He's known as one of the most brutal frontman in metal, and rightly so as demonstrated every time his band, Dethklok, plays live, often leaving piles of obsessed fans literally dead in its wake. Nathan Explosion's brutality is also apparent in his bilious vocal performance on tracks like "I Ejaculate Fire" and "Impeach God" off the group's new album, Dethklok III. But how did he become so brutal? We recently sat down with the intimidating Explosion to get a little insight.
REVOLVER What do you remember about being born?
NATHAN EXPLOSION Nothing. I remember nothing now that I think of it. Now I'm starting to wonder if it even happened. Fuck. I may not have been born. That's weird. I never thought of this before. I might be the only living person that wasn't even born. Fuck.
How would you describe your parents and how did they influence you?
I like my parents. They've always been supportive of what I wanted to do. That's pretty important. I was a quiet kid so my parents would take me around everywhere trying to get me excited about stuff. I remember my dad taking me to a cattle-rendering plant when I was little. I remember seeing mutilated parts or animals. In a way, I think that influenced me.
You didn't say a word until you were 5 years old. What's up with that?
I don't know. I really didn't have anything good to say so I just kept to myself. Until one day I was at my dad's factory and a guy got his hand caught in a machine—I think I said "Fuck" and that may have been my first word.
You grew up in Florida. Got any good amusement park stories?
In high school, I went to Epcot Center drunk and threw up on the robot Lincoln they used to have. My nickname afterwards was John Wilkes Puke because Lincoln short-circuited.
You claim your ethnicity is white and Native American. How has the Native American culture influenced you?
I'm not sure really… I mean I enjoy gambling and cigars. Is that what you mean? I also have very vivid dreams like Native Americans do when they "dream walk," but I think that's because I eat ice cream and pepperoni before I go to bed… Uhhhhhh, people call me Tonto sometimes. Is this what you're looking for answer-wise? I'm also an 84th Yannemango Indian—they were, uh, cannibals… So yeah… So that's dormant within me somewhere…
Did you like school? Were you a bully or were you picked on?
Fuck no, I didn't like school. Are you serious? Being at school was like being audited for your taxes every day of your life. Every child in America is thrust into the ultimate brutality: fucking public schools. Brutal. Ugh. I'm getting cold sweats thinking about it. Yuck!
And no, I wasn't a bully, but I once sucker-punched a bully after he beat up a kid. I just remember him with this confused look on his face right before I put it in the toilet and started flushing. I guess I bullied a bully. Nowadays they'd give me an award for something like that.
When you were in school, a drunk driver killed all of your friends and your teacher. How did that shape who you are now?
In no way do I see that event having anything to do with things that I do in my life. In no way whatsoever and I'm totally OK with it. [Long stoic unblinking silence]
Why didn't you graduate high school?
I've said this a thousand times before: "School sucks." And I was already in a couple different bands and school was just interfering with my music. I realized you could do this trick called "not showing up" and then you don't have to deal with that waking nightmare. And in no way does not having finished high school inhibit my life, mainly because Calculus rarely comes up.
When did you start learning French? Has it ever gotten you in trouble while on tour in Canada, France or Africa?
I got lost and missed the bus in Montreal once while on tour and this nice group of beautiful young strippers took me in and took care of me for a few weeks. In exchange for pleasuring them sexually, they would teach me remedial French. A pretty good deal any way you slice it. Now I know enough French to order a burger and get a lap dance.
When did you discover metal?
I was pretty young when I started listening to Slayer, Maiden, Mercyful Fate, maybe about 9 or 10, and I started having dreams of this band and it was a metal band. And this guy with long black hair was the singer. And his face was always blurry. But it was a band I'd never heard of… And I would run off and sneak into local shows when I was a kid and see the local Florida bands trying to find this band I was dreaming of… Anyway I never found the band so I decided to form the band from my dreams and that would be Dethklok.
How did you know that you were a singer?
I felt more comfortable being loud in a microphone than having a conversation with anybody on any given day. There was something calming about screaming and if you're doing that while walking down the hallway people just think you're a weirdo… If you have a band behind you, it's OK. That was an important lesson for me.
Did you play in any bands before Dethklok? What were they like?
I was in a band for some of high school—right after I quit the football team. We were called Sebacious Gutslash Wraith Worm, which was wordy and clusterfucky and hard to chant. Musically, it was more on the punkier side of death metal with sloppy proggy elements to make it sound garbagy. I remember losing interest during some of the musical sections and taking naps… My god, that band blew.
When did you first know Dethklok was successful?
The second the five of us were in the same room. I just felt a shift in the air. I remember looking at Pickles and he felt it, too. The band that I had been dreaming of was there and something just clicked. I knew we were going to be something special. I didn't sleep for days, I shook a lot. But I was also drinking a lot of coffee back then.
When did you first become aware of Dethklok groupies? How did you handle their advances?
Well, that's a tricky one. I mean… Lemme put it this way: Nobody in their right mind is gonna refuse a hot lady who has no emotional connection to you whatsoever who simply wants sex. But you need to be careful, so Charles, our manager, performs lengthy background and disease checks on all potential groupies and makes them sign "paternity waivers" so that we can never legally be pronounced the father. And I'll tell you something, it seems to be working…
How did you spend your first million?
Bud Light. Next question.
You were once governor of Florida. What was the hardest part of being in charge?
Waking up early for meetings. That's probably the only reason I wouldn't be president. That dude's gotta wake up early, and I'd rather die than wake up before 2 p.m. I'm fucking serious about that! Fuck waking up! Fuck that shit!
What was the process of making your new album like? Any behind-the-scenes stories we haven't heard yet?
We'll get pretty drunk and everybody brings ideas to the table and we start out with the rule: "There are no bad ideas." And once Murderface starts yapping, we change the rule to "There are some pretty shitty ideas and they come from Murderface." But we'll generate tons of new stuff and start recording and wait a few days to see what sticks. And then we'll Frankenstein some different parts together. When I first record lyrics, I'm pretty much making up nonsense words just to find the right rhythms, then I'll go away for a while with my rhyming dictionaries and my medical dictionaries and we're off to the races.
This record went pretty smoothly because we got smart and put sleeping pills in Murderface's Taco Bell. And by the time he'd wake up, we'd have the songs finished with the bass parts—that Skwisgaar recorded—done, and he wouldn't know what happened. What an idiot. We still laugh about that.
Looking back on your life so far, what are you proudest of?
Shit. Hm. That's a tough one. Uhhhh. Shit. I mean, I guess I'm proud of nothing. I'm not very proud of anything. I'm not proud of the success or the money or anything. I'm vaguely proud of the amount of sex I've had. But I mean the idea of looking back on my life seems like something Oprah would do to try to get you to be vulnerable, so I'm gonna go the other way and say fuck you. I'm not proud. I'm angry. Fuck you for trying to make me vulnerable.
We've heard some guy named Brendon Small has been touring the world playing Dethklok's music. What would you do to him if you crossed his path?
Brendon Small? That name sounds familiar… Playing Dethklok? Hm… I mean, sounds strange to me for some reason. What would I do if I crossed his path? I don't know. Sue him? But that might be like suing myself… I'd want to know how good his show is compared to mine, and if it's better, then we've got some work to do.