This is your first album for Metal Blade, Mike. Does it feel like a fresh start?
– Hahaha, no! Not that its bad to be on Metal Blade, but it doesn’t feel like a fresh start. What do you mean by a fresh start by the way?
Well, do you feel more motivated?
– No, I can’t say being on a different label makes us more motivated. Not really! Sure we’re exited because of the label, but musically were all pretty much motivated by internal factors. As far as like playing shows, and knowing that there will be more advertisements, some different promotional things and interviews, that’s nice of course, but the creation of the music has always been irrelevant to what label we’re on, or the status of the band in that sense. Maybe it would be good if I was motivated by it, it’s been good so far being on Metal Blade, they’re easy to work with and everything. Another thing is that I don’t think what label you’re on makes as much difference as it used to.
What motivates you then? You have been doing this for quite some time now.
– Ha-ha, that’s a good questions. I don’t know, it’s not money, you know. in some ways it might have to do with touring. We put another record out, because then we can go to other countries, continue to do festivals and shows. That’s really what we get out of it, the travel and the excitement of playing live. Why do people keep making music? I don’t know. Why do I do it in the first place? I don’t know. Maybe this is a good answer: When I finish a record, and this has happened with the last three records or something, I’m like: I don’t ever wanna do this again. At the end of the mixing and everything, I often think: This is a pain in the ass, I am not getting paid for it, and it’s so much work. I ask myself: What did I just get out of that? As soon as the record is finished, seriously like three days later, I don’t want to get new ideas, but nevertheless I start getting them. While I am finishing the songwriting, and then the production, singing and mixing, I feel like I don’t wanna write another heavy metal song, cause I am so sick of it. But as soon as I am free and don’t have to do anything, these ideas are coming. For instance, I just wrote like a song and a half a month ago. We had finished the record and then I asked the others what they thought about this idea I had. The others went: That sounds pretty good, better than what you just did for the record. What are you doing? We should have put that on the record!
But when it only takes some days to be back being creative again, and even writing heavy metal, and not anything else, you can’t really be that bored by it, can you?
– You are right. That’s the proof right there. Honestly I am sick of going in the studio and recording, but I never get sick of coming up with a new idea for a song, playing it in a rehearsal and having the different musicians coming up with their parts. That’s always exciting, especially if it’s a new kind of idea. And then playing live is always exciting too. I really wanted to see if we could do this record live. Just go in the studio and play it like we’re playing it live. But that is not gonna sound as good, there is no way it will. Still we wanna be as live as possible in the studio, to make sure we enjoy it.
Mike told me about this ambition last time I spoke to him. I am sad to hear it wasn’t possible to realize it, but Mike assures me that “Digital Resistance” is closer to live than the previous albums.
– Yeah, we get closer to that every time we do it. For instance, the overdubs were not that many. The three of us, bass, drums and guitar knocked the songs out quickly, and then the second guitar had to overdub, because doing those harmony runs, you are not going to get that on the first take. It’s not gonna happen. It was closer to live, not as many overdubs, and the singing was quicker this time too. You know the first song, the one that has the organ on it?
– We did that, the organ, bass and drums together and knocked it out pretty quickly, then Angelo came in and played guitar. I don’t play guitar on that one, it’s only Angelo. The writing process for “Analogue Avengers” was really fun. It was the first song I wrote, after “Laser Enforcer”. I am bored with writing these metal songs and doing things the same way, and since we got a Hammond B3 organ in our rehearsal space, I started playing around with it and decided to write a song. The idea was that I would write something that sounded different if it was on a different instrument. With the guitar you end up following the same patterns over and over, but with a new instrument, you can come up with some melodies that you didn’t come up with before. I wrote that and it sounded very different. What’ s really good about it, was that the bass, the drums and the guitars would come up with things they wouldn’t normally come up with, since they were adding parts to this already weird melody. We might try more of that int the future, just to keep things fresh. It felt exciting!
As soon as I heard the organ in the opening tune, I knew this had to be the song you mentioned in the interview we did after the release of “The Animal Spirits”. Back then though, you told me you had sat down by piano and recorded with your phone something you played…
– Oh yeah, that’s right. The longer part I already had, from one time I sat down in a recording studio, just visiting a friend who was doing some engineering. He was finishing up, and I was sitting around at a grand piano waiting for him to get done with his session. I started playing around with it and came up with this thing sounding like a “Hammer Horror” soundtrack or something. This was a couple of years ago, I kept that melody on my phone and played it on the organ as it kept coming back to me.
