TOM GABRIEL FISCHER: 'I Have Absolutely No Interest In Resurrecting CELTIC FROST Once Again'

BigMusicGeek.com recently conducted an in-depth interview with former HELLHAMMER/CELTIC FROST and current TRIPTYKON mainman Tom Gabriel Fischer. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

BigMusicGeek.com: When you and Martin [Ain] initially formed HELLHAMMER, did either of you have any idea the impact your music would ultimately have? Did you feel as if you were creating music that would withstand the test of time?

Tom: "No, not at all. HELLHAMMER was formed for deeply personal reasons. We didn't do it for that reason and couldn't have foreseen that happening. The actual truth is that in the time when HELLHAMMER existed, the biggest band was AC/DC. There was no extreme metal scene. There was no METALLICA or SLAYER. The only extreme bands out there were VENOM and MOTÖRHEAD, both at the time very much in the underground. Extreme metal as such didn't exist, so even the heavy metal scene, and I'm not just talking about the people on the street, laughed at us, derided us and put blocks in our path to make it more difficult for us. No one took us seriously, so we thought we'd remain a basement band forever. We were practicing in our basement and no one took us seriously, so there was absolutely no way in hell we could have foreseen what was going to happen. The other things is that it took ten years after the demise of HELLHAMMER for the band to gain any type of fame. HELLHAMMER only became the name that is today after the first big wave of black metal that took place in Norway in the ‘90's. Up until then, HELLHAMMER was just another band that had been all but forgotten about."

BigMusicGeek.com: At what point did you realize that your tenure with CELTIC FROST was once again coming to an end? Was there a specific scenario or series of events or was it more of an inevitability that the group had run its course?

Tom: "To be quite honest, I had sensed it for some time. I just didn't want to admit it. CELTIC FROST was much more than just a band to me. It was my life, my ideology and pretty much represented my entire being. Of course I didn't want to see it destroyed again, so despite having all the inside information, I tried to disrupt its destruction and probably stayed too long even though it was fairly obvious that I couldn't face the band. Actually, I blame the final drummer of CELTIC FROST for the destruction of the band. If (former CELTIC FROST bassist Martin (Ain) has any part of this, it's his inactivity that opened the door to this. He simply did not want to involve himself in anything negative, which on one hand is commendable, but on the other hand, it's simply not realistic in this world or within a band that works under pressure twenty four hours a day. You simply have to be a man and be involved, especially if certain personal conflicts threaten the whole band. Martin was initially reluctant to become involved and that basically opened the door for one person to let his ego run freely until there was really nothing left of the band."

BigMusicGeek.com: CELTIC FROST obviously underwent several line-up changes. With that in mind, do you feel the current TRIPTYKON line-up has the intestinal fortitude to successfully withstand the trials and tribulations of the industry?

Tom: "Unfortunately, almost every band probably comes to a point once or twice in their existence where they have to make a line-up change. Somebody either gets tired or there is some sort of personal conflict. But even if such a change is legitimate and necessary, in my opinion, after thirty years of being in heavy metal, such a change will always hurt a band. There is a certain chemistry when you form a band and when you lose a member, even when it's justified, some of the magic is lost. Having said that, of course we will do everything we can to keep this line-up stable. We are experiencing an extreme sense of friendship and even family within TRIPTYKON. I was very careful when I assembled this line-up, especially with the experiences I had with CELTIC FROST. I wanted this band to consist of friends. I think I can speak for the whole band in saying that we all feel exactly the same and will do whatever it takes to keep this line-up together. Everything on this earth is subject to change, but we will do whatever it takes to keep this particular line-up together as long as humanly possible."

BigMusicGeek.com: Retrospectively speaking, how do you feel regarding the "Cold Lake" era of CELTIC FROST? Considering the passage of time, have your opinions on material such as "Cherry Orchards" and "Juices Like Wine" changed?

Tom: "It was a very difficult period. We had all completely lost our path. If you look at the people that recorded the breakthrough CELTIC FROST album 'Into The Pandemonium' in 1987, of the three people involved with that album, none of us were able to create something meaningful afterwards. Martin left the band and didn't get involved in serious music again until CELTIC FROST was reformed, (drummer) Reed St. Mark joined MINDFUNK, but quickly exited and MINDFUNK never really took off and I recorded an album that was really a piece of shit, a total aberration. I think the band was completely burned out, not just musically, but we also had great difficulties on a business level. We had spent fourteen months legally fighting our record company at the time (Noise Records) which bankrupted the band and pitched everyone against each other. At the end of this, we had regained our artistic freedom, but there simply wasn't a band left to exploit this. Each one of us tried to deal with it in their own way. I tried to record an album with people that had nothing to do with CELTIC FROST and the results were disastrous. None of us were able to connect to the recent past of CELTIC FROST. I view this era as very tragic and difficult and the resulting music is awful. I don't even own a copy of the album. It's not a time I like to look back on. …When I think about CELTIC FROST, I usually think about the first three albums and then it starts all over with 'Monotheist' These are the four albums that I personally rate as being classic CELTIC FROST. I know tastes and opinions will always vary, but this is my personal opinion regarding the music of CELTIC FROST."

BigMusicGeek.com: At this point in your career, can you definitively say that CELTIC FROST has permanently ceased to exist? Is there any chance that a reconciliation between yourself and Martin could potentially lead to a final resurrection?

Tom: "Yes. That I can. There are a lot of things you can't say with an air of being definite, but this I can say. I have absolutely no interest in resurrecting CELTIC FROST once again. When I last resurrected CELTIC FROST, I did it with absolute conviction and I put a huge amount of money, time and energy into it. I counted on the other people in the band to do the same, but unfortunately, I feel as if I had been betrayed and stabbed in the back and I'm not about to once again make this gargantuan effort in my life without people I can trust. As much as I loved CELTIC FROST and as much as I loved the music, I can't see myself getting into that again. But on the other hand, I formed TRIPTYKON to be as close as humanly possible to CELTIC FROST. As I've said before, the differences were on a human level and not on a musical level. I'm trying to further the musical legacy and further develop my style and songwriting exactly as I would have done it in CELTIC FROST, so hopefully it will be better with this TRIPTYKON line-up. CELTIC FROST, at least with me involved, will not be resurrected again. I can't imagine it without me being involved, but unfortunately, I really wouldn't put anything past them, either."

Read the entire interview at BigMusicGeek.com.

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