By Marko Syrjälä & Arto Lehtinen
Transcripted by Blake “Metal” Wolfe
Jeff Walker joined the immortal ranks of extreme metal genre with the legendary Carcass releases in the 80’s and early 90’s. The British grindcore squad split in the middle of the 90’s and Jeff continued with BlackStar releasing one album and kind of vanished. We got an opportunity to talk with Jeff about his old bands and even his current band activities. Enjoy!
How long have you been in Finland for now?
Are you talking in general? I’ve been here since Wednesday, if you wanna get that specific. I was gonna come to hang out. Reverend Bizarre played on Wednesday, so I thought I’d come up earlier. There’s always a floor to sleep on somewhere.
How did this connection between Finns and you start out in the first place as I have seen you in several places during the last few years with your Finnish friends?!
It’s my community service because of my crimes. I have to serve them in Finland (laughs). I came over with an English band. They were touring with Maple Cross. It was an English band, they came over to tour and did four shows. I said I’d come help them out with the recording. While I was here, I rang up Ville from HIM, because he knows Lee (Dorrian) from Cathedral quite well. I just fancied coming to Helsinki, because I was coming to Finland but they weren’t playing Helsinki. You can’t go to Finland and not see the capital. Basically, I invited myself down here and stayed with Ville, and it turns out that Kaasu was doing the “To Separate The Flesh From The Bones” record, and Lee was over so we went to the studio, and did some vocals on that. I met Nick and Sami through that, because it was their studio that we recorded in. I met Kaasu and I was looking for a drummer to play on my bullshit record. He said he’d do it, so it just went from there. You know, Finland’s a small place, and Helsinki’s a tiny city, really. Everyone knows each other. Everyone’s in each other’s bands. It was a case of meeting one guy, and the next thing you know, you go get drunk, hang out in bars, and it’s ‘do you fancy playing on the record?’ That’s all it is, really – getting drunk and hanging out.
It sounds like you’ve got a lot of new friends through these Finnish guys.
Yeah, I seemed to get on really well with them. Maybe there’s a language barrier, because I don’t piss them off, because they don’t understand me or something (laughs). We seem to get on really well. They’re so sweet and really nice guys. Maybe they’re assholes and it’s lost in translation. I get on so well with these people. Kaasu is a sweetheart, Ville is a great guy.
What about the Maple Cross guys?
Yeah, they’re cool as well. They kissed my ass because I was in Carcass (laughs). That’s something that will look bad in print – they’ll be reading it and go ‘you fucking asshole!’ (laughs).
LIFE AFTER CARCASS
What happened after Carcass and BlackStar, you basically left the scene ?
Nothing. I was just in a regular boring day job, and I just kind of lost interest in the whole metal thing. Not completely bored – burnt out, taking a sabbatical. No enthusiasm anymore. Finland’s so metal – maybe it’s given me a boost and made me enthusiastic about the music again. People here are so enthusiastic about rock. In England, it’s so shitty – all the bands that the magazines write about are these crappy, American bullshit bands. They can like the worst bands on the planet – it’s kind of cool in a way (laughs). I’m sure Edguy will do fantastic (laughs).
When Carcass split up, you were still pretty young at the time?
I didn’t think I was young – I was 25, which I thought was old. Now I think it’s young.
At that point, you said ‘I’ve retired from music.’
It was a joke.
I thought it was a really early age to say you’re retired.
I think in extreme music, you’re not going to be doing exciting stuff when you’re 40 years old, or my age, 37. The young people should be making the good music, not old farts. I’ve always loved the idea of bands like the Sex Pistols, that only existed when they’re teenagers. I think teenagers made the most exciting music, not boring old cunts. You’ve got bands like Trivium, and people go – and this is an English/American attitude, because they seem to be getting quite successful – ‘yeah, they’re good, but wait till there older and they’ll be fantastic.’ Look at Metallica now – they’re boring. They made the best stuff when they were young. Younger than 25.
What about Slayer, they are as old as the Metallica guys ?
Are they making exciting stuff anymore? I think so. I mean, they’re best stuff was still from 15, 16, 17 years ago, in my opinion. I don’t listen to anything after SEASONS IN THE ABYSS, and even SEASONS IN THE ABYSS is quite light. REIGN IN BLOOD, SOUTH OF HEAVEN, that’s it. You get me to talk shit now – they exist now off those records. But maybe I’m wrong, because they’ve been going so many years now. Kids are younger, kids still buy Slayer records and still enjoy it. Me personally, I am not interested. That’s like AC/DC – you don’t need to hear 20 albums.
