Tim Henderson is known for being the proprietor and editor of Canada's Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles magazine. He has recently expanded into a bevy of other heavy metal-related endeavors while guiding the rapid growth of his monthly. Metal Tim was more than willing to go over his background, accomplishments and aspirations. Having interviewed Henderson in 1995 when BW&BK was but a baby, Ali "The Metallian" returns to find out what passage of seven years has meant to the man and his magazine over the course of a telephone interview lasting well over ninety minutes - 21.09.2002
Tim, thank you for agreeing to this chat. Will you begin it by tracing back your personal history?
Thank you for this opportunity. We were just watching the new season of The Sopranos so I am not sure if I should divulge any of that stuff (laughs). I was born in Cobourg and raised in Barrie. I still have relatives up there. I was schooled there and that's where I spent most of my time learning to be a metal head. I went to Hamilton's McMaster University after high school and spent five or six years acquiring a couple of degrees. There I got my head deeper into the music business through the college's radio -which is where I met Mr. Drew Masters. That is really where it all began.
Do you have any siblings?
I have a younger brother who is two and a half years younger than I. He works at Nortel in Kanata near Ottawa which brings up a funny story. He emailed me a couple of weeks ago saying that a Dan Beehler was painting his house! Ottawa, Dan Beehler... hmm... that's pretty coincidental. It ended up being Dan Beehler from Exciter painting my brother's house (laughs). Dan has a new band called Beehler and he also has Exciter's bassist Alan Johnson with him. He didn't know a lot about Brave Words, so in the last month or so we have grown together a little bit and kinda helped him get a deal. I am actually trying to get to Ottawa in the next two weeks to shake hands with the man. That's a funny little metal story, but Exciter is one of those bands from the eighties that is embedded in my mind.
Can you elaborate more on your background before we move on?
Well, I was beaten as a child (jokes). It was middle-class, great parents provided me with everything. My mother was a teacher and my dad did a number of jobs. It was a great household to grow up in. It was not really strict, but there were moments when I had to walk a straight line. I am really proud of the fact that I was brought up in that way. I think it made me well-rounded at the end of the day.
How did you end up at McMaster University?
There was a split at my high school. Many people went to London's University of Western Ontario and others went to McMaster. It was a great decision. I met some of the best friends of my life there. It turned out to be a great education and so I have no regrets at all. I have the pieces of paper, but more importantly I socially met many great people. I miss it dearly - miss those days. That was from the mid-eighties to 1990. I graduated with a Bachelor of Economics and Political Science. I had started in Commerce, but the business tight-asses were getting to me and I checked out of that. It's kind of funny because having this business now has made me learn ten times more than I would have learned at any school. Being schooled by the street is worth a lot more than being schooled by the blackboard.
When did you gravitate towards heavy metal?
When I popped out of the room man! I had a devil's sign and my mom was frightened from that point on!
I was actually, don't quote me, into disco. I have all my disco 45 r.p.m. singles from my days at public school. I didn't have an older brother so I didn't get it that way. I got that whole Black Sabbath and Aerosmith thing from my uncle Rick who is a little younger than my mother. He was into, I love this term because you don't hear it anymore, acid rock. Black Sabbath, at the time, was classified as acid rock. That is where I got a lot of my (metal) education and if I ever get down to writing a book he will be in my introductory paragraph.
I started to turn to metal in grade six or seven and I couldn't tell you why honestly. It was my uncle's influence and the radio. I was into AM radio at the time and then finally got into FM a little bit later. Rock like AC/DC, Motorhead, et cetra, started to creep in. Then when I started to play hockey I kind of fed off the musical tastes of some of the people there who introduced me to Van Halen and stuff like that. I would have been thirteen or fourteen at the time. I was born in 1967.
I would pick up Kerrang, Mega Metal Kerrang and Metalion in Barrie where I was essentially a loner. Not many of my friends were into extreme metal. Metalion was a pretty credible magazine which promoted the Canadian scene pretty well. I mean they had a Pile Driver interview back then. Still, I never saw those early shows of Slayer or Exodus in Toronto. I was in Barrie and missed out in that regard. You would only see April Wine and Goddo in Barrie.
Your initial involvement with the metal scene came at McMaster's college radio CFMU.
