Originally formed back in 1982, Warwound have recently got back together with a new lineup and a forthcoming storming new album entitled Burning The Blindfolds Of Bigots will enhance the bands legacy further. We caught up with the bands bassist Ian Glasper to hear all about the band, the album and their touring plans as well as talking all things punk and hardcore, his previous bands, favourite gigs and work for Terrorizer magazine.
How did you get together with Warwound when they reformed?
Damian messaged me and asked me if I wanted to join. I was a bit sceptical at first, seeing as they’d only done 3 demos, all of them over 30 years ago, and Damian had been off the scene for many years, but once he told me who else was involved in the new line-up, and that they’d be playing classic Sacrilege and Varukers songs that he’d written, as well as old Warwound, stuff, I was sold. The Behind The Realms Of Madness and Another Religion Another War 12”s are two of my most favourite records of all time, so to have the opportunity to play those songs with the guy that wrote them was something I couldn’t pass up.
The bands brilliant new album Burning The Blindfolds Of Bigots is out soon, how did the recording of the album go?
It went fucking great really. I mean we didn’t have a lot of money to record it with, so we had to be really disciplined and work really quickly, but that’s no bad thing – you can lose all the urgency of a recording if you have the luxury of taking your time in the studio. It helped that we’d demoed all the songs before we went in to record, and that Stu McKay, who engineered and mixed the LP, knows his shit. Plus we took some good songs and sounds in there in the first place. We’ve all been doing this for years, so we had a pretty good idea what was needed of us, and knuckled down to make it happen.
Is the sound of the album similar and has it got the same spirit as the original demos from the band from 1983?
Yes, it’s definitely similar in that it’s really fucking intense, fast and angry, so the spirit of Warwound is very much intact, BUT we are also a different set of musicians, with thirty years experience playing in touring punk and hardcore bands, so we’re not going to just rehash that sloppy UK82 sound for the sake of it (much as I love it!) So, expect the Warwound sound to be updated and fully capable of kicking arse and holding its own in 2017 – basically we’ve injected some more modern thrash and hardcore influences. Someone who heard it said it sounds like old Warwound mixed with Slayer, Wolf Brigade and Hatebreed… which is fine with me, haha! Anyone who likes nasty metallic hardcore punk will not be disappointed anyway.
What were some of your influences that you were listens to when you were recording the album?
Ha, I think I’ve partially answered this in the previous question, but we all have quite different influences, and they all come together as Warwound. Personally I love most things punk, hardcore and thrash metal – my favourite bands range from Rudimentary Peni to Voivod to Dag Nasty to Discharge to Dead Kennedys to early COC, and all things in between! Stevie likes a lot of the same stuff, but has a real passion for Scandinavian punk and hardcore. Rat is more old school, and likes more traditional punk like GBH and Exploited, but he’s not adverse to any of the newer stuff we play him all the time. Damian is a man of mystery but likes a lot of old punk, and also a lot of old doom metal like Trouble and Candlemass. The other thing to note is that the rest of the band are massively influenced by Damian’s band Sacrilege, and Stevie was really into my old band, Stampin’ Ground – so we are influenced by ourselves internally! I think the bands we all agree on would be Discharge, Crass, Motorhead, Entombed and Rudimentary Peni though – and that’s a good indication of the current Warwound sound.
The albums title is a big clue into the outlook of Warwound, what other subject matters do you tackle on the album?
Rat is a vocalist who likes to write his own lyrics, and he mainly writes from personal experience, so it’s lots of observations of what he sees going on around him. So a lot of the lyrics are about the world going to hell in a hand basket under the ‘guidance’ of rival leaders and warmongering imperialists. There’s also songs about how mainstream society attempts to mould you into conforming with their expectations, and how the media propagate fear and suspicion with their biased reporting etc. I wrote one or two of the lyrics though, and they are about crappy ‘scene politics’ and elitism in punk and hardcore (the song is called Scenebullshitdotcom), and there’s one about the church closing ranks and covering up sexual abuse of children (Silence In The House Of God).
With the current volatile climate around the world as bad as ever, do you think that nowadays with everything that’s going on is fertile for subject matters for punk and hardcore bands to sing about as it was in the early 1980s?
To be honest, there’s probably more to write about now than there was back then! The world has literally started to go crazy, we live in scary times with far too many warmongers with far too much military power at their fingertips.
What are your touring plans with Warwound when the album is released?
We love to play live, but we all work and Rat is in two other bands (Varukers and The Vile), Stevie is in another band (The Vile), so we can’t go out on the road for weeks at a time. But we’ll get out there bit by bit, a long weekend here, a week or two there… touring plans right now include four gigs in Europe in May, half a dozen UK dates early June, a week in Europe at the end of September (starting in Prague, at the Enemy Of The Sun festival), then a week or so in the US at the end of the year… we’re already booking stuff for next year as well, so we’re not hiding ourselves away and trying to sell this LP through social media – we like to get in front of people and stick it to them and see new places/make new friends.
How would you describe a Warwound gig to someone who had never seen you live before?
Fast, chaotic, noisy, intense, fun.
If Warwound could tour with any bands who would you choose?
From a band perspective, it would be great to go out with someone like Napalm Death, who draw in big crowds, and have enough crossover punk appeal to bring in lots of metal kids who wouldn’t normally get to hear us but who might actually like us. As far as a dream bill for us musically, it would be great to do a tour with Antisect, Wolf Brigade, Crucifix… any of those bands that we love and have drawn influence from. From a purely selfish personal perspective though, I’d love to tour with Voivod, so I could watch them every night!
How has touring changed from when you first started out in bands to nowadays?
