Alex Webster - Cannibal Corpse, Beyond Death - Back
Interviewer: Cameron Edney -

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 plain?

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 black album.

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 album!

Alex Webster:

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 of ideas?

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 gonna go.

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 world.

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 really are.

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 all eras?

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 to choose.

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 like that.

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 to say!

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 metal scene!

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 that.

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 and I know there is a version on 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 be healthy.

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 movement?

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 years.

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.