INTERVIEW WITH TERRY BUTLER
(Massacre Obituary Denial Fiend, ex-Death, ex-Six Feet Under)
Interview and pics by Arto Lehtinen
Terry Butler needs no introduction as his works in legendary death metal bands are known amongst death metal fans world wide. Terry keeps himself busy with Massacre and Obituary at the moment. Massacre’s new full length album BACK FROM BEYOND comes 23 years after their debut album hit the streets and gained enormous praises. Obituary is putting the final touches on their brand new album which was financed by the fans. Therefore, it was a good time to catch up with Terry Butler from his home and talk about those bands and of course his past works with Six Feet Under and the mighty Death.
Hey, how are you?
No, it’s warming up really nice, it’s about 82 degrees (F) here. It gets cold for maybe a week or two at the most, but not very often.
What’s up otherwise, you are very busy with your bands?
Yeah. Between going to Orlando and practicing with Massacre and getting ready, with records out now but all the press and production for that. Then on top of that, I’m recording with Obituary at the moment. So, it’s pretty busy, but that’s a good point.
Massacre is going out to tour and you got the new album and now Obituary is very busy with the upcoming album, how are you able to share your time with these bands?
So far I’ve been able to, but it’s going to get a lot more difficult. I’ve got just, whenever Obituary is not on tour; I’m going to make sure that Massacre is on tour. I’ve got to kind of juggle things around and who knows maybe one day there will be the Obituary/Massacre tour. So, I’ll kill two birds with one stone with that one.
If Massacre and Obituary is going to share the same dates, the same tour and touring the same time. Are you able to do that double gig in the same night?
Yeah. We would probably try and find a band to put it in between Massacre and Obituary, but if not. Yeah. I can do that, no problem.
Some people have said that they are not able to do that, because it takes a lot of energy if you’re playing in two bands in the same night.
For a singer or a drummer, that probably wouldn’t be able to happen. But guitar players, they kind of stand around a lot. So, it’s more mental than physical.
BACK FROM THE DEAD AND BEYOND
Massacre is getting a new album out titled BACK FROM BEYOND – The name of the album has obvious connection to the debut album FROM BEYOND. Was it an obvious choice for you to have the name that’s reminding people that there is a link between the albums?
Yeah. We wanted to kind of fill in the space; we wanted to link the past, the future. Since it has been such a long time between albums. We figured it was obvious choice to say BACK FROM BEYOND because we’ve been down for so long, the band has been in the dark, we’ve been in the shadows so to speak. So, we just wanted to basically say, we are back and we felt that was a good choice.
The front cover reminds me of the cover of the first album – Of course there is some kind of connection between front covers as well?
Sure. We kind of wanted to do that, we just wanted to be kind of an update it, more darker evil version of FROM BEYOND, The Creature is back also and he is busting through the other dimension with him and his friends and they are destroying the earth and the cities, and very H.P Lovecraft like. So, if it had been three or four or five years between albums. It wouldn’t had made any sense to call it BACK FROM BEYOND, but since it’s been 23 years. In fact, it was a good statement to say we are back.
The new album has been recorded at the CGM studio?
Why did you choose this studio, instead of other famous ones like Morrisound?
Well, the connection with CGM and Massacre is it’s Tim Vazquez who owns the studio. He has played in a past band with Rick and Mike. He’s a good friend of theirs. He’s a bass player as well. He’s got a really nice studio and that’s where Massacre practice at CGM studio that where we are practicing also. So we are very familiar with the environment. Tim did the Seven-Inch, the Condemned To The Shadows seven, we did a couple of years ago. We really liked how that turned out, so we just gave them a shot to do the record. He’s very familiar with us, what we sound like, what we want to sound like. So, we thought it was a good choice to use him.
Was it kind of difficult for you to start writing new songs, because Massacre has this legacy?
