Monday, January 21, 2019

interview: The Outcast Webzine

interview with Mike from The Outcast Webzine
Always an interesting conversation, Mike is one of the most unpretentious people that you will ever meet, and is generous to a fault. He’s also a living library of metal music. Present and witness to the worldwide spread of death metal in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Mike has been to countless shows, big and small. He began doing zines during the rise of death metal and black metal in the mid 1990s. He has been in a band, has interviewed many and has photographed even more. Mike is a joker and a deep thinker in one, and will talk to people from all walks of life, regardless of political and religious views. The young Mike of the 1980s loved heavy metal music and that has not changed today. The King-Diamond-fanatic teenager Mike was no big believer in God, but some experiences a bit later in life convinced him to follow Jesus Christ ever since. This interview will cover many topics. Let’s find out where the conversation takes us.
Mike, what types of struggles that you have gone through as a Christian parent and a metalhead?
Well, my biggest struggle I guess with being a follower of Christ (not religion) in the Metal scene, is the fact that the majority of Metal heads are either atheists or self-proclaimed Satanists and they do not understand how someone who believes in Christ can listen to Metal that is not Christian related. At times, when my fb followers see this fact or read this fact, some tend to block me or unfollow me on The Outcast fb page, which is sad that someone’s personal beliefs affects them to that point, you know? It’s called RESPECT.
My values do not affect my life as a Metal head unless it’s Satanic music. I CHOOSE not to listen to anything Satanic, regardless of the style of music. Although I may interview Satanic bands for the zine in order to UNDERSTAND where they are coming from, or question what they believe in, it does not mean I follow their path, you know?
I actually had a band from France I interviewed for The Outcast in the 90’s that had a pentagram in their logo remove it from their logo after my interview and my questions (noticed it on later releases). I guess they decided not to have it in their logo anymore after my thought provoking questions. A lot of bands and people in the Metal scene (me included when I was a kid), tend to follow this self-proclaimed Satanic belief system only because their favorite bands preach this and they think it’s cool. Guess what? Satan is not cool and neither is Hell.
As far as my kids go, they know daddy doesn’t listen to Satanic music even though they do not like Metal. They will not let me listen to Metal in the car, so we listen to Christian pop. Hahaha! I actually took them to Mass Destruction Festival last year in Atlanta because I did not have a baby sitter. I really wanted to see The Chasm, Terrorizer and AVULSION, so we went. They said they never wanted to go with dad again!! Hahaha!!
Do you listen to metal music in your car with the kids?
No, no Metal at home or in the car, only Christian pop. I only listen to Metal when I am with friends or alone.
Many bands in their music promote blasphemy, sin, violence and are against the Ten Commandments. How did you react to these values when you became a Christian?
Like I mentioned up above, I CHOOSE not to listen to that style of lyrics in music anymore. Doesn’t mean I do not like it, just do not feel comfortable putting that into my head anymore, ya know? It seems to me that the best bands are “Satanic,” unfortunately.
You are a grown man. The shock rock values that attract teenagers is not there anymore. Would you wear a Cannibal Corpse shirt and stuff?
No, I would not wear anything of the sort. I might wear something brutal like my Bolt Thrower War-Master shirt, or my Ministry Rio Grande Blood shirt, but that is as extreme as I get. No explicit gore, etc., anymore.
You used to love King Diamond and Mercyful Fate. King Diamond is one of the earliest in metal to call himself a Satanist. Did you stop listening to KD/MF? If so, when did that happen? How did you arrive at such a decision?
Yes, I stopped listening to him when I became a follower of Christ, so in my 20’s. I kinda worshiped the guy, don’t ya know? When one becomes a follower of Christ, believe it or not, one will be made aware of what hurts one’s relationship with God. One can choose to continue to “do as though wilt” or choose to let go of the things that may be considered negative in ones walk with God. I arrived at this decision to show God I was serious about my relationship with him and to show him King D. was no longer my King, hahahaha!
Have you made similar decisions for bands like Dissection, Slayer, Deicide, so on and so forth. Do you miss listening to that music?
Yes, I do not listen to anything Satanic or blasphemous, but again, that does not mean I do not like it. It seems like all the best Metal bands in my opinion in all the Metal genres express one of the two types of Satanists that exist within their lyrics. Although not proud of it, I can and could still sing you the first Deicide album by heart. And yes, I miss the music but not the lyrics.
