Interview With Cradle Of Filth
Band Photo: Cradle Of Filth (?)
When the Headbanger's Ball Tour hit the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver, BC this past Wednesday (December 1), my friend Jen and I got the chance to speak with Cradle of Filth bassist Dave Pybus for about half an hour. We brought our friend Simon along because he's British, just like Cradle of Filth. Sarah, who does backup vocals for the band, was also in the room backstage but she was busy working on the laptop.
Dave: [Talks about shoes that Himsa and Bleeding Through got him as he tries them on.] Sorry, darling.
Jen: Oh no. I want to hear all of it. We’re gonna record all this just to entertain me later.
Dave: Ok, let’s go for it.
darkstar: So you guys were at Scrape Records for an autograph signing earlier?
Dave: Actually, I didn’t go. I had to go to the doctors.
Dave: When we were doing a show in Chile, I really hurt my back and ran out of tablets for it. Inflammatory tablets.
Jen: Pineapple juice. It’s a natural.
Dave: Oh really?
Dave: Hey, we should take you on tour.
Jen: That’s right, I could be a doctor.
Dave: Doctor or nurse. Have a doctor or nurse session going on.
darkstar: You trust her?
Dave: Does she trust me?
Jen: Good question.
Dave: No, definitely not.
darkstar: How’s the tour coming along?
Dave: Good. I mean, we’ve only got 11 shows left. We’ve got a few weird incidents. A kid got stabbed in a big brawl. The only about downer about that, the fact that he didn’t die, was that we couldn’t play. The cops showed up to close the show down. So that was a big crap for us. And then our merch guy got held up in the toilets at gunpoint. A gun to his head. But he didn’t get away with the money. We managed to fight this guy. So that was a bit unusual. And then in Denver, a girl got her neck broken in the pit. So we got a few incidents. And then today, Bleeding Through and Himsa were stopped at the border for 12 hours.
darkstar: Are they here?
Dave: Yeah, they’re here. One of the guys doesn’t admit it. He’s been sent away.
Simon: He’s got a criminal record?
Dave: Sounds like it. The shows have been great. Everyone’s been getting along very well. But there were a few incidents we would deem as bad press.
darkstar: You like playing in Vancouver?
Dave: Yeah, we’ve been here before. The funny thing about tonight, you know the hall [Commodore Ballroom]? It’s like a ballroom. It’s like a dance floor. You ever been here before?
darkstar: It’s like my second home.
Dave: It bounces, the floor.
darkstar: Yeah, there are tires underneath.
Dave: So it like bounces? It’s really funny to see ‘cause you think, I’m sure those kids will go through the floor. But obviously they don’t, which is really a shame. You guys into Cradle?
Jen: Actually, yes.
Dave: All right.
Simon: Did you do Glastonbury, stuff like that?
Dave: We’re too heavy for that shit, man. Got your lighters on? We did Download, which is like Donnington. Yeah, it was cool. But Glastonbury was too hippy for it.
Simon: What about Reading and stuff.
Dave: It’s still not as extreme. We’re too extreme for that, really. I don’t think anyone there really enjoyed it. So…fuck ‘em. Ask me a question about sex.
Jen: Fair enough. Get into the question about sex.
Dave: Where you guys from?
Jen: I’m from here.
Jen: You know, down the street.
Dave: Well, I thought he [Simon] might be Canadian but he’s not.
Jen: Well, that’s why he’s the translator.
Jen: Yup, that’s right. You’re British, come on!
darkstar: How was working with Liv Kristine on “Nymphetamine”?
Dave: Very nice. I didn’t expect that we’d ever meet her. But we kinda requested that she’d shoot the video and she said “Yeah, I’ll do it.” We wanted to do more but she’s married and got a kid and stuff so it was limited to just the video. But it was really nice. I mean, she was very flattered to do it because her band’s [Leaves’ Eyes] not as big as ours. She took it as a career move. She was really humble by the whole thing, which is nice because some people have really shitty rock star attitudes, you know? And she didn’t. She was really cool.
Jen: So how was Ozzfest last year?
