Glen Benton Interview
September 12, 2018
Interview by InfamousButcher, Photos by SheWolf
For 30 years Deicide has continued to crank out the most satanic, anti-religious music on the planet. Their twelfth studio album, OVERTURES OF BLASPHEMY, was just released on Century Media and these Tampa boys show no sign of letting up! I was able to chat a bit with Deicide’s legendary frontman Glen Benton (Bass, Vocals) to discuss the new album and some other interesting topics.
Metal Rules: There is a lot of excitement in the underground around your new album OVERTURES OF BLASPHEMY. Did you approach anything differently than you did on your last album IN THE MINDS OF EVIL?
Glen Benton: Yes I think we just kind of like fine tuned things man. Jack (Owen)’s departure, bringing Mark (English) in, getting that sweet style player element back in the band. Yeah so it’s a good combination that we got going now. We just approached it with a lackadaisical, I don’t give a shit kind of attitude. We took a nothing to lose kind of approach to it. I think you could apply that to it a little bit. After so many records we’re kind of like numb to it. We wrote for ourselves to make ourselves happy. We didn’t write how we used to do it. We wrote what we liked to play.
MR: It feels like the album has been in the works for a while.
GB: We all had songs written. Steve (Asheim) went in and reproduced what Jack and Kevin (Quirion) had written. Jack wasn’t happy with that situation so that was right around the departure time for him. Me, Kevin and Steve wrote the record. Kevin wrote songs. I wrote songs. Steve wrote songs. We all pretty much brought it together.
MR: Do you write stuff yourself and then bring it to the band?
GB: I sit on the couch and watch violent episodes of Jerry Springer and I just sit there and fucking tool out parts man. I watch Maury Povich and Who’s My Daddy and all that shit and just sit there and just dig at the fucking guitar while sitting on the couch. Steve does the same thing.
MR: So when you write then you do it with a guitar? Because you play bass.
GB: Yeah most of the time I write with a guitar. Acoustic. Sometimes I bounce around and come up with a part on an acoustic and think how is that going to sound on bass.
MR: I would’ve never thought a band like Deicide would be writing songs on an acoustic guitar.
GB: Like I said I am sitting on the couch. I’m not going to wheel out an amplifier and all that kind of shit. So I’ve got a pretty nice Gibson J45 Custom Acoustic. It’s nice.
MR: Why did Jack Owen leave after 12 years in Decide? And how did Mark English join Deicide?
GB: Well the best way to tell it is to tell the whole departure of Jack first. Jack’s thing, like with all relationships and stuff, I think it was mutual. His motivation was kind of lackluster at the end. We wanted a sweep style guitar player. Kevin can handle all the rhythms because he’s an amazing rhythm guitar player. So we wanted to have somebody who can play the STENCH OF REDEMPTION material and stuff like that and have that element. Steve’s an amazing guitar player. He plays sweep style lead too. Not many people know that but Steve is a bass and guitar player in addition to being a drummer. Jack’s departure… I think it was mutual to be honest with you. But at that point me and Steve were like, let’s focus on finding somebody who is our age, who’s from the area, who is familiar with the Tampa scene, and all that. We needed someone who is a sweep style player, who is mellow, who isn’t an idiot and who isn’t the town drunk. It was a good pick. Mark’s a peculiar fellow but he fits in perfectly with us. We’re all peculiar fellows. Mark fits in and blends well.
MR: That’s great to hear. I was sorry to see Jack go because I’ve seen you a few times with Jack.
GB: We all are man. But listen. It just got to the point, honestly, I mean you are bringing your old lady to every show. We are a unit of four individuals. And when we travel we like to cut costs, team up. We team up and travel together and split expenses and shit like that. We need team players. And team players don’t bring their old ladies, and team players don’t bring their dogs. It was starting to interfere with the workings of the fucking band. You had an odd guy out. That person was usually Steve because I usually take Kevin with me. So people were having to pay more for expenses because somebody didn’t want to be a team player. Jack, I understand, there’s no hard feelings. Jack you’re a peculiar fellow too. You come in, you don’t say hello, you don’t say goodbye. You show up like you’re the shadow or whatever the fuck it is. I get that’s your gimmick, okay, great. But after a while it starts to feel like disrespect. Steve was feeling disrespected. I just don’t give a fuck but, like I said man Steve is a major part of this band. Me and Steve run this like a business. We are partners. Steve has just as much say in everything as I do. I’m the hatchet guy. I’m the one that Steve says to, “Okay take care of it.” Or whatever business has to be handled. I always get told, you’re the boss. So I am stuck with that shit. But I just told Jack, just come get your gear, let’s call it a day. He got to work with Chris (Barnes, Six Feet Under) again and everybody’s happy. Mark came along and we gave him a test. We told him If you can play the lead for “Homage For Satan”, we take it to the next step.
