Interview taken from Under The Volcano zine #36
Godflesh-by rob

There is a certain mystique in the name of the band and in the men behind the name. The very idea conjures up a somewhat nebulous yet powerful imagery (mainly) concerning religion. Whether it be apocalyptic visions of the promise of the Rapture, that is for the experiencer to decide. Throughout the years, Godflesh have taken different approaches to the construction of music and they maintain that they have basically been a rock band in all that time. I see them as more of the industrial and experimental aspects of the musical spectrum. The drum machine, effects on guitars and style of playing have lead me to that condlusion and I wonder if anyone calls them "Grind" anymore. Nonetheless, after releasing their previous effort Selfless on Columbia, I doubted that they could achieve such greatness again. After all...I saw Selfless as clearly the best opus since their first full-length on Earache, Streetcleaner. But lo and behold, Songs of Love and Hate, the newest recording on Earache, has proven to e a collection of memorable and novel songs that still hold fast to the Godflesh aesthetic. I spoke to Justin Broadrick and GC Green in a private room in the Earache offices

This is the fourth time you've toured America right?  The first time
around you came w/ the Grindcrusher tour, then you came on your own,
and then you came w/ Danzig.

March '91 the Grindcrusher tour...'92 we did Skinny Puppy and

You missed that first date [of the grindcrusher tour]
b/c you couldn't come into the country.  I forgot what
the reason was.

We had endless problems w/ immigration, even this time.

I went to that first show, I was expecting to see you...

With Skinny Puppy?

No, for the Grindcrusher tour, you weren't there and I think the next
night was at L'Amour [formerly the "rock captial of Brooklyn"]

That was our first show ever in the States, [at] which we walked off
after three songs.

You hated the sound

We didn't have the right gear.  We couldn't get our tones or sounds

We had no sound check

We had to walk out and play.  '91 Grindcrusher, '92 we toured w/
Skinny Puppy

I went to that show too, but it was sold out and they should have made
it more than that one show.  I was really hoping that you were going
to open for them.  That's the last time they played in NYC.

We missed about half of the east coast dates and then finished off
with them.

How did that go?

Fantastic.  One of the best toures we've ever done, easily.  And after
that we did seven headline shows.  We were trying to meet some of the
markets that we didn't hit b/c of immigration.  We did NYC w/ Monster
Magnet at the Marquee [and the next tour] Danzig and Type O

How did people react to you having a drummer play w/ you live for the
first time?

I think, initially, ppl didn't know what was going on.

Hearing about it, it seemed kind of strange.  But seeing it, it didn't
seem as strange.

Exactly, that was more the point. I think on paper people thought,
"Drums?  What the fuck?  Isn't Godflesh about machines?"

Was there still some kind of machines involved?

There Still is.  We're still using samples.

Who are you using as a drummer now?

Ted Parsons from Prong and Swans.  Prong split up.  And we lost our
drummer to Primus the day Prong split up.  Ted [said] "Hello," he
[was now ] in the band all in the span of an hour.  It was quite

Did he play w/ you in Europe?

We Did one headline show in London, and we spent two weeks
rehearsing w/ him.  Ted is our man now.  He's in the band for
definite.  W're going to record w/ drums in the studio

Your influence on other bands--it seems more metal bands cite you as
an influence than industrial or industrial/dance acts.


I would think that since you did go on that tour w/ Skinny Puppy you
must have reached out to a crowd of people who listen to Wax Trax!,
Cleopatra, Industrial Records and Zoth Omog.

It's quite strange.  I think we've had more of an impact on the metacl
circle of things just b/c of the focus of guitar and bass.  It's very
physical, we're much more physical than your average industrial band.

I think a lot of the bands who are metal that like you and cite you as
an influence are young-but, i know a lot of people in Pigface like 
you; i know you almost went on tour w/ them. They wear your
shirts...I'm really referring to ppl who have been playing for a while
and I think maybe they'd be more apt to recognize something that's new
or avant garde or something like that if you don't mind being called
something like that.

No, what bands would you consider?  Who's said that?

Besides Pigface, some of the guys in Chemlab wear your shirts and the
guys who are in Pigface have been in other bands and are older than
you are and the bands that are newer seem to be going the way of Wax
Trax!  Front Line Assembly, Front 242, and KMFDM.  I don't know if
they listen to Godflesh or not.

I think more metal bands are influenced by us than any of the
industrial crowd for sure.  You've got Fear Factory and Korn, or
something like that.  A lot of these people don't like to credit us
b/c it might belittle their own identity.

They just want to keep that to themselves.

Exactly, but I can hear it.  And other ppl say, "Man, you listen to
Fear Factory or Korn?  I can hear your shit in there."

How does that make you feel?

