Harmful: Another Life For Billy Gould

If I wasn't into it, I wouldn't be doing it Ð the money's no good, touring in a van is really hard work, there's no sleep and horrible food. - Billy Gould

Feature by Ali Maloney | 11 Apr 2007

From the fetishistic stadium rock of Faith No More to the searing smoke hazed death metal of Brujeria, Billy Gould used to be a prominent feature of the alternative rock world. Of course, back then it was just plain ROCK.

Now, after almost ten years out of the spotlight, he has returned to the stage, playing guitar with German outfit, Harmful. So, where've you been Billy?

"I might not have been in the spotlight but I've been working my fucking ass off," he tells The Skinny. "Oddly enough, I was working far too much with my label [Kool Arrow Records] when I got this call from Harmful to produce their record but I didn't really want to take on another project as I was pretty burned out. I went over to their website, heard their music and really liked it. We started talking and found we had a lot in common. It's interesting and unusual for people with such different experiences to still have the same outlook on things."

Already a three piece, Harmful were always looking for another guitar player, and so Gould enlisted to play on the album and then tour with the band, and is hopeful that he can now write music with them.

Although he has not been performing his own material of late, Gould correspondingly has ten years worth of songs itching to get out, although finding the right vehicle to perform them with has proven tricky.

"The way you hear music is kind of like speaking a language. Everybody has their own ideas of what is good and what is bad but I seem to have met a lot of people that I consider to have very bad taste. I think my taste must be a little unusual as I've had a hard time connecting with musicians, and specifically singers. One of the things with Harmful that got me excited was that the whole process of trying to find where we're all coming from kind of got bypassed and the ideas got translated in the right way, right away."

Getting ready for his first tour with Harmful, Gould is noticeably nervous as he talks, but also very excited.

"I'm scared to death, and trying to train because it's going to be hard and something I've not done for a long time. With Faith No More I was lucky that we achieved a certain amount of success but if you look at the band's history, we were together for 17 years, and 10 of those years was spend driving about in a horrible little van playing small venues. To tell the truth that is my experience, more than anything else. Playing big gigs if you're not inspired and not into it can be a lot harder than playing a small venue and having a lot of fun. I'm just trying to keep my own intentions as pure as possible. If I wasn't into it, I wouldn't be doing it – the money's no good, touring in a van is really hard work, there's no sleep and horrible food."

Although sounding content and enthusiastic about where he is at this point in time, Gould is just happy to see where his work with Harmful will lead.

"It's already a success as far as I'm concerned, it got me out of my house and into a van. I always missed that and was very frustrated that I couldn't find the right people to play with. In my gut I know that only good things will come from this."

Harmful's new album, 7, is out now on Kool Arrow. http://www.koolarrow.com, www.myspace.com/sismasis