Actually it was pretty easy. Not very long after we got together, maybe a month or two after we got together and started rehearsing. We wrote the song “Succumb to Rapture”, it just came about during practice one day. Rick started playing a riff and everyone jumped in and the song was written. So, the song writing flowed really easily from this record. We have a certain style, Rick and I, we come from way back, the old school, the ’80s of writing death metal, that’s our style. We grew up on Slayer, Bathory, Venom and Hellhammer, that’s kind of our style and we are not going to deviate from that. So, when we write, even when we are writing in 2014, that’s just how it’s going to sound. So, when we started writing, it was just, well, familiar. It’s just like we never stopped writing from FROM BEYOND.
Yeah. We obviously, with Mikey and Ed in the band, they are going to sound different than Bill Andrews and Kam. So, they bring a different flavor to the band. Mikey, he’s got different, he fills in a few different types of techniques and Mikey is also from the Dave Lombardo school of drumming. He fills in kind of a flare here and there, all the way, kind of like Gene Hoglan. So, he fills some of that in there and Ed, his range, he can sing all types of death metal. So, those two elements, we knew that we were going to sound slightly different than FROM BEYOND, but we wanted to kind of keep that same formula. So, they interjected a lot of energy into the band and into the songwriting with their style.
Ed Webb used to sing in Diabolic, I guess?
He sung on the Diabolic record. We didn’t want to come back with an album and have it totally sound different, like a lot of blastbeats and keyboards and just try to be technical and everything. We just want to be who we are. And that’s what we are.
What are the main elements in the Massacre stuff ; brutality, aggression or catchy songs ?
It’s basically riffs, we like catchy heavy riffs that you can remember and that you can get into. I think we accomplish that. No disrespect to any of the tech-death metal bands or anything like that, but sometimes it gets so fast that you really don’t absorb what’s going on. We just like for our fans to feel what we are doing, to absorb it and to hear a riff and a real killer riff. So, that’s just, that’s what we want to do.
Gary Holt made some really good praises about the new Massacre album.
Yeah. I saw that. I was pretty impressed with that. It was just cool for someone like him to say something like that.
Have you got another surprise comments from the famous old school musicians by now?
I’ve played the CD for people like Ola from Grave and Stephan from Hail of Bullets, and they really liked it. So, that’s good. When your peers and your fellow musicians love the music you are playing, like what you are doing, that’s a good feeling.
What do you think about this PROMISE album – people have said it’s very odd album?
Yeah. That album is kind of like the ugly stepsister of the discography. That’s something that Rick and Kam did without me and Bill, and we really didn’t know about that record. They kind of did it without our knowledge, but Rick and I have made up our differences with that. We are just looking into the future. To me it’s really not a Massacre album, it should have been called something else with a different band name. It’s definitely not a Massacre album, but we are not going to play any songs from that album. We don’t really promote it and we don’t talk about it at all. We just kind of put it up on a shelf, to collect that.
MASSACRE – FLAGGING FOR SCHOOL DEATH METAL
You are more like old school when it comes to playing death metal, that you are not willing to play the modern sound approach of death metal?
Yeah. I listen to some of that newer kind of stuff, but it’s not really my forte or my cup of tea. I like the stuff that’s being put up by Grave, Autopsy, Hail Of Bullets, Asphyx. That’s my kind of style and my death metal right there.
What about the things that modern-day death metal bands have this fast drumming like blastbeats and stuff like that. Do you check out that but thinking “Okay that sounds good, but not my thing”?
Exactly, I like some of it. It sounds good to me in certain applications, but it’s not the Massacre, it wouldn’t sound right if Massacre had blast beats in the band. But again, some of the band to do the blasting and all that, I respect it, some of them I do like but I don’t want to play it personally.
Corpse Grinder in my opinion is the song that is known well that you have to play every time. When you played at 70,000 tons of metal, you didn’t play Corpse Grinder on the first gig and on the second one you did and the audience went completely ape-shit. Is Corpse Grinder some kind of mandatory song that you have to play every time?
