought bad news. Playing and liking it loud I checked AC/DC, Van Halen until the NWOBHM (= New Wave of British Heavy Metal ) arrived. Maiden, Saxon, Judas Priest and then Motörhead (but they had been around for a while). I thought it was the end of noise. But boundaries were about to be broken. Venom raised from the dark deserted depths of hell. And that’s where it all started. Metallica, Slayer, Voivod, Hellhammer / Celtic Frost, Bathory. Everything the established Metal press hated I bought. Heavy Punk came in too, with the likes of The Exploited, Discharge and early grinders MDC. The rest followed soon after. German Thrash like Sodom, Kreator and Destruction. Hardcore acts like Cro-Mags, Agnostic Front and Cryptic Slaughter. Carnivore stood up. There was a lot of good and hard stuff then. Until I found myself joining a Metal band. I tried to play guitar when I was about 12, but my dad didn’t let me use the amp at full volume, so I quit, hating it acoustic. Later Mameli forced me to learn bass, coz Pestilence needed a bass player. By that time I was 21. As a kid I was on the streets playing football most of the time. Lots of fighting too, haha. I had a big mouth. But I also could withdraw myself in my room playing and miming KISS. I wasn’t a shy kid. Had to prove myself all the time, coz I had no mother (she died when I was 6) and my dad tried hard to find a decent replacement. Besides, I wasn’t from there. I came from another part of the country and spoke with a different accent. Kids can be cruel, you know. I was different from the others. So I had to prove myself all the time. A self made survivor. But overall I got along well with other kids but I also liked to be a loner. That’s still so. What do you mean by ‘what age is the worth?’ The best age in life or to start with Metal? I guess the first, huh? I feel comfortable now that I’m 36 although I’m still growing mentally. Every emotion triggered by various thrills. You think you know yourself so well, but still you’re shattered when you find you didn’t react like you expected to do on a certain mindblow. Not that I mind. I enjoy new and exciting experiences, even if they’re negative. Part of the lifelong learning process. And I already had so many experiences. Went down, got up, went down and got up again. Over and over. Love and hate, pain and pleasure, sadness and happiness. So much to add. Life in all its varieties. I’m self confident, feel good about what I do and the life that I lead. And that has been different… Even being an idol for some at the age of 22. A shade compared to what I am now. Got everything I need, do anything I want. And as a single male there’s all these beautiful women. Life tastes good. Finally… after all these rough years. Yeah, I’m enjoying and caressing this age.
I guess that you didn’t start first with the underground bands. Could you explain your motivation to dig more into the Metal scene. Which are the bands you tried to contact by mail at this time? What kind of feelings have you had the first time you listened to bands like Motörhead, Venom, Possessed and Celtic Frost?
I already mentioned above where I started with. But funny enough, before I got into the more extreme stuff, I wanted to know where its roots were laying. So I did some research and went back in time. It was an interesting journey. From Kiss to Grand Funk to Led Zeppelin and to MC5. Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Rolling Stones and The Kinks. Elvis Presley and Little Richard. James Brown, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. Even forgotten icons like Blind Boy Fuller. Which brought me to the spirituals, the songs the slaves sang on the cotton-plantations. So Metal is black music after all! No, just kidding, but the rhyms and rhythms come from Africa. Classical music is for the white man. And in me is black rhythm and blues. Armed with that knowledge I had a world of music coming and I still have a long list to add to my collection. This all happened long before I joined Pestilence. I was well aware of my musical roots at an early age. It still is very important to me but it seems it is not to most Metal fan. Which is a shame. Every man and women should know his or her roots. Also the musical one. So digging in the past made me ready to start digging into the future. Looking for extremities, I spend hours in the record store. Finding Possessed, Dark Angel, Death etc. The first band I contacted was Sadus. Still an old fave ‘o’ mine. Their first shreds!! I wrote with Steve DiGorgio, who controlled his Rickenbacker like a madman. We exchanged stuff like shirts and tapes. Later on I got mail from a lot more bands. The other bandmembers were also in contact with several bands so we had a wide network and traded tapes. Funny, but it all happened so natural. We liked them and they liked us. Seemed like one big family. How can I describe the feeling the bands you mentioned gave me? Pushing jaws tight, pumpin’ adrenalin, shaking head, trembling stomach… Ultimate aggression!! I practically fed on the noise. They gave me a kick!
The roots of Pestilence are into Thrash Metal. I know that Patrick Mameli (guitar) was not a lot into the personality of Slayer but would you please tell me your tastes in a matter of Thrash Metal, at the time of the first Pestilence demo?
