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Ben Ward Of Orange Goblin And Lovecraft

It's been five years since their last release, and Orange Goblin has never gone out of style. Soon to release "A Eulogy for the Damned," the long-running creepy stoner band has concerts lined up in support and celebration of the anticipated album which is already garnering a great response. You can read a review of it here. I was able to talk to vocalist Ben Ward about the album and exactly how H.P. Lovecraft and his monsters came into play.

Buick McKane: How are you?

Ben Ward: Not too bad.

Buick: “A Eulogy for the Damned” is coming out on Valentine’s Day next month. How have the reviews been so far?

Ben: So far everything’s been really, really positive. It’s been great. There’s hardly been a bad word said about it. You know, it’s very nice to know that after such a long wait since the last album that people haven’t forgot about us; seem to be riding the crest of the wave at the moment, so let’s hope it continues.

Buick: Why was there such a long gap between the last album and this?

Ben: I think it’s just life getting in the way, I suppose. We don’t earn a living from this band so we have to work day jobs, we have a family, and mortgage, and things like that to take care of. Chris [Turner] and Joe [Hoare], the drummer and guitar player, they’re both fathers, and they want to stay home and be dads. Chris moved away which meant we couldn’t rehearse as often as we used to. So we haven’t been sitting around scratching our arses and twiddling our thumbs; we’ve been out, we’ve been doing shows, we’ve been touring as much as we possibly could. Keeping ourselves in the proper light to a certain extent. We just never buckled down and seriously thought about writing a new album until last year.

Buick: Well one song from the album “Red Tide Rising” is already streaming, and you said previously that it was inspired by H.P. Lovecraft. What do you like about his style in particular?

Ben: I don’t know if it’s so much his style. Sometimes I find myself drifting off reading Lovecraft because he goes into too much detail sometimes. As a writer, I think I prefer the style of someone like Robert E. Howard; it’s a little bit more direct. But what I appreciate about Lovecraft is just his imagination, and I guess the detail he conveys is a sort of indication of just how vivid his imagination is, and his art as well; he talked of worlds and realms that go beyond human knowledge and that sort of thing. The fact that we’re still talking about him now is the legacy that he laid down. We’re talking about one hundred and twenty years ago his stories were being written. And the whole mystery around Chthulu myth; people are still fascinated by it. And the amount of films and other books that have been inspired by him are testament to how amazing he was.

Buick: Do you have a favorite film that he inspired?

Ben: I guess that would be “The Thing” which was obviously patterned around the “At the Moutains of Madness.” I think it’s a great adaptation. It’s not a direct adaptation of the story, but it’s got that whole sort of inhuman beings, where as “At the Moutains of Madness” it was more of a giant ancient penguin type thing. But that’s the first one that comes to mind.

Buick: Have you read the Necronomicon?

Ben: I haven’t read it all, no.

Buick: Yeah, it’s pretty difficult to get through at times.

Ben: That’s what I mean about the whole thing. Sometimes literally it’s too much detail and you kind of lose yourself, and forget where you’ve been and what you’ve done. That’s what I like Robert E. Howard’s stories because it’s a lot easier. Not as much of a headache.

Buick: Right. Getting back to the album, it was mastered by Andy Jackson who of course worked with Pink Floyd. How did you get in touch with him?

Ben: I work in an artist management office, and I was in contact with David Gilmore’s manager quite a bit so I just put a word in and he said yes. A lot of people are talking about Andy Jackson, obviously because of the Floyd connection, but I don’t think that his contribution should over shadow Jamie Dodd on this record because, at the end of the day, Andy Jackson just mastered it. The whole thing was recorded, mixed, and aided by Jamie in the studio. He’s the one who deserves most of the credit for this record.

Buick: Cool. I saw y’all at Maryland Death Fest last year, I really liked the show. Do you have any plans to get back to the U.S. this year?

Ben: There wasn’t until tonight. We got a call from an agent that’s booked a one-off show for us in Florida sometime during the summer, but I won’t go into too many details yet because it’s still a bit hush-hush. There weren’t really any plans for us to do America this year because we’re going to be busy promoting this album around the U.K. and Europe, basically a little closer to home. As I was saying, we have to work. We only get a limited amount of holiday time, so we can only do so much per year. I think the plan was to definitely hit up the states in 2013. And we were looking to get some places that we’ve never been like Australia, or Canada, or South America as well. I think we’re going to be busy boys, but there may be a fit into the States this year. It’s a lot easier for us to hop across to mainland Europe and drive around in a bus or van, and do quite a lot. And we have been doing it many times over the course of our fifteen year career. America takes a bit more organizing. I mean, the countryside is huge; it’s crazy that you can drive through Texas in three days and not get out of it. It’s hard to tour the States and make it viable. It’s improving for us because, obviously, last year was a little bit better than the first time we came over; the cities are better now, the crowds are better, you get better treated. So hopefully the next time we come back, we can follow up on the success of the last two.

Buick: Great. Is there anything else you would like to say?

Ben: Thank you on behalf of Orange Goblin for continuing to support, and I know it’s been a bit of a while since the last album. But I’m hoping when they do get to hear it next month that they will think that it was worth the wait. Cheers.

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Emily is an avid supporter of the New Orleans scene, often filming shows and conducting interviews with local bands to help promote their music. She also runs her own site dedicated to the New Orleans scene, Crescent City Chaos.

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