“We played Rustlers? Seriously? I have no idea…” Watkykjy interviews Mark Chapman from Groinchurn

In Watkykjy Interviews deur Chopper Charlie

As snotkop laaitie in die het ek en Griffin al begin om local metal bands uit te check in die nineties. Glo dit of nie, die Vuildriehoek het ook sulkes gehad en Groinchurn was die fokken beste van almal. Poesharde, poesvinnige grindcore met influences soos Napalm Death, Terrorizer, Brutal Truth en dies meer. Mal kak.

Die onheilige Drie-eenheid van Mark Chapman (kitare), Christo Bester (bas) en Sergio Christina (dromme) het sedert 1994 ‘n loyal underground following opgebou en is later deur Morbid Records in Europa gesign. Na toere in die US en Europa het die manne in 2001 opgebreek.
Groinchurn-promo-2014Groot was my verbasing en blydskap toe ek check hulle jol weer, sommer in September, en dan om die Brasiliaanse geraasmakers Sepultura te ondersteun. Loop vra ek toe vir Mark so paar vrae oor dié move.

How did the reunion come about?
An invite from Witchdoctor Production to do the show kicked the whole thing off. A bit of an arm-twisting from our old friend Shaughn and we were in. We didn’t have any plans before that. And if anything, the word reunion makes me feel a bit weird… I’m personally thinking of it as a few ‘late’ shows.

Why did you guys break up in the first place?
Really? I think we’d unfortunately just grown to dislike each other. After ten-odd years, we didn’t really agree on much anymore. The last seven months on the road in Europe sealed it – we’d just gone in different directions musically, life-wise, and our journey at that point had run its course. Turns out, fortunately the friendships were stronger than that and we’ve since grown up and moved on. That’s a good thing.

What have you guys been up to for the last 13 years?
Musically, Christo did INSEK – which was a really cool band with a great album…  And their zombie music video is a classic.

I know he also played for some rock bands too. Not really sure what Sergio got up to. At one point I believe he was jamming with a black metal band in the Vaal. After moving to Australia, I formed a hardcore band called Provoke along with a good friend. We went on to release an album, EP and split CD, and played a fair bit – some cool shows with bands like Agnostic Front, Terror, local legends Toe to Toe, Against… It’s been fun.
GroinchurnYou played in a band way back, Sepsis, that did a cover of Sepultura’s ‘Orgasmatron’, which in turn was a cover of the Mötorhead original. Are you a fan of the newer Sepultura stuff?
You know, I’d actually forgotten that? Yeah, that was Sergio and my first band together – heaps of fun. Doing covers of covers was all the rage back then although Serg always hated covers of any kind with a passion.
I’m keen to hear the new Sepultura stuff live. Last time I saw them was in Germany with Hatebreed back in 2001. Great show – I still have Paulo’s plectrum.

Do you think you’re Carcass, who also reunited after yonks for a killer new grindcore album?
The singer guy from Carcass was at a show we played in Liverpool once I think. I seem to remember he didn’t look real impressed. Haha.  I, on the other hand, was even less impressed, as we were paying for our own beers that night and I think the Rand was something crazy like R25 to the Pound… Anyway. But to answer your question… No. To satisfy all the above criteria we’d need a better guitar player, and a new album. So at this point, it’s all just these few shows and a bit of general noisemaking.

