"We got arrested at the Vatican!" the confessions of Dani Filth
The Cradle Of Filth frontman reveals his deepest, darkest secrets
Drugs, booze, violence, occult practices and prosthetic limbs? Cradle Of Filth's Dani has seen it all and done most of it.
What is the worst idea you have ever had?
“That would imply regret, and life is too short – and I’m too short – for any kind of regret. But if I did regret anything, it would be starting the night with Red Bull and vodka. Or anything involving Red Bull and vodka actually.”
What was the moment you realised you'd 'make it'?
“When we did a showcase tour in America back in 1998 and a whole load of people came out to see us, like Danzig and a load of people from the Church Of Satan. I used to think ‘making it’ was when you sold 1,000 records. I thought you’d be swimming in riches... I didn’t realise you had to give half of it back!”
What's the strangest experience you've had with a fan?
"We did an album called _Cruelty And The Beas_t about Elizabeth Bathory, and this one fan was convinced she’d been Elizabeth Bathory in a previous life and that I was, of all things, this prince, her consort. Later we played in America and this guy organising the show was supposed to drive us to the Walmart but instead he went past it... then he started talking and I realised with horror that this was the girl’s ex-boyfriend and she’d obviously dumped him, believing I was her prince. I thought, ‘Right, we’re going to some sort of field now with a shallow grave, aren’t we?’
What is the strangest gift you've ever received from a fan?
“Teeth, chicken bone necklaces, first-edition copies of Dracula, rattlesnake rattlers, human thigh bones, skulls... The strangest was probably a prosthetic limb, but I had to give it back because they couldn’t get home!”
What was your strangest experience during your black metal years?
“We were at a party in 1993 with Emperor and the drummer put his arm around me and confessed to killing this guy. It was a really friendly gesture – he’d obviously had a lot to drink – and he said he’d never told anyone else, and I didn’t know how to take it. A few months later he was caught so it was very strange. There were a lot of things in black metal like that – it was exhilarating but also revolting.”
What's your least favourite drug?
“Probably amphetamines. A lot of people would get kind of addicted to it, especially from the goth scene, and these days they have fake teeth and slur their words. I don’t know why anyone would do that – it sort of rots your body from the inside. So yeah, drugs aren’t great, kids.”
When was the last time you engaged in occult practice?
“A few years back we had a day off in New Orleans and we were with people who were in a few cults and we just went to a graveyard and did a little occult ceremony. It was quite fun. It was a celebration of the dead, invoking figureheads of death like Azazel, that sort of thing. I think when you get that close to death and celebrate it, it rejuvenates life.”
What's the worst fight you ever had?
“A couple of years ago I got put into hospital by three bouncers. I came off stage and someone had trashed the dressing room – not me – and because I was going mad onstage, the bouncer assumed I had done it. He was stopping me getting backstage so I pushed past him, and he said, ‘Right, let’s take it outside.’ By the time they took me through the building two other guys had turned up and beat the shit out of me, and continued doing it right up until they took me away in an ambulance. I got a free hospital bed, though!”
Have you offended anyone famous with your anti-religious antics?
“The Lord Provost of Glasgow took great offence. There’s a great photo of him online with our ‘Jesus Is A Cunt’ shirt looking like he’s picked up a piece of dog’s muck. I think he deemed us ‘irreproachable and offensive’.”
What about religious institutions – did you ever receive any resistance from them?
“We got arrested in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. Our keyboardist at the time, Lector, was arrested because – unbeknownst to us or even the promoter – it’s illegal over there to dress up as a priest, especially in the holy city. We were wearing the ‘Jesus...’ shirt and an ‘I Love Satan’ shirt but they didn’t seem to mind about that!”
Originally published in Metal Hammer issue 253.