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Welcome to the snakepit!

av yngve

Image (2)

Laurent Snakepit

Laurent in the middle, together with a couple of the Death Dealer members.

Man, Snakepit, perhaps the best mag ever! If you are a metal nerd, if the details are important, if the correct details are important, if you want to avoid tabloid piss, avoid the trends, why in the name of true metal haven't you bought Snakepit? Hunted down every issue? Red it 'til your eyes bled? I have been a fan from the first issue, bought when advertised in the German Rock Hard classified. Laurent, the royal metal highness this interview is focusing on, have bled ink all the way, since he took over the ship from Frank Stöver. Keep reading, discover why Laurent bleeds metal! A rare interview, as Laurent doesn't frequent this end of the table often.

Laurent, you have been active in the metal scene for so long, it’s given to call you a veteran. I know a lot of people know you from your dedication to Snakepit Magazine, but I want to focus on telling your story, finding out when and what started it all, and how you view the metal scene of today. 

So, when did young Laurent first encounter the metallic substance? 

"Oh man… it started a long long time ago. Back around 79 if my memory serves me well… and it started in such a strange way… I was in college… 1st year or 2nd year and I recall seeing what we were calling U.S. bags other young students like me had in college and some had shit like Trust, Ac/Dc, Telephone, written on them, and it was unknown things to me. I just knew it was bands, but that was all. 

Up until that point I had been listening to French variety as we call it (an rediscovered some of it in the last 20 years) and bands that I was hearing on the radio like Blondie, Madness, XTC and so on. This was back when there was such a diversity on the radios…unlike nowadays where all you can hear almost exclusively is that total horseshit known as rap. Yeah those days were a far cry from the bullshit from now.

Anyway, I see that shit written with black markers on the bags, and next thing I decide is to go in a little shop where my college was -that’s another thing, back then you could find music everywhere- and I buy two tapes, Trust' 'Repression' (strangely enough this one is from 80 so ..) and Highway To Hell. Thankfully I didn’t choose to buy a Telephone tape lol - and discovered what it was. First listen, ok don’t see much about it, but by the 2nd or 3rd listen I was hooked. I had caught the virus…for good.

Yeah that’s how it all started. I was lucky enough to meet a guy who was hooked on this as well, and his older brother was already into Saxon, Tygers, Motörhead, UFO., and so on. So I discovered a brand new world! That was heaven to see those albums/bands that I had never heard about.

So that’s my introduction to this rebellish music (at the time)."

And where did you live, where did you grow up?

"I grew up in a small village in the countryside (THANK GOD I can’t stand towns nowadays), but there’s a medium sized town not so far from where I lived so I could have access to tiny record stores quite easily!"

Were anyone in your family the same way? Siblings into metal, parents into music, collecting their kind of music? I had a father into books, so I am pretty sure the collector gene came from him, and an uncle which had one of the biggest vhs-collections back in the 70’s and 80’s.

"My parent couldn’t care less about music, they were children from the war and their minds were elsewhere, but I have an older sister which was listening to a lot of French variety, and that certainly got me into music. Actually she went to live in Paris around 1977, and god she helped me a great deal getting me albums I couldn’t find in my area, like Restless And Wild when it came out or the first Acid album. Stuff like this.

I recall returning from a store in Paris (I was spending vacation time with her there) back in 83, and had the Hellhammer EP with me, and she had to endure Triumph Of Death! How many would have endured this without kicking out the record player?! (laughs)".

Snakepit (2)Was it a strong metal scene for you back then? Did you participate in a scene where there was a solid number of gigs, easy access to albums, friends sharing your love for metal?