Dave: Last year. Time flies, huh? The thing about Ozzfest is it's good in the crowd, playing-wise. But I would never want to do it again.
darkstar: Why not?
Dave: Personal reasons. I didn’t really want to earn the Osbournes any money while I spend ten weeks dying. We were the only English bands on there and they never once came to our tours. They’re from Birmingham. So it was like fuck you. I’m a normal person. I take things like that kinda personally. The fact that they’re not normal.
darkstar: Definitely not normal.
Dave: No, they’re not actually. It’s not a bad thing. I mean, they’re traveling with their family. They’ve got shitloads of money. It’s great for them. But for guys away from his family for 10 weeks, dying, you know, for nothing. You’re not even allowed to have a poster campaign while at the same time as Ozzfest. Not at the stores or anything like that. They control everything. It’s a bit like Nazi Germany. They say, “Rock ‘n’ roll this, rock ‘n’ roll that.” It’s the most sterile environment you could ever go into. I’d rather not do it again if I get a choice. I shouldn’t be doing this interview. “You guys will never play Ozzfest again, you motherfuckers!” That’s what they’re like. That’s what they’re like though, you know? Freedom of expression. And I just said it was a pile of shit so sorry.
Jen: Well, Ozzy versus Dani in a potato sack race, who would win?
Dave: Yeah, definitely. I know Ozzy looks a bit pretty, I don’t know, beat up on TV. But I saw Ozzy backstage skipping. I’m only 34 and I can’t do that.
Jen: All right. Ozzy will win.
Dave: Dan will probably beat him in a Jagermeister drinking competition.
darkstar: What band has influenced your music the most?
Dave: For Cradle, don’t know. The Bee Gees? No, I don’t know. We started out as a black metal…well, you know, wanted to be a black metal band. Now we sorta evolved into more of a heavy metal band. Got away from the black metal scene. We’re not trying to get away from the original sound too much. You know, sometimes like Metallica, who’ve changed so much you can’t recognize them anymore. But… [Someone on stage screams.] That’s just one of the crew being tortured.
darkstar: If you weren’t in a band right now, what would you be doing?
Dave: Right now? Probably playing Playstation. Just like chilling out, listening to some cool music. I have no idea. I’d probably still work in the record biz. I mean, I used to work at a record company as a graphics designer for a few years. And I worked on crews before. So I’d probably be crewing if it were really suicidal. But it’s a really hard job, you know? Some guys work like 16 hours a day and, you know, that’s the food. Where’s the energy draw? They must be really fucked, man. We pay them well, don’t worry.
darkstar: What’s your favourite video game then?
Dave: Oh god. I’m really into American football. So Madden 2005, I think it is. That’s what I’m playing right now. That’s all I play. I don’t play anything else. I mean, you might get like 2-3 hours a week where you can just play Playstation so I’m going to play anything I don’t like. So I just stick to the football.
Jen: Would you ever sell your music to a video game or soundtrack or anything like that?
Dave: Yeah, we did the Resident Evil soundtrack. We didn’t get any money for that.
Dave: No. I don’t think so anyway.
Jen: That sucks.
Dave: Well, it’s good promotion for the record. But, I mean, yeah, definitely we’d do it if we do it for a game.
Jen: Do you ever perform the cover you did of [Iron Maiden’s] “Hallowed Be Thy Name” on tour?
Dave: No. Well, Dani wanted to. But the schedule for learning covers is quite tight. We were kinda in the fallout about it. I said we were gonna learn it as a band if we were gonna put it on the set list as a permanent track. And usually as the encore approaches, Dan’s like pissed off or tired and he’ll say like “Drop two songs.” Well, what’s the point of learning a song if you’re gonna fucking drop it? I’m only gonna learn it if you put in on the set permanently. So we just didn’t learn it. He wanted to.
Jen: I want you to as well.
Dave: Well, I’ll play it every day if we’re supposed to but I’m not doing it on a whim, you know? I’ve got better things to do than learn songs we’re never gonna play. Singers, pain in the ass. They are. Actually, I must say, Brandon and Johnny from Bleeding Through and Himsa are the nicest I’ve ever met.
