SLAVE DRIVER – RONNIE VANDERWEY
Art: Vladimir ‘Smerdulak’ Chebakov
We have no general items in our lyrics. We like to make lyrics that have an interesting meaning for ourselves. I look upon lyrics as an essential completion to the music. I find it more of an outlet to write something close to the music. We never have an explicit message or opinion in the lyrics. I look upon it as a poem which can be interpreted by the listener/reader the way they want. And I can tell you: there are some hidden things in the lyrics. I agree that lyrics are essential, but the form is more important than the meaning. I see it more as a description of a sphere or situation that must connect to the impact of the music. Generally, the lyrics of Dead Head include subjects like religion, violence, warfare, illegal substances and their effects on the human mind, occult phenomenons, horror fantasies, ignorance of humanity, misplaced arrogance of humanity, unexisting creatures, and murder.
I am a bible believer. I must say that it is a very thankful and useful source for any metal band. Even when I was very much into satanism and occultism, I read the Bible regularly. And I still remember that I was pretty disappointed after reading Szandor LaVey’s Satanic Bible. It is only a work about egoism and the suggested power of the human will. It never indicated Satan as a possible saviour or a serious way to practice a religion.
For me, music is important enough to let it be an essential part of life that cannot be released too easily. At the same time, I consider music as a general art, which means that, to me personally, it has no limitations or taboos whatsoever. My opinion on life, in general, relates to the music we make, but I also think that music can be a medium in which you can present some devious opinions or ideas. That indicates that the words in our lyrics should not be considered our personal opinions.
Heavy music can be a lot of things. I think for us, in a world of musicians and growing up in a time when metal came to matureness and deserved its place in the musical landscape; we developed in a direction that metal was simply an essential part of our lives. I grew up with Status Quo (not the softest band in those days), but the quintessence of what is metal came with the Piece of Mind album by Iron Maiden. Before that, I was eternally drawn into metal by the guitar solos of Ritchie Blackmore. But the medieval ‘epicness’ of Maiden’s twin guitars has never left me untouched.
Our drummer Spijker has the opinion that inspiration can be forced by just doing it, writing music. Like J.S. Bach, who used to stay up at 05:00 a.m. and started writing music until his first break at 08:00 a.m. or something. In my specific romantic conception writing music was more about taking a lot of booze and drugs and then letting the inspiration do its work (and then when you’re sober again and you see what you have created appears to be a big pile of pretentious bullshit). Most of the time, I get inspired when a beloved band puts out a new record.
Some so many people show unearthly talents. Each in their own way. But when it comes to pure originality and groundbreaking ways of making music, Horror Illogium (lead guitar player of Portal) is the man. Another person I still admire is the late Paco de Lucía. He combines great technique with passion and feels that is essential in flamenco.
In general, the position music takes in the world of art is quite unique. I think that is a mystery. It has a different impact than, for instance, a painting or a sculpture. In that view, I think there must be a divine touch to the existence of music. Considering the way the tonal systems work and the impact it can have on living beings. And music can unite people as well as it can be a dividing factor. Consider the existing subcultures related to different genres that can really oppose each other.
I have a broad vision and interest in music and arts in general. I am not restricted by any prejudice whatsoever. In arts, it is actually very simple: you like it, or you like it not. For instance: I like the music of Mary J. Blige. And I like the music of Chopin. But I also like the band Portal. I don’t like Prince. But I like Michael Jackson. You don’t have any biased filter that automatically makes you hate or love a piece of art. During my life, I have concerned myself with styles like classical, jazz, fusion, hardcore house, symphonic rock, blues and many other deviant styles. They all represent an entire world with their geniuses and sell-outs. So on one side, you have the Ninth symphony of Anton Bruckner, and on the other, you have ‘Vulgar Display of Power’ by Pantera. Those are quite different worlds, aren’t they? And yet nearly impossible to compare anyway. For Dutch fans, I can recommend the band ‘Hangyouth’. They hail from Amsterdam-Noord and play punk rock with leftist/socialist lyrics.