You got that wrong about Patrick. At that time he liked "Hell Awaits" and "Reign In Blood" a lot. In fact we did a lot of Slayer at our rehearsal room. I remember us doing ‘Hell awaits’ and ‘Necrophiliac’. He just wasn’ t charmed by the solocapabilities of Jeff and Kerry. And Toms bassplaying was even worse than mine. That’s how Pat convinced me to start playing bass. He swore that Araya wasn’t doing bass in the studio, coz live he was constantly doing EEEEEEEEEEEEE. And he was right. But as a band, Slayer were godz to us. Killer riffings and compositions with terrorizing vox. The whole band liked them. The whole band went to Essen to check them live. What we all liked as a collective at that time was next to Slayer, Possessed, Kreator, Exodus, SOD and Death. I mean the year was ’86 and there wasn’t so much around as 1 year later. Personally I was also into Frost, Venom, Dark Angel, Sodom and Death Angel. Holy Terror’s second also a classic. The rest of the band dug Testament, but somehow I didn’t. A little Anthrax maybe too (it’s all long time ago and I have a feeling I’m forgetting something important). Yep, Infernal Majesty and Canadian Slaughter.
Talking about Thrash Metal, what do you think about this scene nowadays? What’s your opinion on the last Slayer, Testament, Megadeth, Destruction, Sodom and Kreator albums? What do you think about the Exodus reunion and the Nuclear Assault comeback on stage? And to finish with this long question, what do you think about the Dutch band Dead Head, that never get the following it deserved?
I can’t say much about that. The last Slayer I bought was "Divine Intervention" and still don’t know why I bought it in the first place. After that I lost interest. In the whole Metal scene that is. So I’m completely unaware of the situation nowadays. And I can’t give an opinion about something I don’t know. I don’t know the latest albums of the bands you mentioned so there’s nothing for me to say. What I can say is that I’m not willing to hear them. I just don’t give a fuck about these bands no more. They’ve had their time so what should be new? I like to remind them how they were and what they meant to me and say thanx for some cult albums. Same with this reunion shit. I wonder what makes them doing it? The kick of being on stage, money, or just the ignorance and not realizing that their time is over? Thinking that they still have a lot of fans who like to see them. They’re in a dream and not waking up. If it didn’t work then, why would it work now? Maybe I’m wrong and they’re simply having fun but I’ve been too long in the scene to know how 99% of the players think. They can’t and won’t get out, and it takes a lot of courage to get out of the Metal musicindustry and find something else where you belong. Dead Head was one of the better acts in the Netherlands. Nice guys, but them failed that extra magic you need as a band. Hard to explain what I mean by that. Let’s say it’s charisma I’m talking about. Without that, you’re lost.
If I’m not wrong, you met Patrick Mameli in the town of Enschede. Was it a good place for Metal freaks at that time? Have you an explanation for the fact that the Netherlands have always had a strong Metal underground with a lot of bands that became cult in their genre. What was the press you used to read in the middle of the ‘80’s. Are you still into the Metal fanzines, and if yes, which ones?
Sorry, but you’re wrong again. I met Patrick when he joined a band of some friends of mine that didn’t last long and played only covers. He was 15 and already a promised guitar player doing Kirk Hammet better than Hammet could do himself. He simply blew us away! We got along well both liking Slayer. So when I bounced up to him in Enschede a couple of years later, we knew what to do. Enschede was for Metalheads much better than, let’s say, Amsterdam. Besides the East of the Netherlands brought forth a lot of Metal acts. But except for the Atak venue where tons of bands played and which was also our rehearsal room, there wasn’t much going on. Lots of bangers though. It’s hard to give an explanation but I’ll give my best shot. First is that we are heavily influenced by the UK and the US concerning music, programs and air play. What’s hot there, we easily take over. English is no barrier as much can speak that. Then we have a lot of venues where bands are able to play and a lot of maniacs who come to the shows. A completely unknown band can pull easily 100 people. Enough for the venue to make profit. And that’s how bands grow. Learning from others and practising. And here in the East of our country, people are proud of where they’re from and the bangers support their local bands strongly. Pestilence, Asphyx, Dead Head, Altar, Genetic Wisdom, Death Squad all had a strong following and came from the East. So it’s a mixture of influence, the opportunity to play a lot of shows and heavy support that does it I guess. There wasn’t so much Metal press then, but I got my information from Aardschok, Kerrang!, RockHard and Metal Hammer. I was into fanzines, doing tons of interviews worldwide, but lately I don’t know what’s around. I also haven’t got the time to read some. This interview has already taken me three evenings, haha.
Even if Pestilence has strong roots in Thrash Metal, the way you played at that time was already a step further… I mean you were from the first wave of Death Metal. What do you think about the production of "Malleus Maleficarum" and "Consuming Impulse" nowadays? How come that you produced these Death Metal classics with Kalle Trapp and Harris Johns respectively? Were you addicted to the German Thrash Metal sound? Was it expensive to work with such cult producers? How was the life in the studio during the two recordings?