Jen: Because they buy you shoes.
Dave: Well, they got them for free. But they really are the nicest people. They’ve got no ego. They’re really nice. You can talk to them and they’re quite approachable. Maybe they’re so like, you know, doing the fan thing. I think this is the first time they’ve ever done a really big tour. So they’re kinda cool with it, you know. Maybe after 5 years, they’ll be like “Oh, we’re not doing that anymore.” Get like really shitty attitudes like everyone else does.
Simon: Who do you enjoy working with the most?
Dave: Um…nobody. It depends. Live and studio is two totally different things. So studio-wise, the guy we were working with last time was Rob Caggiano, who the guitarist from Anthrax. He’s young. He’s like 28-years-old. He’s really into the band. He’s really cool to get along with. He's like a band member really. He’s in a band so he understands the rock ‘n’ roll side. But live, we did a tour with Type O Negative last year. We turned out to be really good friends with them. Really nice guys.
Simon: Anyone you want to punch?
darkstar: Wanna name them?
Dave: I don’t know. They’d probably beat me up.
darkstar: Send Ozzy against them.
Dave: Ha ha! Why would he fight for me? You know what I mean. Not really. Most of the people I want to punch are in the band.
Simon: Have you ever done a set without another band member?
Dave: No, I don’t think so. On the South American tour, Paul couldn’t come, the guitarist, because he’d broken his hand so we had to get a stand-in, which is all right for South America. We couldn’t get away with the North Americans because kids are like “Who’s that fucking idiot on guitar?” You know what I mean? “That’s not the real guy.” But in South America, they didn’t notice.
darkstar: I hear you guys have a bra collection on the tour bus.
Dave: It has nothing to do with me.
Jen: Note – He nods his head.
Dave: Well, they’re all over the place. Fucking hundreds of them. I don’t know. It kinda started as a joke. These guys tried to get this whole audience participation thing going. And, I don’t know, some nights you get one, some nights you get seven. Over 30 shows, it builds up to quite a lot.
darkstar: Have any guys ever thrown their boxers on stage?
Dave: Yeah, we get idiots. They kinda get thrown around bushes as a joke for a while. You know, you’d be sitting there reading and there’s a fucking pair of underwear will hit you in your face. But that’s about it. Usually they get thrown out after a while because people don’t like it being thrown around. Why? You wanna see the bras?
darkstar: Not really.
Dave: Ok. Some of them are really nice. Sarah actually kept them.
Sarah: No, I didn’t!
Dave: I thought it was really scruffy.
Sarah: I didn’t take it.
Dave: It kinda gives the wrong impression. You walk into the bus and there’s like 200 bras hanging up and it’s like, ok.
Jen: Do you colour-coordinate them or just hang them up to where you see fit?
Dave: I don’t do anything with them. Yeah, black on one side and all the other colours down the rest.
darkstar: You can have a whole rainbow of it.
Jen: And size.
Dave: Well, I never looked at them. They’re just there. It gives people the wrong impression, as if we’re some groupie-type band. We’re not. I’ve never met any groupies, to be honest. Crap. Do you know any?
Jen: Simon, go find them some.
Dave: We meet lots of nice people. I don’t put myself above them, you know? I meet a nice person, I’m a nice person. I say I’m not a rock star and they’re not a groupie.
Simon: Are you gonna stay around Vancouver for a while?
Dave: No, we’ve got to leave at 2 tonight. We’ve got a pretty big drive to Edmonton, which is somewhere. Do you know where it is?
darkstar: Yeah, it’s in Alberta, the next province.
Jen: It sucks.
Dave: Ok. When you’re on a tour, it’s everywhere. That’s all you see. And if there’s no windows, you don’t even see that. Actually, I’ve been out today ‘cause I had to go to the doctor’s. I got to walk a few blocks.
Jen: Did anyone recognize you?
Dave: Yeah, not really.
Jen: Do you guys get recognized often?
