90's British thrash metallers Lawnmower Deth
have returned after a 15 year absence. Front-man Qualcast Mutilator
(aka Pete Lee) takes some time out to talk exclusively to eGigs about their past, their present and their upcoming gig in London...
At this years' Download Festival, you guys played the Pepsi-Max stage on the opening day. Due to traffic, weather and technical issues all of the bands' sets were pushed back about a half an hour. There appeared to be a lot of people in the crowd expecting something else when you guys came on, how do you think it went?
It was funny wasn't it? I think it went well, there were people standing around and some were leaving one at a time and others were coming in to replace them. 'The Hounds' were on during our set and they wondered on to a lot of people expecting us, so they played to thousands of Lawnmower fans and we ended up playing for floppy haired people who'd come to see the next band. I like to think we may have baffled a few of them. All festivals are great, there's no two ways about it, I mean I love playing festivals but Download, Monsters of Rock, Donnington, whatever you want to call it is just the Bollocks. It's great to play that place.
You guys had success in the late 80's/early 90's with your L/D-Metal Duck EP, 'Ooh Crikey it's...', 'The Return of the Fabulous Metal Bozo Clowns' and 'Billy', then that was it. What happened?
What happened was probably more bizarre really. Kinda what happened was we always said with Lawnmower Deth... We knew we were never gonna be the next Rush or Iron Maiden or anything. We were a bunch of school-mates that put this thrash band together that suddenly spiralled out of control; lots of notoriety and it just got way out of hand, which was great.
By oh, let's see 1993 all of our peers had gone. All of the bands that we came up with, you know Acid Reign had gone, Sabbat had gone, our schoolmates had gone and the whole of the British thrash scene was on its arse and it was all shiny pin-stripe stuff. I mean, I guess we stuck around longer than we should, and then we pretty much put 'Billy' out - and wasn't necessarily what people were expecting at the time, so it all just drew to a natural conclusion and we just decided we'd had enough really. People didn't want us to play, so we didn't play. There was no falling out, bands like us don't have 'creative differences' we just sat down and decided 'lets pack it in'. We just went off and did what we do, you know get married and have lots of kids go to work and be ordinary, you know? All the other stuff people do. That was it. For 15 years. And then things just got stranger again.
So, after an absence of almost 15 years, you guys made your return to the music scene. What was it that got you guys back together again?
Bullet for my Valentine. Actually we just went to a wedding with them, which makes for a really good wedding. Lawmower Deth and Bullet for my Valentine at a wedding it's just great... But basically what happened was we'd been offered stuff for 15 years, you know, "would we play?" There was nothing that was attractive, just stupid stuff like 'would you come and play at my mates Birthday party' and stuff like that, and we just said no, or fundamentally I said no and the band pretended to say yes and then stood behind me going 99% no, so I just stood there for 15 years saying no, that was what we did back then.
But then, Kev was out living the dream really, he was crewing for Iron Maiden and crewing for Bullet for my Valentine and varying other people, and he was working with the 'Bullet' boys and then they started pestering him saying "C'mon, we were fans of yours when we were kids, can't you get the band back together for a one-off and play with us" and that's basically it. Back in the early 90's it was different, you'd play a circuit, typical club gigs and suddenly you don't play for 15 years and someone offers you one of the most iconic venues in London with an audience of 10,000 people. You can't really say no to that. On top of that we're all in our 40's now so we thought we may as well have a proper mid-life crisis and actually say yes, so I said yes and the rest of them just shit themselves, because they didn't expect me to. That was it, we just said we'd do the Ally Pally as a one off for a bit of fun, and as we walked off-stage that night, Andy Copping who we knew from years and years ago he was there and said "Right, don't go on holiday next summer lads, you're playing Donnington."
Do you have plans to play any festivals in 2013?
QM: The way this is working... Every single interview I do, whether it's a question like that or others; seems to be people think that we're thinking this through. And the trap is, we're not thinking about any of it, down to even what we're playing that night. So, what we do is we sit and wait. We've not got managers, or any of that nonsense. We just sit and if somebody phones up and says "Do you wanna play?" and the festival looks like it's gonna be great fun, chances are, as long as we're all in the Country, we're gonna say yes and turn up and play.
It's not about money and it's not about jockeying for position or anything like that that's rubbish that you have to do if you're in a band and you really mean it. We're just playing for good-time giggles really. So the truth is; Will we do a festival in 2013? I really hope so. I hope someone is daft enough to pick up the phone and say 'Come and play here' and we'll do it because that's what it's about really. We just love it, is the truth. We did Ally Pally and a warm-up gig, but we've probably done 8 gigs in the last 3 years and they've all been festivals. It's just great, one it's a good laugh and you get to hang out with friends it's just a great way to get out and play really.
Have you missed playing venues by yourselves or do you prefer festivals
I guess when we were around, late 80's early 90's really the only festival at that time was Monsters of Rock, 5 bands one day that's your lot. As kids we were there every year watching that and we were approached once actually. They came down to check us out and I think we scared them off with what we did.
