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Rob Nabbe

This time I had a talk with Rob Nabbe, or Nabbe the Bastard as others may know him. He played in Insult, Skullhog, Bile, Hot ‘n Steamy Monkeylove and probably a bunch of other bands with even wilder names, but most of you know probably know him from Blind To Faith or his artwork (Rot in Hell, Pulling Teeth, Haymaker etc.) . I knew he  had some good stories so I approached him for an interview, and he didn’t dissapoint. There are some good stories in this one haha. Check it out.

Hey Nabbe, how are you doing? What’s on your mind at the moment?

Hey Pim, I’m doing fine thanks. What’s on my mind at the moment? My son and the fact that he’s currently screaming in bed. And the pizza I’ve ordered about half an hour ago. When the hell is it gonna be here?

Ah damn a pizza. Would love one too. But let’s dive right in. Who is Rob Nabbe? And I’m not asking in which bands you played etc., we’ll get to that later… What defines you as a person?

I guess I’m just a stubborn, slightly overweight, yet extremely attractive guy, trying to be the best father and loving husband that I can be. Being a father is my number one priority since the birth of my son Loek and that will never change. It has been a crazy, scary and rewarding journey so far.

“The first record I got as a present was that Grease gatefold double LP. I was stoked!”

It’s always cool to hear fathers talk about their kid(s), must be life changing if all the stories are correct. Want to tell a little bit more about that scary part of the journey? Like you’re worried something will happen to Loek?

The simple fact that you bring a human being into this world and having him depend on nobody else but you is a frightening thought. I can literally make or break this kid. Isn’t that crazy ? And of course, I worry about him and can only hope nothing bad will ever happen to him. Surreal nightmares involving abductions or abuse seem to appear out of thin air. What the fuck?

Yeah… people seem to get crazier every day. So what’s the main thing / message you want to learn him. If you had to pick one thing that is, because I’m pretty sure you’ll learn him more than one thing haha.

I guess there’s no particular thing I’d like to teach him. I’d like to teach him right from wrong and basically let life happen to him as it goes along and be there for him in any way possible. Live and learn, little buddy. Live and learn.

Sounds like a solid plan indeed. Wishing you all the best with that. Let’s go way back, what’s the first memory you have of your life?

Eating gravel and shitting my pants. Enjoying family road-trips with my dad’s tapes blasting through the speakers. Iron Butterfly, The Cream, Jimi Hendrix and (early) Santana got me interested in music at a very early age. The first record I got as a present was that Grease gatefold double LP. I was stoked! My cousin and I would always put on these silly little acts play-backing to the music from that Grease record. John Travolta was the man, obviously…. As were Doe Maar and Shakin’ Stevens.

Haha that play-backing thing sounds so familiar. Doe Maar too, their guitarplayer came from a village nearby and his son was my boss for quite a while. Always strange to see his dad come walk into the office. Cool guy by the way. Anyway, somehow you got in touch with hardcore, what went wrong?

I got in touch with Hardcore/Punk around the same time I discovered Metal. I was about 12 years old when I got this mix tape from my old neighbor. The tape contained Voivod’s ‘War and Pain’, Celtic frost’s ‘Morbid Tales’ and a few songs by Helloween and Warlock. Especially Celtic frost ruined it all for me sorta speak. In a good way. The next mix-tape I got contained The Dead Kennedy’s, S.O.D., Conflict and Venom. My parents have always been very supportive when it comes to my taste in music. I remember my mom buying me this Heavy metal LP for my 13th birthday. It was some unknown cheesy as fuck Glam/Hair-metal band called Black Ice. In fact, I think these guys invented the word ‘poser’. The album sleeve was ridiculous. Some sort of demon that was forging flying V guitars in a Satanic factory? Flawless retardation. From that age on I was interested in any form of extreme music. Whatever label you would like to put on it. After I discovered Earache and Peaceville records, it all went downhill from there. I was a very pissed off and discontent teenager and I guess that kinda triggered my interest in violent and angry music.

Haha nice. So how did that being discontent and pissed off work out in your youth? Were you a difficult kid to handle?

Well, I wasn’t the most easy kid to care for, that’s for sure. I’ve caused my parents a lot of grief and sleepless nights throughout the years but I can say everything worked out fine in the end.

Good to hear that, I think in a way parents are always going to have sleepless nights. Something else, I know you played in Insult but were you in any band before that?

