Loony drunk or genius? MARC HEAL'S extrovert personality has attracted
as many critics as it has fans. Still, with songs such as the seminal 'Oxyacetalene',
few can doubt CUBANATE'S extraordinary appeal.
But what's Marc really like?
One gorgeous balmy summer's evening, Frontline Assembly's Rhys Fulber was kindly
answering a few questions when we heard a shout. "Don't listen to him! HE'S LYING!"
"Oh, that's just Marc from Cubanate," explained Rhys. "Ignore him," he giggled.
The interview continued with similar such interruptions from the mad bloke at the next table.
It's an interesting first impression to make on a person.
Rhys was taking time out from a recording session in Fulham - it was the post-production
on what turned out to be 'Interference', the break-filled crossover album from Cubanate,
and arguably their best.
was two years until its final release, and in that time, Cubanate scored yet
another lucky break.
Four songs from their acclaimed 'Antimatter' album appeared on the 'Gran Turismo' soundtrack.
As the computer game sold by the lorry-load, so the royalties accumulated.
When the first big cheque came through, celebrations were in order.
So, we found ourselves in the legendary Devonshire Arms pub in Camden.
Marc and C-Tec fellow Ged Denton were there, as was the tracks' co-writer Graham Rayner.
As a member of Graham's new project, I was invited along, and met Marc for the second time.
He greeted me with a suitably shocking insult, but apologised later.
And besides, Marc got the rounds in, so I guess he's forgiven really.
The lasting impression was of someone who was, despite his outrageousness, a pretty nice guy.
His somewhat caustic wit belies a warm charm that makes it nearly impossible to take offence
at his mischievous outbursts.
Heal is a fairly complex case, though.
He's a notorious bon viveur who can't do anything by halves.
Therefore, in his business life, he is a hard-headed character who views band-members
primarily as colleagues rather than friends.
In his social life, he'll always help out his mates and he's garnered a party-animal
reputation that he's finding hard to shake.
It's not as though he behaves particularly badly - hell, we've all fallen over drunk
before - but Marc just does it with so much panache!
Cubanate gig is something I have anticipated for quite some time.
I haven't seen them before, and I'm interested to see what new recruit Roger
[from Leech Woman] will add to the collective as a particularly talented drummer.
The band have just returned from a tour of the States with influential cyber-metallers Fear Factory.
I'm anxious to find out how that went, but witnessing how stressed everybody appears today,
I don't fancy my chances of getting a quick word in.
Marc arrives, genial as ever, and says I can have a ten-minute sound-bite session if I'd like to.
It means that I can't ask a lot of the questions I'd prepared earlier, so asking about
the release delay for 'Interference' and more in-depth background material was out of the picture.
But, hey - it was a brilliant evening with four excellent bands on the bill
[Cubanate, VNV Nation, Leech Woman and Saints of Eden],
so the only thing left to do was to roll the tape:
introduced to somebody called Jools who plays guitar for the band.
What, I ask, Julian Beeston? This is greeted with gasps of horror and I have to
apologise, explaining that I'd heard the name and wasn't sure.
Marc smiles and states that he has worked with Julian before, but this is a different Jools.
Say "Hello" to the tape, Marc!
Jools [in Marc-style scream]: "I WANNA LIVE!"
So, how's it been going?
"That's not a very good question," Marc replies, mock-chidingly.
Jools: "WHO WANTS TO LIVE?"
I can see this is turning into Marc's big come-uppance for that Rhys Fulber interview.
Oh well. Okay, then - how well did you get on with Fear Factory on the US tour
you have just returned from?
Jools: "LIVE AND LET LIVE!!!!"
Marc: "Yeah, very good, very good. I nearly had a fight with Dino
[Cazares, Fear Factory's guitarist], though."
What was that all about?
Jools: "HE WOULDN'T LET HIM LIVE!" [whole room collapses into fits of giggles]
Marc: "It was after a show and we were having a conversation and he said,
'You remind me of Tairrie B,'
To which I said, 'What, physically?',
And he said 'Mentally, because you just want to try to attract attention to yourself.'
I said, 'But what about you, Dino?'
And he said, 'You're very shallow'.
I said, 'Well, with the greatest of respect, what do you think Fear Factory are?
I mean, we don't care whether we're loved or hated, but you do.'
Then I said to him, 'Why are you clutching that glass in your hand, Dino?'
At which point he said, 'To stop myself from beating you up!'
At which point I said, 'Fucking go ahead then, if you can catch me.
What, are you going to come waddling after me?'
He said, 'You're pushing your luck.' He left saying, 'I love you and I hate you Marc'."
Did he just start on you because he was pissed or did you provoke him?
Marc: "We just see things very differently. He's very West Coast.
He's right in a sense and I've had a very similar violent argument with Tairrie,
where I've been speaking my mind and saying, 'I think you're an idiot'.
It's that whole LA thing.
The first night of the tour Dino came up to me and said
'Listen, guys, I don't mind what you say, but I just want you all to give respect.
I don't mind what you do, as long as you give respect.'
And I said, 'Like, can I kill somebody?' He says, 'Yeah, but you gotta show them respect.'
So I said, 'Can I rape somebody and mutilate their body?'
He says, 'Sure, as long as you show them respect.'
I said, 'Dino, that is the worst bullshit I have ever heard in my life.
So, I can do what ever I like? Okay, I'm fucking you up the arse but I'm showing you respect.
Please, do me a fucking favour. I kind of like him, but we just think differently."
America was an interesting experience for Marc:
"In the America versus Marc Heal battle, I would say, I am five-three down. But I will win in the end."
Well, obviously, the place is full of idiots. What in particular is the stupidest thing said to you?
Jools: "I WANNA LIVE!"
