Dani Filth and his cohort of extreme, gothic practitioners of dark metal in Cradle of Filth are on the road again, hitting North America in direct support of the legendary Danzig, as well as trekking across the U.S. and Canada for a select amount of headline dates.
Ahead of the tour launch – and before the unexpected announcement of the exits of band members Richard Shaw and Anabelle Iratni (replaced by Donny Burbage and Zoe Marie Federoff) – Filth sat down with Metal Injection for a deep dive into his love of the legendary frontman Glenn Danzig, a re-assessment of the 30th anniversary of Cradle's 1992 demos, the prank played on fans for April Fool's with the "Jesus is a Jerk" merch, his return to acting (and a potential Cradle of Fear II?!) and much more!
I know personally as a heavy music lover you are a big Danzig fan, whether it be solo Danzig, or Misfits. This upcoming tour supporting Danzig must be pretty sweet.
Absolutely. I've been a fan, but I guess I'm sort of a friend of Danzig. I mean, every time I go to a show he always invites me up on stage, not on the stage but to watch from the side stage. He comes down to our shows. Yeah, I've had a good relationship with him.
Is there a seminal Danzig or Misfits record for you? I know for a lot of people go back and forth between Danzig I and Danzig II: Lucifuge.
Yeah, the first one definitely. But my favorite is Danzig 4. I just got a thing about that record. It's great. As for Misfits, I'd probably say the reissue of Static Age. It's actually better than Legacy of Brutality, which was very confusing. It has these confusing like dates, timings on the back, and it didn't sound as good as the stuff they found and then re-released with "In the Doorway" as well. That's a great record.
I think we did talk about it to a degree in our last interview, the appreciation for getting off the road and being able to embrace a bit of downtime and work on the last record. In hindsight, was that appreciated or did you feel like saying fuck all this now, it's time to get back to doing what we do best.
Well, we have different lockdowns … we got out to the States last September. So a year and a half. The first half of that we spent recording. I was literally in the studio recording the album with the producer. We got various band members in as well. Fortunately the drums were done before the first lockdown happened, otherwise Martin wouldn't have been able to travel from the Czech Republic, and in fact, Ashok, who is also from Czech Republic, didn't get here until the summer. So we just took our time. There was a lockdown in place so we weren't on a curfew, but it was kind of frowned upon for people to be traveling out and about after a certain time.
And so we just relaxed and enjoyed it. And I just thought "fuck this is great." We had awesome weather in the UK for a long period of that. Then my previous girlfriend came and stayed with us, so that was kind of cool as well. It was a very strange time. And then you got to about Christmas and after the celebrations it's like "fuck this, it's getting boring now." And we obviously had to hold the album release stuff. I mean, we finished it. I actually finished recording it in 2020 and a year later it was released. It was literally a year later after actually finishing it because obviously we wanted to hold it back so it was close enough to some kind of touring commitment, otherwise it would have just vanished in the ether without anything to back it up live. So yeah, the first half, really enjoyable. And then it just became a bit like Groundhog Day.
I know you guys had the chance to take on some of the classic records in full recently. Cruelty and the Beast last fall on the American tour, and I believe recently you played Dusk… and Her Embrace?
Yeah, that was the second live stream. So that was another thing that the COVID protocols threw up was the ability for us to do a couple of live streams. We invested a lot of time and effort money into it, and they were very successful. I don't know how much further you could replicate that scenario. I think you probably get diminishing returns because people will be like, 'yeah, okay, they're doing the whole of Midian and they have a big stage show and it looks fantastic and that. People are going back to concerts now. I'd rather see them actually in the flesh.' Maybe people will be into it. I don't know.
Was that an interesting exercise going back and tackling some of those deep cuts or reexamining these songs with the lineup you have now? It must be a trip to go back to those '96, '98 era records.
It was, and a little daunting as well, because it felt near impossible singing those back in the day, and fast forward 25 years or whatever [laughs]. But I think we handled them well and yeah, it was good fun to do that and we would like to continue in that vein. I'd like to do Midian, I'd like to do Damnation and a Day, Nymphetamine, etc. etc., possibility allowing.
The second livestream was a bit of an ambitious gamble for us because I think at that point, like I was saying, people's interest waned in live streams just solely for the fact that the world was waking up again, people going back out to concerts, etc., etc.. The response, even though we were doing Dusk… and Her Embrace, we put on a big production, access to the first one and new video content, etc, the uptake was very slow, so we were a bit panicking about it, but it actually worked out perfectly. But I don't know.
There was a lot of time consumption putting those on. We had to fly people in, we had to rehearse, we had to get a crew together who were available, venue, design the set. It's a lot of work and I just don't know. I mean, it's all very well asking your fans, 'would you want another live stream?' And everybody goes 'yes, yes, yes!' But that doesn't really justify the numbers in advance. So it's a bit of a gamble. We never do anything by halves. You know, we're not going out there in jeans and T-shirts.