That was it. I also contributed occasionally to the school's student paper Silhouette. I have always been fond of radio - especially from the eighties when they played metal. I ended up doing two shows at CFMU: Tuesday nights was the Rock 'n' Roll Powerhouse and the other one... what was it called... I think it was called The Midnight Metal Meltdown possibly. Smack me for forgetting the name of my show.
At that point things were starting to get extreme with the thrash scene, the black metal scene and stuff like the early Cannibal Corpse albums. I was totally into it at that point in time.
I was into Anvil, Razor, Exciter and other Canadian bands. Toronto radio station Q 107 was doing a metal show at midnight and this guy 'Bird' was an on-air DJ who would play Razor. I was saying, 'God, vow.' He was playing early Metallica, Slayer, Venom and I would go to Barrie's Sam The Record Man or Records On Wheels looking for the 'speed metal' logo on the Banzai Records' (Canadian licensee) LPs.
It was my sixteenth birthday and for weeks I had been looking at this copy of an LP by these zit-faced kids who were called Metallica. I wouldn't buy it because it was a Music For Nations version. It was given to me on my birthday and from then on, yeah, I was extreme at the time. Then Slayer, Venom and Megadeth all followed. I wasn't wealthy, but it wasn't like there were as many bands as there are today. I would buy a couple of records a week. It wasn't like now where you could buy ten or twenty records every week. It was easier to follow the scene back then. You would buy records because the cover was cool. Another fun example is the cover of Overkill's Taking Over album which was one of the worst album covers you would see. I kept passing over it in the bin, yet it ended up being my favourite Overkill record. I delayed buying it for weeks because the cover looked like shit (laughs). It was very cover-driven back then. Iron Maiden had something to do with that. They certainly raised the bar as far as professionalism.
Did you ever think that Banzai's speed metal logo resembles the swastika?
I didn't think of it at the time, but it's true. You know what is really pathetic? When you look at your collection and at those Banzai LPs, they are some of the worst pressings on the whole planet. That cheap bastard (Michel) who did those pressings... when you look at the price guides and compare pressings you will see that the European pressings are worth triple the Canadian pressings. His pressings were on flimsy vinyl and had no lyrics or anything.
Going back to CFMU, at that point you hook up with Drew Masters who edited M.E.A.T. Magazine.
(Sighs) yeah... no... that was my first taste of the music business. I can still remember my first promo copy which was a cassette of Forbidden's debut Forbidden Evil. I'll never forget that. I started a real fire going on at the radio station and started to pursue the labels.
I had picked up M.E.A.T., called Drew and had him on the radio show. He had brought the guys from Slash Puppet, or somebody, down with him and we hit it off. It was really cool. That's when the writing started. I was the young kid on the block who wanted to write. I was doing reviews for Silhouette and Drew brought me on thinking there was potential there.
Could you write?
Yeah, I was alright.
How did you know?
I guess it was feedback from the editors. I did fairly well. At the end of the day, if you are a metal head who goes to school where you have to write essays then it's not that far off to put the two together. My mom was a teacher too and had helped me with English.
Given how Drew Masters was a writer for Metalion Magazine from the eighties, did you previously know of him?
Yeah, I used to collect those magazines. Yet I didn't know him. No, I didn't know him at all.
After writing for M.E.A.T. you ended up leaving the magazine after several years. What happened?
That's getting personal, don't you think? Well, we all know how Drew is and we all read the editorials and it was a lot of fun at first. Then there came a point where we thought that it's pretty pathetic. I don't think it's right for people to air their dirty laundry. There are certain things that should be kept mum. There are certain things he spoke about that you just did not want to hear. He just felt the need to air his griefs and the last straw was at a industry party that he had. He got on his pedestal and started airing more of his dirty laundry.
That was it. I faxed him my three or four line resignation. He called me at work (HMV) the next day and leaned into me. It came out-of-the-blue, which could be viewed as kinda unfair, but at the time it was kind of personal. He was set in his ways and you couldn't talk a lot of sense into him. I just said, 'fuck this' and faxed him this letter and the shit hit the fan.
He was pissed. He sent this major letter to the industry saying that Tim Henderson no longer works for M.E.A.T. Magazine. I still have it in my box of M.E.A.T. Magazines. It was humourous at the time and I didn't care. He treated me like gold, and I will never regret working there, but there came a point where it was ridiculous. All the writers saw it. After I quit there were a couple more issues of the magazine, then there was A.R.M., then he did a couple of issues of a country music magazine and that was it. He was jumping on the bandwagon. It might have been an economic thing at the time because the alternative scene was killing heavy metal and it killed that magazine possibly. People didn't care. It was Nirvana time.
