Getting GRIM: Carl Begai Takes On Heaven & Hell

Following is an excerpt from a very recent interview with Yers Trooly conducted by veteran and downright awesome author / musician Joel Gausten…


For more than two decades, Carl Begai has been a leading voice in Metal journalism. Whether he’s reporting on acts all over the world for / Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles (BW&BK) or offering various musings on, he consistently provides an in-depth, unpretentious and often amusing take on the world of music. Now, he is preparing to steer his work in a GRIM new direction.

Boasting cover art by former BW&BK graphic artist Hugues Laflamme, GRIM – My Way To Hell is Begai’s first work of fiction and his first book since 2008’s Fire and Fame (with Bonfire’s Joerg Deisinger). He has been “dabbling” with GRIM since 2011, when he was inspired to start putting words together after watching The Devil’s Advocate with Al Pacino. In one pivotal scene, Pacino – in the role of The Devil – delivers a powerful speech on how God is “an absentee landlord” when it came to caring for humanity.

“That is my favorite Pacino moment,” Begai says. “That’s where the idea of the book came from.”

Fans of Begai’s work received their first tease of GRIM when he posted the book’s prologue on his website in 2012.

“The premise behind the book is that the world is such an ugly place and Hell is so busy that they decided to outsource in order to collect all the souls that need collecting. One specific guy more or less got sucked into doing the job, which goes against his own morals. He has real issues with that, and he has real issues with the idea of Heaven and Hell – plus the fact that people are looking for an easy way out by being willing to sacrifice their souls. It’s a first-person take on this seemingly ludicrous idea of God and the Devil, but it turns out that it actually does exist.”

Sounds pretty deep and potentially scary, but Begai was quick to note that he has maintained his sense of humor throughout the manuscript process.

“If you know anything about me, you know that it’s certainly not 100-percent serious. There’s a tongue-in-cheek aspect to this.”

Considering Begai’s reputation in the music industry and past experience as a book co-author, it might be a surprise to some that he has decided to go the self-publishing route for GRIM. But as those of us who’ve been down this road ourselves know very well, flying solo certainly comes with its fair share of advantages and opportunities.

“When we went looking for publishers (for Fire and Fame), the general message from most of the ones we approached as far as what they would or would not for an upcoming author was, ‘Well, we’ll sell between 3,000 and 5,000 copies of you book, and then we’ll start paying you.’ And then, it would only be $1 a book. We all know they’re not going to sell between 3,000 and 5,000 copies, so you get nothing out of it other than a pat on the head, basically. I figured that crowdfunding could possibly raise money for advertising and stuff, and I could go that way. It is an industry now as opposed to just a bright idea.”

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One thought on “Getting GRIM: Carl Begai Takes On Heaven & Hell”

  1. Hey Carl!
    Nice to see you’re still writing and (from what I’m reading) involved covering music.

    Doubtful you remember but I’m the “B” in F’N B. You did a pretty ripping review of our second album back in 95, “We Kinda Think It Sucks”, for MEAT. I remember Drew M calling me and saying,
    “Dude. You TOTALLY have to move to TO and get things going.”
    My douche bag drummer, the “F”, wasn’t into it so I didn’t go.

    That review did get us some trolling from some major label whores, one of whom at Lava/Atlantic signed Sugar Ray and poppified and then raped them. When he told me, after soliciting the album and listening to it, that, “If you can write more songs like this one and this one, I’d be interested in talking further….” I replied:
    “I’d rather buy knee pads and hang out at the corner of Portage and Main.”
    That was that.
    Thank christ.
    Someone told me they saw Drew being interviewed by Steve A on Much when MEAT closed shop and that he was asked any memorable bands and he mentioned me/F’n B. So I’m told.

    Anyhoo, Here’s a few clips for you to enjoy (?).
    Toast, the one that got the most radio/SOCAN $:

    This was a demo I slapped together in 4 days: Vocal arrangements and melodies, lyrics, playing piano (had to build chors one key/note at a time!) on my guitar, and adding Darth Vader wheezing, for 3 trax I got for audition back in 02 (?) for Wes Borland’s Eat The Day project. His bro/drummer called to say he really dug it.
    Then the project got shit canned.
    Which was sorta like what happened when were picked for 10th anniversary of CTV’s Up and Coming. We already had this Toast clip in the can so the (“double the normal budget”) fund would all go to the shoot for “Happy Song” which cam on the album after Sucks. If you want to hear the story on how that went F’n B (fukt) lettuce know because it links me directly with the Beatles in a not so hot way….Neddless to say, the why caused the show, in it’s 10th year to be cancelled before we aired nation wide and to markets around globe. Wheee.

    This clip also includes some QOTSA and Perter Gabriel:
    My first time “cheating”/multitracking my vox and doing more than 1 or 2 takes..

    Finally, a (I think) pretty crushing cover of Dirty Deeds done by a pretty fukt up nun who sang one verse 2X by accident.:

    (PS: That heckler bitch that I threatened with baptism? She’d come to every gig, no matter where, WORSHIP us, get drunk and turn into a mASSive C-word. >:D)

    Cheers and hope shit’s going well.
    And thanx for that review man.
    That was a one of the big high light for some fuck ups from Emo, Ontario.
    Will Be

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