Interviews : Cannibal Corpse (Alex Webster) – 23/08/2009
Considered one of the fundamental elements of the American death metal movement; Cannibal Corpse have broken numerous boundaries, and bodies with their gore obsessed, controversial lyrical satire, which is infused with their quintessential musical brutality.
Metal Obsession recently had a chance to speak with bassist, Alex Webster about the bands upcoming third Australian tour. Along with some personal questions, and his thoughts on Australia and its fans.
Metal Obsession.net: Hi Alex, welcome to MetalObsession.net
Alex Webster: Hi, thanks for the interview opportunity!
MO: How are things with you at the moment, hope all is well?
AW: All is well, we just got home a few days ago from the Rockstar Mayhem Festival tour of the USA. It was killer!
MO: Are you looking forward to Cannibal Corpse’s upcoming Australian tour in September?
AW: Definitely! This will be our 3rd time in Australia, both previous times were fantastic so we’re expecting more of the same.
MO: Last time Cannibal Corpse were in Australia, there was a lot of controversy surrounding the tour. Many political leaders wanted to ban the 2007 tour, after they discovered the bands lyrical theme’s of grotesque violence and murder.
Thankfully the tour went off without a hitch. Are you expecting a repeat of last time, or do you think these political and family leaders will try different tactics to “kill the buzz” of these upcoming shows?
AW: Hopefully they’ll just ignore us. I mean, we expect that some people will consider our lyrics to be in bad taste, but that doesn’t give them the right to ban us from performing for our fans, at least not in a free country like Australia.
MO: Many of these political leaders just see you, and the band as a crazy narcissistic bunch who enjoy writing music about dismembering people and raping their corpses. Would you like to go on record and set it straight with these people; that’s not what the bands agenda is?
AW: Well, I think it’s pretty obvious to anyone who’s taken anything more than a superficial glance at us that we are just normal guys who enjoy horror entertainment. We’ve made this abundantly clear in interview after interview for many years now.
If any of the political types who raised an issue with us last time would do even a little research, they would know this. We do not promote actual violence, we simply find violent lyrics to be appropriate for the violent sounding music we are making.
MO: As most of Cannibal Corpse’s material is horror tongue and cheek, where do you get the main influence of material from? Is it movies, stories, comics etc?
AW: Actually, we never considered it to be tongue and cheek, we have always wanted to create serious horror in the same way a horror film maker would want to make a movie that is serious and frightening. We probably do a much better job in that regard now than earlier in our career, as some of our older songs are admittedly (albeit unintentionally) darkly humorous.
If any of our lyrics are seen as humorous it is because they were so extreme in their violence that the only way not to be grossed out by it completely is to laugh at it. Obviously, if you really saw the lyrics from any of our songs being acted out in front of you it would be an utterly horrifying and disturbing experience. What’s funny about “Dismembered and Molested”? Absolutely nothing, it’s completely disgusting!
As far as inspiration goes, we all enjoy killer horror movies like The Shining, The Exoricist, Gates Of Hell, Suspiria, Night of the Living Dead, Inside, The Girl Next Door, etc.
I also really enjoy writers like HP Lovecraft and Clive Barker, and of course the news channels have documentaries about serial killers that can also add inspiration. We try not to directly copy any one influence, but rather use our imaginations to create something original out of the numerous different horror-oriented things we’ve been exposed to.
MO: Aside from all the political bullshit that went on, did you enjoy the last Australian tour? Was there something memorable about the tour that has stuck with you till this day?
AW: Yes, we enjoyed it very much! We didn’t have a lot of extra time to sight-see or anything like that, so this time we’ve made sure to have a couple of off days in there. We did see some kangaroos in Perth last time, that was really cool. Sort of obligatory when you visit Australia I guess.
MO: How would you compare the Australian fans to the rest of the world? Many bands who have toured here in the past say our crowds could easily rival the ones in South America, albeit on a much smaller scale of course.