He had noted that he had arranged for you to work at the HMV music store.
He had attended the Yonge Street HMV mega store's grand opening. He had met the store manager at the time and I had moved from Hamilton to Toronto.
Actually, I was under the impression at that time that I can make money from writing which is the biggest fucking joke (laughs). Nobody makes money from writing. I was kind of naive and I was forced to get a job. I had worked at a record store in Hamilton. It is true that he pushed me to go hand my resume, but give me a break, I had an education, retail experience and had a lot going for me.
As for giving me the initial push in the industry, well, how can you help that? It's an industry where you meet people, develop relationships and that's the business world. I just didn't see eye-to-eye with the person who introduced me to this world. I had just moved to Toronto, but I caught on pretty quickly.
From there you moved on to create and edit your own publication. Why don't you take up that story?
I had a lot of content. At M.E.A.T. I had become Drew's right-hand man and had tons of news. When I didn't have the outlet I started Metal Timbits at HMV which was a photocopied, one-sided and stapled thing which I gave out for free. That's when Martin Popoff walked into my life and we started to put together Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles. I had this name, I had all this content and I wondered if we can make it happen. Martin was partnered in a publishing company at the time and it went from there.
I wanted to continue spreading the word. I had an opportunity to do so and to this day it's about spreading the word.
What kind of a time-spread was there between M.E.A.T. and BW&BK?
Only a few months. I had released a dozen Metal Timbits with each appearing every two weeks or so. The first issue of the magazine was released in May of 1994. The early issues looked like a gravestone. It wasn't intentional. We wanted to use a fairly heavy stock and Martin was cut and pasting it on his photocopier. Then he would take it to his company, The Perfect Page, to get it tweaked layout-wise. We printed 200 copies of the first issue. We are now approaching a print-run of 20,000 and will shortly have official British distribution. The first issue is worth a fortune now! I have three in my possession I think.
Drew Masters has mentioned that the name of the magazine was inspired by a slogan on one of his jackets.
I think I've heard the fact that he thinks that. Give me a break! I stole the name from Agony Column. That's who I stole it from. It's funny, Agony Column have contacted me over the last year in a good way. I don't recall his jacket. I can't remember - whatever.
If anything and from what I have been told, and I still want to do some research, that it is a Nazi term. It had something to do with terrorists. It's a motto they used when they went out to do something. 'Brave words and bloody knuckles yeah!' - seriously. That's what I have been told.
As far as the magazine's ownership goes, to clear things up, are you the sole owner?
I don't want to discredit Martin Popoff so I'll say that it's me with help from Martin. It's been my drive to get this thing done as far as content and everything. The magazine's name is registered under my name and I am the sole proprietor. Now Jackie has half of that (laughs referring to his wife).
What is the connection between the magazine and the HMV chain? More specifically have you been subsidized by them?
The connection is the fact that I am the metal guy who works there. HMV helps with the distribution. I don't want to discredit HMV. I have had many mentors there, but the reason I have kept some HMV contact information in there is to help us sell the magazine. On the other hand people at other record chains have viewed the magazine as belonging to HMV which is the biggest fucking farce because my head office has nothing to do with it. It's something you would think they could run with, it's the biggest selling magazine across the country there, but in a marketing sense we don't work together. It's partly my fault because I am not knocking on doors, but they certainly are not knocking on mine.
You are stating that HMV has never subsidized the magazine.
No, never. I have signed every check for the print bill. There might have been the odd little thing, but no (they are not involved).
Is BW&BK a magazine or a fanzine?
I would say that it's definitely a magazine. If you ask me when it turned from a fanzine into a magazine I would have to say when it went glossy. I always loved Gene Simmons' comment. He said, 'fanzines are just baby magazines.' I will always remember that. When we had a colour cover and colour inside we became a magazine.
Can you name the magazine's tangible contribution to the Canadian metal scene?
It has brought up the profile and shone a little light on Canada because we are so aggressive around the world. We are dealing with labels and dealing with bands and then they find out we are from Canada. That shines a positive light on us.
