Why the new era of Crippled Black Phoenix is the best yet
After nearly collapsing after a public spat, Crippled Black Phoenix are back and better than ever. Justin Greaves talks paranoia, dark subject matter and how this line-up is the strongest yet
_W_hen is a band not a band? It’s a question that has tormented many a single-minded musical visionary, and Crippled Black Phoenix’s founder, guitarist and chief songwriter Justin Greaves has certainly experienced plenty of emotional and logistical turmoil over the last few years. Formed as a somewhat amorphous vehicle for the music he began to write while attempting to move away from his former life as a respected metal drummer, this multi-headed crew nearly disintegrated in spectacular fashion two years ago, as acrimony erupted within the ranks and certain members battled with their nominal leader over rights to the band’s name. The resultant spat was duly aired in public, thanks to the wonders of social media, and in December 2014 Greaves stated on his own Facebook page that he was retiring CBP, concluding: “I don’t know what the future will hold but at this point I don’t need or want to be part of this.”
Two years on, Crippled Black Phoenix are back and poised to release what could well be their finest album yet, Bronze. Not surprisingly after successfully reclaiming his captaincy of the ship, Greaves is very pleased to be moving forward, with the personal and legal tussles of the past receding in the rear-view mirror. Buoyed by a refreshed and thoroughly harmonious line-up fronted by singer and guitarist Daniel Änghede, he is happy to admit that getting to this point has been an arduous and exhausting process.
“It’s been a weird one from day one, to be honest, because the whole thing was really just an accident 10 years ago,” he states of CBP’s formation. “It’s not like me and three mates got together, like it happened in my previous bands. When you do something purely for yourself and it’s out of a need to do it, it’s a different animal, but at the same time I’ve always been in bands and that’s where I feel comfortable. I ain’t a frontman. I wasn’t even a guitarist and I ended up playing guitar, so the whole thing’s been strange and a learning curve for me. With this band, there were a few people that came along and seemed to want to take advantage of that.”
With normal service resumed and with a more positive outlook than at any previous point in his band’s story, Greaves admits that the last couple of years have been “a blessing in disguise”, but he also admits that he has become more cynical and wary of placing his trust in people as a result.