Orange Goblin

Published: 22 July, 2010 - Featured in Skin Deep 120, April, 2005

Ash: When did you get together as a band, and how did you meet?

Ben: We actually got together in 1994. Martyn, Joe and myself were unemployed and along with our old guitar player, Pete, we spent every day sitting around someone or others house listening to music. That’s when we decided to start a band, basically to relieve the boredom, so we found a drummer that Martyn and Pete knew from school, and formed a band, ‘Our Haunted Kingdom’. It was a very rough outfit at first as Martyn had just started playing bass and I just did death metal vocals. Eventually we found the path we wanted to take, I got a lot more confident singing. We went through until we eventually found Chris and we changed our name to ‘Orange Goblin’ in 1995. It was actually more a case of Chris finding us, as he walked into the wrong rehearsal room and never really left. And basically, with the exception of Pete leaving in 2002 we have retained a solid line-up ever since. 


Ash: Were any of you in bands during your teenage years?

Ben: For me, it was the first band I’d ever been in. I actually met Martyn through playing football and it was his first band too. I think Pete used to play in a metal band when he was at school, just doing Iron Maiden, Slayer and Metallica songs. Joe had always played in Blues bands and had messed around with a few friends of his with Led Zeppelin and Hendrix stuff. Chris played in the hardcore band, Fabric, before joining Orange Goblin. I’m sure he also had a few other bands in his youth but I’m not entirely sure of the details.


Ash: What are your musical influences? 

Ben: We all have varied tastes in music but these also share a common theme. You know, we all like the obvious things, bands like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Iron Maiden, as well as the normal heavy metal influences. But apart from that, our musical tastes are quite eclectic. Joe comes from a Blues based background and likes Hendrix, Cream, Aerosmith, Bob Dylan, The Band, The Beatles and some other very diverse stuff. Martyn introduced me to death metal in the early 1990’s, and that’s his background. Now he’s really into Trouble, The Obsessed, Pentagram, St Vitus, a lot of doom and hardcore. Chris comes from a punk background, going to the old crust/hardcore shows in the 80’s, and he grew up with Heresy, Concrete Sox, Black Flag, Minor Threat and Bad Brains etc… I listen to pretty much everything from country through to black metal. My influences as a frontman would be all of the obvious names like, Ozzy, Lemmy, Bon Scott, etc. but I also have a great respect for people like Johnny Cash, who could command respect from the stage due to his persona and charisma.


Ash: Aside from music, what other jobs have you done?

Ben: There are too many shitty, warehouse, fork lift driving, underpaid, over worked jobs to mention. The beautiful thing is that we all still have to do them.  


Ash: During the photoshoot you mentioned that some of you are in other bands as well, how does that work out in terms of commitment, priority and time?

Ben: Yes. Everyone has other musical projects on the go, but Goblin remains our priority. We all know that it must take preference above anything else. Chris has Capricorns and Alpha Male. Martyn is also in Alpha Male. Joe is in a country band with me, which is called, The Ruined, and I also have a Black Metal band called The Hill. Its keeps us busy, but lets us vent other influences which wouldn’t necessarily work in Orange Goblin.


Ash: What makes Rock music and the Rock scene so appealing to you?

Ben: I should say sex and drugs, but the reality of it is the music. From platinum selling bands to the more extreme underground stuff, I love it, and it’s really more of a way of life than an interest. I know that sounds dreary, but its true…oh, fuck it, it’s the sex and drugs!


Ash: How has the Rock scene changed in the years that you have been together?

Ben: At our level, it hasn’t really changed at all. Like I said, we all have to work shitty day jobs. I suppose that when we started nobody knew much about bands like Black Sabbath and Ozzy, but thanks to MTV, we all know what paper him and Sharon wipe their arse with.


Ash: Rock seems to be making a comeback in the charts recently, why do you think this is?

Ben: Because dance music is shit and the manufactured pop band has been done so much that people are fed up with it. It’s cool to wanna like a guitar-band now, but I know that in a few years time it’ll all change again. It’s just a cycle of fashion really, but if you scratch the surface you find underground music with integrity and that never goes away. 


