Here is an interview that I did with Tommy from The Accused for the blog at Vicland.com in the lead up to their show at the 2009 Supersonic Festival.
Vice: Hey Tommy. In a battle of the mascots thing we did in the magazine awhile back, Martha lost out to Voivod’s Nothingface guy. Do you want to see a rematch?
Tommy Accused: Actually, Martha Splatterhead and Nothingface have lived together peacefully for over 20 years now. Back in 1985, Voivod’s drummer, Away, and I were pen pals. We exchanged letters and occasional scribbles of artwork to each other via the mail. On my introductory, total fanboy letter I sent their fan club, I drew some crazy War and Pain-inspired drawing all over the envelope and shit. Well, Away sent back his very cool, twisted version of Martha Splatterhead when he answered my letter, and told us how much he liked the Accused record I sent. It was like a joining of forces from that day forward. We just haven’t planned the exact day the two shall team up for some sort of mascot domination death match against all the wannabe shitty mascots that are either still stinking up the planet or newly created to be in our way. Either way, the day is coming when Nothingface and Martha Splatterhead begin the onslaught. Stay tuned.
I can’t wait. How did the idea for Martha come about?
Mainly from horror comics from the 1960s and 1970s. Books like Weird and Creepy always had some cool female witch or demon-looking characters in them, which to us was always more terrifying than some dorky wolf-man or whatever. Who’s going to be like, “Oh! I’m scared of that mangy dog-faced professor over there! Look! He’s barking! AAHH!” Nah, man. Instead it’d be like some tall, thin exotic woman with long, flowing hair floating across a graveyard and you’d be all, “Fuckin’ A! (Boing!) I’m about to score!” as she hauntingly moves toward you through the foggy haze of the cemetery grounds. Then, as she is face to face with you: BOOM! She opens her mouth to reveal huge, razor-like teeth and she screams the most horrifying, hair-raising sound you’ve ever heard as her long, sharp fingernails rip you up by your sack and she bites your head off like a grape. That’s a little more of what we were after. So we invented Martha. Yeah, yeah, Iron Maiden’s Eddie was a consideration, too. No argument there.
While everyone and their dog has jumped to label you the godfathers of crossover or thrash or whatever, you have always called what you do splatterrock – which sounds much better. How do you feel when you see bands like Municipal Waste or Gamma Bomb getting so much coverage today, all of whom have clearly listened to a good few Accused records?
There’s nothing more satisfying than to know you’ve left a mark, and that your work has inspired people. At the end of the day, that is what we consider to be the most rewarding thing about creating music. It’s exceptionally cool if bands will share that fact with others as a kind of nod to us old fucks every now and again – which most have, so we’re cool with it.
Some of your records go for so much on eBay that I’d have to remortgage my house to afford them. If I had a house. Or a mortgage. I felt pretty good about that when I was selling them. I just didn’t set enough aside like some of those guys out there. Damnit.
How does it feel playing with a lineup that doesn’t really resemble the lineup of the 80s, early 90s or even early 2000 Accused? Lineup, schmineup though I guess because I have a copy of the new record and it rips.
That’s all I need to hear. Thank you for that. You know what? That is the first review we’ve seen for The Curse of Martha Splatterhead. I’m just going to phone the band. Hold on. OK, I’m back. They said, “Sweet!” and “Fuck yeah! Vice!” and stuff like that. The band line-up is great. Everyone’s happy, healthy, enthused, and ready to represent 20-plus years of music every night we are on stage or in a basement or a parking lot or a mountain top. We come to shred and won’t leave until you’re dead. Hey! I just made that up! Has it been taken?
I don’t think so. How does it feel being on a label like Southern Lord that most people associate with doom and ten variant vinyl releases?
Greg Anderson is a friend of ours from way back. To me, he’s one of the great they-made-it-out-in-time stories from Seattle. Our bands did some touring together when he was just a pup and over the years, from a distance, I’ve watched him create a great label full of bands he loves. So when he approached the Accused it was an easy decision. The roster of a label should never be a deciding factor in signing to a label. Look at Kiss or Rare Earth, the only white rock band on Motown Records. We’re not so much a Kiss-sized success but you get the idea. Stand out if you’ve got the shit to back it up. Anyway, after being forced upon some of the labels we’ve dealt with, it’s nice to go somewhere where they actually want you and to be apart of a family. It sounds hokey and bullshit but it’s true. Some of that past alienation we felt at labels was our own fault, we chose to be hard-to-classify and always hopped between genres and shit, so it would be difficult for a label to do their job I suppose. I guess we always thought labels got it when in hindsight they probably didn’t. Southern Lord definitely gets it and their staff have pretty much free reign to toss us around like a deflated sex doll if it’ll help them out with their job. We kinda like that every now and again anyhow.
Tell us five Splatter films to check out.
1) Street Trash
2) The Devil (The 1970s Japanese one.)
3) Evil Dead
4) Cannibal Maniac
5) City of the Walking Dead (Probably the first “fast” zombie Splatter horror movie).
What can Birmingham expect from your Supersonic show?
We’ll be giving Birmingham a dose of splatter rock they’ll be trying to wash off for weeks after the gig. We owe it to them. The UK was very good to the Accused before anywhere else even gave a shit. It’s time to pay up. We can’t wait to play there. We’ve added a special song to our set as a way to pay homage to some inspiring music for us that was created there long ago. Kind of an obscure one, but it’ll be cool if there’s even one bloke or lass that knows it because it fits the Accused very well. No hints other than that though.
The Accused formed the year I was born. How does it feel playing to kids who were foetuses when you were starting out?
That right there is the other total pay-off for us. If we can still remain worthy enough of a new crop of kids getting into our music every decade or so then we’re doing good. All we want is for the Accused to hold their own amidst the hundreds of bands out there now. The minute it’s sucking and we aren’t feeling it or people aren’t digging it, then it’s time to bag it and bury it deep. I don’t see that happening for a while though. So if you haters feel outnumbered, then sorry, we’re gonna keep pissing in your punch.