"There was NO Metal scene considering I lived in a village. Me and like two other friends were the Metal scene there. No we had NOTHING. We had to discover everything by ourselves and shit. But like I said, Le Mans wasn’t a town that far, so I recall many Wednesdays after college early in the afternoon, me and the other guy who was a Metal fanatic at the college were doing auto stopping to go there and check the newer albums. Holy shit those trips.. and we had to return by auto stop. Sometimes it wasn’t working and we had to walk and walk, but hell what a great time it was returning with Iron Maiden Number Of The Beast , Priest Screaming For Vengeance , the Jag Panzer EP that I picked up cos the cover was raging, and after listening to it it was mine etc etc. Spending hours in that shop listening to records, and often being back with them… UFO Mechanix , Holocausts Nightcomers , Uriah Heep Abominog

See my friend had me discovering a radio show he and his older brother (the one I mentioned before) were listening every Friday night to Wango Tango on WRTL, and the guy, Francis Zegut (living legend like Tommy Vance etc.) was playing newer albums and classic hard Rock/ Heavy Metal for one hour. Heaven on earth I tell you. From 11 til midnight. God how many caught that show as they were in their beds. My friend was recording it every friday (unfortunately all is gone!) and he was writing in a little notebook what was played at every session… and he was into buying only albums that got played there. 

Thanksfully I didn’t follow that path and expanded my horizon otherwise stuff like Jag Panzer or Savag Grace or Anvil wouldn’t have never crossed my ears, but yeah, we were after albums played there, some were just like impossible to find being in France. Like that first Reckless album it took me 35 years before I ever saw this… or even Cintron etc… if only I still had those damn tapes and that little notebook he made.

This show influenced us a HUGE deal looking back. The guy could play AC/DC Highway To Hell and the next would be Accept Breaker . Imagine the effect it had on my young mind! I know it’s hard to imagine if you haven’t experienced that given the era and age it was. I guess only farts of my age can really relate to this."

I grew up on radio as well, where I was really lucky to live outside Trondheim, Norway, where there was a new show every day, different styles, back in 84-85 there was as show presenting all the new thrash stuff etc. A classic metal show, one Aor, a speed/thrash, regular metal/hardrock etc. And nightly brodacasting in weekends and holidays, where me and a friend taped the shows, called in to win albums...those were the glory days!

"As for gigs it took me a while before experimenting this. Having no driving license before 86 didn’t help, and there was no shows of interest (for the time) in France. Unfortunately I had given up on H-Bomb, Sortilege, Demon Eyes etc. early on at that point, and missed their show. Now that was a HUGE mistake, but when you’re young and wild you’re looking for the fastest and heaviest which I did, and forgot to concentrate on the quality aspect no matter if it was fast or not. By the way I did manage to see my first show in Paris on February 9th 1984…Venom /Metallica. I had nearly forgot about it! That was a year before it got trendy to like the young metal attack and their bunch of crap."

And I know you have a soft spot, perhaps more than a soft spot, for the underground. When did this aspect of being a metalhead set in?

"If there was no Ludovic Gluozko (R.I.P.), there would be no underground for me possibly - you never really know but. I had the chance to get to know this incredible guy via Metal Attack’s writer, Gil Tadic. He quickly understood we had something in common and put us in touch. And what I discovered with Ludo was a HUGE NEW WORLD! This is the guy who was mentioning in his letters (we’re talking 1984) shit like Cryptic Slaughter, Mantas, U.B.R., Ghostrider etc. etc. I was like in total awe reading all his names, and the guy had tapes already of those unknown acts. That’s when I got turned onto the underground myself. One would consider being into Wild Dogs, Exciter, Anvil, Jag Panzer and Savage Grace was already the underground, but now that was just a different level! And the degree of freshness coupled with the speed and heaviness was ridiculous for my young mind! I was addicted forever."

Snakepit (1)You were a tape trader? And any good stories?

"Oh yeah that’s also when I became a tape trader, I got initiated by Ludo and it quickly evolved from there. Having an add in the Penpal section of Metal Forces was the next level. Suddenly I was getting lists from hell from the U.S. mainly, and I was a poor chap with almost nothing to offer and I was in total awe looking at those unreal lists. Some still remains totally out of this world, I wish I had kept them all I tell you, but I kept the most important one of all time, Steven Main’s one. This guy had some of the greatest shit ever made on this earth. He also a friend of Kerry King and he got plenty of 1st gen Slayer live tapes directly from the board… guess that says a lot."

