Heart of Steel: Interviews


GEORGE "CORPSEGRINDER" FISHER
Interview by Lord of the Wasteland

Live pics by Arto Lehtinen
Promo pics courtesy of CannibalCorpse.net

Thanks to fellow Metal Rules staffer Arto Lehtinen for all his help in coming up with questions and to Kelli at Metal Blade for setting up the interview.

What can be said about Cannibal Corpse that isn't already known? Along with Deicide and Morbid Angel, the band pioneered American death metal and has influenced hundreds of bands with their gore-filled lyrics, technical musicianship and overall brutality. On February 24th, the band released their 9th full-length studio album, THE WRETCHED SPAWN, to some of their best reviews ever. As always, one of the highlights of a Cannibal Corpse album is the trademark growls and screams of George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher. I spoke to him back on January 15th, but the length of this interview (92 minutes) took a lot of time and patience to transcribe and get to the stage you are about to read. "Corpsegrinder" was kind enough to give me all the time I needed to ask my three pages of questions and the only thing that stopped us was the end of my tape and mutually sore ears. This sucker is just over 10,000 words, so settle in as we discuss THE WRETCHED SPAWN, the band's new box set, leaked promos, fishing, and everything you've ever wanted to know about George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher.


So how you doing, George!

I'm alright!

Is this your last interview of the day?

Yeah, I haven't done a lot, but I had one where I couldn't hear him, so it was really challenging (laughs).

 

Well the new album, THE WRETCHED SPAWN, is still a month away, but I heard the promo and it sounds great! It's a really great album.

Thanks, man.

 

You used Neil Kernon again for production duties. Is there a reason that you chose him again and didn't go for a different producer?

We were just happy with what he did on the last record, GORE OBSESSED, and he's really cool, so those were the only things. We were happy with what he had done with us before and he's really easy to work with. Working with him a second time in a row we knew would help because he would be more familiar with us and that would definitely help. He would know what we wanted and we knew what he expected. Pat (O'Brien--guitar) had worked with him before, though.

 

 

Was it Pat's previous involvement with Kernon that turned Cannibal Corpse on to him?

I believe so, but I'm not really sure. I'm usually not too involved when it comes to producers and whatnot. I mean, what can I tell him, except to turn my vocals up (laughs)? "Turn 'em down, turn 'em up"…that's it. Pat was definitely familiar with the studio. I'm really glad we got him. Like I say, he's really cool to work with and he's fun to work with.

 

 

He seems to be the producer of the moment, too. He did the new Usurper CD…

Yeah, he's done a few things. It's good for him, because other bands are starting to take notice. He worked with Macabre before he worked with us. DAHMER, that album sounds incredible.

 

 

How does Kernon's work differ from say Scott Burns or Colin Richardson, who you had used before? Does he have a different style?

I don't know. There are differences but I think they're more subtle than anything. Colin was really cool and fun to work with. There's always a lot of joking and bullcrapping going on when I'm doing the vocals. It would be something more to ask the other guys. As far as working with guitar sounds, it's really just mikes and whatnot and then "turning me up, turning me down." It's really just fun working with him. I can't say enough about how cool it is. With Scott Burns, if I was doing a line on VILE, he would hear a crack in the vocals. Now I would hear it too, but he would stop in the middle sometimes. He'd get it right away. Sometimes, I'd be like, "Just let me finish and we'll go back and see what the deal is," but I don't think there's any real big difference from my standpoint. There's not really very much action going on when you're doing vocals (laughs). You just sit there and sing. I think everybody will help if I'm having a problem with, let's say, how the lyrics were written. Sometimes, Alex will give me the lyrics and there's a couple extra lines or extra words that maybe we have to shave off or change to a different word. Maybe there's a word that's a real tongue twister that's hard to pronounce properly when singing like this. He's really good with that. Scott was good with that, as well. "Let's change it to this. Is there a better word we could put here?" And that really helps because maybe he'll notice things that I'll miss. He'll say, "I don't know. I heard this," so I'll listen to it again and go, "Oh yeah…right." We help each other out, but it isn't anything dynamic or incredible. It's just vocals. Maybe that's a lame-ass answer, but…(laughs).

 

 

Speaking of lyrics, do you not write lyrics yourself?

No, um, the most lyrics I ever wrote was on the first album I did, VILE. I wrote, like, one or two lines on GALLERY OF SUICIDE. Since then, it's been Paul (Mazurkiewicz-drums) and Alex (Webster-bass). Jack (Owen-guitar) wrote a few songs on this record, too. Paul, Alex and Jack wrote them. Everyone always asks me, "Why don't you write…blah blah blah?" They write them, they're good…why fix it if it's not broken?

 

 

True. You know that "Blunt Force Castration" from the new album is going to send cringes through every dude who listens to it, right (laughs)?

Well I'll tell you what…when Paul first brought the lyrics in and I first started singing it, I laughed. I couldn't sing the first line (laughs)! I mean, they're brutal and I don't want to make it seem like we're fucking joking, but they're so brutal that if you really take them too seriously, I think there might be something wrong with you (laughs)! I just fucking remember doing "…smash his scrotum sack…" a few times and I couldn't. I'd just do it and laugh! It's too hilarious! It's so brutal that there's something funny. When we were doing GALLERY OF SUICIDE with (producer) Jim Morris, he would just stop and I would see him laughing so hard in the control room and I would start laughing (laughs). I would be doing the lines and he would just be like, "What the hell are you guys doing," you know? Just the way it's worded is so fucking hilarious! With the play on words that we do, he would be laughing. But "Blunt Force Castration" is…yeah, it'll make you cringe!

 

 

Have you ever had a lyric or a song title and said to each other, "This is too much! We've got to tone it down a little?" Or is it the worse the better (laughs)?