Yeah, I’ve been active in bands and projects since I was almost 13. My first “band” if you can call it that, contained a bunch of friends and it was basically writing lyrics, drawing fake album-sleeves and posing for band-shots. Oh wait…We need some tunes. Anybody know how to play an instrument? No, but we did have mullets and a bunch of Slayer, Destruction, Blitz and Venom shirts. Then we ended up borrowing a bass guitar, a snare drum and we just jammed with that at the time. Our singer did run around like a maniac screaming Venom lyrics while banging his mullet. And no, he had no microphone. It sure was fun though.

The next “bands” I did had their own instruments, so I needed to up my game as well and get rid of the pots, pans and Tupperware I was using at the time (seriously). One band we did was basically a sloppy version of Larm and Unseen terror and after that we did this band trying to play Death metal and we called ourselves Necropsy. We made flyers bragging about our soon to be released demo-tape and oh shit…Actual orders were coming in. What now? No problem…We would just tape trade and send out live tapes from other local Death metal bands and pretend it was our band. Sure it sucked but it did get me tapes from Grave, Pungent stench, Asphyx and all of those late 80’s/early 90’s bands. Soon after all this fake demo crap, I found out our singer at the time was ripping off Manowar lyrics, so we fired him for being a total wimp.

“We would send out live tapes from other local Death metal bands and pretend it was our band.”

Hahahaha, that story of passing of other bands’ their demo tapes as your own is great haha. Damn. Didn’t anybody ever find out? People that received the tape or the bands that you used for it?

We never had any complaints and actually got compliments on the tape. Due to the fact that the actual band on the tapes we send out was pretty unknown surely helped in keeping us in the clear. The band on the tapes was Malignant. A Death metal band from this area. I actually play in a band with their guitarist Ben. He plays guitars/vocals in Skullhog (formerly known as Bile) and Inhume.

Haha great. Anyway, how do you look back upon these bands now?

I have nothing but good memories of all of these “bands”. Sure it was completely embarrassing, but it was all about hanging out and having a good time with friends. And I think that should be the essence and fuel for any band. No matter how professional you think you are.

Oh yes. When you stop having fun, please quit. You also played in Mallorn, Bile and Hot ‘n Steamy Monkeylove. Any others I’m missing?

Yeah, there’s a few missing here including Excuse (New school Straight edge), Clan of Cannibals (Sludge), the supremely retarded Grizzly Adams (Power violence) and Ashfall, a very short-lived (thank fuck for that!!) project that got lumped in with the dreaded Christian/Spirit-filled HC scene due to our Christian singer. It was a total joke of course, since the rest of the band was hating the fuck out of all religions. Somehow his lyrics got interpreted as religious and he even got us on this Christian dork HC compilation without any of us knowing about it. Thanks a lot…. This was somewhere around the mid 90’s when all the Straight edge kids had to be open-minded and P.C. We did 2 songs for some 3 way split 7” and there was even a written piece on how we did not support organized religion/mind control in any way. Well, that sure didn’t help us get rid of that fucking Jesus stamp. Oh yeah, and the fact our singer drew passages from the bible on his arms and was wearing an anti-abortion propaganda on stage (during our only gig) didn’t help either. He totally surprised the rest of us with that one. Looking back it’s actually pretty funny. Needless to say I’m glad that band dissolved faster than it spawned. Oh man, I have some Spinal tap stories from all the bands I’ve been involved in.

Haha damn. Please, share em dude. The more the better. I don’t care if we’re printing a book full of these stories, keep it coming.

Let’s see here…When Skullhog was still called Bile and we used to do that whole blood-splattered Goregrind/Death thing, we were on a little tour with our friends Regurgitate (Swe.) and Suppository.

We were traveling from one show to the next and were still covered in fake blood from our previous show. Hungover, smelly and blood-drenched we thought it would be a funny idea to let me wear a monkey-skull mask and go inside a gas-station to get some drinks. Purely to see the reaction of the gas-station attendant. Sure, the guy looked a bit baffled when I came up to the counter, but that was all. Okay, let’s hit the road again. After 5 minutes into driving, there were a bunch of police-cars kinda clinging to our van. Coincidence I guess? Moving on, the cars multiplied and a bunch of motorcycle cops arrived to the party as well. Wait, are we speeding? No, whatever…Drive on. Out of nowhere a fucking helicopter came hovering our van. Total banana split moment. We were waiting for the corpse of Ralf Imbar to enter the van. We’ve got text-messages from the Swedes in the other van asking what the fuck was going on. All of a sudden the sirens went on and we were forced to the side of the road. Cops circled the van with their guns pulled on us and we were removed from the van while the cops where hysterically searching the van for more people. All of us were handcuffed and shoved into different cars. We were put in different cells without even knowing what was going on. After about an hour and a half, the cops let us out and gave us an apology. Uhmmm…Okay. Maybe somebody can explain what in the fuck was going on? Apparently the exact same gas-station that I entered splattered and masked underwent a masked and armed robbery about 5 minutes after we left. A classic case of mistaken identity. They thought we were the masked robbers and arrested us by accident. We’ve been released as soon as the real robbers were taken in. The news spread in a bunch of newspapers and actually made it to TMF, but there was never any mention of the band name. A shame, since it would have been some great free press. After the incident we continued our drive to Rotterdam and played probably the worst show we ever did. Funny detail : We asked how many cops were “on the case” arresting us. Apparently there were 56 cops to arrest some silly-ass band. Cop-cars, motorcycles, a helicopter and undercover cars. Great success!! Skullhog is the embodiment of Spinal Tap.

