Interview by Alan Daly
© Olga Kuzmenko
Photos by Olga Kuzmenko
We chatted with Doctor Hell and Brother Pain, their first interview in their brand-spanking new tour van, which their fans helped them to buy. We sat down before their Dublin show on the “Boldly Going Anywhere Tour”.
Dr. Hell: It was F’ing great.
Br. Pain: It was fun out of ten.
Dr. Hell: We were the best.
Alan: …on that day, in that tent…
Br. Pain: …at that time…
Dr. Hell: Yeah, you know the drill.
Alan: What was the best review you had or the nicest thing that was said to you afterwards?
Dr. Hell: My Mum said “Well Done. Did you have a good time?” That was the best comment I got.
Br. Pain: I got an email from the Queen. It was the Queen of Uganda saying she had to leave the country and she wanted to send me some money. It was nothing to do with the band really, but…
Dr. Hell: It was a good comment though. That’s like a real accolade, that is.
Br. Pain: She had 400 million Ugandan dollars for me.
Dr. Hell: And that must’ve been on the back of our show. Has that come through yet?
Br. Pain: No, but I’ve got a lot less money than I used to have though. I had to pay a lot of money to release the money.
Dr. Hell: Oh right. It’ll come eventually, I’m sure. I mean, she’s a queen.
Alan: You do realise that at Download, people were just getting in out of that terrible rain when you were playing, don’t you?
Dr. Hell: We figured that.
Br. Pain: That’s the only reason we were there. We weren’t even meant to be playing.
Alan: I was going to ask if you succeeded in buying a van after your pledge campaign, but here we are, sitting inside it. It’s got fancy blue lights and everything. So the campaign obviously went well, then?
Dr. Hell: Yes it did. We’re very happy with the new van.
Alan: One of the items people could buy was a tea-towel. Why tea-towels?
Dr. Hell: Everyone needs a tea-towel.
Br. Pain: How do you dry your…
Dr. Hell: …Tea? You don’t want to be wandering around with wet tea. Have you ever had dry tea? Oh, it’s loads nicer. That’s why. Heavy metal is notoriously struggling with wet tea. And we thought “No Longer. We will put an end to this wet tea problem”.
Alan: I really liked the painting of you in the style of the Megadeth Peace Sells album artwork. Tell us about that.
Dr. Hell: Oh that was great, wasn’t it. That was with Metal Hammer and Matt Dixon, the artist. I had to do a piece on my favourite band, so I did Megadeth. Even though I don’t really have just one favourite band. And then Metal Hammer did this amazing piece of artwork where they superimposed my stage character into my favourite album cover. And the artist was really cool and he said he’d donate some framed pieces of art for us for the pledge. And then we were like “What do we charge for this?” I was said we should charge £400, and Tom, the guy I work with spat his tea out and went “Fuck off! £400? Maybe £50. No-ones going to pay that. You’re a fuckin idiot!” So I think we sold it for £150 in the end, and it went straight away.
Br. Pain: Thanks Tom!
Dr. Hell: He owes us £250 now.
Alan: So tell us. Have you actually ever scared any crows?
Dr. Hell: I’m trying to think of all of the birds I’ve scared in my life, but I don’t think any of them were crows.
Alan: Do any birds scare you?
Br. Pain: Jordan! She scares me!
Dr. Hell: With her massive knockers! And her really horrible face. Sparrows scare me. They’ll have you.
Br. Pain: Penguins. Penguins have these serrated mouths so if fish gets in, it can’t get out.
Alan: The last time we spoke, you were touting for votes for your nomination on the Metal Hammer video awards. And of course, we all voted for you, and we even went to the awards ceremony, expecting to see you receive the award. And it was completely ignored. What happened?
Dr. Hell: We still don’t know! We have no idea. But the thing is, it may be something that we will never know. And maybe that’s wonderful in itself. Because who wants to know facts? We were just overwhelmed that we even got nominated. That was amazing for us. We would have liked to have known who won. My money was on Body Count. But we don’t know.
Alan: Your back catalogue is difficult to find.
Dr. Hell: That’s because it’s awful.
Alan: Even today at the merch stand, I was looking to pick up some physical copies.
Dr. Hell: What has happened is, we had to deliver all of the ones for the pledge campaign first. So they’ve just gone out this last week or so. The digital versions have always been available for everyone.
Br. Pain: Even before the internet.
Dr. Hell: The physical ones should be available via Amazon soon. And then we’ll probably put them up on our website too I suppose.
Alan: What about Vinyls? CDs are sooo 1990’s.
Dr. Hell: They are, aren’t they? We’re going to do some 8-track.
Br. Pain: Yeah, we’re going to do them on floppy disk.