If I have figured out right, you were not interested to do the Carcass thing back then, but obviously some day you would be willing to do the same thing as you did a long time ago when you were really young ?!
I’d do it again now if the rest of the guys wanted to do it. There was a long period of 10 years where I would have refused to do that, but now I would. I don’t want to be the one guy refusing to reform the band. I’ve travelled now and realized that no matter what my hang-up is, there’s so many people who are enthusiastic and want to see the band play. I can’t stand in the way and deny what they want. I don’t know if it will happen, but who knows.
Have you realized how much Carcass has influenced bands these days ? Every second band sounds like they’re imitating Carcass!
That’s why I like Finland so much, because I’m getting my ass kicked. In England, we mean shit, really. It’s been quite an influential band, and I know that and appreciate it. I’m aware that Carcass and At The Gates are responsible for most shitty American metalcore bands as well! We have a lot to answer for. (Laughs)
The Carcass tribute album called REQUIEMS OF REVULSION featuring Rotten Sound, Nasum etc is a good example how much Carcass influenced..
I remember hearing that in a bar – I’ve got friends into extreme music and they played that album. At the time, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t that familiar with these bands, but now… At the time if you said ‘are you flattered?’ I wouldn’t have known because I didn’t know these bands. But now, it is a strong album with Nasum, Rotten Sound, Pig Destroyer, all these really fucking cool, cutting-edge bands… it’s flattering, now that I realize these bands are good.
WHAT’S UP WITH FORMER CARCASS MEMBERS ?
So you are in touch with your old Carcass bandmates?
Yeah, I mean Bill and I still text each other, still see each other once in a while. Whenever I’m in London I’ll ring him up. I just saw Mike yesterday – it’s a small world, you know? That’s why I’m here – I’m a stupid Arch Enemy fan who travelled across Europe.
Ken fell in quite sick after the Carcass years. I can’t help asking what’s up with him nowadays, how is he doing ?!
He had a brain hemorhage, and went into a coma. He nearly died. He came out of the coma, and they operated again, and the operation really put his rehabilitation back a bit. He lives in a village in Nottingham, going to music college, learning programming. He’s fine. It’s weird because people will say ‘how’s Ken?’ and it’s like the guy was in a coma, it’s almost like he’s had a stroke. If you’ve had relatives who’ve had a stroke, you know it really affects their motor skills. He’s fine – he’s physically able to walk and all that, but he could never do blast beats again, I don’t think so. But he’s been drumming again, and he just jams with some blues band on an open night. Maybe he can just do 4/4 beats or something. Of course I know what Mike Amott and what Bill’s doing, so….
How do you like Bill’s band Firebird? As far as I know he is getting a new album out?!
Yeah, he’s got a new album coming out soon. I like it – at first I didn’t get it, but he’s really great live actually. There’s a lot more edge when he plays live, a lot more aggression. That doesn’t mean he’s like ‘arrrggghh!!!!’, it means there’s a lot more excitement to it because he doesn’t play the same. He’s got a new album where it’s captured it is more like live I like it.
Did you check out a lot of new death metal bands that came out in the late 80’s and early 90’s especially from Sweden, because Mike Ammot was recruited from Carnage to Carcass. How did you and Mike Amott start to know each other in the first place?
We knew Mike anyway, because Mike’s half English and he was always over in England, back in the days of Napalm Death and early Carcass. We know Mike because he was always over. Mike came over and he was basically asked to join Napalm Death, but Bill was in the band. The idea was Mick Harris wanted two guitarists and wanted Mike Amott, but Bill wanted to leave the band. Basically, Bill wanted Mike to join the band so he could leave, but Mike didn’t want to join the band. We asked him to join Carcass, but he didn’t want to do it. Then we did SYMPHONIES… and then he wanted to join the band. I think he thought it was shit, because of the Reek… album. But we knew him and all the Dismember guys, so there was a connection. Sweden was the first country outside of England that we toured. I’ve not really paid attention since I was in Carcass. But I know what’s going on now, but not ten years ago.
