Dark Entries is an independent Belgian music webzine with a focus on dark sounds. The webzine itself is completely in Dutch and can be found at www.darkentries.be. This blog was created with the intention to have an additional online place where our editors can post their English articles.
The Greek band Opened Paradise released their third album 'Buried In Rain'
in 2016, full of disillusioned gothic rock and occult allusions. The CD is a
little pearl, in line with their previous CDs of the band. We asked
guitarist-composer Babis and singer-lyricist Periklis to give more explanation
on the background and motives of the band.
You play gothic rock in
Greece. Can you tell us more about the goth scene in Greece? How did it start?
Babis: First of all we would like to thank you for this interview and your
interest in our music. The gothic rock scene is very diverse and sometimes
bands that fall under the same category don't have much in common, musically or
lyrically, with each other. Of course we don't have a problem with the term
since our roots are deep in what the Fields or Garden of Delight did in the
past, but we are influenced by a much wider range of music and this is
something that will get clearer in our next albums if it isn't already. The
fans and clubs were always here since the 80s when the whole movement started, but
the bands involved in it are still very few. I don't know if we can talk about
a Greek gothic rock scene. I always believed that you need to have a good
number of bands with a distinct sound to do so.
How did the band Opened
Periklis: It was in the summer of 2003 when we planted the seed. Nothing
more than 5 guys trying to release their thoughts and feelings through music. I
don't think that any of us expected to be here today, active almost 14 years
after, still in search of sound, looking for new horizons.
I noticed you have got two
songs named ‘Opened Paradise’. The first one is your own composition on your
debut, the second one is a cover of the Garden of Delight-song. Is this where
the inspiration for the name Opened Paradise came from?
Periklis: You are right. It is a fact that our name came as an influence of
theGarden of Delight song. At
that time Elias and I where way into their music. The title was put on the
table by Elias during an afternoon discussion.
Your lyrics contain many references
to the occult, to Mayan mythology and others. Where does your interests in this
field stem from?
Periklis: That which is unknown, or to be more accurate less known, always
seemed to attract me. Small parts of truth with great significance are hidden
in myths and legends. Through myths you get to know hidden or forgotten
traditions of civilizations. There were cases in which religion, in an effort
to hide the actual truth, fed people with lies and forbid or burned books. We
crave for what is hidden and we are in search for what is lost. This was and
this is the turning wheel of our inspiration.
When going through the lyrics
of your last CD ‘Buried In rain’, I had an idea of an overarching theme: the
distance between what someone wants to make from its life, and the actual
reality. Is there a concept behind the CD and can you tell us more about it?
Periklis: ‘Leaving Dreamland’ has mainly got to do with that.What you
expect from life.What you were told to believe in and how finally you realise
that people and life itself seem to fail you.
In my mind "Buried in Rain" is hermetic. Speaking to all a different
language, but with the same goal. The search for truth. To acknowledge fear, to
embrace it and at the end letting it be your companion through life. Death is
there to let you know that things are ok as long as you're far from His grasp.
Since the very
beginning, you chose to sing in English. Why not choose for your native Greek?
Babis: We never thought about it to tell the truth. It came out naturally
probably because the bands we were influenced by at the time were using the English
language. I personally have great respect for some of the Greek rock bands that
did it differently and I really don't know how Opened Paradise would sound if Periklis
was singing in Greek. It might be intriguing and, who knows, it might sound
even more occult to some people.
After 13 years
of existence, you still play with the initial band. How could it last for so
Babis: I think that most of the times the reason for a musician to leave a
band is losing interest of what the team is doing at the time, commonly known as
"musical differences". Since we don't have to deal with tight
schedules and heavy touring, which can also be a problem within the ranks of a
band, I guess we still have the same passion as we did when we first started
out. We did have our issues though, which we tried to and finally managed to
overcome and we recently made the family bigger with the addition of Kiriakos
as second guitarist and 6th permanent member of the band.
We are all aware
of the current crisis in Greece. What are your thoughts about it?
Periklis: Well the "crisis" is here. If you live in Greece you
can see it all around you. The people have lost their will to smile nowadays. The
poor are getting poorer, the rich become richer and the middle class isslowly fading away. Surely we feel the impact
also in our lives but at least we still have a way out through music. Opened Paradise: bandcamp / facebook
‘I knew there
was something I needed to write, not just a story of the band, but a story of
redemption.’ We start where the remarkable book by Lol Tolhurst, founding
member of The Cure, ends. Already on the first page, Tolhurst warns us that his
book is not just his autobiography. These are his memoirs, his version of the
I was doubting if I would learn something new about The Cure, especially knowing
that Tolhurts already was the main source of biographies like ‘Never Enough. The
story of The Cure’ by Jeff Apter, a good book about the pop phenomenon Cure, although
with some lack of understanding for the darker side of the band.
mistaken. With ‘Cured. The story of two imaginary boys’, Tolhurst has chosen a
very different perspective. It has become a strongly personal story that starts
with the first meeting between Robert Smith and Tolhurst as five year old
children that had to take the same bus to a catholic school in Crawley.