Dr. Hell: Only Windows 3.11 compatible though. We’re going to have to do it in some really old legacy audio format which means you’ll only get the first ten seconds on one disk, and then it’ll ask you to insert the next disk.
Br. Pain: That would be fun.
Dr. Hell: We’ll have to stop every ten seconds to tell them what disk to put in next. Because what if they’re blind or something. We’ve got to cater for the blind. We’d have to get a Braille version.
Br. Pain: What if they’re deaf?
Alan: Do you have a big deaf fan base?
Dr. Hell: We do, yeah. I think we’re best suited to deaf people if I’m honest. Our music is best heard, not hearing it.
Br. Pain: Yeah, best heard in a vacuum where sound can’t propagate.
Dr. Hell: We should do our next live show in the dark vacuum of space and no-one will have to hear it.
Alan: Ok, I’m going to ask you a serious question. And this really is a serious one. In the past couple of weeks, there were two tragedies at gigs; the fire at the Goodbye to Gravity show in Romania and the shooting at the Eagles of Death Metal show in Paris. Has it made you think more about the safety of yourselves and your fans?
Dr. Hell: You know, it’s really hard. Because we’re a parody band, even just trying to talk about this is really difficult. Like last night in Belfast, we thought, we have to say something. We just can’t let a tragedy like that occur without saying something. But you can’t do it in the middle of a Scarecrow set. You can’t just get half way through, and say “All the stuff that happened over there was really terrible. To commemorate that, let’s do some robot dancing.” You’d just look like an idiot. So we did a mention right at the end. But are we more worried about our safety? I don’t think so. We don’t think about it too much really. You could get killed in so many different ways. You can’t spend your life worrying about it.
Br. Pain: And if you start altering your life because you’re worried about being murdered by terrorists, then they’ve already won, haven’t they.
Dr. Hell: We thought, “Shit, should we even play ‘War and Seek’ tonight?” because we have army girls there pretending to shoot the crowd, and we’re there pretending to shoot the crowd with our guitars. So we thought “Hmm, is that a bit insensitive?” But then we thought “Fuck that. We still have to do it”. If you stop doing it, then they’re half way to winning, aren’t they. Because that’s what they’re really after; ISIS, they just don’t want Evil Scarecrow to play ‘War and Seek’. It’s too powerful a track. It’s so powerful, they can’t fucking cope with it. And that’s their entire agenda. Nobody realises this yet. They think it’s something else. But we said “No, ISIS. We’re going to fucking play it anyway”. And so we did.
Alan: And you guys have been pioneers of ultra-safe pyrotechnics for a while now. Do you think other bands may start to follow your lead?
Br. Pain: I think it’s ultra-cheap pyrotechnics!
Dr. Hell: To be honest, when we do hand out the party-poppers, we don’t take much time to make them read the safety instructions on the back, which we may have to think about.
Br. Pain: And I do lob them in their faces.
Dr. Hell: Yeah, our stage show is pretty safe at the moment, isn’t it? It’s not really safe for us with the crab running around.
Br. Pain: And our tech guy throwing a tin of silly string into the crowd, and hitting a bloke in the head. You can’t just throw metal things into the crowd. Oh Dear. But the guy was happy. He was like “Yeah, I got smacked in the face with a tin!”
Dr. Hell: He looked like he’d been to a Lamb of God concert and come out of the mosh pit. But no, we wouldn’t change what we do based on that sort of stuff.
Alan: I hope you didn’t get the same welcome to Dublin as Randy Blythe did?
Dr. Hell: Not yet, no. But there’s time yet! We are heading out tonight. We certainly hope not. Dublin seems really friendly to me. I don’t know where Randy had ended up.
Br. Pain: Did they know it was Randy Blythe or not? Because if you knew who he was, you’d probably be a fan, wouldn’t you?
Dr. Hell: I don’t think they knew him, no. I think it was just some arseholes.
Alan: One last question… What’s next for Evil Scarecrow?
Dr. Hell: We were saying that we really should get to writing again.
Br. Pain: Yeah, because now we’re growing as a band and developing as people…
Dr. Hell: …learning toilet skills…
Br. Pain: …Rather than gigging all the time all over the place, we decided to gig in blocks, and then we’ll do some writing and then do some recording. Do it in a nice orderly fashion rather than the usual quagmire of crap, doing everything at once.
Dr. Hell: So yeah, we’re going to try to do some writing at some point. Maybe.
Br. Pain: We’ve written one song, haven’t we?
Dr. Hell: We’re also trying to get to Europe as well.
Alan: Ok… I think we’ll wrap it up there. Thanks very much!
Dr. Hell: Thank you mate.