Interview: Steve Maher Of Abaddon Incarnate

 

 

With Abaddon Incarnate set to play their first Galway based gig since 1995 this coming Saturday night, I spoke with founding member Steve Maher about a few things. As I expected there was no bullshit from this man and I was firmly put in my place on a couple of occasions. Always great to converse with the man and I’m really looking forward to the gig on Saturday night. 

Please note, the tracks I used in this piece may or may not be performed on Saturday. 

BM: For our newer viewers, can you tell us about the bands formation.

SM: Myself, Bill and Rob played in a doomy/ death metal type band called “Bereaved” when we were in school. Around 1994 “Olan” the original drummer, joined on drums and we started covering stuff like Cryptopsy, Brutal Truth and Morbid Angel, and writing much more brutal music, so we changed the name to Abaddon Incarnate in 1995, played our first underground gig in Sally Longs in Galway.

 

BM: It has been a long time since you played Galway. 1995 to be exact! What’s your memories of that time.

SM: We played with Morphosis in Sally Longs, 2 bus loads of people came over from Dublin, Alan Averill sang a napalm death song with Morphosis. 

 

 

BM: The classic line up finished up in many regards at Monsters Of Rot. Did you consider calling it a day?

SM: I would not consider that the classic line up. For me the classic line up was “last supper” era 95-99. When Rob Tyranny left in ’99 i felt like quitting, but then we got Cory in, and we wrote nadir, toured and got bigger. Cory left after 2 albums and was replaced by Steve F and Monsters of rot was Steve’s last gig a decade later., He joined the band at a very young age, 19 or 20, he was 10 years younger than us, i guess he grew out of it, and became very political, and his adult views were incompatible with abaddon incarnates stance on a lot of things, and he was very active in the punk scene and lost interest in death metal/ grindcore. Which is fair enough, 99% of it really is cack. But in fairness, 99% of punk and crust is cack too. Steve was a close friend, I shared a house with him for 5 years, we toured South America, Europe and Russia and played many festivals together. We worked hard writing the 3 releases we did with him. He was very active in the band.. it was very sad for all of us involved, having him leave. But I didn’t consider quitting, I had recorded the show and wanted it released, we also had a second Russian tour coming and there was shit loads of stuff i still wanted to do with the band.
Irene replaced Steve. but then johnny left soon after that, he was so busy with Malthusian, Altar of plagues and dread sovereign, rehearsals became a bit of a chore for him as he was so busy with other bands. But this was a busy time for us, lots of tour and festival opportunities came in then and we have never been busier, Johnny just couldn’t juggle everything and with Steve f gone it didn’t feel right for Johnny anymore so Karl joined on drums and Wayne came onboard on vocals and we have been very busy touring and writing hope to be releasing something soon with this line up so we have been too busy to think about quitting.

 

BM: What drives you to continue?

SM: I book tours months in advance so we have constantly got stuff in the works, also I have song ideas I want recorded, and if I wasn’t in this band, I would be very unhappy and miserable and I’d have no creative outlet. I’m not really interested in doing any other music than Abaddon Incarnate. For me it’s very important to me, part of my fibre and being. It’s also my entire social life. My best friends are in this band. I don’t really mix with anyone outside it. I don’t want to!

 

BM: Abaddon is a revolving door of musicians now, who can we expect in Galway?

SM: I disagree, we have the official line up we’ve been using for 2 years now, Myself and Bill, Irene, Karl and Wayne on vocals. Bill has a young family and its hard to play abroad for him now, and we use “Donal” from “Putrefaction” on tours but Irish gigs you can expect Bill there. we have some new songs we will playing, testing live before recording them. Our line up is solid for now. We have existed for almost 25 years, People are bound to come and go.

 

 

BM: If you had time back, would you change anything?