Mike also told me then that he doesn’t sit down to write music anymore, but rather sit and wait for stuff to come to you. How would he describe this process to those of us who are not musicians or extraordinary creative?
– That’s the problem. I can’t explain it. If I could, that would be like sitting down and writing music constantly. But as I just told you, when I am making a record, and I realize we have half an hour of music and need to write ten or fifteen more minutes, then I don’t wanna write songs just to write them, I wanna write things I am inspired to write. That’s when we sit down jamming try to come up with a riff or a song. What comes out is maybe not the best material, because that type of material comes to you when you don’t feel pressure, or don’t put pressure on yourself. In the midst of your daily life, walking down the street or doing something normal like working. Or when you’re playing music in some other ways or messing around. You might say: Oh, whatever that was nothing, but if it comes back to you, and you keep hearing that same melody, it means one thing – it’s actually good. It happens to people who aren’t musicians too. When I sit around with people who don’t play instruments, joking or humming to themselves, they often come up with something good. It’s usually when they’re joking about another song or something. I think everybody does it, but musicians know how to differentiate what’s actually good and what they can turn into something.
You also told me you are more critical of your own work, and that you throw away more stuff than before. Is this one of the reasons why your albums are now considerably shorter than around the time of “Twilight Of The Idols”or “Down Among The Deadmen”?
– Yeah, I throw things away, because I come up with things that are not good enough, or more often, something that I feel I’ve done before. I come up with so many ideas or songs, and quite often the feeling of this songs sounds just like that song, or just like the style I’ve done all through the nineties. That’s the last thing I want, cause lets face facts here. Have you listened to last three or four Iron Maiden-records? You put them on, and they’re not that bad, but they sound exactly the same. There is Steve Harris again doing some bass intro before the guitars set in. God, how many times are they gonna do this? Or like the new Black Sabbath-album…What’s the point? At least they’re getting paid to do it. For me it’s like – why would I do that? The records your mention, are my best records. In fact, I think “Twilight Of The Idols” is my best record. I had nine months to do that, and a lot of the studio time was free. That was great, I could keep going and going without a budget, I didn’t have to worry about money. It was also my second record, so I had so much more material, and didn’t have to worry about repeating myself. Whereas now I write some song on guitar or something there is a good chance it will sound just like one of my other songs. The longer you go, the more you run the risk of doing mediocre stuff, not just in the sense it is not as good, but in the sense it repeats things you have done before. You have to be careful of that, because it can get really boring.
Do you do all the work by yourself, or do you let the other members have their input on whether your ideas are too similar to what you have done before?
– Oh yeah! Most of the time, I come up with all the stuff, but usually there is one song on the record that someone else wrote all of, or most of. At occasions it’s been two songs. On “Digital Resistance” it’s the song “Ghastly Appendage”, which Angelo wrote most of the music to. I came up with one part, but this part was based on what he had already written. Mostly it was him, but then we arranged it together. On “The Animal Spirits”, it was the last song which Bob Wright from Brocas Helm sang on. Adrian wrote all the music, all those riffs and then we arranged the parts together. In a couple of songs, Angelo or Adrian will write like one or two riffs, but mostly it’s me. Most of the time, I come up with a couple of riffs and then we work on it together. Harry is the critical voice in the band. For the last five years he’s been really good because he doesn’t just go along with what I say. He argues and says: That doesn’t sound right. We need to do this or that. It’s good to have somebody like that, so I can’t just do what sound goods to me. I have to have some quality control from the rest of the band, or everything will sound the same.
Even when you scrap a song or an idea, isn’t there a chance that you unconsciously will pick it up again later?
– It’s possible. In fact, there are some songs I didn’t use for one record , which I have used later. Or there are a lot of songs I didn’t wanna use, but the band said: This sounds good, we should do that. If all three are against me, I’ll let them have their way. The perfect example, is “Free Market Barbarian”, the popiest song off “Animal Spirits”. It is a metal song, but it sounds like a Scorpions-song from the “Blackout”-era or something similar. I came up with the main riff and kept playing it because it was catchy, but I told the others that I didn’t wanna use it, as it felt too generic and sounded too much like everything else. Not like Slough Feg, but more in the vein of old Scorpions, Black Sabbath, Def Leppard or whatever. It was too poppy for us. The other insisted on us using it, but I discarded. When they asked about it again later and told me to bring it up once again, I wrote the song around it and people seemed to like it.
