Interview mit Cannibal Corpse


Hi George, how are you? The last time I met CANNIBAL CORPSE I was talking to Alex before your new album “Torture” was released, so besides the two songs, that have already been released “Scourge of Iron” and “Demented Aggression”, I didn’t had anything to listen to. Give us an update, what happened to CC since then?

Corpsegrinder: Just tours! Nothing else, we did the album, we did the video for “Encased in concrete”, came out on tour with BEHEMOTH, did a US Tour and pretty much right after some time off we came back to do this. After this we do Summer Slaughter going to Australia and we are working on shit now for, you know after Australia. There are still places to go. We went to South America right after finishing the album, but we didn’t play any new songs because nothing was out yet, so we probably end up going there soon. We are always trying to plan tours months in advance. So since you talked to Alex, yeah it’s just: we’ve been touring.

You received very good critics on the new album. Fans are happy, the press is happy. And since you’ve been starting to play the new songs, how is the reception to them live? Did your view of the album change since the recordings now that you playing them live almost every day?

Corpsegrinder: For us? I don’t know. Well there are songs that some people would rather play something than others, you know. We were playing “Scourge of Iron” and “Demented Aggression” on Full of Hate Festival so we saw the reaction to those, which was good. Now we’ve god four other songs that we’re playing from the new album and yeah it’s been great. All the kids we’ve been talking to seem to like it, everyone we’ve come in contact liked it and when I announce certain songs, I hear people cheering for them. I’ve seen people sing the lyrics, which always translate to that they like it. You’re not going to learn the lyrics to a song you don’t like. Unless you’re fucking force fed them like you know pop music and shit. Reaction’s been great and people are asking for certain songs and we listen into that, but we got six new songs, which is a lot, but we do twenty songs over all so we don’t forget the old stuff either.
The changes are, is when you play them live is just a different setting than in the studio. For me adding in the headbanging in between the singing, some songs that are difficult become even more difficult. For those guys playing them live plus headbanging, because when you play them in practice and in the studio, you’re not headbanging. It is a big challenge to play them live. So there are songs I liked on the album and there are songs I like even more now that we are playing them live, you know. “As deep as the knife will go” I liked that song anyway, when we first did it in the studio, but now we are playing it live. A lot of people like it, I announce it, they like it. And “Demented Aggression” goes really well, but it’s hard because it’s fast and there’s a lot fast headbanging. There are things that you don’t know about until you actually play them live.

Even on the album “As deep as the knife will go” sounds like it was meant to be played live. The chorus cries for a sing along.

Corpsegrinder: It is pretty catchy, the only bad part about it it’s hard to do it live because we do the overlapping part, which we normally never do anything like that (he quietly sings the first part of the chorus /bart). If I do that all the way, I can’t do the next line, so I try to fade them in. But that’s the difficult part in a live situation.

So “Torture” became popular very fast. You sold over 2000 copies in the US and reached place 34 in the german billboard charts. What are you’re thought on all the new media coming up? Services like Spotify, mp3 sales and so on. What does that mean for CC?

Corpsegrinder: The controversy for us? Every press is press. If they are talking about you, they are talking about you. It just sucks we had some issues that we didn’t know if the album was going to be banned here or we could play songs from it here. Germany, it’s only here. People can bitch about it in other placed, but they don’t ever take any action, like to try to stop the album from coming out, it seems like here is where they will and it’s ridiculous. Yes you can drink on the streets, that’s great, I’m glad you can drink on the street, but go and buy an album you want, you can’t buy this album, it’s banned you have to mailorder it. We never know. Before we come over for a tour, we have to check with Metal Blade here and just say “Hey what can we play”, to make sure of this that we’re not getting ourselves in trouble, because it seems that it constantly changes. I don’t know what they think they are doing by giving us these hassles, only here, knock on wood. In America they are staying out of the shows with pickets or whatever, signs, picket the show. I don’t care. Go ahead, as long as you don’t fucking hurting anybody, I don’t care. That’s your right to do that, but the government doesn’t try to shut us down because they can’t. It’s not gonna happen in the US. They probably view us as we view us, it’s just a band. That’s what we are really, there is no political message in our lyrics, there is no message about how you should live your life, that you should go kill people, it is just horror movie stuff. We are doing a million interviews, we are saying it in every interview the music is brutal, the lyrics are brutal and we want to follow suit. We need lyrics that are following the music and smash your face. Here you go a song about smashing your face. This is probably the the most asked question we get. (He obviously misunderstood my question, but there is no stopping the corpsegrinder /bart)