What magazines did you read? And was it expensive, hard to get? I remember doing the long trips on bikes, walking forever, be it snow, rain or shine, to get a hold of some of the magz. It isn’t the same heartfelt feeling these days, where everyone can get everything for free on the internet.

"I started with Best Magazine, it was the closest thing related to Hard Rock/Heavy Metal back in the mid/late 70s if you lived in France. You had like 90% of Rock, New Wave and Blues, and the remaining 10 % were based on my fave music. Better than nothing I guess. Rock ‘n ‘ Folk had a couple of pieces but that shittier for sure. Best remains a great memory for sure. In April ’83 things changed radically when we got announced on Wango Tango that a H.M. mag was coming. And what Metal mag it was, Enfer Magazine. It changed our world (Even I got a copy in Norway back then, haha :) Yj). I probably bought 5 copies of each issues until the 7th or 8th one, each being cut and put onto my bedroom walls. Enfer had a killer distribution and I could easily get it in my college village. We were probably like 2 or 3 buying this!

Then came like a couple months later Metal Attack, it was good but not Enfer’s quality (I’m talking about early Enfer until like issue 14 or so before dickhead Philippe Touchard took over the editor role and turned the mag into a shitty rag). By 84 as I often went to Paris to stay with my sister, I discovered a record shop called Juke Box which was Shades, Record Vault or Slipped Disc answer. This little shop was Metallers heaven. And they even had international fanzines like Aardshock, Kick Ass Monthly and Metal Forces. I didn’t know what to buy but they had M.F. issue 4 with a killer Snider picture on it and mostly Exciter and Jag Panzer written on the cover so I got it. I couldn’t understand much English at the time given the fact I just didn’t care about English lessons at that point in college, still I was understanding bits and pieces, and I was in total awe once again looking at the stuff featured in there. Enfer kicked ass, but now we were talking of a different level in Metallic craziness. That’s when I discovered all that new underground reading too.

And from there it was Kick Ass that I maybe bought the same day, it had Raven on the cover with than unreal interview with John Gallagher inside! Those were the days. Those young guys all covered in patches nowadays who’re trying to invent a life for themselves can’t know how it fuckin really was no matter how hard they’re trying."

Speaking of the triple w, do you share my view on the metal scene losing a lot of the charisma when the digital shift arrived? I really miss the hunt, the satisfaction on getting my hands on something, knowing it wasn’t available for anyone else. 

"Yeah I hear you bud, it certainly killed a good part of the whole thing, but with or without the digital change, the Metal scene was already well damaged by the amount of shit bands that took the scene by storm in the early 90s. That’s when things went out of control. But yeah, we certainly appreciated the things way more back in the day, because not only wasn’t there the oversaturation that we got to know for the last 30 years, but we had learnt to appreciate things for what they were. There’s no single doubt about this."

Ever been a musician? Played an instrument? Tried to play an instrument?

"Is that unfortunately enough?!"

You took over Snakepit when Frank signed off. What made you seek out Snakepit/Frank in the first place? Or was it the other way around? He wanted you?

"From being a young Metalfan, I got into writing by accident around 1985 when I got to know Ludovic Gluozko (who was simply the first French underground fanatic ever). He had his killer zine called Hardos Mag, which turned into Decibel Of Death (D.O.D.) after a while Unfortunately it was a short lived story (thanks to somebody called Jean Michel Attia who ruined most of Ludo’s dream, and it seems this individual didn’t change much over the decades from what I recently understood) and I decided to get it going after the first incredible issue. I kept on going until issue 9, which was around 1988.

Then I briefly got involved with The Wild Rag, Richard Campos was a GOOD dude for sure. Then I got fed up with everything Metal related, the way the underground was evolving into a bunch of horseshit until like 1997 when I accidentally discovered the first issue of Snakepit, and it was just a rebirth for me. Nothing less, nothing more! THANK YOU FOREVER Frank for having created this. And the D.O.D. story kind of repeated again as me and two other writers took over the mag with issue 5, otherwise it would have stopped.

