Andrew O’Neill

What do you get when you cross an occult comedian, an author and a total love of heavy metal? You get Andrew O’Neill, that’s what. We thought we’d ask him about all three.

Hey Andrew, what are you up to?
Currently I’m sitting in a cafe in sunny Camden Town trying to get my admin done. Which is not very rock and roll. So don’t print that. Instead print that I am snorting lines of coke off a motorbike that’s on fire. While listening to mid-period Judas Priest.

So you’ve got a book out – what’s it all about? 
It’s a history of heavy metal. Which is the thing I love most in the world. So it’s kind of a love story. And also bits of it I really hate. Like Mötley Crüe. So also it is full of spite and bile. But mainly it’s an attempt to put the development of metal into a historical and social context and also cram in as many jokes as possible. It’s funny because it’s true, basically. 

It sounds brilliant, when and where can people get a copy? 
I’m doing a launch gig on the 13th July at Nambucca on Holloway Road. It’s the show that inspired the book – a history of heavy metal with a live backing band. So, people can buy it there, but it’s available for pre-order on the usual book shop websites. And I’ve just recorded the audio book, which is a bizarre, mind-altering experience.

You’re known as an occult comedian – how does that differ from a non-occult comedian?
Well, all comedy is magick – a joke is a spell to make people laugh. But there aren’t many other comics who have an ongoing relationship with a clutch of pre-Christian deities. I think it’s just me and McIntyre. My new show is about the catastrophic effect of dropping acid and invoking Mercury, the trickster god of the spoken word. Mercury will fuck you up. And make you write a better show.

If you died on stage, is that all ok then?
Alas no. It makes it worse. I have to re-live it again and again.

But you’re not a goth are you? People should know that when they approach you for a chat.
100% not goth. Definitely not. Nope. Uh-uh. No siree. Not a bit of it. I mean, I do wear a lot of black and love graveyards and have all the Cure albums but I’m not a goth. Oh, and I wear make-up and dresses and that but I’m not a goth. No sir. Not me. Not goth at all.

Where can people come see you perform in the next month or so?
Nambucca, Holloway Road, 13th July – tickets available here. And I’m doing a run of my new show Andrew O’Neill’s Black Magick Fun Hour as part of the Camden Fringe from 17th to the 23rd July before heading up to the Edinburgh Fringe.

Interview: Josh Jones
Photo: Tom Medwell