» Paul "Bod" Rodwell - Anihilated
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Interview conducted January 25 2009
Interview published January 29 2009

I have always supported authentic '80s era UK Thrash acts. Recently, I have become very good friends with the members of Anihilated, who have now reformed, and are hard at work on a brand new album.

It was an honour to enter the realm of dynamic interchange, and thus engage in the ultimate discussion with drummer Paul "Bod" Rodwell. Our cheerful dose of enthusiasm, led to a lengthy conversation, revealing many wonderful realities. On the path to reconstructive dialogue, we each learned a great deal about one another, and our united Mettle Hearts - created in fate.

MettleAngel: Greetings Mate, I am ever so grateful that we were able to conduct this long distance phone conversation. Thank you for you earnest generosity, and willingness to make this happen. I always find it to be more interpersonal, and enjoyable, when an interview is organized in this fashion; especially, since we both did it on our own accord.

  • Bod: Absolutely Brother, I definitely agree. E-mail conversations are never too personal, and there is no direct interaction. I find the conversation to be too limited, when I don't discuss, and only type my response. Nevertheless, I am really grateful to be speaking with you. The band and I have read a great deal of your work, and we are impressed. We truly appreciate all your support, and we want to thank you for your efforts and direct diligence.

MettleAngel: Trust me, Brother, it is an honour to be speaking with you. Anihilated are truly members of the old school UK Thrash revolution of the early '80s. Last spring when I saw Sabbat, I spoke with Graham "Gizz" Butt all about English Dogs, and the early bands like Onslaught, Venom, Atomkraft, Warfare, etc. We waxed on all about the UK Punk Crossover movement. I suggested that Venom were instrumental in creating the rubrics for thrash, but he argued that it was really Motörhead. I have since recanted my former view, and now I agree with him. Venom were too tongue in cheek, but, Motörhead appealed to Metal and Punk fans, alike.

  • Bod: Yes, this is true, we all love Motörhead.

MettleAngel: Anihilated stem from a more Punk background though, correct? You were in the band Prospex. You guys sure do like to deliberately misspell terms, don't you?

  • Bod: Absolutely, we started out as a Punk band. We played many shows with The English Dogs. They also began as Punk, but became more Metal, like us. When we started hearing bands from America like Slayer, and Metallica, we adopted a more metallic approach to songwriting. These bands really had a sound which we dug, so we began to embrace a more straight forward metal direction.

MettleAngel: I can see why! I played Show No Mercy last week, and this is an absolute masterpiece! Jeff Hanneman was quite influential in introducing me to many unknown Punk bands. When I was in college, even though I was totally into Metal and Thrash. I began to experience Discharge, G.B.H., Broken Bones, The Exploited, etc. Anihilated were right there when this crossover movement was happening. In England, Punk was still more popular than Metal. This is one reason why Steve Harris invited Bod Di' Anno into Maiden, as he came from a Punk inspired background; although, Maiden resisted becoming classified as Punk. Surprisingly, many Punk fans attended their shows.

  • Bod: Yeah, those were strange times.

MettleAngel: It is like the character Adrian on "The Young Ones" TV program from that era. He was clearly a Punk Rocker, but he wore Kiss, Saxon, and Motörhead shirts.

  • Bod: It is interesting, because have always considered ourselves to be Punk at heart. To us Punk expresses the inner urge of self expression, and self-empowerment. The DIY (Do It Yourself) mentality, which makes one responsible for his own actions. We believe in ourselves, and our own unique ability to create our own path in life.

MettleAngel: Yes, this aspect of Punk has always appealed to me, as well. I guess, you could call it the mettle in Punk: the attitude of gratitude and interdependence, alive and ever present in us all. The spirit of the movement was represented by many American acts from D.C. like Minor Threat, Bad Brains, and M.D.C., or from New York with The Ramones, Fear, Agnostic Front, & Cro-Mags. Of course, one cannot forget D.R.I., and their Think For Yourself crossover mentality.

  • Bod: We have always stayed true to our personal beliefs, and feelings about issues like social injustice, animal rights, and environmental issues. The important note, is that we never set out to preach, or force our beliefs upon others. We chose to express our frustrations through our lyrics.

MettleAngel: Yes, I always admired Anihilated for your honest lyrical stance. You dealt with subject matter, before it became commonplace. Your music and message are instrumental in creating awareness and a greater understanding about how things really are. Hell, you were discussing animal rights, even before Carcass came to the spotlight. To a certain degree, you inspired Grindcore for Napalm Death and Extreme Noise Terror.