Is that a good answer? It's hard to answer because I have always been here in Toronto and Canada is so large. I never want to say that I conquered Calgary or conquered Nova Scotia. We have worked hard to work our distribution. At HMV now so many people know heavy metal because I have been there so long. Heavy metal is back into public view with the magazine having good distribution and having Immortal or In Flames on the cover. I think that's the coolest thing.
Have you done anything specifically for Canadian metal?
Erm, I think there have been a number of bands that we have helped along. This is actually a touchy subject. I really hate that geographical argument. I hate CanCon (Canadian Radio and Television Commision's content regulations). If I am a metalhead then I don't care where it's from and I don't want to give bias to a band because they are from Canada. I know Drew used to do that all the time. I don't give a fuck. Sebastian Bach of Skidrow has banned us from doing an interview because he never sees his picture on the cover. It's like 'go fuck yourself you fucking asshole.' It's not about you. It's about the music. At the end of the day we have done well with bands like Into Eternity, Eidolon, I want to help Beehler, Exciter... One beef that I have with the Canadian artists is that we don't get fed information. I know that Lips of Anvil is not very happy with me, but I am not happy with any band that is in my backyard that doesn't feed us information. We've earned a lot of respect around the world and we can spread the world. It bewilders me when bands are based here and I don't hear about records coming out. Invite us into the studio buddy. We'll do a studio report! Then people around the world ask 'Brave Words is from Toronto? And Anvil is from Toronto? Then why the fuck isn't there an Anvil story?' If I were an outsider, I would think that would look really silly. That pisses me off. I don't want to make the point that I am the end all and be all, but I think that I am a valid product. At the end of the day there are only so few magazines in North America and there are so few web sites that make sense. So when I see bands not feed us then it makes me think. As a fan it's heart-breaking. The guys from Tchort, I have no idea what they are doing. Harem Scarem is the same. We really mean business and I think we can help these bands. We helped Into Eternity sign to Century Media, I think Beyond The Embrace signed to Metal Blade because Aaron Small reviewed them. You know what I mean? I am not trying to toot my own horn, but there is such a short list of people in North America you have to be dealing with, and I know we are on that list along with Metal Maniacs, MuchMusic, whatever, that I wonder.
My impression has been that Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles has scant Canadian metal coverage and yet you are saying that you are suffering from a lack of cooperation.
I don't want to do a Canadian metal column. We should be one big metal family. I don't want to do a separate fucking Quebec column. As far as coverage, if it deserves it then it will be there.
Are you implying that so far there has not been much that has proved deserving?
It's partially due to that and partially that I don't know about it. Bands should be doing what they should be doing which is hype their product. Eidolon is a good example of a band that is on the ball. They know the drill. They know how to get their stuff typed. Now they are working with Skyscraper Records in Canada. Like I said there is a short list and if you are not feeding that short list then you have a band that's doomed.
And it's easy! It's easy when you have email. It's not like you have to pick up the phone. Make an address book and put in your report and then hit send. (Raises his voice) how fucking hard is that? It can't be any easier today. Sorry, it really drives me crazy. It makes us look stupid. It makes us look like we are anti-Canadian and we are not.
Your magazine and web site (www.bravewords.com) have a reputation for being excellent sources for metal news. How do you compile the news?
It's just the drive for being the best. We lift up every bloody stone in the world to get the news. I don't care. I want to find out what Silenoz (guitarist for Dimmu Borgir) shat the last time! I think we are teaching people just to feed us. There is only one way for the scene to be kept alive and that's for the people to talk about it. You have to spread the word. I don't care which band you are. As long as you are under that heavy metal umbrella then you have to spread the news. Our newsletter's first line is 'If you don't send us your news your band will be silenced.' I am a fan, I am interested, I want to hear about it. I have heard hundreds of times that people can't get through the magazine in a week. Now if you are a passionate music fan and it takes you a week to get through the magazine then you have just spent money very well.
Then Martin goes down religiously to shows and gets news up-dates. We also try to go through bands' web sites, but there are millions and you can't go through them all.
How do you compare your magazine with the other metal magazines?
I think Brave Words, from the get-go, wanted to be a combination of Burrrn and early Kerrang. I try to do trades with any publication in the world. Rock Hard is a great magazine although I think they cover nu-metal a bit too much. I think the CD (in every issue of BW&BK) gives us a niche and as our distribution approaches 20,000 for a band to pay $500 and get on a CD... I think that's a great selling point. We are also very current. We stick to our guns. We remain heavy metal and I think the fans appreciate that. I get flak from the industry for not covering Papa Roach say, but it's because I don't deem them heavy metal.