It's complimentary, sometimes you get a bit bitter about it b/c you
realize that you're nowhere near as successful as these bands.

But you've even said that you're nog going to be selling millions of
records, but you can be doing things like when you remix other ppl's
works or, if you just wanted to take one track and make it a dance
track, you have the propensity of a lot of ppl liking that, a lot more
than ppl who like the doomy or industrial stuff.

After we remixed Pantera that time, that in Europe was a general
release, and that was in the national charts in all these countries.
It did some favors for us, but it didn't work quite as srtongly as we
imagined it would work.

I think the best thing out of that is the band likes you so mch that
they want to take you on tour.

Well, they do.  Pantera now.

They're on tour now w/ Neurosis, and I don't know if that'll help
Neurosis.  I think a small percentage of Pantera fans will get it.

Prong played w/ Pantera twice and Ted says he wasn't thoroughly
convinced if it was working or not.  It seemed like it was affecting
record sales.  But then Prong went out and did Ozzy, and they said
that did nothing for their sales whatsoever, even being in front of
vast amounts of ppl every night.  He said it was all just [a] trailer
park crowd just [yelling] for "Ozzy, Ozzy," and Prong is pretty

How do you think playing w/ Danzig or Type O affected your possible or
future audience?

I don't know if it did anything for us or not at the end of the night.

They didn't do anything for us in terms of us pinching their
audience.  We had a lot of problems of our audience who wouldn't come
to see us [our fans would say,] "We don't want to pay $30 to see you
[it was probably between $17.50 and $25 depending upon location -rob]
with two other bands we don't like."  We were only doing a 30 minute

We had loads of that-we'd meet kids outside [who would say,] "Man, it
was $30 to come in and I just wanted to see you guys and I knew you'd
only be going to play five songs," which we did, "and we know you're
gonna be pissed off about it," which we were.

We were told the tour was going to be a lot bigger than it actually
was, that the smallest place we were playing was going to hold about
15 thousand.

It's hard to say what big or popular band would be good for you to go
out on the road with.

There are a few now that we think sell a lot of records that would be
good to play with.  The obvious thing is Nine Inch Nails, that would
be great, Korn are now really big, Tool, they've all got qualities
which are on the heavy side of the norm.  On this current tour, some
ppl have said that they've been waiting seven years to see us.  Some
ppl ask if this is our first time here.

Godflesh has been almost nine years now?

Eight years

Did you envision it begoming eight years?

I don't think I had any long term vision.  We knew that we wanted to
make a lot of albums.  We knew that we'd have some longevity.  I
didn't know how we'd sustain it. [snipped confusing grammatical part]
To be honest, I didn't think we ever considered we'd sell.  Our first
album was on a tiny little album through Earache.  When we sold 2,000
records worldwide we were amazed.  We were stunned so we are grateful
really.  Our music then was very underground, it was bludgeoning but
there wasn't much happening like us I think, so initially it met deaf
ears.  But you found out tow years later the same kids came to see us
and [yelled out] "Godflesh!"  We virtually toured almost half the
world w/ Napalm Death.  We did England w/ them for that mini album.
With ppl spitting at us, throwing lit cigarettes.  Everything.


A lot of places, but mostly in England.  But you'd find out a year and
a half later the same kids were down in the front going mad at your
shows.  [Originally] they would say, "Where's the drummer?  Play
faster!"  Ppl just weren't ready for it, which is really a nice
feeling.  We like confusing ppl.

To keep sane or just for a creative outlet, you've been doing other
projects and you're still doing a few today.  Probably more now than
ever before.

Probably more now, just b/c the more it's matured.  The more the
projects are better, the more they're in context and out of separate
context as well.  We hit different audiences and that's really

I picked up the Black Box from Subsonic/Sub Rosa last year. [This
record features four guitar manipulations by Broadrick  w/ varied
effects and no other instruments -rob] [he's speaking of Skinner's
Black Laboratories -slate]

I didn't know you were able to pick that up.  That's quite heartsy.
Sub Rosa's really European, an art house label more than anything.

I don't know if it's the artwork or what I can perceive from your song
titles that gives me this idea, but there's a lot of dep rooted
philosophy in the songs of Godflesh.  I was wondering if you had any
authors or schools of thought that you are interested in that you care
to talk about?  The albums don't come w/ lyrics and there's only so

Now we have all the lyrics inside the record which we really wanted to
do.  That's the thing for Godflesh; now every record will have all the
lyrics.  Just b/c of misinterpretation.  And the lyrics are suggestive

So is the imagery that you use.

Exactly, it's intentionally undogmatic.  We're trying to give ppl
choice and paint primitive visuals.

You use religious imagery, but not necessarily talking about religious
context.  Maybe something that suggests that. There are titles to your
songs that can be referenced to biblical ideas or mentioning heaven
and the like.

