feel like a walking abomination. I feel like I am the closest thing to Lucifer
on this planet, and I feel like that all the time. I feel that things that go
wrong (in) my life are a personal attack by him on me. Lucifer is responsible
for the way I am. I get lots of signs in my life, but I don't blame Lucifer for
the bad things, I blame Jehovah. There's a hatred between Jehovah and me."
Glen Benton, sitting quietly in a Clearwater, Florida, restaurant on Sunday lunchtime, isn't laughing. Neither should you...
The music first. The latest (fourth) Deicide album, Once Upon the Cross-recorded at Morrisound with Scott Burns once again producing-is firm proof that Deicide will remain and grow from strength to strength. With an acknowledged nod toward Martin Scorcese's great film the Last Temptation of Christ, it is an extraordinary, rolling collection of riffs and passages that make it more like a concerto or movement. The resulting album is thick-brute thick-warm and heavy. The brutality is magnified by some of the Hoffman brothers' (Eric and Brian) intensive guitar passages, not to mention some riffs that will not go away. In Tampa, you're either Jimmy Buffet, Barry Manilow, Neil Diamond and elderly tans, or you're Deicide, maybe Obituary. I know which side I'm standing on.
"I told everyone in my band that I thought Legion (the previous album) sucked!" laughs Benton. "It was a rushed album, and the songs were far too intricate. It was heavy, but you had to listen to it two or three times to get it. For a while, with this record, we'd been chopping a lot of our simpler, catchy parts, and one day I asked why we didn't just use them, because they were very heavy. Now we have the blast incorporated with catchy, simple parts, which makes for brutally heavy, catchy songs."
"We also approached things differently in the studio this time. We pretty much recorded everything at the same time, so it sounds like a "live" record. I told Scott Burns what I wanted to do to achieve the sound we got, and he was into it-a great help, and he offered us a lot of input. The way we write, the structure, is the closest thing currently around to classical music. We have parts that are structured in the same key, which is what they did, and everything relates back to the original riff. It's the same style of writing. Everybody thinks that this (style) is the lowest on the musicianship scale, but I'll tell you this: Those guys out there pumpin' the rock 'n' roll circuit couldn't do this."
As the album's title suggests yet further, Glen Benton's self-professed "war with God" is not some token gesture. Sitting quietly one Sunday lunchtime in a restaurant bar, with families all around,he grins, sighs and points up. "I blame Him for everything that's happened to me, for everything that's happening, for this fucked up world we live in. I believe that He is responsible for my being here like this, and so I will always have a problem with Him."
The calm man that sits before me confesses that he feels a storm slowly brewing inside him.
"I feel that all the time in my life there's something coming. I really feel that in time I'm gonna snap. I'll either snap and kill myself for kill someone else, and it's up to your will power not to take it over that line. And right now I know what I'm capable of and can keep it under control pretty much."
However, contrary to popular belief, Benton doesn't actually hate all Christians-just the flashy, cartoon ones that America breeds like cockroaches.
"Look, there are people out there who consider themselves Christians who don't confront me, don't say anything bad about me, hold respect for me, and I can respect people like that.
"Those are the ones who have their beliefs and also believe in 'Live and let live.' When there's Christians like that, I don't go out of my way to fuck with them. they stay on their side of the line and I say on mine, and I don't personally throw any ill will toward them; but if they come across the line and take shots at me, then they must deal with me on my level."
But Christianity has as many cartoons as Satanism, and one of America's most popular Christian radio hosts, Bob Larson, enjoys taking Benton to task whenever possible. For his sins, Larson has invited a vitriolic response from Benton Called "When Satan Rules the World." The latest target of Bentonic wrath are those crisplinened old doormat-warmers, the Jehovah's Witnesses. "
Two of the songs on the album are based on conversation sand dealing I've had with Jehovah's Witnesses. 'WSRTW' is based on a book they've put out under that title. They believe that we're all gonna die, and that the only people who will be resurrected will be Jehovah's Witnesses. They believe that Satan rules this world. So basically my question is, Why? Why bother even trying? Why come to my door trying to impress your shit on me? I don't like that shit at all. As far as Larson's concerned, I don't really give a fuck about him. Because of who I am, Bob Larson uses me on the air to convert more people to believe in God because I'm 'so screwed up'. He's a money-making operation. He had a radio show asking for donations throughout the show."
Benton will later admit, with a small snigger, that he believes he and Bob Larson are on a predestined collision course where everything will be sorted out once and for all.
Apart from the dim, barely noticeable scar left by his infamous cross-branding on his forehead, Glen Benton is not particularly interested in being a fully clothed, 24-hour-a-day standard-bearer for Satanism. If you ask about it he'll answer. If you challenge he'll fight. Otherwise, he's as happy to say home, quietly going about his business with whoever he has to, doing whatever he feels need to be done, going wherever he has to go.
