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Holocaust - Live From The Raw Loud'N'Live (1981)



Holocaust jest progresywnym heavy metalowym zespołem założonym w 1977 roku w Edynburgu w Szkocji.Oryginalny skład zespołu twożyli gitarzyści John Mortimer i Ed Dudley, wokalista Gary Lettice, basista Robin Begg i perkusista Paul Collins.Zespół stał się częścią nowej fali brytyjskiego ruchu heavymetalowego. Po licznych zmianach składu z powodu konfliktów wewnętrznych, Jan Mortimer pozostaje jedynym z założycieli zespołu Holocaust od „No Man’s Land”.



Hailing from Edinburgh, Scotland, Holocaust were formed in the late '70s, and featured vocalist Gary Lettice, guitarists John Mortimer and Ed Dudley, bassist Robin Begg, and drummer Nicky Arkless. Like many New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands, Holocaust cut their teeth in local clubs during the waning days of punk, before finally scoring an independent record deal and issuing 1981's seminal The Nightcomers. Though commercially unsuccessful, the album has remained a favorite of the genre and was later cited as a major influence by members of Metallica, who covered the song "The Small Hours" from the band's subsequent release, 1983's Live -- Hot Curry and Wine. But the band was already experiencing internal strife and fell apart before the recording of 1984's disjointed No Man's Land, which featured sole surviving original member John Mortimer handling vocals, guitars, and bass, and backed by drummer Steve Cowen. Five years would pass before the duo (along with bassist David Rosie) resurrected Holocaust once again, going on to release a number of solid efforts, including 1989's The Sound of Souls, 1992's Hypnosis of Birds, 1996's Spirits Fly, and 1997's Covenant. 2003 saw the band's work collected on the anthology Smokin Valves ~ Eduardo Rivadavia, Rovi

Interview with JOHN MORTIMER
Erik Chrupalyk

U.F.-WHAT HAVE YOU GUYS BEEN UP TO LATELY? ARE YOU RECORDING?

JOHN: We are continuing pre-production work on the new album "Primal" right now, (July). As for what we've been up to lately, well, we had a couple of shows in NJ in April, one of which was the Meltdown 3 festival; we've been building up our profile on the web, getting all the machinery in place for long term touring, especially in the US.

U.F.-I SAW THE INTERVIEW A FEW MONTHS BACK, IN METAL MANIACS, AND YOU AND WHOEVER INTERVIEWED YOU (PROBABLY WAGNER) KEPT SAYING HOW THE NEW HOLOCAUST IS NOTHING LIKE THE OLD HOLOCAUST, BUT ACTUALLY, I CAN STILL SEE THE RESEMBLENCE. IN WHAT WAYS DO YOU THINK THE BAND HAS CHANGED OVER THE YEARS?

JOHN: There will always be a resemblance. I think Jeff Wagner and I in that interview were really caught up with the last album, "The Courage To Be", which has a diverse range of influences on it. To my mind, the history of Holocaust thus far can be divided into three periods, which I call first, second and third age Holocaust. The first age Holocaust was about being 16 years old, realising that heavy rock was great but that it should be much heavier, more abstract and more extreme...so bring on the Heavy Metal Mania! The albums in this period were "The Nightcomers", "Live-Hot Curry and Wine" and "No Mans Land". The second age Holocaust was about metal with experimentation, fantasy and existentialist-style expression. The albums in this period were "The Sound Of Souls", "Spirits Fly", "Covenant" and "The Courage To Be". The third age Holocaust, which is beginning now, is about metal, pure and simple. This is NOT a return to 1980 and the NWOBHM as such. It is about getting right into the essence of this form of music which means more to us than any other possibly could.

U.F.-WILL THE BAND BE TOURING ANY TIME SOON? I'D LOVE TO SEE YOU GUYS PLAY OUT HERE IN PHILLY.

JOHN: Oh yeah, we plan to be hitting plenty of gigs in PA, including Philly of course. There will probably be a few east coast shows this year but it's next year the serious US touring begins.

U.F.-ARE THERE ANY NEWER BANDS THAT YOU LIKE? WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE WHOLE KID ROCK, SLIPKNOT, LIMP BIZKIT, MUDVAYNE THING? PERSONALLY, I THINK IT'S NOT METAL AT ALL, AND GIVE IT 5 YEARS TOPS, BEFORE THE TEENYBOPPERS FIND SOMETHING ELSE TO LATCH ONTO.