I’ve been listening to the album a lot of times now, and one of the songs which is a standout for me, both when it comes to quality as well as originality, is the third song, “Habeas Corpus”, with its slight western-feeling.
– Oh, you like that one? You seem to be the only person, most people find it boring. The song is a good example of what songwriting is about, and also of me trying to do something different. I was living in this big house, outside of the city in Oakland, California. There was a big backyard with a trampoline and a bunch of chairs. Rather nice. It was the summer before the last, and there wasn’t a lot do around there. I guess that’s why I moved. I am not living there anymore. I was sitting in the backyard with my acoustic guitar, just playing and messing around, not trying to write something. As usual when you’re not trying, something comes up. That little part, riff or whatever is just very simple country western chord changes. Straight up cowboy chords. You usually write the chords or the riff, and for me the melody comes out of the song, out of the music. If you do it enough, some sort of singing melody will come out of that. I did that, and that melody came to me. I sang it a couple of times with no words. It was different. It sounded like something we had not done before. Kind of like Ennio Morricone, The Spaghetti Western-soundtrack. I put it on a little tape and when I brought it to the band, I warned them that it was both acoustic and a little different, but they liked it. The power of that song is really the bass and the drums. It still has a heavy metal-sounding rhythm , in fact it sounds a bit like a Iron Maiden-rhythm, then there are acoustic and electric sort of jangly guitars. We’ve never done that before. The lyrics came out of the music. I started writing, the line came out of nowhere: “I did my first job in Chicago, I took a razor to his eyes”. For some reason those lyrics came to my mind, and once I had those two lines, I realized the song had to be about a hitman.
Talking about the lyrics, there is a theme that runs through several of the songs. I’ve been asking myself – why not all of the songs? Now I am asking Mike the same question: Would it be limiting for your thinking in terms of a full blown concept album?
– Only in the case of the “Traveller”-album did I wanna do a concept album before I wrote it. When I wrote “Traveller”, I said: okay, we’ll do a concept album about this science fiction game. When I made this new record, I didn’t want to make a concept. I wanted to write a bunch of different songs, like a bunch of different singles. Songs that were totally unrelated. The other idea was to record them separately on eight track equipment in our recording studio and then put them into an album and record it as an actual record. Did you see or hear about the “Laser Enforcer” 7”?
Sure, I have a copy right here.
– That’s the first thing we did. We have one song, let’s record it, was what we said at the time. That was almost two years ago. We recorded “Laser Enforcer” and made a 7” out of it. The idea was to keep recording 7 inches until we had a record, kind of like The Beatles or Elvis. You know, a record in 1960 would be a collection of singles. But then, just like anything, once we got going we had like three or four songs at a time. Then we went: why don’t we go in and do these? It wasn’t gonna be a concept album, but I came up with the idea of digital resistance and wrote a song with that title. I don’t think about what the songs are about until I have the music written. In “Habeus Corpsus” the lyrics that came to my mind turned out to be about a hitman while other tracks like “The Luddite”, the title track and “Analogue Avenger” are about technology, because that’s what I was thinking about at the time. I don’t know if you already know, but I am a teacher, I teach the first two years of college. I was thinking about the kids with their cell phones and how you have to tell them to stop playing with them, or to turn off their laptops. They’re just playing around with technology and losing their ability to think. If you ask them, who wrote “The Iliad” or “The Odyssey”, they just look it up on their phones. To me that stops their minds from having to remember things. Eventually I feel those cell phones are gonna be inside their brains and they’re not gonna be able to think anymore. That’s what a bunch of the songs are about, but it’s only about half of the songs.
Some of the other songs on the alabum don’t have anything to do with that. The lyrics to the song “The Price Is Nice” is one of those…
– The lyrics to that one are about Vincent Price-movies. I wrote the music and recorded it and it was only one song left to sing on the record. The night before I went into the studio I had nothing to say and I was worried: What the hell am I gonna sing on this? I asked myself. I was watching a Vincent Price-movie and I just looked on the Wikipedia-page, wrote down the titles to ten of his movies and made them rhyme. That’s all it is. “Digital Resistance” is kind of concept album, but very loosely, like “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, where several of the songs are about this band.
I am a teacher myself, teaching 13-14 year olds. Do you think that modern technology is undermining young people’s ability to pay attention?