We're fascinated by ppl's perceptions and beliefs.  Man made horror
basically, which [much of] relisious imagery is, [it's] quite
horrific, repulsive...there's a form of control to get ppl in their
place, why christianity worked.  What we're genuinely interested in is
ancient religions, primitive magic.  When ppl weren't force-fed
things, when it was a matter of choice.  Ancient technologies. I'm
into the idea of alien technologies and UFOlogy.  That's where I truly
see existence possibly came from.

Do you think there is alien technology on Earth?

I think so, and it probably has been used functionally to this day,
but we're not going to be let into great secrets like that for fear

The government has this, that kind of thing?

I imagine so.

Or it's been linked to the pyramids or the technology the Aztecs had?

It's endless, there are so many possibilities.  The pyramids
themselves and what is alleged to be underneath the pyramids is even
more far out than the pyramids.  [Scientists] have already pre-dated
the Sphynx before the pyramids.  The Sphinx apparently was once
surrounded by grass.  It goes back even further, possibly by thousands
of years, which means there were civilizations pre-dating even the
Egyptions and about [up until about] two years ago, everyone
considered that it was the Egyptians in that period or earlier, it's
been proven year by year, the higher technology we use, the deeper it
goes.  What ppl need to do is excavate sites that are so

They won't.  The ppl that are there know why [the pyramids etc.] are
there and they're not going to let ppl excavate it and exact the

Why not?

B/c the Egyptian stuff, it's all based on secrets of life and
societies and hidden wisdom only for the chosen.  It isn't for the
masses.  Every religion has a sub-sect that is very esoteric and

Do you think current world government will be afraid that some common
person is going to know a terrible secret or some kind of knowlege of

The secrecy alone is the power.

The fear of losing control, and if it would suddenly come to light
that we all come from civilizations from other planets millions of
years before we existed, that would be the end of religion.

It would throw a whole lot of ppl and things into disorder.

The possibility that there was life on Mars could be upsetting to some

I know some ppl are shocked at the idea.

Some lead a simple life, and just want to think that earth alone has
life, and not think about the consequences.  The idea that there is a
grand scheme beyond what they could have though was already too much.

Ignorance is bliss.  MOst of the human race cannot appreciate what is
outside of it, which is why we get bigotry of all forms still existing
in the modern world when you think that ppl could go beyond the
parameters.  It makes you angry, you want ppl to listen...

That reminds me that you once said, "People don't want to be

Most ppl seem to spend part of a life trying to find out what they
think is their reality, their foundation, and to have that challenged
challenges the whole purpose of their being, and most ppl can't handle
that, or don't even want to know that.  They choose to ignore it all.

But there must be some new truths or ideas or philosophies that both
of you are discovering all the time.  Do you find that you're
challenging yourselves?

Absolutely.  We are trying to see everything-in terms of holding
anything completely dear like, "This is my little set of beliefs, this
is my reality and because it's my reality, I'm going to subject
everybody else to it, and if you don't conform then you're a fool and
you're wrong."  It's just human nature.  You can take a thousand
people almost in any culture, and it's like a microcosm of the world
virtually.  Bigotry is there in a huge percentage, which is sad, but
it's just human nature

Both of you must admire some great thinkers of the past or today that
don't think in a straight line.

All I've read in the last three years are books connected to UFOlogy.
Now Ben reads all the time, so he would have more valid authors to
quote than I.

I like Anton Wilson, I think he's interesting to read.  He covers all
the aspects of all the things we've been talking about; the
government, control, power, knowledge.

Do you think that reflects your creativity in the band?

The way I am personally, so indirectly it would.

We have a very basic agreement on this sort of thing.  That's common
ground between us.  There's not that much room to disagree on.

Being that way has probably made things difficult for Godflesh.

B/c that's our interests, and that's the way we express ourselves
through our music.  So, ther music then becomes what our interests
are, so we're going to have problems via our music as well, not being
able to cross to a mass-level audience b/c ppl are too ignorant.
That's what we get most of the time.  People not anting to get it or a
total misunderstanding.

Instant gratification, they want to know what it is- like that [snaps
his fingers]

And intelligent life apart from earth may be the same way

Materialism may exist in other worlds.  It could go either way.

Would you like to discover an alien civiliation?

Absolutely.  I almost had this song title, half-comic, half-serious
which is, "I Want to be Abducted".  It seems to make total sense.  I
live in an area in this semi-mountainous [setting] which is remote on
the border of Wales and I have this panoramic view for miles.  I watch
the skies w/ the telescope and all this sort of business.  i've seen
many things at four in the morning.  And I've actually gone out onto
the balcony at my house and I got the vibe and absolute horror, and
actually ran back into the house w/ all the lights on, ready for some
experience.  You think this is a possibility-fight or flight.  I've
seen a lot of things, and I've heard a lot of stuff that's come
simultaneously w/ the things I've seen, and I've thought, "This could
happen then."