JOHN: Nu Metal...a subject which causes a great deal of discomfort to a lot of people, it seems! I agree with you, it is not metal. It's not even as if you can say, "It's metal Jim...but not as we know it"! Take Slipknot as an example; Slipknot is a product. A bunch of cigar smoking, stuffed suits got round a conference table one day and gave birth to Slipknot. Ok, so I buy products from stores every day...there's no reason why you can't buy a product and like it. I actually like 2 "songs" by Slipknot, ("sic" and "surfacing"), but it's not metal, it's just a product designed to exploit pissed-off, rebellious teens who want to be seen as crazy, bad-ass, anarchists for a couple of years. With Limp Bizkit, I think the story is a slightly different one. I have spent a lot of time with their albums and there genuinely is a lot of substance there. The stuffed suits have got hold of it now though, so it's just another product..."Hey kids! Ya want some distorted guitar with yer Eminem"!? The whole thing has turned into a giant, nauseating, marketing campaign. Even so, to be fair to the band as such, there IS real music there and many things to admire...the production on "Chocolate Starfish" for instance, which is beautiful from a technical point of view. But metal it ain't. On a more positive note, I like Godsmack a lot...I guess they could be classed as "newer". There are certain aspects of the latest Fear Factory album, "Digimortal", that I find impressive as well. Other than that it's mostly long established bands I listen to, like Voivod, Pantera, Sepultura, Iommi, Pitchshifter.

U.F.-DO YOU GET RECOGNIZED IN PUBLIC A LOT? I HEAR OVER IN EUROPE, THINGS ARE MUCH MORE DOWN TO EARTH, WITH METALHEADS BEING IN HUGE NUMBERS.

JOHN: Well, sorry to disappoint you but, if anything, the USA is a better metal market than Europe. Some European countries ARE good for metal, like Germany, Holland and Greece. Britain has virtually been a metal-free zone for over a decade, so no, I don't get recognized much! I don't give a shit about all that fame stuff though. Seriously, about the US...when we were over in April and driving quite long distances from state to state we could always find a radio station that was playing full-on metal. You could listen all week to the UK stations and not hear one heavy metal song...I am NOT exaggerating!

U.F.-HOW DO YOU LIKE THE STATES? PERSONALLY, I THINK MY COUNTRY SUCKS, SO FEEL FREE TO BASH AWAY, HAHAHA!

JOHN: On the new album there is a song about the States, "Made Righteous", which includes the line, "This is the place where you will find the best; this is the place where you will find the worst". I think I'll just leave it at that for now.

U.F.-ARE YOU INTO THE WHOLE 'BLACK METAL' THING? VENOM KICKS ALL THEIR ASSES IF YOU ASK ME, BUT I DO LIKE A LITTLE BATHORY AND DEMONIAC.

JOHN: No, I'm not into black metal as such.

U.F.-DO YOU MISS THE WHOLE "NEW WAVE OF BRITISH HEAVY METAL" PERIOD? MAN, I WISH I COULD HAVE BEEN THROUGH IT. I WAS BORN AT THE END OF IT, SO UNFORTANETLY, AS A TEENAGER, I HAD TO WITNESS THE WHOLE BUSH, MARILYN MANSON, KORN, 311 THING. DO YOU REALIZE HOW HARD IT IS TO FIND REAL METALHEADS OUT HERE IN THE STATES THESE DAYS??? ESPECIALLY ONES MY AGE, HA!

JOHN: I miss that feeling where you got out of bed in the morning and kind of thought, "So.......what great new metal band has brought out a self-financed record TODAY, I wonder"?! That was the thing back in the UK in those days...it was literally NEW metal from the grass roots. Another thing I miss is the tours by major bands...every month or so there would be a real kick-ass metal or rock band playing live in Edinburgh; Blue Oyster Cult, Krokus, Iron Maiden, UFO, Ted Nugent, Budgie, Motorhead, Judas Priest, whatever; but for years now we've had no big bands and only a very few smaller bands!

U.F.-WHAT KIND OF GEAR DO YOU PREFER?

JOHN: ESP guitars for me...Jackson for John McCullim. We are both big fans of Marshall and Mesa Boogie so we're thinking about having a mix, with me cultivating the British Marshall-type sound and John going for the real modern US type sound. We have both used Line 6 PODS quite a bit and I like Roland effects. I have a GT-5 and it's great. Only trouble is, you could work full time hours every day on the effects alone!

