Cradle Of Filth: Dani Filth's Guide To Life

Dani Filth looking at the camera
Dani Filth (Image credit: Getty)

With his band Cradle Of Filth scaring parents and priests for 25 years, Dani Filth has never hidden his devilish opinions and quick wit from his army of devotees. We chat to Suffolk’s most shadowy character about bonding with his fans, upsetting the Russian Orthodox Church and inventing rock’n’roll darts.


“I listen to free stuff! That’s my favourite style of music. Being on Nuclear Blast, with all the bands they’ve got, means I get quite a lot of freebies. They seem to have the monopoly on a lot of metal bands. I’ve been enjoying the new Destruction, Death Angel and Anthrax albums. Oh, and Nails! I’m still really into the bands I’ve always been into, and I still listen to a lot of old US punk and hardcore, like Bad Religion, Circle Jerks and Dag Nasty. I love soundtracks, too. There are always lots of good soundtracks coming out. I listen to those probably more than anything else. Obviously I love any good traditional heavy metal stuff, like the new Denner/Shermann album, Masters Of Evil. It’s fucking brilliant. Obviously it sounds like Mercyful Fate, but who cares? There are still tons of bands out there ripping off Black Sabbath, aren’t there? I always go back to Mercyful Fate, King Diamond, Slayer, loads of thrash stuff, stuff that makes you grin!”


“Yuck! I don’t think anyone knows what’s going on. This Brexit thing, it’s either a massive step forward or a terrible wallow in the quagmire. As time goes on, everyone seems to be regrouping in the middle. Obama became a spokesperson for the UK government. He must have had his words written for him. I can’t talk, though, because I didn’t get to vote. I missed applying for a proxy vote. So I walked down to the polling station at the bottom of my road on the day, thinking it was open at 6am, but I was an hour early and I was being picked up to go to the airport at seven. So that was that. Apparently you can’t vote somewhere else. I didn’t really know which way to vote anyway, to be honest. Both sides seem to have pros and cons. I find politics grossly irritating but I do take a degree of interest in it. It certainly never encroaches on anything I do with the bands I’m in, unless it’s a tax issue, ha ha ha!”


“I’ve been all over the world so many times and I’ve spent a lot of time in India and read a lot about different cultures, so my perspective has widened a great deal over the years. That doesn’t mean my opinion on religion is any more positive, though! It’s weird because we’ve had a few run-ins with priests and so on, but a lot of them seem to ignore us these days. Recently it was the Russian Orthodox Church, but that wasn’t so bad. I guess Cradle Of Filth deals with lots of doctrines and different religions, we’re not just denouncing one or the other. The ‘Jesus Is A Cunt’ shirt was more of anarchic statement than a religious thing. It was just something universal to pick on. But we went on a huge tour in Russia with Cannibal Corpse, and they had most of their shows cancelled but we only had one threatened with being disrupted, so rather than running the risk of losing that show, the promoter moved it to another venue which was far too small, so we ended up doing a meet‘n’greet instead. We stayed for at least four hours. It was strange, because you’d think we’d attract these militant Catholic groups more than someone like Cannibal Corpse.”


“I did give up drinking for a while but it came back! It’s just not as regular now. My problem was I was a binge drinker. I wouldn’t drink for weeks and then I’d hammer it for three days in a row and suffer really badly. The last time I drank was at a show in Canada, and I’m sure I wasn’t as worse for wear as our bass player was. He was near to collapse and had to go and lie down, ha ha! But I play football regularly and I work out too. I do a lot more singing these days, now I’m in two bands. Once the new Devilment album is finished I’ll be straight into writing the new Cradle album, so it’s a busy time. It’s basically a case of ‘make hay while the sun shines’. We did have some peak moments of debauchery back in the earlier days of Cradle, but I feel a lot better generally now, I must admit. The alcohol added to people’s temperaments and fuelled the fires of destruction and mayhem, although that’s a double-edged sword as well. Some of the most riotous moments in Cradle history were between 1998 and 2002 and it probably won us more good press than bad. The bad moments are okay too… it’s just rock’n’roll, isn’t it?”


“I think people just hear about our escapades and want a piece of it! Nowadays, with social media and everything else, we reach a lot more people and we seem to reach a lot more fans when we hit the road. The new line-up is particularly fan-friendly and we make more effort than we’ve ever done before. We’ve done a lot of what we call meet’n’weeps, ha ha! We did a load recently and they were nearly all sold out. We have a great relationship with our fans. Our Facebook page has nearly two-and-a-half million likes on it, and they can’t all be my mum!”


“I think you always have to laugh in the face of things. Sometimes situations are so against us that all we can do is laugh. It’s something that Cradle has always adhered too. We grew up being English and being fans of Rik Mayall and Ade Edmondson and the Comic Strip stuff, and there’s always been that dark sense of humour to what we do. It’s satirical and sarcastic. Our drummer Martin, before he was with us he played with Mantas from Venom, and that was a strange mixture of the Czech Republic and the Geordie accent! He really picked up on their humour, though. It all just becomes a bit twisted and it gets us going. We’ve got a fantastic road crew, the Crewdle Of Filth, and they’re just hilarious as well. We have many japes! It’s what gets you through tours, you know?”


“I don’t watch much television at all. I try not to, anyway. I go to see as many movies as I can, though. I’ve been trying to steer away from the obvious TV stuff. I haven’t seen any Game Of Thrones and it’s the same reason that I haven’t seen Breaking Bad or 24 or any of those – people kept banging on about them, and in the end I couldn’t be arsed with it. Now I’ve been talked into watching Game Of Thrones, I can’t find it anywhere! I like a lot of horror stuff too, like Penny Dreadful, Whitechapel and American Horror Story. Gotham was pretty good, too. But I don’t want a huge amount of telly, although I did watch the European Championship recently.”


“I went to Alice Cooper’s bar, Cooper’stown, in Phoenix recently, and it’s horrible, a sports bar with a few pictures of Alice Cooper everywhere. Metal and sport doesn’t really go hand-in-hand, does it? I was okay at football when I was a kid. I was better at cricket. My mum was in the Guinness Book Of World Records for being the first official female cricket umpire. That was weird! I watch a bit of Formula 1… I just like driving, really. If I was ever into computer games, which I’m really not, it would have to be something where you drive a car that’s heavily armed with weaponry. I think that means I have a limited number of games to choose from. Oh, and I love darts! Me and my brother have really been getting into it. We turned my mum’s garden into Ally Pally and had massive tournaments until two in the morning, blasting out cheesy 80s metal and pop. Her house is studded with darts that missed the target, ha ha!”

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Dom Lawson

Dom Lawson has been writing for Metal Hammer and Prog for over 14 years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He also contributes to The Guardian, Classic Rock, Bravewords and Blabbermouth and has previously written for Kerrang! magazine in the mid-2000s.