Pretty much. We have always played that way back even in like ’86 and ’87. We played Corpse Grinder and we recorded it on FROM BEYOND also. So, it’s kind of a signature song that we have to play every now and then, if it’s due to time constraints for something we might not be able to play it. But we try to play it every time.
Do you think new songs from the BACK FROM BEYOND album are going to be as wanted one as the Corpse Grinder?
I’d like to think so, I mean there were some really good strong songs on BACK FROM BEYOND that are pretty catchy. I think once, hopefully people could buy it and they hear it and the old school fans hopefully accept it, may enjoy it and may want to hear that. We are going to try and play it on tour as much as possible. So, maybe a lot of people’s songs.
I saw you with Massacre in 2008 at Wacken Open Air the first time. Well the history of Massacre has been very colorful – members have come and left and so on. But how have you been able to be in Massacre, have you been some kind of diplomatic because members have had these different opinions and how the band should sound and stuff like that. What’s your point of view?
So, to back up here, about 2008 Wacken Massacre thing and that ill-fated tour that we did that should have never happened. In hindsight, I wish I never would have done it. I kind of got popped into it by Kam, because I was in a band with Kam in 2007 and ’08 called Denial Fiend. And Massacre did like a re-union with Denial opening, to make a long story short. The only reason Massacre even did that reunion tour was basically to help Kam financially with the government, he was in trouble with the government. And I enquired about Rick being on that tour and Kam told me a bunch of lies about Rick and he kind of poisoned my mind against Rick. I should have called Rick and talked to him about it, that’s my fault I didn’t. But that tour should have never happened, but towards the end of the whole Massacre thing, right at the end of the Wacken Festival, Kam, he was so toxic and so much of a cancer even in Denial Fiend, we had to kick him out of the band and everything. But the reason we reformed in 2011 is, it was the 20th anniversary of FROM BEYOND and I just happened to be with Rick one day on Facebook. We were just chatting back and forth, and I said, “Wouldn’t it be cool to play some shows to celebrate the 20th anniversary of FROM BEYOND.”
So, we talk back and forth a little bit, and he agreed it to be cool. We called up Bill Andrews and he hasn’t played drums in a long time. He says it was a cool idea, but he would have to decline because he is not in shape to play drums, he doesn’t really want to play anymore. So, that’s when we found Mike Mazzonetto, Rick knew him already. And Kam was never considered, we never even said what do you think about Kam, it was just immediately, let’s find a singer. Because Kam, he used to talk so much trash about Rick and I over the years. You just cannot work with the guy. So, we knew that we were going to have some die-hard fans, some of Kam’s fans that would talk shit about us, whatever, but we just forged on. If Massacre is going to be a band of 2014, it cannot have Kam in it. So, luckily we found Ed Webb, who I think has filled in and done a great job. I mean in a perfect world, yeah. Bill would be playing drums and Kam would be singing and everything would be fine and everything is up. But that can happen, so we have to move on to the next best thing we can do. We found two guys that we think are an amazing fit to the band. Yeah.
Did you ask Curtis Beeson to return to Massacre?
No. Again, it was kind of funny because Massacre was basically Denial Fiend plus Steve Swanson. And I initially was going to, when Kam first approached me about this Massacre reunion thing. I mainly thought of, let’s get Rick and will hire a drummer, before I could even do any of that. Kim had told all the Denial Fiend Guys that they could be in the band. So, that is what we had to deal with. And Curtis is a good friend of mine and I talk to him all the time, but I think Mikey is a perfect fit for Massacre.
Even Curtis had a problem with his health?
Yes, he had a brain tumor removed. It was big, it was like the size of an orange, really big.
DENIAL FIEND –PUNKISH DEATH METAL
Well, me and the guitar player have been talking. We want release an album in 2015. He’s been really busy with his band; he’s in the band called Down by Law. So, he’s been pretty busy with them. I’ve been busy, but we want to set some time beside here and start putting things together. Start song writing and probably have to find a new singer. I’m not sure what’s up with Blaine. He might want to move on from the project, but if he does then we got to find a singer. And maybe that’s Denial Fiend trademark, each album has a different singer.