So yeah that’s what happened man, I discovered Snakepit, loved how the interviews were done and loved the bands Frank chose to interview, bands that had completely disappeared from the radar. I needed that.  I was going back in time because of that great mag and I needed that as I was so fed up of the whole scene.

By 1991 I had sold 80% of my record collection (at that point I owned every single hardcore thrash, thrash, death metal - I’m not talking about speedy heavy metal here - released on this planet except the Accused first EP), and I was going back to my roots. I bought back all the Heavy Metal shit that I had sold like 7 years earlier as it wasn’t Thrash, you know the story, not fast and heavy so it sucks. Fuckin’ kids we were. So I bought back all the H.M. stuff that I loved as a kid, such as Jaguar, Holocaust, Raven, Metallica, Wild Dogs, Exciter etc., and with Snakepit coming under my radar my passion for old H.M. went back, because I had forgotten a lot of bands over the years, and some bands I never cared about because it wasn’t speed/ thrash, so the timing was perfect I’d say. 

And good old H.M. took over considering the thrash/death scene was nothing but total boredom except a few bands like Sacrifice, Morbid Angel and Slayer (til 1996). I got into the mag, loved to death every issue, and after the second issue came out, I told Frank how much I loved his work and if he wanted I could bring him some interview with old French musicians. He accepted straight away, and I was on the boat. 

I tried to do my best to come up with interviews that would be in the same style as Frank considering I loved what he was doing. I had to go back in my memories and archives because unlike for the Speed/ thrash stuff I didn’t know much anymore on the traditional H.M. stuff. That’s probably why the first interviews I did for issue 3 weren’t what they should have been, By issue 4 it was a bit better, and Frank from what I recall was extremely happy with it. So although I knew Frank by his previous involvement in the underground, for long I had never been in touch with him at all until when I told him how much Snakepit ruled."

Snakepit (3)I know it must have been an incredible amount of job making those issues. I am a nerd myself, loving details, but man, sometimes I am in awe of the artists on the other end of the interviews, having to remember and answering the sick detailed stuff :). Thoughts?

"See Yngve, that is why my love for reading stuff coming from the minds of Bob Muldowney and Borivoj Kgrin exist. I grew up being fascinated by the work they were doing when they were interviewing, and even reviewing stuff. They were coming with stuff that not a lot of people knew, especially Bori, he’s the ultimate master at it, and when he got to work in Metal Forces he literally blew everyone away which was even more accentuated in Thrash ‘N’ Burn actually.

So that passion for the historical details comes mainly from him, but also from Bob and even Bernard Doe. That’s what I love reading, I love learning shit from what I read. Oh those guys played in this obscure bunch?’Fuckin’ cool! I didn’t know that, so when I’m preparing interview

I also expect to learn stuff that I didn’t know, some stuff had been mentioned, but I want to know more you know? And I think a few of my readers like that. I know not all of them from some critics I’ve read on some forum, but well that’s how my vision of things is. It’s like doing this very interview, I could be superficial but no way I’m trying to give you details as much as I can remember on how things happened."

It was expensive to print, the number of pages grew, the decision to enter a partnership in order to receive some help on the expenses was made. How do you view this decision today? Was it a life or death move for Snakepit if not? And how was the situation for you and the mag prior to this deal?

"That was when Matt Coe and Heinz Konzett decided to move on (writers in Snakepit - Yj). I wish it had never happened, but Heinz wanted to focus on family things and Matt unfortunately tried to make us believe that we had to do this and that to improve sales in the states, but in the end nothing was moving there saleswise, so I said: NO MORE. Which was sad cos he’s certainly a killer writer, but I’m not into doing fantasy stuff.

So Snakepit after 11 could have died, but my love for old Metal took over everything, and I continued alone. It was hard cos I didn’t have the money to get it printed like it was until that point. I wouldn’t sacrifice my family for this, so the best thing I could do is making photocopies. At least they had improved a major deal since the D.O.D. days when the result was just awful each time I was photocopying the issues.