SM: Yeah loads of shite, I’ve written a lot of shit lyrics, or allowed others to write shit and sang it. I never really expected to live so long. I was drinking daily and losing contact with my family and close friends, even people in the band. I was on total self destruct, I was self harming all the time, I hated everybody and was lashing out indiscriminately. I was constantly getting arrested for being a drunk sap and I was pretty mindless, like a dog, no sense of future, self awareness or anything. I don’t feel the earlier lyrics represented me at all, as I wasn’t even lucid writing them. This set the tone for the next few years and for some reason we were pushing to be more extreme for extremity’s sake, and this was false, plastic, hollow, soulless, bullshit. I’m much happier with the lyrics on all releases since “cascade” I’ve been true to myself and tried expressing real emotion and put a lot of soul into it. At the moment Wayne is writing a lot of lyrics for the new stuff so some fresh ideas coming.
Its a very Spiritual thing, Abaddon Incarnate, the rage, hate is still here, just more focused and aimed at the right people rather than the blunderbuss approach of the past. “abaddon” is the spirt of destruction. Were not here to build or create a nice world, its nihilism, however slinging shit in the wrong direction just reflects poorly on the shitslinger.
The pope is coming, he is the source of my rage this weekend. Abaddon Incarnate has never been more relevant than this weekend of the papal visit really. The head of the catholic church is visiting in the wake of its defeat in our abortion referendum, to rally his troops, the catholic church have fucked and brutalised the irish people for over 80 years, and we bent over and took it, it shaped our culture, our opinions, its been very hard to break away from that conditioning. Homophobia, misogyny are symptoms of Catholicism, as a anti christian personally it is nonsensical to be misogynistic or homophobic or even glorify militarism or murder, as these are christian values. A lot of metal heads take conservative , prejudiced views on things, this is a christian way of thinking. We all need to break out of this chimp mentality,
Everybody must live their short time on this planet being true to themselves, not regurgitating catholic vomit and calling it Satanism or anti-christianity. Organised religion validates their chimpyness. If they are burning a witch at the stake, the iconoclastic, revolutionary / anti christian thing to do would be to stamp out the fire, untie the witch and welcome them back to the community. But the problem is Its more fun to sing about burning someone to death. So as a death metal band how do you still sing about death and attack a death cult ( christianity )? So for example when we put the woman in strappado on the cover of “Cascade” it wasn’t to glorify violence against women, read the lyrics of strappado, a argument between a inquisitor and a witch, even though the witch is being slowly murdered whilst having this argument, she still wins, the only recourse for the chimps is to kill off these obstreperous people, but you cant kill everybody, organised religion of any hue, is antihuman. Even go to a gig, all the kids dressed the same, listening to the same 8 bands whoever is cool or hip. Herd mentality everywhere, and these chimps need religion, humanchimp organise themselves into organised groups which follow/ worship a ideal. But we are not chimps, we are human, and each have potential to shine, but only if we don’t shackle our brains to current trend, Catholicism was a trend, very hip to be square in the 50’s Ireland. Whats my point? Oh yeah.. I’ve written some shit lyrics. Let me digress again. I don’t condone religious torture, because religion is fundamentally, torture.. when I was a kid in school I had to say prayers 7 or 8 times a day, to a false god nailed to the wall above the blackboard, and the priest who was teaching us was taking naked photos of some the boys in the class, and we all took the piss out of these boys for being gay. They were gay because the adult teacher took a sexual interest in them. The priest died, unpunished and the boys still live with the memories of abuse, torture and humiliation compounded by the shunning of the rest of the class and their peers. It was a all boys school, we come out at 18 totally unequipped to deal have a normal relationship with a woman outside the parmaeters of church teaching. This is the madness the church burned into our brains as young children which we carried into adulthood and I continued that crap in my lyrics. People say “the last supper” was a satanic album, it was a very christian sack of shit really. The music was great though. And Im being unfair to chimps here comparing them to humans. They are not as bad as humans, at least they have the excuse of not having the higher cognitive development of humans who still nevertheless behave disgracefully to each other and fuck the planet. And I’m pretty sure there is no chimp god. They are too smart to have a god.

 

BM: As a band that put Ireland on the map, what advice would you give new bands?

SM: I wouldn’t have a clue, the industry has change so much now I wouldn’t know how to launch a new band, best ask someone else. But things that spring to mind, Don’t buy on tours. Don’t borrow from your label. Be humble and respectful of everyone you meet, be sound, enjoy yourself. Invest in good gear. Cd sales are shit so look for other ways to make income. Stay on top of the paper work so 25 years down the line when you have 200 songs you don’t have a spaghetti of 20 different publishing deals. Set up bandcamps, YouTube accounts properly so they make you money. Unless your going to get huge publicity from a label best release everything DIY, most labels will try to screw you, they only exist to exploit bands, profit from your hard work, your sacrifices.
Respect yourself, don’t play with shit bands or you get tarred with the same shit. Get abroad and tour, invest in PR. 

 

 

BM: What’s your view on the future of music?

SM: No idea, I’m getting old and will die soon so it wont have anything to do with me. At the moment I listen to mostly old stuff, like old 80’s grind, Heresy, O.L.D, Spazztic Burr. We recently toured / played with two amazing young grind bands, ONA Snop and Gendo Ikari, these type of bands are scary they are so good, modern and fresh.

BM: Anything you would like to add?

SM:Apologies for the convoluted long answers, this is my brain and the limit of my writing skills I cant do anything about it.
We will be playing some new tunes at this gig, I’m excited to play Galway again, Thanks for your continued support

BM: Not at all man! It’s always great to speak with you. Your honesty and no bullshit approach is always refreshing in a business where most hide their true feelings over fear of rubbing someone the wrong way! 

Thanks for taking the time to speak with us and I’m very much looking forward to the new material on Saturday night. 

 

 

 

 

 

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