Napalm Death experiencing a renaissance 

Talk about close calls. Last week, Napalm Death frontman Mark “Barney” Greenway was running to grab lunch on a Canadian street when he slipped on a patch of black ice and wound up in the emergency room, with two broken bones in his hand and extensive ligament damage. “It’s a shame nobody saw my accident, because I actually somersaulted in the air,” says the brainy Brit, who sensed he would land on one leg, and probably break it, so he jutted his arm out instead. He plays the Bay Area this weekend, touting the grindcore masters’ 16th album, “Apex Predator – Easy Meat.” “I’ve just got a cast on, because I can’t move the hand itself,” he says.

Does it feel like a Napalm Death renaissance right now?

Well, I think we’ve had this momentum for some time. And as time has gone on, we seem to be gaining more and more momentum. And the odd thing about it is that we’re not doing anything different. And we’re certainly not doing anything to get some commercial advantage – we’ve never played that game. But the band seems to be exploding, and it puzzles me. For a band so sonically extreme and uncompromising, it’s not what you would expect.

And at 45, you’re in the best shape – vocally and physically – in years, right?

I’m doing better than I was at 25. And I’m vegan, anyway, so that really helps. People say, “How do you look after your voice?” and my answer is that everything’s interconnected, so if you take care of your body, it will take care of you. My point of view on eating meat is, I care for all sentient beings. You might not wish to be a carnivore if you knew how that whole industry works. If the ultimate aim is animal welfare and dignity, then you have to educate people. But you can’t hit them over the head with a big stick, because you’ll have the opposite effect of turning them off.

Which is ironic, since Napalm Death – musically speaking – pretty much clobbers people over the head with a big stick.

That is true! And I like that, actually. It makes Napalm Death a paradox. You have completely violent-sounding sonics, coupled with very peaceful, dignified, tolerant lyrics. So I like to think of us as a vehicle for art. And we’re just a small ripple in a big pond, but what can you do? You can either give up or just get on with it and try – at the very least – to be one more voice. Because one more voice is one more voice, you know?


Napalm Death

Where: Oakland Metro Opera House, 630 Third St., Oakland

When: 6:30 p.m. Feb. 20

Tickets: $20

Contact: (510) 763-1145,

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Tom Lanham

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