NAPALM DEATH – Huge in Indonesia

It generally feels good to try to dispel your prejudices, unless you absolutely love being prejudiced about things and people. Perhaps dispose of one a day, or three a week – you choose. If you claim not to have any, you’re probably fibbing.

Napalm Death bulldozer

Today I gave myself a prejudice and promptly dispelled it. I read a story on the BBC website that said that the singer of Napalm Death is appealing personally to the president of Indonesia (a fan) to spare a British drug smuggler from the death penalty. So up galloped a little prejudice. Two in fact.

  1. “Why would anyone in Indonesia like Napalm Death?” This was followed swiftly by:
  2. “Why would a president of anywhere like Napalm Death?”.

So I started thinking if I actually knew anything about said rock combo other than their reputation for making an explosive racket, often very briefly, repeatedly for a couple of decades over many albums. Did I actually know anything else about them? No was my answer, despite being a dedicated follower of popular music and culture since birth. Some facts I found out.

  • Napalm Death’s singer is called Mark Greenway but is known as “Barney”.
  • He is a calm articulate bloke with a Brummie accent. He sounds like a coherent Ozzy. Actually the band is from Meriden, which is nearer to Coventry.
  • Yes – some songs are short and one actually holds the world record for the shortest song. Only 1.316 seconds long. Don’t bother putting the kettle on.
  • They were formed in 1981. 1981!!! They are as old as Wham. Older than S Club 7 even. They could be the parents of One Direction.
  • They are popular in Indonesia, USA, Canada, India, Germany, Czech Republic, Australia and New Zealand. You get the drift. They are globally popular.
  • The current line-up is not the original line-up, which makes them a bit like The Drifters or Sugarbabes.
  • I thought they embodied the genre “death metal”. In fact they are what respectable people worldwide call ‘Grindcore’. It is hard to determine this for sure in 1.316 seconds as that song sounds like angry bulldozer sneezing.

So why shouldn’t a president like Napalm Death? Anyone under 60 can like them. (Over 60 – that’s probably a bit silly.) A president that is a fan of a genre of politically charged street culture music. A good thing surely? No Wagner-worshipping elitist he.

Napalm Death temple

Why shouldn’t they be popular in Indonesia? Well for me the country’s name conjures up the image of a Buddhist temple, and how can one of them produce Napalm Death fans? In fact Indonesia is overwhelmingly Muslim, so there goes another preconception, although that last question still stands but with the word ‘mosque’ replacing ‘Buddhist’ and ‘temple’. It has a quarter of a billion people so if only 0.01% of the population likes Napalm Death, this is still virtually a capacity crowd at Hull City. Good enough for a decent gig then. Wow, I am just swatting away those prejudices like flies.

I hope Mr. Greenway successfully appeals to Indonesia’s number one Napalm Death fan and the drug smuggler is spared her death sentence. However there remain many compelling reasons to not be a fan of Napalm Death even if they are deep down, a bunch of peaceniks. Click here, and all will become clear.


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