Glen Benton has undeniably been one of metal's most controversial, and misunderstood front men. As a dual vocalist and bass player for Florida's pioneering death metal band Deicide, Benton has withstood religious protests and death threats, numerous line up changes and inner turmoil over the years within the band, and media hype labeling him as satanic and evil.
But, after more than a quarter of a Century since the band formed, Deicide (featuring Benton on bass and vocals as well as guitarists Jack Owen & Kevin Quirion and drummer Steve Asheim) rages on, having unleashed its unholy wrath upon the world in the form of a fast, violent blast of Hellish death metal with brutal drumming and sped up shredding riffs and inhuman, guttural vocals. Angry, violent Anti-Christian, even satanic themes have been prevalent throughout each of the bands 11 studio albums.
Recently, Benton took time to speak with the Weekly about the band's current tour, his feelings about living life with no regrets, being the father of teenagers, the nature Evil in the world, living life with no regrets, his concern about the Ebola Virus, and the bands that got him into playing heavy metal music in the first place.
OC Weekly (Alex Distefano): Tell us about the current trek across the United States, In the Minds of Evil Tour, featuring Abysmal Dawn, Septicflesh and Inquisition.
Glen Benton: So far the tour has been flawless. The shows have been fantastic, all the bands and their crews have been awesome, and really cool to work with. We're all having a great time; this has been so much fun for us, we're enjoying traveling around and playing shows each night.
What were the bands that got you into heavy metal music, before there was such a thing as extreme metal, or death metal?
Obviously my generation came from Black Sabbath and eventually people got into heavier shit, like Venom. I was always into the darker shit like Alice Cooper from the get go. I was into a lot of rock and early metal bands and was always at the local record shops, collecting records. Early liked bands like Kiss, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Saxon, shit like that, eventually from these bands, it all just progressed to become heavier to where it is today.
Do you still have people boycotting your shows or music because of religious reasons?
]We used to have a lot of that, years ago, but lately it seems like we've moved out of the stone age with those people. See what people don't get is that as a band, we and many others were scapegoated, and got the tail end of whole 1950s hating of rock and roll music, they called Elvis satanic. It's like the War on Drugs, to the establishment, you guys lost that war and you're losing this war against rock music, Fuck off!"
Is it difficult to balance the time and lifestyle of being in the band, and being the father of teenagers?
For me, not really. I just go out and do what I must do, I go to work and I come home, you know? I'm out of town a lot, but when I'm not I'm with my kids, they go to school and do their thing, and it doesn't affect them other than the fact that I'm not there. But, I'm with them quite a bit when I'm home. Touring is just part of my job.
Deicide shows have been known to have crazy fans, and even crazier mosh pits, that can get violent. Have you ever seen violence at a show, you were worried about?
Well we've seen some crazy shit over the years; death metal pits can get crazy. We've seen fights and people over doing with aggression and we've had to barricade in dressing rooms to wait till things mellowed out, years ago. I don't know I've never felt scared, but I did feel a bit disappointed a few times, it is about fun not violence on that level. We just saw a kid recently split his head open, after getting knocked out and we don't like it anytime anyone gets hurt at the shows, it's not a good thing. At the end of the day I'd rather see a kid go home smiling about the show rather than with stitches.
What can fans expect from your show in Anaheim on Friday, Oct. 24?
It's been a while since we've played in the OC. We love playing shows in California. This has been the best line up and most strong line up musically we've had in years and we aren't going anywhere. The shows have all been fun so far great energy every night. We look forward to the Anaheim show, Southern California always brings it.Do you consider yourself to be an angry person? Is Deicide today inspired by the same things as it was in the band's early days?
I don't consider myself to be angry; I have my quarks just like any other human being. Do I get angry? Yes. Do I walk around angry as Hell all the time? No. Do I hate? Yeah. I'm just a human. As far as my religious beliefs and the music, well I am just as dedicated today as I was back then, it's jut part of who I am. I write this music and these songs, because it's what comes out of me.
Do you think the world is full of evil?
There is definitely more evil in this world than there is good. That's for damn sure. All you have to do is look around at this place. All you have to do is listen to the news, either local or world news. This world is full of evil shit fucked up things happen all the time, even to good people, it's just part of our world and it is what it is.
Do you keep up to date on current events, world news? Are you concerned about the crisis with the Ebola virus?
Well, I think it was a bad move on the part of the U.S. government. If they wanted to treat it they should have set up an isolated place like an island or something. Now we're all potentially exposed it's ridiculous, how fast this virus can travel, and that is scary. I think if they don't get a handle over it soon, we're all at a huge risk and could be fucked.
What are your feelings about European black metal bands like Mayhem, or Watain, who are publicly and overtly Satanic with their music and stage shows?
Well I'm aware of them, and we've played shows with Behemoth before. They are cool guys but I could give two shits about their performances or whatever they do their thing and it's cool for them. As far as Watain and their meat throwing bullshit on stage, it's nothing new; we were doing that years ago at our shows.
From your music, image, tattoos, and inverted cross branded into your forehead, do you have any regrets at all?
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Hell no. You can't live life like that. If you live like that, regretting everything you've done that's not living life to the fullest man. I have no regrets.
Catch Deicide live, with Abysmal Dawn, Septicflesh, Inquisition and others. Friday, October 24, @ the Orange County Music Hall, 4210 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim, CA 92807 (714) 524-7338.