Thursday, June 22, 2006
Burzum signs with Earache?
Question: I read a while back in the black metal documentary book \"Lord of Chaos\" that Varg Vikernes (of infamous Burzum fame) was actually going to sign to Earache Records during the early 90\'s but it didn\'t happen. This accordingly is because Earache isn\'t a black metal label and also he had (and still has) radical racist views. Can you tell us alittle bit more about this story or is it a rumor? From: firstname.lastname@example.org
Answer: yeah, once again, it's true.Burzum was about to sign with Earache in 1993, soon after the debut 'Aske' was released on Euronymous' label 'Deathlike Silence'.But after spending 2 full days with Varg, I backed out of the deal at the last minute. Here's why:
Norwegian Black Metal was in its infancy and consisted of a handful of extreme bands and extreme personalities and musicians.Tho it was such a small scene, it was already making shockwaves in the much larger worldwide Death Metal scene which Earache played a part in.I was set on signing Burzum as I could tell from afar that Varg was a charismatic character and we assumed he would do well, both as a musician and as a scene personality.At the same time, UK's Kerrang! magazine unexpectedly ran a front cover story on the church burnings and all the general mayhem and insane stuff going on in Norway.So we had to act fast to sign him- I paid for Varg to fly to UK the very next week, for a meeting with Earache to conclude the signing arrangements,and it proved to be his only visit to these shores ever, I beleive.
So,in April 1993 Varg flew into Manchester airport - where he set off all the metal detector alarms as he refused to take off his chain mail vest!!.We had arranged a car to bring him to Nottingham- whereupon we (Varg, wearing his chain mail armour(!), myself and Al Dawson, Uk label manager) sat down for our business meeting at the local Nottingham pizza house "Bella Pasta" ( its still there) and discussed the signing of Burzum to Earache. Varg was all for it..and vowed to go back and tell Euronymous that he no longer wished to work for him, and he was going to record music with the much more established Earache instead.
Varg impressed us during the meeting with his razor sharp intellect,he talked at great length about a number of wide ranging topics, so much so that we had finished our pizzas before he even touched his-then without prompting, and for no particular reason, he began to air many of his racist viewpoints to us, which was really ridiculous as Earache has traditionally promoted bands like Napalm Death who stand staunchly against racism (as any sensible person would, naturally).
Unknown to us,the guy was very much informed by right wing politics,so much so, we kinda put it down to his trying to appear 'evil' and of being full of adolescent bravado in front of his potential new label.He also regailed us with stories of how he had burned a church down, which we knew all about (it was front page news in Norway after all, as most older buildings being constructed of wood in Norway, its relatively easy) for which he had been arrested, and later released.But then to top the lot- he told in full gory detail, how he had committed the murder of a homeless person with a knife.This extra stuff was unreal,it was like the ramblings of a complete fantasist.Frankly, we didn't beleive a word of it.(We now assume he was recounting - and taking 'credit' -for Bard/Faust's act of murder of a year earlier)
Varg stayed over at my house, where we played the demos for Burzum albums 2-3 and 4 ( thats what you call planning ahead!) before he caught the flight back to Norway, but I was already getting cold feet over the signing, because such right wing views are just not compatible with the labels standpoint. On his return Earache backed out of the deal and broke off all contact, Varg didnt seem too phased.
On August 10th 1993 Euronymous was murdered by Varg.