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InterviewsA Few Words With the Mighty Orange Goblin

Posted on Sunday, March 24 2013 @ 11:31:10 CDT by Pete Pardo
Heavy Metal Sea of Tranquility staff writer Carl Sederholm recently chatted with Ben Ward and Chris Turner of Orange Goblin, currently touring the US with Scorpion Child, Lionize, and Clutch.

SoT: How is the tour going? How long has it been since you've played in the United States? Have you ever played in Utah before?

Ben Ward: It's going great. It's obviously not the first time we've toured America, but it is the first time we've played to crowds as big as the one's we're playing, thanks to Clutch.

Chris Turner: It's like a captive audience, which is great for us.

BW: We've been getting a lot of exposure that we haven't had before. We've been really well looked after and everything's gone as well as can be expected. No complaints from us. [Playing in Utah] is another first for us. We're excited about that.

SoT: You'll find the scene here to be big and growing. Hopefully the fans will respond to you guys.

BW: That's what we've been finding. People that haven't heard of us before are leaving with an impression.

CT: Every show we've been playing, we've been getting positive comments on Facebook and so on.

SoT: In the last year, you've released two albums, A Eulogy for the Damned, and A Eulogy for the Fans. Some people are saying that the studio album is one of the best you've ever done. What are your thoughts about the increased attention?

BW: We have to agree with them, mainly because of the response of critics and fans. We made a decent album, but we didn't expect it to take off the way it has. It's given us the opportunity to do this full time. We're really pleased with it. The label wanted something else from us so the live album was a good choice.

CT: We are essentially a live band and to get the whole Orange Goblin experience you have to see us live. A lot of people have heard us on record, but you have to see us live. That's the good thing about the live album is that it is an accurate depiction of us live, warts and all. If you go buy other live albums, there are lots of guitar overdubs and vocals rerecorded in the studio. This album is what you hear when you see us.

BW: Right as it would have come through the sound board.

CT: If you know the band and understand the band, then you'll get a lot more out of it then if you expect a polished live production.

SoT: I listened to it on the way here. I was happy you chose to put "The Fog" on there since it's one of my favorite songs.

BW: That was the hardest part, choosing the set list. Hard to get it spot on and to promote the latest album as well. There's a fine balance

SoT: You guys may be one of the biggest metal bands in England right now. What do you say about that?

BW: I don't know. Success is a matter of people's perception.

CT: I dare say that Iron Maiden is really big!

BW. Black Sabbath and Iron maiden do all right. Since the last album, we've enjoyed a resurgence in popularity. We've had some magazine covers and won some reader polls.

CT: There's like a rock resurgence going on. Guitar-based rock music is on the crest of the wave at the moment. We've been around for 18 years, so we're like the old boys, if you like. There's a lot of people who have grown up with us. We're a fixture, so it's easier to latch on to us because we're a familiar sight.

SoT: 18 years, wow. Since '95 then?

BW: 94, 95. We changed our name to Orange Goblin and began to take things more seriously in '95 and signed to Rise Above Records and had our first release in '97.

SoT: Are fans discovering you in other parts of the world? How big is your American audience?

BW: With social networking sites, it's easier to spread the word. Lots of fans ask us if we're going to play areas like Mexico and Asia.

CT: The availability of music online gives people access to everything. You don't have to wait in line at record stores any more. We get people from Africa and Indonesia making contact with us. Any time we mention that we're playing anywhere, we get a bunch of requests to play in their countries.

BW: Come play in our back yard.

SoT: I've never read a good account of where your name comes from. What do you mean by Orange Goblin?

BW: It's a mixture of two things really. Firstly, the color we chose because a lot of our favorite bands and influences from the 60s and 70s--Blue Cheer, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath--have colors in their name. The Goblin part comes from fantasy, especially Tolkein's Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Goblins are horrible characters.

CT: Black Sabbath chose their name because it's phonetically pleasing to say. It rolls off the tongue. Orange just kind of fits like that. It's retarded, but it works.

Sot: Better than Goblin Cock, I suppose!

BW: Yeah, but they're a great band.

SoT: What direction do you see Orange Goblin going in the next 5-10 years? Are you already thinking about another studio album?

BW: I don't think the direction will ever change. Musically, what comes out is an expression of all our influences and what we're listening to at the time. I think you can see slight progressions throughout the career, from album to album, but it never veers from that main core of Sabbath and Motorhead influences.

CT: There's never a set plan when we write anything. We don't sit round a table and have a board meeting to decide.

BW: The new album will happen and we'll see what will happen. In the meantime, we're going to enjoy touring as much as we can.

CT: Because we've gone more international, we're playing places we've never been before. We're playing Utah for the first time; we just came back from Australia where we've never played before. We have seven albums worth of material that people haven't heard. We have a lot of ground to cover. We also have staunch fans in Europe that want us to do something new really quick. This year, we're going to tour. Lots of people know our name, but don't know what we're about. Next year, we'll do something [new].

SoT: You guys recently quit your day jobs and are full time professional musicians. When did that happen?

CT: Since February of this year, literally. For the last 18 years, the band has been a weekend past time pretty much. We've used vacation time to go on tour. It was always something we did because it was fun to do. It's only literally since the response to the last album and the positive reviews and magazine coverage that it became viable.

BW: We're the polar opposite of an overnight sensation

CT: If you're in a band and you enjoy what you do and do it, there's nothing to say that you have to make it in a year or five years. We haven't made it, but we're in a position now to have this be a profession for the time being. We'll stick with it.

BW: Hopefully these tours will increase the fan base and allow us to keep touring for 25 years.

CT: We'll be dead by then!

SoT: Mick Jagger is still doing it.

BW: Lemmy's still doing it!

SoT: Let's talk about "Red Tide Rising," a song that's influenced by H. P. Lovecraft's "The Call of Cthulhu."

BW: It's not a literal sort of influence; it's just the whole Cthulhu Mythos and taking that whole thing of a creature rising from the sea and wreaking havoc on the whole earth as a kind of retribution for what mankind's done to the planet. The red tide rising just symbolizes him coming out in a sea of blood.

SoT: it's a cool image.

BW: Which is why the cover of the live album has Cthulhu on it

CT: The big Cthulhu.

SoT: Lovecraft is huge in metal right now. There's a lot of albums, especially by newer bands doing stuff with the Cthulu Mythos.

BW: In doom metal it's always been quite a popular thing. Bands have been using Lovecraft.

Ct: It's pretty trippy kind of stuff. It's not your normal kind of horror thing. It appeals to a certain mindset, really.

BW: Metallica were doing it in '84 with "The Call of Ktulu" on Ride the Lightning. Sot: Also "The Thing that Should not Be" on Master of Puppets. They really nailed "The Call of Ktulu," though.

BW: you can take pretty much any of Lovecraft's stories and write a reasonable metal song based on it. There's just so much crammed into one story with Lovecraft.

SoT: Which one of you guys reads him?

CT: We've all read him

BW: In Texas, we stopped at the house Robert E. Howard used to live in. He's one of my favorite writers. August Derleth, too.

SoT: What about "They Come Back?" I thought it would be cool to connect that to Stephen King's "Sometimes They Come Back."

BW: I've got a passion for Zombie movies, so it's just that really. I didn't sneak a tie to Stephen King. I was just thinking about the corpses coming back.

Sot: What's your favorite zombie movie?

BW: For an out-and-out zombie movie I'd have to say Dawn of the Dead or The Beyond.

CT: We still haven't seen the new Evil Dead movie yet, but we want to.

SoT: Thanks guys!

Carl Sederholm

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