  • Bod: They already had their own distinct agenda to follow, we have the utmost respect for those bands and Dean Jones just happens to be my cousin. We've always approached every issue in a constructive, rather than destructive manner. We set out to promote an awareness positively, and with a sense of sincerity. We did not want to jump on the bandwagon, or adopt interest in an issue, just because it was the current thing to do. We always come from our hearts, and serve the lost souls of others.

MettleAngel: This is another reason I have such admiration for you. Anihilated declared openly Man's inhumanity to Mankind, and all of creation. An album like Created In Hate, is often misunderstood, based on it's title, and artwork. This was the same with Carcass fans, who really had no idea they were vegetarians. Are you, yourself also a vegetarian?

  • Bod: Yes, I have been a vegetarian, who eats dairy products for over 26 years. Simon Cobb, has been one for 28, I think. We never set out to make this public, or known. We certainly did not want to use this as an excuse to promote our music.

MettleAngel: You remind me of Uli Jon Roth, he too prefers to keep it low profile.

  • Bod: We see no need to draw attention to ourselves, in this aspect. Many bands used this as another way of getting signed or recognized.

MettleAngel: If one is not sincere, it will not work. Fanatics of any cause never prosper. One has to have a strong connection to nature to be an honest vegetarian. I should know, as I was one for over a decade. I still heavily honour all the Animal Kingdom, every time I eat. I always bless my food, and give appropriate thanks for all parties who brought this food to me. This includes the slaughtered animal, or dairy product, the meat / dairy workers, the grocery store attendants / chefs, etc.

  • Bod: It seems like you understand from where are beliefs stem. Well-over 25 years ago we sang about cruelty to animals, and still the atrocities continue to this day. These barbaric conditions run the gamut, and are often suppressed in the media. Just recently, we posted on our My Space page about more skinning of seals occurring in Canada.

MettleAngel: I know, somehow, we have lost touch with our animal instinct and essence. When I first heard the lyrics to Skinned Alive, I assumed it was another typical song about horror, and death. I did not have any lyrics with my Ultimate Desecration cassette, so, I was ignorant. I had not really taken the time to read the lyrics to my vinyl copy of Created In Hate, either. I was floored, once I finally sat down and read through all your lyrics, with concentrated intent. You were way ahead of your time! By the late '80s all major thrash bands were singing about environmental issues, corrupt politicians, misguided religious leaders; especially, the heresy and graft of the televangelists, and of course, animal injustice.

  • Bod: It is no wonder that our type of thrash appeals to the youth of today, the same shit is still going on!

MettleAngel: Yeah, no doubt, like Rush sings in the song Circumstances...the more things changs...the more they remain the same. This is sad, but true, because, we still feel separate from nature and her circumstances. The fact is that we are all one, and more people, everyday, are realizing that we all rely upon one another, even the Plant and Animal Kingdoms. By killing any being, we kill, and destroy ourselves. Fast Food Nation & "Supersize Me" both made a strong point about this. Mankind is more about survival, than revival. We all feel we need to be on our guard, and on the offense.

  • Bod: Yes, indeed, but everything must be kept in proper perspective. One must not get too carried away with worrying about all of this.

MettleAngel: I agree, we will each do our part, without becoming obsessed. The "Fur Is Murder!" mentality, and P.E.T.A. freaks, are being counter productive. Love, and appreciation of everything is the key to longevity, not condemnation, and making others out to be wrong; especially, for doing what we've done for ages. A movie like "Instinct" points out how we have become uncivilized, claiming dominion over the earth. However, to most, dominion is mistaken for domination over all earth's natural resources.

  • Bod: We all agreed early on, that we would take everything in stride, and not get too fundamental about our beliefs. We never issued commands, or 'shoulds', in an aggressive manner. We set out to create peace, and awareness. We sang about the Ozone, before anyone knew what was really going on, with its depletion.

MettleAngel: This is why I admire your fortitude. It's no wonder Ian Glasper is going to promote Anihilated in his new book about British Thrash. I admire Anihilated's alacrity, sincerity, and integrity. I understand, that even when you disbanded, everyone remained close friends, even unto this day, right?

