The first time I saw your band name I thought it too simple. The more I thought about it I kinda liked the simplicity of it. How hard was it to come up with it and does it sum up the intentions of the band?
Leigh – I have no idea where the band’s name came from. I’ve never thought about it either. It’s just one of those things really, why do we put the letters D O G together to describe a four legged animal that barks? I’m not sure if the name deliberately has anything to do with who we are or what we do, but it seems to fit really well.
I totally missed out on your first album. How does the new one compare to that one?
Mazzereth – The first album, The Sleeping Wizard, did its job, which was to combine elements of fuzz, metal and catchy doom n roll. For The Divine Right of Kings we have simply built upon the strong foundations that were laid down by The Sleeping Wizard. I feel as though this album has soaked up more of our personality which can range from deadly serious to impish pricks, depending on the fullness of the moon.
Are you guys into following a progression chart or are you just happy being stuck on one spot in time?
Mazz – I think I speak for us all when we say that we want to progress, it would be a crime against ourselves as men of artistic vision if we simply tread water. There will always be some elements of albums that will stick to one spot in time. We will always have a couple of balls out rockers in the vein of AC/DC but I can also see us writing longer and more ‘produced’ epics. Making a film and writing the soundtrack to it would be my ultimate goal for this bunch of herberts.
Is it a specific British thing to treasure the 60s/70s because of the cultural history or is it simply the time when the best rock/hardrock was made?
Leigh – The late 60s and early 70s is the only time period that that music could have been made. People romanticize about the 60s and 70s a lot, but it was a horrible time when you think about it. Homosexuality was a crime in the UK until 1967, and even then it was only made legal if you were over 21. Casual racism was everywhere. There was the beginning of the decline of industry and the oil crisis. The world has always been a horrible place. The only difference between then and now is that we have mobile phones with pornography on them today.
What in specific influences you to create the music you play? Is there a best before date that you never cross when it comes to inspiration/influence?
Leigh – I always joke that music stopped being good after 1975, and even though I listen to new bands who sound like they were in a time capsule like Graveyard or Horisont, it’s important not to limit yourself when it comes to influences. Rock and roll is about so much more than just music and sonic soundscapes – imagery and attitude are a huge part of rock music, so while we may not sound anything like Van Halen for instance, we wish to emulate the feeling that their fans get when they listen to them.
How well does hardrock and satanic themes go together? What can the esoteric thematic add to the music?
Mazz – Hard Rock and Satan goes together like Chips n Cheese. The whole package for me is pure escapism, pure theatre, like watching a good Hammer Horror film. I’m aware though that some people can take it too seriously, but if they choose to do that then let it be so. The esoteric themes can help paint the picture in your head, you’re hearing the riff and you’re thinking “yeah that sounds kind of dirty, kind of evil” and then the esoteric lyrics will simply help push your mind into that direction thus completing the equation.
How important is imagery to portray any themes you want put forth?
Leigh – Imagery is an important part of every band’s output. I remember buying CDs as a teenager, and Mazz probably remembers buying LPs, and I would just stare at the artwork and digest every inch of the booklet while I listened to the music. I love “Songs for the Deaf” by Queens of the Stone Age because there’s really vivid imagery that goes along with that album that makes it impossible to hear any song from it and not know which album it’s from. On our last few releases we’ve been working with an incredibly talented American artist called Ralph Walters who really understands what we’re about as a band. He’s really outdone himself with the artwork for The Divine Right of Kings.
When you play music that sounds old is there ever any danger of being stuck in a box and not getting out of it? How do you avoid being branded a certain type of band?
Mazz – Well we’re not that well known at the moment, so I’m not feeling like we are stuck in a box. I also think that we can come across as a “confusing” band. Our subject matter such as Satan, Armageddon, Wizards et cetera does not seem to fit with our personalities. We are generally positive people who like to have a good time and don’t worry about the things in life that don’t matter, yet at the same time we will turn to you and say “Get your kicks while you can because it’s all fucked, bad times are coming”.
How literary inclined are you as a band? I sometime get a feeling that it is expected of British bands to be a bit more cultivated? How much a product of your upbringing are you guys?
Mazz – I’m more of an autodidact, I love reading especially about History & Science and Religion. I don’t have any qualifications of note, I did go university and struggled and got kicked out then I found out three years ago, at the age of 33, that I’m dyslexic so that might explain a few of my academic failings, that and the hard partying. I have no problem reading but I can’t write for shit, the logic (or illogic) of grammar and spelling just does not stick in my mind, I can’t retain that information. It’s a pain in the ass but then I think perhaps if I was not dyslexic then I might not be a righteous front man. The rest of the band are smart chaps, morally well adjusted and a joy to be around. You can chat to them about the most stupid of things then all of a sudden flip 180% and discuss Plato.
Is there a future for Groan?
Mazz – I hope so, for I fear for my future if not. I can’t see myself working my desk job until I retire, something has to give. So, European promoters, you know what to do! Book the Groan, let us blow your minds and kill your brains. We are all one consciousness; let us unite as one under the banner of THUNDER BOOGIE.