There wasn't a festival circuit back then, now yes you've got Download, you've got Reading/Leeds, you've got Bloodstock. You've got your choice, but there's so many little festivals popping up all over the place it's incredible. There's probably a bigger festival circuit than there is a club circuit I guess at the moment. I don't know necessarily whether or not I do miss playing the clubs.
With that said, we're doing a club show at the end of the year 'cuz we haven't done one in a long time, so we are gonna get back in and do a sweaty one, and maybe at that point, I'll remember I miss it. Or I hate it, we'll have to find out when we get there.
A lot of the 'younger' crowd probably have no idea who you refer too in some of your songs (Roy Kinnear, Ray Reardon, Percy Thrower etc.) - are there any plans to record anything new?
Ummmm. I'll say this. I'll never say never. There's been some odd conversations in the background. There is no plan for Lawnmower Deth to do what normal bands do ie record, sell it, tour it and then around that circle you go again. We've got no appetite or desire to do that and that's because I guess some people really want new product, maybe they do, maybe they don't we really enjoy running what we call that 'Twisted-Sister' mentality. Twisted-Sister do 10 shows a year move on to a festival and everyone's in there for real retro-kicks. I think we're the only one's (other than Twisted-Sister) that are doing that. I don't think... I think it makes a difference both sides, for us and for the fans I think it makes it a better experience. If your out there doing 30 dates, or if you do maybe 10 shows a year, it makes a difference. It becomes more of an event. The truth is, audiences probably work harder than the bands do when they play live anyway. It's very much about, and it always has been, very much about the audiences. And generally our audiences are a lot older and fatter these days anyway.
If you were to write/record something new, is there any particular 'celebrities' you'd like to have a poke at?
My number one pet hate at the moment is Richard Bacon. I could write albums worth about him. I mean, if ever somebody had invented 'Happy Slapping' for one good reason, Richard Bacon is it. I just hate the whole mumsy, smarmy, used to be a kids-TV presenter, now I've got my own show on at seven o'clock kinda thing. Who f**king cares to be quite honest? I don't care if he's running 'round in wellies or doing the 'One Show', I hate Richard Bacon with an absolute passion. But there's enough of these so-called celebrities around, there's a whole new genre of... But yeah, Richard Bacon, he's Gold-Medal status of taking a pop at to be perfectly honest.
Now, you're playing a gig in London on Dec 15th, at the Garage in Islington. What can people expect?
That's Christmas time isn't it? Yeah, Christmas show... What can you expect? Usual Lawnmower Deth chaos. Fairly loose, fairly unplanned, as loud as we can get away with, lots of friends. We've got Beholder on the bill with us this time which we're really chuffed about. We're massive Beholder fans. We might have something like some Beard-Off activity. The fun you can have... I mean, Beholder have got Santa Claus in their band for a start, so their going to upstage everybody with those muttons he's got, so yeah, that's gonna be very cool.
We wanted to do a club show; we wanted to play in London because we haven't played their since the Ally Pally gig the fact that we always used to do Christmas shows, every year we used to do 3 or 4 Christmas dates. It was cool, we kinda used to run along like that. I think it's a nice idea. A good place for the sleigh to make a come-back. For anyone that was at the Christmas shows in 1990-91, we may try to get the reindeer and the sleigh out of retirement I'd like to think so. After that, we're gonna play a bunch of drink 'til you puke songs really. Beholder are really good, so if you're coming, you may as well come and check them out really. And other bands to be announced. At least one, if not two more announcements.
Where can people get hold of your music?
It depends on whether you want to steal it, in which case just go out and find the bit-stuff and do that. But if you want to pay for it go on iTunes; the whole catalogue is on there and I think Earache records probably has a warehouse full of CD's I'm sure if you contacted Earache and say "I want 2,000 copies of..." they'd gladly sell them to you tomorrow. One other place is Boss Tuneage (they'll kill me if I don't mention them) which have all the pre-releases and they did the first split album, so if you're a really really stupid individual who feels you must own Lawnmower Deth back catalogue with extras, they've released it on Vinyl and on CD which comes with a DVD as well.
We're also chuffed to bits to be on "The World's Shortest Album" we're delighted, there's some classics on it. I made my wife listen to a whole album yesterday and she hated it. Excellent. I just thought it was great absolutely delighted to be on "The World's Shortest Album".
And finally... Why should people come and see Lawnmower Deth on Dec 15th. At the Garage in Islington?
Because we're there. I doubt we're even charging haha, for the price of a pint you're going to get to see an iconic British Thrash band who are amongst the 'Godfathers of Thrash' and who can play and it's gonna be wild. I don't know why people keep showing up to tell you the truth but it's great. I'm really chuffed, I really am.
Thanks very much for your time Mr. Mutilator & look forward to seeing you guys in December.
For tickets to see Lawnmower Deth, Beholder + Special Guests click here
For more on Lawnmower Deth visit their website here
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article by: Will Tudor
published: 14/09/2012 17:04