Sunday, September 4, 2016
Tales From The Void
It was all set up. I got the questions down on paper, the tape recorder was locked and loaded and I was as ready as you can get. The time for the interview was set to 8 pm sharp and the A&R had been hassling all journalists to read the lyrics to the songs on the new album so we could discuss them. No questions about the past were tolerated.
7.58 pm. The phone rings and a voice from Los Angeles said: “Hi Magnus this is Blackie Lawless.”. This is the phone call I had been waiting for since 1984. And I missed to press the record button and missed the opening line I had been dreaming of since I was 13 years old.
Now, interviewing your old heroes can be very tricky. You tend to have too much respect for the artist you are talking to. Especially when the A&R-dude have sent you five e-mails before the talk with this message basically: Don’t piss Blackie off!
Interview starts. Blackie seems to be in a good mood. Talks, jokes and are a true gentleman but you get the vibe that this could change fast. And it did.
WASP was about to release “Dominator”. Blackie talks a lot about America and the politics after 9/11. He starts to talk about the constitution and quotes President Thomas Jefferson by saying: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” A moment of silence. Then he asks: ”Well, what do you think about that, Magnus?”.
I respond eventually in a bad way by asking him to elaborate on that and I can hear how his mood turns south with a long tired sigh sounding like he is sleeping in the fire. We finish the interview. I got an aching stomach. I write the article.
Two days later I get a mail from the A & R that Blackie has cancelled all media for now.
A year or so later. I get an interview with Glenn Danzig. Another of my heroes. He had a new album coming and the orders were kind of the same as with Blackie: “Don’t ask about Misfits or the line up on the first four albums. Glenn only wants to talk about the new album.” The call comes. I am dead nervous but remembered to press the record button this time. Glenn has a reputation of eating journalists alive. Once he answered 50 questions from a Swedish writer only with the words “yes” or “no”.
But Glenn had a good day. He was a true gentleman answering all questions with in depth talks about all and everything. Just one answer was cut short with a “no”. “That was a very Glenn Danzig kind of answer” I hear myself saying and realizing that I just might have signed my own death sentence.
Then Glenn laughed and said:
“Yeah, I know.”
So interviewing your heroes can go either way. You never know how it goes. Like that time when Jaz Coleman, the mad mastermind of Killing Joke, was abducted by a UFO in the middle of our interview. But that’s another story…