home Interviews UE EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Strapping Young Lad

UE EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Strapping Young Lad


When I took my chances at interviewing who some have told me is the elusive, hermit-like, workaholic – Devin Townsend, never in my wildest imagination did I think I would be looking at answers to the questions I had wanted to ask of someone I admired so much. What I received were straightforward, humourous responses to questions that I hope others wanted to know about. And here they are…

When did it first hit you that you were successful?
It hasn’t yet. I’m a chronic worker, and anything that isn’t perfect I consider a failure.

Are you satisfied with the way the industry and the public have received your work and the way it has been labeled?
Not really, but thems the breaks, you get what is coming to you.

What is the most common question you get in interviews?
…”give me your musical history”

Do you have distaste for the media or do you think that it has benefited you?
My distaste for the media is as a whole, not individually. Individuals have done very nice things for me press wise.

What do you see happening for you musically in the comingyears, with all of the advances in technology and electronics?
Not a fucking clue. sorry…

What was the first song you ever learned to play?
1/ Folsom Prison Blues, 2/ Motorhead, 3/ Ballroom blitz

What is your biggest fear?

How do you feel onstage? Are you nervous? Angry? Anxious?
Hot, but in control…I don’t enjoy screaming all too much, but it seems to pack-em in, so screaming we do…

Are you more comfortable in front of large audiences or small ones?
It depends, but usually about the same.

Do you think you realise the impact your music has made on your fans?
Absolutely not. I have no clue. I get letters, but I can’t process them. All I can hope is by doing my thing, the by-product, (music) will make people happy.

What have been your methods when dealing with obsessed fans?
Ouch, It has happened, and sucks. I just tell them to get a grip.

Who do you admire?
Tons of people. It’s a big world with some great people scattered here and there. I tend to admire a person by their ability to do something well. Overlooking the fact that they’re assholes some of the time.

What makes you want to get out of bed every day?
Captain Crunch

What do you want it to say on your headstone?
“wrote some cool tunes… farted himself to death”

Is there something about you that you’re willing to tell, that people would be shocked to find out?
I have a swollen left testicle that is to be operated on in the next 10-12 weeks. We’re talking HUGE.

What type of music, if any, calms your nerves?
Cibo Matto

Do you find that playing live is more of a therapeutic thing, or is it more stressful for you to tour?
Usually more stressful.

What is the first thing you do when you get offstage after playing a show?
Cool down my voice.

A. What would you say to a person you didn’t know to try to start a conversation with them? (And I ask this because many of your fans are so intimidated when they have had the chance to meet you, that they end up saying something really lame.)B. How would YOU approach Devin Townsend if you were a fan?
I just start talking. I babble incessantly as it is. The best way to approach me? …”hey Dev, do you want to go smoke this joint?”

What was the moment of realisation for you? (Take that any way you like.)
Infinity. I realised that I am unlike any other human simply by the fact that we’re all the same. It levelled the playing field. And the millennium. I sighed a sigh of relief, flushed that last fucking century, and now it’s onward and upward.

What is your stance on mp3s and trading bootlegs.
It gets the old name around… the more people familiar with the music the better.

What does the future hold for Strapping Young Lad? And any or all of your other projects, for that matter?
Physicist comes out next, followed by the next SYL

Can you see yourself in 5 to 10 years from now or are youthe type of person that lives each day as it comes?
Each day as it comes.

Are you a day person or a night person?
Mostly day, but nights tend to get kinda fun sometimes too…

What type of thing would make you want to start creatingmusic as fast as you could? What triggers inspiration in you?
I don’t know. It’s like wanting to have sex. Most of the time the thoughts are just brewing, but when you get a boner, there’s a certain need to attend to it.

How do you handle ‘writer’s block’?
I don’t write.

What aspect of being involved in music do you hate the most?
Selling myself to people. I want to get a point where I have enough of a following that I can do whatever I want without having to convince some 20 year old A&R guy that it will compete with Machine Head.

Are you ready to grow old gracefully or are you fighting it?
Definitely gracefully

What is more frightening, death or old age?
They both have their merits. Death is pretty intense, old people get lots of pudding.

Do you eat cereal and read the cereal box while watchingSaturday morning cartoons?
I’m not awake early enough for cartoons, and there’s fuck all interesting on a Captain Crunch box.

What would you say is your greatest accomplishment to date?
Staying alive.

Is God dead?
Only if you’re a miserable cunt like Trent Reznor. God, being NATURE, flourishes and will be back after we char this rock. So what is it with miserable rock stars? ‘We’ve become the wretched…’ yeah fuck you, get your head out of your ass. It’s a new century, tuck your bottom lip in. AAAAAAAAAGGGGG If God were dead , so would we be.

Where would you like to be if the ‘big one’ were to hit?
In a doorway that was away from flying debris.

What are you wearing right now?
Crotchless panties and a chuck steak

Are you still as eager to play and create and write as you once were, or do you feel like the novelty has worn off?
It comes and it goes. Right now, I’m pretty bored.

Would you ever/have you ever been asked to speak about your music or the industry in a public forum or event? And did you do it?
Yes sir, and yes…sir.

How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard any of your work?
Manic little symphonies”

What is the most defining project for you? Which of your’bands’ captures your personality and the way you wish toexpress yourself the most? Which one is the most “you”?

What do you have to look forward to?
Many many many things

Are you glad this interview is finally over or was it pretty fun?
It was great! I’ll see ya sometime!

Yes, you will, Devin. Yes, you will.

This interview is dedicated to Chris Woolf.

Lesa Pence

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