MR: So Mark’s audition for the band was “Homage for Satan”? That’s Awesome!
GB: He was able to come in and without too much effort play that lead. Then he was in.
MR: Getting back to OVERTURES IN BLASPHEMY, I saw the release date pushed back a week due to demand for physical copies. That’s a great sign there is high demand and a good buzz for the album.
GB: Yep things are going very well. I think you’ll be absolutely blown away when you hear the record in its entirety. It’s a knucklegrinder!
MR: When will the touring start and where?
GB: Our agents are in talks with the opening bands now and putting a package together. Probably going to be in the winter time. Then Europe probably in the Spring. I’d like to get out of here and go see some snow, and get out of the fucking swamp. I hate summer down here (Tampa). It’s fucking miserable.
MR: Will you ever play MDF (Maryland DeathFest)?
GB: It’s funny you mention that. I was told by my agent that if I stay out of Philly we can do the fest this year. If we get on that bill, I am gonna tear that place to fucking pieces. Especially with the new material, “One With Satan”, and stuff like that. It’s fucking incredible shit.
MR: MDF is the best underground metal festival we have in the United States. The crowd will be vicious for Deicide!
GB: We hope it happens. I can’t wait man. We are looking forward to it.
MR: Ralph Santolla was in Deicide for 6 years. Were you affected by his recent passing?
GB: (laughs) Ralph was in the band maybe 6 months. I mean, in and out, in and out, in and out. It was a revolving door with him. I have lost so many fucking people. All of my family are dead. I’ve lost all of my friends mostly, all of my close friends are dead. Of course you hate to see anybody pass on like that. I felt sorry for his family. Me and Ralph we made peace man. We had a falling out in Europe. I had to kick him off the tour and shit. He was fucking out of control just drinking and shit. We made peace at the festival in Tampa (Florida Metal Fest) a couple of years ago at Ybor City. We hugged it out and at least I know we were on decent terms. What can you say man? Ralph had his foot on the gas and he didn’t let up all the way until the end.
MR: That’s good that you made amends and patched things up with him. I can understand what you are saying about having a lot of people close to you who have died. Both my parents are dead, my sister is dead. I kind of feel you there.
GB: They’re all dead. We’re surrounded by death. All we do is wait for our fucking ticket to come up. It sucks man. Every time you get a fucking cramp in your ass or in your stomach, you’re like, this is it! That’s what getting old is all about. Fucking stressing the fuck out every time you drop a fucking stinky fart.
MR: Yeah you might give yourself a hernia!
GB: You’re afraid to bend over to pick up your fucking shoes. (laughs)
MR: How did you get into music and become a musician?
GB: At an early age I remember there being guitars in the closet and I used to pull ‘em out and fucking beat around on ‘em. We’d have family get-togethers and I would listen to my aunts and uncles and cousins’ LPs and shit. I was turned on to a lot of old rock n roll at an early age and that progressed all the way up into the heavy shit. I think for me it was back in the late 70s, early 80s, when MTV came into fucking play, you’re seeing bands like The Ramones and Van Halen, all that shit. And then you start seeing concert footage from Sabbath and all that. And you’re seeing all that stuff as a kid and you’re like, fuck yeah! Pete Townsend power sliding across the fucking stage. It’s just like THE PICK OF DESTINY, that kind of fucking shit. I remember doing something in elementary school with the school counselors, I still have my old school files here in one of the boxes. They asked me what I wanted to be and I put a fucking musician. Rock star. Whatever the fuck you wanna call it. Even as early as elementary school I knew what the fuck I wanted to do.
MR: How did the satanic / anti-religious themes form in your music? Has it been a lifelong view for you?