Dave: Dani will. But I try and disguise myself. I don’t look anything like I do on stage. But there’s are a lot of pictures on the internet where you can see us without make up. So kids do start twigging. It won’t kill to come over and say “Can I have an autograph?” And the next minute, there’s 50 kids. Yeah thanks. I don’t mind doing one but now you’ve fucking blown it. I don’t really like all that admiration thing. I mean, it’s not what I’m in it for, you know. I ask for autographs too so I do understand it. I’m just me. What do you want of mine autograph for?
Jen: To sell it on eBay.
Dave: Sell it on eBay?
Jen: I’ll split it with you.
Dave: Really? Wow, there’s a lot [of questions].
darkstar: Well, some of them are for Himsa ‘cause I was supposed to interview Johnny too.
Dave: Oh really? They’ve been stuck at the border for 12 hours. They’re a bit tired, pissed off.
darkstar: Apparently their tour manager got stuck back in the States.
Dave: Actually, that time he didn’t get through. He’s got a criminal record. He got a criminal record for breaking into a swimming pool when he was like 15.
Jen: Oh really?
Dave: Swimming in someone’s swimming pool. I mean, wow. It’s hardly a criminal offense. But the border’s really tight about shit. You could be a terrorist, you know.
darkstar: Who breaks into swimming pools.
Dave: Yeah, and swims. Wow. The dangers of fucking Americans.
darkstar: There were a lot of bands who can’t get across the border.
Dave: It usually depends on your criminal record. But we’re an English band. When we pull up at the border, there’s pictures of the queen there and shit so they like us.
darkstar: Even with all the stuff happening at your shows?
Dave: They don’t read into that. They’re not aware of it. They’re not aware of that shit. We don’t promote that stuff either. It’s bad press. You can’t generalize, can you? Just because one kid got stabbed doesn’t mean I’m a rapist. Or I might be. I like swimming too. What were you gonna ask Johnny? Himsa’s like my favourite band.
darkstar: I heard that they were playing the second stage of Ozzfest next summer. I’m wondering if that’s true.
Dave: Well, I’d advise them against it. I mean, we got paid, you know, as Cradle of Filth. We got paid. Whereas, I’m sure Himsa would have to pay. A lot of bands would have to pay a lot of money. I hear like 80 grand to fucking go there and die. So I’d say it’s not a good thing.
darkstar: They have to pay to go tour?
Dave: Yeah. We headlined the B-stage. I think Voivod were getting paid. And every other band had to pay. Killswitch Engage, all of them.
Jen: Really? What about Marilyn Manson?
Dave: Nah, he was on the main stage. He was getting enough money to look gay.
Jen: To look gay. Hey! I like Marilyn.
darkstar: Didn’t you guys play on the same night as Marilyn Manson last year? Right next door. [Cradle of Filth played the Commodore Ballroom, Marilyn Manson played the Orpheum Theatre.]
Dave: Oh yeah. Remember that?
Jen: Oh I remember that.
darkstar: She [Jen] went to Manson.
Dave: That’s all right. I mean, it’s a bit crap.
Jen: Although I really wanted to go to both shows.
Dave: Yeah, I know. I mean, what are you gonna do? I don’t think we’re similar but we kinda attract the same audience. You put him next door. I think we had equal fans. We had 1500, he had about 1500, so there’s no real battle. It wasn’t a problem. I only met him once in a drug store, drunk.
Jen: Drunk. Nice. Wait, were you drunk or was he drunk?
Dave: No, James was drunk. [Johnny from Himsa walks in.] Oh hey, Johnny’s here. Johnny, they [Dave's shoes from Himsa] fit perfectly.
Johnny: You like them?
Dave: Yeah. [Johnny goes on stage.]
darkstar: He looks busy.
Dave: He’s probably doing sound check ‘cause doors are really early. They’re late so they’re panicking. 12 hours, they’ve been there. It only took us 30 minutes. Ha ha!
Simon: Will you be back in time for Christmas in England?
Dave: Yeah, last year we were home for like two days before Christmas so we’re too jet-lagged to do Christmas shopping. This year, we’ve got a week before so that’s good. It’s gonna be nice. Not that I celebrate Christmas at all.