What about Mike Hickey who also played briefly in Carcass. Actually he is now here in Helsinki with Venom?!
What about him (laughs)? Yeah, I met him last night. I’ve not seen him for a long time. He looks younger than I remember. Maybe he’s been having plastic surgery. (Laughs)
When and how did he end up to Carcass ?
Carcass, Napalm Death, Brutal Truth and Cathedral toured in 1992 – he was the guitar tech. and a friend of Brutal Truth, and after that in Cathedral he played bass. On the tour, we loved the guy – so funny, so enthusiastic, and he’s a great guitar player, so when Mike Amott called it a day, we thought it would be nice to get someone who’s enthusiastic in the band. We got him to play the last few tours with Carcass. He’s American, he’s an asshole, you know (laughs)? All Americans are assholes. Not really – he’s a great guy and funny.
He was also briefly a member of Venom before he joined Carcass in early nineties.
He played in Venom as well – he’s on the ROCK n’ ROLL DISEASE album.
Well that album was actually released by the Cronos band which was fronted by Cronos after he split with Venom…
It’s under the Venom name though, isn’t it? I think he’s still with Mantas as well.
No, Mantas was gone years ago. Mickey was in both bands. He was on the album “Rock N’ Roll Disease” – and you know the one (Venom album) with the lightning (Calm Before the Storm)? He’s on that album and then he played in Cathedral for some time also?
He played the bass in Cathedral for a bit.
Why did he leave Carcass?! And Carlos came in..
Basically, I guess Hickey got pissed off, because the rest of the guys, we didn’t want – he was too much into Pantera. We couldn’t really see him writing with us, because his influences weren’t the same really. He was too enthusiastic about bands I could give a fuck about, like Pantera and stuff like that. On the American tour, I guess he realized that we didn’t necessarily want to do a record with him. We wanted to play with him, but not necessarily write his stuff, and that wasn’t enough – he wanted to write. We gave him the opportunity, and he quit. We didn’t fire him – he just wouldn’t do it anymore. We couldn’t see writing with him, to be honest. I tried to hint to him, but he never really listened to me. The other guys wouldn’t tell him. Like I said I saw him last night and he’s fine. I don’t think there’s any animosity there, unless… nah, I mean, that’s bullshit. He e-mailed me a few months ago, and were on good terms. There’s no bad blood or anything.
When Mickey was gone you had another guitarist, Carlos…
Yeah we had Carlos then? What about him?
How did he join the band?
Bill knew him. He used to play in a band called Devoid, I think they were called. They did an album. He was a friend of Bill’s, and Bill was always saying we should get him to be a guitar tech, and then we got him to play guitar. I couldn’t even imagine him being a guitar tech – he couldn’t even lift a Marshall amp (laughs).
How do you overall like the last Carcass album SWANSONG now afterwards?
The album was named after we split up. We didn’t have a title for the record. My feelings are it would have been better with a better mix. It was basically we weren’t happy with that mix and we were gonna remix it, but then we had all this bullshit with Columbia, and we didn’t care anymore. We just thought fuck it. It sounds horrible. Actually, it’s really not, but it could’ve been better. If that album had the same guitar sound as “HEARTWORK”, people would be blown away by it. It still sounds heavy, but because it’s not as aggressive as “HEARTWORK”, people think it’s a bit gay or whatever. Personally, I think all the tracks should’ve been on the album – there was like 15 songs that we did, and I wanted them all on that record. It’s what happens when you have a democracy and people in the band don’t agree. You end up with a kind of watered-down compromise, and that’s what it was – a compromise. That’s why the album was really wishy-washy. I personally would’ve been happier if all the songs were on it, and if it would have been better-remixed. At the time I was happy with it, I was proud. What can you do when Bill turns around and says ‘you can’t write any really extreme songs’.
The sound of SWANSONG is a way more light than compared to anything you had done in the past. What would you like to say people who disliked that album because of that?
I know but the fact is that some kids who like REEK OF PUTREFACTION would say that about “HEARTWORK”. Some people think that “HEARTWORK” is gay, and some people who like “HEARTWORK” think “SYMPHONIES OF SICKNESS” and “REEK” is shit, like it’s too noisy. The bottom line is all five albums sound so different, it’s hard to like all five. That’s cool – what bands do you know who have five albums that don’t sound the same? No disrespect to, say, Cannibal Corpse or Obituary and all those kind of bands, but those albums, for the most part, have a style that’s always interchangeable. I’m not dissing those bands, but if you play “NECROTICISM”, or you play REEK, or “HEARTWORK” or “SWANSONG”, the production’s different, the style’s different.
