How We Got Our Name: Cradle of Filth

Cradle of Filth is a black metal band from Suffolk, England.

Daniel Davey (vocals): It all started—and this surprises people, still—with finding an actual cradle of filth, cleaning out Paul’s grandmother’s house. This was 1990.

Paul Allender (guitar): She had recently moved into assisted living.

DD: He and I one afternoon were sifting through stuff in her garage. Mostly gardening tools, an aluminum Christmas tree. And there it was.

PA: Of course back then, they kept cradles of everything.

DD: Different times.

PA: If I remember, I think we also found a cradle of rock salt. Why not just keep it in the pantry, Grandma? But she was a stubborn woman.

DD: True original.

PA: We actually brought the cradle on stage with us, at first. But everyone thought that was a little too on-the-nose.

DD: It was also not very big. Not larger than a normal cradle, at least.

PA: Past the first few rows you couldn’t even really tell what it was. Definitely couldn’t make out the filth. And the liability—health risks, I mean. We had roadies setting it up in masks, rubber gloves . . .

DD: We stopped short of a total fiasco, I think.

PA: [nods]

DD: Before that, though, picking the name–the decision was easy. Far easier than deciding what to do with the cradle.

PA: Imagine it’ll be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame someday.

DD: [laughs] Right. [pause] Well, stranger things have happened.

PA: Now mind you, there are all different kinds of filth, but you’d look at it, and I’m sure you’d have agreed, that was a cradle of filth. And I suppose that’s what made it so appealing.

DD: [to Paul] I think we even used the phrase separately at first, didn’t we?

PA: [nods excitedly] Mm-hmm. That’s right! I’d telephoned my mother. ‘Yeah, we’re still at Agatha’s. We found what looks like a cradle of filth.’

DD: And I’m in the kitchen while he says this. ‘That’s exactly what I’d have called it!’

PA: [laughs] Definitely filth. Which is not to say the cradle itself had all kinds. I mean, that gets subjective after a while, doesn’t it? What is filth, what’s not. But I think . . . [long pause] If you had seen it. Anybody’d agree. Even in that one cradle, countless instances.

DD: Like a filth Rorschach.

PA: Rosetta’s Stone. Just . . . again, by anybody’s standards–.

DD: Routinely had spiders crawling out of it too.

PA: Yeah. You’d think after a while they all have crawled out of there. But like every time we brought it out, more spiders.

DD: It was a sort of weird, self-restorative thing. Like black magic. Then again, maybe the spiders had just laid eggs before crawling out. And then subsequent spiders also laid eggs.

PA: The magic of nature.

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