Popoff Archive 1: Doom Metal Book. 232-page book of interviews with members of Tiamat, Penance, Cathedral, Down, Trouble, My Dying Bride, Cemetary, Type O Negative, September 22, Memento Mori, Amorphis, In Ruins, Orange Goblin, Candlemass, Crowbar, Spirit Caravan, Sentenced, Solace, Bronx Casket Co., Rapture, The Gathering, Poisonblack and Witchfinder General.
n this edition, we have the following. I’ve included an excerpt from my lead-in explanation for each.
Johan Edlund, Tiamat, November 1994 (excerpt)
This was an exciting and nail-biting time for Century Media, when things weren’t selling well, but they are bringing on a lot of groundbreaking artists. This was for the band’s Wildhoney album, which was quite admired around the office.
Mike Smail, Penance, December 6, 1994
My chat with drummer Mike Smail was in celebration of this Pittsburg band’s second album, 1994’s Parallel Corners, a doom classic, and dare I say, a bit of a blueprint record or cornerstone.
Lee Dorrian, Cathedral, September 7, 1995
So here’s another one, my first chat with Lee Dorrian, after getting totally into Cathedral (and Entombed), when both bands were an exciting new flavour for Sony back in ‘92, ‘93.
Pepper Keenan, Down, November 1995 (excerpt)
Unfortunately, this has to be called an excerpt of the original interview, which I’m sure was double or triple this, easy, but anyway, I thought it was of some value, because it’s about the first Down album.
Eric Wagner, Trouble, November 28, 1995
Of note, if some of these questions sound stupid, bear in mind, this is pre-Internet.
Aaron Stainthorpe, My Dying Bride, March 1996 (excerpt)
Here’s another one of these thankfully few “excerpts,” where I had to rescue as much as I could from the only place I could find a trace!
Mathias Lodmalm, Cemetary, March 12, 1996
Gonna play me some Cemetary right now, as I copy-edit this. I gotta say, this project is messing with my head a bit. All these forgotten relationships. All this whole life lived now 20 years ago that I have almost no memory of.
Pete Steele, Type O Negative, September 22, 1996
This was an interview for which Erin Smythe and the good folks at Attic Records, the Canadian partner of Roadrunner, had me down to the office to chat to Pete in person, under much more calm circumstances than at a show, and perhaps for both of us, less comfortable than the anonymity of a phoner. The occasion was the release of October Rust a month earlier, a record that all parties involved were hopeful would be a massive hit.
Lee Dorrian, Cathedral, October 2, 1996
Doom was pretty new as a juggernaut genre in ‘96, and Cathedral were essentially the leaders of it in the ‘90s, and doing the best job of striking at the heart of all the things we loved best about the Sabs. This chat was on the occasion of the band’s fourth album, Supernatural Birth Machine, which always fell short for me.
Messiah Marcolin, Memento Mori, 1997
This was a phoner, but again, greatest memories come with ever meeting these legends in person, which indeed happened when Tim and Mark put on one of our Brave Bashes in Cleveland featuring a reunited Candlemass.
Esa Holopainen, Amorphis, June 17, 1997
Me an’ our mag, Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles had a long history with Finland’s favourite doomsters gone prog, sorta like Opeth and for that matter, Katatonia and Anathema. All of us staffers got a lot out of the band, and enjoyed the change from the crude chording of doom classic Tales from the Thousand Lakes to the dark oak of the band as it’s existed, well, since 1996’s Elegy to this very day.
Jimmy Bower, Down, 1997 (excerpt)
God knows where this was or even what band was playing. I have a feeling it might have been an Eyehategod show at the Opera House, but it could have been a Down show or a Crowbar show. But there are some interesting things on the first Down album, which is a doom classic, or a classic of some sort, stoner or straight-up heavy metal.
Jeff Michael, In Ruins, November 13, 1998
At the time, it was refreshing getting some melodic US doom like this, especially out of Metal Blade. But the main thing I remember is the vision of poor Brian Ames, indentured graphic artist at Metal Blade, cranking out his infamous run of purple front covers, overworked near to the point of heart attack.
Ben Ward, Orange Goblin, January 14, 1999
I regret not really keeping up a relationship, interviewing these guys; that was likely a byproduct of thinking too much in book mode, that I was getting too old to start in with too many young bands, and to follow their lives through.
Leif Edling, Candlemass, August 11, 1999
This chat hails from the stoner rocking non-Messiah era, which couldn’t get much traction, given the intractable visual and vocal domination of the cloaked one, forever at odds with music-master Edling.
Pete Steele, Type O Negative, September 9, 1999
Always an amusing chat, Pete was, a gracious guy, famously self-deprecating.
Kirk Windstein, Crowbar, December 15, 1999
The occasion here was the writing of the label bio, for Spitfire Records, to be used with the band’s upcoming album, Equilibrium, issued March 7, 2000. When I do this with someone, we really hammer hard on the album at hand.
Sammy Duet, Crowbar, December 19, 1999
I totally loved Acid Bath, and even more so post-Acid Bath band Agents of Oblivion (no Sammy) and Dax Riggs so (also no Sammy), but alas, found Goatwhore just too nasty. Still, a Goatwhore show at the Opera House was the one time I got to meet the guy, so I’m glad for that.
Scott “Wino” Weinrich, Spirit Caravan, January 6th, 2000
I got into the warm, accessible doom vibes of Spirit Caravan more than any of Wino’s other legendary vibes, and so in late 2000, I figured it was as good an opportunity as any to finally talk to the guy. Great chat, and one I used, really, to propel myself further into his catalogue, which I did for a spell but then dropped off again.