– You are? I didn’t know that. Then you understand exactly what I am talking about. They won’t read. I am teaching philosophy, and they have to read and speak about it, and they just won’t. All they want to do, is sit on their phones. Any information, if they have to write a paper or something, which they have to for my class, they just look on websites. They don’t really learn the same way anymore. It’s very difficult and a bit scary. This record and the “Digital Resistance”-concept is a reaction to being a teacher and worrying about what is gonna happen to the world and people’s minds.
So what can be done?
– Haha! I don’t know. Usually in this situation, trying to preserve a way of life or preserve the past usually looses out to technology. What do you think? Is there any way we can win this war against technology?
Well, my students often say: All the information we need is there for us to use, you can just teach us different ways to find it. But when I try to teach them different techniques, I feel like the only thing they’re interested in is how to retrieve the information as quick as possible without paying much attention to how relevant it is.
– Yeah, I think so. I am worried. Taking in information, processing it, thinking about it and coming up with your way to express it, that’s what being a student is about. If that is being lost, I don’t know what the hell…Maybe we’re all becoming androids, that’s an extreme sort of science fiction idea, with everyone becoming cyborgs and robots. We are at the beginning stages, but it could turn into something like George Orwell’s “1984” with everybody being hypnotized. I’m not kidding, it could happen! This may be a losing battle, it doesn’t seem like they’re gonna listen to me or you and drop their cell phones and start thinking again and we can’t go back to the past either. Our way of thinking is not gonna win. But at least in my class room I can say: your cell phone is turned off, your computer is turned off, or you’ll have to leave. You have to learn to think for yourself.
A few young politicians here in Norway have started talking about the problems that computers and social medias represents for the whole educational system.
– That’s really good. Hell, you guys have a great society, maybe the next century will be ruled by you Norwegians.
Talking about “Digital Resistance”, “The Underground Resistance” was the title of the latest album by Darkthrone. They speak about the resistance against what they call the overground and everything that is triggered or polished in metal. But you’re not against technology in itself, are you?
– I am not against it, being against it would be hypocritical and it’s definitely a losing battle. We’re using technology right now. And the band used it when we recorded the record, most of the equipment was digital. I use a cell phone, I use a computer. It would be a very ridiculous to say that I don’t want any digital technology and it would certainly limit your life quite a bit. So I can’t say I am against the development, You might as well be against the automobile, the telephone or the airplane if that’s the case.
My point with mentioning the Darkthrone-title, was that it seems to me that a lot people listening to metal are against changes or progress, at least when it comes to music.
– I am not against progress in music, but I am against what people call progress, I think it’s anti-progress. I am into musical progression, meaning songwriting, singing and styles of music. But there hasn’t been a lot of that in the last twenty-thirty years in heavy metal. It’s mostly been technological progress or regression into…noise rock or nu-metal or grind core. That’s not really progress to me, it’s more like going back to noise and nothing. There has to be something new, we can’t keep doing Manowar and Iron Maiden forever.
Looking back at the digital thing again, it’s quite unbelievable how big the changes have been and how fast everything has developed. I believe I was on the internet the first time around 1996, could we have done more to slow the process down, or has it been out of our hands all the time?
– As far as being in a band, I can’t complain about the internet. You and me probably wouldn’t have had this conversation if it wasn’t for the internet. Our first record came out in 1996, it was self produced, so everything was tape trading and letters and all that. We didn’t do internet stuff until the second album, we mostly wrote letters to get in magazines and got to tour Europe due to letter writing. But after that it was all digital technology. We got signed to a label, we communicated with them with email, set up European tours via email and people learnt about our band through the internet. It will be hard for me to complain about that. I was trying to do anything I could do to get some exposure and it would be hypocritical for me to say: Oh we shouldn’t have used the internet.
Leaving the lyrics and the “concept” for now, does Mike see Slough Feg as an outlet for all of his musical creativity, or has he ever considered starting a side project?
– Well, yeah. I have. I mean, I’ve done several things through the years, and if I was to do a new one, it certainly wouldn’t be a heavy metal project. I get to do everything in hard rock and metal in Slough Feg, but I have thought about doing different styles of music. Do you remember Hammers Of Misfortune? When I was in that band, it was somewhat a different style. For me that was a side project, even though I know it wasn’t for the rest of the band. It was a lot of fun too. When I have the time, I am playing a bit on the side with Sigrid, who is still the organ player in Hammers Of Misfortune. She lives near me and we do some stuff together. She just plays piano and I sing. I don’t even wanna write the songs, I just wanna sing. She’s a very good classical pianist and teaches piano for a living. We do old standards like “Old Man River”, a couple of Frank Sinatra-songs and maybe some Barbara Streisand. It’s a real challenge for me, because it’s a totally different style. Eventually we’re gonna record some of the songs just for fun and see if we can play some shows in bars or something. I have a very low voice, and it isn’t appropriate, it never was, for singing metal, at least not for the really high singing. I always had to try to do that, for in heavy metal especially, or in hard rock, you have to get up over the guitars. A low voice doesn’t penetrate. I always tried to sing higher than my range, but as I get older, I can’t. It’s much harder. These standards you can sing low and sort of relax while you are singing them. Maybe I am getting older and mellowing out? I don’t know, but that’s a good side project right there, as I don’t have to do the song writing. Most of the songs I want to write though, are appropriate for Slough Feg.
