Interviewer: Cameron Edney - http://insideout666.mysite.freeserve.com
Rising from the ashes of New York death
metal bands Beyond Death, Leviathan, and Tirant Sin; Cannibal Corpse
exploded onto the scene with a raw, brutal energy that had never been
expressed to audiences in such a furious and yet exciting way. The
band played their first show at Buffalo's River Rock Cafe in April,
1989, shortly after recording a five-song demo tape. Within a year
Cannibal Corpse was signed to Metal Blade Records and their full-length,
debut album Eaten Back to Life; hit the shelves in August, 1990. Throughout
the years the band has been put under a microscope by censorship groups
all over the world because of their albums cover, titles and songs
such as Fucked With a Knife, Meat Hook Sodomy and Necropedophile at
one point, the sale of Cannibal Corpse merchandise was temporarily
prohibited here in Australia, Korea and New Zealand. Love them or
hate them Cannibal Corpse have lasted in this industry for almost
twenty years and have defied all the odds to become one of the most
influential death metal bands of all-time releasing classic albums
such as Butchered at Birth, and Tomb of the Mutilated. Recently Cannibal
Corpse released their tenth full length album Kill, which sees former
Corpse guitarist Rob Barret returning to the band which also features
Pat O'Brien on guitars, vocalist George "Corpsegrinder"
Fisher, bassist Alex Webster and drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz. Receiving
rave reviews worldwide Kill is nothing short of a brutal masterpiece
that will no doubt influence a whole new generation of Death Metal
fans. Recently completing a successful European tour which also included
Australia's own Psycroptic, Cannibal Corpse are about to embark on
an American Summer festival tour with Trivium, In Flames, Behemoth
and Through The Eyes Of The Dead just to name a few before heading
back to Australia in October for their first tour in almost twelve
years. No doubt fans are extremely excited by the news of Cannibal
Corpse return to Australia after such a long absence so I took the
pleasure of catching up with founding member and pounding bassist
Alex Webster to discuss the latest album, up and coming Australian
tour, those censorship groups and much much more. Wherever you are,
lay your corpse down and check out what Alex had to say!
Metal Fanatix: Hi Alex, thanks so much
for taking the time out to speak with us today. How have you been?
Alex Webster: Oh very good, we've been
home for about two weeks now from the European tour we just did and
we will be home for a little bit longer then we are heading back out
on tour again!
Metal Fanatix: Awesome news mate; I
will come back to the touring in a moment but first off; congratulations
on releasing one of the finest Cannibal Corpse albums I have heard
Kill. Were you guys happy with the outcome?
Alex Webster: Um yeah! We were really
satisfied with the recording and everything. I mean its the first
time that we worked with [producer] Erik Rutan and we weren't totally
sure exactly what to expect from the whole situation but it turned
out really great!
Metal Fanatix: Oh I agree; speaking
of Erik why did you guys choose him to produce the new album?
Alex Webster: Well there were a few
reasons; first of all, it was practical. The fact that he was close
by and that did reduce costs quite a bit to work with somebody that
was in our home town rather then traveling out to Texas to record
was one reason, but beyond that he's become a great producer over
the last few years and we had heard the work that he had done with
bands on a much lower budget then what we had. Erik worked with a
band that's called Into the Moat who is on the metal blade label,
and he did an amazing job with that and Soilent Green and a few other
bands that he's done really great work. He's our friend, he's close
to home and he's been doin' great work. He's a great death metal guitarist
too, so he's bringing that perspective to the recording. There seemed
like a lot of good reasons to work with him this time.
Metal Fanatix: I wanted to ask you about
the Kill cover, I have always associated Cannibal Corpse with some
of the greatest metal covers and yet the new album cover is nothing
like I expected, was there any reason you guys chose to keep it so
Alex Webster: Ya know; it really wasn't
something that we planned on that much. We were busy thinking about
doing the music and we got a piece of art from Vince sometime around
September/October, we thought it was a really nice piece of art but
when it got to December I talked with everybody and they said were
not sure if we want to use it as the cover, it might look better as
the interior, we should just go with something simple for the cover.
Since we were going with a simple title anyway it seemed like it was
going to work out really well to just go simple title and cover and
that's that. At least there is still a piece of Vincent Locke artwork
on the interior of the record but nothing on the front its about as
straight forward as you can get without being the white album or the
Metal Fanatix: [Laughs] yeah that's
right, you should have just gone for the blood red album [laughs]
Alex Webster: Yeah! Well its almost
like that; its got that rusty blood dried color!
Metal Fanatix: It sure does mate; when
it came time to record Kill did you approach this album in a different
way to previous releases?
Alex Webster: Well a little bit just
because we were at a different studio; this is only the third studio
that we've ever recorded a full length album at. The first was of
course Morrisound and the second was Sonic Ranch which was also known
as Village Productions when we recorded there for Bloodthirst, so
there was those two studios and then going in and working with Erik
at a studio that he and another guy had built up over the past couple
of years was definitely a little different. Erik had a different way
of recording things.
Metal Fanatix: In a few words tell us
what comes to mind when I mention the following tracks from the latest
Five Nails Through The Neck: Originally
everything started out around the number five, when it came time to
write lyrics it seemed like it would be good to have it revolving
around the number five. Musically and lyrically for no particular
reason that song has a lot of fives in it. You will find yourself
counting a lot of fives if you sit there and tap your foot to it!
