Type O Negative’s Johnny Kelly Discusses Kill Devil Hill’s New LP
Legendary Type O Negative drummer Johnny Kelly hung out on Loudwire Nights Tuesday night (Nov. 21) to not only talk about some milestones in the world of Type O, but also chat about his new work with Kill Devil Hill.
“After awhile, everything feels like it’s Chinese Democracy and you’re just waiting and waiting,” Kelly told Loudwire Nights‘ Chuck Armstrong about the release of Kill Devil Hill’s new album, Seas of Oblivion. “And then finally it comes out.”
Even though there was a bit of a “start and stop” feel to the creation of Seas of Oblivion, Kelly was clearly excited about the process and working with his bandmates, vocalist Dewey Bragg, bassist Matt Snell and guitarist Mark Zavon.
“Mark’s the primary writer in the band and he’s never short on riffs,” Kelly said. “He’s one of those guys can can always come up with riffs and he just has the ability to crank stuff up when you need it.”
Kelly admitted there was a long period of inactivity in the band given a few things — including a global pandemic — but all of a sudden, he had new songs emailed to him and he had to put his drum tracks on them and send them back.
“I think I recorded 17 songs when we did the drum tracks. It was like 17 songs in two-and-a-half days.”
From Kill Devil Hill to Type O Negative
Along with celebrating Kill Devil Hill’s new album, Kelly was open about his history with Type O Negative, especially since 2023 marks the 20th anniversary of their sixth record, Life Is Killing Me.
(This year is also the 30th anniversary of Bloody Kisses, but that came out a year prior to Kelly joining Type O Negative.)
“It’s fun to reminisce and tell the war stories and stuff,” he said, “but I’ve never been able to just sit back and rest on my accomplishments. This industry is very fickle and it moves at the speed of light. If you’re not constantly doing something, you can get lost in it and tossed into obscurity very quickly.”
As Kelly pushed himself to reminisce a bit, though, it was clear he was grateful and humbled by what Type O created all those years ago.
“We felt that what we were doing was something special and interesting and unique, but we never thought that people would be talking about it 20 or 30 years from now,” he said. “I always felt like the wheels were falling off the bus all the time.”
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What he meant by that was that he figured the success Type O experienced was always nearing its end at any given moment.
“From the first tour that I did with the band up until the last one, I always felt like this is it. This is the last tour. This will be it, [I’ll have to] go get a job … We looked at it not like we were building a career, but like we were surviving … There was never the thought or the consideration or the responsibility that we were building a legacy.”
What Else Did Johnny Kelly Discuss on Loudwire Nights?
- Why he felt like Type O Negative could have been like Motorhead: “We’ll just keep going until we can’t go anymore.”
- What one of the craziest moments on tour was for him: “The bass player from Puya ran onto the crew bus…and one of the crew guys kicked him in his face and threw him off the bus.” (This is just the beginning of the craziness.)
- Why it was so surprising when Peter Steele died: “He was clean and sober … Had it been a year prior, getting the phone call that he passed away? I wouldn’t have been surprised. We spent a lot of time waiting for that phone call but then he got passed all of that.”
Listen to the Full Interview in the Podcast Player Below
Johnny Kelly joined Loudwire Nights on Tuesday, Nov. 21; the show replays online here, and you can tune in live every weeknight at 7PM ET or on the Loudwire app; you can also see if the show is available on your local radio station and listen to interviews on-demand. Stream Kill Devil Hill’s Seas of Oblivion at this location and stay updated with everything going on in their world.
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