NAPALM DEATH guitarist Mitch Harris recently spoke to Australia's The Metal Forge webzine about the group's recent performance in Indonesia and the departure of guitarist Jesse Pintado, among other topics. A couple of excerpts from the interview follow:
On playing Indonesia:
"It's cool to see that there are so many people that really knew how much we had put into the scene, y’know? They studied detail and knew lyrics down to the very last word. It was really amazing to see, because you never know quite how many albums you would sell in a country like that or how your word gets across with the language barrier and things like that. It was good to see. I don't know. There must have been some labels bootlegging stuff for years, but all these people had the albums. That was strange to see, because you never know if you'll have an audience or what. I heard about the METALLICA show that there was lots of problems mainly because the ticket price was too expensive and people couldn't get in. So it was those people that couldn't afford to go that destroyed a whole street with 200 cars. It was a big riot. When we played, the ticket price was pretty cheap, hence 7,000 people. SEPULTURA was there in '91 and there were 30,000 people. I'm sure the scene has changed a lot, but people have lots of other problems to worry about than going to a gig with the tsunami disaster, the earthquakes and volcanic activity, all the problems with the economy, and people being poor…really, really, really poor and to see that people still smile. People welcome tourists walking down the street. You look at people and they just smile at you. Whereas Gran Canaria, they look at you like 'Bloody tourists! More tourists coming to exploit our island.' It's like, 'Dude, we're here to play to your hungry people.' But they don't know that. In Indonesia, it was general people everywhere that were also in desperate need of help. Sometimes there were kids that were really hungry and I'd give them money…whatever little bit you can do to help. Generally, there was a really positive vibe out there even though all the horrible things they've been through."
On guitarist Jesse Pintado's current status in NAPALM DEATH:
"He's out of the band. He didn't actually leave the band. We sent him home. He had some personal issues. We knew that being in the band wasn't the right environment for his current state of mind. So we sent him home to get some help and support from his family and stuff. We waited for two years for him to get his act together. For example, he didn't even play on 'Order of the Leech' [from 2002] or the covers album [2004's 'Leaders Not Followers 2']. He just kinda disappeared on us and he became unreliable. There were a lot of issues which were holding us back and confusing the issue and we really just wanted to play ball and just get up there and do what we do, and it was really, really affecting the band in a negative way and it was affecting him in a negative way as well as us personally. We thought it would be best. We gave him 200 million chances and he came back after two years, and his condition hadn't improved and we decided to let him go because he just became unreliable. We have a really hard year ahead of us with lots and lots of touring. We thought it would be best for the band, for the album and also for the fans to just let him go which is a shame because we've been through so much. We've achieved so much together and he's been our roommate for years and just living together we've managed to remain good friends. He wishes us all the best as well as we wish him all the best. I can't put it in any more detail than that because it's his own personal kind of deal. It's his own business really. It's a shame."
On the possibility of Pintado coming back to the band at some point in the future:
"We've kinda come together as a four-piece in a way that there's no turning back now. It's like, we've done what we've done and we're going to live with our decision. There's no point now. I mean, there was talk about getting another guitarist, and of course, lots of people suggest that. But it's not going to fill Jesse's shoes. It's not going to make up for the fact that he's not there. But at the end of the day, what we're doing now and the way it's written and the way it comes across, it is as solid and as intense as it needs to be. We're just gonna to continue as a four-piece. There's just no point in going backwards at this stage. There's too much to be done. We're all much older now and we have lives to lead. The less confusion, the better. We're all totally on the same level so let's just keep it there."
Read Mitch Harris' entire interview with The Metal Forge at this location.