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The Haunted | rEVOLVEr | interview | Peter Dolving | metal | Lollipop
rEVOLVEr (Century Media)
An Interview with vocalist Peter Dolving
By Eric Chon
The Haunted are arguably one of the world's best thrash bands. Their self-titled album was the only debut ever to earn Terrorizer's coveted "Album of the Year" award. The crack-team of ex-At The Gates songwriters Anders and Jonas Bjorler (guitar and bass), Patrick Jensen (guitar), Adrian Erlandsson (drums), and Peter Dolving (vocals) seemed like they could do no wrong. But change happens and both Peter and Adrian split from the band soon after the album's release, leaving fans just as they were hungry for more.
Two albums after their debut, Peter Dolving is once more in the fold, and happier than ever to be back. rEVOLVEr, The Haunted's latest achievement, is a brutal work of melodic metal, a modern thrash masterpiece. I got a chance to talk to Peter about the evolution of this great band, his reasons for leaving, for returning, and how overcoming personal issues has revitalized the spark within.
The first question is pretty obvious: Why come back to The Haunted?
Why not come back to The Haunted? (laughs)
Perhaps I should ask why you left in the first place...
At the time, I was pretty happy to get out of there. I would've ended up killing myself! I wasn't taking care of myself, and it was just a bad situation. Couple that with a record company that didn't care whether I lived or died and it's easy to understand the situation.
I had to step down and get my shit together. You know, I started mending the life I never really had, and I'm very grateful to have been given that chance. I was diagnosed with a pretty significant case of A.D.D., and it was causing me big trouble. Not being medicated and coming from an extremely dysfunctional family didn't help! (laughs) Right now, I'm very happy to be where I am. I'm in a good place.
So being back with your Haunted buds feels...?
Absolutely fantastic! I'd been missing it a lot, and I'm ecstatic to've been given the opportunity to come back. I had a talk with my wife and family - well, friends who are like family, really (laughs) - and they all told me to go for it.
As strong a singer as Marco Aro was, I believe a lot of Haunted fans really wanted this to happen. What's been keeping you busy in the interim?
I'm involved with the Peter Dolving Band, which is now called Bring The War Home. That's a much better name! (laughs) We did three albums, we just finished recording the fourth, and it's a very different kind of band. Imagine something akin to Sonic Youth to blues to country. It's crazy. I've also recorded two reggae albums and have produced loads of records. I may be the only guy singing reggae with death metal vocals! (laughs)
Your dislike for Earache Records is pretty well-known. How does it feel to be on Century Media?
It's been incredibly positive with Century Media. It's a joy to be on a real record company with people who care and enjoy the business. Earache was - and still may be - in a situation where they never really cared about any band they signed. Everyone was too worried about being fired. They kissed up to a seriously mentally ill man with huge problems of his own. There were all these weird relationships going on! Perhaps they should take Metallica's cue and get a psychologist to work out their problems! (laughs)
But seriously, you can make life in the music business terrible if you really want, whether you're an artist or an exec. But you can also make it great fun, and that's where I'm right now.
How was the video shoot for "All Against All?"
It was totally fun. The video is very '80s, very Anthrax, you know? It's a madhouse kinda deal with all sorts of energy pouring out. We thought about doing a real rock video, but that was just too pretentious. I don't know if we didn't have the guts or the brains to work it through... In the end, we just asked our fans to come down and bang their heads. We got 150 kids in there and the effect was awesome.
A lot of bands project negative imagery, like it's pain and torture to be out there playing. It's refreshing to see someone who's so into it.
There's a little imagery going on there, pushing up the misery to show how hard they are, but I think most bands love what they're doing. Sick Of It All, Testament, Exodus: We've interacted with all these guys, and they're the nicest people you could ever meet. They're on such a positive level.
Extreme music gets rid of all this crap! This destructive, dark side of yourself is gone! It's the only place where you get paid for primal therapy! (laughs) Other people have to do thousand-dollar sessions with some strange-looking psychologist, and it's not even half as effective. We don't have to worry about any of that. We just go out there, play metal, and get it out of our systems.
With all the troubles that were in my life, this kind of catharsis was essential. I owe my life to metal. Pre-Effexor, it was hell (no pun intended). Post-Effexor? It's just... wow! (laughs) I'm having such a great time. I'm not so silent and solemn anymore. This second chance is really a gift from... well... from below! (laughs) I feel blessed.
It seems like you're working really hard now and not even caring, rather enjoying it all...
Well, don't get me wrong, it's fantastically hard work. I can't just sit around and watch TV all the time. But I've done all sorts of jobs - factories, butcher shops - each moment has gotten me a step closer to doing music full-time. Each move has been a victory. I've been at this since I was 13, and I fucking love it!
I know that people complain about it, but feeling sorry for yourself is ridiculous! I mean no disrespect, but maybe they haven't really thought it out yet. They're doing this because they love it! The fact that someone out there appreciates and connects with your blood, sweat, and tears is a gift.
Damn, you're so positive it's freaky! Where, inside all that nice-guy personality, do you pull out those demons?
Well, I guess coming from such a twisted, complex childhood has given me a lot of ammunition. Amazingly, I came out on the good end from that childhood. I mean, I used to wake up each morning and think "Oh shit, one more day to deal with." There's a lot of fire and fuel there, and I'm just glad it translates well.
You don't have to spend your life with nutcases and extremely violent motherfuckers. You don't have to choose to be one, either. You can enjoy life, and hang out with fun, creative, alive people. Metal is a catharsis. It can bring out the worst in you, but it gets rid of it at the same time. Being in a band or in the audience, you always feel better after a metal show!