Probably more we've thought, "That's too cheesy." Never, "Aww, this pushes too many buttons!" We don't give a shit. When we practice for an upcoming album, everybody will come in and say, "What about this word?" or "What about that word?" Pat will come in with a song title, like "Hatchet To The Head" and go, "It's got be something with a hatchet! Yeah, 'Hatchet To the Head'!" Nothing where we've ever gone, "That's just utterly disgusting," because then we'll have to stop playing some of the old songs we play. Never too disgusting. Maybe too cheesy.

 

 

There are a couple of riffs on "Severed Head Stoning" and "Psychotic Precision" that really stand out. Did the band go for more of a riff-laden album this time?

I don't know. That's probably a question more for those guys. It depends. If you listen to the album, there is, I think, a really big amount of variety. Jack's songs are more straightforward. Pat's songs are just fucking crazy! Riffing is frantic and whatnot. Alex is usually a mix between the two. He'll come up with something really crazy and then he'll come up with something more straightforward on a song that's a mixture of both. The music is definitely something that catches your ear without trying to make it catchy, like "Ok, we're gonna sell records!" We don't want it to be a song that people listen to and just fucking forget it. It's got to be something that sticks in your head. Obviously with the vocals and the patterns, that's got to be the same case. I don't know if it's more riff-oriented than any of the other albums, but I hope the riffs are catchy and people remember them, so they listen to the album more and more. The real test that people remember songs is when we're on tour. We'll be on tour for almost a week, I think, and the album will just be out, but there are a few songs that are out that people already know. I'm sure they'll be asking for them and I'm not even sure we'll playing them, but that's kind of like when "Hatchet To The Head" was out before the album-not this album (2002's GORE OBSESSED) - but people were asking for that a lot. The first song that comes out that people can hear from an album, that's the one they want to hear! They're totally excited about hearing the album. So to go back to the original question, I don't know. That's something to ask those guys because they write the songs and I don't know what they're going for. If they're trying to push a groove…maybe "groove" is not the right word for death metal, or just "Listen to this riff. It's all about the riff. Everything else builds around the riff." I really don't know. Sometimes the vocal pattern matches with the riff if you listen to them.

 

 

With the instrumental tracks the band has done, "Drowning In Viscera" from GORE OBSESSED and "From Skin To Liquid" from GALLERY OF SUICIDE, were they originally planned to be instrumental tracks or could the band just not find the right lyrics for them?

With "From Skin To Liquid," definitely when we listened to it, for a little bit we thought about putting vocals to it, but it seemed to work well by itself. In past tours, we come out and play half of that first and having watched that and how the crowd reacts to it when those guys are playing it until I come on stage, I think it works well. "Relentless Beating" on VILE, I think was meant to be that way before I even got into the band. Those guys definitely sometimes want to write instrumentals and have it all crazy and just music. That's cool with me. I don't have a problem with that.

 

 

On "They Deserve To Die" from the new album, you do a scream at about the 3:30 mark that lasts for about 15 seconds. Did you actually hold that note in the studio or is that an effect?

Oh no. Those screams are all me. On the last record, there was a scream that was 14 or 15 seconds long and this one was a little longer. I wanted to do it again, but they were like, "No this one's too good!" That's all me. You'll hear sometimes if there's a fade out or something, but a lot of times if the screams just fade away, that's where I back off the mike and sort of put the voice down. I've been doing that for a while, it's not an effect. It's not a double…I didn't do one scream and then blend another one in. It's all one from the second I did it in the studio. I can definitely say that for a fact, because sometimes after doing those long screams, I get these intense headaches. I don't know what that is and I'm too worried to go to a doctor to find out (laughs)! But yeah, that's all me. There's no effect to keep it going longer.

That's pretty impressive!

I'm trying, I'm trying!

 

 

What do you do to keep your voice in shape? It can't be easy to sing like that?

Just practice. The band practices 5 days a week, I go twice. When we go on tour, it just kind of…the interview I did just before, the guy said, "Are you sick? (laughs)" I said, "No, this is how I sound!" This is my voice from years of abuse, I guess. I've always had a hoarse voice, even when I was a kid. But mostly, I just practice with the band and when we get on tour, sometimes it gets a bit rawer depending on where we play as far as smoke in the clubs and whatnot, but I don't do anything extra special. I don't smoke myself - weed or cigarettes. I never, ever smoked cigarettes. I drink water on stage; room temperature is preferable because cold water shocks the throat. It does something to it. Like in baseball, you've seen pitchers between innings with their arm wrapped up to keep them warm and keep them loose? That's the way I think the throat is sometimes. It's real hard after the show sometimes if my voice is real rough when we meet people who want to talk. I'm a talkative person and sometimes I think that hurts me the next day, but I'm not going to deny the fans of anything. You deal with it. You fight through it.

 

 

Has your range changed at all as you've gotten older? Are there notes that you can't hit anymore?

Knock on wood, I don't think so (laughs). I think if you listen to the first Monstrosity record, I've improved overall by far. I think I sound much deeper now than I did then. I had more of an open voice then, more of an (growls) "ahhhh." I think I do some of that with Cannibal. What I try to do is hit the whole spectrum. You have guys who primarily sing low and you get the guys, primarily in black metal, who do the screaming type vocals and then there is the mid-range vocals-"arrrr"-you know? It's kind of hard to explain, but I try to do all of it. Myself, I don't think there's anything I could do 5 years ago that I can't do now. At least I hope not (laughs)! I haven't encountered it yet! Knock on wood! I'm hoping not to, because there are some bands-not mentioning any names-who on their older albums they did some stuff that the singer doesn't do anymore and I'm like, "I wonder why?" It's not fair to assume that it's because they can't do it. It could be some type of throat problems or whatnot but that always bothered me. I hope that doesn't happen to me where I can't do high screams, because I'd be finished! People equate me with high screams and head banging, you know (laughs)?

