Martin Atkins interview
Scene: Tell me about the current situation with Skinny Puppy.
Martin: (laughter) I spent three and a half months working on the new Skinny Puppy album _last_ February, February '94. I replaced Roli Mosimann as the producer and worked on vocals with Ogre, helped write some new material and worked on refining and creating some new songs. Are you on the Internet much?
S: No. But I've heard rumors.
M: There's a lot of gossip on the Internet right now about the future of Skinny Puppy. I can say, something I can comment about and I feel comfortable commenting about, is the Shakespearean ugliness, the black hole, the total void of human moral responsibility or kindness lodging in the heart of that band. You know, I've been around very successful, charismatic people for a long time. I spent five years with PiL, I've worked with Trent (Reznor, Nine Inch Nails), I've known Trent for a long time, I was on the Ministry tour with Jourgensen and Ogre, and believe me, Jourgensen was somewhat disgruntled by the effect of Ogre's charisma. It's just a natural thing - you can't go to "charisma class", you either have it in large, frightening amounts, or you don't. And when you see that, when I see that - that kind of magical, natural force that resides within people, you just stand back. You help where you can. One of the reasons I left PiL was I saw that Lydon could light up a room, he could hold 3,000 people completely in the palm of his hand. He could make somebody's year with a friendly comment in a hotel lobby. But, what he chose to do more often than not was he also had this native ability to reach inside somebody's heart or mind or soul and just destroy them with a comment. After seeing people be destroyed with one or two comments in public one too many times I just said, "Fuck this. This is just a misuse of a God-given power." Within Skinny Puppy resides all kinds of jealousies and bullshit that have to do with Ogre's charisma. My question to Cevin and Dwayne constantly was, "Look... whatever, you know - whatever ...unfortunately, you guys could fucking release a 57 CD box set of your keyboard tinklings and nobody would give a flying fuck. And that's the sad truth of it. You know, maybe you'd sell 4,000 copies of your keyboard tinklings. But within Skinny Puppy is a magic that the three of you hold." They just were unable, through jealousy, to allow Ogre to shine. So in Skinny Puppy, the dynamic was to suppress Ogre, and his opinion and just like the worst, worst, _worst_ dysfunctional family, there was also a support system, in which Ogre's belief in himself and his opinion was constantly invalidated to the point where I think Skinny Puppy is dangerous for Ogre as a human being.
S: You have a very strong point of view.
M: You spend a day with those guys and you see it. When you see what I've seen...
S: So they have a very unhealthy relationship going between all three of them.
M: Yeah. And, you know, to me, when you suppress anything, it's just disgusting. It's absolutely disgusting to me.
S: What about Dwayne and Cevin's relationship?
M: It's sad. I think Dwayne is a very talented individual who, because Cevin taught him some things four years ago, and because Cevin believes Skinny Puppy is _his_ band, Dwayne will never be anything more than Cevin's assistant. So, you have three individuals in a band who strive for a democracy but Cevin and Dwayne are the same "morphed" keyboard player. It's pretty twisted to see it in action. I feel very lucky to NOT be a part of a situation like that where ...you know, the closest I can explain it to you - if you've seen Amadeus - the relationship between Mozart and Salieri. The suppression of talent is the relationship between Ogre and Cevin/Dwayne. And some aspects between Cevin and Dwayne also. And that's much more of an insight than I probably should be giving you, as a Producer of a situation that was opened up to me, in the course of doing my work as a Producer. It's my opinion of Skinny Puppy and it's just sad.
S: It is, because the music they've come out with is incredible and original and we need more of it ...
M: Yeah. Well, it's really difficult - you can lead a horse to water ... Roli Mosimann is a great talented individual. He was unable to progress Puppy. I felt as though I'd progressed things substantially.
S: So were you able to make peace between them?
M: No. I have an unfortunate ability, which is to call things as they are. I see things very clearly, very quickly. It might have to do with not drinking for two and a half years.
S: Well, having an insight into people is a special gift also.
M: And to me, it was just plain as day, just almost immediately - the insecurities that were at work. No, I haven't made peace with Cevin and Dwayne. I would assume at this point that they hate my guts because I know, BECAUSE I _KNOW_ what their "gig" is. I know what is at the heart, what is in the depths of their souls, which is _NOTHING MUCH_. So therefore, I am "the enemy", I AM SURE.
S: If you weren't before, you will be now.
M: Yeah. That's fine with me.