The German magazines cover a lot of nu-metal. Then again when they put a band like In Flames on the cover of Rock Hard that's 100,000 copies right there. They are a mainstream magazine. They have to play the game.
I don't like the cover layout of Metal Maniacs. I think the cover looks dirty and confusing. With Brave Words we are trying to bring in some of the European philosophy. They may have the picture of only one band or only one member. They are trying to get away from those multi-band covers. If you look at Metal Maniacs it is confusing. You don't know who the main band on the cover is because there are seven pictures on there!
Kerrang used to be legendary and it's total pap these days.
Burrrn is great. I can't read a bloody word of it actually, but I love it. You see a little bit of nu-metal creeping into it, yet you see Manowar or Malmsteen on the cover. It's a tribute to the Japanese fan base.
What is Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles position vis-a-via mallcore?
We cover rock bands if they have a kind of heavy metal root. I don't have a problem covering Def Leppard because they were a heavy metal band in the eighties. I would rather cover Def Leppard than Korn. I think that whole scene is such a bandwagon, major label forum that most of these bands will be gone in a couple of years. Christ, Poison was outselling Kid Rock this last summer on many dates. It is going to be a flash in the pan. That's why we want to stick to our guns.
We may do the odd Roadrunner band if it's appropriate, but no there is no Slipknot or Limp Bizkit in our future. Our fans would kill us.
I asked you this same question several years ago and you did mention that there is some politics involved.
There seems to be a little more politics these days. We have little dealings with these bands, because the glut of them are on major labels. We may budge here and there, but I don't want to raise anybody's eyebrows when they pick up a new issue and one of these bands is on there.
Politics sometimes does creep into it, but the industry, for the most part, has no clue either way. We rarely get pushed. The number of times I have a publicist say, 'this might be great cover material for you' is very limited. I rarely hear that. Labels rarely push.
Were they to push you, would you place their band on the cover?
No. The covers are a snap shot of the moment and what makes sense. There are some political moves like when Pantera released their last record. It just made sense. I didn't mind the record, but then again I don't listen to it. It made sense because they are a pretty big band and we still need to play that game sometimes.
Then when you put someone like Immortal on the cover, you think it will not sell. It ended up being huge. It shoots that whole theory down the toilet.
Another thing that I will bring up is that sometimes, and you will laugh but it's typical North American industry, bands are not on the cover because we don't have a picture! It's the same thing as Anvil not providing us with a studio report. I know there are excuses, but that's the most ridiculous excuse. It happened with the last Cannibal Corpse when we didn't get a shot and they are not on the cover. That offends me.
So you will not accept payment for a cover placement or doing a studio report?
No. We would ask that a label pay us our way for travelling, if involved, but that's all. Oh no no no. Oh no.
You say that Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles is not about to sell out. Why would you be different than the other magazines who eventually did just that?
I guess selling out would be going against our mandate. Selling out would be equated to change and we don't want to change. I want to sleep at night. I can sleep at night knowing that Slayer is on the cover. Although some fans now think that they have sold out (laughs again). I think we can work within the industry. I would not want to put Glassjaw on the cover just so Warner Music would book a centre spread advertisement. I don't even have those connections anymore. Does that answer your question?
Yes, it does. You are saying that at no point you will accept a Korn cover feature to generate revenue.
I don't like talking about this because I would hate for it to happen. We are doing well, but I don't have a mansion. We are paying the bills and happy with life...
See after September eleventh we were a little distraught because many labels were not getting paid from the market, therefore they had cash flow problems and therefore we had cash flow problems. We cancelled an issue last year. I have never ever felt so bad in my life. We were struggling for money. The way our distribution is going we don't get paid for four months, but I owe my printer in thirty days. People don't understand that. Those distribution checks coming in means we can survive.
I would rather fold the magazine or taper it down, I mean cut costs. We've actually cut a lot of cost in the last little while. We have reduced the free enclosed swag, we don't involve photographers and little things like that.
Are you making a living from the magazine?
I make a living from the music industry (referring to his day job at HMV). The majority of our living is from Brave Words which is pretty remarkable.
Do you pay your writers?
Oh yeah. I have also started to pay myself actually. Incorporation is around the corner because it has become such a business.
