Malevolence: “I speak from the heart. As a community, that’s something we should all try to do”
Speaking from the depths of COVID isolation this evening, it’s difficult to discern whether Alex’s sporadic sniffs and reddening eyes are just symptoms of the ongoing plague, but the memory clearly strikes something in the normally stoic Yorkshireman.
“Previously, it felt like it wasn’t necessarily my place to speak,” he begins. “Over time, though, I’ve come to realise that it isn’t a topic to be shied away from. It’s quite the opposite. I will never proclaim to be a preacher or an expert. I’ll only ever talk about my own experiences and those things that I firmly believe. I speak from the heart. As a community, that’s something we should all try to do.”
Aside from fronting one of the most notoriously hard-edged bands in British heavy music, Alex was Head Of Security at the O2 Academy Sheffield for three years prior to the pandemic. Global lockdown not only hit Malevolence’s juggernaut momentum but also robbed him of the purpose and income of full-time employment for the best part of a year. Beginning to suffer from anxiety in those dark months, he became conscious of his own mental health and its effect on the people around him. The constant stream of soul-sucking bad news compounded the pressure, not least the death of I Killed The Prom Queen / Deez Nuts bassist and good friend Sean Kennedy.
“Losing four friends within the space of two months to suicide was a turning point,” he sighs. “It felt like it was coming at us from all angles. Not necessarily just friends in bands, but people close at home. And we’re still losing people to this thing now.”