This is gonna hurt you, but I think both productions suck! Well, that’s what I think nowadays. Kalle turned us into some Destruction clone ,coz he was so narrow minded in original sounds. Our specific sound was a lot heavier than on "Malleus…", but he couldn’t do the job. He had this Destruction sound in his head and nothing else. And that makes him a bad producer if you can’t get a band his own sound. We were frustrated during the recordings, but then Roadrunner picked him to do the job. It was all their idea. We had nothing to say and he was available. But we wanted to record the album anyways. Harris was a lot better. We chose him because of Voivods "Killing Technology" (which is still a fuckin’ all time classic!!!) Now Harris could do the most important thing right, the guitars. They sound killer! But I hate my voice on that album. Its too loud on the music, and now I can do a lot better. I have to say honestly though that both man are nice blokes. As persons, they’re allright. And expensive too. Let’s say each costed us 15.000 Euros. To me life in the studio was boring. I always hated studiosessions. I’m more a live performer. Most of the cuts I do in studio’s are in one take , just to get rid of the shit. Not that I’m no perfectionist, but I do it all because of the stage. A studio doesn’t get that adrenalin pumpin’. And I need that to be at my best. Besides when I sing in the lines, most musicians are satisfied immediately. An album takes me two afternoons. Then I quit. It’s just the boring part of the job. Of course you discuss a lot in a studio. Long nights. But you have to stay as sober as possible and can’t go out every night. But a beer here and there takes the boredom away. I mean what else is there to do except for watching vids or TV? And that for two weeks. Yuk! Luckily with Asphyx we did "The Rack" in three days. Just put us on tape as we are and fuck it all! Motörhead style. VROOOOMMM!
As a matter of fact you don’t play the bass on the two Pestilence albums, because it was too technical and too fast for you, as you played with the fingers. Then, how was it on stage, as you sung and played the bass at the same time? Were you often out of the tempo? How did you work your basslines? How did the process of composition happen in Pestilence ? Did you compose some riffs, or was it just the work of the two guitarists?
It had nothing to do with fingerplaying style, but with the fact that during the "Malleus…" recordings I only played bass half a year! So how was I to keep up with Patrick who was handling his axe already 15 to 16 years. Pat sensed this too and offered to do the lines. Same on "Consuming…". It saved us expensive time too. It took him a day. Although I felt ready for it at that time. But afterwards he was right. It would have been a mothafuckin’ struggle for me! Now for the shows I practised a lot at home. Bass and singing. We worked out the so called Slayer / Araya plan. The basslines were adapted to my possibilities. They fitted the music and supported the drums but were much easier than the actual riffings. It was difficult in the beginning, tell me about it! But in the end I got more confident on the bass and felt really good about it. This shit took me hours and hours. You can unfortunately never give 100% for each job. You have to focus on two things at the same time and that’s rough. But somehow I managed and got better and better. Pat and me always worked out the bass lines. He made them easier for me without losing the heaviness. The songwriting was a natural thing. Mameli did most of the riffings. And when he came up with a shredder we all freaked for half an hour on the goddamn riff! Now that was the sign we were all completely into it. Same with Uterwijks contributions. They came up so spontaneous with the riffings, unbelievable. Both of them took care of that. There was no time for me to get in between so I concentrated on the lyrics together with Marco. I mean there was a time when we had so much riffs, we threw away four complete songs! I still have those rehearsals somewhere. Must be a shock for every Pest-fan. There was this song called ‘Trifunctionality’. A seven minute epic. In the end we used one riff for ‘Deify Thy Master’. ‘Chronic Infection’ completely different. The tape was never spread and those songs were never used. When we had enough riffings we started arranging them. I had a big part in that process. We called it riffglueing. Then came the lyrics and that was all.
How comes that you sing with such a special and unique way? Who were the vocalists that influenced you in the beginning? (I guess, maybe Jeff Becerra from Possessed). What do you think about Kam ‘The Tyrant’ Lee’s voice ( inger of Death during the demos and then Massacre and nowadays in Cadaverizer)? Do you like the deep grunting voices in the new American Death Metal scene? While you sung in Bolt Thrower, did you try to change your voice into a more low tune or was it near from what we hear on the Comecon’s "Converging Conspiracies"? Do you like Theo Loomans voice on the Asphyx "Embrace The Death" and "God Cries" and also on the demos?