Marc: "I heard a good chat-up line: 'Do you wanna see my clit-ring?'
And your response?
Marc: [makes detuned-radio hissing noises] "This is BBC Radio Two..."
What was your favourite place?
Marc: "Apart from the clit-ring? I liked Austin.
Jools: "'Cos he's the Six Million Dollar Man, you gotta like him!" [cue laughter]
Marc: "Texans are the most honest Americans. They're into drugs and guns.
I'd rather talk about the place I hate most."
Marc: L.A. I hated everything about it. I hate the vibrations of the place."
Jools: "It's not somewhere I'd WANNA LIVE!!!"
Marc's immediate plans include getting out of his contract with WaxTrax, the legendary
industrial label that used to be home to such acts as Ministry.
A couple of years ago, the label was bought out by TVT, the notoriously uncompromising
label that Trent Reznor spent most of Nine Inch Nails' early years trying to extricate himself from.
The new management has caused a mass exodus at the label, with everyone from
Raymond Watts to Al Jourgensen having to spend thousands of
dollars - and hours - negotiating a way out.
Next on the horizon is a new album, and working on the promotion of his
C-Tec side-project with Front 242's Jean Luc de Meyer,
Ged 'Crisis NTI' Denton and... um... Julian Beeston.
Marc: "My immediate plan is to snort a line of coke," he proclaims,
performing such an action off the back of Pulp's 'Sorted for Es and Whizz' CD.
He doesn't much appreciate my pointing out the irony.
"Is that supposed to be funny, Joanna? A piss-head is one thing, but a boring piss-head is worse."
I hang my head in shame.
Well, not as funny as finding out that one of the kids from Grange Hill was coked out of his brain
whilst recording 'Just Say No'.
Still, you know, some of us don't need drugs to become obnoxious hyperactive egomaniacs.
Jools: "THEN I WANNA LIVE!"
Marc: "I have been known to sack the odd guitarist."
Jools: "HOW AM I GONNA LIVE?!"
Marc: "I've actually written the next Ashtrayhead album.
Whether or not I'm going to release it is another matter.
I'm working with Leech Woman producing them at the moment, and with Raging Speedhorn".
Raging Speedhorn's album is one of the most anticipated debuts in the metal world.
Their furious blend of rapid-fire rhythmic death-style vocals and tight grungy guitar riffs
looks certain to catapult them into the national consciousness.
Okay, well we're running out of time, here, so I go for the witty generalisms
sure to give something print-worthy.
What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you?
Marc: "In terms of a band memory, it's the guy who made love to a Cubanate CD."
Marc: "We were in Northern Germany and this guy who runs a fanzine was there.
Foolishly, they'd left an open bar for Cubanate. So, the predictable ensued.
We got very, very drunk.
This guy, who was called Stefan or something was around, and I like to play mind-games.
So, I said, 'What is the kinkiest thing you have ever done in bed,'
which is a crap question because nobody ever answers it honestly.
Or if they do, then they're really boring.
So he said, 'Would you really like to know?' I said, 'Yeah'.
He said, 'I focked a CD.'
Because of the accent, I wasn't sure what he said, so I asked if he'd fucked a sheep.
He said, 'No, a compact disc.'
I said, 'You fucked a CD???? Which one???'
He said, 'Antimatter'.
The next time I woke up on the tour bus I started thinking about it, you know, HOW????
I mean, I'm not boasting in the willy department, but... I took out a CD and looked at it...
[Marc picks up a CD] ... no way, this must be the worst-hung guy in the world!
I mean, it's one thing to be the worst-hung guy in the world, but to admit to it in that way...?"
Okay, then, own up - what's your most grotesque drunken adventure?
Marc: "We are talking an encyclopaedia; a plethora; a cornucopia..."
Jools: "A lot."
Marc: "A lot. I don't care about sharing things I've done when drunk, it's just a question of choice.
It's like eating a box of Quality Street.
You think, I could have the toffee, or I could have the strawberry cream... I think..."
Jools: "...Therefore I am..."
Marc: "I was reading an interview with Norman Mailer in which he pointed
out that being drunk was a statement.
I like to be drunk. I like to be out of control. It's got me into loads of trouble;
shortened my life but I think it's creative. There are idiots, and there are creative drug addicts.
I'm a creative drug addict.
We all want to do things in life - I take everything to an extreme - I don't think that
people achieve what they want because they don't have the balls to do it.
For me, it's very simple. I do it, or I fail. I don't worry about it.
Certainly many times I've made a fool of myself but they key thing is that it clarifies things.
I would rather live my life in a state of clarity - this is what I want to do - and I don't care if I fall.
I would rather do that than work a nine-to-five job.
No thank you! Do nothing all day? No fucking thank you! Be in a fucking boy band? No thank you!
Do any of that shit that every other fucker has to do for the rest of their fucking life,
I am simply not going to do that.
I would rather - and it sounds an exaggeration - be dead. I won't do it.
And the key point is - just make it happen!
And if there is one point to my music, you can do anything that you want.
You may fail, you might not succeed at what you do - but you have the capacity.
All that you are missing is the balls. If that doesn't sound a sexist term..."
Is that your epitaph then? What will be written on your grave?
Jools: "I WANNA LIVE!"
Marc: "I want Roger to carve my gravestone... Roger would say 'I wanna live';
Jools would say 'You owe me money'... actually, it would be 'zzzzzzz'.
Actually, that's it, fuck off, I have to play a gig!"
that, still laughing, he gives me a hug and shoos me away.
The band have just a few minutes before they're due on stage, and he's given me
as much time as you could ask from a band with a life that hectic.
Well, you know, it's like I said - he's a nice guy...
© 1999-2000 Cybase23 / Joanna Theobald
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