The book is
divided into three parts. The first part is entirely devoted to the childhood of
Tolhurst and Smith, including the first musical steps, performances and
recordings until the contract with Fiction that gave the members the opportunity to
become professional musicians and release their own records. Of course you’ll read the
necessary anecdotes about the nightlife in Crawley, the first loves and the way
the extravagant trio Tolhurst-Smith-Dempsey were treated by the more conformist
youth and right-wing skinheads.
second and most extensive part, Tolhurst talks about his experiences in The
Cure. The story is largely personal, and of course includes infamous episodes
like that drunken night when Tolhurst hastily ran into a bathroom and
accidentally pissed on the leg of Billy Idol when this last one was about to make
love to a groupie. Or the evening when Robert Smith and Simon Gallup fought
about unpaid drinks and put an end to the successful trio in the tour that
When Smith contacted
Tolhurst again to continue as a duo, the story takes a different
turn. It is still the story of Tolhurst in The Cure, but the emphasis is more
on another aspect of the man in the band, a very destructive aspect which will
ultimately lead to the departure of the writer: Tolhursts ever worsening alcohol
Alcohol already ran like a thread through the book. It started with the alcohol
addiction of Tolhurst’s father, a reason why Tolhurst nor his family ever invited friends
or relatives at their home. The children had learned to dodge their father,
especially when he was drinking. Tolhurst also talks about his first glasses at his
brother’s party, and how it led to his first blackout on that very same night.
was - just like the other members of The Cure - a heavy drinker. But after ‘The
Top’, and even more so after ‘The Head On The Door’, it all went completely out
of control. His addiction seriously hindered his creative input in the band. Tolhurst
tells us many anecdotes about drunken nights, accidents or even police
interventions and arrests.
Tolhurst narrates how Porl Thompson sat beside him at a poolduring the recording of ‘Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss
Me’ and told him that no one would blame him if he would seek professional
help. Tolhurst, however, dismissed the problem and thought he could overcome it
all by himself.
It is now
known to everyone that Tolhurst contributed almost nothing to ‘Disintegration’, the most perfect Cure-album.
Tolhurst demolished the album in front of the whole band (perhaps because of
the realization that he had contributed too little). The question arose whether
Tolhurst could be taken on tour. Tensions in the group were already running
high, and finally Robert Smith took the inevitable decision. Tolhurst was fired.
This is where the third part of the book starts. Tolhurst at last seeks a serious treatment
and frees himself from the alcohol demon. Alas, he remains envious and jealous. Even if The Cure made him incredibly rich, he filed a court case
against the band over copyright issues. He lost the case in an astounding manner,
after which he divorced from his wife and child. Tolhurst was completely lost,
and didn’t even have a home for a period. He was broke and staying with friends.
In order to
pull out of the downward spiral, he gives himself some time off in the
desert. It will be a turning point after which he starts rebuilding his life. He
finds a new partner with whom he starts to make music - after a few years -under
the name Levinhurst. In 2000, the big reconciliation with Robert Smith and The
Cure takes place, and in 2011, Tolhurst even plays with The Cure on the ‘Reflections tour’,
performing the entire ‘Faith’ album with the band. The book ends on a positive
Tolhurst gave Robert Smith a copy of his book. ‘I know
that if he didn't like it, I would have heard from him by now.’ It should be said that Tolhurst
remains very friendly towards his former fellow musicians in The Cure. There
really is not a single negative word about them in the book. Tolhurst doesn’t
even mentions the fact that Simon Gallup was also treated for his alcohol
problem a few years after his departure from The Cure, something which surely would have
been interesting in this context.
that The Cure was often involved in fights, something which may not fit the
image of the band by the general public. In the early days, the band would
sometimes jump into the audience to deal with difficult people. (It was the
heyday of punk, right.) The fact that Tolhurst was often the outlet for frustration
and aggression of other members of the band, remains unmentioned.
almost all the blame for what went wrong. He is not ashamed to tell pretty
embarrassing things about himself. However, he does not have the courage to dwell deeply into the trial which he sat up against The Cure. (Or maybe he didn’t want to
practice too much ‘accuracy’ when the book neared its ending?) For instance, it is not true
that Tolhurst earned the same as the other members of The Cure, as he writes in
the book. As a founding member, he earned substantially more than the rest -
with the exception of Robert Smith, of course - while his contribution was much
smaller. This is perhaps why Tolhurst calls the book his ‘memoirs’ and not his
the book exceptional, is the openness with which Tolhurst talks about
his alcohol addiction. Some will deem this an extremely interesting book about
The Cure, while others will also outline the story of a successful life that
was destroyed by alcohol, and then rebuilt from scrap. With the combination of both, we must recommend you the book doubly.