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Interviews

Iann Robinson

13/03/05  ||  Lord K Philipson

Introduction by Lord K Philipson, questions by The Lord and Chazz:

Pretty much all of you have heard about Iann Robinson, right? No? Well, he used to work for MTV and blablablafuckenbla… He’s apparently into metal as well. But this is not the reason we are interviewing him. Or actually, it is. Or it’s a combination of that and some other stuff, we just need to come up with what… Oh yeah… He made some column as of late over at Metal Sludge (go find it yourself, bitch) where he pretty much made it clear he thinks every band on Threeman Recordings suck ass, except for Damnation. Naturally a guy like this needs to be interviewed by Global Domination.

I personally wrote Iann a mail and thanked him for the description (more on that later in this thing) of God Among Insects. I wasn’t being sarcastic or anything about it, I just thanked him for the coverage and he is actually accurate with what he said about us. Except for the “lame” part of course. God Among Insects are ace, not lame, but you know that. Anyways, less than 24 hours after myself and staff-hero Chazz came up with the questions for this and sent them to Iann, a reply came back with answers to everything we asked. We applaud Iann for being super-fast and also for putting a good ammount of time into this interview, making it a serious killer-read. Among all the interviews at this site, we are about to hand Iann some kind of award for “best interview so far in the history of Global Domination”. Sit back, do some heroin and read what Iann’s got to say about alot of fucken shit.

Global Domination: So what the hell are you up to nowadays? I’m sure MTV paid well enough, but since leaving have you had to find other employment or have you saved enough to live off of for the time being? Is Puny Human your top priority nowadays? Can we expect a return of the Monkey Butt Sex show?

Iann: Well of the many things MTV is guilty of, “High Paying” ain’t one of them. When I left I got a chunk of money and I basically kicked back and lived off of that. My wife and I moved to New England and I started writing again. MTV was very no-no in allowing me to do anything creative or opinionated, so writing reviews and interviews was forbidden. Now that I’m free I can write anything I want to and that’s a great fucking feeling. I started writing for Metalsludge, Decibel, Chord and a few others which allowed me to feel like a part of something real for the first time in almost 4 years. The funniest part about MTV news is that they’d never let me do anything because they felt it would hurt the “Integrity Of MTV News” – think about that “The Integrity Of MTV News”, it’d be hysterical if it wasn’t so sad. As for Puny Human, I’m not really doing that anymore, we were never a super serious band to begin with so I figured I’d stay in for a while. Apparently the other guys decided that our twice a month rehearsal schedule, once a year two-week tour and bi-monthly local shows would be hurt by me not living in NYC so rather than force the issue, I left. I doubt I’ll ever do another Monkey Butt Sex show, but I’m looking into doing some TV stuff in Boston.

One thing we really need to find out before moving on is: are you into the goddamned NHL? What’s yer opinion on the lock-out? And while we are at it, what’s yer favourite hockey player (hint – Peter Forsberg) and team (hint – Colorado Avalanche)?

Yeah I’m a big hockey fan, both the Rangers and the Bruins (I root for each unless they play each other, then I root for the Rangers) and I think the lock out is a bunch of horseshit. Hockey doesn’t generate enough revenue in America for the players to get paid baseball and football size contracts – that’s just the reality of it. It’s sad that everything comes down to bucks, but whatever, I got the Red Sox so I’m happy. My favorite player would probably be McCarthy just because he’s a bruiser. I also like Satan from Buffalo but mainly because his last name is “Satan”.

Being on a major cable network pretty much every day, your name and face became pretty well known. Did you get any crazy-assed job offers right after you left MTV?

It’s funny, in most circles that would work out but when you’re on MTV you become TV taboo. My association with that place cost me more jobs than it got me because nobody wants the “MTV Guy” on their new show, they want new talent for it. The other problem with me is that I didn’t want a job kissing celebrity ass, I just can’t deal with that shit so it cut down the amount of TV jobs I could get. Most of the on-air folks at MTV really want to be famous, they want to be down with Puff Daddy or interview brainless celebs on the red carpet so when they leave MTV they can go to Access Hollywood or Extra or something like that. I’d rather get a normal job and leave TV behind than do that for a living. Right now I’ve got something cool in development with Discovery but I don’t want to jinx it.

I’ve heard you talk about some of the shit that went on behind the scenes at MTV while you were there and how disgusted you became at the whole situation and some of the programming choices they were making. How bad was it really, and why the shift from music to bad “reality” shows? Do you watch the channel at all any more, they don’t exactly play that much music these days. And what happened to MTV-X, that was actually pretty cool for those of us that had access to it.

