Interview for DEATHTHRASHER MAGAZINE by ARMANDO MUTILATOR :
hear from you once more my friend....
I hope all is well in Peru.....
I checked out the DEATHTRHRASHER site...very impressive ..Nice 1...
Getting our website up and running is something that I had pushed through since joining the band again last November....We must embrace this technological age....Its a great communication medium....
Will do you an interview no probs...will give my ears a break for a while ....listening to new stuff over and over again is somewhat of a head fuck!!!!
Glad that our life paths have crossed again!!!....
DT: Hello KARL! ...My old friend, how are you bro?
Karl Willets: Hi there ARMANDO... It is good to hear from you...It is a long time since are paths once crossed. Maybe 15 years...it is a long time...but really just feels like yesterday!! I am very well my friend, very well indeed.
DT: What was the reason behind your departure from BOLT THROWER?
Karl Willets: Nice 1!! ARMANDO. Like your style!!! Straight in with the big question!!!
I left during an awful American tour that was set up by a joker of a promoter...
We where playing in some real out of town dives with little or no promotion. It put a lot of stress on us all. Whale decided that he had had enough of it all so I kind of felt obliged to follow. It was due to my friendship with whale that I joined the band in the first place so I felt a certain kind of loyalty towards his decision at the time.
DT: All this time that you were not in BOLT THROWER, what were you doing? Did you form another band?
Karl Willets: When I left BOLT THROWER I decided to go to Birmingham University to study Cultural Studies, which was a course that focused on the media, concepts of culture and identity along with social scientific theory. Very interesting, totally immersing for 3 years, but when I'd finished the course I was kind of left thinking. What do I do now? I was getting married, mortgage etc. so was expected to get a job.... I spent 3 years doing various crap jobs, which I hated and was shit at....
WHALE and me formed a couple of other bands that never really got out of the practising phase, It was fun but my heart wasn’t really in it. Working doing a job that you hate sucks your soul and extinguishes a lot of creativity. It was hard to be motivated and start from the bottom of the ladder after reaching the relative success of BOLT THROWER.
DT: How did your return to the band happen? Was it a tough decision?
Karl Willets: It was quite a surprise, I received a phone call off BAZZA one day asking to meet up. So I went up to meet up with the guys and they explained the situation with DAVE then asked me if I was up for rejoining the BOLT THROWER. It was an easy decision to make as at the time I was looking for something to get some enjoyment out of life. I had not been working much over the previous few years and had just recovered from horrible emotional upheaval (divorce) so I really needed something to regain some focus on life…Saved by the BOLT.
DT: Of the three vocalists that were in the band besides you, which one do you prefer: AL WEST, MARTIN VAN DRUNEN or DAVE INGRAM? (If you have to choose one) Who will you pick?
Karl Willets: I think that out of the three it’s got to be DAVE INGRAM, I only met ALAN WEST a few times before he left BOLT THROWER and I joined the band. MARTIN VAN DRUNEN is a great bloke, met up on the Blood brothers tour with PESTILENCE and AUTOPSY…We got on excellent…he is a fantastic front man. I choose DAVE because we where friends and used to hang out in the pubs / clubs of Birmingham when he used to be in BENEDICTION…He was the best natural replacement for me I feel.
DT: When MARTIN VAN DRUNEN left BOLT THROWER, did BAZ and Co. approach you to rejoin?
Karl Willets: Yeah, this was back in 1998 before they went into the studio to record Mercenary…I agreed to help that out recording the album but just could not commit myself to the band 100% with my other obligations such as university, Marriage, mortgage etc. To do anything successfully I feel that you must be able to give 100%…If I had rejoined back then with all the other external pressures it would not been fair to the band, the supporters or myself. I feel I did the right thing.
DT: Have you heard any studio recording with MARTIN VAN DRUNEN? Do you know why they didn't record any album with him?
Karl Willets: No, BOLT THROWER never recorded any albums featuring MARTIN VAN DRUNEN on vocals he only performed in a live capacity on 2 European tours and left before Mercenary was written and recorded.
DT: Is it true that every time SHANE EMBURY sees you, he tells you that you’re the best and real singer of BOLT THROWER?
