13 QUESTIONS WITH…
Blabbermouth’s Borivoj Krgin
We bet when a lot of you saw "13 Questions with Borivoj Krgin" on the main page you said, "Finally, it’s about fucking time!!"
Well, in case you didn’t, Borivoj is the man behind Blabbermouth.net! Blabbermouth is like the CNN of the metal world and the other day we were visiting Blabbermouth and stealing their news like we always do and we were wondering who exactly ran that site? What’s their story? Who spends hours upon hours finding out news from everyone from Kiss to Mortification? So we thought we’d do something different and actually interview Blabbermouth since as far as we knew, nobody had ever done that before.
So this week, instead of 20 Questions, you get 13 Questions with Borivoj Krgin. And even thought it’s only 13 questions, it’s still better than our 20 Questions with Adam Albright, so be happy about that. Enjoy!
1. First of all, how did you end up doing Blabbermouth.net, and has anybody else ever interviewed you before?
I got the idea to do Blabbermouth.net around January/February 2000. A friend of mine, Robert Kampf, who runs Century Media Records, was staying with me in New York for a couple of days, and he had set up a meeting with Gunter Ford from World Management (MORBID ANGEL, HATE ETERNAL, GRIP INC.) near my house at the time and he invited me to come along. During the meeting, Gunter threw out the idea of creating a "heavy metal portal" – a metal site that would offer everything from metal news to merchandise to CDs and everything else you can think of; I think his vision was to get all the record labels to sell their product either exclusively or non-exclusively through the web site, and he wanted Robert to be involved with it somehow. Anyway, to make a long story short, I personally wasn’t into the concept of "the portal" and I was more drawn to the idea of developing a web site that would offer metal news around the clock and making it the best of its kind – since there wasn’t anything quite like it at the time. Within a month or two, I started researching the idea a bit more and began learning more about how to build a basic web site and how to get it hosted. It probably took me around a year to actually get to the point where I felt comfortable enough to go "live" with the site. The initial, "primitive" version of Blabbermouth.net was launched in March 2001 and by October of that year, Roadrunner Records (through my longtime friend Monte Conner) approached me about the idea of hosting the site on their servers. The whole thing sounded like it would make my life a lot easier (by enabling me to concentrate primarily on the web site’s content and not the technical issues associating with running a site), so I went with it. The Roadrunner-hosted Blabbermouth.net went "live" in December 2001.
With regards to the second part of your question, I was only asked once before to do a Blabbermouth.net-related interview, and that was a couple of years ago. Tom Trakas from Midwest Metal Magazine (midwestmetalmagazine.com) was nice enough to ask me if I would be interested in doing one, and I politely turned it down. At the time, I believe that I told him that I
wanted to keep the spotlight away from myself and I simply didn’t feel comfortable doing one (since these things usually tend to come out looking very cheesy). But I have done some non-Blabbermouth.net-related interviews over the years – the most recent one being the one I did with metal journalist Albert Mudrian for his upcoming book "Choosing Death: The Improbable History of Death Metal & Grindcore" (www.choosingdeath.com). Albert wanted to know mostly about my involvement with bands like DEATH and SEPULTURA during their early years as well as the compilation album I released with some friends of mine back in 1987 called "Raging Death" (featuring OBITUARY, SADUS and ATHEIST, among others).
The main reason why I decided to do this interview is to hopefully put to rest some of the basic misconceptions about Blabbermouth.net and to answer some of the questions that a lot of people visiting the site may have with regards to how it operates and the identity of the people (or in this case, person) behind it.
2. How much time do you spend each day updating the site and where do you find most of your news from?
I am only able to invest about 50% of my time to Blabbermouth.net right now, because I hold down a full-time job in order to support myself, and I usually work on the site at the expense of sleep and other "essential" things in my life that most people would probably would not be willing to sacrifice in order to do something like this. During the week, I could be spending between six and eight hours a day – interspersed throughout the day – on Blabbermouth.net-related activities, whether it’s tracking down news stories, e-mailing people, or researching news stories. Seeing as I work completely alone, this is very time-consuming process and it usually means that I have very little time for anything else in my life. On weekends, I try to catch up on sleep and other things that I don’t have time to do during the week.