I heard the first album for Denial Fiend, it reminded me of punk elements with a death metal thing. That it was completely different with what you have done before.
Yeah. Sam has influenced. Sam is a great guitar player, one of the best ever that played with and his writing style is like thrash punk, that’s where he came from and he loves death metal too. So, we kind of try and fix some of that element in there when we can.
Well, do you like old school punk?
Yeah, definitely. Here in Tampa, back in the early ’80s and mid ’80s, we got a lot of punk shows here, DRI and C.O.C, like on their first tours. And DLA and the Dead Milkmen and all that stuff. Yeah. So, I had early days with a lot of punk. Yeah, I like it.
OBITUARY – BEING INDEPENDENT
Obituary is your other important band that you are going to be very busy when album is coming out. But is the album done now or are you still working with a new obituary album?
We are actually recording it right now. Each day, we come in and do some stuff like Donald will lay down some drum tracks, and the whole thing of recording. So, we are hoping the recording process will be done by the end of April. And start getting a mix, and we want to have it out on June 1st.
You’ve got this “kickstarter” campaign collecting money to record the album. Do you think that this is the current way how you get albums out nowadays, by being on your own, being on independent, not having a deal with record labels – Is this nowadays a reality for bands?
I think for some bands definitely. Obituary, they’ve got a kind of a really low deal from Roadrunner Records, and they’ve been ripped off quite a bit over the years. So, the thought process was, if we could put out our own record and will hire some companies to distribute it and will hire our own people to do PR work and this and that, let’s try it for our records and see what happens. Because at the end of the day we all have families, and we need to make the money. So, if this is a way for the band to actually make some money and rip some the rewards before it’s too late. This is what we are kind of trying to do.
Do you think that streaming things, like your Massacre album is available right now, is another important tool to promote bands and promote new albums?
I think so for awhile; I don’t know how long they are going to stream it. And I don’t even know if you can bootleg and illegally down it. I don’t know how that whole thing works. But I think with the social networks we have nowadays, I think it helps so much more. There is so many sites now that you can just constantly upload pictures and links to the record label to buy your albums, and constantly promoting and everything. So I think that then really helps. The whole industry is kind of weird now as it was when I first started out back in ’87. Now it’s like bands don’t really sell a whole lot of CDs, just die-hard people will buy the CDs and buying digital downloads with the big thing there. It’s just really weird now.
Are you going to have Obituary album available for digital download as well?
Yeah. There will be a digital download, there is going to be CDs. A couple of different version of the CDs, probably digipack and there is going to be a vinyl, a couple of different vinyls also.
I think what we are doing; we are negotiating with a couple of different distribution companies right now. We are definitely going to have someone distribute it. We’ve got someone set up for America, someone set up for Europe and we are definitely going to have it distributed. We will probably sell some at shows too, but we definitely want to have it out there. We want to advertise in all the magazines and we want stores to have it available for kids.
How do you describe the new Obituary material – it has a typical trademark anyway?
Well, yeah. Obviously Obituary has some style, I mean when you hear Obituary song; you know its Obituary song immediately from the guitar sound to John’s vocals. It’s a very distinct style. The new material is very catchy, there is a lot of hooks, there is a lot of killer rhythms in it. It’s definitely Obituary, but there is a few element tones in there that are a little different like John is really singing now, like a lot of lyrics. He’s putting in a lot of lyrics in the songs and they are catchy. I think people didn’t really like it because it’s just, it’s like there is tons of riffs in the songs that you can remember. It’s very riffy and I think people are going to really like it. And the new guitar player, Kenny Andrews, he is excellent guitar player. His style I would say it’s kind of like Allen West meets James Murphy, he’s kind of right in the middle there between those two. So, I’m really excited for the record to come out.
Actually where did you find Kenny for the guitar?
