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CANNIBAL CORPSE


Cannibal Corpse - All Devouring


By Joe Who?

Cannibal Corpse is a band that certainly needs no introduction. If you follow the death metal scene, you should know that they are without a doubt one of the true legends of this genre.

The early nineties death metal explosion was a glorious time for me. The music climate was changing, and we were force fed new styles like; "Grunge" and "Alternative". Rock and "Old School" Metal were still around, but seemed to go by the way side, compared to the "Glory Days".

Cannibal Corpse was one band in particular that had an impact on me right from the get go. I remember seeing the cover for their "Butchered At Birth" album, and was just mesmerized by it. This was some sick stuff that would become their trademark. Musically it was intense, crazy, brutal, and mixed with the most horrorific / gore lyrics I ever read.

Their over the top shocking antics have caused them to be admired by many, yet despised by others. Usually controversy just adds fuel to the fire, that sparks interest, and as a result they have always had a die hard loyal fan base.

Their fifteen year killing spree continues to this day. Some line-up changes aside, (most notably Chris Barnes - who went on to form Six Feet Under, and more recently original guitarist Jack Owen) they still remain a vital part to the death metal scene, and are one of the pioneers to a scene they helped create.

I had the pleasure of speaking with The Extreme Headbanging Team of - vocalist George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher and bassist Alex Webster after their show in Milwaukee Wisconsin on Novenber 11th 2004. They offered up their thoughts, opinions, and points of view to the questions I had. So without any further ado, here's my Q and A session with the gods of gore...


Wormwood Chronicles: First of all, How's the tour been going?

George Fisher: Well, it's been good, you know? Goatwhore had to drop off, and that's kind of a bummer, but other wise it's been real good.

Alex Webster: It's been good, all the bands are real cool.

WC: In your opinion, what's been the best city on the tour so far?

AW: Maybe LA.

GF: Yeah, LA was sweet.

AW: San Francisco was good too, but the place was so small it sold out, but they've all been pretty cool.

WC: OK, I've got to ask - What happened with Jack Owen?

AW: He quit because he has this other band that he wanted to make his priority (The band is Adrift-->
WC: I hear he's with Deicide now...

AW: UM, sort of, yeah...

GF: He's just filling in, it's a session thing...

AW: Yeah, I don't think he would stay with them for good. Whatever, we wish him well in his future endeavors.

WC: You have a new guitarist - Jeremy Turner, (formely of Origin) will he be your new permanent member?

AW: We're still unsure. The four of us; me, George, Paul, and Pat have to sit down and discuss what Jeremy's future will be with us yet, but he's been doing a great job so far.

WC: While we're on the topic of guitarists here, I was wondering, what ever happened to Bob Rusay? (Original guitarist - played on early albums; "Eaten Back To Live", "Butcherd At Birth", and "Tomb Of The Mutilated")

AW: Bob we haven't heard from since we asked him to leave the band. We haven't heard from him at all, so I have no idea...

GF: Paul saw him one day, and kind of looked at him like - (makes a face, like he can't believe it's him!) (Laughs)

AW: Yeah, that was about a year after we kicked him out. We never hear from him, and he has made no effort to contact us at all.

WC: What's your secret for longevity? You guys have been going non-stop for over a decade now.

AW: We put a lot of effort into this. We do the best we can to make every album as brutal as possible, we try to put everything we can into every live show, and we tour a lot. So if we're doing well, it's because we haven't changed our style, and we work hard. I mean, we don't always succceed, but we always try to make things better then they were before, you know?

GF: You gotta figure all the people that stuck with the band. It's kind of like a give and take thing. I think they (fans) know that we're not going to - not to use a cheesy term - "Sell Out". We're going to keep playing death metal, we're not going to change our style just to sell a few more records, and they've been with us the whole time, you know? We're out there a lot, (on tour) and we built up a fan base, and they stuck with us. That's a hard thing to do, especially in America. Trends usually trap people here and there, and suck them away from what they think they want to listen to their whole life. It dosen't matter if you're metal once, you're metal for life, you can't escape it. Whether you cut your hair, or get some kind of job and think you're going to fuckin' play some kind of Creed crap, you're still going to be associated with metal whether you like it or not!

WC: I always love the artwork for your albums, do you still have problems getting censored?

AW: Yeah, sometimes more than others, but it's usually not a problem.

WC: What are some of your favorite songs to play live?