A good starting point for collecting news for the site is the official band sites. To any artists/musicians out there, I cannot stress the importance of having your web sites updated regularly and frequently, since historically, this has always proven to be the most immediate source of information for Blabbermouth.net. Other that that, band message boards can be quite useful, especially since bandmembers will often post things on there that they wouldn’t necessarily include on the main site. Other message boards can be quite helpful as well, especially when it comes to people reporting rumors and things like that, although in general they are probably more time-consuming to go through. Besides that, I rely on the contacts I have
made over the years, whether it’s bandmembers, or various metal journalists or managers and other people in the music industry. This is usually where most of the "best" stuff comes from, since much of it is information that is not yet widely known and a lot of it comes from various band/label "insiders." A lot of people send me stuff as well, which is also incredibly helpful, the only drawback being that it’s impossible to know how reliable the source is when the tip is sent in anonymously. In addition to all that, I keep my eyes and ears open at all time and try to check out as many print publications as time permits. But at least 90% of the information comes to me via online sources, whether it’s various web sites, or e-mails from people I know – or people I don’t know, for that matter.
3. You said in your email to us that, "I have always made it a point to steer away from promoting myself personally via the site, and have avoided putting myself in the spotlight "Gerri Miller"-style." Do you think it takes away from the bands and the news when a person does try to put themselves in the spotlight, so to speak, Gerri Miller style? What made you decide to avoid being in the spotlight?
I can only speak for myself here, but I have always thought that those old Metal Edge photos of Geri Miller posing with various bands looked like she literally inserted herself into a group picture as it was being taken – they just seemed so contrived and unnatural.
In my opinion, people reading magazines and visiting web sites want the focus to remain on the bands and the music – not the writers or any of the people behind the scenes. I’ve always found it extremely tacky when articles in magazines would include as many photos of the journalists as they would of the musicians they were writing about. Personally, I have never been interested in that kind of attention, and I suppose a lot of it has to do with my personality as well – I, for example, wouldn’t feel comfortable walking into a show and having 20 people I don’t know approach me simply because they saw my picture somewhere or because I happened to slag off
their favorite band’s album. But to each his own, I suppose. I feel much more comfortable staying behind the scenes, so to speak, and having all the credit go to Blabbermouth.net.
4. Have you ever felt that all the work you put into Blabbermouth.net isn’t worth it and you’ve wanted to throw in the towel?
It’s probably fair to say that the thought of "throwing in the towel" crosses my mind frequently – and those moments usually arrive when I think about the regular life experiences I am missing out on by choosing to keep this site alive (mostly through not having the time to have much of a
personal life). But thankfully, my drive and motivation to see this through and take it as far as I can is stronger and always wins out in the end. I probably felt more frustrated and disillusioned before I started accepted advertising for the site, simply because I didn’t have anything to show for the countless hours that I spent on the computer working on Blabbermouth.net. The fact that I now have some additional income coming from the site is a great source of motivation as well, because it gives me the incentive to try and do better.
5. Blabbermouth.net has been credited on a variety of mainstream programs and even on the Howard Stern show. What was the most exciting plug Blabbermouth has gotten that you were most excited about?
I guess it’s always especially interesting/exciting to hear about a plug when it comes from the most unlikely of places. "The Howard Stern Show" would be one. The New York Post’s "Page Six" (where Blabbermouth.net was mentioned on two separate occasions) would be another. It’s also nice to hear about various industry folks and bandmembers that regularly visit the site – or have visited the site – because that, in a way, validates what I am doing.
6. Blabbermouth reports a ton of news on Limp Bizkit and Fred Durst. Is that really necessary? Can’t we just ignore him and hope he goes away?