It’s funny; he used to be in a band with Mike Mazzonetto, the drummer of Massacre, called Pain Principle for a long time. And he’s been guitar tech for Obituary in the past, he techs for everyone from Matchbox Twenty to Trivium, but we have known him for a long time. He was like one of the first obvious choices when we wanted to replace Ralph, was to ask Kenny to be in the band. So, he’s very familiar with Obituary and he’s a good guy too.
When Obituary played in Helsinki Finland a couple of years ago. There were no second guitarist at all, if I remember right. I told Trevor from Obituary they you definitely need a second guitarist to make the sound much stronger. When you played on the ship, the first show was really crushing and heavy. That was really a piece of evidence that Obituary needs a second guitarist to make the sound really crushing.
Yeah. We were missing little leads, you know what I mean. Before this. I mean we were very tight and heavy as a four piece, but the leads were definitely missing. That was just a weird transitional period, after Ralph was let go. Kenny was busy, he had some commitments with his other things. So, we went out as a four piece for our tour. So, we just tried out.
YEARS IN SIX FEET UNDER
Yeah, 16 at least or more.
What do you think about the years in Six Feet Under after all? It was a long ride actually.
Yeah, it was a long ride. A lot of ups and downs. Originally the beginning, it was fun the haunted and war path. I mean that’s pretty much what Six Feet Under wanted to sound like, that’s what we were meant to sound like. Even on Maximum Violence, after Allen left – It was a good record – but it just got kind of diluted. We kept getting told that, “Hey! You need to write hit songs.” And I’m like, “What do you mean, hit songs? This is death metal, there are no hit songs.” So, as Chris got more control of the band, it just got worse and worse. It became more about him rather than more about promoting the band, and it came to a point over enough with Curtis Beeson. We had a benefit concert; we were doing for Curtis Beeson after his surgery. And Six Feet Under were going to headline this benefit concert to help him pay his medical bills. And Chris canceled a week before the show. His explanation was, he didn’t want to do the show, he had something better to do. So, Greg and I talked and we were like, “This is it dude. I can’t be in the band anymore with this guy.” So, we called him up and quit. It sucks as we put 16 years into that band, a lot of blood, sweat and tears. But at the end of the day, it just boils down basically to Six Feet Under is Chris Barnes and that’s how he wanted it, it’s all about him and it’s not about anybody else. So, I threw my head out, I threw in the towel and said that’s it. I can’t do this anymore dude. So, I just called him up and said, “Good luck to you and Steve in whatever you do, but I’m out. Bye.” And that was it.
But these Graveyard albums, what I’m supposed to say hmm.. Well they were a little bit odd in some point and some people didn’t get them… How did you come up the idea to do those albums?
What happened with that is, the second thing we ever recorded was called, Alive And Dead it’s got live songs on it and three studio songs. One of the studio songs we did was a cover of “Grinder” by Judas Priest. Well, everyone loved it. People wanted to hear us play it live and everything. So, the idea came about from the record label, “Hey! Why don’t you guys do an album of all covers?” So, we thought about it and… Like on Maximum Violence, we did three covers as bonus tracks. We did “Wrathchild” by Iron Maiden, “Warmachine” by Kiss and we did “Jailbreak” by Thin Lizzy. So, we had some down time, so we went to studio and recorded Graveyard classics one and it sold like 18,000 copies in Germany alone. So, it’s like, okay. So, in a few years later we did the second one. The second one, we had all different songs ready to go but then right at the end, we just did the whole Back In Black album. We thought, this will be cool, no one has ever done anything like this, let’s do it. And then the third Graveyard Classics was just kind of like, “Are we sure we really want to do this? Wouldn’t rather just put out our own album?” So, we just kind of went along with it and we went with the flow and whatever. I’m not a fan of them myself; the production on a lot of the Six Feet Under stuff was really bad. But whatever, it is what it is and I have to live with it.