Ash: What do you think of bands like The Darkness and Lost Prophets who are bringing Rock back into mainstream music?  

Ben: I say good luck to The Darkness and LostProphets because it can only be a good thing for bands like us who have been, and always will be, playing this kind of music. And maybe, if a kid likes The Darkness, he may like AC/DC, then he may get into Motorhead, and that might eventually lead him to buy an Orange Goblin album. It’s very wishful thinking.


Ash: There is a long association with Rock music and tattoos, why do you think this is?

Ben: Because contrary to what the conservative majority of ordinary people think, tattoos are very big and very clever. They make you look cool, whether they are good tattoos or not. In fact, shit tattoos are even cooler. The reality lies in the fact that in the 50’s, along with Rock’n’Roll and motorbikes, tattoos were seen as an act of rebellion. And the image has stuck.    


Ash: Tell us something about being on tour, the highs, lows, the places you have played, and tell us any funny incidents that have happened when you’ve been on tour.   

Ben: I don’t really like having to tell tour stories as what we have found funny on tour somewhere one night whilst out of our heads, nobody else will find amusing in the slightest. You never remember the best stories anyway, because the funniest things always occur when you are under the influence.


Ash: Okay, I can live with that. So tell us about your tattoos, the designs you chose, reasons for those choices, and tell us something about the artists who did the work.

Ben: Between us we have so many tattoos that I couldn’t tell you about all of them, they all have meanings behind them somewhere, from football teams to bands, personal tastes regarding design and views or opinions about certain issues. Personally, I got my first tattoo when I was 17. It was done by a tattooist in Ramsgate called Don. It was my Liverpool football team badge as I have been a life long fan. I had my sleeve done by a guy called Andy in Harrow. But my favourite pieces are my Misfits tattoo and the traditional heart and dagger with my sons name on it. These were done by a guy called John Longstaff who works at the Sacred Art studio in Stoke Newington. He has also done work on Martyn and Chris too, and I would recommend him to anyone.


Ash: Have any of you planned future tattoo work. If so what will that be?

Ben: I have a few plans for some more old school stuff that John has come up with. He has some great ideas and he’s the only tattooist that I would personally trust to come up with ideas to put on me. He’s got the same weird sense of humour as us, so it works out well. I know that the other guys have other things in mind. It seems that, at the moment, it’s a competition to see who can get the most retarded tattoos.


Ash: How happy are you with what you have achieved so far?

Ben: With regard to the band, I’m over the moon with what we’ve achieved. When we started we thought it would be cool to record a demo. Now we’ve done 5 albums, and toured the world a few times, so we’ve outdone anything we thought we could ever achieve.


Ash: What ambitions do you have as far as the band is concerned?

Ben: We are pretty realistic. We know that we are never gonna sell a million records and make a load of money, but we started this band when I was 19 years old. I’ll be 31 this year and priorities change. I now have a mortgage, family and a job, but I still love doing Orange Goblin and my enthusiasm for it is as strong now as ever. For as long as I have a passion for it, I’ll keep going, and that’s really the only ambition I set myself.  Anything better than that would be a bonus.


Ash: Is there anything else that you think we should know about you as individuals or as a band?  

Ben: I think everybody should realise that we don’t normally wrestle each other bare-chested like some of the photos depict. But the shoot was a good laugh…apart from the smell of men.


Ash: Is there any question that you would like to answer but have never been asked?

Ben: The circumference of my neck is 17.5 inches.


Tattooist credits.

Ben & Martyn are tattooed by, Don Carfoot @ Don’s Tattoo’s, Ramsgate.  Andy Morfew @ Tattoo Time, Harrow.  John Longstaff @ Sacred Art.


Chris is tattooed by, John Longstaff @ Sacred Art.  Bugs @ Evil From The Needle, Camden. Adam Collins and Martin Clarke @ New Wave Tattoos. Mo @ Family Business.


Orange Goblin headline at ‘The Peel’, in Kingston-Upon-Thames, Surrey, on Sunday, 3rd April 2005 


For more info on the band, check out their website at:


Photos: Ashley Photographers Assistant: Michele Martinoli


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