Reporting news on LIMP BIZKIT and Fred Durst is absolutely NOT necessary – which is part of what makes it so much fun. There are very few people in the hard rock community that are hated as much as Durst is, and for a while there, he was doing a good job of keeping himself in the press all the time – usually by lying about all the women celebrities that he has slept with. Ultimately, the media overexposure contributed to his band’s diminished record sales with their most recent album, and the downward spiral is sure to carry over into the next album cycle. In the end, no one will give a shit about Fred is sleeping with or not sleeping with, and that fate, for someone like Fred Durst, will be worse than death.
If I ever report any news on LIMP BIZKIT and/or Fred Durst, it is because I know it will get a rise out of people and it’s done more to provide comedic relief than anything else (some of the comments posted next to these stories have been absolutely hilarious!). Plus, it breaks up the monotony of constantly reporting on nothing but new albums coming out, band tour dates, bandmembers leaving, etc. Stories about Tommy Lee and Gene Simmons tend to have a similar effect.
7. Over the years, some rock stars have contradicted stories that you’ve posted, and Gene Simmons even said that Blabbermouth isn’t a reliable. What are your thoughts on that and those that bitch about what’s posted?
From the very beginning, I’ve always wanted Blabbermouth.net to be the kind of site that would report not only the official information coming from bands/labels and other industry sources, but that would also dig deeper and offer a glimpse into the "behind-the-scenes" activities that usually go unreported through the usual channels. What this usually entails is posting rumors and publishing information that is not "officially" confirmed.
Whenever I hear a rumor about a band, I do some digging around to see if there is any truth to it. Since it’s usually very difficult to get any kind of confirmation on these things, I often have to make a judgment call and decide whether or not to run a story based on the available information
(which at times could be very limited). Most of the time, the rumors turn out to be correct, but there are those occasions when I only get it half right or not right at all. When that happens, I make it a point to run a follow-up item either quoting a band representative refuting the original
story or simply informing the readers that the information contained in the previous article was incorrect and hopefully offering some newly confirmed correct information (if possible).
The truth is, if I relied solely upon the "official" band/label channels for information to publish on Blabbermouth, I probably wouldn’t have a site at all. Bands/labels often wait until well after information becomes public knowledge before confirming it (ask Jayne Andrews and the JUDAS PRIEST camp, for example), and when the confirmation is eventually delivered, it is usually done in a very sugarcoated way that any true fan will have no problems seeing right through. I have always been more interested in finding out the behind-the-scenes details about some of my favorite bands than the information presented in press releases, and Blabbermouth.net was created in part to provide that service to others.
Having said that, I can definitely understand why people like Gene Simmons or any other band/label-affiliated personnel would occasionally have a problem with the information reported on Blabbermouth.net. These people want to control the flow of information and they want to be able to deliver it when they want to deliver it in a manner that they deem most appropriate. So
when Gene says that Blabbermouth.net is "not reliable," I am not bothered by it in the least.
I do want to make one thing clear, however. Even thought Blabbermouth.net does occasionally publish rumors and "unconfirmed" information (which is always identified as such), I would NEVER knowingly post something that is untrue. It is important for me to be seen as a credible source of information, and I make every attempt to confirm rumors when possible.
8. Do you ever keep up with the other metal sites and do you feel like they’re your competition or don’t you think about that? Other than us of course, are there any metal sites that you think are worth a damn?
I absolutely keep up with every other web site out there that I feel has something to offer – including my so-called "competition" – and if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be doing my job.
The truth is, nothing I do here is rocket science, and anyone with a similar background and a lot of determination, discipline and motivation could probably do a pretty decent job of running a web site like Blabbermouth.net. I respect any other web site that actually does most of the work itself and doesn’t spend the bulk of its time scouring through other metal news sites for information. What I don’t appreciate, however, is when some of the "exclusive" information reported on Blabbermouth.net – details that are not available on other web sites (official band sites or anywhere else) – ends up on some of these metal news sites without any credit being given to Blabbermouth.net. I spend so much time tracking down and researching some of
this information that seeing some of my work blatantly lifted without any credit being given to Blabbermouth.net most definitely pisses me off.