The early Six Feet Under stuff was really raw death metal, but on the next albums and the later albums that you got out.. Well, let’s say now, Six Feet Under got more stoner elements – Stoner Death Metal if I can say that.
Yeah, like I said HAUNTED and WARPATH. That’s true, that’s what Six Feet Under was supposed to be like at the time, there was a lot of blast thing going on, and it was like the super fast death metal that was getting really popular. So, we thought, “Hey! Let’s do something a little slower, a little lower with more groove.” So, that’s what we did, like the Haunted album was a great record. Allen wrote that whole album, he had most of that written even before Six Feet Under even became a band. But if you look at Haunted and compare it to something like whatever that new album is, Unborn or Undead or whatever. I mean it’s probably a totally different band, and that’s not what Six Feet Under started out to be. It just got kind of, the more we went, Chris’s ideas, he kept as bad as it were, he kept wanting us to do it and do it. And we kept going along with it, because we kept thinking maybe one of these songs will become popular and somehow do on the radio, and whatever. After awhile, it became evident that was not going to happen.
Where I heard Six Feet Under, Death or Massacre stuff, was completely on metal radio shows, not on the regular radio show or anything like that. I guess that Six Feet Under was definitely not or Death or Massacre or Obituary were not normal radio stuff at all, no way.
You know, like the album, TRUE CARNAGE, we tuned all the way down, like to the same tune that Korn uses; we sort of write the song kind of bouncy and jumpy kind of songs and stuff. And it’s like; this really isn’t what we are about. But it was all about trying to cash in. So, whatever.
Did you ever consider leaving Six Feet Under earlier?
Of course, you know. Every tour, every incident that happened on tour it was always like, “Why I’m I doing this? I don’t need this headache.” But a lot of times you kind of turn the other cheek, because you are in Europe touring and you are with friends, Greg Hall the drummer, he’s my brother-in-law. He’s the main reason I even stayed in the band that long, because me and him are like together all the time and whatever. Yeah. There was times when I was like, “Why I’m I doing this?” But I would kind of just say, I’d say, “Let me give it another tour, let me give it another tour and see what happens?” And then finally, it just came to our head with the whole Curtis Beeson incident.
No. He’s in the band right now with some of the guys; he used to be in the band with… They are called, Last Ride. They had a demo out back in like ’89 – ’90. And they have other guitar player that’s in the band, he’s from a band called, Fester, and that’s the band that’s Corino, he was in that band. So, it’s kind of like a little on a power metal side, kind of like really, maybe a little Pathway kind of classic, Sabotage kind of stuff. But he’s jamming in the band; he also plays in a church band. Probably wouldn’t want me to tell you that, but he does.
When you have played in big European festivals several times, have you been surprised that how the European metal is so different compared to American thing as we have this power metal thing and when we are talking about power metal in The States, it is completely nothing there.
Yeah. It’s sad in America in my opinion. I mean there are good places, like the East Coast and nothing wrong with Great Lakes, like Detroit, Wisconsin and L.A and South. But I mean it’s just, America is too driven by what’s on the radio or what’s on TV or what’s in the magazine. They don’t really want to think for themselves, they want to get spoon fed stuff. And Europe it’s always seem to obviously be a lot different. They want to find out things on their own and they want to hear other kinds of music and they really get in to it. I don’t know if it’s because America is maybe spoiled or whatever, but I would much rather tour Europe for that reason. Where else are you going to see a kid with a Helloween back patch on, but he’s wearing a Bathory shirt. It’s a wide variety and it’s awesome like the whole, that’s how it is at festivals. You can see Black Metal, you can see old school death metal, you can see tech-metal or you can see whatever. It’s really cool that way; it just seems like America, I don’t know if they have abandoned that whole concept. Because it used to be better back in the day when we were touring for Spiritual Healing and stuff. I mean there was the excellent crowd, but now it’s just kind of faded and I don’t know. It sucks.
Where is your strongest area in the States – New York, Los Angeles, or Tampa area, or where?