Metal Fanatix: Its always good to have
a song that doesn't necessarily have to be to the count of four or
eight bars. Its a little more challenging to have tracks that are
a little off tempo!
Alex Webster: Its a good odd number,
if you're going for something that sounds unnatural it helps to make
it an odd time. It makes it feel that much more unnatural.
Submerged In Boiling Flesh: That's Paul
Mazurkiewicz first song that he's written for us where its both lyrics
and music. He's written lyrics for us before but this is the first
song where he has gotten out the guitar as well. I think its a pretty
heavy song. We were pretty impressed! When you hear that your drummer
wants to write a song on guitar; as string instrument players for
so many years we all were kinda of like uh oh, what's this gonna be
like? But it was actually really good. I knew Paul had dabbled in
the guitar a little but I didn't realize that he had dabbled in it
enough to write something that good.
Purification by Fire: That one is one
of Pats, that's a fast one. Its one that's definitely hard to play
like all Pats songs are. That might be one of the fastest songs on
the album too.
Make Them Suffer: That's another one
with the song writing team of Pat [O'Brien] writing the music and
Paul [Mazurkiewicz] writing the lyrics. That one just really seemed
like the catchiest song on the album and to us seemed to be the one
that stood out from the beginning. I think there's a few catchy songs
on Kill but that seemed like the best one for a single.
Metal Fanatix: As you have mentioned
both Paul [Mazurkiewicz] and Pat [O'Brien] have written for the new
album, when you guys get ready to put together a new album how does
the process work, do you come up with the music first or the lyrics?
Do you all sit around a table, hold meeting and throw out a bunch
Alex Webster: Its all pretty much music
first! We get the music done and a lot of times if I'm writing a song
I will write probably half of it at home and then Ill bring that half
up and show the guys how to play the first two minutes of the song.
Well make a little scratch recording of it on a mini disc or a cassette
player in the room then Ill listen to it while I'm driving around
so I can get an idea of where the song should go. The other guys will
do the same sort of thing a lot of the time when they're writing a
song. Pat [O'Brien] will write about half a song and after you get
used to playing it and hearing it you can kind of decide where its
After we get the music done we brainstorm together to come up with
a song title. It helps to have four or five minds working on a song
title cause after a whole bunch of albums (I means we've written over
one hundred songs all about violence and so on) you all have to work
together to come up with some creative stuff. Its not easy [laughs].
Now that were on our tenth album its becoming more and more difficult
to find new creative song titles and things to write about. Once we've
got a song title then whoever is going to write the lyrics for that
song can take the title and build a story around it which is usually
what we do.
Metal Fanatix: Since the release of
the Kill you guys played in Europe as you mentioned earlier. How have
the crowds responded to the new tracks live?
Alex Webster: Well, so far its been
really good although I've gotta say a couple of them are so hard that
I'm usually watching the fret board not the audience [laughs].
Metal Fanatix: [Laughs]
Alex Webster: We really wrote a few
songs that are a bit harder then any of the others we've done. Rob
Barrett noticed it quite a bit, having been gone from the band for
a few years then returning he said man the new Cannibal is definitely
harder then the old to play. A lot of times when I'm playing songs
I'm just making sure I'm not screwing it up more than watching the
audience. On some of the older songs like Hammer Smash Face I can
watch a little bit of the mayhem. From talking with our sound-man
he told me the new songs are going over really well.
Metal Fanatix: You guys are heading
back out in July as part of the Sounds Of The Underground festival,
do you prefer playing these kind of festivals or would you much rather
do your own headlining shows?
Alex Webster: Well, if we had the choice
between doing festivals like that all the time and headlining our
own shows all the time we would choose headlining, but we've never
done a festival tour like this before. We've played festivals in Europe
like Wacken and With Full Force, in America they don't have festivals
like that, they have festival tours instead and this is the only opportunity
we've had to do one. We've never been offered Ozzfest or a Jägermeister
tour so this is our first chance to do something like this where we
will be playing in front of a lot of people every night that wouldn't
normally go to see us and were pretty excited about it. We would never
give up doing full on death metal headlining tours. That's defiantly
what were more comfortable doing but we figured wed try something
different this summer!
Metal Fanatix: Speaking of touring,
I believe you guys will be hitting Australia again in October, what
memories do you have of the last Australian tour?
Alex Webster: Oh it was really cool
man! Its been gosh, over eleven years.
Metal Fanatix: Yeah from memory the
last time you guys played down here was back in late 1995!
Alex Webster: 1995; those were the last
shows with Chris Barnes [Ex-Vocalist]. I just remember the audiences
were wild, the weather was fuckin' awesome and everybody was very
friendly. We definitely wanna come back and hopefully if we do well
this time it wont take us eleven years to come back again [laughs].
Metal Fanatix: [Laughs] lets hope we
don't have to wait that long again! Do you guys have any confirmed
dates yet or do you just know that its going to be October?
Alex Webster: Its very close to being
confirmed, we have a tentative schedule but those dates are not booked
yet. The booking agent has lined up the shows and I believe we will
be going to New Zealand as well if he's able to work everything out.