Some bands have satanist imagery as a selling point and others are satanist. Do you make any distinction? Is there any difference between Venom and Gorgoroth, or is it the same result in the end: the road to Satan?
I feel most Metal bands use Satan and evil as a gimmick and to me that is sad, especially if you do not believe in it. Why “pollute” the listeners with garbage that you are just using to sell records? I do believe there is a distinction between the two, but as you say, they both lead down the same path; Satanism.
How did having children, and being an example for them, affect you in the sense of what bands you listen to?
The only thing that has changed with me having them as far as music goes is not listening to Metal with them or around them because they hate it. Hahaha! So I have to respect that, you know? But I like the same music they like so it works out in the end when we are all in the car. And as far as the way I live now with kids is that they helped me stop using hard drugs and living that life style, especially with bad relationships and women.
You say that you follow Christ, and not religion. Do you ever go to church? Are all churches bad? Do you associate with other Christians and pray together and do other things like that?
Yes, my kids and I go to Church every Sunday. If I have to work my mom takes them for me. We go to a non-denominational church that follows Biblical truth and not religious legalistic opinions on what one must do in order to be saved by following religious manmade rules. Christ is freedom from religion in my book. Who crucified Christ? The politicians and the religious people did. Not all churches are bad, not at all. Only those whom use God in order to gain what is in one’s evil and selfish heart along with those whom preach legalism or that they are the ONLY Christian religion going to Heaven because “fill in blank.” And let us not forget the most evil religion on the planet, Catholicism. This religion has put pedophiles and their religion before the victims and pay out millions of dollars to keep things, or try too anyway, as drama free as possible. But one cannot blame God for some people’s bad choices or “Christian” religions that exist that push people away from God, instead of towards Him. We are all human and we all have our faults and weaknesses, but WE ALL KNOW right from wrong, regardless of one’s beliefs. Unfortunately, some have used this “religion”, this faith, in order to do bad things or use people, but what better way to destroy the good in something by evil disguising itself within it, in order to destroy it, or give something good a bad name or reputation? And yes, I pray with other Christians and by myself.
Do you feel like churchgoing Christians judge you because you are a lifelong metal music fan? Do you read the Bible on a regular basis?
I have issues reading in general because I am a writer more than a reader, if that makes any sense? But yes, I read my Bible, but not on a regular basis. I pray and talk to God more than I read the Bible. And yes, I am an outcast among outcasts when it comes to my preferred style of music and my faith from both sides. I get crap from Metal heads at times and even blocked on fb for my faith and beliefs on The Outcast fb page when I write my stories and experiences with my faith. Are you really that weak-minded that you can’t handle other people’s views? And then I get crap from Christians because they think ALL Metal is Satanic and they think I am not Christian enough for listening to Metal. These Christians are being legalistic with their thoughts when they speak and are confused. People who do not like Metal, or fear it, are those whom do not understand it and think it is all the same because of how it sounds to their untrained ears. Some people think Christian Metal is a contradiction because they think that the style of music (metal in general) is all evil and Satanic and Satan’s music. Ummm…. Main stream music (rap and pop), is way more influential and way more negative in my book as far as subject matter and being influential on kids. I think and feel if Metal haters read some of the lyrics by Death, Carcass, Bolt Thrower, Terrorizer, etc., I think they would be surprised what they sing about, you know? Not all Metal Heads listen to Cannibal C. lyrics, ya know? Not all Metal bands write stupid lyrics, some are actually really intelligent!!
I’m sure that this is annoying, but would you mind explaining the following. To you, how is Jesus real? How did you experience God in your life as a real thing, not just something in a book? What type of experiences have you had that you knew that God is real?
Not annoying at all!! It is a Christian’s duty to witness to others, so it shouldn’t be annoying to the believer at all. Truth be told, it usually annoys the unbeliever!! Hahaha!!
Historically speaking there is physical evidence and even museums with artifacts that have been found that back up the Bible and what is written in the scriptures. Some say Christ was never crucified because there are no records of his crucifixion as there were others. A) How do we know they kept records of ALL people crucified? And B), All over the New Testament the religious folks and the politicians tried to stop His movement and his teachings in various ways, which ultimately ended up costing him his life. Would they not do the same about his crucifixion if they were trying to “kill” his movement? Of course they would!!