Yeah. Like New York, Philadelphia, Boston. Those are always very strong. Like Cleveland, Chicago. Chicago is always really good. Obviously LA, San Francisco. Those are very strong places.
I can’t help asking about Death as you were in the band since ’87 until ’91, right ?
What do you think about the years you spent in Death?
I have nothing, but great memories. We joined Death basically right as SCREAM BLOOD GORE was released, Chuck moved back to Orlando and he didn’t have a band. Chris Reifert stayed in San Francisco, Rick contacted Chuck and he went over to his house and talked to him and they talked, and Bill and I and Rick we are sort of rehearsing with Chuck and the band is kind of great. So, Death was a solid band, sort of first time ever. Never had a bass player and never had a band that could tour. So, we initially went on the road and started playing shows for SCREAM BLOOD GORE. We came back and went for LEPROSY. And LEPROSY, I have bittersweet memories, because it’s such an awesome record and I had such a great time, with all the tours and everything. But in the studio when it was time for me to record the bass, I basically had an anxiety attack. Yeah. I got super nervous and time was kind of running out, and I have all these people staring at me, Chuck and Bill were looking at me and Scott Burns and Ben Johnson and it’s just like I was kind of like a trapped, I felt like a trapped animal. Obviously I had been, I could play bass. I did the tours and stuff and I could play bass, but I just kind of panicked and I told Chuck, “Hey! I think it’s best for you to record the bass, because I’m just freaking out right now.” And he totally understood, he said, “No problem dude.” Because he had recorded bass on SCREAM BLOOD GORE, so he was kind of already familiar with playing bass in the studio. And so, that’s just how that all played out with the LEPROSY thing. And it sucks, and every day I think about it. And it’s of course sort of worse occasion, but obviously I can play bass. I’ve recorded about 30 albums since then.
Is it easier for you playing live or something like that?
Well, I really haven’t had any issues in the studio since then. But live is a totally different element obviously, the studio is so sterile and so precise. You will be 100% dead on, and live the whole band kind of fluctuates, you might play a song a little faster than you did the night before. Some songs a little more open, we can do some bass rounding, kind of be a little more loose with stuff. A live element is totally different animal yes.
Yeah. I have a lot of excellent memories with that one, because I helped write four songs on that record, and recorded the bass on that one. We did some great tours with Testament and Carcass and we were like a close family at that point, Chuck, Bill and I. We basically lived at Chuck’s house, three or four days a week while we were writing that record. And we were all pretty very close, and it’s an important album I think. It’s kind of the stepping stone album from the kind of more straight forward brutal kind of death to the more melodic technical death, it’s like it’s kind of a mix of HUMAN and LEPROSY kind of. And I’m very proud to have been part of that record.
The Death tribute thing, Death-To-All, was also on the ship, were you ever asked to play in Death-To-All?
I actually had been asked a few times, in fact I was asked to do the Death-To-All shows on the boat, because Steve DiGiorgio thought he might not be able to make it. So, I think in the future there is going to be spot where I can do it. I don’t mind the Death-To-All thing, because it’s built as a tribute and as long as it stays a tribute, I think its okay. So, hopefully in the future I can get up there. Rick and I were talking about how cool it would be to actually kind of do a Death-To-All show, basically kind of encompassing the first two albums. So, because Rick and I were there in a kind of help to get Death back on its speed, with getting a complete drawing and doing touring and all these kind of stuff. So, it would be kind of cool to get some kind of acknowledgement from that.
Well, did you see Carcass at the 70000 tons ?
Yeah. Both times.
Did you hear when Jeff Walker told the story -“When Carcass played with Death, and Chuck and Bill and Terry liked about how Carcass sounded, but the lyrics” and Carcass dedicated the song to you “Genital Grinder”.
