Chilean thrashmeisters Criminal make their second sojourn to the Bloodstock stage after a six-year absence, wielding last year’s storming album Fear Itself under their experienced belts. Frontman Anton Reisenegger took a few minutes out of his busy Sunday to speak about the band’s international ventures and the legacy of a band that have faced the highs and lows of the industry with grit and determination.
Your colossal move away from Chile in 2001 really intrigued us. What happened there, Anton?
“We were signed to a major label in Chile and it coincided with the fact that the whole music industry was in crisis at the time, as you know. The label dropped us completely out of the blue even though we were selling well after our first US tour so we said, ‘Fuck this, we’ll go somewhere else.’ And we came here!”
What brought you to England of all places?
“Not the weather! England’s always had a very healthy scene, some of our favourite bands are from here, so that attracted us. I miss a lot of things from home, friends, family, food and of course the weather, but I live in Spain now so there’s plenty of familiarity there.”
With eight albums up your sleeves, how tough is putting together setlists these days?
“There’s a few songs I can’t fit into setlists and I wish we could change it around more, but that means rehearsing a lot more then and we don’t have the time to do it nowadays.”
With a whopping 26 years on the road with Criminal – do you miss much about the early days?
“It was so different back then and we were young, we didn’t think about things too much, we just went and did them. It was an exciting time because metal was really exploding in South America, things were getting really big there so we really profited from that as well. I don’t have the time to go out so much anymore and see other new bands, I have a daughter and I need time at home obviously.”
Plus you opened for Motorhead in 1996, how’s that for an experience of a lifetime?
“It was great actually, it was pretty weird because at that time they didn’t pull a lot of people in Germany at all, they just pulled 200-odd people at that. But I got to hang out with Lemmy and I got to get drunk with Lemmy and that’s a memory I will cherish forever. He definitely drank me under the table!”
What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen in a Criminal crowd to this day?
“There’s been a lot of crazy stuff over the years, but the craziest is when there were so many fans actually sitting on the barrier at the front of the show with their legs wrapped around the bars. When we came on, the crowd rushed up right behind them and you can imagine what happened next. Stretchers out of the building…”