Acts 5:34 reads; A Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. 35 Then he addressed the Sanhedrin: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. 36 Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. 37 After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. 38 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”
And what happened? Historically speaking once again, if this book was a lie, if these things did not happen like Gamaliel said in the Bible, wouldn’t this faith, his teachings, EVERYTHING about this Christ, would it have not died along with him when he was crucified if it were a lie? Why would scholars translate a book that was a lie? Would a lie have lasted the test of time in such bold ways? And by this I mean all of the Christ followers whom are still being killed in China and in Africa in our present time and in other parts of the world where Christianity is pretty much against the law to practice. Again, if this faith were a lie, why would so many believers in this present day, and in biblical times, die because of their faith? If this faith were a lie, why would so many people’s lives that have accepted this faith change in such dramatic ways (look at me)? Us believers are either “nuts” for dying for what we believe in, or we have experienced a TRUTH like no other that we will die for because of what we have experienced, you know? Not because we are crazy or hallucinating, but because we have experienced something that is not of this world, a LOVE like no other.
After his death and resurrection, scripture states there were MANY witnesses of his resurrection and ascension. If this truly did not happen like scripture states, again, would this faith have lasted the test of time? Would all of these people from different cultures, Jews and the gentiles, etc., do you really think that they would have joined together in the name of Christ to lie about what had happened if it were not true? Of course not!
But I would be lying and so would any other believer if they told you that they understand it all or how God works, because we don’t. Why would God “allow” this child to die and another one to live? And by this I mean my little brother who died from SIDS more than on one occasion, but who is still alive. God, through a dream, sent my mom a dream that her son was dead, which woke her up. When she saw him and checked on him and noticed he was blue and not breathing, she immediately gave him CPR and brought him back. A few days later my mom and I were upstairs with my brother and we put him down to sleep. We go downstairs and shortly after going downstairs my older sister comes up and says to my mom that we need to go check on my little brother because he was dead. After my mom and her argued for a second, we went upstairs and sure thing, he was dead. After this miracle my mom decided and the doctors decided to put my brother on a heart monitor. He died probably 10 more times after this other time, but the heart monitor woke us all up this time around until he reached a year old. Thankfully my little brother is still with us. But to think that this thought that was put into my sister’s head was a coincidence is something I will never believe. God put that thought in my sister’s head and I thank Him for sparing my little brothers life.
Now the other second miracle I witnessed at a young age involved my younger sister. She was born with an inoperable tumor on her back. Of course, my mom and my grandma being who they are, they went and prayed over it at a holy place in Mexico and as the months went by the tumor started shrinking until it disappeared altogether. The doctors did not know why it just disappeared, but we all knew why.
These experiences were pretty cool and all, but that did not stop me from questioning my upbringing or what I was taught to believe in and I thank Heavy Metal and King Diamond for helping me with that. Like so many other young kids, my “beliefs” during the El Pecado days and my hatred for God I feel was a reflection of accepting my favorite bands lyrics and beliefs at that time. King D., Possessed, Venom, Burzum, Mayhem, etc., but it was also much deeper than that. A childhood rage if you will due to being raped as a child and for having crappy parents also helped this rage inside I was not aware of yet. God did not allow me to see my childhood until I was 29 if you will. If it would have happened sooner, blood would have been shed. I’m telling you the truth, if God would not have been a part of my life back then (even without me knowing), there would have been a lot of dead people if I would have known this part of my life in my teens. I can honestly say He was with me even when I was not with Him.
If you read “Finding Mikey” in The Outcast, you might recall that my experience with that hitchhiker was the tipping point if you will in me accepting and having my proof that God was real. Doesn’t mean I am perfect or have made all the right choices since I became a believer, but I do know I would either be dead or in prison if he wasn’t a part of my life all these years. I am a walking miracle in itself to be honest, with my life and with the outcome to all of my bad choices in life. Not sure why He has my back, but He does, even when I did not want it. He even told me to go outside once when I wanted to find out if my ex-wife was cheating on me or not after I prayed for Him to show me if she was or not. I even argued with Him and almost did not listen to Him due to it being 11:30 at night. Within 5 minutes of me going outside and waiting for my answer, my ex-wife comes outside with her soon to be ex-husband from his apartment that was 5 feet away from ours. Prayers do get answered; some just choose to ignore them or not believe they came from God.
TO BE CONTINUED
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