Karl Willets: Yes this is funny and true… SHANE is a great bloke. A gentlemen and fine ambassador of extreme music. He’s right you know. I haven’t seen him for a very long time though.
DT: Which one do you think is your best work with BOLT THROWER?
Karl Willets: That’s a difficult question, hard to say really. The obvious answer would be the new album that we are recording right now. I was happy with the songs off Mercenary, I only had a few weeks to work the songs out and write the lyrics, so with a little more time they could have come out slightly better. Possibly the best vocals / lyrics I have written featured on the IVth Crusade.
DT: Is it true that in your teenage years besides singing in BOLT THROWER, you worked as a butcher and a chef?
Karl Willets: I joined BOLT THROWER back in 1988 when I was 22, I was a vegetarian for 15 years (not anymore!!) so can’t imagine me working as a butcher. However I did work in McDonald’s for 6 months when I was 16 (this is what made me become vegetarian!)
DT: Tell us about the legend JOHN PEEL, he died in Cuzco - Peru ...where and how you knew to him?
Karl Willets: JOHN PEEL was one hell of a guy. With his support by playing our demo back in 1986 and subsequently offering us the chance to record a session at the BBC studios he definitely kick-started our career for us. I met him only once when we played a gig in Norwich, he bought his whole family to the gig and I remember his kids’ stage diving constantly throughout our set. Hilarious and brilliant. We owe him a debt of gratitude. Simply a great man. RIP.
DT: Are you a close friend of DARREN BROOKES? Do you like BENEDICITON?
Karl Willets: Yeah I’d consider DAZZA as a friend and ally, I aint seen him for about 6 months though! I used to love BENEDICTION when DAVE was on vocals, I haven’t really heard much of the stuff they have done with the new vocalist, so can’t really judge.
DT: We mention a name and you give me your thoughts:
SVEN GORAN ERICSSON:
Karl Willets: Bald, Swedish, fucks about a bit!!! Great England Manager. I have faith in him England are going to beat Germany in the next World Cup final.
Karl Willets: Proper NAPALM DEATH, CATHEDRAL, COVENTRY, FLARES, NICE CHAP. I have not seen him in ages
Karl Willets: Abrasive loud, kept OZZY alive…for that she deserves our praise!!
Karl Willets: England Captain, Real Madrid, Very rich. Excellent freekick taker (will win us next World Cup…you’ll see!!) Stupid talent less wife.
Karl Willets: Lay Down your Soul For the Gods Rock and Roll…Black Metal …Real Black Metal. Inspirational. Wye eye man!!! (imagine Geordie accent)
Karl Willets: Top man. Excellent guitarist. One of the nicest guys on the planet. Aint heard from him in ages. I’d Heard that something real bad happened to him is this true?
DT: Which do you prefer and why?
EXTREME NOISE TERROR or TERRORIZER?
Karl Willets: TERRORIZER because of PINTADO.
VENOM or POSSESSED?
Karl Willets: POSSESSED because they are one of my favourite bands. I have a tattoo based on Eyes Of Horror on my right upper arm. JEFF BECERRA’s vocals are awesome.
Why ALEX THOMAS left the band? ...MARTIN KEARNS is the natural replacement for ANDY WHALE?
Karl Willets: I think it was down to the whole commitment thing, ALEX was drumming in other bands and couldn’t give 100%. KIDDIE is an excellent, powerful drummer caries on the torch perfectly. Some of the drum fills and rolls that he has been recording in the studio recently blow me away. LOMBARDO move over!!
DT: In what musical direction will BOLT THROWER be heading in for the next production?
Karl Willets: I think we are trying to draw on all the best elements of previous albums, mixing up the tempos, styles of riffs and song structure. We are aiming for heaviness and clarity.
Check out the studio report on www.boltthrower.com
DT: Very thanks for all your support KARL! Your last growl for DEATHTHRASHER’s readers?
Karl Willets: Ok ARMANDO thanks to you and all at DEATHTHRASHER for your continued most valued support. It’s appreciated! To all BOLT THROWER fans / supporters across the world we hope to maybe see you in 2006. As always Grind On!