  • Bod: Absolutely, we all still get along. We have attended each other's weddings, and private family affairs. Now, we are all older and have more responsibility. Simon is the father of six children. He just welcomed a new daughter, a few months back.

MettleAngel: I know the band split, because of all the corruption with the labels forcing their values upon bands, who desperately tried to remain original, and unique. Explain to me how the band decided to re-unite.

  • Bod: I've kept up with my drumming, and played in a number of bands over the years. When Mark and I were approached by Marquee Records about the Anihilated reissues, we began to think seriously about playing music together, again. So, we decided to have a go. we really feel motivated this time; because, we are doing it all on our own, with no pressure from labels.

MettleAngel: Those two CD re-issues are awesome, they sound great, and include live bonus tracks. Marquee Records put out quality product. I love the Slaughter & Sacrifice re-issues!

  • Bod: Yes, and we have made the Anihilated titles available for purchase, through our My Space, along with shirts, patches, and pins.

MettleAngel: So how are the new songs coming along?

  • Bod: We practice once a week, and we have about seven songs written. We want to shoot, and aim for about ten tracks, total. Michael, you would really appreciate the lyrics which we are writing. We want to take our time with this, and not pressure ourselves to rush it. We hope to hit the studios in about six months. We owe so much to our loyal fans who have supported us over the years.

MettleAngel: Where, what region, would you say you have the strongest following?

  • Bod: That is difficult to answer. We have pockets of support all over the world. We have a loyal following in South America, Japan, Ukraine, and recently in North America, among new fans who have learned about us from a parent or older relative.

MettleAngel: So are there plans to tour? I imagine you would be asked to play several renown festivals.

  • Bod: We want to finish the album, before we consider touring. There are definetly a number of promising offers being considered.

MettleAngel: That is good to hear. It would be killer to witness you live! With your younger fans, it seems that they all want to get the music on vinyl.

  • Bod: We are amazed with this demand for vinyl, again. All over the world, fans seem to have the Metalworks pressing of Created in Hate on vinyl, like yourself. One thing I am really excited about with the new material, is that I want a damn good, quality production this time around. I want more power and punch for our new music. Created In Hate has poor production, the sound is just rubbish.

MettleAngel: The production sounds like several other albums from that era, especially, Power From Hell, by Onslaught.

  • Bod: Back then, the studios did not know what to make of us, and the music we were playing. This resulted in production which utterly sucked! That combined with all the pressure to conform to corporate label's interest, made it difficult to be creative, and original. We are satisfied with The Ultimate Desecration, but now we hold all the reins for how, and what we are creating.

MettleAngel: I totally understand your frustrations. Several bands like Destruction, Tankard, & Exodus have re-recorded their material, expressing dissatisfaction with the original production.

  • Bod: Thankfully, now there is no pressure to hammer out an album, or tour. We have all agreed to take it slow. Maybe next year we can play some shows. We owe it to our fans to give them a kick ass record with 100% quality songs. Sure, we could settle on four or five decent songs, and the rest filler; but, that is not giving our fans what they deserve, after decades of loyalty.

MettleAngel: I respect this attitude. Too many thrash acts have reformed and recorded less than quality new material. Many have seemed to have lost their edge, and the lyrics don't have the same appeal, or meaning. Several just don't seem as sincere or motivated, as they once were.

  • Bod: Perhaps, they did it for the money? I would never want to diss any bands, but I do recognize the pressure they were under then, and now. Metal and Punk values were repressed and replaced with commercialism. This is why so many very talented bands eventually disbanded, or released lame albums.

MettleAngel: I know this all too well. Initially, you were going to work with Peaceville Records, when they were just starting out, right?

  • Bod: Yes, Hammy was a Punk just like us. We all gigged with him, and discovered several new bands.

MettleAngel: Paul "Hammy" Halmshaw would later would later go on to represent My Dying Bride, Anathema, Katatonia, etc. Early on, though, he was really into Punk, so I can see why he would like Anihilated.

  • Bod: I remember when the lads in Cradle Of Filth were just forming. They used to hang around the musical instrument store, which we all attended. In fact, their first guitarist used to have a part time job there. We would chat about the scene, and what was going on with us. With eagerness in their eyes, and a hunger in their heart the seeds of filth were being sewn. (laughs)

MettleAngel: Simon worked with Robin Graves in his band Nightbreed, right? I heard that Mark also played with Love Lies Bleeding. I had one of their CDs.