So yeah, I did like three issues that way 12, 13 & 14 and that’s when Yosuke came into the picture. If I recall well It was because of Metalion that it happened actually. If I recall well, he wrote me and mentioned to me that Yosuke could be interested in working on Snakepit. That is when Slayer was involved with him as well. I didn’t know Yosuke, but I was immediately interested because the only thing I wanted was to see Snakepit being printed in a pro way again, and not having to deal with the distribution side. It’s cool to package a bunch of mags and go to the post and stuff when you’re 20, but at 45 things are different as far as I’m concerned.

So I got in touch with Yosuke,and he was into working with me straight away. No bullshit, just into it right away. That was so fuckin’ cool!!!! If he hadn’t entered the picture I really have NO idea how things would have continued to be honest, but I doubt I would have continued for long with the photocopy thing.

And to be brutally honest, besides getting a handful of letters from readers telling me how much they appreciated my work, I’ve never got any real support, and not much have changed. It’s like oh cool there’s a new issue, but if there’s not, not many care AT ALL. Just brutally honest. It’s like going to the supermarket, there’s cheese? Cool. There’s not? Well, I’m gonna take something else. That’s really how my mind sees it. 

When KAM  (Kick Ass Monthly Mag- Yj) dissapeared I was like in mourning you know?! I cared about Bob’s work! I cared about the work were doing for my fave publications. I would drop them letters to let them know how killer what they were doing was!"

Snakepit Mag (3)You have covered an insane number of bands, in long and thorough articles, which in my world is a library I use if I want to go back and investigate. Are there any bands you never got to include? Someone never replying to your mails, some questions never answered, someone not interested in digging in the past?

"Oh man there’s so much to say in that department. Some I’ll forget for sure but well I’ll try to recall some of them.

I tried to include Anvil of course because I love early Anvil until like Absolutely. After this one it just became awful, except This is Thirteen which has some moments. But Lips and Reiner were too cool to answer my questions. Oh yeah, they’re such a big band that they have better things to do. Assholes.

When I see Paul Chapman (UFO - Yj) who was fuckin’ cool as fuck and gracious with me, by e-mail and by phone. A man who has played in front of thousands people and you have those two individuals who are too cool to grace the Snakepit pages. Fuck them big time.

Another notorious ass is John Camps/Cyriss, whatever he wants to be called. I got in touch with him when he was doing his Stellar Seed and asked him if he was into doing an interview if I recall well. I think he responded yes, and then I went on to work for like 6 hours on a huge interview considering what he had done (and I forgot Martyr!), only to hear back from him saying that wasn’t interesting into talking about his old projects. Can you fuckin’ imagine this?! I was mad and I’m still mad at such an ass. But I should know better and expect nothing from that guy. What did I got?

Oh Algy Ward from Tank. That was issue 4. I was at the first Bang Your Head fest in Tubingen on September 18th 1998 if I recall correctly, and Tank were playing, so I took a chance to interview one of my Metal heroes (early Tank ruled the earth in my youth). So I have the guy in front of me, I start asking the questions, and all I was getting was two words answers for each. Quite disillusioning to say the least. Frank actually did one before by phone, and it wasn’t really much better what he got, but we still put both in the issue. Talk about being respectful for such individuals… 

Who’s next. Glen Evans wasn’t much better when I tried to do a Nuclear Assault interview for issue 24. So it won’t become a reality considering Dan was hella nice as usual, but he wasn’t able to bring more than what I was actually bringing in my questions. Quite terrible.

And there’s certainly more/others, but that escapes me. 