Excluding Metal Sludge and sites loosely affiliated with Blabbermouth.net, these are some of my favorite online locations:
1. Infernal Combustion (www.roadrunnerrecords.com/infernalcombustion): A metal parody site as clever as it is funny done by a very cool guy named Keith Bergman. It hasn’t been updated since October due to some personal circumstances related to Keith’s health, but some of the archived stories are absolutely classic and well worth checking out.
2. Official MACHINE HEAD Forum a.k.a. The Frontlines (pub25.ezboard.com/fthemachineheadforumfrm1): This was probably one of the first message boards I started visiting with any kind of regularity, and I’ve always found the people posting there to be funny, sarcastic and, above all, entertaining. As with any other message board, there is plenty of childish bickering going on any any given time, but it’s all pretty harmless stuff. Once you get past the bullshit, you will find some very intelligent discussions and lots of very accurate observations on all things metal.
3. Here Today. Gone To Hell! (www.heretodaygonetohell.com): I have yet to find a GUNS N’ ROSES fan site that is updated more frequently or that offers a better balance of official news, rumors and related information.
9. Have you gotten any perks from running Blabbermouth, like backstage passes, groupies, etc?
The only thing I’ve gotten so far has been the occasional free CD – that’s about it. I don’t ask for anything else, and I generally am not in direct contact with many label people/publicists other than to receive their press releases. When I was freelancing for various metal publications in the late ’80s and ’90s, I spent a lot of time hanging around musicians at shows and on tour buses and I’ve come to know that the best thing about hanging out backstage at metal shows is the free beer. Other than that, I can live without it.
10. Have you had any "rock stars" email you and either give you stories or try to kiss your ass? If so, names and email addresses, please!
I constantly have musicians sending me with information to post on the site, but I wouldn’t necessarily consider that "kissing ass." I find that most musicians have a kind of love/hate relationship with a site like Blabbermout.net; like everyone else, they love reading about various band feuds and gossip, but at the same time, they would rather see everyone else but their own band at the receiving end of an unflattering news story or rumor. More often than not, I will hear from bands when a) they have news to report, b) if they wish to refute an untrue rumor, or c) when they want to respond to a slagging from another musician (usually ex-bandmate).
11. Do you have any plans or goals for Blabbermouth in the future that we should be made aware of?
In the words of Gene Simmons, "Nothing I can talk about right now." Just kidding. No specific goals other than to try and take this as far as I can, whatever that might be. A few cosmetic changes might be made to the site pretty soon as well. Since my biggest obstacle has always been lack of time, I am hoping to find a way to be able to dedicate more time to Blabbermouth.net so that I can make it a much better place to visit. If anybody wants to help out, the best way they can do so is simply by spreading the word to all their friends.
12. Anybody who runs a rock website has their favorite bands they give plugs or props too. For example, we love Sebastian Bach and Warrant and can ‘t stop reporting about them. What are some of the bands you enjoy in your personal life?
I consider myself fortunate in that I love an extremely diverse mix of stuff – from wimpy hard rock/AOR like EUROPE to bands like SLIPKNOT and everything in between. Some of my favorite bands would include MACHINE HEAD, H.I.M., STRAPPING YOUNG LAD, NEVERMORE, plus a lot of the stuff I listened to when I was growing up: early METALLICA (everything pre-"Load"), EXODUS, SEPULTURA (with Max), early SLAYER (pre-"Divine Intervention"), and an obscure French band called SORTILEGE, early MERCYFUL FATE/KING DIAMOND, CRIMSON GLORY, etc.
