Russia’s recently conducted an interview with vocalist Denis “Snake” Belanger of Canadian metal innovators VOIVOD. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below. I have one question about Piggy [Denis D’Amour, the band’s guitarist who died in 2005 of colon cancer]. There is a pretty popular opinion that a few people have expressed in the press and on the Internet. They argue that the reason why Piggy wrote such unusual music is that he was having a lot of health problems, in particular, he had a tumor in the late ’80s, which made him see the world differently than the way we do. Would you agree with this opinion?

Snake: It’s possible, but I don’t think there was an interrelation between his illness and his work. Piggy has always been some special guy. Of course, being sick is not fun, and — depending on what the treatment is — it can make you feel different about things. You certainly see a lot of things differently than you’re used to, you see that life is more important than anything else, and your focus on life is different. But I don’t know if it had a huge impact on what he was doing. He was always writing fucked-up music, and I don’t think this fucked-up-ness is from that. [laughs] When he grew up, Piggy was already Piggy, he had a lot of imagination, and he had a lot of talent. Even in the last days of his life, he was still recording music in his own apartment. If you listen to these recordings, you can tell that he’s on drugs, on morphine, you can hear him breathing and coughing, but his work was so great! It was a really private moment with the guy, in the last couple of days of his life… But it’s hard to say whether it had an impact on the process of writing or not. Are there any more recordings of Piggy that are not yet released?

Snake: There’s a few, but we want to keep it a bit private, for now at least. We still have those recordings I was talking to you about, him on the acoustic guitar, but we did two records with him on them after he left us, and we wanted to take a break, let him rest somehow. There’s a couple of things we could release one day, but it’s a touchy thing at this point.

Read the full interview at