AW: It varies. It can be one song for awhile, and then after a few months you get sick of it, and switch it out with another. For me right now the best one would be "Psychotic Precision" actually, because this is the first tour we did it. So yeah, that's my favorite right now, but it changes all the time.

GF: It's kind of like when you do a new album, you know? You think it's the best album you ever did. You play the songs, listen to it, and it's not that we don't like the records, - we do - but you start thinking about how you did this or that, and when you hear the song over two hundred times, you start to pick a part anything that you might not like about it.I don't know, for me I still like to do "Hammer Smashed Face" (Laughs) Some songs for me, I like seeing the crowd reaction. "Fucked With A Knife", the girls are screaming, you sort of feed off of that, but I like them all.

WC: What are your thoughts on down-loading music for free?

AW: It's another part of how technology is changing the way things are done. I don't think it really affects a band like us very much, because we don't sell a lot to begin with. Most of our fans will usually get our stuff anyway, because they like the artwork, but it's just something else that you have to contend with. I think in the long run it might make it more difficult for people spending a lot of money to make a record, but on the same token when you have the computer programs like pro-tools that make it less expensive to make albums, it might not actually be an issue.

Record sales will probably drop if people have the option to get things for free. I mean, everybody down-loads things, if they can get them, more copies of albums from their friends, you know? It's just what you do. I did it when I was young, I copied tapes. My friend had an album, I'd make a tape of it, if I didn't have the money. So I don't expect anyone to not do that now, when it's such an easy option - why not do it, you know?

At the same time like I was saying though, the cost of making an album has gone down, because of technology. So even if you're selling less records, if it costs you less money to make an album, it can kind of even out, I think. It also might have made the whole scene a little bit bigger. People have the ability to try something out before they buy it. That was something that you didn't have. I used to buy albums based on if the dude in the band was wearing a Kreator or D.R.I. shirt, then I knew the band would be good. You know what I mean? (Laughs) Nowadays you can go to a web-site if you hear about a band, and listen to a free down-load or whatever, and make a decision on if it's something you want to buy.

It hasn't been the negative effect that people think it is. We do better business now, not sales wise, but for tours and stuff. Everything has been better over the last 3-4 years, which is when the whole down-loading thing took off. So it hasn't hurt us.

WC: I heard you guys hit the 1 million mark for sales of your catalog. Congrats. What was your reaction to that, because that's unheard of in death metal.

AW: I think there are other bands that hit it too actually. I bet ya Morbid Angel...

GF: I think they were on the list, Deicide, Six Feet Under...

AW: No, Six Feet Under hasn't hit a million yet. That's for total sales, but Six Feet Under is one of the best selling
bands in America.(For death metal, perhaps, but certainly not over all--Dr. Mality)

GF: There's other bands on there. It's the same thing I was saying before, it's a testament to all the bands working hard and trying to make great albums, but people have to buy those albums, and the fans deserve just as much for that as we do...

AW: It shows more than being a success, the music... In general like us, Deicide, Morbid Angel having this kind of longevity, you know? Napalm Death, bands like that, have been around for a long time, and it shows that death metal is... I mean, if their was ever any doubt in anyone's mind, it shows for sure that death metal is an established form of underground music that will be around forever.

Just like punk rock and hardcore, death metal is now in that league. Punk and hardcore are great forms of underground established music, that have a underground fan base that won't go away. Death metal is there too, it's not a flash in the pan, it's here to stay.

GF: It's funny. In the early ninties, when it really started to get big, and there were a couple of VJs on Headbangers Ball or MTV would talk about it, they'd be like - "What's This Death Metal?" Then they stopped covering it, and people were like - "Where Did Death Metal Go?". Well, you don't know about it, because you were never really into it, you know? It was where it was the whole time, in the underground, and it just crept up out of the sewer and stuck it's head out for a second, because people were willing to look at it, and then it went back...

AW: That's the funny thing, some trendy dude who liked death metal for one year would play Obituary and Death, because they were really huge. Then they got into fuckin' "Nu Metal" or whatever they decided to get into. Just because you're not paying attention doesn't mean the scene went away...

GF: And it's gotten better...

AW: Yeah, musically the death metal scene has continued to improve with new bands like; Decapitated, Spawn Of Possession, and Severed Savior. These bands are fuckin' better then the ones that were coming out when we first started. The music just keeps getting better and better...

GF: I think also what happened - The Record Labels - Do a demo, get signed, that was the way it was, you know? Some bands were prepared for that, some bands could do that and get away with it. Suffocation could, they did a demo, and bingo, they got a record, but that's a band that's really good.

