The Ozzfest Meets Knotfest Interviews with Ben Falgoust of Goatwhore
At Ozzfest Meets Knotfest, the almighty Goatwhore unleashed a blazing set of black and roll on the Monster Energy Drink Stage 2, setting the mosh pit rapturously ablaze with sweat and dirt. Featuring members of underground legends Acid Bath and Soilent Green, Goatwhore is on the verge of celebrating 20 years of terrorizing the masses with their brutal hymns of mayhem and malevolence.
Right after their super intensive set, we caught up with front man Ben Falgoust to discuss their participation with Ozzfest Meets Knotfest, their epic 20 years as a band, the current album Constricting Rage of the Merciless and other thoroughly wicked topics of intrigue. Read on…
Introduce yourself and tell me what you do in Goatwhore.
My name is Ben and I’m the vocalist of Goatwhore.
When was the first time you heard Ozzy Osbourne or Black Sabbath?
Maybe 9, 10 years old? Something like that. I’m 43 now, I don’t care about the age. At one point too, when I was growing up my sisters hung out with some guys that listened to metal and stuff like that. I got turned onto some of the metal. Basically – not hanging out because of course they didn’t want their younger brother hanging out. They’d be hanging in a room or something, then you’d hear stuff and then also, in my neighborhood there were guys I grew up with and we’d go to shows. Like, punk shows. Listening to a radio station, that on every Saturday night they’d play metal really late and we’d stay up and listen. It’s not like now where you can kinda find everything, you had to work for it.
Have you ever hung out with Ozzy or any of the Black Sabbath members?
No I have not. That would be really fucking cool. I do have a story. It was one of those weird experiences, it was at Ozzfest back I can’t remember the year of it but it was Pantera, Type O Negative, Fear Factory, Machine Head. It was the road erra, Ozzfest. Sabbath was playing and so we knew Phil from Pantera and we were hanging out backstage at one point, we were in this room and Tony Iommi was sitting in the room on the sofa. He was hanging out with Philip. I guess they were talking. He was just sitting there. I didn’t say anything to him, I kinda feel comfortable about that because you don’t want to be that person that just, Oh my god! But in your head you’re going completely fucking crazy. You’re like, I’m in this room and this is Tony Iommi fucking sitting right here. It was funny because there were a couple of us in there. It was me and some friends of mine, then we left the room and one of my friends goes, “dude, do you know who that fucking was?” We were like, yes. He goes, what the fuck!? It was cool that no one said anything, like that real fanboy type of thing. Everybody just kinda kept zipped about it, but when we left the room everybody kind of freaked out. Almost like, being like, did you notice that was him? Did you know who that fucking was? I met him in a weird sort of way, but not really met him. [laughs]
If Goatwhore could cover a Black Sabbath song, what song and why?
I want to say Children of the Grave. I just feel like that element in that song would come across really cool in our style and the way Goatwhore does things. Goatwhore is a little mixed in variation from it’s like, it’s got that, we call Black and Roll. That black metal mix with rock and roll and then we have death metal, thrash metal and then we have our own element of who we are. I think a song like that, the way we do things and then us adding our element to that song would step it into a totally different fucking feel.
Is there any story or concept behind the album title, Constricting Rage of the Merciless?
A lot of my lyrics involve modern religion and its oppressive nature. And if anything, it’s kind of the idea of at one point you’re caged into a corner and then finally at some point, something’s gotta break. Then it’s like a lashing out, almost like an animal type thing. When an animal is backed into a corner, at one point it just has to do something to get away and get out. The whole ideaki nd of is revolving around that, the oppressive nature of modern religion. At that point, when you do bust out of that corner, it’s just relentless. There’s no sympathy for anything outside of that, anything in the way of coming out of that corner is just destroyed and run over. It’s that idea, Constricting Rage of the Merciless, you have no mercy at that point and it’s just relentless.
Select two songs from the new album, what inspired the lyrics?
“Poisonous Existence in Reawakening” is one. That was a mixture of kinda like a person that went completely mad. It’s almost like that idea of people that they become – they go through this life and they do all this bad shit and then become a reborn person. Then they’re back to the same thing that they were prior to fucking going completely crazy. It’s the opposite, where it goes from the beginning off the deep end and the whole level of going into darkness goes deeper and deeper and deeper and the bottom of the barrel has no bottom. It keeps going beyond that bottom, and that’s the idea. It’s more of a maniac, horror story within my head that I kind of had when I put things together for that song.
