Tau Cross, the multinational punk/heavy metal collective featuring Amebix bassist/frontman Rob “The Baron” Miller, Voivod drummer Michel “Away” Langevin, and members of cult crust outfits Misery and War // Plague, has announced their second full-length album, Pillar Of Fire, due out July 21st on CD,2xLP, and digital formats via Relapse Records.
How did you first get in to music? Who turned you onto rock/metal?
Rob “The Baron” Miller: When i was a child in the 70’s I listened to John Peel on Radio One, he was a hero to my generation as he introduced us to such a wide variety of music in the hey day of Punk Rock and New Wave. Our first drummer Martin had a Black Sabbath album and that was really my introduction to metal, I couldn’t stand Status Quo or most of the other old bands, but began to collect Iron Maiden and then of course Metallica.
How did you become a singer or guitarist and are you proficient in any other instruments?
I have never been a proficient musician, I cannot play well or write well, my approach has always been more intuitive, making sounds that feel a certain way.
Were you forced to go to church as a youth, if so were you an altar boy or participate in some other ways? Have you been to any OTO ceremonies or satanic rituals?
We had a very Pagan leaning family, my father in particular, so we were encouraged to stay out of Church and to find our own truths. I have not been into OTO, although there was a period in my life here on Isle Of Skye where i did get involved with a group of Kabbalists, which entailed some interesting sojourns into the Wilderness.
What was the local scene in like in the beginning , was there a particular bands you aspired to be like, favorite local bands back then, favorite local bands now?
In Devon where i grew up there were a few kind of New Wave bands, we were always the snot nosed punks though, I started to write a column for a local newspaper which allowed me to visit the nearest city, Plymouth, and report on shows that were happening there, SLF, Crass, Cockney Rejects etc etc that introduced me to good live bands.
Who are your biggest musical influences besides Amebix and UK punk? How familiar are you with Roy Orbison and Engelbert Humperdinck?
Yes, Roy Orbison’s “Drove all Night”..to make lure to you….The Dinck was a nightmare from my youth too. Musically I love Sabbath, Killing Joke, Accept and Mercyful Fate as my primary influences i would say.
How would you best describe your sound?
Cthonic, earthy, mythical and mystical.
How did the band meet and how long did it take to finalize this lineup? How many other musicians did you try out that didn’t make the cut? How stable is the current lineup?
I tried to find people to make this band for around a year with no success at all, no one wanted to get involved until Andy and Jon came on board with Away and then we had the right people, I would have taken a busker off the street at one point just to get it going but even a local guy here was ‘too busy.’
Your new record Pillar Of Fire has already leaked and physically comes out this month via Relapse Records. What kind of obstacles did you have to overcome to get it out? Will it be available on cassette or vinyl? Is it true that the record contract with Relapse is the size of a phone book?
Relapse usually ask for a small panel of skin from each member of the band, I hear they stitch it all into a giant ‘Rock Quilt’ every few years, which are on display in their gigantic high rise offices. I do hope the LP will be available on cassette for the people who leaked it only, total twats in my books.
Do you have cover songs in your repertoire? Do you own a cassette player, are cassettes silly? Did you record any cover songs for bonus tracks?
No, never learned to play anyone else’s stuff, my old car has a cassette player, and i still have a few old sticky stretchy tapes from way back, cassettes are silly but amusing too, like a Trike, the worst of all worlds.
What other bands are you guys in?
Away is in about 5 bands at present. Andy is in War//Plague, Jon and Tom have both given up lucrative careers in misery and frustration respectively to pursue this particular Albatross.
What was the first music you bought and what have you bought more than once in different or the same formats?
My first album was 20 Fantastic Original Hits, it featured Joe Cocker, The Move, T Rex and Procol Harum. I did buy that again a few years back. Procol Harum are still a huge haunting influence on my music after all these years, lyrical brilliance and some great atmosphere.
Do you follow President Trump on Twitter?
I follow President Twat on Twumper, doesn’t everyone?
Out of all your songs which one gets you excited the most when you perform it? Are there any political, sexual or social issues hidden in Tau Cross songs?
There are plenty of all of those. I don’t achieve full tumescence on stage despite the sleazy undertones of songs such as “Hangmans Hyll”, but who knows?
Does the current political climate here in America amuse you or scare you?
I think it is amusing, watching the last days of the American Empire, a great Country reduced to being a bully and terrorist against the rest of the World, going out with a fizz rather than a bang really. It amuses me to see your obsession with identity politics and neo liberal sentiments, pure Roman decadence.
What gear are you currently using, amps, effects, guitars?
Fuck knows, I just shout into a metal tube.
Bands you would love to tour with and musician or artist you would like to meet and interrogate.
I don’t know about that. Most bands are probably assholes to tour with day in day out. I have interrogated Jaz Coleman (Killing Joke) on a couple of occasions, I do like a decent chinwag with interesting people.
Song to be played at your funeral and 3 albums to take to your grave?
Killing Yourself to Live – Black Sabbath
Mob Rules-Black Sabbath
Restless and Wild- Accept
The Ghost of Tom Joad- Bruce Springsteen
Whats your next gig?
Touring Scandinavia and some of Europe in August, should be a wizard wheeze.
Final thoughts, shout outs, dirty jokes?
What do you call the useless flap of skin attached to the end of a penis? A man. (boom,tishhh)