Cannibal Corpse

author EW date 29/08/08

In the gore-drenched as well as technically proficient worlds of old-school death metal they don't come much bigger than Cannibal Corpse. Having been insulting the senses and parents across the world over a career spanning 20 years with song titles so filthy they've entered Metal folklore, it is high time the chaos and brutality were focused on in the form of a historical DVD of the band. It is with great pleasure that bass-extraordinaire Alex Webster took the time to answer my questions on behalf of the Rockfreaks readers, covering the upcoming DVD "Centuries of Torment", the possibility of being a death metal playing 50-year old and much more...

RF.net: Good day to all at the ‘Corpse! For those suffering a terminal lack of Death Metal in their lives could you please confirm who this is responding and the other guys in the band.
AW: Hi, this is Alex Webster bassist of Cannibal Corpse. The other members of the band are Pat O’Brien, Rob Barrett, (both guitarists), Paul Mazurkiewicz (drums) and George Fisher (vocals).

RF.net: So, Cannibal Corpse have just released an all-encompassing historical DVD, “Centuries of Torment: The First 20 Years”, covering the band from the early days right through to latest LP “Kill” in some detail. Why did you feel it was now the time to offer this historical perspective on the band?
AW: It actually wasn’t our idea originally, the film maker (Denise Korycki) came up with the idea after we had approached her about doing a DVD based on the tour or our most recent album. She told us that she would prefer to do a band history for Cannibal Corpse, as we are a band that has a longer history than most of the others she has worked with. We decided that her idea was a good one because our 20th Anniversary was coming up (December 2008).

RF.net: Has it been an enjoyable process making this extensive DVD? I can imagine unearthing long-forgotten tapes and pictures must’ve been interesting!
AW: Yes, it was interesting to see some of that old stuff. There are pictures and video footage that I have a very difficult time remembering where and when they were taken. It is something unique for modern man, being able to actually see yourself doing things in the past. This obviously not possible until within the past hundred years or so.

I also need to mention that Denise is really the person who did all of the work on this DVD. We supplied her with some raw material (interviews, old photos and videos, etc.), but she did all of the filming, editing, production, directing, and organising.

RF.net: What prompted the decision to spend the first section of the DVD travelling through the band’s years and interview a number of ex-members as opposed to just cramming in songs and footage from all the different eras? Has everyone who’s been interviewed been a willing participant in the process?
AW: That was all Denise’s idea. She actually flew to several different cities in order to do all of those interviews. Everyone you see on the video was happy and willing to participate (or else they wouldn’t be on there).

RF.net: It must pretty amazing to be in a band as resolutely defiant as Cannibal Corpse in their musical stance and yet be here talking about the release of a 20th anniversary DVD, with over a million albums sold in that time. Has your longevity and popularity ever surprised you?
AW: Actually, it surprises me constantly. I still have a hard time believing we’ve done so well. We are very grateful to our fans for making our long and rewarding career possible.

RF.net: What were the primary influences for the band back in the early days, both musical and non-? Clearly, Death Metal didn’t really exist in such a defined form as when Cannibal Corpse started…
AW: That’s very true that Death Metal was not so clearly defined at that time. Many bands that we called Death Metal then might not be considered Death Metal by today’s standards. Anyway, we listened to anything aggressive, fast, and evil sounding, no matter what the label was. Some of our favorite bands when we started Cannibal Corpse were Sadus, Kreator, Autopsy, Sodom, Morbid Angel, Death, Possessed, Slayer, Dark Angel, The Accused, Blood Feast...the list could go on and on. As for non-musical influences, we all really liked gory horror movies made by guys like Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci, and George Romero, among others.

RF.net: Do any of you guys still spend as much time listening to Metal now as back in your early days? I frequently read about older bands who don’t tend to listen to Metal anymore yet carry on playing it which surprises me.
AW: As far as I know every member of Cannibal Corpse still listens to a LOT of metal. For example, Paul was listening to “Persecution Mania" by Sodom the other day on the stereo at our practice room when I arrived at practice. We all have slightly different tastes as far as which bands are our favorites of course, but all of us are metal heads, that’s for sure. But we also each have a few styles of music we enjoy outside of metal too. I listen to all sorts of stuff. I might start out the day listening to Aeon or Spawn of Possession, and then finish with some Bach cello suites or something. Metal is our favorite music, but as fans of music we don’t limit ourselves to only one style. If music is good, we will listen to it.

RF.net: How has it been combining jobs and other life commitments with a hard-working hard-touring band like Cannibal Corpse over all these years? It can’t be easy, especially when mega-bucks are rarely, if ever, involved in the world of Death Metal.
AW: We have been lucky enough to be able to live off of the income we make through Cannibal Corpse since the early 90’s. We’re definitely not rich though, and we have to constantly keep working hard in order to sustain our career. If we ever stopped touring and making albums we’d all have to go right back to normal jobs within a few months. But we still feel incredibly lucky to even be able to make a modest living playing Death Metal, because very few other bands in the scene are able to.

RF.net: As mentioned, Cannibal Corpse have now existed 20 years, played in countless countries over the world, sold over a million records and probably influenced as many bands (not to mention starred in the brilliant Ace Ventura: Pet Detective!); does the band still have any goals left to achieve?
AW: We still feel like we have not yet made our best album. We are not going to be satisfied until we have made something that we feel is the peak of our ability. We’ve been getting closer and closer to this over the years, but there is still room for improvement. So, that is our goal: musical improvement...and by improvement we mean making the heaviest, most brutal music we possibly can.

RF.net: How long can the band go on for? Surely the situation where five long-haired and slightly-crippled 50 year olds are up on stage blasting out good ol’ Death Metal could never happen?!
AW: Hahaha! We will just have to wait and see, won’t we?

RF.net: So finally, what are the immediate plans for the band? “Kill” was already released over 2 years ago, when can we expect the next opus to be arriving and do you have any tour plans made for it yet? Any details that can be spilt about the new record?
AW: We are entering the studio is less than a week to record the follow up to Kill. The new album should be ready for release sometime in early 2009. Sorry, no details can be spilled yet as far as song titles go, but I can tell you we are returning to Mana Studios to work with Erik Rutan again. We will do lots of touring in support of the new album, so I’m sure we’ll be playing somewhere near you.

RF.net: That’s all Rockfreaks has got for now, thanks for taking the time to answer these questions and best of luck in the near future defending the values of Death Metal!
AW: Thanks so much for the interview and the support! See you all on tour! Thanks!!! Alex.

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