 

 

You just finished shooting a video for "Decency Defied." Can you tell me what to expect in that video?

Well, we haven't even started filming it yet.

Oh I thought it was already done?

No, no. We were hoping that we would be done by now, but we haven't even started yet. There have been some delays and whatnot. It will probably be us playing and some concept stuff in it, as well. If everything goes the way we were envisioning it, we were going to do some concept stuff with a special effects guy. Then we'll probably shoot some really gory shit that we can't use obviously if it's going to be played on MTV or something, but that we can release later, so we'll have 2 versions of it. Like in the…have you seen the "Devoured By Vermin" video?

Yep.

We're going to just be playing wherever we decide to set it up and then mixed with the other stuff that will sort of go, as far as I know, along with the lyrics.

 

 

Did Vince Locke do the cover of the new CD again? He's done every other Cannibal Corpse album, hasn't he?

Yeah. He's done every one. He rules. It's sort of like Iron Maiden now, you know? He's done every cover with us and Iron Maiden has had the same artist forever.

 

 

Does Vince work exclusively with Cannibal Corpse or has he done other covers, as well?

As far as I know, we're the only band he's ever done. He used to do a comic called "Dead World," which were zombie comics. The guys had read them or seen what he did and for the first album, they contacted him. He's been on board ever since! He's sort of a part of the identity of the band. Some people know him and some say, "Who did the cover this time?" We keep saying that as long as he wants to do it, we'll keep using Vince, because he rules! When you see our albums, you know that guy has done it. He's done some great album covers for us. I think he's awesome.

 

 

I thought the cover for the WORM INFESTED E.P. was pretty brutal, but I think the new cover is even more brutal than that!

Yeah, this one's pretty sick (laughs)! I think so. It's pretty disgusting. It'll make some Moms very unhappy (laughs). We tell him what the album is going to be called and we give him some idea of what the lyrics are about and sometimes not. He just comes up with stuff. That's the good thing about it. A lot of times, he comes up with stuff and we might say, "OK, add this or add that," but for the most part, a lot of it is just coming out of his mind. That's why he fits. He's just as sick as us!

 

 

You mentioned that you're going to be starting your U.S. tour pretty soon. I noticed that there aren't any Canadian dates on this leg. Will Cannibal Corpse be coming to Canada on this tour at all?

I don't think I've seen all the dates, but we will definitely be getting up there if not on this tour the next time. We usually do two U.S. tours and we're doing another one in the summer. But I DEFINITELY want to get up there to Canada! I'm sure there's a plan for that. Where in Canada are you calling from?

I'm in Vancouver.

Oh really! That's awesome. It rules up there! It's one of my favorite places to play.

I saw you guys when you were here last time at Studebaker's. It's this tiny, little club out in the suburbs.

Yeah, yeah, yeah! It's really cool there. I love all the wilderness and even before I was in the band, my father always talked about going up to Canada to go catch some fucking pike. Up there on the coast, though, you guys are catching big halibut!

Yeah! Big halibut and salmon.

Ohhhh…one day, one day, man! I'm just going to go with my father and tour Canada just going fishing. All the lakes. I just want to catch pike and musky, man! I would definitely love to go catch some halibut. I've seen so many fishing shows about that. If I'm not mistaken, are Infernal Majesty still based up there?

Yep. They just played a gig here actually!

Oh really! Those guys rule, man. We did a tour with them in Europe and that was the biggest honor for me. I bought their album (1987's NONE SHALL DEFY) when it came out and they were fuckin' great. Their singer, Chris, is big time into fishing and he's like, "C'mon, you gotta come up here!" So one day there's gonna be the "Corpsegrinder Tour Across Canada of Fishing!" (laughs) Vancouver's a really great city. We use to play, uh, The Starfish Room?

Yeah…The Starfish Room.

That whole strip of stores along there? There's everything you could possibly want! Comic shops, this one big DVD store that sold action figures that I'm really into…

Golden Age Collectibles!

I love it up there! I really love going up there and I'm sure we'll be going up there this summer. Canada, overall, I really love, man. Nice, clean, beautiful scenery. It's great.

 

 

There are a couple of writers on staff from Finland who wondered if you would be playing there, too?

We're doing Europe a couple weeks after we do the States, but not right now. As far as I know, not this time. We're just going to be around Germany, Spain, Poland, France and whatnot. The last tour we did we played up in Finland. We did like three shows there. Turku, Helsinki and I'm not sure of the other one but all three were really killer! Hopefully we'll get up there. I love playing in Scandinavia. It's really expensive getting the buses over on the ferries and whatnot but right now I'm not sure if there are any plans for a second European tour.

 

 

Do you prefer playing the big festivals in Europe or the smaller clubs in North America?

There's pluses and minuses. Obviously being in Canada and the States everything is very similar. North America is great. It's where we're from. There are a lot more conveniences here than there are over there. Stores are open late. There's always a Denny's open. But I think, in Europe, the fans are, like, old school. You still see the patches and rings and spikes and leather. Jean jackets over leather. The way it used to be when I was growing up. All the fans are still great everywhere. I would never say that one fan is better than another, but in general, their fans seem to still be living back in the 80s, which is fine by me (laughs). There's no language barrier when we're touring North America. Europe used to be hard with changing money but the Euro has made that a little bit easier. There are some things that I prefer here and some I prefer there.

 

 

Did you write any of the new album on the road or after you got home?

Oh no, after we got home. There's no way you can write on the road. We're doing interviews or seeing stuff or just hanging out in the club. We don't have jobs when we're at home. For those guys, they just go to practice and work on riffs five days a week, so it's a lot easier. If we had jobs, we'd have to find any time that was good wherever we were at that would be good. When Pat's on the road, he's always jamming with his guitar, so if he gets an idea in his head, he might try to remember it. But as a band as a whole, we don't write on tour.

