When we heard, that NOTRE DAME was history, we all shed a tear. Finally, there has been a band that found the perfect mix between horror and metal, and now they were about to go asleep at their final resting-place. The live CD “Creepshow, Freakshow, Peepshow” was an honest reflection of the live shows by this metal vaudeville act. But the memory remains…. A true statement made by METALLICA. We wondered why NOTRE DAME decided to pull the plug, and so we made a connection to Hallelujaville, where ‘keeper of the faith and king of the thrill’ Snowy Shaw has his residence in a labyrinth of fiction, dreams and reality. We asked him to take a look in his crystal ball, and tell us all about the future. He also gave us all the ins and outs about his other bands, the live shows of NOTRE DAME and all the other things that once were a dream come true for every horror and metal freak. Let the madness begin. Ladies and gentlemen, meine Damen und Herren, Madams et Monsieurs, we present you the final interview with NOTRE DAME. Warning: Read the next lines at your own risk!
Is the release of “Creepshow, Freakshow, Peepshow” really the end of NOTRE DAME?
Snowy Shaw: “Yes, I'm afraid it is. It's a farewell gift to all our fans and followers in the form of a live album, that I’d promised them early on, since they kept asking for a live album. “Creepshow, Freakshow, Peepshow” is a damn good live album. We've had so much great response for it, and they really appreciate that it is raw and real and not overdubbed like all the other live albums, that are released these days. In some reviews I've read, they' ve been saying that they feel like killing themselves for failing to ever witness us live.. Well, that’s too bad. At this point, the live album is all I can offer you, who missed out on us.”
Can you tell us a bit more about the split of the band. Why did it come to a point, where the band decided to pull the plug?
Snowy: “First I must state that putting my baby NOTRE DAME to rest, does not by any means mean that I have quit music. I eventually came to the conclusion, that I asked myself why the fuck am I putting up with this. All the turmoil with keeping the band from falling apart and the everlasting fights with our record company. Mannequin had been permanently replaced by spring 2004 and after having to cancel several important shows, because Vampirella had ‘better’ things to do, like going to some relatives birthday party and so on, I had a female bass player filling in for her and singing some of her vocal parts. Those shows were just amazing and a little different and less theatrical than the ones with Vampirella. It was still very much a stageshow though, if you compare to most other bands, but musically I had started to drift off into other territories and visually too, so this new line up and show fitted just like a glove. The nail in the coffin was actually I think, when I had done the promotion video out of live clips for “Munsters!” together with Patric Ullaeus of Revolver film company. In any normal case, the record label should be paying for such a product, but I did and offered the promotion material for free, with the hopes that I could get various booking agencies to see our fantastic live shows, etc. Somehow which still puzzles me to this day is, that the whole thing backfired at me and the response I got from Osmose was "It's not fun to work with you Snowy, you're a fucking liar!" What!? They must totally have misunderstood the whole thing and purpose. Fuck them! I refuse to work with idiots like that anymore. At that point I had had enough of all the crap and felt that it was time to move on. I decided we should do one last show on Halloween in Gothenburg last year and that was it. Besides putting out this live recording a year later with a young NOTRE DAME in our prime on my own label.”
Will any of the former band members continue in the music scene? Do you know what they are doing right now? For our magazine we are especially interested in the story of Vampirella of course, but please tell us about the other bandmembers too.
Snowy: “Vampirella is now involved in my girlfriend Sarah's group of fire performers, called BURN BITCH BURN, where she is breathing fire and using her gymnastic skills in the show. I've been helping them out quite a lot too, making all sorts of props and filming promotional videos and so on. Things are really starting to take off for them and they are doing all sorts of events and stuff, like this weekend they did a Xmas party for Toyota, but they've also done shows with MOTORHEAD and DREAM EVIL on several occasions. I seriously doubt, that the De Sade brothers will ever get their shit together to form or play in another band again. They've got the much personal issues to take care of firstly.”
On the cover of the live CD, you are standing in a pillory. The very limited amount of shows that you did with NOTRE DAME must have been something special for you. Maybe you can give our readers an idea of what happened on stage. (And of course we’re talking about the show effects here, because the music can be heard on your great live CD!)
Snowy: “Yeah, just like I wrote in the liner notes in the album, we always tried to bring on one helluva spectacular stageshow, regardless of the fact that we didn't always had the budget for it. We never went on any massive tours around the globe, but instead people could count on us delivering one larger than life stage show, whenever we played. Quality before quantity that's what we aimed for. If you're lucky, there are still a few of those limited digipacks left, but you better hurry up. Order directly from: http://email@example.com or via my website: http://www.snowyshaw.com.”
When you read the excellent reviews about this live CD, don’t you regret it that this marvellous band has disbanded now?
Snowy: “Not really. NOTRE DAME has always had astonishing reviews more or less, which of course I am very grateful for, but that doesn't mean we would sell millions of records since people couldn't still find the albums in the stores. Not that selling platinum was ever my intention with this kind of music and concept, but to get a proper back up and distribution from your label and so on wouldn't hurt.”
We were surprised to hear the ACCEPT cover “Son Of A Bitch” on the live CD. Why did you cover this particular song?