You have managed to keep the same lineup now since Harry joined, this must be the kind of stability that you lacked during the nineties.
– That’s right.
– It’s been great. In the nineties there wasn’t as much heavy metal as there is today, and it was really hard to find people. It got a bit easier in the late nineties, but it was very difficult around our first album or “Twilight Of The Idols”. None really did know who we were. Now it’s much easier. Like with Harry, we got him on an ad we put out, cause by that point, people knew our name. Harry breathes some new life into the band, cause he is so much younger, fourteen year younger than me in fact. He was exited when he entered the frame, and it made us a more cohesive unit. He’s our newest member, and still he has been in the band for five-six-seven years, well something like that. Angelo has been here for close to eight years now, Adrian for eleven or twelve, so it’s a good lineup, mainly because we are able to travel well together. We don’t get in big fights. Everybody who is in the band right now, came in as a replacement for someone who couldn’t tour because of something in their life.
Are you still in touch with long time members Greg Haa and John Cobbett?
– I live near John and I see him sometimes. We get along, and we have fun. Greg I haven’t talked to for a long time. He left town and when he left the band, we weren’t communicating very well. I have heard from some people about how he is doing, but unfortunately I haven’t spoken to him for years. The other members, I talk to a lot of them, almost all of them. By the way, one of them passed away recently.
Yeah, Jon Torres.
–That was a shock. He played on “Down Among The Deadmen”. I talked to him only once or twice in the last ten years. He was only in the band for six or eight months, but he was a really good musician. I don’t know why he got sick, he was only in his fifties.
Torres had previously been in some thrash metal acts. Was the problem that he didn’t fit into Slough Feg?
– Well, he did and he didn’t. He was playing in thrash bands in the mid to late eighties, but in the early eighties he had Ulysses Siren and some other bands. He liked classic metal a lot, right before he played with us, he was in England playing with Angel Witch. We heard through some mutual friends that he was coming back to San Fransisco because Angel Witch wasn’t working, and we had just lost our bass player.
From one thing to another, were you satisfied with the live album that was brought out towards the end of 2011?
– Oh, that’s a very interesting question. Haha! I am satisfied with some things about it, for instance it looks really great. But the music is a little bit rough, I have to admit.
Isn’t that the point with real live albums?
– Yeah, I really like the fact that it’s all live. No overdubs, we couldn’t afford it, or weren’t able to do them. It’s a good rough mix. It was recorded in Poland, and it was one of the situations where we missed a plane, because the guy driving us miscalculated. I didn’t sleep at all the night before the gig, this was in Germany, and then we flew and I went to bed for an hour and a half before the show. I was really exhausted, it was one of those rough nights. When I listen to the album, I hear all the flaws, the mistakes, my voice cracking and stuff, but for somebody else, maybe it sounds raw.
You said earlier that you are more critical of your own song writing than before, are you also very critical of your performance on stage?
– Yeah, I think so. It’s pretty rough sometimes, and certainly not a very easy job. When I write the songs and the vocal melodies, I think about doing them in the studio, but I don’t put as much thought into if I’m gonna be able to perform them live. A lot of the songs I can’t play live. People ask why don’t you play this song off “Avatism” or something…The answer is simple – I can’t. Some of the songs have these insane guitar parts with vocal melodies all over the place. I could do it, but it wouldn’t sound that good. Like I told you, I can’t sing high anymore. I try to do it, but I am struggling sometimes on certain songs and I try to cut those out of the set.
Still Mike denies that there are songs that he would like to perform, that he simply can’t do anymore.