 

 

I've got the new Cannibal Corpse box set, 15 YEAR KILLING SPREE, in my hands and I have to say it's one of the most complete and comprehensive box sets that I have in my collection.

Cool.

I think you guys really did something special for the fans. The comic, the guitar pick and the packaging make it stand out a little bit from the pack. Are you pretty happy with how it came out?

Hopefully, first off, everyone likes it. It's good that you like it. We've got great feedback from it. I've said this in a couple of other interviews that someone might say, "It could have more." That's something you could say, but in hindsight anything could be better in some way. We're really happy with how it came out. It adequately covers, more than adequately if you ask me, the whole life of the band.

Definitely!

From the first show to one of the latest we did in California. The 2 CDs that have the "best of," if you will. The unreleased stuff. The comic book is definitely cool. I really like the comic book. Vince did an awesome job with the comic and I think the cover is fucking awesome! I hope everyone's really into it. The booklet has all the pictures and the collages in it, new and old. There's something for people that are still into the era when (original vocalist Chris) Barnes was in the band. I hope people appreciate that because we could have left him out, but we couldn't do that if you're going to do 15 years of Cannibal Corpse. I think it covers every bit of the band's life. We're really happy with it, but more importantly if the fans are happy with it, that's the biggest thing.

 

 

Is there any material left in the vaults that might make it on to "30 Year Killing Spree," if there is one?

There could be more, but I only say that because there's probably more stuff, like behind-the-scenes of us fucking around, or stuff that I've shot on tour of other bands. We probably could have included a lot more live stuff. There's more live stuff lying around but more like how the first show was filmed with people's personal video cameras. As far as unreleased material, I don't even know. The VILE demo, I know had gotten out before. We all know who put that out, whether they admit or not. I'm not mentioning any names…TAKE A GUESS! We decided to put that out and I didn't care because those guys wondered if I wanted it to be out and I was just like, "Whatever." Then there's the demo stuff we did for GALLERY. I think we've pretty much uncovered and brought out all of the stuff we had. The three cover songs we did specifically for the box set. "Endless Pain," (Kreator) "Behind Bars" (Razor) and "Bethany Home (A Place To Die)" (The Accused). There's probably some other studio stuff that we might have lying around. I'm sure that if, like you said, we make it to thirty years, we'll probably accumulate a bunch of other stuff.

 

 

Well I don't know what else you could have done for this. Anybody who bitches about the box set must have something wrong with them!

I don't mean that anyone will, but you know how it is. Some people just want to find something wrong with it. I don't know why some people do that, but if somebody bought it and they're not happy with it, they have a right to bitch. They spent their own money on it if it's not what they wanted, but I think we covered a lot from the '89 demo to CREATED TO KILL, which became VILE. Those two things right there were really hard to come by. No one had the GALLERY OF SUICIDE demo. That was just stuff we did before the album came out that was pre-production stuff. Of course, no one had the cover songs because we recorded them specifically for the box set. The Moscow video had been around in the underground. I don't know how widespread the first show was or the thing we did at The Palace in Hollywood. There's a couple of live songs on the two "best of" discs that nobody has. There are about 2,000 of them that are signed, too. Anybody who didn't get a poster signed, we're always accessible at shows, so you can still get it.

 

 

I didn't know that you guys had signed some of the posters?

Yeah, the poster that's in there. There are about 2,000 of them that are signed. I've said this in every interview I've done. There was someone who asked on our website and they were concerned that we used one of those digital things that gets a copy of our signature and puts it on there. I know for a fact, myself and everybody else, hand-signed every one of those (laughs)! They gave us 1,000 and we were supposed to get 2,000, so we were like, "ohhhhhh" (groans). But, hey, you know what? It's not even a bother. Like I said, anyone who didn't get it signed and is a little bummed, bring it to the show. We'll gladly sign it if everyone's around and not in a drunken stupor somewhere (laughs).

 

 

I just looked at my poster and I didn't even notice when I first opened it up if it was signed, but I wasn't one of the lucky ones.

(Laughs) You know what's weird? When I got sent my first copy, it was signed! I was like, "OH COOL!" being a smart ass (laughs). We were in the studio in Texas when we were sent the first one from Metal Blade just so we could check it out and it was signed.

 

 

How much input did you personally have with the box set?

We all decided what we wanted to put on there. We wanted to include CREATED TO KILL. The thanks list, the personal stuff, the pictures in the collages in the booklet. There are some pictures in there that I contributed. Some people might not understand what some of the pictures are, but there's one of Pat and you'll see him sort of laying out of his bunk in camouflage pants…I took that (laughs)! He got all wasted and he was sitting there. We all got together and looked at some flyers and some old laminates that we had. For the booklet, everybody put a lot of stuff in as far as what they had over the years. We'd go to some places that we've never been before and we'd save a flyer for the show. We all got together and decided what looked good for the design and how the cover looked and all that.

 

 

Who chose the tracks for the two "best of" CDs?

We all just got together and decided what songs should be on there. When we do stuff with the albums, everyone looks at everything-the design, the layout-and if someone has a problem with it, maybe we'll change it. It's really hard, though. It's almost like picking a setlist. We have so many albums now and people want to hear certain songs, but we're not playing that this time because we played it for so many tours and we're doing this instead. There's obvious classics that we'll always have to play. Metal Blade also put their input in on what should be on it.

 

 

Speaking of setlists, have you come up with the songs you'll be playing on the U.S. tour?

