Snowy Shaw has had a career filled with many highs and lows and some crazy stories mixed in between. He just completed his autobiography called ‘The Book of Heavy Metal.’ The book chronicles Snowy’s life from his earliest days to his current life. Brutal Planet Magazine conducted an interview with the always witty and yet honest Snowy. You can check out the interview below and follow the link below to by the book.
You and I met when you were with Sabaton and I was
told you were from Gothenburg, which was instantly a draw to me as grandfather was from there. How are things in Gothenburg?
Snowy Shaw: Right now stinking hot and sunny, which is something of a rarity.
Wow, so your grandfather hails from Goth-N-Burg (as I sometimes call it), that’s cool. He must have been among all the Swedes emigrating in the late 1890s to early 1920s then, to escape extreme poverty and seek a new life in the land of opportunity, that’s awesome! Maybe you’ve heard of this TV show where American grandchildren of Swedish (and Norwegian) ancestry are selected to come to visit Sweden and compete in this game, to seek their roots and the winner gets to meet long lost relatives in the old homeland. I stopped watching mainstream TV altogether several years ago, but this is a very nice TV show that’s been running for many seasons and years now, perhaps you should apply next year?
Let’s talk about your Autobiography “The Book of Heavy Metal” What prompted you to decide to write am Autobiography? What was the writing process like for you? Did you say, “Let’s start at the beginning and move forward, or had you compiled a bunch of random stories and put them all in order?
First, before we go back to ‘why the hell I thought I’d write my autobiographical book’ in the first place, let me just say – no, I somehow made the decision from the get-go not to write it in a linear chronological order, like ‘I was born,..blah blah blah’. Don’t ask me why, I guess I just thought it’d be too predictable and boring, and my life has been anything but that. You’ll see. For lack of a better comparison, the storyline is probably more intricately woven like the movie Pulp Fiction. It actually started out as some kind of home-made therapy after I turned 40 and went through the worst midlife crisis imaginable about a decade ago. I had been out touring the world for a full year with Therion and it was flat out fantastic, but also extremely turbulent and hectic, and my personal life was literally falling to pieces. For starters, my house was torn down and I had no place to live, and there were broken relationships and lots of other issues. Shortly after the Therion world tour ended in Paris on December 23 rd I was gonna go out on another 3-month tour with Deathstars supporting Korn in Europe, but I had no choice but to drop out a week or so in advance. I was a wreck and desperately needed to land and try sorting out my messy life or end up in the nuthouse. Oops! here I go again letting my big blabbermouth run berserk. I’ve already said too much and shouldn’t reveal too much detail. You should ‘Read all about it – In the Book of Heavy Metal’.
When you were writing this was their things in your mind that you wanted to make sure were
saved for the history of metal or were you just wanting to recount stories of your life?
I don’t know if I harbored any deeper meaning behind it than to tell my rather unusual, if not exceptional life story, which has been an endless struggle of ups and downs in the rock rollercoaster at Tivoli Shaw. A story of a man-boy who refused to give up his dreams. Now when you say it, I’m positive it has lots of historical value too. If not for anything else, I’m the first out from all my former bands (and there’s quite a few) to spill the beans and tell it like it was the truth. Were there things that you felt you needed to set the story straight about when writing this book? Yeah, to some extent, with some particular incidents I wanted to set things straight and tell my version of things that’s been debated and speculated forever. Like the rumors of the use of “drum-machine on The Eye” for example. Another one being my rather short-lived time as bassist/singer in Dimmu Borgir. Which I have never previously talked about officially.
Being that you have spent your life in the music industry what do you feel is your greatest accomplishment in contributing to heavy metal?
My greatest accomplishment, hmmm. I suppose I could say that it’s that I wrote the metal anthem: The Book Of Heavy Metal. Both the song & album I wrote when in Dream Evil, which is still to this day my most popular song. A fun fact about that song is that although I had no idea at the time that I was actually writing about myself (or the teenage version of myself.) It was autobiographical by pure accident. Now that I’ve gone ahead a published my life story, with a bold title obviously lifted from the song I’d say, this heavy 464 pages bible, covers it all and is definitely my greatest contribution to heavy metal.
Is there anything that you look back on and say to yourself, “What if I would have done this differently?” Basically, do you have any regrets looking back on your career?
Not really. The only way to learn is by making mistakes, and only an idiot keeps repeating the same mistake exactly the same way over and over and expecting a different outcome. Well, there are other idiots who are so afraid of failures that they won’t even try. That’s even worse. I’m not like that, at all. I’ve done shitloads of mistakes, and learned a lot from them
but I’m not afraid of it. Back to your question. Of course, there are things I wish I could have handled better or differently, but I guess at the time I did the best I could and was probably both inexperienced, naïve and just didn’t know any better. I’ve been with more prominent metal bands than most
(and turned down offers from twice as many) but I’ve quit them all on my own account, and I can honestly say that I have never regretted it.