I'm hoping that we can sneak a day off and hang out. Wed definitely
like to have some of the local food, the local beer and relax a little
bit. It sucks going to some beautiful place and only seeing the backstage
of some shitty club cause those basically look the same in the whole
Metal Fanatix: [Laughs] Do you guys
have any plans to film any of these shows for a new DVD?
Alex Webster: We haven't even thought
about doing anything like that. I know there was a professional film
crew that filmed our last show on the European leg of the tour in
the north of Sweden. I haven't seen that yet though but that's the
only one that we have filmed with professional multi cameras. It would
be nice if we could film at least one or two shows in Australia and
one or two on the Sounds [Of The Underground] tour and then make a
compilation DVD of the Kill tour it would be pretty cool.
Metal Fanatix: Alex, did you ever think
that twenty years on you would still be around making such powerful
and influential metal albums?
Alex Webster: No [laughs]. I had no
idea where all of this was going to go. When we made the band, our
biggest goal was just to have an album in our hands! That was the
first thing; we really didn't think it would go too far. We were just
having fun and playing the music that we love. Right now there's not
much commercial potential for death metal but at that time when we
started there was absolutely zero. Even the biggest death metal bands
like Death were playing to two, three hundred people a night back
in 1988. It wasn't like we had any aspirations to succeed, we just
wanted to have fun and the success is honestly still a surprise to
this day, especially if I put myself in that mindset that I had back
then. If someone had told me then that Id still be doing it eighteen
years later from when I was an eighteen year old I wouldn't have believed
it. I would have told 'em they were full of shit.
Metal Fanatix: Get the fuck out of here
man, who are you kidding, me? No! [Laughs]
Alex Webster: [Laughs] Yeah, quit giving
me false hope, go home [Laughs]. Pretty much I think if you ask any
guy who's in a band they end up getting the whole spill from their
parents pretty much after they graduate high school. For me, I would
say I don't wanna go to college, I wanna get the band going my parents
would reply come on, don't waste your life on that but here it is,
eighteen years later and were still doin' ok.
Metal Fanatix: Being close in age no
doubt our parents all grew up listening to the same kinds of music
the rock n roll and country but playing such an extreme form of metal,
what have your parents thought of the choices you made musically.
Alex Webster: Well my dads been passed
on actually before we made Cannibal, but I was in another death metal
band before that, but my mum for her, she's very happy that I'm doing
well and that the other guys in the band are doing well. Would she
prefer if I was playing country music? Of course she would!
Metal Fanatix: [Laughs]
Alex Webster: Shed be much happier if
I was playing music that she enjoyed, she's happy to see me succeeding
doing something I like and I think if you ask any other death metal
bands or black metal bands that are succeeding, there parents probably
feel the same way. They're like well, whatever makes him happy [laughs].
Metal Fanatix: [Laughs] For your fifteenth
anniversary you guys released the box set, with the twentieth anniversary
just in reach, have you guys planned anything special yet or is it
still too early?
Alex Webster: Ya know, we haven't though
of anything yet but I bet our record label will [laughs].
Metal Fanatix: [Laughs]
Alex Webster: They usually come up with
ideas, lets do this, lets do this. The box set was actually there
idea and we went along with it cause we thought it was a good idea.
They might have some idea again. I think releasing some cool DVD or
something like that? I don't know! It would be tough to do anything
that wouldn't be redundant after the box set came out. The box set
was such a cover all for the first fifteen years that it would be
tough. We might have to wait for year twenty five before we do something
like that again.
Metal Fanatix: What are the biggest
differences you notice these days in the business compared to when
you guys were starting out?
Alex Webster: Just the availability
of music instantly, with the internet. I think its one of the biggest
things. When we started out death metal was kept alive by the underground
fanzines and cassette traders. It took a long time, lets say I wanted
to hear a certain band, I would have to find somebody who had them
and then order it, then wait a couple of weeks to get it and the only
way I could even hear about that band was if I had gotten a fanzine.
Nowadays you go on myspace or even just regular internet and just
start doing searches or go on to a death metal message board and start
asking people hey what's a good new band that you've heard of? As
soon as you hear the name of the band you do a search and bam you
can hear the band. Nowadays almost every band has a website, its almost
overwhelming. If you just sit down and go from one link to another
you can discover a couple of dozen new bands every time you sit down.
A lot of them are not going to be that great but then some of them
Metal Fanatix: Talking about the internet
in particular here, what is your take on the downloading situation,
like you said bands like Cannibal Corpse became as big as you are
with the help of fanzines and of course the tape-traders do you feel
that the download situation hinders a band like yourself these days
or do you welcome it and view it as a way to get your music out to
so many more people, especially in places where cannibal corpse music
is banned or very hard to come by!
Alex Webster: Yeah, I think its actually
a good thing overall I think that the people who are going to be a
little bit more irritated about it more than the artists are the record
companies. They're the ones who are dealing with it more because its
there only source of income. I think with bands, if you are selling
fewer Cds but you're seeing more people at your shows because more
people know about you and can get your stuff for free then its ok.
I think it has both negative and positive effects but the positives
at least for us are out weighing the negative ones. I know that ever
since the whole internet thing got big in the late nineties, it seems
like everybody knows who we are now. If I go to a gas station and
I see some guy and he's under thirty and he even looks somewhat hip
and he asks me if I'm in a band or something they almost always knows
our band. There used to be time where I could tell if someone would
know who we were, and it was always someone who was total death metal
and no one else had any idea, now it seems like all kinds of people
know about the death metal scene outside of it. It didn't use to be
that way and I think that yeah they didn't want to spend there money
on it but they still wanted to check it out now they can do that without
spending money. I think its increased the visibility of all kinds
of music, death metal included.
