Saturday, August 22, 2009

Doom/Sore Throat vs Peaceville- why at "war"?

Question: Hi,
so, besides what stated in some booklets and some punk sites, what was the real deal and the problem between Doom/Sore Throat, Hammy( who from 88 drummed in ST) and his label Peaceville? Why such bands put out releases and shirts saying Fuck Peaceville and Nevermind Pissville? From:

Answer: Yeah it must look pretty bizarre to outsiders - a bunch of friends who were at one time in mid-late 80s all good buddies in the HC scene in Dewsbury, Yorkshire soon fell out badly. Bri Doom (Brian Talbot), Hammy (Paul Halmshaw) and Rich Militia (Walker) were even band mates with each other when they recorded Sore Throat's 105 track noise LP 'Disgrace To The Corpse of Sid' for Earache, but within a few years serious emnity had set in, which in later years became a vicious, all out propaganda war.Its sad really.

As an outsider myself, because I hardly spent any time in Dewsbury, I'd say the short answer was the massive, almost overnight success of Peaceville quickly soured any friendship which existed beforehand. The Dewsbury scene has always been more Punk than anywhere else, and success is, lets face it, not very punk is it?

The ire stems mostly from self-appointed scene policeman- Rich Walker. I know he reads this blog so maybe he can comment to us on why he has a downer on Hammy, to this day. Rich also slags me off remorselessly so I'm no stranger to his vitriol either.Truth is, I actually admire the fella for sticking to his guns, there's not many like him left.The constant bashing of Peaceville and Hammy was a little tiresome, I can only guess what its about.I presume it stems from a quarrel about ownership of the original Doom and ST albums, which were recorded for Peaceville. My guess is they were sold on to Peaceville's backer, MFN, without the bands consent, when Peaceville split from its MFN deal.Hammy would be perfectly entitled to do this if he had the copyrights. It's all about business deals from back in the day gone sour, in other words.

My Earache and Hammy's Peaceville label's had roughly parallel histories- both of us started as HC punk labels, but at the turn of the 90's quickly shifted into death metal territory when Earache signed Morbid Angel and Peaceville likewise with Autopsy.This pissed off a lot of the HC punks who had actively supported our labels in the early days.They felt betrayed, and I don't think either of us realised the depth of this anger, because we were both too busy selling tons of records from the new scenes we'd spearheaded.Maybe you can read about that in Ian Glaspers new UKHC book due soon.

Not many folks realise that for a few years during the early 90's it was Peaceville, not Earache nor even Roadrunner, that was the world's leading Death metal label.Albert's Choosing Death book barely mentions this fact. The reason was the overwhelming success of Paradise Lost in Germany, between 1991's Gothic and 95's Icon I guess the band sold over quarter of a million copies there alone.Paradise Lost charted top 20 in national German charts routinely, and played arenas. The band literally invented Gothic Metal which would become the new huge European metal genre for the next decade, later spawning bands like Nightwish and many more.Its fair to say that Hammy personally became quite wealthy because of his hard work and endeavours, but in a small-minded town like Dewsbury I'm guessing this fact surely caused a fair bit of jealousy to come his way.

Paradise Lost had some bad luck in America though, they never properly took off there, which probably explains why Americans don't know firsthand their huge success. I recall their licensed label home- Relativity I think- went bust on the day of its release, which was bad timing. While Paradise Lost were playing mid-paced gothic metal in German arenas, the fast and gutteral Earache and Roadrunner DM bands were invading the clubs and warping the minds of US kids.

Remarkably, I've only met Hammy about 4 or 5 times, each time too much rivalry was going on for us to ever really bond.We once went on a press jaunt around Europe to meet journalists, and boy could he smoke weed- I am a non smoker but the dude was constantly skinning up weed, in the car, in the office, even on the street- he was in a haze of smoke all day, everyday. That's not to say he wasn't a savvy operator, he was- cleverly recruiting financial backers like UK 80s metal powerhouse Music For Nations (now BMG owned)to fund his operation, and during later years UK back catalog specialist Snapper would bankroll his label until the end.

From 2007 Snapper own Peaceville outright as Hammy retired from the biz, he's now living with his wife in Spain so we hear.He's always been a down-to earth- bloke, so maybe he's skinning up on his boat in some little seaside town's harbour as he reads this- who knows?


Anonymous said...

Rich Walker is a well known nonce in Yorkshire.A prime fucking prick.

gael said...

he is currently selling all his remaining Peaceville stuff on Ebay...anything from first editions, adds, original artworks, etc at very very high prices