AW: Australian fans are rowdy as hell and can definitely rival audiences from South America for intensity. Some of the most stage diving we’ve ever seen has been at our Australian gigs.
MO: When you were in Australia in 2007, did you get a chance to check out any of the local metal acts down here?
AW: We actually didn’t have much of chance for that, unfortunately. Our schedule was so tight that we wound up trying to catch up on sleep during most of our spare time.
Of course, Psycroptic did the shows with us and they are amazing, but we already knew that from previous tours.
MO: If you get the chance this time round, I urge you to check out; Be’lakor, Anarchsphere and The Ocularis Infernum. You wont be disappointed.
To make it fair on all the Aussie metal bands though, you should check out our website and see what Australia has to offer. www.metalobsession.net
AW: Thanks for the tip, I will have to check those bands out.
MO: On the subject of tours and fans, have you ever experienced a show where one of your fans has taken the bands music too the extreme, and has admitted to wanting to kill or torture someone?
AW: Not that I can remember. Fans occasionally say crazy things, but it is usually made clear that it’s just a joke.
MO: What are your personal thoughts on violence in general, in this day and age?
AW: It seems like the world is becoming a bit less violent, which is very positive of course. There is still too much violence, but not as much as in the first half of the 20th century. I hope the information age will make it more and more difficult for atrocities like mass murder and famine to go unnoticed by the those who are not directly effected.
MO: As we all know, Cannibal Corpse just released their latest album ‘Evisceration Plague’ earlier this year. I know its early days yet, but have you or the guys decided to write any new material, or will you continue to tour for the time being?
AW: Yes, we’re already working on new ideas individually. We probably won’t start putting the songs together at the band room until next year though.
MO: Any chance you’ll continue to work with Blotted Science in the near future, maybe release another album with them?
AW: Definitely! Ron and I have begun the early stages of writing for the next Blotted Science album. It will no doubt take a few years to complete, but it will get done!
MO: Cannibal Corpse is widely known around the world. Not only for the bands controversial music, but also expanding to other forms of media; like movies (Ace Ventura: Pet Detective), and just recently being inducted to Rock Band, with the classic, ‘Hammer Smashed Face’ being available to download and play with the Rock Band video game.
You guys must be very excited to bring your music to a new generation of fans, yes?
AW: Yes! It’s always a good idea to introduce your music to new fans. “Hammer…” is a good song to start with, but I would really love it if they’d use some of our newer songs as well, which feature musicianship far superior to what we were capable of back in the old days.
MO: Video games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero seem to be the norm nowadays for the younger generation to discover older music, or bands. What are your personal thoughts on these video games, do you think it encourages kids to pick up a real instrument and play in a band?
AW: Anything that gets people interested in music is positive in my opinion. It’s definitely possible that young people could take an interest in playing actual instruments because they have had a good experience with these games.
MO: I’m sure George Fisher has already delved into playing the track on Rock Band with his somewhat questionable love for video games, more so with his borderline love fetish for World of Warcraft.
Have you had a chance to play ‘Hammer Smashed Face’ on Rock Band, or Rock Band and Guitar Hero in general?
MO: Did you guys have any input into what songs were chosen for the game?
MO: Any new releases that have caught your attention lately?
AW: “Devil’s Mayhem” by Blasphemic Cruelty.
MO: Alex. I better wrap this up. Any final comments you wish to make to the Australian fans?
AW: Thanks for the support, see you in September!!!
MO: Cheers for taking the time to speak with us at MetalObsession.net. We look forward to seeing you this September when Cannibal Corpse tour Australia.
AW: Thanks for the interview, see you soon!
Band: Cannibal Corpse
Origin: New York, U.S.A
Interviewer: Anwar Rizk
Interviewee: Alex Webster (Bassist)
Make sure to check out Cannibal Corpse on their upcoming Australian tour this September.
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Tickets are selling fast!
Perth – www.moshtix.com, 78 Records , Mills Records
Sydney – www.ticketek.com.au
Brisbane – www.hifi.com.au/brisbane, Rockinghorse Records, Moshpit Music