NAPALM DEATH’s BARNEY GREENWAY: ‚I Never Had The Desire To Be The Biggest Band In The World‘

Soundsphere magazine’s Don Smith recently conducted an interview with frontman Mark „Barney“ Greenway of U.K. extreme metal pioneers NAPALM DEATH. You can listen to the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). On his definition of „success“: Barney: „I would ask myself, I put that out there generally, I would rebound you back because it depends on what people define as ’success.‘ The thing is, my definition of achievement — I think that’s a better way to put it — is in the artistic sense. I never gave a shit about being a band that was huge and potentially doing something I was only half into. I never wanted to do that. So, success for me is… Yeah, of course, the band is kind of been on an upward trajectory for a while, but we’re not doing anything different. We’re just doing what we do anyway instinctively as people who are into making very noisy, very confrontational type of music. That’s what we do. Now, if that’s generally accepted in a way that continues to get bigger, then that’s fine, as long as we’re doing what we want to do, I don’t have a problem with that. The success part for me, like you say, having done stuff basically that ninety-nine percent of people will never do, like, basically touring the seven continents in the world. There are numerous things over the years that we achieved with the albums that we have made. That’s it, really. I never had any desire to be the biggest band in the world or anywhere near that. I’ve never bothered with that.“ On his vision for NAPALM DEATH’s future: Barney: „I want to be confrontational, noisy and the antithesis of being accessible in the sense of an easily digestible listen.“ On what motivates him outside of music: Barney: „If you want to take the kind of lyrical spread of NAPALM DEATH, it’s basically a day in the life of times every day for the rest of your life. That’s where the visions come from, that’s where the ideas come from. Because, obviously, as a band, we try to put ideas on the table that hopefully, ultimately will lead to a more equal world, a more peaceful world, where everybody lives in dignity, so people don’t have to worry where their fucking next meal is coming from, so they don’t have to worry about being evicted from where they live, so they don’t have all the sort of the challenges you’re talking about. That’s what drives me, really, in NAPALM DEATH. That might be a very simple thing to say and some might think a little bit trite, maybe, but that’s literally what it is. It’s nothing more and nothing less. I’m an ideas person in terms of what I do in my band. I’m always driven by ideas. Like material things tend not to motivate me. You could ask what do I like personally outside of NAPALM and what drives me and spurs me on? Well, books, film; I don’t know, whatever — it’s a very simple thing. I’m a very simple living person.“ On how he’s changed as a person since joining NAPALM in 1989: Barney: „Well, I think, the thing with that is I think as a person or in a band, you’re always going to develop. Obviously, my development arguably has been hastened [as] I’ve bounced from continent to continent. I’ve got an appreciation on people because sometimes prejudice can be born through ignorance. When I say that, I don’t mean to belittle people. I mean to say that if you don’t see the wider world, you’re not necessarily going to know what’s out there. My whole life experience, obviously, has been based around that since I was 19 years old. It’s given me an appreciation of life and other people’s lives in general. That’s made me develop as a person. For sure, if I haven’t done this band thing I would have developed in certain ways. I like to think I’ve always had a wider view of the world. I try not to look through the blinkers at things. I try to have a wide view. I think I would have been anyway, not open to prejudice or hating other people for no fucking discernable reason whatsoever. That’s not my way, but I think that’s been hastened by the fact I’ve bounced from continent to continent. I would suggest that’s a positive thing.“ On the biggest challenges NAPALM DEATH faces: Barney: „Here’s the thing: Obviously everybody is going to have their own sort of visualization of what NAPALM DEATH is, but certainly, the high life is far from the fucking truth. You gotta remember, playing in bands like this; okay, we’ve been around for 30-some years and we’ve managed to fucking wait it out. You gotta remember there were years when I was and the other guys in the band were living literally on peanut butter on fucking bread. That’s how we were living. It’s not the high life that people think it is. Sure, we can pay the mortgage, pay the rent and other things, but it’s not as people perceive it to be. Therefore, we have the same concerns everybody else has. It’s fucking insecurity in what we do. Okay, we built up a certain thing just through how we are and how we go about things and all the rest of it. But it could all be gone tomorrow, realistically. That’s the way it goes with this stuff. So, there have been times when it almost did end overnight. I won’t go into the details, but, trust me — that’s how it is. We just kept it going. I can’t give you a magic formula because it doesn’t exist. It’s quite simply that we still have the enthusiasm to make the albums we do. We still have the spirit to play the gigs that we do because we understand that people coming through the front door at the gigs don’t have to spend their fucking money coming to see us. They can go and do something else instead. What should we be giving is one hundred percent. If you can’t do that and when it comes to album time we are running out of ideas or we can’t be bothered, then you know what? We should stop anyway. What’s the point in doing something fifty percent? There isn’t one.“ NAPALM DEATH recently released a new seven-inch / digital EP via Century Media Records. Titled „Logic Ravaged By Brute Force“, it includes the brand-new title track as well as a freshly recorded cover version of „White Kross“, originally performed by SONIC YOUTH. This double-A-side EP is yet another NAPALM DEATH collectible item and is also meant as the first teaser for the band’s upcoming studio album, expected for release later in 2020. NAPALM DEATH’s upcoming follow-up to 2015’s „Apex Predator – Easy Meat“ will feature an appearance by guitarist Mitch Harris, who has been taking a leave of absence from NAPALM DEATH since late 2014 to focus on his family life.

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