It was all a long journey before I finally reached the point were I knew what I could do with my voice in this particular genre. It happened on the ‘Consuming the States’ tour when my throat could handle anything. I found the best technique and the most brutal sound I could produce. But it took me three or four years to get that far. You see, my biggest problem in the Pest period were the long lines and the massive textpassages in the songs. With the "Malleus…" throat, I got sore and it gave me a headache, too much pushing, although I caught that Becerra touch. "Consuming…" was my first grunting effort but I didn’t control the technique. So I needed endurance, power and the sound. I found that on stage. Almost every Death Metal singer loses his voice on an extensive tour. Except for the cheaters who put their hands around the mic, but they’re shit. I never did. Sometimes it got overkilled, but it was so well trained that it always rehabilitated itself. I created my own style but I had some influences in Araya, Cronos, Warrior, Becerra, Wattie and Lemmy of course. But it’s not that I wanted to imitate their style. Of much more influence was the frontman aspect. And Cronos was a master in that. I saw Venom various times in their Black Metal time and he could play the crowd like they were his seeds! Massacre were a cult band and I was into them a lot. But in the beginning, Kam used sound effects. And to me that was way out of order. The deep grunting sounds are merely chants. If they could produce long lines and make the lyrics more understandable I might get some respect for them. Not that I have something against those guys, I mean Cannibal Corpse were really nice dudes when I met them but I never liked their kind of gore Metal (sorry guys). And that goes for the rest too. In Bolt Thrower I did sing lower tuned, coz it fitted better to their style. On the albums Karl did a good job, I liked it, so why change a successfull formula? I tried to sing it the way Karl did and that wasn’t difficult. Comecon was in that way different. My own style as Rasmus and Pelle liked it. On Theo I can be short. His voice and his English were shit. So was he as a person.
What’s your opinion about the evolution of this big label called Roadrunner? I know that they just gave you one copy of "Malleus Maleficarum" to each member of the band, and you had to buy the album for your family and friends… But did they do a good promotion and also some good tours for Pestilence? What was the label with which you preferred to work at that time? What’s your favorite label nowadays?
Roadrunner used us as they used and will use all smaller bands to finance and launch bigger acts or just to raise their bankaccounts. They still owe us a lot of money but we cannot prove that in court. To me, Roadrunner are organized crime like most of the record companies. We never got from them what we earned. Good thing that we all can download from the internet. In the end it will kill all record companies and that’s allright as they are all criminal organisations. Fuck them. It’s like pimps and whores, but then worse, coz whores make at least some money and we got shit. I prefer people to burn the old Pestilence albums from the internet, then to buy it from RR. So when we found out what RR really did for us, we started doing our own thing. I mean, all they did for us was a couple of gigs on the DRI / Gang Green tour (which was fuckin ridiculous coz what kind of a stupid bill was that, but we blew these bands off the stage anyway) and a joke of a promo tour with some stupid blonde chick called Alexandra who was more interested in getting laid with young band members (but she was an ugly and nasty bitch) then doing a good job. We had to do it ourselves again. So we did tons of one night or weekend shows to promote "Malleus…" and after "Consuming…" we had enough experience and contacts to set up our own tour. And ‘The Bloodbrother Tour’ with Autopsy and Bolt Thrower was a fact. In Germany Bolt Thrower was replaced by Morgoth as promoters over there preferred that band because they thought that they would pull more people. In the end all we needed RR for was to finance our recordings. Management, merchandise, promotion, we did it all ourselves. At that time we were thinking about Earache because that label had a lot of fine bands, but in the end Earache turned out to be bastards too (ask bands for details). Brings me to your last question, my favorite label nowadays. Better to say; which one is less worse. To me that was and is Century Media.
Your lyrics are not so ‘Death Metal cliché’ than what we use to read by bands like Cannibal Corpse and the likes. Where did you find your inspiration to write so good lyrics? Have you ever had a nervous breakdown? I find your lyrics on "Last One On Earth" (Asphyx) and "Converging Conspiracies" (Comecon) really great and when you talk about social problems it doesn’t sound naive or stupid. What are the things you like the most, and also you hate the most?
Well, cheerzz for the compliment. Yeah, I tried out a new way of writing on "Last One…", but unfortunately most people didn’t give a fuck. But I have to give the Comecon credits to Pelle and Rasmus as they wrote the whole album, but we shared pretty much the same visions and also had Punk roots. Inspiration? Reality! Starvation, social abuse, poverty, classjustice, capitalism, war and then I’m not even mentioning my own experiences in life. I still have about 120 potential songtitles on paper just in case. What I like most in life? Tolerance, equality, honesty, companionship. What I hate most? The opposite, intolerance, injustice, greed, desperation, religion, inequality. And yes, I had several nervous breakdowns in the past. I went deep, goddamn deep. I will never forget those periods. The feeling that life has nothing more to offer. Stranded. But I got out… with a little help of a good old friend. And in the end it made me stronger, more mature. And it won’t happen again as I know now how to fight it (why’d you ask?).
What’s the record you’re the most proud of? Do you like bootlegs, if yes, tell us a bit more about your collection? Have you some rehearsals or live recordings with Bolt Thrower?