The next one is “Reanimated Sacrifice” and that’s more of a horrific kind of thing. I mean, the title says it all. Basically it’s almost like – this might sound cheesy – the frankenstein is killed again in a sacrifice, but then brought back to life again. It was something that was dead, brought back to life and then killed again and then brought back again through sacrifice and through different black mass type things. Some of that stuff is kind of blunt and straightforward and some of it’s like, on the front of a horror movie idea. Some of it’s mixed up ideas that I have. Different things involving oppressive natures within religious structures and stuff like that. Some of it’s tongue in cheek stuff, like Fucked by Satan is like tongue in cheek tribute to old school shit like Venom. I take it really seriously and then there’s other stuff where it’s like, don’t be so serious. Be more reflective and have a good time.
Has there been any thoughts about doing Soilent Green or Acid Bath reunion shows?
I love Soilent Green. As far as Acid Bath goes, that’s a Sammy question. I know that Acid Bath has talked about that too. I think those were the elements, both of those bands are elements of things in the past that I don’t know if anything will ever happen with again. But it was definitely unique when it went down, for sure. It was definitely stuff that was influential. I don’t think people realize how much influence Acid Bath paid with the stuff that they did. It was really ahead of its time in a lot of things that were going on in that era. Even now, today the shit on that record. There are bands that have never touched that kind of element. When people would ask me to explain Soilent, it was like Lynyrd Skynyrd meets Napalm Death or something like that. It had that southern kind of style, but then it would just blow into complete blast and fucking grind stuff. It had a lot of other elements as well but that was just the basis of how things in it were like. But I think those bands were unique and part of an era that I don’t really foresee things getting back together or anything happening with.
At this point in your career is there a band that you have not opened for or toured with that you would like to?
I want to say Slayer. The only thing, we just did Bloodstock and Slayer played so I don’t know if that really counts. It kind of does, but then you want to go, nah we want to do a tour with Slayer. It’d be cool to tour with Judas Priest. Last we we played Knotfest with them so I don’t know if that fully counts, maybe a tour with Judas Priest and Slayer and Goatwhore? Something like that. We have played with a lot of bands that have been great influences on us. We’ve toured with Celtic Frost. We’ve toured with Venom. We’ve played with Emperor. Bands you didn’t think of when you were doing music that you’d ever think of playing with. You’re playing with Black Sabbath, Judas Priest. Wow, I never figured that any of that would ever go down. Never. 20 years ago, if you would have said that that, I’d be like no way any of that is ever going to happen.
You did a split with a band called Epoch of Unlight where you recored a Celtic Frost cover. What ever happened to Epoch of Unlight and did Celtic Frost ever hear that cover?
Actually I don’t even know if they heard the cover. I’m not sure. He might of. You never know. Tom is a very unique guy, man. Touring with them, meeting the guys and being out there on the road and seeing how they are as individuals made the love for Celtic Frost even more. Like, wow these dudes are really interesting and really fucking down to earth. They’ll tell you stories about all their stuff from the past. It was one of those things, sometimes you meet people in bands and you wish you didn’t meet them because it makes me look at the whole situation in a bad light. But those dudes were like, wow, it made you embrace it even more. It’s funny, now that you say that, we should have asked them about the cover song. [laughs]. Epoch of Unlight, actually, the guys are still around. They still do things, it’s just not that busy. They were a fucking awesome band, they did some awesome songs on that split.
You are approaching your 20th anniversary of this band. Did you ever think Goatwhore would be around for 20 years?
No. That’s pretty crazy. It makes me feel old, [laughs]. That’s pretty fucking unique man. Especially now with the way things are with bands. It’s definitely a difficult time. I think the erra when we first started it was hard just because the way things are. But I think now, even though you have all this modern technology, all this social media, I just think it’s harder because there are so many more bands nowadays. That’s the thing, you’re up against so many bands and it makes it a more complicated thing. There’s so many tours going on, so many records coming out. So it’s like when you put something out, you’re up against all of this fucking shit. Where back when, it was hard, but you didn’t have so much going against you. 20 years at this point, it’s like holy shit and, that’s pretty good. Pretty fucking good.
What’s up next for Goatwhore?
We got a couple of weeks we do around this Ozzfest thing, we’ve already done a week. Then we do a week back home. Then we’re gonna go around October 12th we’re going into the studio up in Illinois, central Illinois. We’ll be done there probably the beginning part of November. The record will probably come out in the first quarter of 2017 and then we’ll be back on the road again doing our thing.
For another 20 years?
Maybe. I’m pretty positive about it but also, you know, you get to an age where – I don’t know. Maybe I shouldn’t say anything. Look at Rob Halford. Look at Slayer. I sit here and think sometimes, when I’m at home, man some of this shit is pretty brutal. Will I be able to do this at 55? But then I see those dudes and I’m like, damn these dudes are still fucking ripping. Some of them are late 50s and early 60s. You’re like, holy shit, it gives you that positive reinforcement. There is a possibility that we could still be fucking doing it.
(Interview by Ken Morton – Live Photos by Jack Lue)