Burn after reading

Download 2009 interview

published: Mon 22nd Jun 2009

around the festival site (2)

Friday 12th to Sunday 14th June 2009
Donington Park, Leics, England MAP
£135 weekend, £65 any day, camping is an extra £25
last updated: Thu 11th Jun 2009

Heroin addiction, reunions and why Linkin Park suck harder than a escort vacuum were just a few of the things Karma To Burn 's Richard Mullins had on his mind when eFestivals met him backstage at Download 2009. Black Stone Cherry might have been taking to the main stage during our chat, but rock 'n' roll was most alive and well in the press tent!

Afternoon Richard! Karma To Burn have decided to return after a seven year hiatus, but why the ruddy hell did you guys call it a day in the first place?
I was unbelievably addicted to heroin. I was non-functioning and I thought that if I just quit and left town and joined another band I'd get away from everything, and I was so sadly mistaken. Everything you've ever heard or read about [heroin] happened, but after a few years you can put your differences aside, and Will was able to put aside the bullshit that I pulled. It was really cool of him to just concentrate on the future. I was headed that way anyhow – I liked drugs, and I really enjoyed alcohol. It was awful, I was really lazy and didn't wanna practice as much. I just got really bad - Will was able to maintain some semblance of keeping us together, but I was gone.

So who made the call that led to everyone coming back together?
Other people! So many people were trying to get me and Will to talk, and I really wanted to speak to him so much that once there was an opening I jumped into it.

And now you're here at Download 2009 – the year of the reunions!
Yeah exactly! We never even thought about it like that. We just got here, and we haven't got a chance to [check out any bands] because we've just come in from Paris at our own show, and we're in the middle of the tour. After this we're playing the Underworld on Tuesday.

When you guys first got back together was there much of a long-term plan?
No we were just gonna go out and do a few shows in West Virginia, and before you know it we just got so many emails! The music business has really changed drastically over the last few years, and we got so many emails that we had enough offers to be like “OK, let's do it!” I've always felt like we're one of the scariest bands for other bands to have to play after, and we're gonna be keeping that tradition alive. That was the main part of us getting back together. We're about seven shows into this tour but we earlier did an East Coast US tour. It's starting to feel like Karma To Burn! I really feel like we're one of the few bands who don't sound like anything else.

Awesome! Can we expect a new album?
Yeah yeah, probably in March or April there's gonna be that. It's already been written, so it's a matter of touring first. The new songs sound pretty wicked. Right now we've got two songs that are definitely making it, and I think they're really elaborate. I really like the emotional aspect of them. Also, the cover's going to be a cat. *laughs*

How have your experiences with drugs affected you as an artist and as a person?
Well I know what I don't wanna be. It's rare when you have an idea what you don't want. It's just something that happened and I now feel a lot better.

How did you end up singer-less? Did you always intend to be an instrumental act?
We just love rock, and we started playing without having a singer, and it really got to us, and it has all the emotion and everything...I just think that music is much more powerful than the human voice in almost every instance. I think it becomes more personal without the vocalist. At the live shows, people will shout at specific points in the show, it's awesome! It's a really good psychological study.

The rock landscape has changed so much in the time you guys were away...
To be honest with you, it's a much less intimidating scene. In the late 90s you had more bands that had a lot more heart than there are out there now. It feels to me like music in the United States has been crippled by Ozzfest. I felt that Ozzfest dictated rock radio to America for a long time, so they got bands that they could control or they had a stake in financially. There's this overwhelming melodrama to music now, it's just laughable. Like Linkin Park will do a rap, and then this really melodramatic segment. What's all this emotional stuff?! It should be all about power!
interview by: Julie Weston

Friday 12th to Sunday 14th June 2009
Donington Park, Leics, England MAP
£135 weekend, £65 any day, camping is an extra £25
last updated: Thu 11th Jun 2009


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