With SWANSONG you were compared to bands like Megadeth at that time…
Yes, and it’s annoying because I hate Megadeth. I hate it even more when people compare my vocals to Mustaine’s (laughs).
… and your voice was compared to Kreator’s Mille’s voice back then?
That’s cool, as long as it’s the PLEASURE TO KILL period, because that’s a classic album. That doesn’t bother me at all.
How about the lyrics of the album? Those are also very different compared to old stuff?
That’s let down by really weak lyrics – the lyrics were about nothing, really. But that period was about getting rid of all the bullshit of Carcass, all the technicality, so it was meant to be more of a rock album, like you say. A lot of people hate that record, but I was in South America playing with Brujeria, and the people I met, most people had SWANSONG. For all the negativity I’ve heard about that record, there’s a lot of people who like that record. It’s weird, because we were on Sony at the time, and I’m not responsible for the whole thing, but from my point of view, it was kind of meant to be a commercial death metal album in a way. If you play the album to someone into Alice Cooper, they would still think it (SWANSONG) sounds aggressive and extreme. Everything’s relative, you know? For me, it was meant to seduce that kind of audience, people more into hard rock. I can understand why people into fucking Suffocation would hate it, but it wasn’t meant to reach those kind of people – it was meant to try and capture people who wouldn’t necessarily listen to that kind of music, and I think it did.
Do you have any idea how many copies of Blackstar album were sold?!
“Blackstar”… Tell a few thousand other people to buy it (laughs)!
How much you did touring with that band?
We did maybe two tours in England. We toured with Cathedral and Anathema. I’ve got photographs to prove that we played live, okay? Basically, Carlos quit because he had issues with agoraphobia – you know what agoraphobia is? – and he just didn’t want to play live in front of people. I think he actually thought he was shit and didn’t want to do it. He was embarrassed. He didn’t want to play any more, and we did a recording for a Japanese label. They wanted to do a compilation, so we did a Motorhead cover, and got a friend to play guitar. Then I thought ‘what the fuck are we doing?’. I mean, I don’t do Motorhead fucking cover versions. That’s when I thought fuck it – now were doing all these cover versions, and not necessarily bands I want to do. I just lost the enthusiasm, because basically it was just down to me to try and hold things together, and I just didn’t have the enthusiasm anymore. It was too much of an emotional hassle to try and keep the band together anymore. You’ve gotta have a lot of drive, determination – a fucking ego. You’ve got to be an arrogant bastard. I was when I was younger, and I still can be, but I just didn’t have that kind of energy anymore. That’s why it stopped. It wasn’t hard work, but being in a band is meant to be with your friends and having a good time. I could advertise and find musicians, but I don’t wanna do that. I don’t want to be in a band with a bunch of motherfuckers who I can’t stand just because they’re good guitarists. I’d rather be in a crappy band with crap musicians but who were good guys, you know? That’s what it’s about.
Although that album wasn’t too big commercial success I would still say that BARBED WIRE SOUL is your best work to date?
No, it was very low-key. Playing with Cathedral and Anathema, those kind of fans weren’t into Carcass anyway. It was good. Thanks – I’m flattered. I generally believed in that record. Any criticism I’ve got is more kind of artistic. Maybe I should have put a bit more effort into the lyrics or whatever, but that was the philosophy – it was meant to be a more laid back, spontaneous kind of record. But I was gonna say, besides the album I just did, it was probably the most fun I had in the studio. We were having such a good time, having a good laugh.
At which point it was clear you didn’t wanna call it Carcass as it was done ?!
It was obvious immediately. I could tell Bill didn’t want to do Carcass anymore, and I didn’t either, but I didn’t have the balls to say I quit, but Bill did. I knew he was going to quit – I was just waiting for him to say it. I met him in a club, and he just told me what I knew anyways – ‘I don’t want to tour, I don’t want to do anything anymore.’
