Saturday, October 17, 2009
The day was Thursday the 8th of October and after our long journey from Bratislava to Zlin, we found the place were the mighty Pentagram were going to appear!! After entering the Masters Of Rock Café, where the gig was going to take place, a place in which many people where there drinking beers and the atmosphere was decorated with Manowar posters from past gigs, I saw a figure fooling around but I didn’t pay attention to who he was. After a couple of minutes though, I realized that he was the godfather of doom metal and one of the most special voices that heavy metal has shown: Bobby Liebling!!!!!!
Without wasting any time I rushed towards him for an autograph and for a picture. Then he offered me a sit in order to talk and have some coffee together. So, I found a chance to make a sort of an interview with him.
First of all I would like to mention that he is so calm and polite and his words and face provide kindness. The first question that I asked him was how come he is touring again and specially in Europe and why did he chose Zlin as a place for a show instead of Prague which is the capital of Czech Republic. He replied that he visits for first time Europe and that this is quite exciting for him and that the choice of the city wasn’t his but his manager’s. Also he told me that he visited Europe because this was a vision of the past and to prepare doom metal fans about the new forthcoming album which will se the light of day during next March!!! Then I asked him about his new line up and what happened with the old legends like Victor Griffin (1979, 1983-1988, 1993-1996) and Joe Hasselvander (1983-2002), guitar, bass (1999-2002). What he replied was that with Victor they still love each other but unfortunately Joe is a different person… About the new line up he told me that they rule, thing that I really understood few hours later at their show. The new line up consists of the following: Gary Isom – Drums, originally drummer for the US doomsters Unorthodox but he used to play for Pentagram as well back to the 1994, Mark Ammen – Bass, also from Unorthodox and Russ Strahan – Guitar. He told the best words for them and that he is quite happy to be collaborating with such musicians.
After all these, I asked him what happened back then in the 70’s what was all these bands that he was involved to, his main influences and the unfortunate and sad facts for him visiting the prison. What he replied about that was his strongest influence ever still nowadays is Blue Cheer.He also told me that he is still a huge fan and about few years ago he accomplished his dream and he met them. Now, as far as the 70’s are concerned Stone Bunny was just a moniker in order to play some rehearsals and nothing more, Bedemon was kind of more serious but only few demo tapes are saved. About that I informed him that there was a re-issue on vinyl by the Black Widow records and he disagreed totally by saying that he lever gave permission for that. Then Death Row was the first moniker that then changed into the tremendous Pentagram and the rest is history. After that, I asked him if he was influenced at all by Ozzy Osbourne of Black Sabbath both in the singing and clothing (crosses and stuff) but also phrases that we all are keen of like Allright now!, Oh Yeah, etc. His answer was clear: Not at all!! And he continued by saying that Victor was a huge Black Sabbath fan and he did plan all these parts in their songs and he has nothing to do with that.
At the end I kept one pleasant and one sad fact. I will start with the sad first which is Bobby’s past where he was involved with drugs and jail because of them but I will continue with the most important and most pleasant of all, that he has quite all these stuff and he deeply regrets as he told me with tears in his eyes because now he can understand the real meaning of life, everyday and in every live show when he sees the people’s response his emotions grow more and more and he cries while he thanks the crowd. Also he didn’t stop saying about his new love, which according to his sayings was gift from God in order to keep him alive. He counts 3 years of relationship with her and also 3 years without any drugs.
After this short interview and while I was shaking of sitting near the god of doom, he left in order to dress himself and to prepare for the show which would start in about 45 minutes. He said goodbye and we re arranged our meeting on stage.
So, after few minutes the dream continued. The mighty Pentagram appeared on stage starting with Wheel of Fortune and continuing with Forever My Queen. What I saw was an incredible movement of Bobby, an excellent musical performance by the rhythm section of Unorthodox and an unbelievable guitar play by Russ which left me speechless. No words to describe the feeling but also the response of the people which had the same luck to be present there like me. Bobby showed his best and also his appetite to live and sing his and our favourite songs. Excellent choice of songs, including Petrified, Living in a ram’s head, All your sins and encore with The sing of the wolf!!!!!
Conclusion: Different emotions surrounded me during the whole event including the internview and the live show and many things were clearly realized like there’s not anything more important that life and joy. Hopefully this was also realized by Bobby who we hope to continue giving us the doom!! God bless him!!