Wow, where to begin with that. You have to understand, no matter how much “we’re edgy” attitude MTV wants to throw around, they’re a corporation, a bottom line obsessed conservative corporation that cares about music only as a vehicle to make money, period. I remember I’d go to my bosses with actual news stories about underground bands and they’d say, “Nobody cares about that music” so instead they’d take some random thing that a super famous person did and blow up into a news story. That or they’d have you scan a video interview with whatever flavor-of-the-month they were pushing until you bled it dry of anything useful. There were certain unflattering stories that we were not allowed to cover because it made a big star look bad and so forth and so on. That’s why when they’d give me lectures about the Integrity Of MTV News I’d have to bite my tongue not to laugh at them. As for the reality programs, it’s another money issue. It’s hard to get ratings for videos because people tend to switch around if a video they don’t like comes on, if MTV builds programming around a “Target Audience” then they can hawk advertising dollars to a business by saying “This block of time gets the kids between 18 and 25”. I wouldn’t blame MTV for any of that if they didn’t strut around like they’re so on-the-edge or how “outside the box” they think. That’s a bunch of horseshit, hell my boss even told me once “We’re a top 40 station, deal with it.” Here’s how the argument usually went:

“Iann you can’t say that on air because we’re a News organization.”

“Ok if we’re a news organization why don’t we cover more world news?”

“Iann, I mean we’re an Entertainment news organization.”

“Ok, then why don’t we cover more movies, plays, books, and other aspects of entertainment?”

“Look Iann, we cover Music Entertainment News.”

“Then why don’t we cover heavy rock, metal, punk, grindcore and all kinds of music?”

“Get out of my office.”

It was a pretty untenable situation. I never watched the channel much and since I left I haven’t seen a frame of it. I’m not sure what happened to MTV-X, but it’s probably a money issue.

In a column of yours you ripped on basically every band on Threeman Recordings. Have you gotten any hatemails as of yet? Why can’t people just cope with the fact that the music they do can’t be fucken appreciated by everyone? Did you hear about the guy from Monstrosity (Mike Poggione) who e-mailed us after having their latest album PRAISED on our site? What’s up with shit like that? Is it true that after the drummer, the bassist is the dumbest fuck in the band? Who’s the dumbest bassist and drummer you ever had the misfortune to meet?

Just to set the record straight, I don’t have any problems with Threeman Recordings, it was just the crop of music they sent me I didn’t like. I haven’t gotten any hatemail yet and when I do get it I usually laugh because it’s so stupid. If you make music, you’re putting yourself out there for other people to hear and give an opinion on, if you don’t like it then make demos and don’t play them for anybody. Puny Human has gotten hammered by critics and some of them we even ended up hanging out with. People need to understand that it’s music, it’s rock ‘n roll, so save the fucking ego. Unless somebody makes personal attacks on members of your band then just shut up and take your lumps, you big baby. I did an article about what I felt was lame about black metal and all these black metal twats started unloading on me. The funny thing was that they totally missed the point, they just felt their itty bitty little corner of the world had been made fun of so they had to unleash, it didn’t make black metal look very good, that’s for sure. At one point I had some 18 year old girl coming at me about what I don’t know about metal. Since I saw Slayer for the first time when she was 3, it’s hard to take her seriously. Did this guy email you in a negative way, if he did then just let it ride, he’ll make himself look like a big enough idiot. I don’t think any one member of a band is particularly stupid, it just depends on who’s the real moron and what instrument they play. I’ve never interviewed a dumb bassist (except Fieldy) or drummer, most of the idiots I dealt with were frontmen who’d had their baby egos bruised by me.

You got the chance to interview a bunch of bands while at MTV, and I imagine most of them were pretty cool to you knowing you could get them a whole ton of press and shit. Now that you aren’t with MTV have these same fuckers who were cool to you been treating you differently? Feel free to mention names. Was there ever an interview you did not want to do because you despised the fucker you had to interview?

