It’s funny, people sometimes think that because I’m a member of Napalm Death, I only listen to extreme music. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I’d grown up listening to bands like Slade and Sweet, then graduated to Sabbath and Dio and eventually to more extreme metal and punk. But coming into Napalm’s world really opened me up to a lot of stuff I’d never listened to before, and Mickey was a big part of that.
When I met Mickey, he said, “Have you listened to John Peel?” I knew who John Peel was – this DJ who played all this weird music – but he’d never really come onto my radar before. When you’re a young metalhead growing up in the early 80s, you listened to Tommy Vance’s Friday Rock Show on Radio 1. You might occasionally see Saxon or Judas Priest on Top Of The Pops, but the Rock Show was where you could hear ‘Satan’s Fall’ by Mercyful Fate.
When I got know Napalm, I realized there was this whole world of music going on that I didn’t know about. I started listening to Peel’s late evening show on Radio 1, and because of that I got into bands like Swans and the Birthday Party, stuff I never would have heard a couple of years earlier.
Most DJs have a playlist they stick to rigidly, but Peel played whatever he wanted to play – you’d get Napalm Death or Extreme Noise Terror followed straight after by some mad African percussion music. Not everything was great: you might get a song where you’d think, “I love this”, then it would be followed by something where you’d go, “This is utter bollocks”, but maybe you’d slowly come to appreciate it.
Shane Embury's book Life…? And Napalm Death is released on October 10 via Rocket 88, More info here.