Well everybody in Germany knows about this controversy, but I was more asking what your position on the new media. Music spreading through paid services like Spotify, CD sales dropping or people illegally downloading the album from the internet.

Corpsegrinder: Oh yeah, these people should be punched in the fucking nuts repeatedly or tits, if they are man or woman. Yeah, it’s a joke. But this is bullshit, it should be illegal but what you’re gonna do. If you stop one person from doing it, another person will do it. I mean me and my friends when I was younger, we would go to a records store and I would buy a record and he would buy a record and then we’d tape the record and I got on tape what he bought and so on, because we didn’t have tons of money. But it’s because we didn’t have the money. If my parents were rich and would have bought me anything I want, I would have every album I wanted and I want ALL the albums, because I like to have any album, you know what I mean? I mean people tapetraded and things like that, but usually you ended up wanting to buy the album yourself to have it for yourself.

Are you a collector?

Na, not really, back then I was a collector but not like put them into these sleeves and take care of them, fuck it I don’t care, I used to take out the lyrics and tack em to the wall so I could read them and sing to the lyrics. So I got some albums that are in better condition now, probably because I’m older and I try to keep them in better condition, mostly like Cannibal records, but some of my records are beat up man, they been used. I have friends that actually have all those sleeves and things for records and I know people that collect them, they collect vinyl. I just bought it. But what I was getting at before. We traded things like that, we end up want to buy it. And look in this day and age I don’t know who is poor and who’s not and who has enough money to do it. And if you downloaded the album and said “I love it and now I go and get it now” but you’re not, what’s going to happen is, unless you’re rich, you’re gonna go and say “Fine, I got twenty bucks. I just downloaded the new Cannibal and I love it and I want to get it, but I want to get the new NILE. So I just could go and buy the new NILE. Or I could download that too and get something else” And it becomes a fucking disease. Or you go “I get them for free, why should I pay for them”. But you don’t realize, if you are a fan of the band, the people or the music then buying records is what keeps that whole thing going. Sure we can tour, but it doesn’t help you as a band. You got Soundscan, so you hit the Billboard that helps you as far as tours go, because people go when you sold a lot of records. So if we would open for a bigger band, we go to them and say “we just sold a thousand records”, but with the people who downloaded it, we would have sold ten thousand you know what I’m saying? We are a bigger band, I mean we are in a better position than a lot of other bands in Death Metal to withstand that. But there are a lot of bands who would look a lot better as far as sales go, if this wasn’t going on. If you download it and then buy it, I don’t have a problem with that, but if you just download it, then I fucking hate you and I hope you die in a fire. But you don’t die right away and you sit there for a while. I’m serious, it’s like coming into my house and stealing. It’s like this is our house (pointing to the bus A/N), if somebody came in here and went through my bag and stole shit from me it’s the same thing to me. Everyone in the band worked hard for it, spent the time in the studio, spent the time away from family, be on tour, be out here do all this and for people who stole your music and give it away for free? Fuck those people! Maybe everyone thinks that everyone in a band is rich, so what’s the matter if a few thousand people don’t buy a record, well yeah, maybe if you are Metallica, they are huge. But even so, do I walk up to someone and say “here’s ten thousand Dollars. Here, I don’t know you, you could be the worst pile of shit child molester in the world, but I just give you ten grand” no one does that. With bigger bands it’s still not cool, you’re still stealing from them too, but the can bounce of that quicker and easier than us or even worse, other bands in Death Metal that aren’t at our stage of being probably the most popular band out there. It still hurts us, so imagine what it’s doing to the rest of the bands. You’re not a fan if you’re doing it.