Without Bill, it would’ve been bullshit to pretend it’s Carcass. I didn’t want Bill to get off easy, I just figured if I carried on with the name Carcass, he’s getting away with it. I figured that was best. We’re not Fleetwood Mac – you can’t have the bass player and the drummer keeping the name.
THE CARCASS ART
Carcass became wellknow for obscure lyrics and covers, where did you get the idea about having those kinds of lyrics and others ?!
We tried to be clever. It was meant to be we were a death metal band, but we just thought death metal lyrics were childish, so we tried to make it a bit more adult, more mature. It’s still stupid – they’re still stupid ideas, but we were just trying to be clever. My sister was a nurse – she had a nurse’s dictionary, and I was influenced by Ken’s lyrics, because Ken was quite clever. I basically expanded on what him and Bill started. I’m more from the punk side, so I could be objective about – and I still am – what’s so stupid about heavy metal, the whole Spinal Tap angle. I didn’t take it too seriously. Even now, you look at some bands’ album artwork or lyrics, and it’s like, ‘come on’ – it’s too infantile.
As you said you were a death metal band, and you were influenced by bands like Repulsion, Death ??
Slayer and those bands, yeah.
Destruction etc.. ?!
Then punk stuff like Discharge ?!
Discharge? Yeah, yeah! But that’s what’s funny – we were a death metal band, and they wanted to call us grindcore, blah blah blah. Now I think it’s great – yeah, grindcore, whatever, but we were just a death metal band. That’s what pissed me off- people were trying to say we’re not a death metal band, and then by the third album they were saying ‘they’ve gone death metal’. Well, we always were a fucking death metal band.
Due to the covers and so on your albums were banned and you got some problems with authorities, you had to change the covers ?!
That was just Earache being cynical. Because they couldn’t get the records in the shops, they changed the sleeves. It’s just gay – fuck it (laughs). My album now, it’s got the word ‘fuck’ on the back, and I’ve seen some stores stocking it. I’ve heard nothing. Maybe the world’s changed so much now – there seems to be no problem with those words. Even now, I haven’t heard of a record being banned for a long time.
Well maybe Cannibal Corpse..
I don’t even think those guys get banned anymore. It’s all passe, it’s all boring. Everyone’s seen it. The stores are desperate to sell records because no one buys them anymore. They’ll stock anything. Nothing’s controversial anymore – it’s all been done.
Well other bands used to have pictures of autopsies and corpses of the same kind on their cover, were you somehow angry about that ?!
Hmmm, well… Hmm Autopsy ?!
Autopsy the band? Nah, they never really, did they? I knew Chris vaguely, he was a friend – I don’t think we influenced Autopsy. He had his own agenda – he was doing his own thing anyway. Any band that’s used autopsy stuff, it’s obvious that they’re just Carcass rip-off bands. I don’t mean that nastily – it’s just obvious, almost like a tribute thing. I don’t have a problem with that.
TOURING ALL AROUND
You used to tour with several bands for example with Pestilence, how did you get along with them or any other funny stories ?!
Why, are you big fans? Yeah, I’ve got some funny memories of that band. When we toured with them, they just discovered Morbid Angel, so they were wearing leather trousers, and they decided to use the same symbol as Morbid Angel – that bullshit symbol off the Necronomicon book. They were such fans of the bands they were into, like Deicide and Morbid Angel. We would listen to shit on the bus – we shared an RV with them, and we would just listen to Queensryche and shit like that, and all they listened to was Deicide and Morbid Angel. It was embarrassing. Fanboys. I’m gonna get myself in shit – I never thought they were an incredible band, to be honest. They were just some Dutch thrash band. It was obvious from watching them while touring
Touring with them and Death in the States
Yeah, they were too busy copying other people. Even when they got really technical, they were just copying Cynic.
You got along with Chuck Schuldiner of Death well ?!
A: We got along great. Going back to Pestilence, Mameli was a bit of a…, but Martin was a really cool guy, and I still know their old manager Graham. I saw him the other week – I was in Spain and he works with Bolt Thrower now. He’s a really cool guy. Some of them were nice guys, but there were some egos there, some petty bullshit, like when you first meet the guys, and Patrick Mameli’s going to me, ‘hey hey, I heard you two guys got laid. I’m better looking than you – I’ll get more chicks’, shit like that.
You used to tour with Morbid Angel a lot ?!?
Well we did one tour. We did England, didn’t we ?
