Metal Rules!!
Interview With Paul
Mazurkiewicz of Cannibal Corpse
Added on December 13, 1998

Thanks to David L. Wilson at Music America
for Submitting this interview!

For David's contact info and to see what's
been rotting his mind  Click Here.

 

A naked woman disemboweling herself, several hangings and various other self inflicted tortures are depicted on the cover of the new CANNIBAL CORPSE CD. Just another page in a macabre book of morbid tales from Florida's death metal kings? Well, yes. Not much has changed for these guys other than members in their ten year history. They still produce the most intensely violent and visual music known to man.

Paul Mazurkiewicz has been behind the drum kit since the beginning of this grimly grandiose group and spun me tales of the sick and twisted for about a half hour recently. Read on if you dare!

 

Metal Rules!!:
Pretty fuckin' intense record you have here! Not that one would expect anything else from CANNIBAL CORPSE.

PAUL MRZURKIEWICZ:
Killer man. Glad you like it.

 

MR:
How do you like it?

PM:
Oh, we love it man! We definitely think that it is the best that we have ever done. I think that we always think that but this time around it's just a little bit different. I think that it is much more diverse than it has been in the past. We are really, really pleased with it.

 

MR:
The band has evolved again. Does the chemistry feel a little bit better this time out than it has in the past?

PM:
Yeah, definitely. We felt a lot more comfortable in all aspects. With the playing and with the lineup and all that and with the songs. It was really just kinda very easy. There were no problems at all so that in turn made it a very easy process.

 

MR:
When you guys were writing the songs, they just seemed to flow for you?

PM:
Yeah. Alex wrote a lot of them and he had a lot of ideas all at once. He had so many ideas that he had a few songs written and we had to move from one song right onto the next one because he already had the next one done. So yeah, it was flowing and you can obviously see the difference. You can tell that there is a new slower style in some of the songs. Everything kinda just came together pretty easy.

 

MR:
Your bio said that this is the first record where everyone was there at the same time when it was actually recorded.

PM:
There was always the problems in the past with personal tensions and there was a lot of different things going on. This time around the five of us seem to be much more of a unit than we ever have been in the past, so it made for a much more relaxed session to where we all got along and there wasn't any squabbles or troubles between any of the band members which was always the case in the past. I think that every aspect of the thing this time around was just really laid back and really positive.

 

MR:
You did this one at Morris Sound?

PM:
Yeah.

 

 

MR:
That is pretty much the happening place for this style of music these days.

PM:
Yeah, totally. A lot of bands have done it there over the years there so it is pretty much known for it, I guess.

 

MR:
CANNIBAL has seemed to grow a lot with this record. Is there something specific that you are hoping to grow into?

PM:
I don't know. The only thing that I can think of is that at this point in our careers is trying to expand in different ways. We are one of the biggest Death Metal bands around. Anybody who is into Death Metal at least knows of CANNIBAL CORPSE or is a fan so the only thing that we can try to do is to keep bettering ourselves. Maybe doing a few things differently just to make it a little bit different and not to make the same record over and over again. I would think that the only thing left to be done is to try and grab some new fans into the whole genre and try to get them into CANNIBAL CORPSE. I guess we might have kinda wrote the slow songs, subconsciously, thinking about that. Maybe if we had a few more songs that were acceptable to the masses that could help. We definitely don't look at it like we have changed so drastically that we went commercial or anything of that nature. We feel that we have just added a bit of diversity to the album and to CANNIBAL CORPSE.

 

 

MR:
In the last six or seven years of the band have you noticed an aging of the fans or do they always stay the same age when you come back year after year?

PM Yeah, I guess a little bit, but not totally. It kind of varies but for the most part I would say that our fans are the younger kids. I mean, there are a lot of fans that have stuck with us over the years and everything but it seems like the older ones have been there from the very beginning. It definitely seems like we are catering to the younger crowd.

 

 

MR:
It would seem that the newer blood in the fan base keeps you guys a bit young at heart.

PM Yeah.

 

 

MR:
The CD that I have has a big fat parental guidance sticker on it. Has all the hoopla over your lyrics and artwork kinda cooled off?