Talking about fan service and I had such a kick out of the April Fool's Day joke, the "Jesus is a Jerk" shirt, which I thought was fucking excellent. I read in the comments that fans legitimately wanted to buy those. There would have been an actual demand for a more sanitized 'Jesus is a Cunt' shirt.
Yeah. It was a record company idea. We thought it was quite amusing. I liked the "Vestal Mastication" or whatever it was. And then there was also a "Vestal Transportation" one, which should have been "Vesper Transportation." She was on like a little scooter, the nun in question. Yeah, it was good fun. You obviously got the few people who didn't see the joke in advance and were like "what the fuck? This is fucking typical of you guys being so sanitized all of a sudden."
I mean, it would be a great parody in terms of the censorship and the sensitivities of the social media era.
Yeah, I agree. I mean, we did the same thing a long time ago in Terrorizer Magazine where we just came out with a fictitious album that had ridiculous song titles on it. And I remember our ex-guitarist like writing in and being a real asshole about it. Like "this is pathetic. This is exactly what I expected then to be doing. A whole dinosaur trilogy. They've really gone down hill." And of course it was just a massive jape. It confused a lot of people. And again people were like, 'yeah, we would love that dinosaur trilogy! What the hell!'
Going back through the Cradle discography, I believe 2022 marks 30 years of the early demos, Invoking the Unclean, Orgiastic Pleasures Foul, and Total Fucking Darkness. Any prevailing memories of those days?
At first it was just another band I was doing. Throughout my teenage years I've been in so many different punk and metal bands, because I left school. Most people go off and they either go straight to university or if they've got a lot of money, got rich parents or whatever, they do a gap year and go traveling. My gap year, which, to put it bluntly, I've never had a real job. I literally just went on the dole, which is the government pays you a minimal amount of money and kept making excuses not to.
I had a single jobseeker's allowance where you keep going in and proving you've been looking for work. And I managed to sort of meander through all that problem and I just said to myself, I'm going to spend next year making this band, drawing magazine covers for underground fanzines in exchange for interviews and space and advertising.
And then we hooked up with a good promotion company who put us on with bands like Cerebral Fix, Bolt Thrower, Cancer, Carcass, Paradise Lost, etc, etc. And yeah, I didn't really look back from there. I was like if I'm going to take a year out I'm going to work damn hard at this. So we I think three demos, a defunct album that thankfully got wiped. Not because it wasn't very good, but otherwise we would have been stuck in an absolutely awful record company that literally flopped about a year later anyway. There are enduring memories about it, but it was all very hands on. Not quite the business that is nowadays. But then we were young. We were 18, 19.
I recall you discussing that when you came up there was a lot happening in the grindcore in your region. You had festivals with Napalm Death, Carcass, Bolt Thrower, etc. Do you distinctly remember from a young age being introduced to a band that really changed the way you felt about music?
My friend tried shoehorning me into metal with Ozzy and Sabbath and Maiden, which is all great. Loved it. But very quickly I progressed straight to like thrash. He literally gave me a tape and it had on it Plasmatics, Overkill, Slayer, Possessed, Bathory. Then you have the punk bands as well. It wasn't just all heavy metal and at a young tender age you kind of just soak it all up and don't see any difference. W.A.S.P. were on there as well. But I think I'd have to probably say Slayer. Venom and Slayer. Venom for the overarching nonsense, big theatrics and just punk rock attitude. Obviously Slayer just broke the mold completely with Reign in Blood.
My mom ordered (Reign in Blood) for me for Christmas, along with Beyond the Gates by Possessed and Darkness Descends by Dark Angel. And you had to order them from abroad, you know? All through the shop in London, and they ordered them from the States. My copy of Reign in Blood came out in October 1986. It was really early before it was available in England at all. And of course I wasn't going to let it sit under the Christmas tree unplayed.
Fuck me. It blew me away. Literally did. And it still sounds great today. The drums sound out of this world. My position on Slayer changed quite drastically over the years, but massive influence. Big disappointment with South of Heaven when it came out, but I endured it. I love it now, but I think I lost my way with them quite early on after Seasons in the Abyss. I think after that they kind of lost their Slayer ways for me.
It's so interesting that time in metal. You mention Possessed and they were a band, for me, that haven't gotten their just due. Seven Churches is such an instrumental album in death metal. I don't think they get enough credit.
Not a'tall. I mean, I keep in contact with Jeff, actually. They're a massive, massive influence on Morbid Angel. You can hear that on the early Morbid Angel works and so many other bands. If you said that Venom invented the term black metal, because they had an album called Black Metal, then surely Possessed and the death metal tag.