Nowadays - sure ,there's some bands that maybe could do a couple more demos, a few more live shows - but now playing wise bands are just so far ahead, that it's almost like they're listening to music for five years before they meet other guys that can play the stuff that they can play.

AW: It's much more advanced then it used to be...

GF: It's way more advanced. So it's much better...

AW: Yeah, the cool thing about death metal is that it attracts these musicians to it, that are interested in being extreme. Extremely good, and making extremely heavy music, you know what I mean? They all want to be good musicians, and make brutal music, and there's a constant recruiting of all these great young musicians to the scene, and they help keep it strong and fresh.

GF: They all come together, and you get bands like fuckin' Spawn Of Possession, who just shred...

AW: Yeah, these kids can blow your mind...

GF: It dosen't matter if you can play an instrument or not, when you see them play, there's no way you can't go - Holy Hell. I mean trust me, I know because, I don't play anything. I understand drums better, but as far as string instruments go, some things he plays, I might think - That's got to be crazy, - but to him, it's not that bad, or there might be other things I think look simpler. We just toured with Spawn Of Possession, and saw their set every night. There's no way someone can watch them, and not go - Holy shit, that's some crazy stuff.

AW: Death metal is only going to get better...

GF: If you don't like this music, and you play an instrument, you better fuckin' respect it. I think anyone that dosen't play an instrument might say - "Not My Cup Of Tea", but if you play an instrument, you'll probably say - "That's Got To Be Hard To Play".

AW: Yeah, you're kind of forced to respect it...

GF: Frank Zappa said - Death Metal Is The Most Disrespected Music...

AW: I didn't know he said that...

GF: Yeah dude, Paul told me that...

AW: Oh, really... Awesome!

WC: You guys have worked with a number of different producers through out your career. Scott Burns, Jim Morris, Colin Richardson, and Neil Kernon. I was wondering if you could comment on each one, what they brought to the table, so to speak, and who did you enjoy working with the most?

AW: Well, Scott was just a really good friend of ours and everything, we loved working with him, he got us started, you know? We also worked with a guy named Dennis Fura for a couple of things up in Niagara Falls. He was cool, but we didn't work with him extensively. Jim Morris was really cool, really professional. He's got his own way of doing things, he knows how to make a great clean production, and that's what he gave us on "Gallery Of Suicide". He did a really good job, but we decided to get a little more raw, and that's where Colin Richardson came in. Colin produced Carcass records and stuff like that, with guitar sounds that we liked a lot, so we went with him. He did a good job, but he's just a little too big for us these days I guess, because he couldn't do the next album. Pat recommend Neil Kernon to us. Neil's kind of become our new Scott Burns, you know? A good friend of the band, A guy we want to keep working with, he's able to put up with us...

GF: He puts up with me. Trust me,I'm a pain in the ass!

AW: Yeah, Neil's really great. Neil's ready to do crazy shit. We're pretty normal guys, but musically we're a pretty crazy band sometimes. We want to try and do shit that's fucked up, and we need a producer who's not afraid to do things that are fucked up, like make a guitar sound that's so heavy, that it makes the speakers woof. If you listen to "The Wretched Spawn", in the middle, the breakdown part with the drums. (Demonstrates by doing a imitation of a guitar with his mouth!) It's distorting all over the fuckin' place, it's something that some producers would be afraid to do. Neil's like - Fuck it, it's supposed to be brutal, let's go for it!

WC: Do you have any good road stories from this tour so far?

AW: I can't think of anything...

GF: The last tour. (Laughs) The last tour we've got tons of stories. Well, we thought we'd have to get out at Disney - It's not real interesting, it's pretty boring, - but we thought we had to get out, because of all the terrorist concerns. We played House Of Blues in Anaheim Califorina at Disney, and they wanted to come on the bus with dogs and stuff. It's unheard of in the states, but for obvious reasons with all the terror concerns, you know? That wasn't cool, not a lot of crazy stuff happens here. The last U.S. tour we did...

AW: With Hypocrisy...

GF: The bus got repoed, that was pretty crazy. This tour has been going really good, nothing really crazy.

AW: The last tour we did in Europe, we had all these border problems. The Belarus government is really fucked up. They can put you in jail for whatever reason they want... (Belarus is a country of 10 million people in eastern europe. It is landlocked between Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Latvia and Lithuania - a 100 miles south / east of the Baltic Sea. - Joe Who?)

