Devin Townsend: I gave Ziltoid my own snot-covered dreadlocks

Devin Townsend and Ziltoid
Devin Townsend at Download 2006 and Ziltoid The Omniscient (Image credit: Nigel Crane/Redferns - Getty)

Earlier this year, Metal Hammer magazine caught up with Devin Townsend (opens in new tab) just as he released his latest studio album Empath (opens in new tab).

The Canadian musician took time to answer questions from fans, with reader Matthew Mills posing a question which has had us all wondering for a while: Was there any truth behind the rumour that Townsend’s extraterrestrial creation Ziltoid The Omniscient (opens in new tab) sported the musician’s old dreadlocks?

Townsend replied: “100% truth! When I was in Strapping Young Lad, I had shitty dreads because I’d never wash my hair. There’s images of me at the Download festival with snot in those dreads and I didn’t shower after that show – they were a petri dish of self-deprecation and biological horror. 

“So when I cut my hair, I kept them all in a box and when I made Ziltoid, he clearly needed to have my hair. I remember telling my wife that I put my hair on him and she looked at me as if I was wearing her sweater, then we never spoke of it again.”

Continuing the Ziltoid theme, Townsend was also asked if he’d consider the idea of making a film based on the alien.

Townsend said: “Yes, but my role would be creative director so I could say what I wanted but not have to do the grind. 

"I don’t enjoy making movies, acting or filming but I love seeing it. If anybody said they’d love to make a Ziltoid movie, I’d say, ‘Great, here are the ideas, let’s have a brainstorm about it and let me know when you’re shooting.’”

In November, it was confirmed that Townsend's By A Thread: Live In London 2011 is to be released on vinyl for the very first time (opens in new tab).

Townsend will head back out on tour early in the new year, with his first performances set to take place onboard the 70000 Tons Of Metal Cruise (opens in new tab), which departs from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on January 9.

Devin Townsend: Empath (opens in new tab)

Devin Townsend: Empath (opens in new tab)
Devin Townsend's latest studio album features the epic lead track Genesis and he's joined by a raft of guests including Steve Vai, Anneke Van Giersbergen and Mike Keneally.

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent more than 30 years in newspapers and magazines as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. After initially joining our news desk in the summer of 2014, he moved to the e-commerce team full-time in 2020. He maintains Louder’s buyer’s guides, scouts out the best deals for music fans and reviews headphones, speakers, books and more. He's written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog and has previous written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky. Scott grew up listening to rock and prog, cutting his teeth on bands such as Marillion and Magnum before his focus shifted to alternative and post-punk in the late 80s. His favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Ned's Atomic Dustbin and Drab Majesty, but he also still has a deep love of Rush.