Definitely "The Rack" as we did it in three days. No nonsense, no fuckin’ around, no bullshit. That was Asphyx as we were. Loud, rough and mean. Lyricwise I prefer "Last One…" but the Submission lyrics were a step further, but that project never recorded on vinyl. Or do you mean in my collection at home? My complete Kiss collection. I use to like bootlegs as an adolescent but later on I found bootleggers are lower than record companies. I mean professional bootlegging. There’s no harm in trading livetapes or so. I have nothing with Bolt Thrower during the time I was in. Probably Baz has some soundboard tapes.
How was your cooperation with Bolt Thrower? I read in the Necromaniac ‘zine # 3 that Gavin Ward says he didn’t give a fuck about the fact that your hair was falling, and wanted you to sing at this Full-Force festival. Were you kicked out of the band or did you decide to quit because of some divergencies? Some questions about Pestilence and Asphyx. I’ve read in several interviews that you lacked of professionalism sometimes. I mean you were not always really into rehearsals sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not criticizing, I’m just telling what I’ve read. I really enjoy every recording on which you appear. Have you something to answer to these critics against you or is it a past you prefer to forget?
On a professional basis the cooperation with BOLT THROWER was excellent and during my stay in England they treated me like a family-member. But those kinds of statements from Gav are typical. No-one orders me what to do. I mean, my long hair became a part of my personality over the years (and I had it long since I was 12 ) and I’ve sworn never to go on stage with short hair, so bad luck boyzz. That’s me. One man, one word. I’m a proud bastard. People shouldn’t fuck with my pride. So I quit. Besides, I had important things to do. And BOLT THROWER weren’t part of that. Lack of professionalism? Me? Hahahahahaha! If there was one professional mothafucka in the scene then it was me. And just because I canceled some shitty rehearsals they accuse me of that. It’s fuckin’ pathetic! Rehearsals are only relevant when there’s a need to it. With no tour or no recordings in the near future, it’s a waste of time. A healthy break. And how often did that happen? 3 or 4 times? What’s more important is being there when needed. 200%! And I always was there live or in studio’s except for the second Pest demo where I was suffering a serious hangover. But that’s rock’n’roll. Shit happens. After shows I spend hours walking through the crowd. Signing autographs on jackets, pix, fanzines, records, arms, posters and tits. Let fans take pictures, talk with them, doing interviews til 4.00 or 6.00 in the morning. To me that was essential. And where was the rest of the band? Yezz, got that right, backstage or in the bus. And if that wasn’t enough I took care of the crew, making sure they got their food and drinks, helping them carrying the backline or setting up the merchandise stand. Now tell me who’s the fuckin’ professional! If that’s all people can come up with, I’m not bothered. And to be honest I don’t give a fuck about all that band shit nowadays. It’s history.
What do you think of the evolution of each band you quit after your departure? Do you like to listen for yourself the records on which you’re singing and playing? Do you still practise the bass for yourself?
Well, Pestilence definately went the wrong direction. Afterwards I told Pat that it was better to have a side-project where he could freak on jazz. "Spheres" was the beginning of the end. Asphyx stayed the same, just doing in what they were good at. But they weren’t really evolving. They stayed on that same level. Just as Bolt Thrower did. You can do that for a certain time but eventually it will lead to regression. What Pestilence did was too radical but the other two are committing artistic suicide. Every self-respected musician needs progression, new influences, try-outs or improvisations. Fresh inputs. Those who don’t will realize in time that they are on a dead end track. To me as a performer, that’s deadly. I haven’t heard nothing from Comecon after "Converging" and Submission recruited a horrible (but that’s my personal opinion) singer. I once saw ’em live and wondered how he could screw up my original vocal parts the way he did. It was awful. I left as quickly as I could for a beer. I never listen to my own stuff. I’m no fool adoring myself. Those who do should consult a shrink. No time for playing bass. I’m a busy man.
Are you still a lot into Death Metal? What are the last bands you really enjoyed? What do you think about the actual underground and mainstream Metal scenes? To me, it seems that a lot of people of the new generation don’t try to know the roots of the genres they like.
A sharp conclusion, my friend. And exactly the reason why I lost interest in Metal in general. Now I’m an old fucker and revealed a bit of my Metal past. To me, Death Metal is dead. There’ no excitement in the latest scene. They’re young, but they’re no fresh blood. They shamelessly copy what others did before them or they are simply too stupid to realize that what they do has already been done. It’s nothing personal against those bands, but I always tried to be original in what I did. I quit listening when make-up wearing, evil posing, upturned cross tattood tots and the likes came up. People tried to convince me that they were so heavy! But the guitars sounded like buzzing flies and the lyrics were Venom-cloned. And then this new Black Metal Kindergarten turned out to be some Hitlerjugend too! I took distance. Fascism and national-socialism are the worse enemies of mankind. Which doesn’t mean I don’t listen to Death Metal. I still put on some old stuff like Possessed or Necrophagia, but nowadays I also listen a lot to Hardcore House music and Gangsta / Hiphop. But much more styles of music. Last bands I enjoyed? Napalm Death, Bolt Thrower, Varukers and Entombed. In Metal that is.