Different question, what happened to the Maiden Canada emblem on the cover? It has disappeared.
I sold out to the USA. We want to break into the US - no question. Half our print run goes into the US. I am very proud of being Canadian. We want to be viewed not just as a Canadian magazine, but as a Kerrang which is a worldwide magazine. So by taking the flag off, that was the full intention.
My impression, and that of others I have spoken with, is that BW&BK is mostly about according releases favourable reviews. Would you like to defend yourself?
The reviews... oh God... the reviews' problem always comes up. It does. It's probably the biggest thorn in my side. I think we do a better job than most out there. When you look at Terrorizer, they lean to positive reviews. It's hard. We debate this all the time. Writer Martin Popoff makes a very good point which I will use in this review. Bands are actually able to create heavy metal a lot better these days. They are better players, there is studio trickery, there is Pro tools, all this stuff. It's easier to make a fairly good heavy metal record these days.
LMP is a good example. I listen to every one of those LMP releases and the production is superior, but many of those bands are cookie cutter and how do you rate it? We end up delegating things to people who want to write the the review and it's hard to get a handle and keep on top of that.
I'll give you one example. We didn't print this and trust me I feel for those comments because I am trying to learn from them and mould the writers so we don't get people commenting as such. Personally I hate doing reviews. I would rather somebody look at my Top-10 list just like I used to look at Malcolm Dome's playlist in the early Kerrang days. I'll bring this up because it just set me off: I had a writer who sent in a review of the new Dillinger Escape Plan album and here is the first line, 'here it is the most important extreme metal release of all time.' Ask Jackie, I was inches from fucking punching the shit out of my filing cabinet. If I had the writer in the room I would grab him by the throat and throw him out on the street. I lost it. I know we've brought these people on, but I have to get more of a handle on these things and I hate it. This is another problem, I was going to send an email to all the writers, they get caught in their own little worlds. This is actually a valid excuse: some of the writers who get sent just a few CDs per month will grow more fond of that album. I get hundreds of CDs and can't listen to three-quarters of them. We made our bed and I am not complaining and we are trying our best. That's all I am going to say. I see the problem and we are going to continue to try to correct it because I think it's bull shit.
How will you respond were I to say that reviews should have the consumer in mind and as such a law of averages should prevail?
(Pauses) I don't know about involving a law of averages. If I am doing a review and from the first song the record doesn't strike me... well, it's like a handshake or a resumé. Why isn't your best song on track one? I can get a pretty good gauge of a band by literally listening to sixty seconds of it. That may sound pathetic, but it's true man. We have installed a Soundcheck feature in the magazine, mimicking the European magazines, and that's the direction I want to take. Everyone gives ratings and at the end there is an average. In the last issue Thor was 3.3/10. Our number one record was the new In Flames which garnered 8.5/10. That, though, is only part of the equation and I am working on it.
Will you comment on the quality of your writers work? A couple of your writers defy grammar and spelling.
Martin Popoff reads everything. We always strive to be as perfect as we can. Everything that we get goes through spell-check, but still nothing is perfect. Not that we are the ultimate teachers, but in the Brave Words world we teach ourselves to write even better. There is nothing worse than having a publication where the writing is poor. From the beginning we wanted to have a professional magazine. We want to have high standards. Whether or not we have is another story, but it goes along with classiness. Just like the reviews, we are trying to get better all the time. I am not going to mention the writers, but we have had problems with the height factor.
Yes, stories which always shine a great light on the band. Every story goes something like, 'this is the finest thing of the year.' I ask the writers to tone it down and get to the heart of the matter. It is hard. I haven't written much lately because I am so busy. It is hard to make it interesting and to get away from that same format in every story. That doesn't make sense and doesn't better any of us.
Are you accepting new writers and, if so, what are the qualifications for which you look?
I am going to say no, but my eyes and ears are always open. I get people who pitch their writing a couple of times a week. I want somebody who has an education. I don't want an English degree, but you'd want some sense of the English language. Aside from that I need people who are hooked into the industry and are pretty much hooked into the music industry already. They have to already get serviced by record companies with music because people need to get their own music. That may seem harsh, but it's true. Century Media, for example, has so many Brave Words writers on their mailing list that we just can't allow anymore. I need people who are established and if you have been published that helps. Kids who are just walking off the street... I just don't want to deal with it.
Can you say a few words about your current writers?