You know what? Not a lot in many ways. We toured Europe late last year, and it was like touring Europe in the late Eighties – in an old van that kept breaking down, playing squats, sleeping and eating when you can… the main thing that’s changed is the internet, of course, and how we book the tours, and communicate with the promoters. That used to take forever by snail mail, but it can be done so much more quickly and easily than it used to be. But when it comes down to the physical aspect of touring, it’s still a lot of travelling and humping gear and hanging around, but we love it. We love seeing new places, meeting new people, seeing new bands, eating tons of vegan food, talking shit in the van for hours on end and we tend not to lose quite so much money these days, as we can command a slightly higher fee and just about cover our costs.
What has been the most memorable tour that you’ve ever done?
In Warwound? Probably the US trip with Hellbastard, because that was a proper rollercoaster ride, with plenty of challenges along the way, but all the gigs were amazing. Ourtrips to Spain and the Canaries and the Balkans were all amazing too, because of the wonderful folk we met along the way, and some great gigs we played. It’s hard to pick, to be honest, because every trip has a place in your heart for different reasons. We’re very fortunate to do this.
Do you think that punk and hardcore are as healthy in 2017 as they have ever been?
Yes, we’ve played with some incredible new bands recently, and a lot of the old bands are really hitting some good form too. There’s a lot of great music coming out, and with the political and social situation in this country growing ever more tense, there’s plenty of inspiration for angry music and lyrics.
What new punk and hardcore bands could you recommend for us to check out?
I love the Natterers, Grand Collapse, Regret, Prey U Pray, Persecution, Bad Sam, No Pulse, Decontrol, the Scumbrians,.. the list goes on!.
What has been the best gig you’ve ever been to as a punter? or as many as you can if you can’t pick one!
I’ve been to thousands over the years, but definite highlights would be Snapcase/Earth Crisis/Refused/Real in Leipzig, Germany… Demonspeed at CBGBs… Slayer & Malice at the Birmingham Odeon in 1986… Metallica & Anthrax there the same year too… Antisect/Sacrilege/Generic at the Birmingham Mermaid… Subhumans & The Sears in Dudley, mid-80s… Conflict & Icons Of Filth at Oddys, Oldham, 1985… Crass & Flux Of Pink Indians in Aberdare, 1984 (Crass’s last gig!), actually one of the best gigs I’ve been to for years was only last week in Birmingham: Discharge/Antisect/Deviated Instinct & Anti–System…
You’ve been in so many bands over the years from Decadence Within and Stampin Ground to Thirty Six Strategies and a stint in Flux Of Pink Indians What have been some of the highlights for you along the way?
Well, I’ve played over 1000 gigs and recorded 12 albums, so there’s a lot to choose from, but the first time we played in Europe (that was with Decadence Within) felt like a massive achievement, and also the first time we played in America (that was with Stampin’ Ground)… the first time you have a proper record out is a massive thrill, and you never forget the feeling of your first record that you wrote and recorded actually being in your hands! That would have been the Speed Hippy EP we did with Decadence Within. The Therapy? tour we did with Thirty Six Strategies was a special one for me, because I’m such good friends with those guys, and we’ve been threatening to tour together for years. The trips to Greece and Iceland with Stampin’ Ground, the trips to Canary Islands and Spain with Warwound, Decadence Within playing Guernsey, and Berlin before the wall came down, and Belfast when the army were still on the streets… sleeping on a park bench in Amsterdam in December… touring with Youth Of Today in Europe in the late Eighties… touring with AFI, touring with the Misfits, touring with Hatebreed and Biohazard… playing with D.I. from California in Belgium, who are one of my favourite bands of all time… the European and US tours we did with our great friends in Cause For Alarm… sitting backstage with Slayer and watching the football on TV at some European festival or other – that was quite surreal. I haven’t mentioned Flux yet, but that huge gig we played at the Shepherds Bush Empire was amazing – I couldn’t believe it was me up there playing Tube Disasters, haha!
How did you get into punk in the first place?
My cousin Mobs played me the Decontrol 7” and that was it. I’d never heard anything like it and it changed everything. Before that the heaviest thing I’d heard was Killing Joke or the Antz; I loved them both, and still do, but Discharge were just so primal and raw – I was hooked.
Who have been the biggest influences on your career?
I don’t look upon it as a career, as that would suggest I’d planned it and made money and everything. It’s just an all-consuming hobby of mine, a way of expressing myself and venting otherwise negative emotions creatively. But the biggest influences would have to be Subhumans, Crass, Voivod, Bad Religion, Dead Kennedys, Rudimentary Peni, Sheer Terror, Cro-Mags and about ten million others!
You’ve written a number of brilliant books on punk and hardcore. Have you got plans for any more?
Yes, I’m writing my fifth book as we speak, but it’s not about punk, it’s about UK thrash metal. It’s entitled Contract In Blood: A History Of UK Thrash and will be published by Cherry Red next April (2018). The story of UK thrash is closely entwined with that of UK punk and hardcore, as a lot of the musicians moved from one scene to the other, and back again, etc., and much like punk it was powered by tape trading and fanzines and stuff. It’s a classic underdog story too, and I always root for the underdog!
You’ve also written for Terrorizer magazine for years. What have been some of the highlights in your time with them?
I’ve interviewed so many of my favourite bands, and blagged literally TONS of free shit over the last 24 years, it’s been great fun for the most part. I’ve interviewed everybody from Slayer and Megadeth to Danzig and Killing Joke to Offspring and NOFX to Sheer Terror and Slapshot. The list is endless, but needless to say, some of them were wankers, right up their own arses, and others were lovely people, who were a pleasure to talk to. They say never meet your idols, and that’s often true – but not always. A big perk for me is being able to plug my friends’ bands in the mag as well.