PM:
Yeah. It has kinda cooled off. Obviously, the Bob Dole thing was the last big thing for us. It really has been, for all of the problems that you would think there might be, it really is kinda minor. It's not like everyday we get phone calls and threats and receive letters and all of that stuff. It really isn't all that bad. Apart from these few little minor incidents which more than anything turn out to be great publicity, it really doesn't bother us that much. The big thing is that we definitely have to have a censored version where the lyrics will not be present and the artwork is different. That kinda sucks and that is
the thing that really bothers me the most. We do work around it. We release the CD both ways and the people have a choice to get either version. I guess that Europe kinda suffers more than America because they pretty much can only get the censored version. Other than that it's really not to bad.

 

 

MR:
Do you see kids that just don't get the point that the lyrics that you write are fictional?

PM:
I think that there could be a few out there. I would say that the majority of the kids are pretty normal in that sense. But, there are probably going to be the few out there that were not brought up the way that they should have been and might take the lyrics and artwork wrong. It definitely goes back to the whole fight with the JUDAS PRIEST case and all that. Music isn't the cause for any problems in society or with people. It's definitely upbringing and parents. I think that they are definitely going to be the people who should be blamed. Unfortunately there will be a few out there. I do have to say that for as many shows that we have done we haven't had a major instance where there has been a problem. There were a few instances, of course, there are always going to be few but when you come right down to it there was something obviously wrong with that person. It does suck because you have to feel a tinge of responsibility because you are the one who is putting this stuff out but then that's it. It's going to be just a hair of that because we know we are not bad people and we know that a majority of people are not going to be acting upon the lyrics or anything like that.

There is nothing else we can do you know? We just want to do what we have been doing and hopefully everyone can look upon it in the same light that we do and that is that it is strictly entertainment.

 

 

MR:
To me it would be exceedingly frustrating to sit in a band meeting and say "This is what I want to express lyrically but, are we going to be able to put this on the shelves?" or "Will Europe allow the product in?" Where, for you, is the line where you say "O.K. We will bend our artwork this much to accommodate sales."?

PM:
I guess it came down to we bend but we don't break. It's not even all that big of a deal because we still have the uncensored artwork. That's the only solution that we could come up with to get around that. I believe that the promo copy that you have is the censored version. If the album is going to get banned there is nothing that we are going to be able to do about that. We want to have the sick artwork so what we did was to say "O.K. We will just have to release it with two different covers." Then the people know that this is the censored version and they know that there is another version out there that is CANNIBAL CORPSE with all the artwork and the lyrics. There is no holds barred on the uncensored stuff. We are still writing the sick, brutal lyrics and I think that the artwork is definitely the best since "Butchered at Birth". We are definitely not going to let up for anybody but we definitely have to work around getting our record into the big chains and stuff. It is a big deal to get your record out there but we are not going to compromise and say "We will just release a cover that everybody can agree with." We have compromised a little but that is about as much as we are going to compromise.

 

 

MR:
If the cover that I have is the censored one I would love to see the uncensored one. I have the one with the chick disemboweling herself.

PM: Is that the one you have?

MR:
Yes.

PM:
Oh, so you got the uncensored promo! Hardly anybody has those so, cool you got the good one! The censored cover is the photo that is on the back of the one you got which is supposed to be the outside of the gallery of suicide. Which is still a cool piece of art but it's no brutal piece of art.

 

 

MR:
You wrote the lyrics to "Stabbed in the Throat" and I am wondering how that character came into being for you?

PM:
It's weird how a lot of this stuff comes about. There is really no pattern to the way we do things. Pat wrote the music for that song and we are always throwing around song titles before we have a subject to write about and usually the subject will stem from the song title. Alex had the title "Stabbed in the Throat" so we were like "Yeah, that's pretty cool and it's to the point." Pat liked the song title and he wanted to use it for his song so there was the base. We have a song and it is called "Stabbed in the Throat" so I took it upon myself to write the lyrics. I was sitting around trying to come up with something along those lines and I just kinda came up with the idea of basically just being stabbed in the throat. I wanted it to be as blunt as possible and I threw in some descriptive phrase about being stabbed in the throat and I was like "Hey! Why not have the guy eat the people!"(we both laugh) That's all it was. Just imagination and working off of the song title. That's basically it!(laughing) I think I spent more time on actually writing the vocal patterns for that one. That is a weird song. Pat did such a great job on that one and it was so hard because it was so technical and everything. It was like "Where do the vocals fit on here?" I mulled it over for a little while and came up with the patterns and it actually took George a little while to get the chorus pattern because it was such a weird pattern. It really doesn't flow with the riff. It follows the beat more than anything and I was kinda trying to show him(George) and he couldn't get it at first. He finally got it and I think that it turned out amazing. It is one of my favorite songs that I have done lyrically and arrangement wise. They all come about differently but that is how that one came about.