We have a bunch of songs that we actually have picked out, but we haven't finalized the setlist as far as the sequence. We're playing some songs we haven't played in awhile. We're doing "Shredded Humans" again, which hasn't been done since Rob was still in the band. "Vomit The Soul," which I've never done. There's a few other ones, but I don't want to give too much away (laughs). It's hard because if we play a song from say, EATEN BACK TO LIFE, then people yell for the song that we played before (laughs)! Sometimes it seems like that, but we're conscious of that. We talk to people who say, "Man, you guys gotta play this! You gotta play that!" There are some songs that we're just never going to do, but if it's songs we've done before or songs we're comfortable with, we'll consider it. Alex and I will definitely sit around and say, "We have to do this song. I've had five people today and three the other day ask for it!" We do remember that and we're conscious of what people want. We actually thought about having a vote on our website about what song fans wanted to hear the most live. We never ended up doing it and probably never will but it would be a cool thing because some people might not have seen it on the other tours. What I thought we should do is pick one song from each album that we've never played live and have everybody vote. Then we'd start learning that song or practicing, but who knows if that will ever happen. We want to play at least two songs from every album on this tour so we can say we haven't forgotten our past or any certain album because I remember going to see shows when I was younger and I liked the new album but they played every song from it and they've got three albums out. They play one song from the first, one from the second and the rest from the new one. That's no fun to me.

 

 

Cannibal Corpse was recently honored with being named the best-selling death metal act of all time. What does that mean to the band?

That was really cool! When I saw that, I was like, "WOW! Really?" Overall, I think we're really happy with it. It's an accomplishment for death metal in general. There's other bands on that list that aren't very far from where we're at. It's just good for this music overall because it says a lot, that over the years, especially when people were asking me in interviews over the years, "Is death metal dead?" or about the resurgence of it, when I never thought it was dead but it got less coverage than before. In the early 90s, MTV was covering it and talking about it and then they stopped for whatever reason-they suck anyways, so who cares. I think it says it never did die. It never went anywhere. People were still going to the shows, buying the records and the bands were still out there putting music out, so it's definitely a big accomplishment for us. It's really nice to know and it says a lot about music in general and the fans, too, because they were there. We won't sell the most records by a death metal band if the fans don't buy them and neither do any of those bands. It says something that there were still fans out there. Every scene, every genre of music has people that come in and out, lose interest and whatnot, but overall, I'd say this music has been very consistent with its fan base, even more so than any other kind of music. Heavy metal in general, thrash metal, any of those other genres…death metal has probably been the most consistent out of all of them over the years. It's arguable if you look at it from when it started. Anyone can argue and say, "When did death metal start?" There's lots of arguments to be made there but it's definitely been one of the most consistent. Like I said, it was great to be on the top of the list but it says a lot about our fans. They're diehard. It says a lot about the fans of ALL the bands that were on that list. We're thankful to them because they're the ones that put us there! We bust our ass and when we play, we put out 100% and I think people appreciate that. I think that can be said about all the bands that play this kind of music. It's easy to do-it can be hard physically sometimes-but it's easy to do because you love it and the feedback you get is genuine. It's not just a bunch of people kissing your ass. They love this music and they're very loyal to the bands that play it. It's another thing that helps us realize we don't have to change our style and we never would anyway. I don't think we've ever thought about it because we're just like them. I don't even like to say "fans" because it's kind of putting you apart from other people. I love this music. I'm a fan of death metal. If I wasn't in a band, I'd be buying the albums. When they see us play, I hope they realize how hard we work and how much we put into it and entertaining them.

 

 

Well I don't think there's such a thing as a "casual fan" of Cannibal Corpse is there? Either you're a HUGE Cannibal Corpse fan or you hate the band!

I think we're definitely an "acquired taste." (laughs) You can't half like us or half hate us. You either love us or you hate us. All I say is, if you love us or you hate us, just respect us! If you love or hate death metal, I don't care. Fuckin' respect it! We're all dedicated to this music because we love it and we're all dedicated to the fans because they're the reason we're here. I'm no better than anybody else. I shit, eat, sleep. I just happen to be in a band. I realize people put you on a pedestal when you're in a band and I'm very appreciative of what we have and the success we have. If we don't bust our ass, they don't come to the show. If they don't come to the show, we're busting our ass working at 7-11 (laughs)!

 

 

I'm sure you know that the new album has been circulated on the Internet for a few months now. Do you think it can be good that it gets buzz going early for the album, or is it a bad thing?

We were really pissed! To tell you the truth we were really fuckin' pissed because it had to be someone who got a copy of it to review it or whatever and then they went and sold it, or whatever, and now it's out. It can be a good thing because people will be a little more familiar with it and hopefully they'll still go out and buy it. There's a lot of beeps on it and there's only like 3 complete songs or something, but it really bothers me. I don't even think about that because I'm mad about the fact that someone got this from our label in good conscience and it's given to them with good intentions and then they go and fuck us. They just went and sent it out to everybody. I tell you, if I could go and have my hands on them….ohhh! I was really mad because we trusted this person to be given this to review and then they just went and put it out. You don't even give a fuck about how it affects us or anything like that. It pisses us all off! You can look at it in different ways but it's out and it doesn't matter what we think about it anymore. There's nothing we can do about it and whoever did it's not going to come forward and say, "Yeah I did it."

Do you have any idea who leaked it?

No, not even close. There's lots of promo copies, right? They sent out lots of promo copies and people got them. I'm not saying it was someone from any magazine. Maybe they reviewed it and gave it to somebody who sold it or got a case of beer out of the deal or something. I don't think some people realize exactly what they're doing. It's like the whole controversy over Napster. For a band like us, if 30,000 people have our record before it's out, the whole record and then decides not to buy it, that fucks us over big time! It does, you know? We don't sell a lot of albums. Everyone gave Metallica a lot of crap for bitching about it, but you what? Look at it like this…they said they weren't really doing it just for them but for other bands out there. And I respect them for that because they're right. Thirty thousand records taken from us hurts but imagine bands that are smaller than us? That could be all they sell! I'm not saying our thing is on the same scale, but it's really just like someone stabbing you in the back. That's the way I look at it. It might be harsh and some people might say it's not that extreme, but to me it kind of is. I really think you were given this in good faith, not thinking you were going to go out and put it on the Internet so everyone's going to get it. I'm sure our fans are still going to buy the album but it's just the point. There's a reason that the album comes out a certain time.