Of the newer bands, I really like San Francisco Bay Area’s UNJUST (www.unjust.com). The first two albums were pretty good, but the last one, "Glow", was just absolutely stunning – easily one of the best albums of the last few years (It’s actually being "properly" released soon through Kool Arrow Records, the label of former FAITH NO MORE bassist Billy Gould). The Danish band RAUNCHY (www.raunchy.dk) is another group that I really like, and their new album "Confusion Bay", absolutely rocks. I will also admit that, unlike most "true metal" fans, I don’t have an aversion to groups such as EVANESCENCE and LINKIN PARK and don’t mind listening to them either.
I suppose the most "bizarre" musical infatuation I have is with the work of the Swedish songwriter/producer Max Martin (a.k.a. Martin Sandberg). He is a 33-year-old guy that wrote all of BRITNEY SPEARS’ and BACKSTREET BOYS’ biggest hits. What a lot of people don’t know is that he is actually a great singer who was in this fairly obscure Swedish hard rock band called IT’S ALIVE back in the early ’90s. I actually saw them in a small Stockholm club in ’93 and I was impressed woth his voice back then. Anyway, even through he wrote some amazingly catchy pop songs for BRITNEY and BACKSTREET BOYS, he is more than capable of writing in a more rock vein as well – he basically composed the bulk of BON JOVI’s "It’s My Life" (although Jon Bon Jovi was attempting to play down Max’s contributions in interviews) and he wrote a song for the band PAIN, which is the "other" band of the HYPOCRISY frontman Peter Tägtgren. I would say one of my most sought-after recordings is probably a demo version of BRITNEY’s "…Baby One More Time" (a song originally written for TLC), featuring Max on vocals. If anyone has this recording, or any other recordings featuring Max, please get in touch.
13. Finally, we’ll end with this, The last of Borivoj Krgin:
Last update you made to Blabbermouth was about what band = Right now that would be the Norwegian band ARCH NEMESIS – not to be confused with Sweden’s ARCH ENEMY.
Last CD you purchased = DAMAGEPLAN – "New Found Power", which I bought on the day of release (Feb. 10). I couldn’t find it at my local FYE, which I thought was a bad sign, but then it went on to do something like 45K in the first week anyway, which is definitely not a bad start.
Last concert you saw = I don’t attend many concerts at all nowadays due to a lack of time, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. The last band I saw was probably NEVERMORE.
Last time you got hatemail =I usually get something every couple of days or so – sent in anonymously, of course. I’m pretty sure I got something yesterday, and I think it said something along the lines of "You suck."
Last time you listened to a Poison CD = Probably "Native Tongue" in 1993. I’m pretty sure this is the only POISON CD I ever owned (since I got it for free). I was never really into them, to be honest.
Last time you visited the offices of Roadrunner Records = I would say October 2002. I used to go there all the time to visit my friend Monte, but since I now live and work about 45 minutes outside Manhattan, the only time I go down there is on weekends.
Last press kit you looked at was from what band = I just listened to STEREO BLACK, the new band featuring former MACHINE HEAD/SOULFLY guitarist Logan Mader. It didn’t come with a "press kit" per se, but it was a demo. Does that count?
Last fast food drive-thru you hit = Oh, man, that’s a tough one. I got rid of my car after I moved back to New York after spending three and half years living in California, so I’m not sure that I’ve even been to a drive-thru since 1998. But it probably would have been a Taco Bell.Last time you read Metal Edge = I just bought the LINKIN PARK/P.O.D. issue a few days ago. So it would have been sometime last week.
Last time your computer crashed = My home computer tends to crash every 12 months or so, for some reason. Last time this happened was October 2003 and I had to rebuild the operating system and reinstall all the files/applications, which pretty much took up an entire weekend. Advice to anyone using a computer regularly: Back up your files frequently.
Now we found that interesting, maybe because we can relate to a lot of what Borivoj said. For more info on Blabbermouth, you should know by now that it’s at Blabbermouth.net!