Meet the Mayhems


The wait for the arrival of the founding fathers of the second wave of modern black metal to the Russian capital was marked with great anxiety. No wonder. Seeing a living legend in flesh and blood is not an everyday matter in these parts, and meeting a living legend whose history is covered with so much blood and is enclosed into a dark cloak of mystery is even more rare. However its not the history that we are concerned with at the moment, especially given the fact that this aspect of the band has already received all the possible and impossible attention and even more so given the tons of water that had passed under the bridge since, so instead let us turn to the Mayhem of today, which is in no way less interesting than it was yesterday.

Our acquaintance with the musicians was made the night before the concert, when yours truly Troll and Rag Doll arrived at the Ukraine hotel in order to meet the great and, as it turned out later, not at all that horrible Mayhem. Through the lobby, into the elevator, and over to the 17th floor, open doors and there is the legend in all of its grand splendour. As soon as we came in it turned out that the band was about to go out for dinner and was at that moment involved in a collective brainstorm with the promoters on where to go. The initial scenario with the B.B. King bar & club was turned down due to the time on the trip, after which the only choice that had been left was some joint called Pizza at Kutuzovsky (big mistake). After another 30 minutes of the rattle and hum connected with the sacred ritual of preparing to go out (dresing up, combing hair, assuming angry stairs and such), the motley crew consisting of the band themselves, roadies, promoters, managements, and us hit the night road up to the Dorogomilovskaya Zastava-square.

It was here when we actually met the band and as usual with us in the most stupid way too. Do you know where could we get some weed Necrobutcher turned to me, a jolly grin spread across his face. Mumbling a lame and unmanly reply of not knowing the exact sales points of the magic grass, I made an attempt of shifting the subject to something more casual as, for example, the traditional impressions of the tour. Oh, the gig in Estonia was fine, although some moron sprayed tear gas at us after the concert Really? Oh, that gets worse. When we were touring Greece, somebody through a petrol-bomb at a cafe we were sitting at. Not directly at us but at the window. You know, Mayhem is a band that you either love or hate, but cannot ignore. Well, could say that again.

Chattering the road away and dealing impressions of different places of the world, we finally limped our way to the small pizzeria that was intended to be our dinner-host for the night. As soon as we crowded in we saw it was a mere fast-food joint with plastic trays, self-service, smoking ban, and all the other usual attributes of a typical Mac-type of a shit-hole including a very annoying and persistent waiter, with the most stupid smile across his silly face. The sight of a bunch of hairy foreigners caused some major wheel-turning inside his head, and it was not too long when he realized they must be in some band. Are they famous? Can I get an autograph? But, please, tell them to write the name of the band too, cuz I wont remember the guy said, his un-clever smile remaining on the face as if glued, as he watched the guys sign a sheet of paper. Ridding ourselves finally of the waiter, who, despite all the autographs he had received, refused to serve the famous rock-stars as an exception from his daily routine, we had to look for an alternative solution. As a result we had to cue up all of the guys in a noisy line in front of the counter and deliver orders one after another. When the third person stepped up to the counter there was only two types of pizza left out of three, the fifth person had only one to chose from, and when the place was approached by Maniac who was the last in the line aside from me, they ran out of Heineken and the singer had to be satisfied with Corona. To give the man his due, he took the sad news perfectly calm and smiling politely said that Corona was fine with him. With that done the group had to split up into two due to the absence of long enough tables, walked to the different areas of the joint and settled down to eat.

We ended up sitting at one table with Hellhammer, Jens (tour-manager, bus-driver and Borknagar guitarist), Peter (sound and sound for Unleashed), Eric (light) and Sverre (guitar tech.) Sadly there was no room left for Maniac (I gather he is the lucky guy in the band) and he was enjoying his own company at a table right beside us. At this point it seemed like the singer was the most to-himself and gloomy of the whole gang Well, hes a Maniac said Hellhammer, although as we learned after, the drummer too was not the biggest chatter box of this world. This way or that, but the pizzas had a mellowing and relaxing effect and very soon all of us were blabbering jolly, with me and Severre starting a brain-crushing polemic over the subject of Slayer and nazism. Maniac seemed to have cheered up too and moving closer to us, made silly faces in the camera and altogether assumed a style of behavior that was an absolute opposite of his scary nickname. The apotheosis of this rejoicing materialized into Maniac and Jens hitting the F-1 simulators that stood in the corner. Asking me to get some tokens form the cashier, the two lads sank down into the obviously undersized chairs and commenced an exciting journey round the track somewhere in the sunny Brazil. You should of seen the sight! Two gigantic and just a bit slightly overweight adolescent males that are playing cars laughing merrily like a couple of prep-school kids.

Finishing the dinner we decided to walk back to the hotel and have a beer in the local bar that at least allowed smoking. At the doors we bumped into the remaining part of the group who was just about to go in for supper. Making sure that they were going to make it with the orders (luckily they had a translator with them) we headed back to the Ukraine. On our way back we managed to start a conversation with Hellhammer and Maniac and finally find out who we were going to interview. Well, I have stopped doing interviews for the band Maniac said. I see, well, since youre splitting up after the tour Who is splitting up? Mayhem (our dialogue was rapidly going down the line of incomprehensibility) No, we are getting ready to record a new album How do you mean? What is so strange about it? So youre not splitting up? No, Im telling you we are going to record a new album. Well, ok, making a mental note of the spectacular professionalism and learnedness of the Belarussian promoters of the tour, who were the ones to start that split-up rumor, that was later picked up by all of the info sponsors we told the band about the load of bullshit that was chewed in the local press for the past couple of weeks. By the way, why did you stop doing the interview then? I turned to Maniac. I just got sick of it. For some reason everyone is asking me about my lyrics: What are you lyrics about? Fuck, if you have read the lyrics and dont know what they are about, I dont want to talk to you. Hey, probably, you can make an exception for us, honest, I didnt have a single question about the lyrics to begin with. As long as we dont talk about the lyrics its fine.


Well, so far so good, having taken the word from Hellhammer that he was also going to join us for the interview: I will just drop in my room for a quick shower, and come down straight away - he said (silly us, we didnt know yet what was usually meant by a quick shower), we sent him off to his room, and decided to stand outside for another five minutes, enjoy the smoke, and watch the Russian White House right across the river. After the smoke and re-parking the trailer to avoid the morning jam, we too proceeded into the hotel and sat our collective behinds in the bar in the far corner of the lobby. Very soon we were joined by Blasphemer (who also expressed his eagerness to take part in the interview), Oyvind (drum-tech), Rene the Spacebrain (design and scenery), and his girlfriend Sofie (merchandizing). There was no site of Necrobutcher so the interview had to be planned for only the three quarters of the band. But insofar we had to wait for Hellhammer. In order to pass the time we decided to show the Norwegians (and one Swede hey Peter! ;) the examples of the local metal magazines. This initiative was met with huge enthusiasm, the guys started looking for pictures of themselves and friends, breaking out in a roar of laughter and noise, each time they managed to find one. Most of rejoicing was caused by the pic of Silvester from Death SS, in which he stood naked his manhood covered shamefully with a boa-constrictor around his hips. Sverre, Eric, Rene and yours truly have continued the earlier discussion of modern metal scene and Russian customs, while Rag Doll was talking about something with Sofie and Maniac. We were waiting for Hellhammer. Outside it was raining

-- Troll

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