U.F.-WHAT'S THIS, I HEAR THAT THE MEAT PUPPETS HAVE COVERED ONE OF YOUR SONGS? THE ONLY COVERS I'VE HEARD WERE METALLICA (R.I.P.) AND SIX FEET UNDER'S.

JOHN: Yeah, they included "The Small Hours" on an encore medley on "Live in Montana". Also Gamma Ray have recorded "Heavy Metal Mania" 3 times...the only version that is available at this time is on "Alive'95" album.

U.F.-WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MAIN LYRICAL SOURCE THESE DAYS? WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO WRITE?

JOHN: Like I said earlier, we are at the beginning of a thrid age for Holocaust and so the inspiration is different now. The songs are all "real world" songs as opposed to any kind of fantasy. Many of the "second age" songs were very esoteric, the Primal songs are not. Many of the new songs began with a feeling of reaction against being manipulated into a mindless, passive way of life, in conformity with the institutionalised pride and greed that smothers our lives in Western societies. Oh no! I sound like a politician now!! Another thing is that both the new members, Bryan and Ron write lyrics. Most of "Primal" was written before they joined but one song, "Black Box", has lyrics by Bryan. It'll be nice to have lyrics from them in the future, in fact the whole thing feels much more like a collective effort now.

U.F.-LOOKING BACK, IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WOULD HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY WITH THE BAND?

JOHN: Honestly, I don't tend to think that way anymore so I'm not really sure how to answer that one. It's now and the future that counts. What's that Pantera song..."Yesterday don't mean shit"...yeah! There you go! I guess there are a lot of things I would have done differently but that is actually the same as saying that I wish I as a person had been stronger and wiser. We all live and learn. The big question is, do we put the things we learn into practise...do we make the changes or not?

U.F.-WHAT MADE YOU START PLAYING IN THE FIRST PLACE?

JOHN: Well, if there's one single man responsible for it all it is Tony Iommi. Back in the high school days me and the guys in the original band used to have metal nights round at each others houses 4 or 5 times a week. Just headbanging non-stop for hours. The bands we were into were the likes of Budgie, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Motorhead, Scorpions, Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, UFO, Aerosmith, Montrose, Judas Priest etc, but above all Black Sabbath. It really was Heavy Metal Mania. I remember sitting there, rocking back and forth like Homer Simpson, y'know?---"...must have electric guitar!...must make noise!!...metal noise!!!". We just decided we HAD to get a band together. You know what it's like when your 15 and 16 years old. We didn't care if we could be successful or not, it was just the idea of being able to make a noise which in any way resembled those bands I mentioned...that was the meaning of life!

U.F.-I'M A GUITARIST MAN, IVE GOT MY AXE RIGHT HERE, IN "DEATH OR GLORY", CAN YOU PLEASE TELL ME THE CHORDS YOU HIT AFTER B5 IN THE VERSE AFTER THE MAIN RIFF?

JOHN: Ok, we are taliking simple power chords all the way, plus 2 single notes...after B you got G, A, then G (single note), F# (single note), E, F#, G, A , B....return to riff.

U.F.-HOW DO YOU COME UP WITH IDEAS FOR SOLOS, AND WHO INFLUENCED YOUR LEAD PLAYING?

JOHN: Right now I guess the biggest single influence on my lead playing is Steve Hacket, would you believe?! Thing is, these days most of the solos are taken care of by the other John, (McCullim). His biggest influences are Yngwie Malmsteen and Alan Holdsworth. In the earliest days I would say Ted Nugent was the biggest influence on my playing. He wasn't my absolute favourite lead player; it was just that what he did was generally quite simple and I dug it, so I could kinda play like him if I wanted.

U.F.-HOW DOES IT FEEL WITH THE NEW LINEUP? I UNDERSTAND "BUDGIE" (AS I KNOW HIM, IF I RECALL, HIS REAL NAME IS RON) JUST RECENTLY JOINED. DOES IT HAVE THE SAME SPARK IT HAD DURING THE FIRST PART OF HOLOCAUST, AS YOU LIKE TO PUT IT?

JOHN: It actually has more spark now! The ecstatic excitement of the first age Holocaust only lasted a short time. We had The Nightcomers out about 2 years after we started playing. After that a rift developed. Myself and the drummer, Nicky Arkless, wanted the whole thing to get heavier and darker; the other three wanted it to go in a Rock'n'Roll, Van Halen direction. Things were pretty tense and miserable by the time the Live album came out.

With the new line-up, the connection with the high school days, when the band was first conceived, is still there through John McCullim because he was part of that whole metal movement at school. I've known him for over 20 years now...he took up guitar in the first place because of what was happening with Holocaust in those days. Ron and Bryan are just the best people anyone could ever want to be in a band with.