One which is different but which represents the hell I’m going thru to put an issue is Brainstorm. I like ‘em a lot (well until they went on AFM Records), and I wanted to do an interview for quite some time. Then Covid came in March 2020, and I contact Thorsten and I presented the idea. The guy seems receptive, so I was all happy to have a main interview for issue 24. I start working hard on that, and it's not so easy to do an interview considering there’s not much to ask them about, despite their big discography. But still I push my ass and come up with a long interview. I present it to him telling he can do it while there’s covid time (nothing more appropriate in those times I guess), and at the end of the day nothing was done. I came back to him several times, but he was just sorry and blah blah, but nothing was done. And of course life was back by 2021, and their musical activities as well. Talk about being depressed when you have no less than 4 or 5 bands you had planned to have for issue 24 and they all shit on you. 

Yeah… that’s how it is. And I should have the heart at it?! No fuckin’ way. Cinema, Crystal Pride, Brainstorm, and a couple others, all shit on me. Never happened before, but it‘s like there’s a curse on this issue. But the BS one was the fatal hammer hit for me. Something you expect to be huge as main feature, that just don’t happen because some individual promise and just don’t care. Maybe one day it will become a reality but… it’s not for 2045 that I need it.

So yeah, that’s how it goes like behind the scenes. Also Larry from Blessed Death lied as well. Another huge disappointment, fuck him big time. All those Blessed Death guys, assholes. Oh yeah, Argus from Florida did it as well, a massive feature that those clowns never cared about despite having promised to do it. 

Another huge asshole is that Stoj clown from Pegazus. Now I remember this as well. The guy says he’s into it, so I prepare a massive one, then I hear it has to go thru their manager from Holland (big LOL!), which the guys answers that it’s not the right time or whatever bullshit excuse etc. etc. And in the end those clowns who never did anything than selling 1000 copies of each cds (talk about having a manager!) never answered anything. I was angry and still am, especially when you underground bands acting like this.

Wilson from Metalian, which I really enjoy a lot, also answering saying we don’t have much in common after he saws some of my Facebook posts (after the terrorist attacks from 2015), so the punkish kid doesn’t want anything to do with me. 

Oh yeah and a last one (but there’s more). I started doing an interview with Lothar Antoni (Trance - Yj) like 3 or 4 years ago, but for some reasons, I don’t recall, he stopped answering after a dozen questions or so (it had started ok). And these past days I have thought it would be cool to have Trance featured despite the fact the majority of the albums sucks, but Power quite kills, so I get Markus involved (let’s cross fingers). And I thought it would be cool to have Antoni involved and finishing his part, so I contact him, he says ok and I sent him the remaining questions which wasn’t a lot considering that there’s not much to ask and what do I get?: Well I don’t see any interest in covering the past. How cool is that. That fuckin’ old ass caring so much for his fans who bought his albums back then, and went to his shows and stuff! All fresh for that interview Yngve! So that gives you an idea.

I could talk about the Raven interview as well, when I wanted Rob Hunter involved with John Gallagher… major setback for unreal reasons."

Snakepit Mag (1)How do you feel Snakepit stands today? Has the younger (and the older as well) generation just been eaten by the smartphones? The internet? The streaming services? Or do you get feedback telling you the mag has made an impact on people after you released the last issue?

"In all honesty I don’t know where it stands. Honestly, I thought having it pro printed and having a better distro from the States would expand its visibility a great deal, cos I hear there’s tons of metalheads around, but in the end we’re selling less than when Heinz was taking care about it and was selling a bunch at Keep It True. It’s just a fallout and just hits a ridiculous part of the scene. Why I don’t know? Those so called metallers have better things to buy than this crap.

For me the mag is exactly what I would LOVE to read as a reader (and I don’t find anymore these days, the last one interesting was Steel Conjuring) but hey…it’s just me. Maybe I’m all wrong and the rag is just good to please a few people cos it sucks. Honest. How can I know where it stands considering the feedback is almost close to ZERO? There’s always the handful of same people who gets back to me and says how much they enjoy what I do, but it’s a ridiculous handful. Like I often say, I have more than 1000 people following the facebook page, but we have problems selling 700 copies. If there’s not a problem, then I wonder what it is.

