Hellbound Staff Interrogations #17: Justin M Norton

One of the most experienced interviewers that Hellbound has had the privilege to publish is Justin M. Norton. Based in Northern California, Justin was also a contributing writer to Metal Maniacs when I wrote for them and has also been writing for Invisible Oranges for quite some time. Justin and I were introduced through the one-and-only Jay Gorania (who still hasn’t done his staff interview yet, tsk tsk) and hit it off right away. I feel very lucky to have Justin writing for the site and hope he continues to do so.

-Sean Palmerston

Name and Location:
Justin M. Norton, Northern California

How did you start writing for Hellbound?
I met Sean through the inimitable Jay Gorania. Sean and I both worked on the old Metal Maniacs before it folded but hadn’t met. Sean and I talked metal on the phone for about 90 minutes and immediately clicked.

What’s your favorite piece published during Hellbound’s two years?
Anything by Adrien Begrand. Kevin Stewart-Panko is consistently hilarious and honest and knows underground metal better than almost anyone on Earth. Sean’s piece on World War III solicited a response from Jeff Becerra and inspired a Tom G Warrior blog post and deserves props. Ola Mazzuca gives me hope for the future even if we’re all living on boats like Waterworld in two decades. The Tank review should be honored for the sheer volume of hate mail.

It’s tough to judge your own work but I was pleased with my interview with Scott Kelly of Neurosis in September 2011. It was also incredibly cool to talk to a living Ramone.

Thanks to Sean for believing in good work and understanding that not every story on the Internet needs to be 200 words.

What are some of your best concert memories?
No band will ever beat The Cramps as far as a live performance (RIP Lux Interior). The times I saw them play in San Francisco on Halloween night were some of the best nights of my life.

There have been plenty of other memorable nights: the original Black Sabbath reunion in 1999; watching Napalm Death, Bolt Thrower, Pig Destroyer, Asphyx and others at the side stage at MDF 09; seeing the Gates of Slumber with about ten other people in an Oakland warehouse; the Celtic Frost reunion tour in 2006.

I also saved Gorania’s life – or at least his arm – at MDF 09 when the security railing collapsed.

Black metal, death metal or grind?

Person you’d like to interview but it hasn’t happened…
Bob Mould or any member of Husker Du. Tony Iommi and Bill Ward, even if they’ve heard every question in the book. Iggy Pop.

The best interviews are with bands that don’t get enough attention.

The most underrated metal album is:
Black Sabbath’s Born Again. The live tour might have been a train wreck that inspired Spinal Tap but this album is flawed genius.

Post Mortem’s Coroner’s Office is a forgotten album that I’ve championed for years. Go buy it!

I also have to give props to Grave Digger’s Heavy Metal Breakdown and Piledriver’s Metal Inquisition. And Copremesis for putting out an album that even KSP was embarrassed to sell back to a record store.

You are suspended in limbo for eternity and can only listen to five metal albums on repeat. What are they?
Black Sabbath-S/T
Napalm Death – From Enslavement To Obliteration
Asphyx – The Rack
Celtic Frost –Morbid Tales
AC-DC– Powerage

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