Jen: So what are you going to be doing for Christmas then?
Dave: Drinking. Maybe fucking. I don’t know. All the things you do that you don’t do here.
Jen: So I guess it is traditional?
Dave: What? Drinking and fucking? It’s what everyone else ought to be doing.
Jen: We’re going to go fly a kite.
Dave: Really? Where?
Jen: I don’t know. We’ll find a park.
Dave: On Christmas Eve?
Jen: Yup. Simon and I, we’re gonna go fly a kite.
Dave: Well, I hope it’s windy.
Jen: If all else fails, we’ll still have the alcohol. If you’re still here, you can come fly a kite with us too.
Dave: If I’m still there. They might not let me back into America. I might as well just stay.
Jen: There you go. You can come fly a kite with us.
Dave: Actually, I don’t have any friends in Vancouver. I don’t know anybody.
darkstar: You do now. We can be your groupies.
Dave: Oh really? You don’t want to do that. You get to do horrible things.
Jen: You can wash the bras for them.
Dave: That’s not what we get groupies for. That’s what Sarah’s for.
Dave: You like washing the bras?
Sarah: Fuck off.
Jen: Has anyone ever called you guys “Midget Edward Scissorhands?”
Jen: Just the band in general.
Jen: I work with this guy who’s a tattoo artist and he plays in a death/black metal band. And he’s very into being evil. You gotta live that way.
Dave: He doesn’t think we’re evil?
Jen: Not anymore. So I was asking if he wanted to say anything to Cradle and he’s like, “Say that and I’ll be your friend again” because he stopped being my friend. Because I’m not evil enough for him. So now he’s my friend. But no one’s ever called you that before?
Dave: Not personally. I mean, I’m not small. I’m 5’11. I’m not evil either. He’s right, we’re not evil.
Jen: I guess he directed that towards Dani.
Dave: It’s really bad we’re not evil. Whatever evil might be to him, I don’t know. I’m sure if he came on tour and saw us, he’d know what evil was and never wanna go there again. We do get a lot of people saying “You’re not this, you’re not that.” I mean, who gives a fuck? We’re a band, you know? We out there to play music and sell records. I don’t drink blood or eat babies or do whatever these people think I should do. I fucked a girl in the ass once on Christmas, which is quite blasphemous.
Jen: Here you go, you’re evil.
Dave: I mean, it’s like who cares? I just thought it was cool. You can’t pan it to other people’s image all the time. You gotta do what you wanna do. It’s freedom of expression. If we tried to please everybody all the time, I don’t think we would even be here. So we’re just gonna keep going.
Simon: Have you ever fucked any of your band mate’s sisters?
Dave: No, but I think James once fucked one of Dani’s sisters. He was terribly pissed off at him. I don’t have any sisters, you see. But I’m sure if I did, Dan would try to fuck one of them.
Jen: Would you be mad?
Dave: I would like to think it’s none of my business. I mean, once you’re 21, I think you can do what you want. I think Dan was pissed off at him. I don’t know. I don’t know why. I don’t have any sisters so I don’t know what it’s like. I’ve got lots of brothers. I think if one of the guys slept with my brothers, I’d be a bit pissed off.
Jen: I wasn’t even gonna go there.
darkstar: Who’s your favourite band of all time?
Dave: It’s kinda difficult. I like a lot of bands. But just to answer the question, I’d say Misfits. Early Misfits.
Simon: What’s in your record player?
Dave: I don’t know. What was I listening to the other night? Don’t know. There’s a lot of stuff so I don’t know.
Jen: We saw a Fu Manchu album upstairs. Whose is that?
Dave: Probably one of the other guy’s. You know the band Zeke from Relapse?
darkstar: Heard of them.
Dave: Yeah, they’re really cool. I like them. They sound like Monster Magnet.
Simon: Do you listen to the underground rock music?