I know some has left the boat because of my mentality, but I don’t care. I won’t change because those people don’t like my views. If they really start to think about it, they’ll see I’m not wrong, but you gotta see things in it’s truth, and the truth is no good. So yeah I complain every edito, I should be called Mr. Complain , and people are not used to this, but if I had no fundamental reasons to complain then I wouldn’t. These same people just can’t take in consideration the amount of work put into an issue. They fuckin’ don’t cos they just DON’T care about what’s involved to put an issue out! And that pisses me off big time. If I was complaining and I was putting out a crap job like some bands put out crap albums, then I wouldn’t complain, but hell, even if nothing is perfect, I’m doing a decent job I guess, at least one that I would love to read as reader again."

I do angle the mag as being over, ‘cause it has been so long since the last issue, and I haven’t picked up any hints on any new stuff coming out. Or am I totally wrong? Perhaps you are writing the last page in the new issue right now? :)

"You’re right in a certain way, but my previous answers will answer this question. If I had not experienced the bullshit delay I had to experience with having the monstrous (possibly my all time fave incidentally) issue 22, then my mind wouldn’t have suffered the way it did 4 years ago. I suffered a great deal emotionally to do a major kick ass issue finished, and not being able to get it printed for reasons that weren’t depending on me. And I can’t blame Yosuke either considering the job he did over the years, but it was a fact, the issue was all ready to kick peoples ass, and it was just pushed and pushed in terms of delay.

When it came out, I was diminished a great emotionally, something people can’t understand of course. Then I decided to change because the same people who hates to read me complaining in every edito, are the same complaining about the postage high prices from the states, so I said fuck it. Coupled with the delay I had to see 22 out , I stopped dealing with Yosuke (and like I said I don’t blame himt AT ALL, if it wasn’t for his work Snakepit would have probably died after issue 15 or so). And I chose to go with my long time friend Manos Koufakis (Somic Age Records/Cult Metal Classics - Yj), and he did a killer job with 23. Even if I had not recovered completely from issue 22, and the poor sales (like if the delay wasn’t enough!), I was happy with 23. Things seemed to go back on rails, and then I thought it was time for the next issue, but then came the bands chosen like I have explained earlier, the many bands cheating on me. And when you’re already not that solid mentalwise anymore, then it just finish the work.

People should thank all those musicians who just act like assholes for what they’re doing. But you know it took a while before I recovered from all this, and the Brainstorm one especially, 'cos you don’t replace a main feature by clicking fingers. I finally choose another one, and it was another very hard process to force (these days I’m to the point where I have to force myself to come up with questions if you want to know the brutal truth!) myself in preparing another big interview when your mind is not in place to think about it the way it should like before.

People think getting an issue out is like going to the supermarket and getting what you need, as easy as this. But no fuckin’ way. I’ve never followed any fuckin’ trends, I’ve never been politically correct, I’ve never said about an album it’s cool which means NOTHING in the end. You can hate my guts as you want, but I’m one of those guys who knows what dedication means, even if I pay a good price at the end of the day. So I’m at that point, hoping this one will really happen and will live up to my expectations. If so, work will be put into issue 24. So nothing is written in stone yet. It’s so sad that we’re at this point noe, considering earlier years, when it was just a natural process where I could have put out 2 or 3 issues per years…. Believe it or not."

What is positive with today, today’s music, today’s way of doing things? What is in your view not good? What do the world need to understand is not positive? Not as much your subjective views, more things we’ve lost and where the replacements are downgraded.

"The actual Metal scene… well what can I say? When I thought things were going back for a good fuckin’ time in the late 90s/early 2000s, it actually turned into a circus and nothing else. Between all those new Heavy Metal bands which are terrible (N.W.O.T.H.M.) for a good part, those festivals which features just shadows of once great bands and bullshit like this. How can one be enthusiastic about this?! I’m certainly not."

And your subjective views, what do you miss with the old days? I know there is a lot for me. 