  • Bod: Yes, and Mark, who is a professional photographer helped the guys in Cradle out in their early days.

MettleAngel: Wow! Anihilated have connections with Cradle! It seems like all the great indy labels began as Record Stores. Megaforce, Metal Blade, Roadrunner. Now, many have given into Major Label dominance, and fallen slave to the corporate machine . Megaforce and Roadrunner are controlled by Atlantic, Metal Blade still answers to Capitol. I respect the smaller labels now, who really care about their bands. Stormspell, Karthago, Farvahar all really celebrate Metal, and not the almighty dollar. Tell me a bit about those cool Anihilated shirts you now have made available at your My Space.

  • Bod: We have them for sale at our My Space, and you can view pictures of our fans donning their armour. We want you and Wendy to send in your pictures wearing the shirts so we can proudly display them.

MettleAngel: As you know, I received both shirts with the limited edition box set you offered around Christmas. I was hoping they would be in colour. The Ultimate Desecration was a medium, so Wendy wears that, with pride.

  • Bod: We deliberately chose to keep them Black & White. We wanted to maintain a balance, and do this all ourselves.

MettleAngel: I understand, I just prefer more colour on my shirts. After all, Created In Hate is so orange, opaque, and gloomy. The Ultimate Desecration is far from being a polychromatic hue. I am very pleased with the patches and pins, though. I am also grateful that the band signed the CDs!

  • Bod: We wanted to keep everything simple, and basic for now. Pins & patches are what most Metalheads demand. We do not want to exceed our level with merchandising, and lose our focus. This is not what we are about, ultimately. Metal may be about motorcycles, and fast women, but we are not necessarily, concerned with all of that.

MettleAngel: You mean the Denim & Leather image. Metal may be about Sex, Drugs, & Rock 'N' Roll, of course, but, it is also about artistic expression and inner freedom. Anihilated are Metal. You are awesome mettle punks, because you write about the internal darkness present in the human heart. You never play the victim, or make others out to be the villains.

  • Bod: Yes, this is true. Interestingly enough, Internal Darkness was meant to be an instrumental, but once words were added to the song, everything just came together, and the song represents what Anihilated are all about. We never abandoned our creativity, or felt pressure to tow the line. As punks playing Metal, we often were looked down upon. We strive to offer a sincere fascination for life, and appeal to our fans with an insight to how things really are. We provide a broader sense of history. Our fans admire our perseverance.

MettleAngel: Back in the '80s Combat Core Records was vital to keeping this enduring spirit alive. They championed the crossover movement, as did Death Records, a subsidiary of Metal Blade. I never really got into the Sex Pistols until Anthrax and Megadeth covered them; but, I did discover Subhumans, and UK Subs. I did not become a die hard dedicate for the Misfits, but, I do love the splatter antics of The Accüsed. I don't really dig the new Punk acts like Green Day, Rancid, or Good Charlotte. Wendy and I do enjoy The Offspring, though, as they have a great sense of humour. Many straight-edge acts have the right intention, but the wrong delivery. Modern Hardcore music is so boring and limited!

  • Bod: New Punk from the '90s is not authentic. It is too MTV commercialized. Real Punk is from the streets, and in the heart, not the clothes you wear. Anihilated were lost in limbo land when it came to defining our style and direction. We often were misunderstood. We were too Metal for the Punks, and too Punk for the Metalheads! The fact remains that we did what we believed in, and still do. Now, we have taken everything into our own hands, we make the decisions. If were are seen as the outcast, so be it! We never gave into that pop Beatles Bullshit, or dared to follow trends.

MettleAngel: This mettle attitude, now driven home with poignant consistency, reminds me of the song by Spermbirds, covered by Tankard - on the Chemical Invasion album called - Try Again. In America, Suicidal Tendencies bridged the gap between Punk and Metal. I respect Anihilated for staying true all these years. I'm super excited to hear the new music, but, I am willing to wait. I know you will not disappoint.

  • Bod: We will not let our fans down, or create anything less than what they would expect.

MettleAngel: This I know! Bod, thank you so much for opening your heart and mind to me, and all your faithful followers!

  • Bod: Michael, the honour is all mine. You are such a wonderfully informed individual. I look forward to chatting again with you in a few months, once we get this album going. You will love it. Keep doing what you do best. The boys and I really appreciate all your efforts!! Stay mettle, and punk to the core!

See also: review of The Ultimate Desecration

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