Interview by Steve Pinkerton and Anita Malloy
When you talk to a band that loves what they do, it shows – on stage, in the studio, and especially when you ask them about their music. When it’s a passion and not a job…that kind of fire can’t be replicated.
St. Madness is this kind of band. Equal parts Motorhead to-the-grind and
theatrical production a la Alice Cooper, with a vibe and sound all their own.
Let’s share a few stand out moments from the interview, and also an apology from Steve (Design Team Lead): even the IT guy has technical difficulties, and unfortunately the recording application had a nasty run in it seems with Carl the Clown (more on him shortly)!
St. Madness began their career in 1993 under the name Crown of Thorns. The band changed their name to one of the song titles, “St. Madness”, in 1997 after learning there was a Christian band by the name of Crown of Thorns. The name is meant to be a duality of sorts, as even in the purest of things a touch of the insane can still reside. Their record label, Nasty Prick Records, is likewise an homage to their former name (with a logo to match – a crown of thorns) with a dual meaning.
We were also able to glean a connection as fellow musicians on the technical side of things, relating to these musicians being fully confident with their own sound. In particular, the bassist runs a clean tone rig a la Iron Maiden to bring the thunder. The guitarist has evolved to a rack unit for most effects in lieu of tap dancing across a board of pedals. This shows a certain maturity in playing all their parts that only comes from experience.
Now about Carl…the story behind “Carl the Clown” is even scarier than the song itself – because he’s an ACTUAL PERSON! He’s based on an actual hobo who was covered in shit and would chase people. The story would get told at band practice, the reference to a clown and then a circus spawned the immortal guitar riff, and the rest is history. As seen below, he even became PART of that history, much like Eddie for Iron Maiden!
Carl is not alone – the song “My Name is Lester” further exemplifies the dualistic nature of all that this band does. The song is about a monk who is also a serial killer; a person who is to be the epitome of tranquility and peace becoming an absolute monster.
In the intervening years, St. Madness have opened for such bands as Van Halen, and Prophet at one point was even considered as the vocalist for Black Sabbath. The entire band exude a camaraderie both behind the stage paint (war paint as they refer to it) and without it that is only shared by a band that loves what they do.
As a final note, if there’s a message St. Madness would have us relay as a result of this interview in all of its technical malfunctioning glory, it would be to support your local scene. Every major band out there began as an underground act and they’ve never forgotten where they came from. Metal lives and dies depending on the local scene.
St. Madness has stated that they have not confirmed any upcoming tour dates, choosing to focus solely on their 10th studio album release. We’re looking forward to it – these guys always Bring the Madness! Keep kicking ass, and don’t let Carl the Clown get ya before the new album comes out! \m/
St. Madness are:
- Prophet – Vocals
- Sid Ripster – Guitar
- Scarlet Rivers – Bass
- Dcay – Drums
Band Manager Margie Johnson was also present for the interview, however drummer Dcay was not.