Seems I hit a nerve there. Let’s change the topic for a chance. Where do you see CANNIBAL CORPSE in ten years? You developed a music style that is timeless. I was listening to “Vile” on the way here and it still feels as strong as it was over 15 years ago. And are there times when you ask yourself how long you still do Death Metal? How long will you tour and when’s the time to quit? You obviously won’t be doing it as long as the Scorpions, singing “Hammer smashed face” at the age of 60.

Corpsegrinder: (laughs) Yeah it’s definitely different for them. Obviously they are getting a lot of money to play shows, lot more than we’re getting. But really for us, we’re not going to stop playing Death Metal, number one, that’s first thing. That’s what we love to do, if we want to do something different, every one of us can do some sideband. As far as playing Death Metal, in ten years, hopefully we’ve done three or four more albums or something and still doing it. We could release albums forever, everybody could probably play for a long time. Voice, I don’t know, that’s different. Playing guitar, bass or drums it’s physical, but this is “physical”. My instrument is my body, more so I don’t have any other equipment. I sing through a microphone, but that doesn’t alter what I do. So as long as my voice held up we could do albums for a long time. Touring is just the harder part, because there is sacrifice involved. Being way from the family, one, do you want to keep doing that? And two, it’s physical, the headbanging, being on the road, not sleeping and eating like you would at home. There are ways of staying in shape if you want to, but sometimes there are days where you don’t have any fucking choice than to eat stuff you wouldn’t want to eat at home. If I feel physically fine for another ten years, fuck yeah I do it, but there are other factors involved. When you ask me, how long we will go? As long as we feel doing it, and there’s plenty more left inside all of us. We’re getting at the end of this tour, it’s been a long tour, it’s been tough, there were a couple of tough shows. We called dump and run. It’s when the bus doesn’t stay at the show, which sucks, because this is our house. It’s like when you wake up in the morning and someone took your house and then they give it back to you ten hours later. You got to get everything you need for that day, for whatever you’re doing, where ever you’re going. So things like that, do take toll on you. To answer your question one more time, as long as feel good physically, and obviously mentally, we’ll do the touring. We can definitely do the albums. We’re happy with “Torture”. I don’t think we ran out of ideas.

When you’re playing your own songs every day on long tours, and hear Death Metal every day, are you still interested in other Death Metal Bands and are you still following the music scene in general? Or are you saying after a long day “Come on give me a break”?

Corpsegrinder: Oh yeah, we watch the other bands. We are doing festivals, which are obviously more of a mixed show and are not all Death Metal bands. Come on this is Death Metal, we play Death Metal, that’s what we like to play and I don’t see how you play it and don’t like it. I mean, do I listen to it as much as I used to? Maybe not, I don’t know. When I’m here in the bus at night and we’re rolling down the road we just all sitting here and I’ll be sitting here, listening to my iPod drinking, me personally I’m listening to Hank III. Hank III is probably something that I listen to more than anything. Alex , Rob and me were sitting here and listening to Saxon, Rage or we could put on some fucking Aeon or Nile or anything. We have two good bands touring with us now (LAY DOWN ROTTEN and ABORTED /bart) and it depends on the person you’re listening it to. So here we are, all playing Death Metal and after the show, well it depends I’ve come here after the show and put on some Aeon. It’s like on the festivals, I know Paul went to see Boston play at Sweden Rock, all of us went to see some Lynyrd Skynyrd, I had to see King Diamond at Hell Fest and it sucked because Hank III played at Hellfest the same as we did and that hurt my heart.

