NAPALM DEATH Frontman: 'Nothing Is Solid About Religion'

James Arter of recently conducted an interview with NAPALM DEATH frontman Mark "Barney" Greenway. A few excerpts from the chat follow: Sure, how do you feel you've changed over the years?

Barney: Well, we've certainly kept the starting points, I mean, you can tell from the new album you can still hear things that would've been pertinent to "Scum" (1987 release), but we've mixed it up, we've experimented. Thing is, there's a certain percentage of NAPALM fans that would like us to make the second album all over again, but what's the point? We could do that and come up with an album in three weeks, with good songs, but you've gotta spread your wing a bit y'know? When you listen to the [latest] NAPALM album, the fast and frantic nature of the band is there, but there's a few curve balls that we feel open up the true breadth of the band. Y'see, people talk about NAPALM as being some kind of pioneering band, but you're only as good as your next album. If we're gonna play as a band we've got to be totally creative. Sure, so what about your relationship within the band, do you all still get on?

Barney: Yeah, well we need our space, just like anyone else, we go our separate ways do other things but that's good, it's good to be able to admit when you need to do that. We've only got four days at home after this then we're going straight to America, so for those four days we need that time to breathe… You personally, have always been very outspoken with your lyrics, lots of social views going on there, what's the general message (as such) in this album?

Barney: This is our most single issue album we've ever done, its all about religion. Most of the other albums have been about affairs in general and covering many topics, this ones more religion-based, although, of course, other subjects within religion. I know lots of bands have talked about subjects related to religion but I wanted to scratch the surface a little bit more and talk about some things people don't talk about, as in, morality etc…I mean, morality is a very false thing. To make a moral judgement is to declare yourself as more moral than somebody else just because someone doesn't do as you do — but this is just one of the many things about religion which is something that has divided people. Making judgements and saying, "My thing is better than your thing" just because I do this. I mean, looking in a wider view, the world seems to be on the brink right now, it's in really bad shape and it has been for a long time now, and religion is driving a lot of the issues and problems… What with the wars going on…

Barney: Yeah, and beyond that. We've had…2000 plus years of this thing about religion being very dominant in the way we are governed, even those that chose to be atheist — I personally am — and most of the globe don't give a shit about religion, if you were able to get statistics of course…so, why do we have to be governed on this thing that's based on mythology? Essentially, nothing is proven, nothing is solid about religion… I completely agree with you…

Barney: …and yet, we're letting us drive us into a masquerade almost, so I think its about time that, somehow, we step back and say, "Look, this has gotta stop." Let's turn things around, stop all this bullshit. A lot of these issues are somewhat taboo in some people's minds, but you're a human being, you've got the right to express your thoughts. It's almost 25 years now [since the band was formed]. What's your biggest achievements?

Barney: I think our biggest achievements are very simple. Going to places that no bands have ever been and doing positive things like going to South Africa, spreading the word about equality against — it has to be said — some fairly stiff opposition. And something even more simple than that, having kids coming up to you at the end of the night, or writing to you and saying, "I never used to think about things like this but it affects me as well, and I agree." And one of the things that's a particularly strong point for me, again it's only a single issue amongst others, is the right for a woman to choose to have an abortion — which I'm a fundamental supporter of, they should have the right to choose. Kids have said that they've read up on this and are actively working to spread awareness on abortion, and how you should have the choice.

Read the entire interview at


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