– No, actually…Well the audience can be the judge whether I can or not. Maybe there are songs I shouldn’t perform, but everything that I really wanna play live, I just try to do. Usually I don’t wanna play something that is not gonna sound good. For years people wanted to hear certain songs from “Traveller” that are really hard to play guitar and sing to at the same time. There is also this song from “Atavism”, the first one called “I Will Kill You/ You Will Die”. It’s a good song, but there are certain guitar parts with vocals over that are very hard to do, and I feel like it will be a disappointment if I tried. For instance, think about this: Queen always performed “Bohemian Rhapsody” live. But they had to do a recording of all the crazy vocals parts in the middle. I don’t wanna do that. It’s ridiculous. I don’t have the money to do it either. I think Queen shouldn’t have played that one live.
Apparently most of the song titles on this new album, doesn’t come from your own head, but are ideas from some of your friends.
– They are. Eventually, song titles are the last thing I come up with. I don’t find the titles to be that important anymore. The lyrics are important, but the titles, they come last. I write the music, the lyrics and usually even record the record before I think about what I am gonna call the songs. To be honest, it doesn’t matter that much to me. When I get records now… at this point in my life, I can’t even tell you the song titles of half the records I listen to. I care about the lyrics, the titles are sometimes just bullshit. Let me tell you one story: I was working in a bar, bartending, and this friend of mine said he got this video tape and asked me if I had a VCR. Yeah, I still have a VCR, I replied. You’re part of the digital resistance, aren’t you? he asked, and I thought it was a cool name for a song. I had the music for “Laser Enforcer” two years ago, and then went to a party with these guys I know, it was someone’s birthday or something like that. This friend of mine, he’s a technician at a science lab at Berkley University, came to the party. He told me he had to go to a conference in Los Angeles the next day. He said something like: I got to do these instruction on how to enforce these codes on lasers. So obviously you’re a laser enforcer? I asked, and the other guys confirmed it sounded like a Slough Feg-song. It’s just fun stuff. By the way, the same guy who came up with “Digital Resistance”, also said: You’re an analog avenger, and that became a title as well.
If I understand you correctly, I don’t have to be too frustrated if I don’t always get the connection between the song titles and the lyrics then?
– Hahaha, no. Not at all. I was just discussing it with somebody. People read the Slough Feg-lyrics and they seem very cryptic, and they think because I teach philosophy there must be a deep meaning to the lyrics. It’s cool if they think the lyrics are deep and mysterious, but it’s just what I come up with in my head. People used to read all this meaning into The Beatles-songs in the sixties, like Charles Manson, but if you actually listen to what The Beatles says in interviews, they talk about how they looked in the phone book, and found a weird name they wanted to write a song about. Some bullshit like that. It’s just like any musician, after you have made plenty of records, you make another one, and you have music, but what the hell do you sing about?
Maybe it would be easier for you if you turned to the standard metal clichés?
– Oh yeah, I could sing about disembowelment and dragons. A bit like Dio; another wishing well, another rainbow, another dragon and another evil woman.
It’s simply too risky making fun of the clichés, isn’t it?
– I’ve asked for some humor in metal before, but mostly to entertain myself. I get bored with all the stuff. Kill, slaughter, metal, evil priest! I grew up in the eighties loving that stuff, but this is a long time later. I am 44 years old, I am bored with that. I want to write about something that is in my life, for instance kids with cell phones. The other thing about humor is the fact that people have a tendency to think that you’re you a joke band. Is this joking, is this bullshit, are you making fun of heavy metal? Of course not, anybody watching our live show knows we’re not making fun of heavy metal. In fact, heavy metal is what we’re really about. Think about all the bands in the eighties that had humor, but weren’t a joke. They weren’t like Steel Panther, they’re s a joke right? It’s funny too, nothing wrong with it, but they’re making fun of heavy metal, just like Spinal Tap is making fun of heavy metal. But do you think Raven makes fun of heavy metal? Raven is a great heavy metal band and they love heavy metal. Who is more heavy metal than Raven? None! My point is, they’re funny too. Half of the reason they’re so heavy metal is because they are funny and lighthearted and not afraid to laugh at themselves. But they’re heavy metal to the core. That’s strong heavy metal humor. Almost all great heavy metal bands have some humor incorporated. In the recent past, with a lot of the other kinds of metal that are popular, the sense of humor got lost. Black metal has very little humor. Death metal has some, but death metal and grind core is not really heavy metal, it’s more like hardcore and punk humor. I don’t want that, I want the music to be serious heavy metal, but to not be afraid of laugh at it as well. It’s entertainment, and entertainment is supposed to be funny and serious and everything, the whole range of emotions.