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Interview

Anti Cimex Drummer Charlie On The Band's Legacy, Punk And Why The Band Won't Reunite

Metal as we know it owes a lot to punk and hardcore. After all, the key ingredients for thrash metal was punk, hardcore and the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. Since it began in the United States, spearheaded by the likes of The Stooges, The Ramones, Death, Television and The New York Dolls, punk has gone global and it's no surprise that Sweden was able to create some superb bands such as Disfear and of course, Anti Cimex. So what was it that made the latter so respected and how did punk come about in the Scandinavian country? For answers to these questions and more, I spoke with Anti Cimex drummer "Charlie."

Diamond Oz: Thank you for taking the time to speak to us. It's been twenty five years now since the release of "Scandinavian Jawbreaker". How has Anti Cimex resisted the temptation to reunite in this time, like so many of your peers have?

Charlie: Thank you for the interest in us! To reform you're supposed to be able to deliver. We couldn't do that. Lefty died and Jonsson was stuck in his addictions. And why reform something that was buggering you for some time? Nah, once dead youre supposed to stay dead. That is at least one thing we did properly! Still today we get offers to reunite, some involving quite impressive money offers, but no, we stay dead. Screw the corpse.

Oz: Most people outside of Sweden and Scandinavia have a very small knowledge about the country and its modern history. What circumstances led to you becoming a punk and to form the band?

Charlie: In 1976 we had a right wing government for the first time in 44 years. That's a perfect start for the punk movement! Add to that Thatcher, Breznev and Reagan and you have a perfect growing form for anti system, anti war and anti establishment songs. We had loads of inspiration and things to fight! Pretty much like the situation today! Expect a new wave of punk coming to a place near you in the next few years!

Oz: Given how long it was in between releasing EPs and full length albums, were you surprised how popular the band was before you released, "Absolut Country of Sweden"?

Charlie: We never understood that we were popular at all. We thought we were pariahs. Of course we had our fans but this was before internet, so it was difficult to get a grip how popular we really were. The time between EPs and LPs was spent in a total alcohol driven oblivion. It took me ten years after we quit to realise that we were a band that people still listened too.

Oz: Many younger fans have discovered Anti Cimex through covers by bands such as Napalm Death. How do you view bands recording covers of your music?

Charlie: I absolutely love to hear other bands do covers of us. It's an honour! They may continue to do that as much as they want!

Oz: I've read that the "Live In Sweden" album was also shot on video but never released. Why was this?

Charlie: That's true, but a very hard question anyways. It was our release gig for "Absolut" and Chickenbrain records and Distortion records planned to do a live record and a video recording of it. The live record was released but shortly after Chickenbrain went bankrupt and the tapes were bought buy Mats Bodenmalm of Distortion records. I have been asking him for 20 years what will happen with the tapes and he always responds "they are about to be mixed and released in a short while!". Nowadays I don't ask anymore...

Oz: What was the reason for Anti Cimex disbanding in 1993?

Charlie: Lack of success, fun, engagement and encouragement. And too much of addictions. We had enough of the shit. We didn't get any money, we didn't get any good gigs, we didn't get audience on our gigs, we didn't get that much response of our records...which we later found out that Bodenmalm steered all mail to him instead to us. In short, we were finished with it.

Oz: Following the disbanding of Anti Cimex, yourself, Lefty and Cliff formed and played in Driller Killer. Why form a new band with past members rather than carry on with Anti Cimex?

Charlie: Cliff formed Driller Killer by himself. It was only later he brought in Lefty to play live and only the last four years I entered. But even if us three did that, it wouldnt have been Cimex because we had no Jonsson in the band. The core in Cimex at the end was Jonsson, Cliff and me. You need all three to be Cimex.

Oz: It's been a while since Driller Killer has released any new music. Are you still involved in the band and if so, can we expect to hear from the group soon?

Charlie: The band has been sleeping for ten years now, Cliff needed to sort some things out. His life and his liver! But there have been talks about starting up the band again. But its a long way to go. We will see what happens!

Oz: In the world today, with several new problems but many that have been around for a long time, is punk still a credible voice with solutions to offer or do you believe that with the popularisation of pop punk bands, punk lost face with the public as a face of resistance?

Charlie: Obviously punk wasn't the answer to everything but a damn good voice in the chaotic world we live in. Every person that finds punk will be a better person! Except the pop punk band people, which I consider NOT being punk. They are becoming douchebags. Punk is so much wider nowadays comparrd to the eigthies and is spawning more and more subgenres. But raw punk is the answer for many, even though it wont solve the world problems.

Oz: Thank you for very much for taking the time to talk to us. All the best for the future.

Charlie: Thank you!

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.

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