Thursday, October 25, 2007
Interview: CORPSEGRINDER/CANNIBAL CORPSE
I truly believe this may have been one of the best interviews of my career; one of the longest, too! Look for it in an upcoming issue of Hails & Horns Magazine. I've posted some highlights from the interview below.
Cannibal Corpse has been around for over twenty years now, and has always been an integral part of the death metal scene. This style of music (and the people who love it) has undergone a plethora of changes and evolutionary steps over the years; it’s progressed, it’s regressed, it’s been bastardized and turned inside out and upside down until it’s almost unrecognizable. What do you think of the death metal scene nowadays?
I think it’s stronger than ever. There’s a lot of great bands out there, we’ve got great bands with us on this tour. There was a time when most people wanted to say that death metal was dead, that extreme metal was dead. That was the talk in the late ‘90s, early 2000s, but obviously we never felt that way, we were still around playing death metal. I think its gonna keep getting up there, and I hope that if it does we’re there to lead the way and be a part of it. I think it’s been getting bigger and bigger each year, and we’re thankfully a part of that. I think it can only go up. I don’t see how it could go down. There are too many good bands out there.
Why do you think that extreme metal and its offshoots have been enjoying such an upsurge in popularity over the past couple years?
I don’t really know.. I would like to think it’s because of all the bands have been busting their asses all these years, but unfortunately that’s probably not it. I’m sure certain people in higher places media-wise have opened up to it a bit more, and that kinda makes me mad. I’m glad that people are giving death metal more of a chance, but I just wish those people woulda given us and all the other death metal bands a chance years ago instead of just now coming down of their high horse and being all, “oh, now its good.”
Well, you know what, it was always good, fuckface! It’s never been bad. I mean, look at Immolation; shit, they’re fuckin’ gods, and they’ve been around even longer than we have, and a lot of people might not know who they are, unfortunately. I think that that’s the way things are fuckin swinging, now, that everyone’s getting a shot at the home run, taking it all the way to the fucking top. So, in the end, it’s about the people and exposure. It’s getting a lot of exposure now, and the people who are getting turned onto it are realizing that the stuff that they thought was heavy wasn’t shit compared to some of the band in death metal. Some of the stuff that’s really popular right now, that people perceive as heavy, it’s heavy in its own right but to me, it’s not extreme the way death metal is. This music is the best, and I hope it just goes up up up, skyrockets!
What do you think of that “underground” sort of mentality that deems you a sell-out as soon as more than six people have bought your album?
Well, you see, the underground is the lifeblood, that’s the people that’ve been there from the fuckin’ start. There are kids who listen to us that obviously don’t know who bands like Aeon or whatever are, they don’t know about all the bands that are out there playing right now; I don’t like to say we’re mainstream, but a lot more people know who we are than some other bands because we have a really big fanbase. But, a lot of that is rooted in the underground, that’s where we came from and I think that’s why we still have out foot there. I mean, it’s not a bands fault how popular they get; you keep playing, you keep doing shows, you keep getting yourself out there, people are gonna know who you are and come see you and bring people who obviously have never seen us or don’t really know anything about death metal, and hopefully they walk away thinking, “Wow, this is better than I thought it was.” A lot of people can’t get past the vocals, you know, “raah raah raah.” They wanna understand the lyrics and whatnot, but you know, you might not really want to hear what our lyrics are about (laughs). We bring in a lot of other people who have never heard us before and hopefully we turn them into diehard death metal fans just like us. We’re not gonna be around forever, but we want this music to stick around; there are bands coming up now that are half our age, but they’re good band and they deserve the attention, they deserve for people to sit up and take notice.
Why is death metal so important to you?
It’s been my life for years. When something’s been a part of your life for so long…I mean, yeah, who doesn’t wanna make money and sell albums and be famous or whatever, but we want this music to live. It’s given me a lot of the stuff I have. To me, the lifeblood is the people, like the underground. The people make this music and make this scene what it is, so I hope that it continues because when I’m too old to do this, I still want to be able to listen to it, and if it’s gone I won’t be able to! I know its selfish-sounding, but I’ll bet you anyone who was at the show tonight will tell you the same thing. If you stick with this music for the long haul, you want it to stay around. I want metal in general to stay around for as long as possible.
Music really can mean everything to a person.
It’s life. It’s music. Music is a big part of peoples’ lives. It moves the soul, as they say, whatever the fuck that saying is.
How did you get into metal in the first place?
It was either one of my uncles or my father, can’t remember which, but they had a Black Sabbath album and that’s what got me started listening to music, really. My mother would play Elvis and fifties stuff, but Black Sabbath started me listening to what I view as music now. I heard that and was like, “Whoa!” And that was that; from then on, I started listening to Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Accept…
Have you heard the new U.D.O.?
No, actually, but I’m sure it’s good; it’s U.D.O. We actually did a cover of “Demon’s Night”, we’re all Accept fans. I don’t think they get as much credit as they should. Everyone knows them for “Balls to the Wall”, that was their big hit, but I think their earlier stuff was even better than that.
The old stuffs always better, its metal!
Yeah of course but I mean, I think their first album reigns all over that! Most people know “Balls to the Wall”, at least people my age.
It’s my ringtone!
That’s great! That’s awesome. Haha, that’s funny; "Balls to the Wall" as your ringtone, you can’t go wrong with that. They meant a lot to a lot of bands, when I heard “Fast As A Shark,” it was all chugga-chugga-chugga-chugga (air guitars) – it just blew me away!
Okay, so, I promised a buddy of mine that I’d ask you this question for him. For some reason, he’s convinced that that Cannibal Corpse has a restraining order against Jim Carrey, due to his “constant hounding and following the band around.” Is here any truth to this at all?
Where the hell did you hear that? No! Hahaha! Whaaat? Lemme tell ya, the only time this guys even hung out with the band was when Cannibal did Ace Ventura, and I wasn’t even in the band. He’s never come to a show that we know of, at all, I don’t think he's ever come to one, even when we did the movie. Even if he doesn’t like the band anymore, he did at that point, and we got to be in that movie; even though I wasn’t in it, it a still cool. I couldn’t believe that they were in it. That’s the first time I ever heard that one!