SWASHBUCKLE "Rum, Sodomy and a Lot of Thrash"

Interview by Dr. Abner Mality

In case ye haven't noticed, pirates are hot again. Thanks to that prancing poltroon Johnny Depp and his shenanigans, there's a renewed interest in the reavers of the sea. But ye haven't met REAL pirates until ye've clapped eyes and ears on SWASHBUCKLE. These 3 sea dogs are as vicious and lawless as a platoon of Wall Street investment bankers (well, maybe not that bad) but their hygiene is not as good.

Plus, the lads of Swashbuckle have a taste for raging thrash metal, which puts them one step above even Blackbeard and Captain Kidd in my humble opinion. They tip their hats to other pirate metallers like Alestorm and the venerable Running Wild, but they bow to no one when it comes to fast, aggressive metal...a perfect match for their piratical escapades! The latest bit o' plunder from Swashbuckle is "Back To The Noose", out on Nuclear Blast records, and ye'd be hard pressed to find a more entertaining combination of bludgeoning thrash, Caribbean calypso and bawdy pirate humor on land or sea!

Recently I headed to Dead Man's Cove in a hidden corner of the Caribbean to catch up with Swashbuckle commander Admiral Nobeard. There we discussed the band's latest shenanigans. Read on, ye landlubbers, and get yer fill...

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: Welcome aboard, Admiral! Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule of carnage to give me a call.

ADMIRAL NOBEARD: Any time, any time, mate.

WC: What led you lads to a life of piracy? Why did you choose this subject instead of the Old West or World War II or any other topic?

AN: Piracy just felt more like our style. Stealin' shit, pilferin', plunderin', lootin', talkin' down the wenches...yeah, that sounds about right.

WC: Not necessarily in that order.

AN: No, not in that order!

WC: What led ye to thrash metal as a form of expression?

AN: We've always wanted to do fast, aggressive music. We all grew up on the stuff, it's what we listened to and what we enjoy playing it. We just figured we'd put a pirate theme to it, write it up and have a ball. Write some fast songs and heavy breakdowns.

WC: Did ye sail with any other bands afore Swashbuckle or is this your first real venture together?

AN: We've all been in other bands that have done small shows and put out some local records, but this is the first big scale band we've done.

WC: Ye have a lot of intense thrashy moments, but ye also have some mellower, more Caribbean themed bits. Will that always be a part of the Swashbuckle sound?

AN: Yeah, that's how we wanted to do it from the get go. We wanted to keep the metal real fast and aggressive, but we do the acoustic stuff to be more on the traditional side. It's for the ladies, you know! (laughter)

WC: Could ye ever see yourself doing something more epic, like soundtrack type music. I could see something like that along your usual style.

AN: We could do that. It might happen, it might not. We take things as they come, we write what we're feeling at the moment. I'm sure we could probably set score to the next "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie or some bullshit like that or we could just do what we do now and have a ball, too.

WC: What was it like working with Cap'n Bumblefoot as producer on "Back To The Noose"?

AN: Bumblefoot's been a friend of ours for a while now. We've traded some stuff...he's done some solos on our record, we've played in his live band a couple of times. We keep it friendly. For the new record, he did a couple of solos, as well as some additional production on the drums to bring them out more. He's always there to lend a hand and promotin' us and we're always there to promote his shit as well. Just bros bein' bros....

WC: Do ye see that relationship continuing?

AN: Of course! He's a cool dude. We talking to him pretty much every day. He's basically another mate on the high seas, sharing all our shenanigans. He loves playing guitar, he loves doing goofy shit, so we mesh just fine.

WC: What view do ye have of some of the other pirate metal bands like Running Wild and Alestorm? Be they rivals or be they comrades in arms?

AN: Running Wild, I grew up listening to them. Albums like "Under Jolly Roger", "Death or Glory" and "Pile of Skulls" were in heavy rotation. They still are today! They're just a good fuckin' band. As for Alestorm, we've drank with those guys, we've played shows with them so we're all pretty much brothers in arms when it comes to piracy. Fans might be like "Swashbuckle sucks, Alestorm rules" or "Alestorm sucks, Swashbuckle rules" or "fuck them both, Running Wild is the best". It doesn't matter. It's all music, it's all piracy, it's all good. It doesn't matter.

WC: Have ye ever been in touch with Running Wild?

AN: Not directly in touch with them, no. We have come in contact with people who have worked with them. Just tipping the hat to them or sayin' "hey, let's party and drink rum"! But we haven't really sat down and high fived with Rock N Rolf.

WC: Now ye shot a video in connection with the disc? What was that experience like?

AN: It was probably the worst day ever to do a video. It was cold, it was 35 degrees, it was wet, it was raining. We were out there on the open sea with the wind blowin' was just a miserable fuckin' day! (chuckles) We pretty much made the best out of it. I think the video looks awesome, I think Dave Brodsky the director did a fine fuckin' job on it. He's done videos for Kataklysm, Darkest Hour, Black Dahlia Murder. The guy knows his shit. We made things work with the shenanigans that came into play.

WC: Was the theme of the video up to the directors and powers that be or did ye have a pretty strong hand in the story of it?