"I've learned one thing: Arguing with Christians doesn't get you anywhere, and I'd rather resort to violence, because argument is hopeless. Every so often I'll verbally take out Christians, but overall there is no point in sitting and arguing with somebody. We've got our own beliefs. I don't' chase 'em down anymore. My life now is too serious and too real to have somebody make light of it. I cannot have people think I'm some sort of cartoon or parody anymore, so I stay quieter. They love an argument, I love an argument, everyone yells and screams at each other, and all that happens is everyone ends up looking foolish. If somebody takes their life seriously and all you wanna do is make a big joke of it, then sure, I think it's extremely insulting."
He's reluctant to engage in too many details about his childhood and staunchly refuses to let anything from his childhood become a reason for his present; but he does acknowledge that his alternative thought patterns first had their birth as a young child. They were rather purer than you might imagine. But Benton does let slip during open conversation an alarming fact: that at roughly eight years old he was given antidepressants and thus ensued years of shrink-wrapped analysis.
"It was quite a disturbing childhood, very confused in so far as asking questions about death, life, existence. I asked a lot of questions abut life, spent a lot of time trying to figure it out. I remember at around five or six trying to figure out the concept of death to the point where it was drivin' me crazy. When I first found out that you die, it affected my life. I couldn't understand the cycle, and I didn't' wanna believe it at the time. But now death to me is a matter of time. in a weird way it's something I'm pretty much lookin' forward to."
As reluctant as Benton is to discuss it, I cannot rid myself of the vision of a young child asking dark questions, receiving few answers and being given pills to address his situation. It just doesn't sit well with me; it doesn't seem right.
It seems from here that Glen Benton's a little bored of playing with the press, of speaking out for effect, of being interpreted as whatever. The clock's ticking, and Benton's getting tired of the bullshit. He wants to make some things clear.
"I've had everybody call me homophobic, try to mark me as a racist. I have opinions-they're mine, I'm entitled to them. This is how I look at people generally: If you're doing something to make your life better, if you're making an attempt to sustain-or better-the quality of your life, then I have respect for that. And there are just as many white people who do that as black people.
"As far as being homophobic...look, I don't personally condone it; it ain't my thing. But if you bring it to me on a personal level, into my face, then that's invading my space. If you, once again, get on with your thing and leave me to mine, then fine, that's okay. Listen, I don't go out of my way to bash anyone. I don't care what color class or creed anyone is-I don't judge people based on those things. My only beef is with God. I wake up every day, I curse Him every day, because there is only on person who's responsible for the life I fucking have and that's the bastard who created us. I fucking hate Him. My belief system is with Satan, and I blame him (God) for anything that happens in my life that I don't like."
Perhaps the one quote that Glen Benton will have to live with of the rest of his life is the prophecy of his own death at the age of 33. Does he feel that this "storm" that's brewing will explode at that age, and does he believe that if he can survive it, he will have seen off his own death?
"Well, there are signs that always tell me 33 will be the time. The numbers come up, signs everywhere. When I think of living , I don't think of living past that age and growing old. I cannot even fathom getting past that age. And if I do, I couldn't grow old and be comfortable with it. I'd rather take myself out than have people givin' me sponge baths and colostomy bags strapped to my side. I'm not even seeking it out more than I just think it's coming, it's part of that storm..."
If you get through it untouched, will you view it as escape or punishment?
"If I get past it, I look at it as punishment. I always said that if God really wanted to be a bastard and a motherfucker, if he wanted to torture me, he'd make me live until I was 100. That would be His ultimate revenge."
The suicide of Kurt Cobain is something Benton identified strongly with.
"I empathized completely. I identified with everything he was saying. I say it to myself all the time-that I'm a worthless piece of shit-and when kids come up and say, 'You're great, you're great, it's like, 'No I'm not.' I'm a human being. I've got my faults; I'm just like everybody else. All these people say you're great, yet your life is miserable. I would say to those people that they have no idea what I've been through or who I am until they've walked in my shoes."
The difference between Glen Benton and the average American is an upside-down cross on his forehead and a spoken belief in Satanism. Other wise, he is absolutely no different from the hundreds ofthousands of other Americans who pass him in the street every single day without throwing so much as a second glance. he believes, like the average American, in defending yourself whatever the situation.
"If someone pushes into you, I really don't think anybody likes it or wants to put up with it. But I won't even think about it, I'll do something. I was very bad-tempered when I was growing up,and I've always had a bad temper. But it does depend on the situation. If somebody walks up and slugs me, then watch out. But certain things in this life are just not worth the energy. But I think everybody's generally like that. I am, the band are, many people are."