GB: I was born in NY, came to Florida right after I was born and lived here up to my early teens. I moved back to NY for a few years and then I moved to South Georgia for a couple of years. My mother was a Sunday School teacher for a while. Everybody trying to give me a row, like Catholics and everybody. They were trying to rationalize everything with religion. It really turned me the fuck off. I was always referred to as an evil bastard ever since I was a kid. I’m kind of just living up to everybody’s expectations. When you’re in South Georgia you have the fucking Baptists. And up north you have the Catholics and the fucking Lutherans. And then you’ve got the Pentecostals. I don’t know why man but I am like a fucking magnet for these fucking crazy people. I don’t know why but my whole life they’ve always sought me out or fucking run into me. I had the Latter Day Saints around here sneaking around my fucking house with their bicycles and their helmets and shit. And it’s always something man with the fucking right, with the religious fucking lunatics. They just give me shit to write about man. It’s just part of who I am and it comes easy. It’s something that I don’t try to deny anymore. I used to try to fucking think maybe there’s something more. No this is just who I am and why fight it?
MR: I understand. I don’t like anybody preaching to me or telling me what to believe.
GB: For me it’s a lot deeper than that. I think that we make laws based on fucking prehistoric fairy tales. I think the world would be a whole lot better place if we didn’t put fucking labels on everything. Especially religious labels. We as a fucking people have enough problems in relating to each other. Now you throw that into the equation, now you’ve got fanatical fucking lunatics. And when I say God, I mean all your fucking Gods. When I say Christ I mean all your fucking messiahs. I don’t mean one, I just generalize you all. I say Christ because that is the most asinine one of them all. People want me to fucking sing songs about Islam and shit like that. I think that’s fucking retarded. Why the fuck would I do that? What am I gonna have Islamic music to go with it? Bing, bing, bing, bing, bing! I mean where are we going with this?
MR: How did you develop your vocal style and range?
GB: A lot of fucking screaming at people. It all started for me when I was like 17 or 18. A friend up the street from me recorded a song with us on his four track. And we needed somebody to do vocals. Nobody wanted to step up. One Saturday morning in 15 minutes I wrote lyrics, went down and recorded it and that was the beginning of it all. After that everybody was like, Whoa!, so I just started incorporating off of that. And then I got heavier and heavier. I had throat surgeries to remove my tonsils. I did a lot of damage going right on tour after that. I tore a bunch of shit in my throat. In fact the last time I played Philly I fucking popped something in my fucking throat.
MR: Really? That would’ve been May 2017 at the Voltage Lounge.
GB: Yeah it felt like a rubber band snapped in my fucking throat. It felt like a piece of pasta was stuck in the back of my fucking throat for a couple of days.
MR: Well you sounded great Glen. I was there. I didn’t notice anything.
GB: Yeah when I popped it, it was weird. I don’t know if it was a vocal chord or what. When it snapped I said to myself, I have to up my fucking power coming out of my diaphragm to compensate for whatever the fuck that was. I don’t know what it was but since then man I am an absolute fucking monster!
MR: Who were your influences as a singer?
GB: I get my high scream thing from Bon Scott and Udo from Accept. I get some of my raspiness and some of my vocal patterns from Ronnie James Dio. I was a huge Dio fan growing up. My main inspirations are from Dio and Udo. I got to meet Udo not too long ago which was cool.
MR: Is there anything you do now to maintain your voice?
GB: Yeah I just kind of lay off all the bullshit man. When I go on tour I do cardio, I ride bicycles. Every day or every other day I go out for a ride. Just keep myself somewhat in decent shape I guess. For what it is man. You can’t be laying around eating fucking Ding Dongs and Twinkies all day man. You gotta be productive or you can feel that real quick on stage.
MR: I saw the early Deicide albums are being re-released as deluxe digipaks through Hammerheart Records. How does the licensing process work?
GB: Here’s the thing man. We couldn’t trust those two (Hoffman brothers) to rent fucking minivans to fucking tour. So you think me and Steve would trust them with any audio shit of ours? The most they may have is the practice tapes or some shit like that. As far as releasing it, Warner Brothers owns that stuff so as long as you pay to lease it from Warner Brothers you can do whatever the fuck you want. If I get paid, great, fantastic. If not, you’re gonna hear from my lawyer.
MR: So Warner Brothers owns the rights, not Roadrunner?