About Comecon, did you play some gigs with them, or did you take part in this band only for the "Converging Conspiracies" album? Which were your favourite Swedish bands at the time? Were the songs from "Converging…" already written when you entered the band? Were your lyrics already written before you get in touch with Comecon? Are you still in touch with these guys?
Actually, I helped Comecon out for one time. And it was a favour I did for Robert at Century Media. LG left Comecon, so they no longer had a singer. But all the songs were ready and recorded except for the vox. So Robert asked me if I was willing to do the job. And so I helped them out. I had absolutely nothing of the songs when I arrived in Stockholm. So on the Friday night I learned the songs and lines and I sang them in on Saturday and Sunday. And that was my only contribution to Comecon. No gigs, no touring. There was contact in the beginning but I haven’t heard from or seen them in years. All time Swedish fave of mine will always be Entombed (how are you guys?)
And now, some questions about nowadays… First, could you please tell me how Patrick Uterwijk is doing? Is he condemned by his disease or has he got some chance to struggle some more times? Are you still under medication, due to your past Alopecia? Have you still long hair? I know you’re still in touch with Patrick Mameli, but are you still in contact with other Pestilence and Asphyx members? Will you finally go to jail in a near future, or just have bail? What’s the last job you have had? And to finish with a less serious question, what’s your favorite Simpson’s episode and also your favorite Simpson’s character?
Again another fine short question. I’ve got the feeling I’m writing a fuckin’ novel here! Well, it has been more then a year now since I last saw Mameli. He was the one who informed me about Uterwijk. From what I know it’s not deadly on a short period, but the MS is not helping him to get old. Obviously his intense use of marijuana in the past has helped the disease not to spread that fast, so in that case he was a bit lucky. He will never be able to play guitar again though. I know scientists are working on an antidote, but nobody’s sure when they will finish their research. I hope he will experience that moment. Mameli often visits him in Amsterdam which is a very cool thing from him to do. Unfortunately I cannot reach Mameli, coz both his phone and internet connection are out of order. Guess I’ll drop him a letter… He told me Uterwijk would like it if he could see me again after all these years. My Alopecia Areata is allright. I have long hair again but it can come back anytime. There’s not much they can do about it and no medication is found yet. So I never was under medication. But it doesn’t hurt, except for my ego, and compared to other diseases It’s easily to bear. I’m much better off than, for example, Patrick Uterwijk. So there’s contact with Mameli and a couple of months Bob Bachgus gave me a call, but I’m not in contact with anybody else. After screwing Lady Justice I won’t go to jail. I already did my time and finished the sentence they gave me. I’m a free man again! My last job was what I said in your first question. Now I’m outta work. But that doesn’t really matter. I’m still heavily in doubt if it’s worth to be a salary-slave again. All companies treat their employers the way they want to; playing with people that is, so I figure they don’t deserve me. They’re all a bunch of greedy capitalist fuckin’ bastards! Rich and poor. Liberals and socialists. The two born enemies. Guess it’s always gonna be that way. A rat like me knows how to survive on the street anyway. Yo, man, I hardly watch television, except for the latest news and backgrounds, good docus and football, so I can’t mention a fave Simpson episode or character. Sorry. How about Vince in ‘La Haine‘ as one of my fave characters?
Here comes my usual question: if Death Metal was a beer, which one would it be, according to you? And also the typical Unholy Terror question: please give your definition of Death Metal!!!
Urgh, finally some easy questions. Beer: Stuttgarter Hofbrau. Definition: Imagine a bulldozer at full speed grinding, shredding and crunching the bones on a long forgotten cemetary. Heavy Metal on Death = Death Metal!
Here come the questions from Gabriël S. (Nihilistic Holocaust): what do you think about the "Spheres" album from Pestilence? Do you like the free Jazz influences they put in the music?
I don’t like the album at all. As I said above I told Patrick he should have done his Jazz freakin’ in another project. With that on "Spheres" he killed Pestilence. I do like Jazz once in a while, but not the free Jazz stuff. Allthough it shows their high musical skills. I appreciate what they’re doing, but I don’t like it.
You’ve had problems with alcohol and it has been part of the reason that lead to your departure from Bolt Thrower, according to some rumours. Is it past or are you still often drunk?
