Interview with Rob "the Baron" Miller (Amebix)BANDS : Amebix
Metalfan: Hello Rob! Please introduce Amebix for our younger readers who are not familiar with the band.
Rob: Amebix were formed in 1978 and finished in 1987, in which time we put out two singles, a 12" EP and two Albums,we were the first band to really bring together Metal and Punk and have influenced many other Bands since then.
Metalfan: I always wanted to ask you, why Amebix? What means this name for you, and also what does this band mean for you?
Rob: We called ourselves after the Ameoba, the basic form of life, mainly due to being very basic musically, we played very simply and tried to get as much energy and power out of our Musical illiteracy. Amebix is about the simple essence of an idea.
Metalfan: After all these years when not to much people hoped that Amebix will ever reunite, you did it. What made you reunite Amebix?
Rob: We had no intention to re-unite, I just wanted to record some of the old songs to put on the DVD as a bonus, but when we got together with Roy everything became so much better than we had hoped for, we have no choice but to follow this now that the door has opened.
Metalfan: What does punk mean for you, and what does metal mean?
Rob: Punk was about individuality and creativity, it became a cult of Conformity, much the same as all sub cults do, the original spirit of freedom becomes suffocated. Heavy Metal music for me was exciting, dark and powerful, that is back when there was Sabbath alive and well.
Metalfan: How big do you think the impact made by Amebix was for the music history?
Rob: We were unrecognised at the time, hated and despised by many of our peers, but what we were doing in 1984 was twenty years ahead of ourselves, I have not listened to any new music for all these years, but I think that so much of modern heavy music owes its Foundation to what we did back then.
Metalfan: As in the begining you have introduced Amebix, please tell us a few words about your full-lenght albums, Arise! (1985) and Monolith (1987). Also what is the difference between this two albums?
Rob: Arise was a shock to a lot of people at the time, the record company were initially worried about releasing it, because it was too heavy, strange to think of that when you listen to it now. Amebix was also about lyrical intensity and a deeper meaning behind the Music, something that a few people understood, whilst others never listened. Monolith was a progression with a bit more of a metal edge, but poor production and sloppy playing on both albums have dated them a bit. It has been a revelation to play the songs now, tighter and heavier.
Metalfan: Also this year in April, a new Amebix compilation has been released, No Sanctuary: The Spiderleg Recordings, what can you tell us about it?
Rob: I had to fight to get our property back from Southern studios, John Loder was refusing to release any of our material whilst he was alive, I am happy that we have finally got this collection out again. These are songs that we never played live after 1985, so it is good to re visit them and find some interesting material there, again under produced and poorly played, but all with Spirit.
Metalfan: How did you meet Roy Mayorga? How much did your friendship counted for reuniting Amebix?
Rob: I met Roy through myspace, a friend of his, Alicia 13, hooked us up, I had heard that Roy was into the band some time before, so when it came time to think about recording the songs I contacted him to ask him if he would do it. I was surprised that he said yes, so that meant that I had to sort out the plane tickets for us all to meet in northern Ireland, but we all really hit it off, Roy is one of us, he fits into Amebix like a hand in a glove. we could have known aech other for Years, same stupid sense of humour.
Metalfan: I know that you plan to realease a DVD, the first in the band history, that will include interviews, live footage... can you tell us more about it?
Rob: It is really all the material I have collected over the Years, some rare live stuff, photos and interviews with lots of people from the Band and the scene at the time, plus footage of the recording session and an animation of Axeman! It's been a fun project to put together and tells the full story of the Band better than has been done before.
Metalfan: Also what will be the title of this release?
Rob: Risen... as to say arise! leads to RISEN, it has a double meaning.
Metalfan: Do you plan to go on tour, to play some shows in places that you've never been before, like Romania, for example...
Rob: Hahahah, maybe some day, it would be good to visit some new places, we really enjoyed our time in Yugoslavia in 87. We are thinking about some shows at the end of the Year in the States, if we are confident that the Show is good then probably Europe in 09.
Metalfan: Are there ideas for new songs, a new album...
Rob: Not yet, but we all have some pots boiling, so it will be good to get an opportunity to write new stuff. Roy is an incredible Producer, he has a lot of great ideas that will work well with Amebix.
Metalfan: Up to a point Amebix have been compared with Venom, I've said up to a point because the music is similar but different, like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden for example, do you agree with this? Do you like Venom?
Rob: I liked Venom and got their first single when it came out, I thought it was the funniest thing I had heard, so I wrote to them and got a weird leter back from Abbadon saying that they would rip us off, I still dont know what he was talking about, but apparently Cronos is a good guy anyway. They seemed a bit naive about anything Occult, whereas people like Killing Joke were much more influential in that respect. We do not cite Venom as an influence, we were around for a lot longer and doing what we did, but some Venom songs are great.
Metalfan: Have you listened the new Disfear album Live the Storm or the new Darkthrone, F.O.A.D.? To be more specific, what was the latest crust record that you have listened?
Rob: Nope, I do hear some stuff now and again but I can't get into the completely predicatable sound of so many bands now, why dont people take a risk and do something unusual, I feel like I don't have a lifetime to wade through all that shit in search of one precious Jewel, so anybody reccomend a short cut to something NEW and EXCITING and DIFFERENT???
Metalfan: If you have to give an advise for the younger bands, what would you tell them?
Rob: Be true to yourselves, play how and what you want to play, be courageous and break into New worlds.
Metalfan: Thank you for your time Rob, it was an honour. In the end would you like to send few words to our readers and to your fans from Romania?
Rob: Old Amebix Fans are a very Hardcore group of people, when I hear from some of them I know that we mean a lot more than just a Band, it is an attitude to life, a way of being, true to Yourself and not afraid to move outside the Tribe, I am always happy to see people who have walked their own path by their own Rules, this is the maening of what we were/are about.
Thank you for your support to all those good people, and welcome to all the New People who may just be getting into the Band.