Most of the bands have been pretty cool to me even though I’m not on MTV anymore. Relapse Records, Mastodon, the Slayer people have all stayed down even though I can’t give them tons of press. I did a lot for Fireball Ministry and to this day those guys are still family to me. I had done a lot for Lamb Of God and Shadows Fall, even getting Shadows Fall on MTV for a “You Hear It First” segment and when their new albums came out they managed to thank MTV2 and Headbangers Ball within their multi-page thank you list but not me. It’s not that I care about being thanked but I just have a feeling if I was still on MTV pimping their bands my name would have appeared on their lists – that bums me out. I guess when everybody tells you you’re the future of metal you tend to forget those who loved you when you weren’t that big a deal. Don’t get me wrong, those guys still crush live and their new albums are pretty fucking killer, I just never thought that bands in the scene I love so much would forget about me so quickly, but oh well. As for interviews I didn’t want to do because I hated the people in the band, shit where do I begin, Limp Bizkit, Godsmack, Linkin Park, Korn, the list goes on and on.

Some people think you are as cool as hip-surgery while others would suck cock to be friends with you. How do you tell a real friend apart from a “friend” who just wants to hang with you for the cred, if there is any cred that is.

I have about 15 people in my circle who I consider family and everybody else is peripheral to me. I like meeting new people and talking music and even hanging out, but I’m not much on making new buds, most people have an ulterior motive. The only thing fame is good for is getting free shit, getting laid and getting into shows for free. Well, the shows you get hooked up with usually suck, the labels I’d want free stuff from would send it to me just because I write reviews and being married eliminates the getting laid aspect. I’m a shut-in for the most part, I hate human beings and can’t deal with crowds very well so I stay in my house, write about music, listen to records, watch TV and hang with my wife. Anybody looking to hang with me to do cool shit is gonna be really bored.

While we are on the subject of friends: who in the rockstar-world would you categorize as your closest friend?

Corey from Slipknot and Serj from System Of A Down. Those guys have always been 100% real with me and we talk today like we did when I was on MTV.

Aren’t friends overrated?

I don’t have much family, so to me my friends are my family and I can’t begin to describe what they mean to me. I know it sounds cheesy but it’s true, at least for me.

Since you’ve left, MTV has resurrected the Headbanger’s Ball program. Were you disappointed they didn’t ask you to host it, or did they approach you about it? I wasn’t so sure about Jasta hosting the show personally, but he’s turned out decent enough, how do you think he’s done so far? If you were behind that show, what would you be doing differently?

Actually they started the Ball before I left and I was a major part of bringing it back. That being said I never thought I’d host it because MTV News doesn’t let news reporters host video shows (don’t ask me man, I don’t know why) so I just helped them in picking a host. I like Jamey, I think he’s done a great job hosting and he’s definitely loosened up since his first day on camera. The only thing I’d do differently is play more videos from bands nobody’s heard of, or from more extreme bands, right now they tend to repeat videos a lot.

In Europe we had this fucken chick hosting Headbanger’s Ball for a while, the name escapes me but all she did was lie on a bed, trying to look sexy and introduce videos. You know who I’m talking about? What happened to her? Did someone finally put her out of her misery? Whatever happened to Vanessa Warwick? While not being the prettiest to walk in a pair of leather pants she seemed to burn for the scene anyway. Are looks more important than talent as far as television goes?

Of course they are, in fact one guy who worked on air with me at MTV broke every rule in the book but he was let alone because he was considered “hot”. One of the biggest problems at MTV is they don’t care how talented you are, just what you look like, it’s sickening. You want true evidence of the looks-over-talent ideal, watch Juliya on Fuse – she may be attractive but she’s acts like she’s as dumb as a bag of hammers and it’s painful to watch when she interviews bands. She might be a rocket scientist under all that but she acts like a simpleton. If I acted like that, nobody would hire me because I ain’t got looks to fall back on, I actually have to be good at my job.

You are not exactly photo model-material yourself, much like us, but how often have you gotten laid thanx to fame-seeking girls? Any rock chicks, names are welcome, show interest in Robinson Jr.? And seriously, have you ever taken advantage of the fact that you were working for MTV to get sex?

Most people knew I was married so they were very respectful, some pushed the issue but nobody that was famous. Famous rock chicks have hot groupie guys so why pursue my big ass?

I have to thank you for turning me on to the band Decapitated by mentioning them way back when not a whole lot of people had heard of them outside of Europe. What about now, are there any new bands rubbing your cock the right way these days you care to mention? God Among Insects perhaps?

There’s a bunch of bands that are getting it done for me right now. This band Japanische Kampfhörspiele, Mare, Murder Squad, Cursed, Cumshots, Blacktail, Black Helicopter plus I’ve really been digging the new Cattle Decapitation, Isis, Neurosis, Mastodon, Pig Destroyer and even after everything is said and done the Shadows Fall and Lamb Of God records are really good.