 

 

MR:
I have lived all over the country East Coast, West coast and now Midwest. I haven't noticed in all the places that I have lived a particularly large death scene. That is something that I kinda associate with Florida and Scandinavia. Do you see the scene moving out of those confines as time goes on?

PM:
Yeah, in a way. I think that there was a lot of bands from here in Florida and it was associated with Morrissound and being the "Death Metal Capitol" of the world and all that. Which there are a lot of death metal bands. I don't know why they all sprouted out from here. It is really weird because you go to all these places that are supposedly really huge on death metal and all that, like Sweden, we go to Sweden or Norway and they are great shows but it's not what you would think. There's not like 5000 screaming death metal fans going sick. It's definitely good shows but you could probably come up with a lot of cities or countries that are comparable to those places. It seems like for now the biggest countries are the countries that haven't had that much of death metal say in South America or something. We played over there in May and that was the last shows we did for "Vile" and we played in Santiago Chili. It was the first time we ever played there but there was 4000 people at the show. It was so … It was like we were METALLICA that's how big it was. It was like nothing that we are used to. I mean, the shows are great everywhere we play but this was just like a madhouse! They were going crazy. It was insane. I think a lot of these countries, our country and European countries, have taken death metal almost for granted because they see it all the time. The South American and Latin American countries seem like they are just totally sick about it primarily because they don't get it as much. For the death metal scene as a whole? I think that it is filtering to a lot of other places now. I also think that is due to a lot of the local bands in a lot of cities. It seems like there is really not a lot of death metal bands anymore. I mean, if you were a death metal band and you didn't make it by now then you just gave up on it. It's like "Well, we are a death metal band and have been doing this for two years and haven't made it so we have to move onto something else now." That's just ridiculous. It deters from the local death metal scene. If there is nobody playing then how is there going to much of a scene? The fans are all going to fall away from it. I kinda feel like there are a chosen few that are left like us and MORBID and DEICIDE and OBITUARY. There are not many that have been around for the ten years now and kept death metal going. We need more younger bands to sprout up and to keep the torches lit.

 

 

MR:
One of the things that is usually a pretty good gage of what is hip and happening is the amount of t-shirts you see kids wear at shows and CANNIBAL shirts always seem to be a favorite.

PM:
We are lucky that we have this sort of image. We don't want to be totally striding on it but it definitely helps. The kids love the shirts and the image and what the bands about so that's great.

 

 

MR:
What do you see as being the biggest change you have made over the years?

PM:
We know that kids are brutal like that. If you change one little thing or you do something different then they are all over you. I mean, we are constantly changing but I think that we have stuck within the real of CANNIBAL CORPSE. We have always been CANNIBAL CORPSE but it has always been a little bit different version of CANNIBAL CORPSE. That helps us stay strong and it gives the kids something to believe in. That's definitely good.

 

 

MR:
So you are a mentor now?

PM:
In a way. It's very strange because I don't look at myself any different than anybody else in the world. I am just somebody playing in a band playing music. I guess when I look at it, we have been together for ten years now and we are one of the biggest bands in the genre and a lot of bands look up to us so in a way we are. It's a very weird thing to think about.

 

 

MR:
You are an influence, that's for sure. What influences did you have?

PM:
Primarily and personally as for a band that I idolized it was SLAYER and Dave Lombardo that did it for me. The very first influence that made me want to play music was KISS but then growing up… When SLAYER came out. Especially "Reign in Blood" to me, it was just so amazing and Lombardo is just so great. He made me want to do what I want to do. I wanted to play fast. That is what moved me the most in my heart. I would have to say that that is definitely the biggest influence for me. If there was no SLAYER what would modern death metal music be like?

 

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