Give Me Liberty, or Give Me...

Talking lefty politics blues with Napalm Death's Barney Greenway

In a world where metal bands measure their bravery in terms of inane shock and menacing poses, Napalm Death frontman Mark "Barney" Greenway is a man made of real guts. A self-proclaimed "card-carrying pinko socialist," Greenway isn't shy about his left-wing views (or his love of the band Journey). He recently referred to the Israeli government as "an ass" and fielded taunts of "nigger-lover" from outraged South Africans when the band played Johannesburg. With informed political savvy, affable charm, and that inimitable Cookie Monster howl, Barney keeps hope alive that metal can, in fact, live up to its promise as music for thinking people. Below are a few thoughts he recently laid on Outtakes:

Barney on touring in Bush country:

Even in places where you would expect conservatism -- like, for example, Dallas -- most people [in the audience] were fairly vocal in their disdain for Bush. It hasn't really been very tense. This is the odd thing. Some guy did tap me on the shoulder, a real big, burly guy, and said "don't talk shit about our president." And I thought [laughs], "I don't need to talk shit about your president because he does it all for himself!"

Cuddly, ain't they? Mark "Barney" Greenway, front, leads the lefties of Napalm Death.
Cuddly, ain't they? Mark "Barney" Greenway, front, leads the lefties of Napalm Death.
Flavor of the month: Black Sheep's Dres and Mr. Lawnge
Flavor of the month: Black Sheep's Dres and Mr. Lawnge

On talking about the President from the stage:

We do get a few comments in here and there, but it doesn't really serve us any purpose to go into great dialogue about it. I'm sure people already kind of know what the deal is with us. Obviously, we just tell people that we think it's a fucked up situation, and most people agree.

On the climate of fear in U.S:

This is the thing we targeted with the new album: Fear is the greatest weapon that the government can use. People will take it to heart, accept any kind of fucking law that you choose to thrust upon them. Like the people in Guantánamo Bay. People don't even see that as a problem. They've got nothing on most of the prisoners in there. Why should you therefore be allowed to keep people in fucking cages, blindfolded, and deprived of most of their sensory perception? If it was happening anywhere else in the world, there'd be a fucking uproar.

On trying to dialogue with conservatives:

It's hard to challenge these views that are so set in stone. Patriotism is a real fucking barrier, 'cause basically you are always loyal to a flag, which at the end of the day shouldn't take precedence over humanity and social justice. People matter to me more than the flag does. Surely, that's common sense. Americans have to realize there's a world outside of these 50 states. -- Saby Reyes-Kulkarni

Napalm Death plays with Obituary and Dead to Fall at 6 p.m. Sunday, September 18, at Revolution, 200 W. Broward Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $20. Call 954-727-0950.

Sheep Shape

Ask any student of hip-hop's true school about Black Sheep, and you'll get the same answer every time: the NYC duo is one of the most underrated groups of all time. Most famous for the classic party cut "The Choice is Yours" from 1991's A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing, MCs Dres and Mr. Lawnge spouted an intelligent, observant mix of urban consciousness, wry humor, and horn dog perversity. Dres especially brought an astounding lyrical dexterity and unflappable cool, tempering a laid back, earnest flow with often scathing irony, and after just two albums, set the standard for thinking people's hip-hop up to this day. Back on the scene almost 15 years later, Dres recently spoke with Outtakes during a tour stop in Chicago.

Outtakes: Why come back now after being out for so long?

Dres:It's us coming full circle. What we have to say is really important: that yo, it's all about us, man. It's time that we did something different, it's time we understood who we are as a people. And when I say "people" I mean black, white, I don't give a fuck what color, as a hip-hop culture -- we can change the world if we understand that.

You think Black Sheep can catch up to where hip-hop's gone?

It's definitely moved somewhere else, but I think we have the opportunity to kind of straighten it out. And I don't think it moving is a totally bad thing. Hip-hop wasn't legitimate when I was out. It wasn't something that you could necessarily send your kids to college on, or buy a home with, or start an enterprise from. There was a few exceptions, but now, I mean, everyone can eat, period. You don't have to be the man to live beautifully. I think we're all a lot more business savvy as artists today, but at the same time, the music has just decomposed to just a fragment of what it was.

It's also grown way beyond anyone's expectations.

And for that I'm grateful to the cats of today, on the real, 'cause that's huge. It's so huge that they don't even care about the music; they're just trying to feed their families. What I'm saying is, that's not what it is, that's not what it's for. Like, yeah it's for that, but it's for so much more. It's to feed a community, not just your family. My whole thing is like, let's do it the right way, let's put both elements together. I saw some poet a long time ago say if you spell hip-hop backwards, that's pih-poh [people]. That's real, that's hot. It's there for a reason, it's been there. We just never saw it. It's like, yo, let's do something with that. -- Jonathan Zwickel

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