Another example : When we arrived at Stonehenge-fest before our set, we had our driver’s van crashed by some suicidal kamikaze ice cream-motorcycle. You know, one of those motorcycles with a huge cooler attached to the front. He came racing out of nowhere, totally out of control and just parked itself in the side of the van. Nice. And we didn’t even get free ice-cream.

“Cop-cars, motorcycles, a helicopter and undercover cars. Skullhog is the embodiment of Spinal Tap.”

Hahaha, damn I heard that story of the cops chasing you before. Still amazes me though, such a good story. I’m going to push it, I know and I’m already glad I get to hear these, but… Any more haha?

Having your Visa expire the night you actually wanna leave Russia and head back to Finland. We got pulled aside by this authoritarian looking female soldier. There were about 40 or 50 people that could walk through, but of course…Three semi-drunk Dutchmen get pulled aside and are traveling on expired Visas…Duh!!

She let us sweat for about 10 minutes, than shake her head and make some kind of urgent hand gesture for us to get the hell out of there. All the people that traveled by bus were pissed off since they had to wait for us to get back on the same bus. Our bassplayer thought it was a good idea to take a shit first, before getting back to the bus. This took him like an extra ten minutes and you could see him stumble out of the bathroom and make his way very slooooowly back to the bus. I thought they were gonna lynch his midget ass. I don’t know, but it seems there’s always some obstacle in our way when we’re on the road with Skullhog and there’s always some sort of situation we have to talk our way out of.

Spinal Tap indeed. Thanks for sharing haha. Something else, who the hell came up with that name Hot ‘n Steamy Monkeylove?

I was joking around and coming up with moronic band names with Peet from Narcosis/Hard to Swallow over the phone. We came up with a bunch of names including HSML and Ed Gein’s Nipple-belt. The rest of the band didn’t like the last one, so the band was named HSML. Kind of a shame, since Ed Gein’s Nipple-belt sounds like a great concept. A belt that would be soft and comfortable in the summer and transform into some hard-ass studded belt in the winter. Can’t lose with that one.

Haha, you can always use that name for a sideproject of course. Now you’re doing Blind To Faith. Releasing a record on Dwid’s Holy Terror Records, a split with Gehenna on A389 Records. Things went quite fast right?

Yeah, it all fell into place I guess. Vincent and I have been discussing doing this raw and violent band for several years now and we finally came around and went for it. Since the other dudes in the band don’t have time for any full-time commitments due to their other/main bands, we’ve decided this band is all about doing what feels right at the moment. Total freedom. Meaning no stress and no bullshit pressure of releasing stuff or doing any touring/shows. Although I would love to do a shitload more shows with BTF, we only play a show once in a while. The original plan was to record and release a demo or 7” and maybe do a few shows. Dwid heard our recordings and offered to release it as an LP.
I’m very proud of both our releases and can’t wait to record our upcoming album. The only downside of this band is constantly being pigeonholed as being a “Holy terror” band. What the fuck is a Holy terror band anyway? Although I love Integrity, Gehenna and a few others that are always getting labeled as such, It seems 90% of the people associating themselves with the term HT turn out to be Gothic dorks and clowns attempting to play dark and evil HC. I can see why people label us as a HT band since it’s all about negativity and pure nihilism, but it’s all so one-sided. There’s much more to it.

The whole “Holy Terror” thing seems like a big joke to me anyway, to be honest. I could ask a bunch of questions, like what’s the difference between this one and your previous band, or what’s the best memory of the band so far, but maybe more interesting… What do you want to say about the band?

