"Friends: People who borrow my books and set wet glasses on
AN INTERVIEW WITH ANATHEMA
by Richard Karsmakers
When Peaceville's Andy Turner mentioned Anathema and My Dying
Bride performing at the Tilburg Noorderligt venue on February
19th I was thrilled to say the least. I asked for permission to
take photographs and that kind of thing, which Andy claimed would
be no problem. He'd even put me on the guest list if I wanted.
Is the pope a catholic?
Upon arrival I ran in the almost proverbial complications that
have haunted me forever and that I'm afraid will keep doing so
until the day I die. I wasn't on the guest list. Andy wasn't
there. I had just sold my cheap pre-sale ticket to a friend.
Eventually I talked my way in. Permission to take photographs
was allowed to anyone who bothered to, so that proved no problem
On the way to the concert, however, I had gotten the idea to
perhaps get backstage and attempt sortof an impromptu interview
with both Anathema and My Dying Bride. But with Andy not there I
had a lack of a contact person. Luck laughed me right in the face
when Darren, singer of Anathema, crossed the hall to the door
backstage. I walked up to him and asked if perhaps he remembered
me from the Dynamo gig last year - he politely said he did - and
whether it'd be possible to have a short interview with them.
"No problem," he said, grinning, and bull-shitting me past the
backstage door security people even though I had no backstage
I felt really uncomfortable, don't know why. Anathema are a
great band but nothing like, say, Prince or Paul McCartney or
Metallica. Somehow I felt nervous to the extreme, and I started
making silly English mistakes and reacting in a positively weird
fashion to answers, which all became evident when I listened back
to the interview tape. What follows is faithful a transcription
as I can make of it. Do note that it's not censored in any way,
and especially fond supporters of the English conservative cause
might find particular passages gruesomely offensive.
Hi guys. Let's start off with a bit of a cliche and ask you your
full names and birth dates.
Darren (vocals): Darren John White, 20-2-1962.
Duncan (bass): Duncan Jon Patterson, 5-6-1975.
John (drums): John James Douglas, 11-7-1973.
Vinnie (guitar): Vincent Cavanagh, AD 33 (couldn't make anything
better of this).
Danny: Daniel The Antichrist, 6-6-1966 (though this date is
With this interview I aim to give people some sort of impression
of who you are, besides the Antichrist in your mids that is. So
what, for example, were your first albums you ever bought, and
which album made the most impression on you ever?
Darren: Maiden's "Killers" was my first and also the most
impressive. I don't like the current Maiden a lot, "Seventh Son"
is the last of their albums I got.
Duncan: "On Parole" by Motorhead. The most impressive was
"Killers", and I'm not just saying that to be a stupid bastard.
Vinnie: My first was Santana's "Amigos" because the guitar solos
were that good. Most impressive'd have to be Iron Maiden, the
first album, I think everything that came after was shaped from
John: "Number of the Beast" (by Iron Maiden, ED.) was the first.
Ah...I remember that day well...most impressive is probably
Bathory's "Blood Life Death" or something.
Danny: "Ride the Lightning" was my first, and that's probably
the album that made most impression on me - either that, or
"Master of Puppets". That's what got me into metal most, like, so
I guess that's it. "Reign in Blood" by Slayer is also an
absolutely amazing album.
I guess the readers might be interested in what your next album
will be like. Any things you'd care to divulge?
Darren: Well, it will be called "Rise Pantheon Dreams" and will
be out in September. We've already written some songs, but we
won't be playing them tonight. Some titles are "The Torture of
Spring Adoration of Winter" and "Remember Me", a really hypnotic
one. The music will be in the same vein, but heavier and
hopefully many times better. There will be more emotion. We don't
want people just to cry, but slit their wrists. We hope it'll be
produced by Horst Mueller (he did "Sentence of Death" and
"Infernal Overkill" with Destruction and Kreator's debut "Endless
Pain", ED.) but otherwise we'll just do it ourselves.
Danny: Our ultimate aim is to make an album that would cause
someone to blow up the house of parliament. If we actually make
an album that would move someone to do that, then we'll have
succeeded as a band.
Do I spot a few IRA tendencies there?
Darren: No, not IRA, but terrorist. Terrorists in the right way.
Danny: It's important to know who your enemy are. The IRA just
kills loads of people.
Darren: The enemy is society, not other people.
Onto the favourites department. This was a really difficult but
because the group members were spread throughout the room with
some of them yelling assorted remarks at each other. I passed
them a few suggestion on what they might consider mentioned their
favourite of, leaving it mostly to themselves.
Duncan: My favourite bass player is Cliff Burton. My favourite
TV series is "Neighbours" and those weird Channel 4 animation
programmes. Fave bands are Hellhammer and [Celtic] Frost.
Favourite food would be a pie, or my self-made pizzas. I'm quite
an expert at pizzas. My favourite drink is milk, or Guiness.
