Hellbound Staff Interrogations #15: Rob Hughes

When I first started contacting writers for Hellbound, there were a number of former Unrestrained! scribes that I had hoped to have contribute to the new site. Rob Hughes was one of those people. Looking back this is quite silly to admit, but I was intimidated to contact Rob because I had read all of the great reviews and interviews he had done for U!, plus I knew that he had copy-edited some of the stuff I had written for that magazine. I procrastinated on doing so, but in the meantime Rob got a hold of me and I am so glad he did. I consider Mr. Hughes to be our progressive guru, a term he may find slightly disconcerting but it is meant at the highest level of compliment.

-Sean Palmerston


Name and Location:
Rob Hughes, Vancouver, BC

How did you start writing for Hellbound?
I guess it started way back with Unrestrained! magazine, for which I worked as a copyeditor and contributing writer for nearly 10 years. After Adrian Bromley’s sudden passing and the magazine’s demise, I was heartbroken and at a bit of a loss. I still had my blog, of course, but I missed being a part of a team. When Hellbound started up, I recognized some of the people involved as ex-Unrestrained! staffers; namely Kevin, Tate, Laura and Jay Gorania. Jay was the one who initially encouraged/pestered me (via Facebook chat) to get involved. So I got in touch with Sean about covering the Noctis Festival and Metal Conference in Calgary, and that pitch got me my first two articles for Hellbound. I’m proud to be a part of something that I think is carrying on Adrian’s spirit—an enthusiasm for music (especially Canadian music) that might not get a fair shot anywhere else.

What’s your favorite piece published during Hellbound’s two years?
Possibly the Jucifer Canadian Tour Diary. I love those people.

What are some of your best concert memories?
Rush, Permanent Waves tour, 1980—You never forget your first.

Scorpions/Iron Maiden/Girlschool, 1982—A young and hungry Maiden about to take over the world, and a gleaming, seasoned Scorpions rocking out at their peak. (Cheers to Rob Kachluba for mentioning this show too.)

Monster Magnet, Superjudge tour, 1993—Total rock gods.

Neurosis, Through Silver in Blood tour, 1996—Walked into it having seen the “Locust Star” video only, and was summarily obliterated.

Sacramentary Abolishment, 1997—A friend and I flew to Edmonton for this show expecting something extreme, and we got it. I’ve never been more terrified.

Black metal, death metal or grind?
It’s all good, really, as long as it comes from an honest place and either pushes forward or looks back in an interesting way.

Person you’d like to interview but it hasn’t happened…
I can’t think of anyone right now. Adrian gave me some big assignments at Unrestrained!, including Morbid Angel, Ulver, Mastodon, Voivod, Cynic, and Devin Townsend. I took them for the personal challenge and because I knew Adrian trusted me to do a decent job, but man, each one was a nerve-wracking, exhausting experience. Really, I’m a fan, not a journalist, and I’m more than happy to limit my concerns to what I hear on albums, read in liner notes, and see on the concert stage.

The most underrated metal album is:
Skyclad—Prince of the Poverty Line

You are suspended in limbo for eternity and can only listen to fivemetal albums on repeat. What are they?
Voivod—Angel Rat
Celtic Frost—To Mega Therion
Black Sabbath—Sabotage
Metal Church—Metal Church
Budgie—Bandolier

It kills me that I couldn’t fit Iron Maiden or Metallica in there.

Sean Palmerston

Sean is the founder/publisher of Hellbound.ca; he has also written about metal for Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs, Roadburn, Unrestrained! and Vice.