U.F.-DO YOU LIKE WHAT METALLICA HAS DONE TO "THE SMALL HOURS"?

JOHN: Yeah, I like their cover. Hey, they were still a heavy metal band in those days!

U.F.-WILL HOLOCAUST BE PART OF ANY METAL FESTS THIS YEAR? WHAT'S YOUR FEELINGS TOWARDS JACK KOSHIT (PROMOTER WHO RUNS THE MARCH METAL MELTDOWN AND MILWAULKEE METAL FEST)? UH HEM! KOSHICK...

JOHN: There is a Classic Metal Fest in Florida which I believe we are going to be playing...that's not confirmed yet. As for Mr Koshick, well he's been absolutely fine in his dealings with us and this years Meltdown seemed real good all in all. A great venue anyway...only trouble was...getting all the sea-gull shit off the gear afterwards!

U.F.-OTHER THAN BEING IN HOLOCAUST, HAVE YOU ANY OTHER HOBBIES OR PROJECTS?

JOHN: My main interests, besides metal, are Theology and Chemistry. I don't have the time for chemistry any more but I did a university degree in it a while back. The band really takes up most of my time and I'm glad it does.

U.F.-DO YOU FEEL LIKE SOME ROCK REBEL-METALLER GUY, OR DO YOU JUST FEEL LIKE YOUR AVERAGE 9-5 WORKING SHIFT GUY? DOES IT STILL HAVE THAT "GOOD FRIENDS JUST JAMMING" VIBE, OR ARE YOU IN A "PROFESSIONAL" MINDSET?

JOHN: Neither, in fact. It's like Holocaust is what I do, it's where I'm at...that's it.

U.F.-WERE YOU FAMILIAR WITH OUR WEBZINE BEFORE THIS INTERVIEW, IF SO, WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?

JOHN: I've been visiting it about once a week, (on average), for some time now. I like it a lot. I primarily use it to get the more grass roots news and views; I visit Blabbermouth on an almost daily basis but UF is more targeted and doesn't try to cover such a vast range of metal and rock, so it's more convenient for me. There are interviews I find interesting as well like the Tempered Steel one, seeing as how they opened for us in NJ recently---it's good to see how things are going with them. Most important though, is what UF stands for...REAL Metal. At this time especially, it's vital that we have up-to-date real metal sites that help bind the whole movement together and UF certainly is that.

U.F.-WHERE DO YOU SEE THE FUTURE OF METAL HEADING TOWARDS? I HOPE TO SEE A RESURGENCE IN THE TRADITIONAL STYLE (DIAMOND HEAD, JUDAS PRIEST, MOTORHEAD, SAXON, BLACK SABBATH, AND HOLOCAUST OF COURSE!)?

JOHN: I wish I had a crystal ball! I would love to see that resurgence you speak of. What I would say is that traditional metal is strong enough and potent enough as a style to endure forever. It connects with the primal. However, it MUST continue to evolve and grow. I feel there is a danger that fans of real metal, (some of whom will form the bands of the future), may become too reactionary and conservative. There is a huge backlash against the so-called nu-metal and a retreat into ever more specialised categories. If real metal does not begin to take experimentation within it's own parameters seriously, it will stagnate. If the walls are not broken down between Death Metal/Power Metal/Thrash/etc etc etc then the whole genre will eventually be weakened. Whatever happens...we'll be there.

U.F.-SO HOW CAN I GET BACKSTAGE WHEN YOU GUYS COME TO PHILLY? MAN, I HOPE IT AIN'T A 21 OR OVER SHOW, CAUSE IM JUST TURNING 19

JOHN: Hey man, just tell 'em you got friends in high places! (LOL) Nah, no worries, we will make sure you're on the guest list. If it's an over-21 deal then you can become an honourary member of the crew for a night...whatever.

U.F.-BEFORE I END THIS, I WANNA KNOW HOW MUCH IT WOULD COST TO COVER "DEATH OR GLORY"!

JOHN: It don't cost a dime. You hereby have my permission.

U.F.-WELL, THANKS A LOT JOHN, FOR DOING THIS INTERVIEW, AND PUTTING UP WITH MY LAME QUESTIONS, I WISH THE BAND ALL THE LUCK, AND I LOOK FORWARD TO HEARING THE NEW ALBUM AND SEEING YOU GUYS ON TOUR! SEE YA!

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