MARDUK guitarist Morgan Steinmeyer Håkansson recently spoke to Rockdetector.com editor Bernard Doe. The interview included Håkansson's explanation as to why MARDUK have not been able to play in the USA and his surprising fondness for churches. Several excerpts from the interview follow:Rockdetector.com: Do you think you will be able to play any shows in the U.S., because you have had some major problems getting permission to play there in recent years? Morgan Håkansson: "We have a lawyer working on that for us and I am hoping that we will have it solved within the next three or four months. In the past we have had to cancel three tours because of the problems, so we are not going to book any shows there until we have the visas in our hands." Rockdetector.com: What have been the problems exactly? Morgan Håkansson: "In the past it has been Legion and I who have had the problems. Criminal records and stuff like that. Actually, it is no big deal, but since 9/11 and the terrorist attacks in America it's become more of a problem and it now takes forever to get papers worked out." Rockdetector.com: But it's not just that, politically the U.S. is very much run on Christian values and... Morgan Håkansson: "Oh yeah, 'In God We Trust', Ha! Ha!" Rockdetector.com: In the past, black metal bands have been connected with extremist groups, and now, since 9/11 and knowing how paranoid America has become with security, you are probably being viewed as potential terrorists! On that principle, especially with a criminal record, there is probably little chance that you personally will be allowed into the country to play there. Morgan Håkansson: "I don't know, as I said, we have a lawyer over there working on it and he has said that he will sort it out but it will just take time." Rockdetector.com: You mean, four years, after Bush has gone? Morgan Håkansson: "Ha! Ha! Well, we are giving it one last chance to be allowed to enter the country and if it doesn't work, then screw it, I'll never try again because I won't give a fuck anymore. We have already spent thousands of dollars trying to sort it out so this is the last chance." Rockdetector.com: Now, you were a part of that whole black metal scene when the church burnings were going on in Scandinavia during the early '90s. Looking back, how do you feel about that now? Morgan Håkansson: "Well, at the time I thought that it was really good with church burnings. But then you realize that they will only rebuild the churches and it's the tax payers who have to pay for it. So it was just of symbolic value, and it didn't bring forth anything at all. In the end it was worthless." Rockdetector.com: So now those actions are something that you would not condone? Morgan Håkansson: "I don't really care about it. As I said, church burning has symbolic value, but personally I like churches. We have some really old churches here in Sweden and when I am travelling around the country I take a lot of photos of them. For me, churches do not have anything to do with Christianity. They are fascinating things because they have historical values and as a symbol they mean a lot to me personally." The full interview can be found at Rockdetector.com.
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