Sure, I can admit that there’s been times where I’ve been tempted to rejoin a former band, when things been kinda rocky economically and so on, but no. That’s all for the wrong reasons and against everything I believe in. I didn’t go into this business (or whatever you wanna call it) to be rich and famous, in the first place. To me, it’s all about having an outlet or my creativity and personal growth.
Having had worked with some of the biggest of the biggest in the industry, who would you say in your mind would be the most intimidating for you to work with but turned out to be the
Never thought of it like that, to be honest. Overall I suppose I’ve always had confidence in my own abilities when it comes to music and especially drums. As opposed to everything else in life, I guess. But let me think for a sec,..hmm. From the top of my head what springs to mind is the direct opposite. People that I admired and thought would be amazing to work with that turned out to be flat out horrible, uncooperative, and daft, but you have to read about that in the book.
As for intimidating, I can’t think of anyone so I guess I have to say, King Diamond. I had certainly never met a Satanist before I met King the first time in Los Angeles. I don’t know if I expected him to sit inside a big pentagram on the floor, drinking babies’ blood or whatever. But he wasn’t anything like that. On the contrary, a genuinely kind and super serious man
who was sitting in the kitchen chain-smoking, and playing a football game underneath a Danish flag, placed in an upside-down cross.
As far as new music, what is on the horizon for Snowy Shaw?
With my own music, I can’t wait to pick up where I left off with all the recordings for all the “concept” albums I’ve been working on simultaneously with different directions and styles. But as you know, life has a nasty tendency of getting in the way. Things happen, shit happens
and there never seems to be enough time to do it all. Hence, after my last critically acclaimed solo album White Is The New Black in 2018, I have put off time and prioritized finishing up the book. I have also been trying to patch up my life and doing a lot of traveling not as a touring musician for once. However, I’ve done a great deal of guest appearances on various albums and studio session work for other bands and artists. As a hired hitman (drummer) I must have
done 10 full-length albums over the past year in my own studio, and loads of vocal recordings too for bands and artists from all over the world.
Can you tell us about your work with animals and some of the other projects that you are involved in?
You’ll get to read a bit about that, and how it all unexpectedly came about in the first place in the book, but Yes, my campaign ‘Be Kind To Animals Or I’ll Kill You’ is still active and I continuously collect money which I donate to various animal rescues and help organizations. That’s something that’s very close to my heart and I wouldn’t be surprised if in the future I’ll
be spending a lot more time doing that or run my own shelter.
I was chatting with a former bandmate of yours, Thobbe Englund. I asked him to share a story with me to see if it was in your book. Are there any stories about “Pull my finger” in your book.
Hahaha! Not that I can remember but Thobbe is such a wonderful character with loads of shenanigans to pick from, and at least a couple of them are featured in the book. One of my personal favorites is when a pretty tipsy Thobbe first met Pernilla La Rocque (Andy’s wife) and uttered the immortal phrase – “Oh! What a Scandinavian beauty! Before the night is over I
will have made you pregnant.” His drunken unconventional way of paying her a compliment, obviously but she was blushing and giggling amusingly.
Lastly, can you tell us a song, written by you over your career, that based on title or content that best describes the state of the world right now?
Hmm, I can give you a title of a song I wrote a couple of years ago that very much sums up the state in Sweden. ‘Deaf, Dumb, and Blond’. Not sure I ever gonna release that one though.
Even though I might have hidden meanings and ambiguity in my songs I want my music to represent escapism. Something wondrous and fairytale-like away from all the boredom and bleakness of everyday life, in this, fucked up time we live in. Another one that I wrote many years ago for Notre Dame called Munsters, that is something of a prophecy. “Wake up before it’s too late – We’re making a monster. Soon now they’re sealing our fate – We’re making a monster. And so on. I made an entire album in 1999
loosely based on the prophecies of Nostradamus. The coming of Anti-Christ, and the decline of the western civilization leading to the ends of the earth in the new millennium. I won’t elaborate too much about that here, but check it out. It’s scary how spot-on accurate his predictions were 400 years ago.
The world as we knew it is all but a distant memory, and it’s certainly not coming back. It might be complete and utter chaos today but try to enjoy your day because trust me, it’s certainly not gonna get any better, and tomorrow will be even worse.
Thanks again Snowy for taking the time out of your day to answer some questions for our
readers and congratulations on the book my Swedish Brother.
Read all about it – in ‘The Book Of Heavy Metal.’
FOR MORE INFORMATION, AND TO ORDER THE BOOK, PLEASE VISIT:
www.snowyshaw.net/webshop (Europe, etc.)
https://rb.gy/mwhmbg (You Tube Channel)