Darren: My favourite singer is Paul Diana (did he mean Rox
Diamond's Paul Daniels with that?! I don't know, ED.), favourite
band Iron Maiden, but at the same time it's Slayer and probably
loads of others. Loads of bands, Uriah Heep, Status Quo,
Motorhead, sure. Venom, Saxon, [Celtic] Frost. My favourite food
Vinnie: I like some good death metal bands, but there are too
many gutter bands. My fave guitarist? Dave Murray, fuckin' Dave
Someone burst in with the latest Aston Villa results ("what? Get
out of here?!", that kind of thing). As to relieve the tension,
the first band of the evening - the Dutch band Sad Whisperings -
start playing a mere few yards above our heads. I worry about the
sound quality of the interview recording but things turned out
all right. Vinnie continues...
Vinnie: I really like bacon sandwiches, and Guiness now and
again. I watch "Prisoner" (the TV series, ED.) a lot, but it's
gonna be crap now.
John: I like the TV series "Mr. Ben", a child's cartoon. My fave
drummer is Clive Burr (with really old Iron Maiden, ED.). He's
excellent, and I like his smile too (mimics the smile, much to
everyone's amusement). My favourite food is pasta.
Dave: I like all kinds of music, but especially heavy metal, all
kinds. I don't watch much television but I listen to a lot of
music. My favourite guitarist is Ty Tabor of Kings X. He's
totally underrated. Early Kings X has some really good vocals,
too, by the way. I like vegetarian food (Dave is the band's
vegetarian and probably every caterer's nightmare probably, ED.),
spaghetti and all that. Also I really like Corn Flakes. I'm a
real Corn Flakes fiend.
Next is the "words to react to" section. Please burst forth with
whatever comments you might want to put forth.
Dave: It's a very powerful tool for the government. They just
play the trendy stuff, don't they? Vanessa Warwick should try to
stick to the same hairstyle for a few shows.
Vinnie: Anathema think Vanessa is sound, and you can quote me on
My Dying Bride.
Darren: You have to ask Kevin about that.
My attention hops onto a fellow who was totally inconspicuous,
whom I presumed was a guitar roadie of sorts. However, it turns
out that Kevin is the fan, as Anathema members say, "A Fellow
Crusader". He might be splendid and all, but he's not overly
Kevin: They're all right.
Vinnie: Ask Kevin what he thinks of Anathema.
Well, Kev', what do you think of, er...Anathema?
Kevin: Ssshhh...(sighs a profoundly deep sigh)...no
comment...OK, they're good.
So far for the one-off appearance of their No. 1 English fan.
Dutch beer, then?
Darren: I like it! I like Kroon (it's the stuff they're
Vinnie: Duval! Duval! (He probably means Duvel, ED.)
Dave: He's an OK bloke. He's very image-conscious (referring to
Hammy appearing on MTV with eyes blotted out), a rabid
smoker...next question please.
Darren: Fuckin' heavy metal!
Darren: Fuckin' twat, absolute bollocks. He's a real bad
bastard. He's got no brains to save his bollocks, no bollocks to
save his brains. No feet to save his ass, no ass to save his
Vinnie: (Mimicing John's mode of speech) I'd just like to say
here, John, you don't have to think for yourself...it's all laid
Darren: That's what he would say.
Dave: Up your fuckin' barstool, that's what I would say. You pay
your dues like the rest, poofter, you're nothing.
OK then, now for something less sensitive...Holland.
Darren: Coffeeshops...windmills and Johan Cruijff.
Darren: They're shit...nah...they're usually good fun, and
always a laugh. This one's all right (I look away sortof
embarrassed, well, he's just being polite again).
I suppose you had many interviews with even more questions. Have
you been waiting for this one magic question that you're dying to
give the answer to, yet noone asked it? What question would it
Most of the speech is blotted out for a moment when Dave and his
girlfriend go off through a direct stage exit to have a listen to
Sad Whisperings, bidding me goodbye. Darren thinks for a while,
as if this is some kind of golden opportunity.
Darren: It would have to have something to do with the
Er...(I think for a while)...what do you think...WAS HE GUILTY
OR WASN'T HE?
Darren: He hasn't been tried yet, but he's fucking guilty. I'm
gonna kick him in the fucking bollocks. I'm gonna be the Roman
that put the spear in his side. I'll be one of the fellas that
goes see the cave, pull back the stone. That's who I'll be. Or
I'll be Jesus himself. I have the holes in my hand already (shows
holeless hands to convince me).
Vinnie: (Interrupts) Can I say this? Michael Jackson is a fuckin
kiddy fiddler. Everybody knows.
Darren: At first I thought he was innocent.
Vinnie: I think he's uncle Ernie. Himself.
The band ramble on a lot about Michael Jackson and his supposed
actions. It's not that this bit is censored or anything, but it's
impossible to make out anything. Three people are cursing at
Michael Jackson and, of course, Sad Whispering is still wreaking
havoc mere yards above us. When the discussion has died down I
throw in my last question.
Are your songs in any way autobiographical, wholly or partly?
Darren: They are an attempt to make the spirit of people (gets
on the right track now)...I want to raise the dead. I wanna make
all the spirits start becoming alive again. I want people to get
into metal to become kings. Kings of their own world,
invididuals, and proud of it. I want metal to do something good.
I don't want to label my lyrics. It's all, like, just an attempt
to raise people's spirits, to show them how shit the world is.
And with that profoundly deep quote, surely the most sensible
quote this side of what must have been 4 litres of beer per
person, I concluded this chaotic but revealing interview.
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.