Dave: I like to stick with smaller bands, like Himsa or stuff, you know. When I first heard about them, I tried to get them on tour. Now it’s happening and I’m really happy for them. Everyday, they come up to me and say “Wow! This is the biggest crowd we’ve ever played, the biggest show, the biggest stage.” You know, they’re really blown away and I like that. We’re a bit blasé about that stuff like that, you know? It’s like “Oh well, whatever. Another venue, another gig, another screaming kids.” But they’re really into it. I kinda miss that now. They appreciate it.
Simon: Did you start out in Yorkshire then?
Dave: Yeah, I was in a band for about years. Didn’t get nowhere. Driving around in vans. But when you get opportunities to join bigger bands, you know your friends are gonna say you’re a sellout, you’re doing it for the girls or for the money. But at the end of the day, you know you gotta make your own decision. Do you wanna stay in your hometown and do nothing for the next 50 years or do you wanna just go for it? So it only took me 10 minutes to decide. And I’m here. All my friends are still back at home, doing nothing, thinking I’m a sellout.
Dave: Yeah, they do.
Jen: Are they still your friends though?
Dave: No. They’re not even interested in what I’m doing anymore. I think they lost touch. When I go back to see them, they don’t ask me where I’ve been, what I’m doing, when’s the new record out. They might ask for an autograph or a T-shirt. They don’t really care about me.
Jen: They’re probably selling that on eBay too.
Dave: I guess.
Simon: Have you tried the BC bud yet?
Dave: What is it?
Simon: The green.
Dave: I don’t smoke. I never have. Yeah, I’ve never smoked. I’m only into the two worst drugs going – beer and women. They’re a terrible mix. I think it should be illegal actually. Crack, heroin should be totally legalized. I think things will be a lot simpler. I really miss England sometimes.
Simon: Do you go to London a lot?
Dave: Nah. We do a lot of photo shoots and video shoots and business down there. But I don’t really like it really. I’m from a small town. I live in Ipswich right now. It’s big enough for something to happen. But it’s small enough if you want to be quiet. So I can kinda handle that. I think London’s just too a bit too crazy for me. It’s too big. There’s like a million people there. Fucking hell. Where I’m from there’s like 60000 people there. It’s tiny. Whatever. You guys gonna see the show tonight?
Dave: Who are you looking forward to seeing?
darkstar: You guys.
Dave: Oh really? You gotta see Himsa though. They’re great. Bleeding Through is obviously fucking... I mean a lot of people, when we first got the tour together, were like “Why are you taking all these emo bands with you?” I’m like “You obviously haven’t listened to their records, have you?” They’re really fucking brutal. They’re not emo, whatever that might be. You guys, could you explain emo to me?
Jen: Emo? It’s like “I’m gonna kill myself now because you don’t love me anymore.”
darkstar: They’re kinda like punk, but not really.
Jen: Really emotional, like “I’m gonna write a song about my planned suicide because you won’t let me hold your hand anymore.”
Dave: That’s fucking dreadful.
darkstar: You ever heard of Dashboard Confessional?
Dave: I might have heard their name but I don’t know.
darkstar: Yeah, they’re emo.
Dave: It’s funny ‘cause when you meet all these bands always claim that they’re emo but I’m sure that I read somewhere that they were.
darkstar: So is Jimmy Eat World.
Dave: Oh really?
darkstar: Yeah, that’s emo.
Dave: These are bands to avoid, right?
Jen: Well, yeah, everything that’s popular right now.
darkstar: Alkaline Trio…
Jen: There you go. Everything popular. Everything on Warped Tour. How about that?
Dave (to Sarah): You hungry, darling?
Dave (to us): She wants to go. She’s waiting for me.
Jen: Oh sorry!
Sarah: Oh no, I can’t eat for about 3 hours before a show because I sing.
darkstar: Do you have any last words?
Dave: I’m sure I’ve got billions. But no, not really. I’m just looking forward to a great show. That’s all we have to do, to play a good show. Sometimes we go through technical problems and people’s egos. But I hope it’s good. Sorry we’re not evil.
Jen: Cool. Thank you very much.
Dave might not be evil, but he was a really nice guy. Also, I ran into some problems so I didn't actually get the chance to interview Johnny from Himsa nor stay to check out the show.
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