Metal Fanatix: Alex lets go back to
life on the road for a moment! Do you do anything specific to warm
up before hitting the stage?
Alex Webster: I try to get that bass
in my hands for about fifteen minutes before we play and its not always
easy. If were playing in a place that doesn't have a backstage area
which happens sometimes at some of the lousier clubs in America were
you have nowhere to go. There's nowhere to go to warm up so I just
try to stretch my fingers out I know a couple of stretches that I
learnt from the Stuart Ham video, he's a killer bass player who showed
a few warm up stretches, so Ill do those. I like to be able to warm
up a little especially on the past tour where we've been doing some
fast songs first up. Usually we would throw in a song that is a bit
easier at the beginning of the set, this time we have been opening
with the song The Time To Kill Is Now and then going directly into
Disfigured and neither of those songs are easy, so all of us really
need to be warm before we hit the stage. I've hit the stage cold a
couple of times and I didn't play so well on this past tour so every
night I've made sure I'm warmed up somehow.
Metal Fanatix: [Laughs] Two songs in
and you'd already want to have Paul doing a drum solo [laughs].
Alex Webster: Oh fuck, its hard. The
bass parts are very hard for some of the songs and that's why I have
to make sure my hands are warm before we get up there even if it means
running them under hot water. There's been times when we have played
in cold clubs where my hands have just been plain cold and Id just
go into the bathroom and run them under the hot water.
Metal Fanatix: When the time comes
to work out the set list, do you find it hard to choose the right
songs, I mean there will always be fans who want to hear the old stuff
and the occasional obscure song and of course you have to play some
new tracks. Do you find it hard to make a set that is for fans of
Alex Webster: Its pretty easy for us
to make ourselves happy; its just a little bit harder to get every
fan to be happy with the set. At this point we do have ten studio
albums and each one had an average of ten or more songs. We've got
well over a hundred songs and to narrow it down to about seventy five
minutes of music means narrowing it down to about 18 19 songs. When
were touring for a new album we wanna play three or four songs off
it so right there 25% of the set is new stuff, and the remaining 75%
is going to be one, two songs from each album and that's it. There's
a bunch of songs wed like to play. What we have to do is continue
to switch things around. On the recent European tour we did a certain
nineteen songs so when we go back to Europe we should definitely switch
at least three or four of those songs with some old ones that we haven't
done in a while. So people aren't seeing the same set twice. Its getting
harder and harder with all these albums that we have now. Its so hard
Metal Fanatix: And I guess its gets
pretty easy to fall into the trap of playing the same songs night
after night too, by show number forty or fifty when it comes time
to throw in a few new songs you just don't want to.
Alex Webster: Yeah, its hard sometimes
to convince some members of the band that it is worth the effort to
go back and relearn some songs from the first couple of albums that
we did. Its a pain in the neck sometimes if you take a song that's
fourteen years old and you haven't played it in thirteen or fourteen
years and it was a relatively difficult song to begin with, sometimes
its a real pain in the neck to relearn it. But its worth it when you
see how people react, like when we started playing Disfigured (this
is the first tour we've done it on since 1997) people really like
to hear that song again after nine years.
Metal Fanatix: Over the years you guys
have shared a stage with so many killer bands, which have you enjoyed
touring with the most?
Alex Webster: Its really hard to say;
but the tours that we did with Immolation were some of our favorites.
We've toured with them four times and I would say that every band
that we've toured with is 100% all cool guys. Its really a big brotherhood
of bands and music, the extreme music business especially in death
metal everyone seems to get along very well. Immolation, Spawn of
Possession, Severe Torture those bands are great to tour with; all
of them have been great. It would be so unfair for me to narrow it
down to any one particular band. Immolation are some of our best friends
in the business so we really had a few good tours with them, they're
just a class act and a great band.
Metal Fanatix: As one of only two remaining
original Corpse members, what do you think it is that has helped you
guys last is a business that has seen so many bands come and go?
Alex Webster: I think it could just
be that we knew that we had a good thing going and we just didn't
want to screw it up. All of us had regular jobs before things started
doing well for us with Cannibal so we knew that once we were actually
able to start making a living playing music that we loved it was something
that we would not allow to be screwed up by arguments or stupid shit
I see a lot of young bands that get big fast then they argue and break
up, changing members constantly and I think man they don't now what
they have, we knew that we had a good thing going, playing music that
we loved and were actually able to make a living.
We certainly have not gotten rich yet or anything like that but were
getting by and we knew that it was something that we wanted to work
hard on and we wanted to work hard to make the quality of our music
improve with each album. We keep up with the death metal scene and
I think that is part of the key to our success too. We don't ignore
the rest of the scene, we listen to a lot of death metal; we see what
the other bands are like.
I think that some of the older bands live in a box; I mean they're
still living like its 1990. They're still looking at music the same
way they did at that time and we feel like our goal as a band in Cannibal
Corpse was and is to make death metal as brutal as possible. As we've
improved as musicians and gained experience over the years, if anything
its increased our ability to make the music brutal. Were sticking
to the original plan but were trying to improve on it with each album.
