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Interviews

Maninblack
20/05/2005


Why did you form Maninblack in first place? And how did you all get together?

My former band The Press (Skins 'N' Punks Vol 5, Oi! Records) had played their last show back in 1994 so after not having anything to do with music for almost ten years I eventually decided that I wanted to start playing guitar again, mostly as a hobby, and then after a few months of strumming off I decided that I also wanted to use a guitar synthesizer although I wasn't quite sure as to what end I wanted to take this to. Over the past few years I had recived some encoragement from from varios people includding André (AKA the Nubian Nightmare) of the Mephiskapheles who suggested that I get back in the game and this may have been what had given rise to rumors that André and I were starting a Satanic Oi/Ska band called "Oi! La Vey" which was evidently a play on the Yiddish phrase "oy vey" and a nod towrds late Church Of Satan founder Anton LaVey.

Originally the members of Maninblack were to include Chris Noone of The Press but he found himself as the first among a long line of victims of the infamous "Maninblack curse" and ended up being shipped off to Norway. What then happened was that I eventually presented the Maninblack concept to some fellow Church Of Satan members and we recorded the song "New York, New York USA" to be includded on a compilation being produced by yet another Church Of Satan member but which was never released. Sine then I have had several people in the band as members were sacked and replaced.

The concept behind Maninblack is a combination of what I was doing in my former band The Press, what I wanted to but couldn't for varios reasons while I was in The Press, and what I've wanted to do since then and up until now.

For people who have not heard the band, how would you describe the sound and the whole live experience?

Maninblack's sound is something that has been in developement up until now and will likely remain in flux to a certain degree until at least our first major release. Oi is definaely the major influence here with certain electronic aspects bouncing around and since we are thinking outside the box it's probably safe to put that "experimental" label on us particularly when you consider Oi bands like Splodgeness Abounds, the Postemen and the Orgasm Guerillas. After that there's a strong Reggae feel running in a few of our songs and I could also name many alternative and diverse influences, too many to list here, but you could probably pick them out in our songs.

Which of the songs best sums up the band and what is it about?

Right now, sound wise, "1985/5 More Years," which was recently released on "The Good, The Bad , The 4 Skins Tribute" CD on Workers United Records. Conceptually we are paying tribute to George Orwell to a certain degree while "1984/5 More Years," a medley arrangemnet of two 4 Skins songs, also combines our Oi, Punk and Reggae influence along with a layered electronic sound.

What were you doing in the years between The Press and Maninblack? And were you tempted to still keep the name The Press?

After The Press, or more precicely just prior to our last show, I went back to school and studied comparative religion and film/video production, worked as a torot card reader at New York City's infamous Thee Magickal Childe, joined the Church Of Satan and was eventually ordained a priest by Anton LaVey, I appeared on TV several times, playing a neo Nazi Skinhead in a comercial for the Anti Defimation Leadue, danced in a New Years Eve special for Gilbert Gottfried's network cable TV series "Up All Night," worked and appeared as an "expert" and consultant on the occult in various media productions, produced my own public access TV show here in New York City, and then I eventually found myself working as a private investigator which I still do today.

Yeah, I was tempted to keep the name "The Press" but what I'm doing now goes beyond what The Press was doing and even where we might have headed given what we had to work with. I really wanted a fresh start and although I am runing into alot of the same dificulties I experienced with The Press I've changed as a person and so have my influences to a certain degree. Maninblack definatley takes up where The Press left off, considering that some of our songs were initiated while I was in The Press, but it's much more than that. The Press' place is planted firmly in the past and I would like to keep it that way for the most part. I'm not too keen on the idea of reunion shows particularly since a "reunion" consists of me personally, since I'm also not too keen on maintaining contact with past members of the band except for Chris Noone, and whoever I happen to have as a backing band. If everything goes as planned The Press will be relegated to a place in the history of Maninblack rather than Maninblack being an epilog of The Press.

If you could see any band play live, either of the past or present who would it be?

I'd like to "see" The Gonads play in the present but that goes without saying. I'd have liked to have seen The Gonads play durring the session that was used for the Live and Loud album, I'd like to have seen David Bowie on the Ziggy Stardust tour, Roxy Music with Brian Eno, the original Alice Cooper band with Glen Buxton, the original Stooges with Ron Asheton on guitar.

How did the song 'Bring It Down' come about on the Redskins tribute album?

I had been a big fan of The Redskins back when they were around in the late 1980s and they had a certain amount of influence on some of the songs I wrote in The Press. A couple of years ago I had come across the Redskins tribute site and leaned of plans for the Redskins tribute EP so I signed on. "Bring It Down!" had always been a particular favorite of mine and I think it really exeplifies the influene that the For Tops had on The Redslkins, especially with songs like "Bernadette" and "Reach Out and I'll Be There." Anyway, we approached the production of the song in a way as to have a somewhat original arrangement and sound, although I did toy with reproducing the Redskins' horn section sound on my guitar synthesizer, and I think that's what we had accomplished although it's a little low on our evolutionary scale. The follow-up recording of "Take No Heros" is decidely different and more produced with a somewhat 60s Pop sound while my colaboration with Redquare on the song "Lev Bronstein" is different still with more or an Industrial/Techno feel.


Name the best 5 releases of the past 12 months

I can't even name five songs that were released in 2004! Seriously, I'm pretty oblivious to the current music scenes reguardless of genre, and no I don't feel bad about that either. I don't listen to the radio or watch music television and I really need to be in a rare mood to listen to music. Actually, my last music purchase was The Gonads catologe because Gonads road manager Fat Col had secretly diverted the bands' funds, that would have otherwise been used to supply me with required recordings and a Gonads tour jacket, to an offshore kabob distributer who was later shut down for the illegal use of an endangered species.

What is the scene like in your area?

Judging from our last show on November 6th it's doing quite well althouh I think there is plenty of room for expansion particularly where Maninblack is concerened. When The Press appeared there was no Oi scene but there were separate Punk, Mod and Ska scenes and eventualy an Oi scene in NYC formed around us made up primarilly of people from those other scenes. Particular scene tend to be too confining and more than a bit pretentios, I don't see us nessecarilly catering to any one scene but rather to what will develope around us. Like with The Press I think any following Maninblack is likely to have is a reflection of us rather than than us reflecting our following.

Plans, gigs and releases planned for 2005.

We have been includded in a CD followup to the Reskins tribute, "Take No Heros" on Reds Star Recordings which has already been recorded and set for realease some time, any day now as a matter of fact, and which will also include my colaboration on the song "Lev Bronstein" with the UK Techno Punk band Redsquare. We will likely release a privately pressed EP at some point in the near futureWe are getting ready to perform at a moderatly lage show at Crash Mansion here in NYC on May 28th and I have a feeling that we will be rather busy this summer.

Any final comments?

No

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