George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher of Cannibal Corpse
Interviewed at The Reverb in Toronto,
August 10th 2000 by Waspman.
Interviewing a band is never an easy experience, let alone when the interviewee is one of the most brutal voices in metal, George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher. You’d think that the tortured voice of Cannibal Corpse would be an imposing presence, but as he proved during the course of the interview, Corpsegrinder is just a metal fan himself, who doesn’t see much of a gap between himself and his fans. Speaking to Corpsegrinder shortly before Cannibal Corpse’s killer set in Toronto, I had the chance to chat with him about numerous subjects, including the forthcoming live album, fantasy tours, and Six Feet Under.
Hi George, thanks for taking the time to do this interview. Cannibal Corpse just came back from a tour of Europe a little while ago. How did that go?
Yeah, we just had 3 weeks off. It was only about 11 shows and festivals. We were only there for like 2 weeks though.
I guess it made for some nice warm-up dates for the North American tour. How does it feel to be on such a killer extreme metal bill as this (with Nile, Krisiun, and The Crown)?
Awesome! It sucks ’cause Krisiun and Nile couldn’t make it (note: Krisiun did eventually show up). I’m about to fuckin’ kill somebody. We can’t help what’s going on with the borders, y’know, we can only help ourselves to get in.
That sucks man! Canadian customs has its head up its ass. I was really looking forward to seeing Nile. You guys are such huge influences to so many death metal bands today, what are some of your own influences?
Well, y’know, we listen to mostly all of the good bands that are out today (laughs). Speaking for myself, I listen to Angelcorpse, The Crown, Marduk, Dark Funeral, and Immolation. Some of the other guys listen to some other music; Jack listens to a lot of blues and Jimi Hendrix. Mostly we all listen to metal.
Cool man. It’s good to see older, respected bands like yourselves staying in touch with the scene.
Yeah, that’s what it’s about. We take out these young bands, and try to give them a chance, and then they just gotta go out there and kick the ass. Y’know what I’m saying?
Moving to your new album, Bloodthirst, is arguably the most musically ambitious album of your career. How do you feel that it fits in with the Cannibal Corpse catalogue?
I think it’s our best album! I think production wise that it totally destroys the other albums, nothing against those albums, but I think we really knew what we wanted going in this time, especially with the guitars. That’s why we got Colin (note: Colin Richardson, producer), it totally turned out the way we wanted. It is musically better, I think the vocals are some of the best I’ve done. It’s great! We’re always just looking to improve as musicians, and if you’re not going to do that, what’s the point? For us, as long as its brutal, that’s the main point, and then the production has to be just right. We got a good mix on this album, a lot of the kids have really been into it, so that makes us happy. We’ve even heard the fans yelling for songs off of this album, y’know, “Unleashing the Bloodthirsty” and “The Spinesplitter.”
You mentioned some of the song titles that you have, over the years, your lyrical philosophy hasn’t changed that much. I mean, basically it is “kill ‘em all!”. Do you ever worry that you’ll run out of ways to kill people? (laughs)
(laughs) Nah, I don’t think so! We usually have 1 or 2 zombie songs on the album; you can do a lot of stuff with zombies! (laughs) As long as there’s some good books and horror movies, it can open up a whole new can of worms. There’s tons more of material that we haven’t written. We’re gonna stick with it, ’cause that’s what we love – brutal covers and gory lyrics. We’re not going to change the style ’cause that’s what we like. No politics. There are still lots of ways to mutilate and kill people. A lot of people have criticized our lyrics, but to us, it all comes secondary to the music. I mean, it’s like, listen to the music, what the fuck do you want, songs about flowers and holding hands? “Oh, here’s a box of chocolates for you honey!” Fuck that man, that’s not what we’re about. This is death metal.
So I guess we’re not going to hear any Cannibal Corpse ballads anytime soon?
“Fucked with a Knife”, that’s our ballad! (laughs)
Switching gears for a second, I know you’ve got a live album coming out on Sept. 25th, what can we expect from that?
Well, its basically just us live. There’s no overdubs whatsoever, we wanna stress that. There’s mistakes on there, and that’s what it is, that’s live. You get us the way we are. We did it in Milwaukee and Indianapolis, and the video is the whole show from Milwaukee. I think a lot of people were annoyed with the last video ’cause it had a mix of professional videos and the grainy stuff. We thought it was great ’cause it was underground, but some people weren’t really into it. Fuck it though, so we did a live album and thought, “We might as well film it too!”. There’s gonna be less griping about this one. I dunno, I like the grainy stuff ’cause it puts you right in there where the show is happening. Whatever, this one is totally professional. We had no real plans of doing a live album, but the fans kept requesting it, so we’re doing this for our bosses, the fans.
