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Lawnmower Deth: "We knew back then that we were getting away with murder"

Lawnmower Deth
(Image credit: Nick Parkes)

Nottingham thrashers Lawnmower Deth emerged from the late-80s British underground metal/punk scene like the offspring of Napalm Death and The Young Ones, burping up such anarchic blasts of noise as Watch Out Grandma Here Comes A Lawnmower and Fuck Off before splitting in 1993. 

Now they’re back after lengthy hiatus, with new album Blunt Cutters – very much the Chinese Democracy of eccentric thrash-punk. Singer Pete Lee and guitarist Steve Nesfield reveal why they’ve fired up the Flymos once more.

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Why does the world need a new Lawnmower Deth album in 2022? 

Pete Lee: [Laughs] It probably doesn’t. We were really enjoying just getting rolled out at festivals every now and again – that was nice and easy. But Steve started writing riffs, and suddenly my inbox started filling up with messages going: “You better work out some lyrics.” 

When you started, back in the late eighties, what were your ambitions? 

Steve Nesfield: We didn’t have any. We were just a bunch of mates who were really surprised that we got out of the bedroom. We’d play with Voivod or the Toy Dolls, then we’d be back down the pub going: “That was a good weekend, wannit?” 

PL: I think we knew back then that we were getting away with murder, whereas these days we’re a bit more proficient. 

SN: Nah, we’re still winging it. 

After reuniting in 2008, you ended up writing a jingle called Doctor Mosh for Simon Mayo’s Radio 2 show

PL: Somebody phoned in to his show to say they’d been at one of our shows years ago and won one of those ‘Face In The Crowd’ competitions in Kerrang! magazine, but it wasn’t him. Mayo was pissing himself, going: “Surely there was never a band called Lawnmower Deth.” 

So they called me, and I ended up going on the show the next night. They played one token metal song a week, and I said: “Your jingle for it is shit. We’ll write you one.” So we sent them Doctor Mosh, and it got played every week on Radio 2 for years.

During your set at Download in 2015, you brought out Kim Wilde to sing on your cover of her hit Kids In America. How the hell did that happen? 

PL: A few years ago, some fans set up this thing to get Kids In America to Christmas Number One, and they started badgering Kim on Twitter. I messaged her and said: “They’re just having a bit of fun.” And she came back and said: “I think it’s fucking great!” So we ended up taking her to Download. 

SL: We were prepared for it to be a quick cameo, but she said: “I want to do some of yours. I really like Watch Out Grandma.” So she did that and Egg Sandwich

Have you ever blagged a free lawnmower or some other moderately expensive gardening equipment on account of the band’s name? 

PL: No. We did actually write to them all – Flymo, Qualcast – and nobody wrote back. Not surprising that nobody wants to give you anything when you attach the word ‘Deth’ to something. 

Will we have to wait another twenty-eight years for another Lawnmower Deth album? 

PL: I hope not. We’ll probably be dead by then.

Dave Everley has been writing about and occasionally humming along to music since the early 90s. During that time, he has been Deputy Editor on Kerrang! and Classic Rock, Associate Editor on Q magazine and staff writer/tea boy on Raw, not necessarily in that order. He has written for Metal Hammer, Louder, Prog, the Observer, Select, Mojo, the Evening Standard and the totally legendary Ultrakill. He is still waiting for Billy Gibbons to send him a bottle of hot sauce he was promised several years ago.