One of us doing this interview is a member of the mentioned God Among Insects, which you already know. In your short review of the album you wrote “Grrr, grrr, arrghh, arrggghh, death metal-SCARY and LAME”. We seriously take the “Grrr, grrr, arrghh, arrggghh, death metal” comment as a compliment. The “lame” part is bit more confusing though. Is death metal lame? What’s some of yer death metal favorites? And who’s on top of yer “scary and lame” list as far as this deadly kind of metal goes?

I think the lame part means that it doesn’t sound any different than anything else out there, which is an inherent problem within the extreme music genre. I look at somebody like Chuck Schuldiner who made death metal albums that were sonically varied and amazing and I wonder where that type of inspiration has gone. I much prefer grindcore or experimental noisecore over death and black metal because those two genres have gotten really stagnant. I’ll always love bands like Napalm Death, Baphomet, Death, Dark Angel, old Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse, Obituary, Pestilence, Repulsion, Destruction, At The Gates and so on, but most of the new stuff just leaves me cold.

We noticed you praised Threeman-band Damnation in yer column. What’s yer one favourite black metal band? Do you prefer badly produced black metal or the more well-produced thing of the.. eh.. same thing? Is black metal more image than music? Did you ever wear corpsepaint, by the way?

I like black metal just fine, I never claimed to hate it, it just seems mired in a belief system that effects the power of the music. When I say that people always jump on my ass about how I want black metal to change so it can become more palatable to the masses, which is missing the point. I’m saying that the power of the music is compromised by the fact that most black metal bands sound the same and have shitty-ass production. When a black metal band pulls it together with decent production (Emperor, Immortal, Anaal Naakroth etc) then I’m all about it. That’s why I dug the Damnation stuff, it was powerful because it didn’t sound like a big mess. Now when I say black metal might want to grow a little bit I’d never want it to become a parody of itself they way Cradle Of Filth has but at the same time don’t fear change to the point of where you strangle the music you love. As for it being image music, I think it’s like anything else, the people out there that are looking for a way to keep black metal relevant and constantly growing because they understand the power it can wield are the true fans. Those that say black metal is only about bad production, forests and corpsepaint are in it for the image not the music. I almost wore corpsepaint when my friend and I tried to get our black metal band Hawthorne off the ground. It was totally the idea of my friends Brian and Dave but I wanted to be in it. We would dress as pilgrims but with corpsepaint, it would’ve been grand.

When you think about it, could Kiss’s paint be categorized as corpsepaint?

So could King Diamond, so could most girls who wear too much eye shadow – it’s MAKE UP, it’s not evil.

If you had the power to resurrect any band who’ve called it quits, which one would it be, and why?

I can’t pick just one, that’d be too hard, especially because it runs across so many genres. Minor Threat, Bad Brains, Misfits, Celtic Frost, Deadguy, At The Gates, Cryptic Slaughter, The Police, Zeppelin, Nirvana, Excel, Kyuss, Discharge, VOID, Negative Approach, La Gritona, I mean the list goes on and on.

And if you had the power to kill any band on this planet, who would it be and why?

Limp Bizkit (well actually just Fred Durst) and Maroon 5. The reasons should be obvious.

Who’s the one person in the whole scene you’d like to see having his face re-constructed with fists?

The only person I want any real harm to come to is Fred Durst and that’s simply because this idiot jock asshole is trying to act like he speaks for those that are truly different and persecuted for it. Everything about him is phony, contrived and on top of it, he’s a bully. There’s nothing at all good about that guy on any level.

You are known for being very outspoken and if we are not completely mistaken here, you’ve gotten some Super Balls Awards over at Metal Sludge at one point or the other. We appreciate when people speak their minds on shit and it’s definitely more fun to see someone kick the shit out of someone verbally instead of putting up the usual “no comment” shit you know. How much shit do you usually get into thanks to all this?

