CIRITH UNGOL INTERVIEW
TOMBSTONE INTERVIEW 9/01
1. Tell me, why did you decide to release this album now?
GREG: If not now, when? It’s been ten years since Paradise Lost was released, and just in time for the Xmas buying season!
2. Were you involved in the process and in what way?
GREG: Rob came up with the idea and Metal Blade Europe was very receptive, so we both spent weeks going through our respective stacks of tapes. What ended up on the CD is a small fraction of what we have on tape.
3. Is there any possibility for reuniting the band and releasing new albums?
GREG: If we could get Tim to lay off the cigarettes and Rob could wrangle a drum kit out of Pearl or Ludwig! We have plenty of songs still unheard by human ears, like “Shelob’s Lair” or “Route 666”.
4. If you had the chance to record all your albums now, with modern technology and stuff, what do you think would be different than in the original versions?
GREG: It would still sound like CU. Our sound is in our heads, hands, and hearts, not our amps or mixing boards!
5. When and why did the band break up in the first place?
ROB: The final line-up of the band broke up in 1992 after the very sad debacle of “Paradise Lost”. After 22 years of being screwed and never making a cent it was more of a mater of survival. Would you work night and day for 22 years at a job and never receive a paycheck? I personally figured that I did not want to waste my entire life playing music that was not appreciated, and at the time I was working two jobs to support the band. There was a giant recession in 1991 and I thought I was going to lose my jobs so really the only thing to do was survive without the band.
6. In all your four albums in the past you had Elric in the cover. Why?
GREG: To me, Elric is a classic anti-hero. He deplores all the evil in his world, and tries to fight against it, but in the end, he cannot overcome it and even unwittingly aids the forces of chaos.
7. There are more than 30 songs in the double album, where did you found all these unreleased material?
GREG: All the songs came from both Rob’s and my collection of demo and practice tapes. And there are at least 20 more songs that have never been properly recorded or have problems with sound quality.
8. Why you decided to release an album with rare material instead of a best of album or something?
GREG: We like to think all our albums are the best of! Seriously, we figured that a lot of our fans would already have all the albums and we wanted to give them material they hadn’t heard before.
9. There are no lyrics in the booklet and to be honest I expected it to have them. So why you didn’t include the lyrics in the first place?
GREG: We would have liked to include the lyrics, but due to space limitations in the booklet, we couldn’t. We will probably post them on the website in the near future.
10. The notes in the booklet mention a lot a particular lawyer and the band having absolutely no control of the fourth album. Can you tell me what happened?
ROB: The only time we consulted a lawyer was for our fourth CD “Paradise Lost”. Unfortunately we trusted him and he told us the contracts were good. We unintentionally signed away all the rights to the CD and the song rights forever. I called him recently to ask why he did this and he told me that “Everyone was doing that at the time.” This is very unfortunate as the owners Restless Records have refused all attempts by several record companies to re-release it. For what reason I cannot imagine, maybe just to turn the knife in the wound….
11. So far Cirith Ungol is considered by many to be a cult band but in my opinion it is one of the most underestimated bands of all time. You deserved better recognition and more respect. How do you feel about it and why do you think it happened?
GREG: We definitely sound different from the mainstream, and I think a lot of critics just didn’t know who to compare us to and tended to dismiss us. I think most heavy metal fans are more open minded, but unfortunately our albums didn’t always have very good distribution and were often hard to find in stores.
ROB: Now with the Internet, anyone who really wants anything can get it if they want it bad enough!!
12. Many bands still mention Cirith Ungol as one of their main influences. How do you feel about that?
GREG: I feel incredibly honored and gratified when someone names CU as an influence. It’s really the highest praise someone can give you.
ROB: I read that Celtic Frost actually decided on their name from having our first album, and there is a band in Italy “DoomSword” which has made a great cover of Nadsokor!
13. What’s the best and what’s the worst thing you remember from the times when the band was active?
GREG: The best things were coming up with a new song and playing it together for the first time, playing on stage for an appreciative crowd, and meeting our fans. The worst things were dealing with greedy promoters, club owners, and some of our rival bands.
14. I know you have a web site (www.cirithungol.org) Do fans get in touch with you through the site and what’s their reaction to the news of a new release from the band?
ROB: After each release I was getting so many e-mails I could not keep up. They have settled down to about 100 a week and I try to answer as many as possible but it is hard to do. All of our fans over the years have been calling for this project so this is more of a reaction to their desires than anything.
15. Close the interview as you wish.
GREG: My sincere thanks to all our fans over the years. We hope you will enjoy Servants of Chaos and let us know if you want to hear more.
ROB: I would like to thank everyone at Metal Blade in Europe for having enough faith in us to release this CD, as it will not be released in the US for reasons we have not figured out. Since we have many fans all over the world who wanted to hear some of this music, I appreciate the taste they have to step from the mainstream of metal nowadays and bring you this blast from the past!!!
The being called Ungol is dead, its resurrection is doubtful. But heed it’s teachings oh faithful, for on these memoratic disks contain, the wisdom of the ages, and by your iron fists, may the horror, of false metal be extinguished.
As you now join the swelling ranks of the Legions of Chaos, together we will drive before us, the cringing herd of False Metal, crush their spineless lackeys, and purge the world of their mutant plague!!!
Visit our web site: Cirithungol.org All photos by Greg Hazard ©