Never in The States ?
No, never did the States.
They used to have a very strange reputation of being eccentric persons ?!
Yeah, they are, definitely.
But you got along with them ?!
Yeah, you just have to know what you’re dealing with.
How did you get along with Chuck Schuldiner of Death?
A: We got on great with Chuck, though. All I can say is we got on great with him, but I could understand why other people didn’t, and it’s funny to watch the way he was with other people, but we were lucky because we got on with him. We kind of connected, because we were the same age, and into the same bands. Chuck was really into Carcass. It was weird, because when we started the tour with them, him and Bill Andrews and Terry Butler were at the side of the stage laughing at what we were doing. They thought it was just shit – childish and boring. People at the gigs really got into it. You know the saying a tough nut to crack? They were really hard to get to know, but we kind of connected with them for some reason, so we got on great. But Morbid Angel….Well..
Well they are reunited..
Actually, I was at the NAM Convention in Los Angeles last summer – actually it was this year, in January. There was loads of bands there, like all the Floridian bands like Cannibal Corpse and Steve DigiOrgio from Sadus. Everyone gets on with each other, but no one, absolutely no one, talked to David Vincent. No one said two words to him. I don’t have a problem with him, though.
You toured a lot, even behind the iron curtain and some exotic countries as well at that time like Eastern European countries and other countries ?!
We did the tour with Atrocity from Germany in 1990. We toured all of Europe. We did all the east, before the wall came down, like the Czech Republic, Croatia, countries like that. We did Japan, Australia, Israel. But back then, it wasn’t as big as is now. That’s why all of these bands are reforming – metal is bigger than it ever has been. Back when we did it, it was going back underground. it wasn’t that popular. Maybe it was in Finland – maybe Finland is like the stronghold of metal. It just looked like it was tailing off. After the grunge thing, it looked like it was going underground again. We’ve been there – I’ve been there. It’s kind of like, I didn’t want to go back to there.
Well, it’s not where I wanted to be. We were touring the States, and we were playing the same clubs from the same tour when we were 21. It’s like treading water – it’s going nowhere, so what’s the fucking point? Now, I’m fucking jealous – you can play to thousands of people, there’s actually women at the concerts. There was no women back when I was in the band.
I though you would have one tour in 1995 ?!
That never happened. I was gonna play guitar, but the gigs never happened. I did a few rehearsals.
It was even announced that happened
Nope, never happened. Maybe two shows in Scotland. But it never happened. That’s just because I’m best friends with Griff, who used to be in Cathedral, so we were gonna do it for a laugh. I’m not a great guitarist, but I can play that stuff.
WELCOME TO CARCASS CUNTRY
Regarding your solo album WELCOME TO CARCASS CUNTRY, I can’t help asking where you got an idea about starting working on this solo album ?
I haven’t got a band, and like I said before, I didn’t want to advertise to find musicians. I just thought it would be easier to do it myself. I would’ve loved to get a real band together. I know the Anathema guys are down at the bar, and Jamie would always be encouraging me to try something, to get off my ass and play. With that first Finnish trip, I just like the idea of playing in a band. I’m lucky to get these guys to play with me. Not many people get the opportunity to get most of Anathema or Amorphis to play on their records. I’m a very lucky guy – a child in a candy store. I got most of H.I.M. playing on it as well.
Have you been thinking about playing some of this stuff live someday?
There are no plans, but I would like to. Whenever I’m drunk, I ask the guys – I’m pretty sure Danny from Anathema would do it, too. I can see it happening. If someone e-mailed me and said ‘look, I’ll get you a show here, here’s x-amount of Euros’, then I’d organize it. I don’t want to do a big tour – it wouldn’t be a big tour, you know what I mean? I don’t want to be on a tour bus, travelling around, because it’s not that serious a project. It is just fun for playing
Do you think that Bill Steer would be interested to be a part of that, I mean he did some guitars on your album?
Yeah, I don’t know – the whole thing with Bill playing on the album is, I rung him and asked him to do it, and he had some problems going on so he couldn’t make it. After four days, I got him to come to Helsinki and he played, and he really enjoyed it. Afterwards he told me that if I wanted him to play more he’d do it. I’d like to play this shit live and then maybe Bill will do it – who knows? I don’t think he’d do any Carcass songs – he doesn’t play like that, and hasn’t played like that for a long time. He’d have to re-learn how to play them.