GF: It was wild. We're really lucky that they said - "We're Cancelling The Show", - instead of going there playing, and saying - "You Broke The Law, You're Going To Jail"...

AW: It's the dictatorship, and they don't like Americans there. We probably should not have gone, except there's over a thousand death metal fans there...

GF: And we had played there before too, and that was the craziest thing, no one gave a shit...

AW: Yeah, there was two thousand people the first time we played. The second time, there was supposed to be a thousand people at the show, but the government shut the show down. There's an explanation on our web-site, it takes too long to explain. They fucked with us really bad, it sucks, because the fans over there are really cool.

WC: Do you guys have any side project bands your working on outside of Cannibal Corpse?

AW: Um, not yet, but I probably will start working on a few things when we get done with this tour, but nothing to where I wanna say what it's about yet, because it's all very tentative.

GF: I do. There's a band called Paths Of Possession that released a cd a couple years ago. I've been jammin' with them. Richard Brunelle of Morbid Angel used to play with us, but we had to part ways with him. We're gonna try and do an album next year, it's all depending, because my wife's going to have a baby. Those guys have been writing stuff, and you know - I'll be doing a record with them sooner or later. We're going to try and do it in Tampa somewhere, because we're going to have lots of time off. I don't wanna go anywhere, I have to stay at home, but if we do it in Tampa, I can feasibly do it...

WC: Do you have a record label for it?

GF: Well, I talked to Brian Slagel, (CEO - of Metal Blade Records) and he seemed interested in it, and he said he wanted to do something with it, but I haven't talked to him in awhile, because we've been busy. I think Metal Blade opened a store up in Japan, so he wasn't in LA, otherwise I would have talked to him. As far as I know, I can't say for sure, but we're going to try and do an album, and hopefully Metal Blade will pick it up. (It's official...Paths of Possession is signed to Metal Blade---Newshound Mality)

WC: You guys were in the movie - Ace Ventura, how did that come about?

AW: I guess Jim Carrey asked for us, that was it. So we went down and did it. (Laughs)

WC: Speaking of movies, would you ever do a song for a horror movie?

AW: Sure, if somebody asked, yeah, we'd love to...

WC: What are some of your favorite horror movies?


AW: Two of my favorites are; "The Shining", and "The Exorcist". There's this movie called - "The Audition" from Japan that I saw recently, that I really like. There's a lot of great movies out there...

GF: "Phantasm". Phantasm fuckin' rules! There's just so many. I just saw "Alien VS Predator" when it came out, and I wasn't very happy...

AW: I haven't seen it yet...

GF: When they're fighting, you should be able to see them, it was all dark, I don't know if you saw it, and it was PG-13 - Come on! Dude, as soon as it came out, and they said PG-13, I said... (sticks out his tongue and makes a "Raspberry"!)

WC: What are your thoughts on the death metal scene right now?

AW: I guess we already kind of covered this. Slow and steady wins the race - you know? It's got a solid fuckin' fan base and the bands continue to improve. Artistically it's going up, and the crowds are remaining constant. I'm not going to lie and say it's getting huge or something, but it's definitely doing good man. It's solid and the bands are getting better every year.

WC: I was wondering how the Florida death metal scene has been doing these days.Back in the ninties it was a major hot bed for death metal, is the scene still pretty strong out there in your opinion?

AW: There's still a lot of good musicians down there, yeah. Diabolic, Unholy Ghost, Monstrosity are still kicking it, Hate Eternal is down there, remnants of Angel Corpse, - that are hopefully reuniting - are down there, and that's all just in our area. We got Malevolent Creation, and Divine Empire down in Fort Lauderdale, and all the established bands. Obituary is back in business. So actually things are rollin'...

WC: Obituary is reunited... Sweet!

AW: Yeah, Obituary actually are probably just about finishing up a tour of Europe, right about now.

WC: I think you talked about this, but to recap, what are your future plans? What can we look forward to in the months ahead?

AW: Like I said, maybe working a little bit on some projects with other people for fun, and then also writing new Cannibal stuff. We might do a couple of shows next year, but next year will be pretty much a year that we're going to be writing new material and preparing to go into the studio by maybe September or there abouts.

WC: Thanks for your time guys, do you have any last words for your fans out there?

AW: Just thank you so much for all the support. We couldn't do it without you. Keep supporting death metal, and thank you for the interview as well.

GF: Yeah, man, thanks a lot.


Cannibal Corpse's Official Website