Snowy: “I've always been fond of paying hommage to my heroes or doing my own versions of songs that I like. The fact that “Son Of A Bitch” ended up on this live album is more like a coincidence, just because we played that song at that particular show. Through the years we've done a bunch of unpredictable covers like ABBA's “Money Money Money”, the theme from the Godfather movie, JANE BIRKIN (& SERGE GAINSBOURG)'s “Je T’aime...Mon Non Plus”, PLASTIC BERTRAND's punk hit “Ca Plane Pour Moi”, ”These Boots Are Made For Walking”(NANCY SINATRA), etc.etc. and some more obvious ones like KING DIAMOND's “Halloween” for Halloween shows, and also ACE FREHLEY's “Shock Me”, sung and performed by Vampirella, where she would enter stage in a mock slutty outfit singing in a drilled up giant dildo, where we'd place the mike. The words were slightly changed around, but I'll leave that for your own imagination...”
Who is Marcus “The Invisible Man” Englund, who plays guitar, keyboard and backing vocals on this live album? Do we know him from any other band, that he plays with?
Snowy: “No, nothing famous really. He's an old friend of mine and a good all-round musician, who works mostly in the studio as a session guy, but sometimes plays keyboards behind the curtains with bands. For a couple of shows in the beginning I played the keyboard parts, but I thought that became to messy to switch around and lose focus. People have always said that we sounded so much better live, and that it was rawer, heavier and more in-your-face, but it was quite hard to reproduce all the instruments and vocals from the studio recordings in a live situation only on three musicians and one femme fatale. So from that New Year's Eve show on, I hired Marcus to do keyboards and some backing vocals, since the brothers refused to sing, and I think he also played some rhythm guitar and occasionally some bass, when both me and Jean-Pierre played guitar.”
I really loved the concept behind NOTRE DAME, in which you used so many word jokes, and fascinating horror and shock effects. Did you never try to put some of these genius thoughts into another format (read: band). It would be a shame if all these great thought would get stuck in your mind, and nobody would be able to enjoy these magnificent ‘sick’ thoughts?
Snowy: “Well, what I will be doing on my own in the future isn't entirely that far off from some of the lyrical aspects of NOTRE DAME. Just better, you'll see….”
Please tell us what you are doing at the moment. In which bands are you playing right now and please update us with the latest news about them?
Snowy: “Lately, I've been busy with writing new material for the next DREAM EVIL album, that I asume we will start recording within a month or so. Last week, we were in the studio doing just one song, that we'll probably will be doing a video for and that's gonna be on the MCD, that we'll be releasing in February or March 2006 sometime. We still need to discuss lots of things about the future with our label Century Media though. Moreover, I have been working with Mats Leven on our project S&M, which is gonna turn out real interesting. I've been really busy working with Patric Ullaeus for Revolver Film Company lately also, making special film props and being an assistant for videos with DIMMU BORGIR, IN FLAMES and other bands, besides Volvo commercials and so on.”
What’s the status of SNOWY SHAW & THE SEVEN DWARVES? (I believe this is one of your other projects?)
Snowy: “Well, that's one of my many projects that I've written music for, but before that I will be doing another thing under my name. It's very hard finding the time to do all I wanna do really.”
Did you ever think about giving your ideas to a real ‘video producer’ to compile a longer version of “Thrillogy-The Video”?
Snowy: “Never thought of that. I got burnt out in the process working with a minimal budget, forcing me to hire total amateurs to realizy my visions. In retrospect, I wish I would have used all the energy and time I spent on the making of “Thrillogy” on making two more NOTRE DAME albums instead. Especially, since Osmose didn't have the slightest clue how to market such a product. It was a real waste of time.”
Isn’t there any other live footage of NOTRE DAME available or to be released in the future?
Snowy: “There is, along with shitloads of music, but I have other priorities at the moment. Maybe in ten years time… Who knows?”
What can you tell us about your future plans in general?
Snowy: “As soon as I find the time, I intend to pick up where I left off on my own solo thing. I'll try to get to it after I'm done with the new DREAM EVIL album, if I'm not too busy making other peoples videos and helping out other artists in one way or the other.”
Have you seen any good horror movies lately?
Snowy: “I had a massive overdose on the whole horror thing, while doing NOTRE DAME for seven years, 24-7, so for the last couple of years I haven't really enjoyed watching horror movies, although I've seen a few. I saw ROB ZOMBIE’s “House Of 1000 Corpses” quite recently and it was cool I guess, but basically I want to kick back and see a feel good movie for an hour and a half. My absolute favorite for the last couple of years is “Big Fish” and “Amelie From Montmartre.”
If they would offer you a good deal to do some more live shows with NOTRE DAME, and film this, would you consider doing a reunion of the band, or did you definitely close the book of NOTRE DAME for always?
Snowy: “I had some good offers for this year's Halloween, but at that point it was totally out of the question. But who knows, if the offers are good with a big budget, etc., I might consider bringing NOTRE DAME back from the grave once every year on Halloween and scare the pants off people.We are the perfect Halloween event band, no doubt about that. That could be an awesome thing, but in general I do hate lame reunions and wouldn't do it on a constant basis. Everyone's doing it strickly for the money and delivers a watered out half ass version of what they once were. And that's not why I do music, period.”
Do you have anything on your mind that you’d like to share with our readers? The very last words in this interview are for the master himself and that’s you, Snowy!!
Snowy: “Not really, except Merry Xmas and Hail Santa! Now hurry up getting a signed copy of “Creepshow, Freakshow, Peepshow” as a horrifying (Xmas) gift for your friend(s). Go to: http://www.snowyshaw.com."