Dani Filth has reflected on Cradle Of Filth's most controversial piece of merchandise, the infamous 1993 t-shirt emblazoned with the charming words 'Jesus Is A Cunt', admitting that he would feel "uncomfortable" wearing it today.
During an appearance on the Stoke The Fire podcast, hosted by Killswitch Engage's Jesse Leach and Life In The Stocks' Matt Stocks, the extreme metal frontman discussed his early musical tastes, such as his love of punk.
As Stocks points out, Dani's kinship with the genre can be found within Cradle Of Filth and their controversial antics of creating imagery that shocks and challenges fans, such as the aforementioned t-shirt.
"I think a lot of people obviously associate you with metal or extreme metal, but I love the fact that you've always been very open about your love of punk," muses Stocks. "I think, for me, a lot of what you've done throughout the Cradle story seems to be driven from a similar place to punk and this want to be in control, to do it yourself and to shock and provoke. I think a lot of the philosophies that punk rock showed the world, you incorporated into extreme metal through Cradle Of Filth."
"There's a certain 'you don't give fuck' attitude that I always liked about your band and who you were," adds Leach. "You pissed people off and you sort of caused controversy. To me it was all part of it; I loved it, I thought it was great. It's what you kind of have to do with a band, and that all comes from punk rock".
"The thing about that shirt was that it was, actually, an anarchic statement, if anything, when we did it," says Filth. "It was just like, 'Who could you poke with a stick more than anybody else, and it have an overarching effect?'."
The vocalist then goes on to describe how he would feel about sporting the shirt in today's climate. "As nasty as it is, I must admit, I would be uncomfortable wearing it now," he explains. "My girlfriend, we went for a meal, and she inadvertently put it on because it was chilly outside. She had a cut down version of it, but there was enough of it. And I looked at her in horror like, 'Oh my god, what are you doing?' Like, I mean, I don't want lots of spit in my food, you know? It's an awkward scenario, but I'm pleased we did [the shirt], it was good fun."
Three decades ago when the shirt was first printed, it caused such a reaction that it not only hit headlines, but landed multiple fans in trouble with the law, resulting in arrests and prosecutions.
Reminiscing about the item in a 2015 interview with the Rolling Stone, Filth recalled the brain-storming session that sparked the initial idea.
It was all very silly, I suppose,” Filth said. “It was 1993, and we were about to go on tour with [Norwegian black-metal band] Emperor. We had a different T-shirt at the time – it had a picture of my wife, who was all done up in black metal regalia, and it said ‘The Black Goddess Rises’ on it. We needed to get a new shirt done quickly for the tour; we’d already come up with the ‘Vestal masturbation’ image and phrase, but we still needed a back print for it.”
After someone muttered the phrase "Jesus Is A Cunt" during the initial brainstorming meeting, laughs broke out. “We all were laughing about it, like, ‘Oh my god, that’s so anarchic – can you imagine that on a T-shirt?’" Filth explained. "We looked at each other conspiratorially, like, ‘Shall we?’ And yeah, we did it. Even at the time, we thought, ‘Well, this is pushing the boundaries a little bit.'”
Listen to the Stoke The Fire podcast episode with Dani Filth below: