Napalm Death’s Shane Embury Napalm Death, first a punk-inspired grindcore band and later a more fully-evolved death metal outfit, pioneered a particularly British form of extreme music in the Eighties. Initially dismissed as something of a novelty thanks to songs such as the one-second You Suffer , as well as their bestial vocals and relentless blastbeats, Napalm have become revered for their strong political views and perseverance in the face of all the odds. Bassist Shane Embury is one of the best-known musicians in extreme metal, having joined Napalm in 1987, six years after they formed: he’s now their longest-serving member. He’s also played in bands such as Lock-Up, Venomous Concept and Brujeria over the years, building a reputation for huge, often distorted bass parts that give the riffs a fearsome bottom end. In this extract from Embury’s new book Life…? And Napalm Death , published this autumn by Rocket 88, he remembers how his bass career started – and how a bit of heartfelt appreciation from a Smashing Pumpkin helped him along the way. “Me and my friends Wayne Aston and Mike Clarke had all got guitars at one point or another, so of course everybody wanted to be the guitarist. I had this cheap thing, but I didn’t really take to it. I could string together a few simple riffs, but that was it. Wayne was already playing guitar, and Mike ended up playing bass and singing, so I said, ‘Well, I’ll play drums then’. “I’d always liked hitting things, going right back to my grandma’s buckets when I was a kid. The only problem was that I didn’t actually have a drum kit. I remember plucking up the courage to ask my grandpa if I could borrow £100 from him to buy one. I was shitting myself, because he was quite a standoffish man, but he gave it to me. And he never, ever asked for it back. “I never bothered with drum lessons. I just listened to my Slayer and Venom records and thought, ‘How do they play so fast?’ My kit was set up […]

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