Can I have a mothafuckin’ moment of silence??? ……………………………… Where did you hear that shit??? Complete crap! I wonder how people come up with bollocks like that! But it does put a smile to my face, though. It’s just so funny. No, but seriously, just because I drink a lot doesn’t mean I’m an alcoholic. I know alcoholics and what the drug does to them, believe me. Same as speed, coke / crack, heroin or weed addicts. The thing with drugs is that you have to control it. Not to let the drug control you. And I know all about drugs. That goes for alcohol too. I never had a drinking problem. I always knew when I took too long. And after every tour I quit heavy drinking because I knew I had to. Sort of a obligatory addiction cure for myself. I mean, I drank several weeks on a row at least a crate of beer each day, so you can imagine my body was shaking a bit. But I never needed it to make me feel good, if you know what I mean? On tour it was always there. Thousands of bottles. And Metal and alcohol is like man and woman. They belong to each other. Other people smoked dope every day, I drank beer. So what. It had nothing to do with my departure from BOLT THROWER. All my perfomances with them were excellent (I never was drunk on stage). That was due to lack of respect from their side towards me. Just as every normal guy I drink a bit or get drunk (or seriously wasted ) once, on occasion twice, a week. Does that make me an alcoholic?
Please tell us more about the Submission side project, with which you released two demos. This band seems to have been different from the other in which you played. Did you take part in the process of composition, and are you still satisfied of what you’ve recorded with this band? Who played in this band?
I released only one demo with them. The second must be with the follow-up vocalist (please tell me he didn’t fuck up ‘Kartel‘?! ) Well, what’s there to say? One day Randy Meinhard phoned me and asked me if I was interested in doing something with him (musically of course, please, I’m 100% hetero). I was, coz he’s a good guitarplayer with an professional attitude. We started jamming and he came up with some shredding riffs. I had tons of ideas for lyrics so that was no problem. We soon had the following line-up: me – vox, Randy – lead guitars, Chris Konjetzki – guitars, Karsten ‘Kutte‘ Witte – drums and Chris Colli – bass. Everybody made his contributions to the compositions, but Randy did the riffings. I was chuffed to concentrate on the best lyrics I ever did as a performer. Nowadays I’m pretty pleased what we did on that demo. But then again, it was all done in a rush. The stuff we never worked out was a lot better though. The big difference with my other bands was that Randy had not a real Death Metal background and was the main music composer. We wanted to play Metal, but no specific kind of Metal. I was even thinking of doing something else with my voice too. Trying out other vocal styles. My normal singing voice is actually pretty bluesy which I’m quite proud of ‘coz I like past singers like Bon Scott, Angry Anderson, Ricky Medlocke, Rhett Forrester and Mark Farner (AC/DC, Rose Tattoo, Blackfoot, Riot and Grand Funk Railroad). But the unique thing in Submission at that time was that it was Heavy Metal, with a Death Metal voice.
Do you know the website called Death Metal Godz (linked on the Skull Fucked website). It’s a website dedicated to the old Death Metal bands like Asphyx, Sinister, Entombed, Carnage… with a lot of reviews, MP3’s, old interviews… If you already know this good website, can you tell your feeling about these kind of tributes?
I don’t know it, sorry… And because I need a new PC, I’m not on the Internet either. But the idea is allright, I guess. If people feel to dig into some old stuff, why not. For example, I got a lot of old DOSgames from the internet and I’m completely into Amiga-games. Cult stuff! So I can imagine people like other old material. For those purposes it’s a good medium. If somebody feels he has to make a tribute to a certain subject, let him or her do it. As long as it doesn’t contain scruffy things like Adolf Hitler, George Bush (sr. & jr), Pim Fortuyn, LePen, child-pornography, Stalin, TonTon Macoutes, fundamental religious crap, Pol Pot, Somoza, Julien Clerc, Saddam, Steven Spielberg, Pinochet, Norwegian humor, Idi Amin, Sharon, Bin Laden, David Beckham and Manchester United and of course American Football, I’m not bothered.
Have you taken part in the process of (suffocation?, ooops, sorry, natural thang, MvD) composition of Comecon, coz I find that some riffs sound like Pestilence? And did the guys from Comecon use a d-drum? Do you know what’s up with them nowadays? Do they still play music?
Most of this question I already answered somewhere in the middle of this novel, so you can get your info from that. About the d-drum, yezz, they used one. Cool huh?
Do you still listen to oldschool Death Metal (Morgoth, Entombed, Death…)? Have you opened your mind to other kinds of music like trip-hop?