Martin Popoff is one of the more interesting writers I have ever met.. He should be writing reviews for Rolling Stone, etc. Nobody can find the words that he does. He finds words that I have to look up in the dictionary. I know that drives some people crazy because they have no clue what he is talking about, but his reviews are all different. He brings this huge level of intelligence to the table.
Aaron Small is one of the kids who came off the street, but he's grown to be a cool writer. He delves more into the rocky type stuff, but his tastes have gotten more extreme over time.
Chris Bruni is more passionate about his bands, but sometimes I have to tone him down a little bit. His attitude is sometimes out of this world if you know what I mean. He wouldn't be around if he were bad, but you just want to round him off. We all grow together.
Mark Gromen is a high school teacher. I love the guy to death. He is a very prolific guy as well.
You recently had a run-in with Manowar in Toronto.
We just ran into egos. We ran into people who when they came into Toronto thought they were in Stuttgart. I approached the evening of the recent Manowar show in Toronto as a night that will be awesome. Immortal and Manowar, and I have never seen Manowar. I respect and appreciate the fact that they are cheese, but hey man it's a more metallic Kiss.
When they got to the venue, they rimmed into Martin Popoff big time. They couldn't believe their coverage and that they had a small picture while Halford has a big picture and they were talking about notoriety and all this garbage. It snowballed from there into threatening to pull advertising. Trust me, it's so utterly ridiculous when bands say that. One has to wonder who they think they are? I don't even want to be in the same room with you, you fucking asshole. You are just so big-headed and you just have no clue about what's going on. John Schaffer of Iced Earth was great. He noted how big they are in Greece and all these little farty countries, but in North America your head has to be smaller. Manowar stabbed me in a place I don't like to be stabbed because I'll take off my shoe and you can try to step into it. You have no idea how hard it is in North America. When somebody starts threatening little idle things, that is so offensive. Ali, you know yourself how hard it is to exist in the music industry in North America. They should know this because their soundscans are next to nothing. That's why they have been bouncing around from record deal to record deal. It really left a sour taste in my mouth and when they were on stage, incredible performers, they were just dicks. Bassist Joey DeMaio was telling people to get their asses down and reminded me of Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders. It's like 'fuck you bitch, your fans are having fun.' I was flabbergasted that Manowar would do it. We were up on the balcony giving them the finger and... it just ruins the moment. When you are dealing with that mentality, I am not going to say that they are insane, but their mental state is a little obscured. It sucked. Immortal saved the night for me. They put me in a great head space and Manowar was just ridiculous.
How hard is it for you to realize that they are Kings Of Metal?
I do realize that. You know what's funny. I was talking to Immortal and they were laughing their heads off about their fire breathing and all that. They see the humour. Then a band like Manowar, look at their eyes, they have persuaded themselves for so long that they probably wear loin cloths walking through the mall.
As a fan it really sucked. I walked into that venue as a fan and it's very disheartening. So fuck them and everyone was saying that - that night.
What is your opinion on the latest In Flames album Reroute To Remain?
I enjoy it. I don't hear any nu-metal at all. I think the only problem with the new In Flames is that the last few records had them painting themselves into a corner. They obviously had to start thinking of new ideas. The new one is still a good record. There might be one or two songs that are whacked off, but I am impressed.
You do not detect System Of A Down on their new album?
No, but I don't listen to System Of A Down. People who actually compare it to that are listening to too much nu-metal themselves. Look at our ratings for that album. It killed everything else.
So what have you recently heard which you have disliked?
We get so many. The new Riot stinks, the new Rotting Christ I am not overwhelmed with and Doro is just whacking off. Anvil is just going through the motions. The new Thor is horrendous. There are so many good records out there, so why don't bands like Anvil and Thor go to a record store and listen to what's going on? Bands have upped the ante. Listen to Cannibal Corpse records. It's extreme and the production is there. Some of these bands are so busy writing that they don't see the scene develop. They are resting on laurels from 1995. It's true man. The new Def Leppard just blows huge chunks - awful!
And with those words Tim Henderson sails into the annals of Metallian.com as our latest interviewee. Henderson has previously worked on magazines like Arena Rock, and Enrage. He has also volunteered for MuchMusic and programmed music for St. Catherines radio station Hits FM. The magazine's web site at www.bravewords.com has a sister radio station with www.bwbk.com where Henderson is currently approaching show number 300. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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