Well, a joke to some I guess. Blind to Faith is basically a creative outlet or vehicle if you will. 4 likeminded individuals coming from totally different bands and backgrounds, getting together and creating the most vile and heinous tunes we can come up with. Best memory of this band so far? Our insane first show at the Pits in Kortrijk and doing a split 7” with one of my all-time favorites. The infamous Gehenna.

So since everyone is pretty busy with other bands, are you doing any other bands at the moment?

Skullhog is finally getting back on track after a long period of inactivity, at least on the live circuit. We’ve just been rehearsing and couldn’t be bothered with playing gigs. The plan was to come up with a brand new set first and record a new album. We’ll be recording somewhere this May and hopefully have the record out in time before this year’s Bloodshed fest. It will be our first live appearance in a few years. Musically we’ve drifted away more and more from the Goregrind-roots of Bile. Musically the influences of Sludge and primitive Death metal took over and deformed the band into an entirely new entity. Same malice, different approach musically. Like the retard-offspring of Autopsy and Hellhammer. Primitive, barbaric and cruel. Just wrong.

For the rest there’s a few projects that we’re trying to get off the ground. HC and Sludge related. More news about that when I have some.

“I would really love to make a living doing artwork for bands.”

So you’re quite busy, nice. We’ll keep an eye on that. Let’s see… If you look ahead a bit… What do you want to achieve in life? Both personally and musically?

Achievements in life? I think I’ve done pretty well so far. Musically : Throughout the years I’ve shared the stage with some of my favorite bands, seen many different countries and put out records that I’m still proud of to this day. I’d still love to tour Australia and Japan one day, but we’ll see. For the rest I’ll just continue to create music and do artwork as long as I can combine it with my day-job and family life. On a personal level I would really love to make a living doing artwork for bands. Or some fucked up comic books or whatever. To do what I love most and actually make some cash while doing it. For the rest I just can’t wait till my son is old enough to shred skateboards and listen to daddy’s records and hopefully inspire him to get involved in doing something he feels passionate about.

Would be cool, hope he doesn’t grow up to love Kane or something haha. Anyway, now you mentioned artwork. How did that all start out?

I’ve been drawing fucked up creatures and dragons since I was about 4 years old. I still have some sketches from my childhood and am thinking of actually using some of the stuff in current projects because they look insane. There’s one of a weird smiling dude licking or blowing on the anus of a crocodile. Very artsy. But yeah, I’ve always loved hand drawn artwork on album-sleeves (Morbid Mark, Sean Taggart, Pushead, Arik Roper and Mike Diana to name a few) as well as the crazy and offensive photo-collages done by Sakevi (G.I.S.M.), Michael Williams (E.H.G.) and my good friend Szymon Siech. Some old Canadian Sludge-band called Goatsblood motivated me to get off my ass and start drawing stuff for bands, since they did their own album-sleeves and that gave me the boost and confidence to give it a go. After doing some stuff for my own bands, the word was out and I’m still doing artwork for bands in my spare time. Great hobby. Payments so far? Not so great. Other than that, it’s always great to see your own creations on shirts or album-sleeves. I’m always pushing myself to get better and do different stuff. Lately I’ve been on this trip of doing 70’s inspired pieces that combine occult rituals, retardation and drug-induced visuals. Right now I’m working on artwork for some Japanese split LP. The artwork is a full-on fucking bad trip nightmare. Some huge Satanic goathead titty fucking these two deformed demonic pin-up girls with double D boobs with it’s horns, while some sort of little crib is hovering in a halo of drugs and syringes. Inside the crib there’s this huge larvae/maggot with a crown of thorns. Representing baby Jesus, of course.

Of course… I love the thing you did for us (Said And Done – Everyday), great cover. But I am biased of course haha. You probably have a favorite yourself, which one and why?

A favorite albumsleeve? I really like the Rot in Hell cover I did. Of course, it turned out they only used it for some ultra limited version, so I basically put in hours of work for a cover that would be used for about 35 LPs. They did end up using the artwork for a shirt and a little screen-print as well, so it’s all good. I actually like a lot of my stuff, otherwise I would throw it out and start over. I hate looking back at artwork I did years ago, since I’ve progressed throughout the years. Honestly, I can’t stand to look at that Said and Done cover I did for you guys. I would have done something way more intricate and detailed if I had to do it again.

That’s perfectly normal. I think everyone has that with the stuff they did in the past. And how about this one: If you could pick any cover, which one would you have loved to do yourself?

That’s a tough one, but I was stoked to do a remake of the first Reproach LP cover. They re-released their LP and asked me to do my interpretation of their original Mike Bukowski artwork. It turned out the way I wanted it to look like. A more fitting style for a band like Reproach if you ask me. On a side note, I also really like the suggestive (obviously) Pettibon-inspired stuff that singer from Extortion is doing. Clean yet kinda offensive and to the point. No fuzz.