The frontcover of your solo album is pretty interesting….
The girl’s a cartoon called Cherry, from a sex comic in America. I like the comics, and I like the artist. I wanted a kind of kitschy, sleazy, shitty typical chick on the cover. I thought it would be better to have a cartoon rather than a real girl. For me, it’s lucky that I get to ask like, Giger or Larry Welz to say yes. Maybe I’m being selfish to get to do what I like. I’d like to have album sleeves that I like. It’s to please myself, so I just thought it would be a cool idea.
While the album is all cover songs written by someone else, I’m asking how much you actually took part of the song writing process in Carcass?
How much? The first album maybe a third of it, the second album was one riff, but I did most of the lyrics. I ended up more and more just doing all the lyrics, and being more responsible for arranging the songs. Sometimes Ken and Bill would come up with parts, but it would never be a song really. Maybe that’s what killed Carcass off, because it got to Bill was writing riffs and ideas and I was always trying to change them. Maybe that pissed him off. Not to be nasty, but I think I’m good at improving on other people’s ideas. That’s what I think. You know how musicians are, though – if they write something, they want it to be that way. Even with Mike, when we did HEARTWORK, he got me pissed off because that song Death Certificate never really turned out the way when he was rehearsing it. I remember when they used to play the riffs he was more into stop/starts, which I hated – I like songs that just kind of flow, not this kind of stop and count in. Guitarists – prima donnas, you know? They want it their own way. I was a front guy, I was an asshole – I thought it was my right to be in charge.
Your solo is basically a cover album, but how about your own songs, have you written any ?!
Yeah, this album was meant to be a lot darker. Everyone thinks it’s a comedy record, and it’s not. It’s still got dark overtones. I’d like to do another album with the original vision, which is kind of heavy and not very funny at all. More songs about death. I’ve got a couple songs in my head. It’d be mostly covers again, but maybe with some originals. I’d like to do a more kind of depressing album. It was meant to be a depressing album, really kind of woeful, but it’s not. Which is fine, because it was so fun to play maybe that’s why it turned out that way. We had such a good time doing it.
BRUJERIA AND OTHER ACTIVITIES
As far as Brujeria is concerned, well are you a permanent or session or whatever member now in the band ?!
Is anything ever permanent in that band? We’re meant to be going to L.A. in a few weeks, but we’re not sure if that’s going to happen now. It’s very volatile, the band. I did it for fun, it was fun, and it still is fun, but it’s a lot of mind games . Basically, I go in there, play bass and keep my mouth shut. Again, it’s like dealing with children – you have to approach some of these people in a certain way. If I was honest, I wouldn’t be in that band. I just keep my mouth shut and play the bass. We’ll see – if these shows happen in July… We’re supposed to play in Spain. Things are so up in the air right now.
I have heard their audience is very violent ?
I heard and read there is more or less always some kind of riot at their gigs and they pull a lot of people to their Mexican shows.
1600. They pull a lot of people in. That’s what I like about it. It’s got a good angle, the band. I really like the idea of singing in Spanish. Spanish kids love it because they feel empowered by it. They piss off the gringoes, the Americans. Even though the music is simple, I like playing it, it’s fun. That’s all I’ve wanted to do for a long time – just stand in the back and play bass, not be the front guy, you know?
Have you been asked to join other bands ?!
People say, ‘what happened to you? Where did you go?’, but the phones never end. Morbid Angel’s manager called me once, just after Carcass. I think they wanted me to audition after Vincent left. Why would I kill Carcass to join Morbid Angel. That’s a band anyway. Their manager rang me up, and I knew he was going to ask me, so before he could ask me, I said ‘I know why you’re ringing me – don’t even ask me.’ I wouldn’t be able to live with those guys. Nice guys – don’t get me wrong – but as I said earlier, they’re too (makes ‘cuckoo’ noise). They’re crazy.
But you are involved in Kaasu’s grindcore band To Separate From The Flesh. Their debut album was real mindblowing. You seem to enjoy playing with them ?
Yeah, they’re great. I think it’s really fucking great. I’m not just saying that because they’re friends. Most grindcore bands are boring, and the songs are boring, but what they do is really catchy. It’s like fucking pop music. Hopefully I’m going to be involved in the next one.
