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Death & Mortality: Devin Townsend

Do you worry about death?

It’s been on my mind quite a lot lately as I’ve hit middle age. But if death didn’t exist everything would be so bland. Death underlines the emotional intensity of art, knowing that it’s not going to last forever.

You really think death affects your art?

I do. Being comfortable with the idea of death allows you not to hold on to your ideas like some precious possession.

People don’t like to talk about death.

That’s very unhealthy. I’ve got young kids. Recently our cat got killed by coyotes. I wanted my seven-year-old son to see it, to try to explain the inevitability of death.

What’s left on your bucket list?

Two chicks at once [laughs]. No, I really want to play bass in a band. A good band.

Do you believe in reincarnation?

I would hope that if you get used to the idea of dying during your lifetime then you won’t need to come back. If you return, you’ve still got shit to learn. So no, I don’t think this is my last time around.

Do you expect to go up to the fluffy white place, or down where it’s a bit hotter?

I don’t subscribe to those ideas. The people that try to tell you that stuff are full of shit.

How would you like to be remembered?

I think I’m a good guy. I do my best to work on my own trip and hopefully send positive ripples for those close to me.

What sort of funeral would you like?

By then it really won’t matter to me.

Dave Ling
Dave Ling

Dave Ling was a co-founder of Classic Rock magazine. His words have appeared in a variety of music publications, including RAW, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Prog, Rock Candy, Fireworks and Sounds. Dave’s life was shaped in 1974 through the purchase of a copy of Sweet’s album ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’, along with early gig experiences from Status Quo, Rush, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Yes and Queen. As a lifelong season ticket holder of Crystal Palace FC, he is completely incapable of uttering the word ‘Br***ton’.