Interviews > Gehennah
Interview by Athena Schaffer

The Crowgrrl is loving Gehennah's new album, Too Loud To Live, Too Drunk To Die. This is the band's fourth album (but first for their new label, Metal Blade Records): - their first full-length since 1997's Decibel Rebel. The band is named after the biblical reference to Hell, and this album totally succeeds in raising Hell! It's an anthem-driven, testosterone-laced celebration!

Check out the video for their title track here.

Hailing from Sweden, Gehennah are: vocalist Mr. Violence, guitarist Rob Stringburner, drummer Hellcop, and bassist Charley Knuckleduster. I recently caught up with three quarters of the band for a really fun interview! Enjoy, Readers, and seriously - check out this album if you haven't already! You'll be glad you did!

Why did it take 19 years between this album and Decibel Rebel? I'm loving this Too Loud To Live, Too Drunk To Die album!

Mr Violence: No idea, but probably because we are lazy and have a hard time getting things done. For a lot of years we were satisfied just doing a few gigs every year and didn't bother writing new material. We didn't have a record-contract either, that didn't help, haha. Glad you liked the album!

Is there a story behind the song "Gehennah Will Destroy Your Life"?

Mr Violence: It's a warning, but also a promise, of the idiotic downhill journey that takes place if you tag along with a band like Gehennah.

How about "We Stole Your Song" -- what's that all about?

Knuckleduster: I was just making fun of the fact that it's obvious where our sound comes from and what bands influence us all. I mean everyone in the band grew up listening to the same bands and the same kind of music and you can hear it in the songs. That's also what makes Gehennah sound special, we're not trying to be or do anything we're not. We're just playing the music we grew up worshiping.

I also have to say that a song that's about stealing a song. That is some pretty original stuff right there.

"Still The Elite" is probably my favorite song on the album! Tell me more about this song.

Knuckleduster: I only wrote the music for that one but it's a good example of what happens to a song when Gehennah performs it. The music alone is not that special, it's when you force it through that un-tight, distorted and raw Gehennah-sound it kicks ass. If anyone else had written it, it would have sucked.

Is "Scumbag" based on a particular someone you're calling out?

Knuckleduster: It's basically based on both members of this band but also on people we know and hang out with. It's kind of a tribute to some of our personal friends and scenarios we're all so use to. And, no... I won't mention any names. They know who they are just by reading the lyrics.

What is your personal favorite song on Too Loud To Live, Too Drunk To Die?

Mr Violence: It's a bit early to tell as we haven't played many of the songs live yet, and it's usually on stage you feel which songs are favorites. Me personally, I like the title song, "'Cause We're a Street Metal Band" and "Still the Elite" a lot. But in a month, when we play a lot of the songs live, I might feel totally different I guess.

Who does most of the songwriting for the band?

Mr Violence: Knuckleduster and Stringburner write the music, I guess about 50/50. And me and Knuckleduster write the lyrics, about 50/50 there as well. For "Too Loud To Live, Too Drunk To Die" I guess the questionable honour of having written the most goes to Charley Knuckleduster.

Do the lyrics come first? Does the music come first? What is the songwriting process like for you?

Knuckleduster: Never cared about stuff like that. Sometimes I come up with a bunch of cool riffs and start from there and sometimes I get an idea for some lyrics and start there. Either way you get a pretty good idea what the song is going to sound like wherever you start. If you don't, it's usually going to end up unfinished.

Any video plans for any songs?

Mr Violence: Well, we did a video for the title track, but it was just some live-stuff patched together. We do have some ideas for a more thought-out video, but it will have to wait a while. We want to get out and play live now!

Any stories behind the cover art?

Stringburner: Just a boring one: We were at the rehearsal-place trying to come up with an idea for the artwork and it was going real slow, I remember I came up with a bad idea about an explosion that nobody liked, then someone suggested a grave and when we combined the ideas and added "lots of cool stuff" exploding out of the grave, that's when we knew we were on to something... Then we just asked Peter Wallgren, who has done all of our LP covers, to draw something and as always he exceeded our expectations.

You're obviously very influenced by Motorhead. Any special memories of Lemmy?

Mr Violence: I never met him, sadly. But at the same time it feels like he has been a close friend for all of my life. I guess there are a lot of people who feel that way. He had a huge impact on my life, and his passing was shocking even though everybody knew it was going to happen sooner or later.

Any tour plans?

Stringburner: We're doing just a few release-party shows here in Sweden this spring and festivals over Europe this summer and fall. We'll probably do more tours after that.

Do you get confused with the Norwegian band of the same name?

Stringburner: Haha, yeah, is it the Swedish one I'm in?

Is there anything that I didn't ask that you want to tell our readers?

Mr Violence: Not really. Big thanx for the interview and the support!