We sat down with Nate Bergman – frontman of reggae 'n' rollers Lionize – to talk about ghosts in Jamaica, Game Of Thrones and Black Sabbath.
Draw Me An Elephant: Lionize
The rock-reggae fusion are put to the test
What is your favourite smell?
“I love fresh cut grass. I love the smell of a new book. I love the smell of gasoline. Junipers as well.”
Do you have any phobias?
“The fear of a filthy backstage area. The fear of a disgusting motel room is probably about it for me. But at the end of the day I’m going to stay there. If not, there’s always the van.”
If you were King for the day, what rules would you impose?
“None, I’d probably get rid of a lot of rules. I’d get rid of all rules where people aren’t allowed to be free and happy – get rid of those rules, whatever they may be. Doing what makes you happy as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else seems like a pretty basic human right.”
Do you have a secret talent/party trick?
“No. I try to sing and play guitar in a band, I try to shower daily and I try to keep up with my laundry. That’s about it for me.”
Have you ever had a supernatural encounter?
“We made a record in Kingston, Jamaica in a studio called Harry J in 2009 and I think there was some weird stuff going on in the studio. They told us it was haunted and there were a couple of times everyone sort of looked in the same direction for no reason – there was something going on there, some kind of vibe. I didn’t see anything straight on but we definitely felt it. Out of the corner of our eye there was some funny business happening. It’s a very haunted island.”
What is your favourite TV show?
“That’s tough. Game Of Thrones is high on my list. I’m sure it’s cliché but Breaking Bad, Game Of Thrones and Curb Your Enthusiasm are probably my top three. I love the brutality of Game Of Thrones – and the fact it’s a real nail-biter. The writing on the show really makes you care for the characters. I’m just starting to read the books now, too.”
If you could live as anyone else for a day, who would it be?
“Maybe Buddy Guy so I could figure out some guitar tricks, or maybe someone who knows the combination to a bank vault. Although I think the guitar is a way better investment as I won’t have to do anything illegal. But I’m pretty happy being me.”
What is your favourite book?
“I love Ginger Baker’s autobiography, it’s an unbelievable book – that’s my favourite non-fiction. I really like this book called The Sparrow, it’s pretty fantastic science-fiction if you get a chance to read that. It’s about the intergalactic conquest to spread Catholicism to a newly discovered planet. And just like the past, religion fucks up the future too. It’s a good read.”
What is your most embarrassing moment?
“The first night on this tour we played with a band called Umphrey’s McGee. And the first song, on the first night, of the first set we played in front of 2000 people I played and sang the complete wrong chorus and it was the most embarrassed I’ve been in a long time. I played the wrong part of the right song and it was a nightmare.”
What band epitomises metal?
“Black Sabbath. To me, I don’t think metal is about how disgusting you can be lyrically or how down-tuned your guitar can be or how much make-up you wear – I think it’s a vibe thing. And I think Sabbath took jazz and blues and there’s not much scarier than the pentatonic minor. They took blues songs – that are dark and ominous – and combined it with rock ‘n’ roll, which is dangerous in essence, and they came up with something completely new that sounds scary. It’s not theatrics, it’s an organic vibe the band are creating. You listen to Black Sabbath with your headphones on, candles lit and the lights turned off and it’s disturbing.”
Draw me an elephant.