He’s playing in Augsburg too

Yeah believe me, I just wanted to fucking hang out and come and see him! I saw him in Austin, Texas but it sucks, because we had a lot of time off after this tour and I know he’s doing the tour because I got to meet him and hang out at Hellfest. We fly home at July 8th, which is my birthday, so we are flying all day on my birthday going home. Then we have ten days off til Summer Slaughter, which is another 4 to 5 week Tour, and then we have the whole September off, that’s good. But here’s the thing, if we’d have three weeks of between that, I would almost think about staying over here. I got friends over here and would catch a couple of shows. Take the train to different cities, yeah I woud almost do it, stalk Hank III! I love him, so I listen to him a lot. So that’s what I said. We all listen to Death Metal, old stuff, new stuff, it depends on the night. It’s really weird ‘cause we got the tomorrow off, so I can sense some people say “TONIGHT!”, and then again some people don’t have the day off, so they can’t waste the day sleeping after staying up the whole night partying. Not everybody in the band partys, I’m the one in the band who pretty much drinks more than anybody, but when that happens in this lounge and that lounge you probably have two different types of music going. So you go up get a beer and Nah, just head back because you probably don’t like the music they play there and vice versa. Everybody has an iPod and trust me if you see all the iPods, even from the five guys in Cannibal, you probably be surprised.

Something different again. I always wonder every time I get a new CANNIBAL CORPSE album, I look up the credits you very rarely show up in them. What’s that all about?

Corpsegrinder: Because I’m lazy! (laughs) No, like lyric-wise, I don’t know. I can write stuff if I want, it’s in no way anything like that. The thing also is, Alex writes a good bit of songs Pat doesn’t have any interest in writing any lyrics so Paul will usually write them, but then if I would say “If you got a song done, give it to me, I write some stuff for it lyrics”, sure, it wouldn’t be an issue. Now Paul is doing Pat’s songs for so long that it’s just like clockwork that he’s gonna do them. When Alex and Rob are doing songs, they’re already envisioning certain things. Rob used to sing and play anyway (in the mighty SOLSTICE /bart) so he’s already in tune with that. And Alex has been doing it for so long, so they probably already have ideas. Now with that said, I can say “Look guys, when you have your songs done, give them to me, I want to write all the lyrics for this album”, I could do that, but well I don’t know… Look, I will do that sideband with the drummer of THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER Shannon Lucas and Adam D. from KILLSWITCH ENGAGE and I’m gonna write all the stuff for that. More likely it will not be in the vein of Cannibal stuff and the music definitely needs some other kind of lyrics. And that’s what I want to say I’m not interested in writing lyrics about horror movies or anything, I just… I don’t know why man. The first time I got into the band I wrote a little bit of stuff and then I thought to myself “Ok, on the next album I do a lot”, and then the next album came along and I wrote like one or two lines maybe. Those guys were doing it and I was like “You know what, they’re doing it fine, I don’t need to write it, I surely could. If they came and really wanted me to I would” I can’t really pinpoint a reason why I haven’t done it.

Final question: How was it to meet Mark Hamill?

Corpsegrinder: Oh it was awesome. It was cool man. I remember when I went over to California to do the voices for Metalocalypse. I’ve been in the studio before obviously, but I’ve never done any voice work. So they gave me these lines and tell me what the characters are like. So I just have to make stuff up on the spot. But the scariest part about when I met him was, I was thinking that I would do my stuff first and he’s gonna be there and I was like “Oh no” That’s a wave of terror. Brendon and Tommy were there and that’s fine, I didn’t even know them guys that well, but it’s another intimidation factor, he is Mark Hamill. He’s done so much voice work like the Joker, he’s done tons of movies and everybody obviously knows him for Star Wars, of course. But then he did his stuff first, I met him before and then we took some pictures after, but he did his voice stuff first. So I got to sit and watch a fucking professional do it. I guess if you compare it, if someone did a couple of demos and was gonna do his first album, was watching me doing vocals in the studio or watching Tom Araya or somebody. This is the pros. Because that was what I was like, watch and learn! He’s awesome! Doing the Metalocalypse stuff, I have to say it was a big, big fucking opportunity for me, especially considering how much it’s blown up and how big it’s got. To be a part of that, it’s awesome.

Ok, that’s it. Thank you very much! Do you got any last words?

Corpsegrinder: Stay metal!