I love the new record as well, but I think my favorite was actually the Joe Satriani produced The Eyes of Horror, which is the E.P. before they went on their hiatus. I always wanted to do a cover of "Confessions", which is the first song on that.
Have you guys ever considered doing a full on cover album or EP? You've always been able to pull off really unique takes on certain songs. I loved "Alison Hell" from the Cryptoriana sessions.
I would like to do that sort of thing. The only thing is, obviously, there's no publishing involved. It all goes to the people you're covering and it just depends. It's quite a big undertaking because as you said, we kind of make each and every cover our own. The "Alison Hell" track was quite faithful to the original. And I don't know if there's a demand nowadays to warrant actually undertaking that sort of thing in regards to nobody buys fucking records anymore.
I've been interested in what you've been doing with acting recently. You had Baphomet last year, Feed Me coming up. Have you been enjoying dipping your toes back into that? It's well documented what a massive horror fan you are, even going back to Cradle of Fear in 2001.
Yeah, absolutely. I think so. Although they're few and far between. But I really enjoy it. I mean, when we did Feed Me last year my cameo is literally five minutes and I play just a boss who sacks one of the characters in it and he's just an asshole. It's literally five minutes, but I had a great day filming it at a really great part of England, Henley-on-Thames, and my girlfriend came. We had a hotel and they really looked after us. It was pre-Christmas as well. It was a great day and we met some great people, good friends, colleagues, etc., etc.
I'd love to do Cradle of Fear II, but again it would be such a massive undertaking. I'd have to get some proper massive investment to make that happen … You couldn't do a movie for less than £1,000,000. I mean, the catering budget for some movies is probably that. And obviously we would do it very underground and guerrilla style. But yeah, I think we'd have to raise an incredible amount of money.
And kind of going full circle back to Danzig. Obviously he's dipped his toes into film and even the directing and writing side of things… Is that something you'd ever have interest in doing?
Absolutely. I'd love to do that. Myself and a friend of mine are, not in the process of doing it, but we've been talking about it and assimilating ideas … I've got people that would put it out. It's just finding the time to do that in between everything else that's going on. I don't think people are aware that when bands disappear for a little while they're not going underground, they're working. It's work. It's a 24/7 thing now.
I recently went away for almost two weeks in Thailand just before coming out on this tour. I just had to do it because I was just getting to the point where I was running myself into the ground a bit. I just needed a break. First time obviously for a long while, as has been said for many people due to this COVID thing.
Catch Cradle of Filth on tour in North America this Spring opening for Danzig and on select headline dates, as well as some solo dates & a trek with Alcest.
w/ Danzig & Crobot
5/5 Reno, NV – Grand Sierra Resort
5/7 Ontario, CA – Toyota Arena
5/8 Mesa, AZ – Mesa Amphitheatre
5/10 Denver, CO – The Mission Ballroom
5/11 Kansas City, MO – Uptown Theater
5/12 Milwaukee, WI – The Rave (Cradle Of Filth only)
5/14 Cincinnati, OH – Andrew J Brady Icon Music Center
5/15 Atlanta, GA – The Eastern
5/17 New Orleans, LA – The Fillmore at Harrah's
5/18 Houston, TX – 713 Music Hall
5/19 Austin, TX – Stubb's Waller Creek Amphitheater
Cradle Of Filth only
5/21 Oklahoma City, OK – Diamond Ballroom
5/22 Grand Junction, CO – Mesa Theater
5/23 Salt Lake City, UT – The Depot
5/25 Seattle, WA – Showbox
5/26 Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
6/2 Joliet, IL – The Forge
6/3 Flint, MI – The Machine Shop
6/4 Toronto, ON – The Opera House
6/6 Montreal, QC – Corona Theater
6/7 Quebec City, QC – Imperial
6/9 Albany, NY – Empire Live
6/10 New Haven, CT – Toad's Place
6/11 Harrisburg, PA – HMAC
10/1 Paris, FRA – Elysee Montmartre
10/3 Luxembourg, LUX – Rockhal
10/4 Antwerp, BEL – Trix
10/5 Eindhoven, NET – Effenaar
10/7 Zwolle, NET – Hedon
10/8 Bochum, GER – Matrix
10/9 Berlin, GER – Columbia Theater
10/10 Cologne, GER – Essigfabrik
10/12 Brno, CZE – Fleda
10/13 Vienna, AUT – Simm City
10/14 Milan, ITA – Live Club
10/15 Zurich, SWI – Komplex 457
10/17 Munich, GER – Backstage Werk
10/19 Toulouse, FRA – Le Bikini
10/21 Barcelona, SPA – Razzamataz 1
10/22 Madrid, SPA – BUT Club
10/23 Pamplona, SPA – Totem
10/25 Rennes, FRA – L'etage
10/27 Bristol, UK – Marble Factory
10/28 Nottingham, UK – Rock City
10/29 London, UK – Indigo at the O2