Maybe that's the biggest reason of them all. We've stuck to our guns
but gotten a little better with each album
Metal Fanatix: Alex, being a member
of such a successful band I would imagine you get asked some pretty
weird questions from time to time. What's the strangest question you
have ever been asked?
Alex Webster: Oh boy, I remember this
because the guy who was doing the interview was a cool guy too but
he just asked this lame question. I could tell he had this kind of
Tom Green sense of humor, but he asked me when was the last time you
had a good cry and I Said dude that is lame man!
Metal Fanatix: [Laughs]
Alex Webster: I know its a joke but
still that's weak. I'm trying to think of the strangest question that
was the lamest! People have asked us goofy stuff like do we really
eat people and things like that. I answer that with does Stephen King
run around a hotel killing people with an axe like Jack Nicholson
in The Shining? Its entertainment ya know, a lot of people don't know
or get that. We get questions like that, do you eat people? Do you
really believe in what you're writing about? We didn't set out to
write a system of beliefs; they're horror stories nothing more.
Metal Fanatix: How about rumors I'm
sure there have been some interesting ones pass you over the years?
Alex Webster: Well I wouldn't say this
is the best but we keep hearing that George [Fisher] died. I can assure
you that he's quite alive. Every few years it happens, someone will
say that he died. Who knows maybe its an ex member or something!
Metal Fanatix: [Laughs] Well its not
all bad I mean its still press and all press is good press!
Alex Webster: [Laughs] yeah! I have
no idea why that kind of rumor would start? Oh, also some guy just
wrote into our myspace page saying is it true that you guys are breaking
up? Well no!
Metal Fanatix: [Laughs]
Alex Webster: I don't know what else
Metal Fanatix: Were breaking up, but
we will be in your city in six weeks! [Laughs]
Alex Webster: [Laughs] yeah we've got
a big tour planned and we've got a new album that's doing really well
but we've decided to throw in the towel [laughs]. I don't know how
these things get started.
Metal Fanatix: Well see, this is definitely
one of the down sides to the internet isn't it. You can go to any
message board and you only need one fuckin' idiot to say something
stupid and then everyone runs with it.
Alex Webster: Yeah definitely, just
like we were talking about before its easy to get information positive,
useful, true information about bands and tour dates are easy to get
now, album release dates and hearing Mp3s, but the downside to the
internet is that you can also spread bullshit quickly. Bullshit travels
so much faster then it did twenty years ago.
Metal Fanatix: Over the years you guys
have copped plenty of slack from groups such as the P.M.R.C. and parties
like them, does it annoy you that still today people are concerned
more about the image that you guys portray and not about the music?
Alex Webster: I think that the only
thing that the censorship people are going to notice about us are
the images and the lyrics, we could have any kind of music and if
we had lyrics like that, they are gonna freak out. I think the people
on the scene probably pay more attention to our music now then they
once did. I remember the first tour we did was back in 1991 and I
remember meeting a lot fans after the shows and they all asked me
who does your album covers? Our first tour was for Butchered At Birth
not Eaten Back To Life and every night people were asking me about
these album covers and gore lyrics very rarely did anyone ask about
the music. That's changed a lot over the years, but those censorship
groups they're pretty much focused on the fact that we have violent
and gory lyrics and I don't expect that to change. I think the P.M.R.C.
is debunked but every now and then a senator or anyone who is running
for office comes along and its a nice hot button issue to address
I guess, violence in entertainment.
Metal Fanatix: Its really funny though,
just heavy metal in general without limiting this to any sub genres
like death or speed metal, you will always find these groups and individuals
who have no problem with hammering down on metal bands and yet they
very rarely pay the same attention to rap music or horror movies or
the six o clock news which has more violence then any album or movie.
It always seems to be the easiest cop out to blame the bands on the
Alex Webster: Yeah, well I think were
a pretty soft target in that; we don't have a lot of money to go after
anybody if they're slandering us or whatever. Were not able to defend
ourselves in the same way that some big rap band would. Rap bands
have the additional pressures especially in the United States, I'm
not too sure how it is in the rest of the world but if a bunch of
white politicians are slamming a bunch of rap bands well you know
how that looks!
Metal Fanatix: Yeah exactly!
Alex Webster: Its a lot easier to slam
a bunch of white guys [laughs]. We are an easy target, at least in
their eyes, but so far its been all for naught. Were all still here
and were all still doing it so fuck 'em!
Metal Fanatix: I don't think a lot of
them realize how much they have helped the careers of guys like yourself,
especially in the late eighties in early nineties I remember hour
long shows here in Australia airing all about Satanism, youth suicide,
drugs and the supposed link to death/heavy metal. These shows were
popping up all over the world because of these do good groups and
ultimately they probably turned more people on to hearing you guys
then turned people off. In one way I guess you have to take your hat
off to them and thank them for keeping you in the public eye for so
long especially in those early days.
Alex Webster: Yes they did. It has not
hurt our career at all to have these censorship problems; I can say
that with complete certainty. I haven't done a study on the effects
of it and interviewed people on it but I'm sure its been more helpful
to us then harmful.
Metal Fanatix: Oh definitely; I believe
that still today in Germany some of your earlier albums are not sold?