"When I got to hear an album as kick ass as Syris Unseen Forces back in 98, I wasn’t missing anything from the 80s, but an album like this is like an accident. There were a couple of accidents in the late 90s and 2000s, but overall I miss EVERYTHING from the 80s. It’s not to sound like everything before was better. It’s just a fuckin’ fact. What was produced in the 80s, whatever style, was so much better than all the bullshit after, and even before, by far. We were just LUCKY to be around and got to know that period when there was so much quality and newer styles within a style created. That’s just a fact.

Newer styles were also created (and re created unfortunately) later on, but it was just total horseshit. So yeah, I miss everything, the sheer excitement when I was getting recordings from newer bands, one more extreme than the other. I miss the reasonable quantity of records issued each month, comparing to later years where almost everybody had a band. I miss all those aspects. I’m just a stranger in this actual world actually and I mean it." 

You are running a Facebookpage for Snakepit, not including the content from the mag. Ever considered publishing some of the interviews online?

"Actually that could be a great idea. I should think about it Yngve. Maybe people would see what Snakepit is all about? But at the same time, I guess it wouldn’t bring more interest considering those people just care about jumping from one thing to another in those shitty digital days…. But I’ll consider it for next year!"

Snakepit Mag (2)The books, we need to address the books! I am happy for those getting their hands on the early issues, but the collector in me suffers, haha. 

"Haha sorry my friend! When Manos approached me about the idea I was into it right away, so into it that I forgot to talk about it to some people that happened to be a bit pissed off about the whole thing after. Never thought it could have happened, but it did. I was so happy about the book idea! All kudos to Manos, because nobody else ever approached me about doing this, like nobody ever approached Mike Hannon about doing Kick Ass Monthly as a book in memory of the mighty Bob Muldowney. How cool is that? Same people who are busy putting out senseless books in the meantime. And we made sure to come up with a very special 7” with each book, 7”s that would surprise people because we’re not talking about obscure shit like Assassin or Wikka here!"

Laurent 2022, what’s left of your commitment, your dedication? Do you use your time researching, collecting, on the same scale as before? Or is it a case of giving up, retiring a bit, relaxing, old people often do complain on the younger generation, hehe.

"Hard to say, on one hand I’m really diminished as a result of the fucks up I’ve already mentioned, but at the same time a part of me is still totally dedicated you know?! I have this in my blood forever til my last breath I guess, and that’s not just to say something cool you know. People that really know me know that it’s true. Yeah, I’m always researching, I spend a lot of time still collecting flyers from bands I like - those posted on the site is just a minimal % of what it is.

And I'm still open to hear shit I’ve never heard. That’s why I got into Gojira last year, something I never thought that could happen. I've always puked on their releases, but their last two ones just kills. So yeah, I’m always dealing with the Metal thing, collecting boots from bands I like (a sad trend unfortunately, worst than ever but I can’t help especially when it concerns Slayer 1983-1996). Right now I’m partying ways with albums I bought because I thought they were good for the time, like the Agent Steels reformation ones or Atom By Atom etc., but they happen to be total boredom and senseless. So good bye."

In my life, Snakepit and your incredible level of knowledge, is one of the most important publications. Ever. Know a lot of people share my opinion, though most people have sunk into a dazed state, not appreciating the printed word or music in physical format. A huge and humble thank you from me to you Laurent.

"THANK THANK THANK YOU… you know in all honesty I would be very happy to meet people like you or Brian Ash and a few others, who I know really love my work. I’m sure we could talk about Metal for hours, or if not then it would be a total letdown for me, but I’m sure by exchanging with some of you guys that we would share the same sheer enthusiasm for the quality Metal!"

Any last words, hate speech, love, news? Please give it your best:

"Hard to say. I’m very happy to have done this new interview, I’m doing like one per year - some I don’t even know if they are used - you probably got one of the deepest I’ve ever done, because your questions deserved this, the way it was asked. Hope you’ll enjoy the answers. They come from the heart."

Man, what an honour, ladies and gentlemen, Laurent!

You can order the second book, containing the issues 6 - 9 at Sonic Age/Cult Metal Classics , a kick ass defender of the true metal legacy!

Snakepit (1)