I remember a gig in a boxing ring to launch one of your albums. Tell us a little bit about his event?
You remember too much man. Had you not discovered beer yet or what? I just remember you and the bottie OBS. Perhaps it was better for long term memory than beer? It seems to be the case anyway. So yes, we hired a boxing club in East Johannesburg somewhere to launch ‘Whoami’. It was heaps of fun. We had a friend, Cathy, in hot pants doing round numbers and everything. Ironic…  In that we were possibly the least tough and fighty people in the room. I recall a fight in the crowd at one point though. Always sad, but again ironic as we were the ones in the ring seeing a fight in the crowd… Surreal. The things you do. And this was in the days before the internet, children. This dumb shit would have gone viral these days I tell you…
groinchurn old schoolGrindcore is quite extreme and not everyone gets it. Did you ever get booked for entirely the wrong venue and how did the crowd take it?
I’ve never thought about it too much really, and I don’t think any of us ever really did. What is grindcore anyway? I don’t know really. I do like seeing confused people though – it makes me feel more at ease. Wrong venue? Plenty. We’ve often been the odd band out, even at heavy shows, telling too bad jokes instead of pulling metal war faces… But possibly, one of the winning ones was at a great old club in Braamfontein called Wings (which we had a whole lot of very cool shows at). We actually weren’t supposed to play this particular night, but for some reason we were there and had a few beers in us, so we hopped up after the last soft-rock band (on whose gear I don’t exactly remember) and got stuck in. We got about halfway through a song before the sound-guy cut us… I think Christo may have then ‘accidentally’ pulled all the cables out of the snake on stage and cut all sound to the venue… it got a bit silly. Oh, how we laughed…

After a gig of yours in Pretoria way back we once drove through straight after to Rustler’s Valley, where you played. How the fuck did you get on that bill?
Again with this memory thing… We played Rustlers? Seriously? I have no idea… Pretoria was some of the best shows ever though. I remember one at that upstairs venue in Sunnyside that always drew a capacity crowd of about 15 people, where a friend broke his ankle during the show. Instead of getting to hospital, he wanted to keep the party going and ended up on your apartment floor overnight, after last drinks at the Shaft if I remember right? But I might not… Happy times.

Oh fuck yes. That happened alright… Anyway, you amassed a massive and loyal underground following. Explain how you managed this before the Internet? Dark arts? Jedi mind tricks?
It was expensive – we paid a lot of bribes, did our time on casting couches… Jokes aside, we just did what we did, recorded as much as we could, gigged as much as we could, treated everyone we met as well as we could, had fun, played shows and spent shitloads at the Post Office. Back then it was all tape trading. James (Gall) from Retribution Denied started me off with a handful of flyers from some underground bands overseas. We wrote letters – yes, by hand – and traded demo tapes, then CDs, 7” vinyls and so on with every band and record label anywhere on the planet that would trade with us… That went on for years and led to our deal with Morbid Records and first tour in Europe with Krabathor. Yes, the internet makes it a little bit easier these days, but I’m glad we went through what we did – it’s a totally different and unique experience that’s lost today (my official old person statement for the day).
groinchurn ag jitte mammaFully. How many songs can you fit into an hour set?
Who knows, we never make it much past 30 minutes. But lots.

Will you finally have tshirts that don’t shrink in the wash?
We simply pioneered the muscle shirt. It’s all the rage, don’t you know? We were just ahead of our time.

Is Sergio still Portuguese?
I think he still might be.

When last were you in the Vaal Triangle?
Serg still lives there, Christo gets down a bit, I’ve visited sporadically. Family and friends are still there, loving the wide open spaces and sulphurous smog…

Always. Are you guys planning to do anything else band-wise after this Sepultura sojourn?
Planning is not a strong suit for us these days, so I have absolutely no idea. Sheer distance makes long-term permanent reunion a difficult prospect, but the internet has changed the world so who knows. Right now, we’re just focused on making the most of the shows in September, and actually remembering which end to blow into the guitar, so hopefully everyone gets to have a good time, including us. You’ll be able to tell me about it in a few years time.


Groinchurn (en Sepultura) speel Vrydag 12 Sep by Carfax (Jhb) en Sat 13 Sep by Assembly in die Kaap. Kry kaartjies hier. https://witchdoctorproductions.com/product-category/tickets/

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Chopper Charlie“We played Rustlers? Seriously? I have no idea…” Watkykjy interviews Mark Chapman from Groinchurn