They played in the SemiFinal club last year and it was totally packed and even the In Flames guys were there
I think they’re a good band. It’s a shame because people really need to pick up the record. I think I’ll be involved on the next one. It’s good being involved with people where I don’t have to try and take over. I’m not a control freak, but sometimes you think you can do it better. You don’t have to tell them anything, because it’s already perfected. I can’t improve on what they’re doing.
How many songs did you make ?!
I was on maybe five or six. There’s one song where I did all the vocals, and another four or five where I did backing vocals.
Well do you still follow and pay attention to new bands that you might get interested in?
Good question. What I found is that the bands I pay attention to and the bands I like are the ones my friends are playing in. Maybe if I was honest, if my friends weren’t in those bands, I wouldn’t have given them a chance. I’m enthusiastic and I like these bands, and I’m paying attention because they’re my friends. I’m still given a lot of CDs, I just don’t have the time to listen to them. It’s too much.
That’s like when you’re a child, when you’re a teenager, people say ‘what’s your favourite band?’ and you know, but now that I’m getting older I’m too lazy. That makes me sound really kind of sad, but I’ve got my iPod now – I could go through it and show you.
THE RETURN OF CARCASS ??
As for the Carcass reunion, hmmm is there any chance to see you guys on the stage, it has been written and speculated quite a lot about the comeback ?!
Mike Amott really wants to do it. I spoke to him on the phone to the other week, and he wants to get Bill to Sweden to convince him to do it. If those two guys wanna do it, then I’ll do it. Ken can’t do it. I asked him last year that if we did it, would he be upset, and he’s like ‘no, do it, go for it.’ I was at Download last year, and all these bands were playing, all these American bands, and they were all like At The Gates/Carcass/Paradise Lost rip-off bands. I just thought ‘fuck, this is so easy. We could do it so much better.’ I was really enthusiastic about doing it. I was on the stage with H.I.M. playing, watching them play to 60,000 people – we never did that. It would be great to be playing to that kind of audience. I’ve been doing so much stuff since then that I don’t need to do it to make myself happy.
Do you think it is possible for you guys to do anymore as you haven’t anything together for about 10 years ?!
We weren’t a very good band anyway. I can still do those vocals at the drop of a hat. I’d have to try and remember all the bass lines. The problem is Bill’s lost interest – he hasn’t played like that for a long time. so he would have to retrain himself. But if anyone can, he can, because he’s such an intelligent guy. If he was here, he would say ‘never say never’. At the moment it Mike’s pushing Bill, because he really wants to do it. He’s always joked about doing it, and I was always like ‘fuck off – no way!’ Then he’s talking it’s like ‘maybe next year.’ It’s not my decision. If Bill does it then I’ll do it.
What do you think about it personally, would you like to do it ?!
Yeah, but I’m not like really desperate. I don’t need the money, and I don’t need to satisfy my ego.
Well I don’t mean the money, I mean the musical wise ?
I come and go. The other day I was in England, staying at my friend’s place looking at the rock magazines, and I was like ‘fuck, I don’t want to do this – it’s depressing.’ Of course, it would be great to prove to everyone, and it would be great to all the people that never saw us, and it would be great to raise some money and give Ken a cut of it. That’s the other reason I wanted to do it – I wanted to reform the band, because after talking to some agents, they talk stupid money, and it would be great to give Ken a percentage of it to help him out. There’s real positive reasons for doing it, not to reform like some of these fucking bands do, just to earn money. I’ve got something to prove. We never did these festivals – we never played to these massive crowds, and everyone still bangs on about fucking Carcass. If I said I don’t want to do it, then it makes me look like an asshole because I’ve met so many people who want to see it, and it’s like I’m a cunt if I say no. It’s like depriving these people, being selfish.
Is it possible for you to make a new Carcass album then?!
No fucking way, no.
As Ken is not able to, who is gonna replace him then?
I know a few drummers who could do it.
Cmon, bring some names ??
Oh come on – this is just for Blabbermouth, isn’t it? I can think of one drummer who just left his bands, and he was always hassling me because he wanted to play. That’s as much as I’ll say. Just think of any drummers who’ve just quit.
Well if the reunion happens, when would you think it could happen then?!
If it’s gonna happen, it’ll happen next year. If it doesn’t happen next year, then forget about it.