 

It's hard though, as a fan, because you want to get the album! You want to be the first one to say, "I heard the new Cannibal Corpse!"

Oh yeah! I don't blame anyone. Why wouldn't you? I don't blame them. They aren't the ones who released it. The person who put it, out…that person obviously felt nothing for us or anyone else but themselves. Now even if they GAVE IT AWAY, they still weren't thinking about us. Even if they didn't make a dime off of it, it still doesn't matter. I just want to say to them, if you think that's fucking funny, I'm going to take one of their fuckin' fingers and snap it and say, "How funny is that? Are you laughing now pal? Is that funny? Are you laughing now?"

 

Well hopefully it doesn't affect the sales of the album. I mean Cannibal Corpse fans are a pretty dedicated lot so…

Hey I don't think it's going to, but sometimes it's even besides that. It's the point, the principle, the fact that they did it and had no cares about what the consequences could be. It didn't enter their minds.

No conscience.

No, no conscience! Imagine if everybody in the world had no conscience! I know some people think we don't (laughs)!

(Laughs) You mentioned being a fan of death metal. I just wanted to ask about some of the songs from other artists that Cannibal Corpse has covered. You've done two songs by Possessed-"The Exorcist" and "Confessions". Is Possessed a band favorite?

Possessed? Oh yeah, of course. Possessed fucking rules! Jeff Becerra is an incredible singer. We all grew up listening to them. Doing "Confessions" was one of my favorite things I've ever done. Over all the things I've done as far as vocals go, it's one of my favorite things.

Really?!

I don't normally sing like that so it's something that most people aren't used to hearing. When we were in Germany, some kids were asking me about Jack's vocals on that song (laughs). I'm like, "Jack didn't sing that! That's me!" They're like, "You didn't!" and I'm like, "Yes I did!" I think you can tell it's me but there's some differences in there and that's part of me growing up and listening to Possessed, singing their songs in my room. I started singing when I was listening to those guys. That's why I was really proud of that song. It's so much more unique than all the other songs we've done, as far as vocals go.

 

Even "Bethany Home (A Place To Die)" from the box set is of a different style than what you normally do.

Definitely, yeah. There's little things in there that I do, but for the most part I wanted to do it like me but like Becerra-sort of a mix. It's a tribute. I'm not trying to better him. I didn't want to sing it real low, because that wouldn't be a fitting tribute to the man, you know?

 

 

How do you pick the songs you cover? Does one just pop into your head and then you throw it out to the band and say, "What do you think?"

Sometimes the guys go, "What about this song?" and we go, "OK" or "Mmm, maybe not." With this one, we all come from the 80s so we've got the biggest catalogue you can possibly choose from. We've done two songs from two Canadian bands, you know? Razor and we did a Sacrifice song and they were totally awesome. With the songs we did for those guys, I was going to try to sing a bit different, but with Sacrifice, the way that Rob Urbinati screams I figured my style would fit. Razor, too. I always thought it would be really cool to sing "Behind Bars" that fast but death metal.

 

Of the three covers on the box set, "Behind Bars" is my favorite one.

Yeah, it's a great band and a great song. We met those guys one time when we played Wacken. We hung out with them and they were cool as shit. As soon as we were done, Jack went over and got to see a little bit of their set. The rest of us didn't get to catch it because they were playing the same time we did and that was a bummer but Alex really loves Razor. The cool thing about those guys is that most of their songs are all skank beat-tappa tappa tappa tappa-and I fuckin' love that! It's awesome. There's a couple slow parts but when they do that, it makes the skank beats that much better. They're just great. They're a great band. Hopefully we did it some justice.

 

Are there any other specific songs that you'd like to do?

There's a lot we've thrown around. There's another Sacrifice song. At one time, we were going to do a Cryptic Slaughter song. We didn't do any for this album but I'm sure in the future we'll do some more. I really like doing cover songs. I grew up emulating all these other bands, so to do a cover is awesome to put your take on a song. Like I said, for Possessed or any of the bands, we don't try to outdo them. We just try to do our version of it and hopefully people enjoy it. Some fans of ours don't have a clue who these bands are. We have a lot of younger guys who really don't know who these bands are and hopefully they go out and get their albums, you know? If they get turned on to metal that they would have normally missed out on, that's the big thing. Hopefully they'll hear us do it and say, "Oh I want to check this band out!"

 

Somebody sent me an mp3 of a band covering Sepultura's "Roots Bloody Roots" and according to them, it's Cannibal Corpse doing it. Is that actually you?

(Laughs) No.

I didn't think so!

If we were going to do a Sepultura song, first of all, it would not be from that album (laughs). It would be from MORBID VISIONS back. BENEATH THE REMAINS, SCHIZOPHRENIA…we would do something like that. Any of those albums, but nothing after that I don't think. No way. A friend of mine heard about that and it's been one of these things on the Internet that we did it, but why would we pick that song from them? No offense to those guys but I don't like that album. If we were going to do something from them, it would be from MORBID VISIONS, no doubt about it.

Any song in particular?

The title track. "Troops of Doom," which I think they re-did themselves. Even something from the split E.P. they did would be cool. Everybody in the band would have to figure it out, but not from ROOTS. That's definitely not us. I mean…no (laughs).

 

 

I did some digging to find out some of the projects you've done and appearances you've made on other band's CDs. You sang on a CD by a band called Paths of Possession. Richard Brunelle who used to be in Morbid Angel is in that band. How did you hook up with them?