That’s really cool, especially because there aren’t too many live death metal albums out there. Speaking of the fans, some of them have asked me to get your opinions on certain former bandmates’ current projects, namely Chris Barnes and Six Feet Under.
Well?I’m not a big fan of the music. It’s good that he is doing something, I’m happy for him in that respect, but I can’t really say that I listen to the band. I’m not gonna rip on it, I’m just not a fan of that style. No dirt, but I mean, the last album is the last thing that they’ve done, but I’m not a big fan of it.
So is Cannibal Corpse going to follow the SFU commercial lead and go out on the next Van’s Warped Tour?
(laughs) Fuck man, we’ll play anywhere! We’ll play anywhere. I’ll fuckin’ play with Diana Ross, I don’t care! It was crazy enough to play on a festival with Iron Maiden! I wear Van’s man, I’d do the tour just to get a new pair. (Shows me his shoes) You can see man, these are beat up, got holes in ‘em, Alex was just yellin’ at me the other day to get new fuckin’ shoes. I’m just like “Go to hell man! Until I get new Van’s, I’m not buyin’ shit! I’m fucked” (laughs).
So maybe if we see you guys on Van’s, then you’ll do that duet with Diana Ross? Maybe “Hammer-smashed Face”?
Hey man, you’d have to convince her to do it man, not me. Yeah man, we’d do something like that, we’d do anything. We’re not going to limit ourselves. We’re always gonna tour with death metal bands, but we also want to expand our fans too. We’re not selling out just to tour, you get us like we are, 100% death metal. We’d fuckin’ tour with anybody, Sugar Ray, K**n, whoever man. Just like the Misfits tour we did. We toured with them, and then when we came back out, we saw a lot of those fans on our next tour. So maybe we gained fans by doing non-death metal tours. Even if someone saw us and ran out fuckin’ scared I’d be like “Cool man!’. We’ve had some cases where we had punk rock kids goin’ “What the fuck is this?” (laughs).
Man, I’d love to see some shitty punk rockers scared out of their skulls while you guys were playing.
Well, there were some that were really into it. I heard a few “Yeah you suck” comments, but, I dunno, some of our fans were giving Life of Agony a hard time. I wish that wouldn’t happen. If you wanna yell at us, fine, I’ll yell back and we’ll all laugh. But if you start throwing stuff at us, then we got a problem. Come up on stage and we’ll solve it.
Speaking of touring and merging of styles, lately in the last few years there’s been a kind of merging between black metal and death metal, resulting in some really cool bands. What do you think of this merger between the 2 styles, and second of all, what do you think of the difference in the 2 perceived lifestyles that go with both styles?
First off, y’know, a lot of the guys in black metal bands that we’ve toured with, like Dark Funeral and Marduk, there’s no real difference in the people and the way that they are. But y’know, the guys in Marduk what they sing about and their imagery is a little bit different than us, but they’re still metal. They still love metal. They’re no different than us. I mean, at first, we didn’t know what to expect, but trust me, they rule! Dark Funeral, they’re the funniest guys in the world, you wouldn’t think it, but the really are. I think that for awhile there were a lot of people who didn’t understand anything that didn’t understand what death metal was all about, and jumped to black metal, and now they’re gone. They created this false war between bands. They’re gone now. Like I said, there’s no a lot of difference between the bands. Marduk are not, “Yes, I only love the devil!”. That’s not the case man. When I first met Marduk they ran out of beers and I had a couple of cases and I was like “Bam! Let’s go!”. From that moment on man, we were like friends for life. It’s getting more like the early 80’s man, there weren’t so much restrictions back then, and it’s getting more like that now. It’s cool. The church burning, I dunno, I think a lot of that was misconstrued. I can’t speak for ‘em, but I think that there was a point behind it. I would never condone harming someone for yours or their beliefs, but I can’t speak for them man.
On a less serious note, you’ve talked about a lot of bands that you’ve toured with. What would be your ultimate tour?
Wow, man. That’s a good question, I don’t know. I would have to say just for myself. Bands that I love. I would love to go back out with Marduk, Dark Funeral, and the Misfits. They rule! I would love to tour with King Diamond and Mercyful Fate. Slayer would be a good one. I don’t know, I can think of so many bands. I would love to tour with Immolation again. We’ve done four tours with them, they rule! Razor. We hung out with them, and they fuckin’ rule! Tons of other bands man, I can’ think of one definitive choice.
O.K. man, I see we’re running out of time, so I’ll just ask for your final thoughts? What’s next for Cannibal Corpse?
After this tour, we’re gonna start writing a new album, unless a new tour comes up. Look for a new album out late next year, if everything goes according to plan. Look out for it. Uh, there’ll be more…more information in the months to come! (laughs). Stay metal, and thanks for the support from all our fans!
Thanks a lot man. Looking forward to the show tonight!
No problem man. Thanks.