Alex Webster: The first three albums
I believe are banned with lyrics and artwork. The music can be sold
just not with the lyrics or art; they sell it with a blank cover that
just shows the band name and the name of the album. For about seven
or eight years we have been banned from actually performing songs
from those albums in Germany and we recently got around that. On this
last tour we got to finally play songs for them of the first three
albums and there was a lot of German fans that were very pleased about
Metal Fanatix: I bet they were; that's
awesome mate! You guys recently shot a clip for Make them Suffer I
believe, tell us about that, you guys haven't made too many clips
throughout your career?
Alex Webster: No we haven't, well the
lyrics were done by Paul and in the video we kind of went away from
what the lyrics are about. We just don't have the budget to do anything
grand, some of the lyrics would have just cost too much to recreate
in the video, so we just let the video director go for it in a little
bit of a different direction. This video is the band performing, there's
a lot of that footage. On the version for MTV and for general release
there's not really any gore, but on the internet version there's quite
a bit of violence. There's this big guy wearing an apron and its obvious
that he's a cannibal cause he's got a bunch of nasty meat hanging
from him. I think its actually beef or something they got from the
butchers shop but it looks like a mystery meat. I'm not actually sure
what it was; at a quick glance you could think its a piece of a person
that he's gnawing away at. He has a prisoner trapped in a room and
the prisoner is screaming his head off and freaking out and he eventually
at the end of the video goes in there with the meat cleaver and starts
hacking into the guy [laughs] and blood starts going everywhere.
Metal Fanatix: [Laughs] awesome, my
kind of film clip!
Alex Webster: Yeah that version is not
going to be on MTV! [Laughs] But the other version is.
Metal Fanatix: [Laughs] Is the uncut
version on your website?
Alex Webster: No, its not on our site
but you might be able to find it on metalblade.com
and I know there is a version on youtube.com
but I'm not too sure what version is on their. One way or another
though you can see one version of the video there.
Metal Fanatix: Being in one of the
most influential death metal bands of our time, who were you surprised
to learn was a fan of the band?
Alex Webster: Well, Jim Carrey was obviously
a bit of a surprise there's always like a few people that Ill meet
where Ill go wow that's interesting. I don't know if you follow NHL
(National Hockey League) at all but there's a Hockey player a finish
guy named Janne Niinimaa who's a big fan of death metal and he likes
our band. Cher's son Elijah Blue Allman; he's in a band called Deadsy
and he likes our band a lot, we actually played at his birthday party
out in L.A. a few years ago. He's a really cool guy and we got to
meet Cher which was a surreal experience, she is a very nice lady.
There's are few people scattered throughout the mainstream entertainment
world I guess that have given a little bit of attention to and to
death metal, its pretty cool.
Metal Fanatix: Especially when go back
to the likes of Jim Carrey; I guess he played a large role in getting
you guys into Ace Ventura!
Alex Webster: Yeah he did, actually
it was pretty much all him. He had bought a couple of albums I guess
out of curiosity more then anything. This was back around the time
that Tomb of the Mutilated had come out. I guess Jim saw Tomb of the
Mutilated and Butchered at Birth at the store and he bought those,
I remember him saying at first that kind of vocal style made me laugh,
but after a while I really started to like it.
They actually had a couple of that ended up getting cut but the one
scene that did end up making it in required a band that would inspire
slam dancing and Jim Carrey said well how about these guys? And that's
how we got it into Ace Ventura. So we owe Jim a lot because more than
anything that was the biggest mainstream exposure that we ever had,
and it was really a fluke that we got into that movie. Its not something
that you could ever count on happening.
Metal Fanatix: When you look at doing
the scenes for a feature film like Ace Ventura or doing film clips
like Make Them Suffer or Devoured By Vermin do you enjoy doing that
kind of thing, I hear of so many bands who really hate doing the acting,
the making of clips but in this business its an unnecessary evil!
Alex Webster: We don't do it enough
to get sick of it I guess. I think wed get sick of it if we did it
a lot. Basically you're playing the same song thirty times [laughs]
and that can get a little old, its exciting for us. When I'm in the
process of filming something for a video I feel like wow this is gonna
look cool, so its worth the annoyance of playing the exact same thing
a whole bunch of times while you're getting filmed by various different
angles. I don't mind it.
It was an interesting experience being in the movie Ace Ventura because
I never knew how they made movies before, I never really gave it any
thought. We learnt a lot about it, I wont go into details because
that's not what this interviews all about, but it was very interesting
to see how they film things. Every scene is filmed so many times,
for example if its a conversation between to people, first they film
the guy who's talking and then they film the guy he's talking too;
the exact same conversation just two different angles.
Metal Fanatix: That would send me crazy!
Alex Webster: Yeah, it was weird but
ever since then I have not watched movies the same way. You start
looking at things and taking them apart. You do that as a musician
too, you end up taking music apart a little more then you did when
you first start out. You lose some of your nativity and you start
to see things how they really are and how they're really made! When
we did our first album I didn't even know that you could punch in.
I don't know if you're a musician or know what that is?
Metal Fanatix: Yeah mate I play drums
when I get the opportunity!
Alex Webster: Oh ok, so you know about
punching in! Although drummers don't get to punch in too much but
guitar players do. The bass parts on Eaten Back to Life are all one
take. Its pretty hard to remember now but I'm pretty sure I did them
all in one take with the drums and I thought that was how you had
to record. When I saw these guys punching in I'm like wait; you can
get into the middle of the riff that you screwed up and fix that part!