Sami Lopakka, Sentenced, January 26, 2000
Just like Paradise Lost at about the same time, there was actually talk of Sentenced becoming “the next Metallica,” or at least a successful baby version of something resembling that success and career path.
Josh Silver, Type O Negative, March 3, 2000
I mentioned this elsewhere, but the hang with Josh took place at the now defunct Warehouse (soon to be condos), where Type O were playing a swell headline gig on that high-up stage. So laconic, so New York, so real.
Tommy Southard, Solace, April 17, 2000
Every once in a while, a new band would come along where the record was so good that, a) we wanted to get on the ground floor, and b) putting voice to name, making the acquaintance, was going to help you get even more into the record, and thereby just... you’ve made a new friend and you have an album you really want to play now, repeatedly. Such was the case with Solace’s first full length, Further, issued in 2000.
Bruce Franklin, Trouble, August 2000
This chat was on the occasion of the intriguing Supershine band that Bruce had formed with Doug Pinnick from King’s X. Obviously, I also took the opportunity to talk a bunch of Trouble too.
D. D. Verni, Bronx Casket Co., October 27, 2000
Good stuff—I’ve had a lot of time over the years for the cool branding of this band, the excellent production, and the straight-to-the-point accessibility (and camp) of the whole thing. In fact, I listened to it on my walk to work this fine summer morn. Nice idea.
Aaron Stainthorpe, My Dying Bride, May 20, 2001
Glad to meet the My Dying Bride boys, because as it turned out, they were not to become one of these bands that slammed through town with regularity, playing the Opera House like dozens and dozens of European acts started to do in the early 2000s, unabated. From here on in, it was pretty much phone interviews, as with this wide-ranging chat with the always substantive Aaron Stainthorpe.
Rex Brown, Down, January 30, 2002
Yes, the subject at hand is the new, relaxed and sludgy Down album, Down II: A Bustle in Your Hedgerow, issued two months after we spoke. But really, figuring Pantera the band that saved metal in the ‘90s, I was itching to angle a few questions in there about Pantera.
Sami Lopakka, Sentenced, May 1, 2002
Sentenced? Well, Canadians and Finns shared many traits, including a somber world-view. Plus these guys drew a doomy link to the music our increasingly long-in-the-tooth—and increasingly comparatively conservative—staff could appreciate. And so we kept talking to them, right?
Petri Eskilinen, Rapture, January 30, 2003
Our good relationship with Century Media over at BW&BK meant that I’d often be more inclined to talk to newer, younger bands in their stable than others, especially if it was a cool doomy band like Rapture who fall within that melancholy Amorphis/Sentenced camp. Good stuff.
Eric Wagner, Trouble, April 4, 2003
This time with Eric, I wanted to keep adding to what I had to the story of the debut album, in case I ever got around to writing one of my Ye Olde Metal essays on it, either just for a short eBook or for including to a print book once I got up into the ‘80s on the series. As I type this, I’ve kind of shelved the idea of continuing into the ‘80s, so here ya go, some cool trivia on the early days of the band.
Rick Wartell, Trouble, April 7th, 2003
With this chat, it sounds like Rick thought a new album was imminent, even though we wouldn’t see Simple Mind Condition for another four years. As I dig in, I see the main reason for the interview was that it was in advance of the BW&BK fest we were putting on in Cleveland, and once the bands were picked—Trouble was the headliner—we shamelessly hyped them in the mag.
Anneke van Giersbergen, The Gathering, February 13, 2004
By the time we all debate whether The Gathering are doom or not—or were earlier but then became more gothic and barely metal—this interview will be over.
Sami Lopakka, Sentenced, April 28, 2005
Nice of Sami to call me on my 42nd birthday. Sadly, the occasion was to discuss what would be the loveable Finnish doom legends’ last record, The Funeral Album.
Leif Edling, Candlemass, May 1, 2005
Two days after this interview marked the release date of the much vaunted Candlemass record that featured Leif Edling and Messiah Marcolin reunited, sealing the deal with a cloak and dagger handshake of doom.
Ville Laihiala, Poisonblack, July 21, 2006
Poisonblack were essentially the successors to Sentenced, starring Ville Laihiala on lead vocals and guitar, first on this second album, after a hiatus and major lineup changes since 2003’s Escapexstacy. The record discussed here, Lust Stained Despair, was the first for this Sentenced-evoking configuration, after which there were to be four more albums, before a break-up in 2015.
Phil Cope, Witchfinder General, March, 2007
When I say trinity, past Witchfinder, the most important bands are of course Trouble and Candlemass, both represented in this book. Doom was a lonely place, actually, until the ‘90s, when it really became what the kids call “a thing.” In any event, I was thrilled to talk to the mysterious Phil Cope, who proved as enigmatic as I would have expected, but only a fraction as oblique as the still un-contacted Zeeb Parkes.
Leif Edling, Candlemass, June 12, 2007
At this point, we’re but a year away of Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles ceasing as a print publication. As well, my output had gone way down, given added duties at Banger Films, which was to include the Rush movie, Metal Evolution and quite a bit later, Rock Icons. Speaking of rock icons, here’s Leif one more time...
Pepper Keenan, Down, September 14, 2007
Both his bands were killer, helping to make the climate for metal in the ‘90s bearable. Unfortunately, this chat took place when Hurricane Katrina was still causing bleeding, over two years after it hit landfall.
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