Published Feb 01, 2000Although Dennis Lyxzén is enjoying life in the (International) Noise Conspiracy just fine, it must be hard to look around and think What if?' What if Refused had stuck it out in their tumultuous final days? After all, the quartet became bigger in death than ever they were in life. Their brilliant 1998 swan song recording, The Shape of Punk to Come a nod to Ornette Coleman's landmark 1959 free jazz masterpiece The Shape of Jazz to Come is considered a prog-punk classic and is cited by any number of hardcore and nü-metal bands as being one of the most influential records of all time.
"People were kind of pissed off when that record came out," Lyxzén recalls. "They were like, 'You heathens. If this is the shape of punk to come then I'm quitting punk.' We got a lot of that. When Ornette Coleman's record came out people thought he was an idiot and they wanted to kill him so it's kind of fitting in a way."
The record has since, however, catapulted Refused to a new level of popularity in much the same way James Dean, Vincent Van Gogh and Jimi Hendrix are posthumously idolised.
But when it comes to what could have been for Refused, Lyxzén is ever the pragmatist. "We had to break up," he says of the band's parting that came just five days before the North American leg of the tour to support The Shape... "The timing was kind of odd but it was in line with everything that band had done. It was totally the right thing that could have happened. I don't really regret anything. It's ironic that nobody cared about our band for seven years and then six months after we broke up everybody loved our band; it's kind of funny."
What isn't funny for Lyxzén, though, is what has happened since then as everyone from Blink 182 to Papa Roach is quick to jump up and sing the praises of Refused. The one that irks him the most is Crazy Town's (yes, those tattooed rap metal poseurs who sing about butterflies, sugar babies and that sexy girl with the tongue ring) version of the song "New Noise." "It's horrible; they should be shot," Lyxzén says with only a hint of irony. "Seriously I hate that band. Did you ever listen to them? I don't like to talk shit about bands, there are more constructive ways to work, but sometimes you just have to say, 'Stop...please stop this.'
"If someone listened to The Shape... and really understood what we were thinking about they wouldn't be in Crazy Town and they wouldn't think the shape of punk to come was to add a DJ to a metal band. If they really loved Refused, they missed everything that was important about that band."
Noting that what he does now is "much more passionate and organic and its much more what I want to do," Lyxzén dismisses any possibility of a Refused reunion, including recent internet rumours along those lines.
"It's not going to happen ever," he states emphatically. "Everyone else has moved on and we're much more happy now than we ever were in the band," he says. "We're better friends now than we were when the band broke which is a big reason we had to break up. We were friends for a long time and we wanted to continue to be friends and we couldn't do that in the band."