Morgoth doesn’t belong in that row in my opinion. Put there Possessed, Infernal Majesty or Massacre instead, but yeah, I still listen to good healthy oldschool Death once in a while. Your pal Nathaniel, reminded me of Slaughter ("Strappado") and I almost forgot these elder godz (shame, shame). So now they’re blasting out of the speakers. ("Incinerator, works for a feast, Incinerator, where you expect at least, etc…") Sing along, Nate… I haven’t got a lot of trip-hop. Maybe a little Chemical Bros. But I like a lot of rap and hip-hop and also gabba, and hardstyle trance / house / techno. Blues too. Alternative stuff. Reggae, dub, jungle, drum’n’bass, speedgarage. I listen to what I like. I think that has always been a problem with Metal in general. There’s so much imagebuilding that it’s simply not cool (read: not done) to listen to other musicstyles. It’s not evil or hard or whatever. What would people say if Manowar (talkin ‘bout a typical Heavy Metal cliché…) were listening to Maria Callas (those ignorant yanks will know her probably just as much as they know Simone DeBeauvoir)? It simply doesn’t fit to their image. Same goes for Black Metal bands, dressed up like Bela Lugosi or grungies who think it’s cool to blow their brains out and to smell bad. It’s all about marketing strategies. I shook the burden of having and living an image off. If I feel like dancing… I dance. When I want to sing… I sing. And I feel sorry for those who can’t and won’t.
How do you see the evolution of bands like Deicide, Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse, who used to be much better in the beginning (according to me), and who actually play always the same music?
How happened to your last recording with Death By Dawn, this German Death Metal act? Will you keep on playing with them or was it just for one time? What do you think about their music?
Just don’t tell Pippo he’s German! He’ll say: ‘Waffangulo, eh’. He’s from Bari, Northern Africa, excusez moi, Southern Italy that is. Now, he’s the nephew of the most famous Italian Black Metal legend ever. His uncle was namely nobody less that the famous Paul Chain! He adores his uncle who was in the well-known bands Death-ss and Paul Chain Violet Theatre. (Pippo’s probably gonna kill me for all this bollocks, hahaha). No. The truth and nothing but that. I met drummer Filippo ‘Pippo’ Calzone at work where the two of us were handling about 200.000 pieces of Pokémon T-shirts. We got along really well, making jokes and working hard. And we both liked good looking women. I knew he was a Metalhead the way he looked like and one day he found out that I was Martin van Drunen. But I refused to sing. He already had this band and was looking for a singer. ‘Not me’ I said. Then one day (when we both had different jobs) he phoned me and stumbled that they were in the studio, but still didn’t have a singer. I decided to do it, coz he was a good college and I liked him as a person. Just to help him out, y’know. Two days to sing it in. ‘Relaxed’ I thought. But, HORROR, there were no lines, some fragments on paper that Pippo made up when he was wasted and nothing fitted. I mean, lyricwise. He didn’t even have songtitles. So I had to rewrite everything, if not write everything in two days. And also sing it in!!! Of all the studiowork I did, this was the roughest. And I hadn’t been singin for four years! I was fuckin’ exhausted afterwards. To be honest, I didn’t like the music. It wasn’t original. Not at all. As I said, I just helped them out. Next demo (I don’t sing on that one) is better, but still not very original (sorry Pippo). But they are growing. I might do some gigs with them, but just for fun. I have no intentions of getting back in the musicindustry on a professional basis. But I’m not saying ‘never’. Who knows what the future will bring?
These last words are yours Martin. I hope you enjoyed this long interview. Long life the cult albums you’ve released and thanks a lot for being a Death Metal legend!!!
Single white male, doesn’t look bad, 36, slim, long hair, educated, some call me a legend, likes to get in touch this way with all kinds of women (but I prefer dark haired / eyed) to make fun with, talk with, have (good & long ) sex with, get drunk with, make love with, write with, cry with, laugh with, kiss with, party with, read with and to do everything else with that man and woman do. Please send your responses to the editor of this ‘zine or to my address below: Martin van Drunen, Oude Lossersestraat 138, 7574 DD Oldenzaal, The Netherlands. If the guys printed some good pix of me then I prefer reactions with photo. It’s worth the try, ladies! But anybody else interested in my band past can drop a letter too. So, haha, cheerzz for the interview, lads. It was the longest on paper I ever did. Hope you enjoy the tapes and shirts Nathaniel. Thanxx to everybody in the past who supported me. And uhm…I don’t feel like a legend. Legends are often old and vaguely true… I feel young, very true and alive. I’m also only flesh and blood after all. For Mr. Bagchus: Yo Bob. I’m doing great! What about you? For Mr. Colas: Come to Les Pays Bas anytime you want. Cold beer and heavy schnapps in the fridge. I’ll pay you a visit in Strassbourg too when I can. And the women there too of course (oooh lala, Les beaux Françaises). We’ll stay in touch. Merci beaucoup et au revoir, mon ami. Martin
Interview: Nathaniel Colas, Gabriel S.
Live pics: Tonnie van Klooster (2), Claudia Hemmann (3), Peter Beermann (3), unknown (4)