GB: Yeah Warner Brothers bought Roadrunner a while back. It was some Russian guy from what I was told by the manager of the Roadrunner back when it happened. The catalog got sold to them. I had a couple of people approach me from Earache and Century Media that they were shopping the catalog for lease deals and shit. Metal Blade and Nuclear Blast were also in the picture. I know Metal Blade got some of it and leased the first record (DEICIDE) and resissued it. It’s like dude, come on man. It’s like living in the past, trying to beat a fucking dead horse to death. You can listen to the record on YouTube. Why do you want to fucking buy it? It’s ridiculous. In regards to that, this is just somebody trying to stay relevant because of me and Steve’s success. Me and Steve own all the tapes, all the extra shit. I have it in my safe and Steve has it in his. The only thing they may have is some practice cassette tapes or some shit that’s gonna get bounced and sound really shitty. We could care less what the fuck they do to be honest with you.
MR: Speaking of old albums, would you ever consider playing a full album live?
GB: We might do it with this new one. It’s possible. I don’t know how many years left of doing this I have in me so maybe we’ll retire some of that older stuff and just play the new album. Throw a couple of oldies in here and there. I don’t know how we’re gonna roll with it this time around. If you’re inquiring if I’ll ever play the LEGION album or something like that, no. I have a saying in my life. It goes for all things in all relationships, past, present and future, and that is I don’t swim up the shit river twice. Okay so as far as Jeff Daniels and Jim Carey are concerned, I would rather put that part of my life behind me.
MR: I asked because it’s become popular for bands to play full albums now.
GB: I am not about to follow anybody off a cliff. I am not about to do any rap albums or try to fucking sing so far out of the box that I alienate our fans. It’s not that a rap album is bad, it just doesn’t look good for our death metal band to come out and try to fucking create something, I don’t know what you wanna call it, Rap Manson or a Mansonish fucking sound, I don’t know. It’s like putting a fucking square peg in a fucking round hole.
MR: Is it more interesting for you to play the newer music?
GB: It’s fun man. I mean the new record when we wrote it, the hooks and the groove parts, they are fun to play. It’s fun to play something that isn’t just one dimensional. Dut, dut, dut dut. It’s more enjoyable. People don’t understand when you’re playing guitar and bass at top speeds like that you lose all the dynamics. With this new record we are playing things in a fashion, you are hearing instruments that are true.
MR: The fans are always going to want to hear classics from the first three albums.
GB: Well you can’t make everybody fucking happy. I just gave up. Fuck off. I mean I try to make people happy and it’s never good enough. So we just kind of don’t give a fuck anymore. Throw shit in the wind and see what it sticks on.
MR: Every time I have seen you guys I’ve left happy.
GB: What we bring to the table now, we sound fucking astounding. All the fucking loose ends are tied up. It’s fun now for me.
MR: Last question – Deicide is one of the most notorious anti-Christian bands of all time. Are you proud of that legacy?
GB: Considering other people’s legacies, yeah I guess I can live with it. There could be worse legacies to have.
GB: Since 1987 me and Steve have been doing this. I’ve known Steve since he was 16 years old. People can say a lot of fucked up things about me. 98% of them aren’t fucking true. But there’s one thing you can never say, that I didn’t fucking stick to what I fucking started. I stay true to what I started. Under a lot of adverse conditions and a lot of fucked up situations and a lot of fucking crap over all these years, I’m still fucking punching that fucking thing in the balls called God. I could’ve abandoned what I’ve started and taken this thing in a more commercial direction and kiss society’s ass. I just say fuck commercial and fuck society and fuck everybody else’s fucking twisted opinion. You can’t even go on Amazon and trust a review on a fucking toothbrush because there is somebody out there that is gonna say something negative about that fucking toothbrush. That’s how fucked up this world is. I mean you have to carry a roll of black tape around with you to cover up the brand of shoes you got or the type of guitar you have or the brand of pants you’re wearing or the brand of hat you got on or the brand of car you’ve got because somebody is gonna take offense and start crying. Its fucking crazy dude. The world has gone nuts. And then they wanna look at me as if I’ve got something wrong with me. It’s like, listen you have no fucking clue about the way I’m looking at you!
MR: Glen, thanks very much for the great interview! Hope to see you guys at MDF!
GB: Sure brother no problem!