Yeah, we are. We talk about that, will come and see Jeff and stuff. I mean we had heard of Carcass, and I hadn’t actually heard them. And so, we played on their tour, it was in Miami and when they started playing. We just kind of looked into each other and we were like, “What in the hell is going on?” Because we really wanted some blast speeds and the whole grind kind of thing, but obviously a few more shows into the tour and stuff, we became great friends with them and we understood what they were doing. And I remained good friends with all four of those dudes, since then and I thought that was kind of funny that night too. He said that, Bill’s got that… He’s got a very sarcastic English humor.
RETURN OF OLD SCHOOL DEATH METAL
Carcass returned with the killer album and several other old school bands, Asphyx, Autopsy have made reunions. But what do you actually think about all these reunion thing of these old bands, they have really got a killer album out I have to admit that ?
Yeah. I think what kind of happens is, what’s happening now is there is so many technical death metal bands. So many bands that just want to be as fast as they can, like Origin and Nile. That after a while when an old school band puts a record out and it sounds good, it actually sounds fresh to people even though it’s kind of an older style of music because their ears have already gotten beaten up for the last few years. I’m hearing all the technical death metal and the blasting and all that stuff. So, in a way it’s like, its old school death meta,l but it’s kind of new sounding, the people even though it’s the music. BACK FROM BEYOND is the people, they hear it and they are like, “This is kind of, this all death metal but it’s excellent. It’s riffy, it’s heavy, it’s catchy and I like it.”
Would you like to go out to tour with some old school metal bands? When you toured with Massacre back in the day, I remember you toured with Morgoth…
Yeah. The two tours we did, FROM BEYOND and Inhuman Condition in Europe were awesome. People still talk about that, we did a more… I think it was Morgoth and Demolition Hammer, and then I think it was Grave and Immolation. Yeah. I would love to do a tour with say Grave and Asphyx or Grave and Autopsy or something like that. I think they would be awesome.
And then Dark Angel returns.
Yeah, that’s excellent too. Massacre has a big, Rick and I have a connection with Dark Angel because we are on Combat together and they are friends of ours. We toured with them and we did the Revenge two video with those guys. So, we are good friends with them.
You have been playing death metal for about 30 years, but when we were talking about other musicians who have played death metal in the early days, they have left the death metal thing or they have switched to other style. But what has made you keep playing death metal all these years?
Well, it’s probably just how much I really love and enjoy death metal. It’s been part of my life for so long, I was listening metal before Death Metal even existed. I remember buying Welcome To Hell. Metallica wasn’t even in site. I think one thing that’s helped me too, is I have been… Basically since ’86 I’ve been in the band, there is really haven’t been much downtime for me to think about playing another style of music. I’ve been pretty active since ’86, I think that’s one reason why. I mean I like other styles of music, I love the whole kind of stoner rock thing, I really like that a lot. Obviously you know, I’d love to play in a band that kind of sounded like, Trouble or Sabbath. But I didn’t have time to do that much.
Do you see that death metal has become some sort of nostalgia nowadays?
Yeah. I never would have thought even ten years ago, that there would be a death metal cartoon on the Cartoon Network. It’s becoming a lot more popular and accepted a lot more, which is cool. I hope it becomes with that and hopefully can keep getting even more popular, but I think it’s definitely made a name for itself. It’s definitely a genre of music that can equally be talked about, grunge, power metal, death metal. I mean it’s definitely got its own thing.
What are your favorite albums that inspirited you to play the bass?
Well, WELCOME TO HELL by Venom. When I first heard that record, I think I was like 14. It was like a horror movie, it was like intent. I felt like I was part of some special club. I remember Bill Andrews turned me onto them and I was like, I felt like I was a member of a special cult. Over to, SHOW NO MERCY and Hellhammer, MORBID TALES. I mean DARKNESS DESCENDS, SEVEN CHURCHES; these records are the ones like really I wanted to be like that band. I wanted to get up and play and put death metal, just like they were playing. So, those are some of the early building box and the foundation of my playing death metal.
I thank you for your time, for doing this interview and it was a real pleasure to talk to you.
Thank you for the interview, yeah. It was a good time.
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