But to get back to your original question. I really can’t pick one album-sleeve I would have loved to do. There’s too many great ones to choose from.

Do you look at other releases like that and think to yourself, man, I would have done that totally differently.

Yeah of course. There’s too many dog shit record-sleeves out there and it seems artwork is less and less important to bands these days. When I was growing up, the first thing I would look at while picking out records was the actual cover-art. It has to lure you in, tell a story or just kick you in the face. In my opinion the artwork is as essential as the music itself. If done right, it should complement the music sorta speak. Enhancing the overall product/package. Otherwise, what’s the point? Just put it up for grabs as a digital download and get it over with. People are idiots.

“I cried when watching the the original King Kong movie for the first time as a kid.”

And it’s getting worse every day… But back to you, what’s the thing nobody knows about you?

I cried when watching the original King Kong movie for the first time as a kid. When that oversized ape took a dive down that building and died. Broke my heart.

That comes close to one of my favorite questions out of the Antimatter zines, “When was the last time you cried and why?”. Care to answer?

I’ve done some research on your interviewing tactics and knew you were gonna ask me something about crying. Hence my previous answer. Since you are not letting me off the hook that easy I can tell you the last time I really cried was during the birth of Loek. Not some flat out rainforest-fest or anything, but purely tears of joy. I don’t really cry that often to be honest.

Haha nice, you’re researching me. So you like to think a couple of steps ahead? Do you do that in normal life as well? Like a chessplayer?

I’m too ignorant to play chess. Hell, I even lose a game of Monopoly to a bunch of minors. Looking ahead and planning out strategies in real life is a smart thing to do, but what to do? Life will happen. It is what it is. Deal with it.

Uhuh. Since you researched me, here’s another thing I like to do. Ask yourself a question and answer it too.

Is Seinfeld the best sitcom ever?
Why yes Pim. Yes it is. In fact, I own every single DVD box and watch at least an entire box in a row when I have the time to do so. The characters and situations are flawless.

Haha nice Nabbe, nice. When I approached you for this interview we talked about stuff we could touch upon you mentioned taking a look at the hardcore scene and the difference between the 90’s and now for instance. I take it you have something to say about that?

Well, I’d figured this standard question would come up at some point since there always seems to be some sort of weird fascination for the scene in the 90’s since a lot of kids were not there to actually experience it firsthand. Do I have something to say about it? The main difference seems to be the indifference. When I look at the majority of bands out there today it’s mostly about who’s the toughest and who has the better Mosh-parts/breakdowns. There’s not many bands that actually wanna spread some sort of message and get people to think. People were more involved in doing things DIY. Be it putting up shows, doing zines, starting distros..etc.. These days kids can’t even bother to scrape their lazy and spoiled asses off their whore-mom’s couch and actually travel to see a band. If the show is not located in a 10 km radius, they will settle for clips on Youtube, talk shit on message-boards and download music instead of actually supporting the bands and buy records or visit shows. The internet sure made things accessible and easier but is that a good thing? Dorks can go online for hours and download every obscure band in history and pretend to like them, but can’t find the time to make a cool flyer for a show? Fuck off.

It’s such a standard question that I try to not ask it most of the time, but since you brought it up yourself… I don’t think it’s unique to hardcore though, people don’t seem to care anymore in general. Could be an information overflow or something, there’s so much coming at people, they just ignore it all. Or what do you think?

Yeah, an information overflow and abundance of shitty bands for sure. Quantity over quality and that’s too bad. And you’re right. It’s not just a HC/Punk related phenomenon.
Metal is flooded with shitty, watered-down and overproduced bands, lame and weak sing-a-ling bling bling shake that ass R’N’B crap is being passed off as Hiphop these days and when I turn on the TV it seems that pop music is even more diseased by the lack of talent or character than ever before. What the fuck is going on?

“Having him depend on nobody else but you is a frightening thought.”

And how about politics? Where do you stand yourself, coming from the land of Wilders?

I wanna know who the hell does this guy’s hair. That’s all I’m interested in. As far as politics or politicians go, I don’t trust any of those clowns. It doesn’t matter if I’m getting fucked over by this guy or that guy. What a joke. And the state of affairs worldwide? We’re all circling the drain.

I think that’s about it Nabbe, I’m all out of questions. Anything to add? Something you want to get back on, something you need to get off your chest?


Loud and clear. Thanks for the interview dude.

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