AN: We all collaborated on it. It was between us and David coming up with the theme. Since it was for the song "Cruise Ship Terror", it was fitting that we take over some sort of boat, go around shooting stuff and then pilfer and plunder!

WC: Ye don't board a vessel like that to play shuffleboard, I guess!

AN: That's true, that's very true!

WC: How did ye sign on with the Nuclear Blast fleet?

AN: I believe someone entered us in a Myspace talent contest, I don't know which of us did it except it wasn't me because I had no idea it was going on! But apparently we won their contest for new talent along with Blackguard and Augury...both killer bands, by the way...and they picked us up. Now we're putting out a record, playing Wacken, doin' tours and just having a fuckin' ball!

WC: That has to be pretty amazing that ye are playin' such a huge venue as Wacken! How did this come about?

AN: We never figured in a million years that we would be at Wacken this early in the game. We figured we would slug it out for ten or twenty years and then maybe wind up at Wacken. Either that or we'd just wind up going there one day as fans just to see the show itself because it is the metal Mecca there. It is fuckin' awesome. What happened was, our management said hey, we got a spot for you guys at Wacken, we'll send you the details! We were like, yeah, bullshit! Finally, he comes back and says, here are your plane tickets, you guys are confirmed for Wacken. We were like.....ohhhhh, are fuckin' serious? It is just totally killer! The thing is, six days before Wacken, our new record comes out. So Wacken is our record release show! Now how fucking awesome is that, to have your record release show in front in 70,000 people?

WC: Wow! That be sacred soil for metal fans over there...

AN: Words can't even express how fucking amazing this is and how lucky we are to have this opportunity to play it.

WC: That must be some pressure even for hardened sea dogs like yourselves.

AN: The pressure is there, but we don't feel it all that much. We look at it like, we're gonna have fun, we're gonna go out there and do what we always do. We're gonna play our hardest, we're gonna play our fastest, we're gonna entertain the fuck out of ya. We're gonna have fun with ya and we're gonna drink with ya afterwards!

WC: Have ye any touring plans for the States?

AN: We're probably gonna be coming out in November, December, maybe even the end of October. Right now we're still in the early stages of plotting out details and once we get those details, we'll post 'em. We'll be pillagin' the States and Canada so it will be good times. Look for us then.

WC: Be there one particular pirate story or movie that inspires ye more than the rest?

AN: Uh, yeah..."The Goonies"!

WC: "The Goonies"? Well, that be different. I didn't know if ye were traditionalists or new wavers...

AN: We don't give a fuck. You wanna know what inspired us to be pirates? "Ghostbusters' did! There you go!

WC: As your career goes on, how will ye keep things fresh? Will ye always keep to the path ye walk know or do ye foresee some kind of change?

AN: Everything always changes, nothing stays the same forever. I'm not gonna tell ya that we're gonna keep giving you the same shit record after record. With this band, you can do a lot of different things. Granted, piracy is piracy. How much can you do with that? Well, you'd be surprised with the shit my retarded mind can come up with. (chuckles) Expect some really fuckin' retarded stuff!

WC: From the tone of the new record, ye don't take things too seriously...

AN: We are so serious about not being serious that it is very serious. (laughter)

WC: That's a quote worth rememberin'! Will ye keep your pirate mascot part of the action?

AN: Yes we will, yes we will. We will find some way for Cap'n Crotchrot to come out and party with us and enjoy other shenanigans.

WC: What was the last CD or record you picked up just because of your own interest?

AN: Last record I probably got was Misery Index's "Traitors".

WC: What was the last gig or show ye checked out just because ye wanted to see the band?

AN: Goatwhore and Amon Amarth in March.

WC: In the history of Swashbuckle's career of piracy, be there any Spinal Tap moment that ye could share with the swabs?

AN: Everything with us is a Spinal Tap moment. We played a show down in South Jersey about three years ago. We had inflatable palm trees that we would blow up and throw out into the crowd so people could mosh with them. Well, we blew 'em up and apparently somebody set them on fire. (chuckles) I guess they were so pissed off that pirates were in South Jersey that they decided to set our palm trees on fire. That was kinda Spinal tap.

WC: Do ye think ye'll be tossin' the palm trees into the crowd at Wacken?

AN: We'll be tossing a lot more than palm trees. We'll be tossing ourselves!

WC: What's the story behind the awesome cover art on "Back To The Noose"? Tis one of the better covers I've laid me eyes on this year.

AN: The guy who does the artwork, Adam Vehiej...I can't pronounce his fuckin' last name for the life of me...he does killer fuckin' work for us. He did the art for our first album "Crewed By the Damned". When we saw his stuff for the first time, we knew we had to get him no matter what. This artwork just looks awesome. He took the "Back To The Noose" theme and he made it come to life. It's seriously one of the best artworks I've seen in a while. We're so glad he's willing to work with us and partake in our piratical shenanigans.

WC: Have ye any last words for the swabs out there, Admiral?

AN: Aye! Look for us at Wacken, look for us at Paganfest Europe, look for us when we come to your town in the USA. We're fuckin' comin' for ya, be prepared!