Even w/ early Godflesh releases, I felt they can cause or are a part
of mind-expansion or consciousness raising.  It puts you in a
different state of mind when listening to it.

We wanted to achieve that originally.  We took so much acid prior to
being in Godflesh we wanted to make this--obviously the single premise
being heavy and brutal.  A psychedelic and mind-expanding thing,
purely b/c of taking acid a lot and indulging in mind-expanding
drugs.  It seemed we had to get that into the music; we had a similar
vision.  And that's illiteral then, and I like that quality, where I
can't literalize what i'm trying to aim at anyone, and that's really
fascinating.  Sitting there w/ a guitar building a riff I'm trying to
make it as illiteral as possible.  When I learned guitar A-E-G-B-C,
that's my cut off point.  I don't want to know what these chords are
that I'm playing.  Other ppl tell me, "Wow, that's a mad chord, how
did you get that?  It's like an E Major, seventh removed, sharp, Minor
fucking blah, blah, blah," 'cause the only way they can get to that is
by reading a book.  There's got to be a rule book set in front of 90%
of the ppl and for me, I'll set fire to the rule book and then I'll
make things that are pleasing to my ear, not pleasing to any rule.
Those are the qualities that we're interested in even though we're
playing rock music-- that's what I always stress to ppl.  It's funny 
when ppl say this music is really difficult.  It is intentionally rock
music.  That's what we consider ourselves to be.  Besides ppl saying
it's like industrial or metal.  We're a rock band, furthering the
boundaries of rock music

Do you think when you did take acid or whatever drugs, that some of
your music is a result of what you experienced?

Most definitely.

Was that intentional?

It's 50% conscious and 50% unconscious.  What we used to do w/ acid
was confine ourselves in small rooms, play music at extreme levels,
and have a visual bombardment w/ the sound down on the tv w/ loads of
videos.  And the way you perceive certain sounds used to be so
twisted, you start hearing other logics within the sound, and start
hearing new preferences on sound.  Esp. the way things become
electric, things become on acid- that heat.  After hearing that heat
of guitars on acid, I remember listening to Electric Ladyland, the
Hendrix album, and your body felt like it was filtering through all of
these different channels.  We felt like there were disks being put in
different parts of your body.  It was like pure electricity.  It was
like hisssssss.  It felt like your head was engulfed in amps.  After
that we [said], "Shit, we've got to make sure you can hear the amps on
the record!"  All of a sudden, we wanted to hear all of the noise.

It's stuff that's always there.  You switch off to it, but it is
there.  Amp hiss is subliminal.

On acid the amp hiss is there.

It's part and parcel of the guitar sound for us.

Pure electricity.

In the future are you going to use different technology in recording,
for example, a computer?

We just started.  We run our own studio.  We record, produce, do all
the work ourselves from putting a mic in front of an amp, getting the
right sound to sitting there and making all the decisions.  And three
months ago, I got a big Power Mac set up, mad hard disk recording,
intelligebt sequencing, the most advanced to date and we're going to
start using that.  It's really exciting.  You always think your
imagination is the limit but you're starting to find that the
imagination of the machine itself is ridiculous.

It takes your imagination with it.  It will suggest to you things that
you wouldn't normally think about.

It will show you possibilities.  It will show you paths.  In the past,
we realied we would mostly take our own paths.  But I found computer
technology now on a very high level showing you many options.  Then
when you get to each particular avenue, you can then bastardie all
these ideas and pervert it and twist it 'round and come up w/
something really exciting.  I think now is one of the most exciting
periods of music in a long time.  We're still going to be a physical
band.  We're still going to be a rock band, it's just what we can do
w/ the end result and what we can do w/ some of those factors.
Esp. w/ machines, even though we have the drummer now as a permanent
thing, the machines are still going to use that on equal ground, b/c
we still want to keep that open.  A lot of ppl are obsessed w/ just
the technology side, we're always trying to find the perfect marriage
w/out sounding like some bad techno metal thing.

[shortly after this part of the interview, my recorder shut off just
at the point where Justin and GC were telling me about this experience
they had w/ a shared hallucination.  I've hever heard of this before,
but they swear to me that several years ago, they were in a park
during the daytime.  They had both just taken acid and were seeing the
same vision.  After they compared notes at the end of the day, they
realied that each of the strange things they saw individually during
this event was the same the other saw.  For example, they both watched
a cloud turn into different geometric patterns and reveal some idea to
them, among other things.  As they were saying this, my recorder sped
up and then stopped moving.  Maybe it was the acid.]