And that was before the digital stuff now with Pro Tools its just
fuckin' stupid, just how perfect you can make everything sound.
Metal Fanatix: I often wonder if that
hinders a lot of the process though using programs like Pro Tools;
I mean any band can walk into a studio plug in and record live and
make the album their on the spot or as you said go back and do some
punching in here and there to clean up noticeable mistakes, but now
with Pro Tools everything is perfectly timed, everything is very clean
sounding, do you think it takes away the raw energy of a band?
Alex Webster: It depends on what kind
of music you're doing. We should all be very thankful that they didn't
have that kind of stuff out when Black Sabbath made there first record,
can you imagine that album with triggered kicks and everything perfect?
How un-classic would it become if it was all straightened out and
perfect? I hope I'm not giving away some big secret to fans out there
but a lot of bands are able to digitally correct double bass errors
and that's basically the drummers answer to the punching in that guitar
players have been doing all these years.
A little bit of that kind of thing is ok but for us on Kill, I'm pretty
sure that the hands are all Paul's from start to finish. We didn't
have to fool around with any of the hands, some of the feet I believe
he might have had to mess around with but the hands are from start
to finish all Paul, and we don't use a click track either.
The only song we used a click track for was Infinite Misery but its
so slow that we thought it just might end up completely crawling by
the end, or it might pick up too much, and something that slow we
wanted it to be really steady and timed. But the fast songs we actually
feel like not playing with a click gives us an added feeling of being
frantic. Paul might start speeding up towards the end of a riff, just
slightly but I think it really does add something; it makes it feel
live. The performances are very tight but it still has that frantic
live performance feel to it also. I think you can tell our albums
are not done to a click. It gets kinda crazy. I do like some albums
that are recorded to a click but I don't know if it would really be
the best way for us to do things.
Metal Fanatix: Tell us something about
the other guys in the band that we may not know!
Alex Webster: Ok well, I was talking
about hockey earlier and actually Paul's a very good hockey player,
he's been playing for a long time. The original line-up of Cannibal
Corpse is from Buffalo, New York and there is a lot of hockey there,
the Buffalo Sabres are actually doin' very well this year so were
all pretty excited. Anyway they have ice rinks down here, anybody
who's playing hockey in Florida are transplants from north like us
and Paul's one of those guys. He plays on little get together teams,
its not a serious team but he's a very good hockey player.
Pat is really into guns, he's a really big gun collector but I guess
people already know that from seeing The Wretched Spawn DVD!
Rob is very good at imitating peoples voices. He's very good at it
to the point that he will sound exactly like somebody else. I don't
even want to hear him imitate me; it will probably make me angry [laughs].
Hell make me realize what an idiot I sound like [laughs]. No one wants
to hear them selves getting imitated. Rob's really good at that. George
[Fisher] is a major video game fan; he plays the video game Warcraft
all the time. And me, I'm into physical fitness, I like to work out.
For a while I was involved in martial arts but I haven't done that
for the past couple of years cause I started thinking one of these
days I'm going to break a finger and I cant do that!
Metal Fanatix: Being on tour I guess
its one of those hobbies that you really have to keep up on isn't
it I mean there is plenty of alcohol on the road and down time, staying
fit can be a real bitch sometimes!
Alex Webster: Yeah its true and I think
just for anybody as you get older. It usually happens to people in
their twenty's, they realize wow I'm out of shape! When you're a kid
you're always in gym class in high school and running around with
your friends and so on. It was about three or four years after we
had all been out of school and I remember playing a game of softball
with some friends and the next day I was so sore. I hadn't played
softball in years. It had been a couple of years since I had done
any physical activity and I thought well this has got to stop! So
within a couple of years I was really getting into exercising and
its something I try to keep up with. I don't party very much either
anymore, I used to up until about 1996 then I decided I was just gonna
Metal Fanatix: What are we talking about
here drinking or other substances as well?
Alex Webster: No just alcohol, I was
never into drugs, but I used to drink on tour. I barely do now; you
can ask the other guys. I'm boring!
Metal Fanatix: [Laughs]
Alex Webster: The other guys still drink
but I might get drunk once per tour on a night when its appropriate,
like if we have the next day off maybe Ill get drunk that night. On
the last tour I didn't get drunk at all.
Metal Fanatix: In your honest opinion
what do you think about the direction that hard rock and heavy metal
music has taken over the last few years especially the death metal
Alex Webster: Well I think in general
the hard rock and metal movement with bands like System of a Down,
Korn and Mudvayne, its actually a lot better then it was say fifteen
years ago. The fact that you can hear something on the radio (I don't
know about in Australia) but in America you can hear bands that are
tuned down to A and they're screaming; you can hear Slipknot who's
got some blast. I don't own albums by those bands actually, but I
would say that its an improvement as far as mainstream metal goes;
its definitely getting closer and closer to death metal.