A lot, mostly it’s pussies screaming shit at me from across the street or trying to step to me with like 20 people behind them. David Lee Roth said if you’re gonna stick your head above the crowd be prepared to get hit with rocks, and he’s right. Fred Durst decided to step to me with ten people and his bodyguard, but that was more comical than anything else because once he realized I wasn’t afraid of him he just floundered around, not knowing what to do. I wrote an article on how the punk scene is dead and over, and got cornered by 10 kids in their punk rock costumes who were all irate. Fuck ‘em, most people don’t do shit, they just talk a good game or scream from across the street. Anybody who wants to bring it to me is in for a surprise if they think I’m gonna run. As for professionally, it basically cost me my job at MTV. That’s why I laugh when black metal kids or other fans get in my face about not being true. I doubt any of these bitches would compromise a high paying job because of their beliefs and a desire to push the music that they loved. It’s easy to sit in your mom’s basement and take shots at me, why not go out and prove how much you believe in what you say, do it in a way that really effects you.

So, what have been blowing you away lately except for God Among Insects and Alpha Safari? Any insider tip on the next band that’ll make it big as far as metal goes?

Japanische Kampfhörspiele just fucking floored me, I don’t even know that much about them but holy shit do they fucking crush. The Mastodon record knocked me out, so did the Neurosis and Isis albums. I was stoked that the Converge record was good, especially coming off of Jane Doe, which was a classic. Blacktail is amazing too, just a sonic fist fight that never lets up. This local Boston band Bury The Needle is fucking killer too. As for the next big thing, when bands like Bizkit, Godsmack, Disturbed and Skindred are considered metal in the mainstream, I have no idea what will be big next and I don’t want to know.

Is Evanescence a Linkin Park with female vocals? You have to agree Amy’s voice is something out of the ordinary, right? She might not be able to carry a tone to the fullest all the time live, but damn that’s a good voice if we ever heard one.

She does have a great voice and she’s hot as hell too, that helps move units. I’m actually more offended by what she does because she can sing and could do something really amazing, instead she opts to do this shitty wannabe goth thing that comes off like Linkin Park meets the Go-Gos. To me that’s a waste of your gift and that’s bullshit.

Have you been enjoying yourself so far? We only have like 6 questions left. Is there anything you’d like to ask us for a change?

No, not really, I’m having a good time answering.

You are affiliated with Metal Sludge and all… How do you think this “revealing” of who’s behind the thing went? Didn’t the site lose a bit of its charm after that? We are not very interested in the music they write about but that site sure brings out a good amount of laughter. Are you paid anything to write your columns there or do you just do it for the attention and hatemail? Writing for them at least gave you the chance to be interviewed by us, is that anything close to a highlight of yer career?

I never really got the full story of what happened there and to be honest I don’t care. Those guys don’t edit, censor or touch anything I write. It goes from my head onto the page and onto the site, I love that. I don’t much care for that music either but as long as they want me to spout off about shit I will, it’s a great outlet for that. I do it for free, I do most of my writing for free because I love it and I write for small zines who don’t have much money. If I ever write for big mags I might charge. And yes, this is one of the highlights of my short career

If you were in charge of MTV for one day, what bands would get heavy rotation that very day?

Anybody reading this interview can just check their music collection and those would probably be the bands I’d have be rotating. MTV has tons of great videos that will never see the light of day.

What scene was the best; 90’s Swedish death metal scene or the 90’s American one?

Well, say what you want about American death metal, cause it was amazing, but you just can’t fuck with Sweden in the 90s. At The Gates, Dismember, Entombed, Emperor – then again we had Deicide, Cannibal Corpse, Obituary – shit man I don’t know who was better, it was just a great time for extreme music.

Would you mind naming some of yer fave Swedish bands as far as metal goes? If you know any that is.

At The Gates, Hypocrisy, Carnal Forge, Katatonia, Entombed, Zyklon, I know there’s more but I’m trying to do it off the top of my head.

Before we end this, we naturally have to ask you the following. Do you love us? Would you mind spreading the word of Global Domination from now on? We can be your friends, for real.

Of course, I’ll begin my campaign today. Seriously anybody that can read a negative review and still be able to be cool about it is full fucking aces in my book.

That’s it man, thanx for taking the time. Last words are yours. Don’t forget to tell someone to fuck off, not including us, ok?

I just wanted to say that for those who attack whether I’m true or not because I’d just as soon listen to Joy Division as I would Immortal or Al Green in the same night as Mayhem you need to open your mind a little bit more. You have to recognize the inherent humor in all genres of music, and embrace them. Music is the most powerful emotional art form in the world and there’s good shit in almost every genre of it. Don’t cut your nose off to spite your face by withdrawing from all the great music out there in order to hold up to some juvenile ideal that’s mainly hurting you in the end. Oh yeah and for the pussies who say shit about me personally: go fuck yourself, cunts.