Cevin Keys, November 3, 2004

 

Written & Photos by: Jason Perlman

 

Nowadays, every band seems to want to make a comeback. Some should, some shouldn't. How do you feel the timing of Skinny Puppy's reunion works in today's market?
I don’t know if its fortunate or a curse (laughing)...We’re happy where we’re at, definitely. Because the band sort of ended on a bad note several years ago, six or seven years ago, so it’s been a prime opportunity to pick it up and make a better thing out of something that was left in a bad way. That’s been our main source of inspiration this time around.

 

There are a lot of collaborations on the record, including Wayne Static and Danny Carey of Tool. How did that come about? Did you realize the influence you had on these artists?
Well, most of the people that collaborated with the album were friends that I talked about Skinny Puppy with over time anyways. Whether I met them through the band or met through friends, we always talked about the music quite commonly. I always felt there would be a time or a place to collaborate on these ideas with people, but I didn’t realize that it would be for Skinny Puppy. So, when it came time to do a Skinny Puppy album, I realized that I had a bunch of people that really understood the band and were really the best people to be looking towards for additional inspiration. It was really fun to do because it wasn’t something that we all expected to do. It was a surprise that the band came back around so quickly. But it was so surprising that we weren’t prepared. But it opened a doorway when we finally realized where we were. That was quite healing and inspiring and also really nice to bring everyone together. We’re all closer friends and as a result of everything now and it’s better, much better.

 

It must also seem a bit strange to go on stage and see a fan from the beginning now in their 30s yet still have some of the young fans looking to rebel in the same audience.
Yeah, now we have the audiences that are young and old. You can see the people that have been there from the beginning and you can see where its been passed down to the younger generation. It’s very interesting to see the age gap variation at the shows and how extreme they are. So it’s interesting to see how it translates between the generations and it doesn’t seem to leave anybody out in the cold. Everyone seems to be pretty much in understanding of it so that’s also another added benefit I think.

Skinny Puppy has been a big influence on music, and I think the biggest influences were made when the music you were making was still underground and outside of the mainstream. Now is seems as thought what you started with is quickly becoming commonplace in today's metal world.
Well, in the 80's, Skinny Puppy was, yeah, that’s when I guess there was more acceptance and controversy. But then in the 90's, I think Skinny Puppy was understood more so than what we even are now. Meaning now, I think there’s certainly some people that are coming to see what its all about, asking themselves, “What do you mean why did they inspire anybody,” and so on. They sort of see that and then, thankfully by the end of the show, we’ve had a lot of people come back and say, “I understand now.” That’s pretty cool. We’ve had a bunch of bands show up at our shows, and quite big bands, metal bands, and saying that we’re huge fans. So, I don’t know. We really don’t understand it ourselves we just sort of go with it.

 

How did the fences mend after such a harsh departure?
Well, I mean we had a couple of German promoters that kept on calling me a year after the band was broken and offering me to do shows in Germany and I kept on saying, “Don’t you guys know what happened?” ��on’t you know what’s going on?” But they would tell me, “In the very beginning, it was you and Ogre and you made several records, the two of you, and we would like to see you two get back together and make some songs again.” And they weren’t laughing or smiling about it, as if it was a joke, they were completely serious. I said, “Okay, well, I appreciate it.” I would see Ogre occasionally as a friend at that time, even though we never really hung out again or discussed the idea of making music. When I discussed it with him, I sort of saw that it wasn’t like something that had strayed too far from his mind. That if we hadn’t graduated enough from where we were at , we were still capable of thinking, “Well, gee, I wonder what that would be like and we began to discuss it more.” I realized that there was still something there that we needed to do and we discussed that we needed to take the band to a good place instead of leaving it in a bad place. That was the first concept and then when we did the show, it was so healing and such a nice thing to do that we realized that we wanted to do it more. But we didn’t want to merely always look backward. We questioned where we would be at as far as making the new album, as far as what would it sound like, where would we go, what would it be? It was very open-ended, just like the very first day that we first started the band. And ultimately we found ourselves really on the same path, without really looking at anything any different. You know, we never really done stuff simply because of money or anything to do with that because we really weren’t a money band. We were more like an anti-money band and so, it’s just really been a nice thing to return and focus on something. It’s easier for us to be Skinny Puppy than it is to pursue anything else. Skinny Puppy is something that we started without any encouragement about where to go, what to do, or what to sound like. It was almost like baking muffins. We know what we want to eat (laughing) and we’re lucky that it turned out the way that it did for Skinny Puppy. And so, it was a little bit easier for us to go back and look at the beginning again, and say, “Well, that’s how we did it and maybe we should try this again.” It’s simplistic, as simplistic as it is. That’s what we did.

When you finally decided to get back in the studio and record together, did you have any preconceived notions of what the record would sound like?
We didn’t know what it would sound like and that’s always been our driving energy is to find out what would happen. The end result is something that we were working on and coherent of, but we didn’t really know what it would be. To listen to it now, we like it and we stand behind it and it was something that we had to approve of first and foremost. But the best part about it is that I think we came up with a good formula for working on music; period, that will continue onward and will help us again develop. Because we’re right back in the driver’s seat again. We’re getting along better than we’ve ever got along, we’ve got a future plan and more ideas to continue down the road so we’ll see what comes. The band’s back.

 

How long can fans expect Skinny Puppy to stay around for Round 2?
You know Americans voted Bush back in for another four years so you at least have Skinny Puppy for another four years.


Yea, that is still a hard one to figure out.
I don’t think anyone can. I’m still in shock, but, you know it’s all the better for Skinny Puppy, really. The awareness of the political situation.

 

Was the seperation good or bad for the band Skinny Puppy?
We were lucky to have been able to stumble across something that went as far as it did, you know, pretty lucky. But at the same time, we’ve just gone with it. We’re very much just go-withers (laughing). We were working separately for six years working on our own solo projects while the band had become no more so, that was a really good period to learn much more about ourselves as musicians and as people. The good thing was that I think at the end, it made us stronger to bring back to the group because we actually had a chance to learn more about what we could do as individuals and what we could bring to the table. In a way, it’s a whole new band and there’s a whole new reason to be making music again. That’s the reason why we’re here. We’re really happy to be doing this. There’s no downside for us.