As for the death metal scene, I would say that the level of talent
has never been higher, you've got all these great new bands coming
out Spawn of Possession, Necrophagist I mean they're not so new but
I'm talking about bands that have been around in the past ten years
or so. It seems like the talent level is going up and up and I think
that's a good sign for the future. Those guys Psycroptic from Tasmania
we just toured with them for a couple of weeks in Europe and they're
fuckin' great. I know you guys have got a lot of good musicians down
there and those guys are some of them, they really tore it up. We
just toured with Aeon from Sweden and Prostitute Disfigurement and
both bands are killer. People have asked me if death metal is gonna
die? Its not going to, if talented musicians keep getting interested
in playing it. I think as long as there is a quality in the music
there is always going to be a core underground following. It might
never get big but maybe that's ok.
Metal Fanatix: What advice do you have
for those younger bands trying to break into the business?
Alex Webster: I would say do the music
that you really enjoy and don't plan on succeeding. If you playing
the music that you enjoy then success might come. If you're just going
to play something because its popular then its probably not going
to work for you. You're better off just doing what you enjoy and if
you get successful then good but if you don't then you've still succeeded
in at least having fun playing what your playing instead of just trying
to follow a trend.
Metal Fanatix: I think that's one of
the main things that people really don't consider when they get into
this business, everyone sees the glitz and the glamour of the industry
etc. I don't think many realize how much hard work, energy and time
is needed to be put into it, the pressures from the record companies
and so forth!
Alex Webster: Oh there's a lot more
then just getting an album out. When I was younger I thought wow all
these bands have albums out, they must be rich! But its only beginning.
The cats out of the bag on that now though cause there's so many underground
bands and they all have friends and there friends on the scene know
that when these guys get done with the tour they're going back to
work at their regular jobs.
Were one of the lucky few on the death metal scene where its our main
source on employment. That's not the case for 95% of the other bands
though unfortunately. I read something in an interview with Gene Simmons
[Kiss] where he's saying the original goal for every person who makes
a band is to just be able to do it and not have to work at a job!
I think a lot of people feel like that; he might have hit the nail
on the head.
Nobody gives a shit about getting rich so much as being able to do
what they want to. I think anyone who gets into music to get rich
is kidding themselves first of all and second that's the wrong reason
to do it but I don't think that there's anything wrong with playing
the music that you like and managing to make a living doing it. If
you make a nickel some people are ready to call you a sell-out, people
are like that, I think if you love what you're doing and you can get
paid to do it then do it!
Metal Fanatix: What is the one band
you never want to hear again & why?
Alex Webster: Oh man let me think, there's
so many [laughs] wow what a tough question! Oh fuck there's so many
oh, the Crash Test Dummies!
Metal Fanatix: [Laughs]
Alex Webster: And you want to know why?
I can give you a really good reason for this [laughs]. Our sound man
uses there fuckin' album to EQ the P.A. every night for the last five
Metal Fanatix: [Laughs]
Alex Webster: And I don't want to hear
it ever again. [Laughs]
Metal Fanatix: Alex, I want to thank
you again for your time today, its been a true pleasure. Good luck
out on the road, hopefully I will catch up with you guys when you
hit Sydney later in the year! Do you have any last words for our readers?
Alex Webster: Thanx very much to everyone
that has supported us the long wait will be over in October I hope
to see everybody on tour! I cant wait. Thanx very much for the interview
its been a lot of fun, I will see ya in the fall!
To keep up with all the latest Cannibal Corpse
news check out the following websites:
- Official Cannibal Corpse Site
- Dedicated to 40 years of hard rock & metal music
I am pleased to announce that the Australian
and New Zealand Cannibal Corpse Tour dates are as follows:
Tuesday October 3rd HiFi Bar, Melbourne
Wednesday October 4th Gaelic Club, Sydney
Thursday October 5th Arena, Brisbane
Friday October 6th 420 Auckland, NZ
Saturday October 7th San Francisco Bathhouse, Wellington, NZ
Monday October 9th Fowlers Live, Adelaide
Tuesday October 10th Capitol, Perth
Tix on Sale Monday 26th June
You can also catch the guys on tour as part of the Sounds of the Underground
Festival at the following venues:
Thu 07/06/06 Covington, KY Mad Hatter
Sat 07/08/06 Cleveland, OH Plain Dealer Pavilion
Sun 07/09/06 Tinley Park, IL First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
Mon 07/10/06 Pittsburgh, PA Mr. Smalls Fun House/Theatre
Tue 07/11/06 Toronto, ON Molson Amphitheatre
Wed 07/12/06 Montreal, QC Metropolis
Thu 07/13/06 Poughkeepsie, NY Mid-Hudson Civic Center
Fri 07/14/06 Mansfield, MA Tweeter Center
Sat 07/15/06 Sayreville, NJ Starland Ballroom
Sun 07/16/06 Camden, NJ Tweeter Center At The Waterfront
Mon 07/17/06 Columbia, MD Merriweather Post
Tue 07/18/06 Myrtle Beach, SC House Of Blues
Wed 07/19/06 Orlando, FL Tinker Field
Fri 07/21/06 Houston, TX Verizon Wireless Theater
Sat 07/22/06 Corpus Christi, TX Concrete Street Amphitheatre
Sun 07/23/06 Selma, TX Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
Wed 07/26/06 Mesa, AZ Mesa Amphitheatre
Thu 07/27/06 Las Vegas, NV House Of Blues
Fri 07/28/06 San Diego, CA SOMA
© Cameron Edney June, July 2006 Not to be re-printed in any form
without written permission.