Yeah, yeah. Well, they had a band that was before Paths of Possession that was called Swollen. The singer they had left the band and the bass player, Randy, does backups on Paths of Possession. He does some parts by himself on the CD, too. He started singing for Paths of Possession and they put out a CD with him on it. They actually did a Swollen CD that had the old singer and then they put out Paths of Possession. That was called LEGACY IN ASHES. After that, they started playing again but I don't know if they were going to call it…it's kind of a weird story. Randy talked to me about doing the vocals. We were on tour and when I came back, they had the studio time so I went in and jammed with them a little bit. I learned the songs and did the CD. That was pretty much that. Currently, Randy is playing in Withered Earth from Rochester. We weren't happy with how the CD came out as far as when we got the pressed copies. It's a split CD with a band from Florida called Dark Faith. We weren't happy with how the sound came out on it, so we're not sure what's going to happen with that. We'd like to do an album, but it all depends on what's going on with me. Those guys are down here and they're jamming and writing new stuff so hopefully we can do an album in the future. It's nothing like Cannibal or even Morbid Angel. Nothing like most people would expect.

So it's not even death metal?

I wouldn't even say the music is like death metal. I'm signing pretty much how I sing but the music is a lot more melodic. Maybe some Iron Maiden kind of parts as far as harmonies go? I don't know. That's the weird thing with me and music. I don't know how to describe it. It's not death metal, though. Something like slowed down Dark Tranquillity or something? Those guys are into that kind of stuff. I think it's really cool and hopefully we can do an album. We were trying to get something done by the end of last year but it didn't work out. Randy was busy with Withered Earth, so we'll see in the future. I know people will be surprised, though. If they hear about me and Richard they'll expect something super-fast like Morbid Angel and Cannibal Corpse but it's not really like that at all.

Sounds interesting! Hopefully it comes out.

There are actually pressed copies on CD with a cover and everything but it was on this Splatter Gods Records and the copies that were pressed sounded really bad like a (makes wind noise) blowing through the disc. I saw it in the store one day in the Cannibal section, actually! I haven't really heard much else about it. He said he was going to put out ads and he hasn't, so I don't know. We're definitely going to record something again, though, when I have the time. It will be readily available to the public. We'll work something out to get it out there. It's on Splatter Gods Records but I'd rather nobody bought that one because it's not the best sound quality.

 

I also found your name attached to a Japanese band called Ritual Carnage.

Yeah, I did some backups for those guys!

How did you hook up with them?

They were here in Tampa recording. Somehow we hooked up and they asked me about doing some backups for the album. I've done quite a few backups on a lot of different albums. I did some stuff for those guys. I did some stuff for Acheron. I did some stuff for a band in Mexico called Transmetal, which I sang some lines in Spanish there. When we did the BEST OF CANNIBAL CORPSE, the thing that came out in Korea, I did a little intro with Jack doing some guitar stuff in the background. I did that in Korean (laughs)! Not that I speak these. I was told what to say basically. It's always fun to do. I love doing that stuff. It's flattering that someone would want to have my voice on their album. I think Erik Rutan (ex-Morbid Angel, Hate Eternal) did some guitar stuff on their album, too. They're cool guys. Cool band.

 

 

I have a few questions about your former bands. You were in a band called Corpsegrinder in the early 90s. Do you ever listen to the demo you recorded with them?

Have you ever heard the demo?

No, I haven't.

OK, well if you had, you'd know why I don't listen to it (laughs).

(Laughs) Is it that bad?

You know, every once in awhile, I do listen to it. I still see those guys when I go back to Baltimore. The one guitar player, Chris, he's got a band called Bring It On. They're a hardcore band and they're still going in Baltimore. But, yeah, I listen to it. There's a song on there where I'm screaming and it's supposed to be hardcore screaming but it's horrible. Overall, my voice really isn't very good on there. When we did that, I was 19 years old. That was a long time ago. It was fun. That band was fun. We had a great time. That was my first band. I don't think we were super serious about going out and touring. We'd play shows and we'd come to practice and we'd drink beer. Now if I come to practice, I'm just drinking water. I'm not drinking beer. It's not a party; we're being serious about it. We were serious, but we had a lot of fun with it, too. I did another demo with them later on when I was in Monstrosity already and that was called SPAWN A NEW THOUGHT. That one I really like a lot! The music is better. The vocals I did on that album are a lot better. That was the beginning for me.

 

 

I'm surprised they've never come out on CD with a big sticker that reads, "Featuring George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher of Cannibal Corpse" across them (laughs)!

You know what? I believe the guitar player, Chris, still has the original reels for those demos! I always talk to him and say, "Hey man, we ought to just put them out!" but we never get around to it. Hey, you never know. One day, right? You never know!

 

 

Did you have the nickname "Corpsegrinder" before you joined the band Corpsegrinder or did it come from the band's name itself?

Oh, I didn't have that until I got into Monstrosity. When I met Lee (Harrison, drums), there was this guy I knew who was in a band called Exmortis from Maryland. He hooked up with Lee and they were going to do something and they called me-I was still in Corpsegrinder-and I was like, "I don't know. I mean, I'm really happy with these guys." I talked to them about singing on the demo if they did one, so Lee came up to Maryland and we hung out and I decided that we would go down to Florida and do this band. It was going to be me, him and this guitar player and we were going to find other members. The other two original members of Monstrosity-John Rubin and Mark Van Erp-they were in Malevolent Creation and they were kicked out. Lee, who had known them anyway, called them up and asked them to start jamming, so we had a band. The guy from Exmortis, Ted, he was all mad and didn't want to do it. Lee had a bunch of stuff written already and we said "screw this guy." Lee was telling people who asked what he was doing and he told them that they had this singer coming down from Maryland who was in a band called Corpsegrinder and that's where it started. He'd say, "This guy's named Corpsegrinder. That's his name…Corpsegrinder" (laughs). When we did the first demo, we just put "George 'Corpsegrinder'" on it and that was it. Then we did the album and it said "George 'Corpsegrinder' Fisher" and whatnot. Then when I got in Cannibal, they were like "do you want to put George 'Corpsegrinder' or do you just want your normal name?" I was like, "Cannibal…Corpsegrinder?!?!? It's been with me and anybody who knows Monstrosity knows it, so fuck it. Yeah, I'm the Corpsegrinder, god damn it!" (laughs) Here's a little known fact, but on the first Cannibal Corpse album, they thank someone from Buffalo, who I believe was also named Corpsegrinder! I think he was being called Corpsegrinder maybe even before I was. Lee didn't start calling me that until I first started going down to Florida, which was like the summer of 1990 when I first met him. I moved down there in October 1990, so I was being called Corpsegrinder pretty much around then. It's in there if you look in the "thanks list." They thank a Corpsegrinder but it's not me.

 

 

(Laughs) I'm just looking at it right now! There it is…Corpsegrinder and Jen (laughs)!! Who's Jen (laughs)?

(Laughs) I don't know!

 

Was Pat in Monstrosity at the same as you were?

No, I was in Cannibal by then. Pat did a tour with them and I was already out of the band.

 

 

What do you think of Monstrosity's latest CD, RISE TO POWER? It's one of my favorite albums of 2003!

I think it's great, man! Those guys are killer! I think Jason Avery is great. I've been friends with him for awhile when he was still with his old band, Eulogy. We did a bunch of shows with those guys. I remember when I left telling Lee, "You gotta call Jason up. That guy is great!" He does his own thing and I think he does it really good. I think he fits with them great and the music is really good. I don't think they missed a beat really.

 

 

You mentioned Malevolent Creation. Did Rob Barrett get involved with them through you?

Rob's from Buffalo and the guys from Malevolent are from Buffalo, too. I know Phil (Fasciana, guitar) is anyway. Rob was in a band called Solstice and they put out an album on Century Media. He started jamming with Malevolent because they had guitar player problems. Then after that, he moved over to Cannibal and now he's back jamming with those guys. He's known Phil for a long time.

 

 

Do you know what ever happened to Bob Rusay? I know you weren't in the band then, but he seems to have disappeared!

(Laughs) No. I know Paul saw him back when I first joined the band in Buffalo on a motorcycle or something but that was it. Last we heard, he was living somewhere in Arizona. I think he was really mad when they fired him. I don't think he would want to speak to those guys anymore.

 

 

Cannibal Corpse has played some gigs with Six Feet Under, too. Is there still any animosity between Chris Barnes and the rest of the band after he left?

We played with them at Wacken and one time in Philadelphia. Six Feet Under is doing their thing. Maybe there's some left over with Chris. You'd have to ask the other guys in the band but I don't think so. Everyone's doing their own thing now and the past is the past. There's no reason to really sit around and think about it. The last time we played here, Greg and some of those guys came out to the show and they were really cool!

 

 

Cannibal Corpse has some rather surprising famous fans. Jim Carrey is a fan, Cher's son, Elijah from Deadsy is a fan. Does it ever surprise you to hear who is a fan?

Oh yeah! We were watching MTV2 a few weeks ago and The Headbanger's Ball was on. Jonathan Davis, the singer from Korn, was on there and he was wearing a Cannibal Corpse long-sleeve. He was doing a big interview with them. In the paper down here in Tampa, they had a little thing about his eclectic taste in music and he was talking about listening to some album and then he said, "Right now, I'm listening to Cannibal Corpse." We're like, "Wow! That's pretty cool!" and it is. It's just like talking to us. We're just people and they're people too. Especially with Jim Carrey! You would NEVER think that guy would listen to us! If you heard Elijah's band, Deadsy, you would never think they listen to us. They're a great band. I really love that band but you wouldn't put us together with Jim Carrey. Not in a million years! If you had no previous knowledge of the Ace Ventura movie, you would never think it. You think to yourself, "Where did HE get turned on to US?" (laughs) Who does he know that's into us? You just don't think of Jim Carrey hanging out at a metal shop (laughs). It's wild, man, but it's cool.

 

 

I was watching the LIVE CANNIBALISM DVD and I don't know if you remember the t-shirt you were wearing, but…

Black Witchery and Conqueror. It's a split shirt.

Yeah, Conqueror! I used to work with Ryan who plays guitar and sings. Did you play with them before?

No, I don't think we ever played with them. I know the band. They're cool, man. I don't think I've ever met them, either. I know the guys in Black Witchery, the other band that's on the shirt and I guess they're pretty good friends with the guys in Conqueror.

 

Conqueror is another Vancouver band.

Yeah, yeah. I don't think I ever met any of those guys. If I did, I'm sorry to them. I just wear shirts of the bands I'm listening to and I listen to those guys a lot. I don't have any Conqueror though.

 

They only had one album, WAR CULT SUPREMACY.

Actually I might! The drummer from Black Witchery, Vaz, he fucking worships Conqueror! He always comes over and says, "Are you going to listen to Conqueror?" They're fucking LIGHTNING-FAST, I'll tell you that much! They're really savage. Hopefully other people notice it and then when they ask questions, I can give them some promo. Some bands wear there own shirts in pictures. I've done that but I like to help other bands out.

 

Alright, George. I have a few more questions but I'm almost out of tape and my ear is getting sore.

(Laughs) No problem. Thanks.

Thanks for the extra time you gave me here tonight. It was a real treat talking to you. Good luck with THE WRETCHED SPAWN and the upcoming tour. I hope to see you guys up in Vancouver!

Definitely, man.


Band website: www.cannibalcorpse.net

Label: www.metalblade.com