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31st March 2011
METAL DISCOVERY: It was announced yesterday that Pat’s doing seven shows with Slayer in Europe, filling in for Jeff. How excited is he about that? That must be a pretty cool thing for him.
ALEX WEBSTER: He’s really excited. Obviously, we’re all hoping for a speedy recovery for Jeff but, at the same time, it’s an exciting opportunity for Pat. There is no more legendary extreme metal band than Slayer. Out of all the genres – thrash, black, death – out of those extreme genres, Slayer are the band.
(Alex Webster on Cannibal Corpse's career-long consistency)
"...we can play songs from ‘Eaten Back To Life’ right next to songs from ‘Evisceration Plague’ and they don’t sound like they’re written by a different band."
Cannibal Corpse - uncredited promo shot
Interview by Mark Holmes
Official Cannibal Corpse Website:
Official Cannibal Corpse MySpace:
Eaten Back to Life (1990)
Butchered at Birth (1991)
Albums & EPs
Metal Blade Records Website:
Thanks to Andy Turner for arranging the interview.
Tomb of the Mutilated (1992)
The Bleeding (1994)
Vile (1996)
Gallery of Suicide (1998)
Bloodthirst (1999)
Hammer Smashed Face (1993)
Live Cannibalism (2000)
Gore Obsessed (2002)
The Wretched Spawn (2004)
Kill (2006)
Evisceration Plague (2009)
Worm Infested (2003)
DVDs and Misc
Live Cannibalism (2000)
15 Year Killing Spree (Box Set) (2003)
Centuries of Torment: The First 20 Years (2008)
Monolith of Death Tour '96-'97 (1997)
Global Evisceration (2011)
MD: Considering what they were doing and when they were doing it in the early eighties, they influenced every extreme metal band that came after them.
AW: Yes, in one way or another. Like the Black Sabbath of the evil metal…like the evil extreme metal! [laughs] There are other huge bands too; obviously, Priest, Metallica, Iron Maiden and all those bands but, for the evil side of extreme metal, Slayer is the big one. They’re the biggest and the best, and they’ve been one of our favourites for ages. Without being overly enthusiastic and going overboard, I can honestly say that there probably wouldn’t be a Cannibal Corpse without Slayer. It’s that big an influence on all of the members, on all five of us. We would not be the same band if there hadn’t have been that kind of band come before us to inspire us. So for him to be able to play with them is a big deal.
MD: Are you jealous at all and thought, that could be me?!
AW: Ah well, I’m a bass player, so…
MD: I know, but…
AW: ...and my singing voice is not, you know…so there’s definitely no gig like that available for me!
MD: If Tom Araya did a James Hetfield and burnt his arms on some pyros or something then maybe you could fill in on bass then!
AW: I figured there’s certain things that are impossible to replace and I think that’s one of ‘em…you know what I mean? [laughs] I know we’re just kinda goofing around here anyhow but I feel that’s pretty much the only thing where you’d get away with it, like when you have a singer it’s impossible. You might be able to replace a drummer or guitar player who’s important in a band but it can only be a temporary thing.
MD: Hypothetically, if you could fill in for a few shows with a band like Pat’s doing with Slayer, who would you choose?
AW: Well, you know, it’s tough because a lot of the bands who I really like have bass players who sing and I can’t! But let me think…who would be really fun to play with…there’s a few – obviously, I wouldn’t want to ever take Steve Harris’ place, that would weird me out, but it would be a lot of fun to jam those songs in a practice room environment, like if they said, “yeah, sure, come and play ‘Number of the Beast’ with us”, I’d definitely drop by and sit in and play that song. There are certain bands who I really love who it would be fun to jam the tunes with the people who wrote them. That would blow my mind. Like Accept, one of my favourite bands from the early eighties.
MD: Minus Udo now, of course.
AW: Yeah, but I think the new album’s amazing. Of course, I love Udo and all Accept fans probably wish he was still in but the guy they have now, Mark Tornillo, does an amazing job and I actually think there’s no better replacement. I’m gonna go and see that show actually on the 9th April down here in Florida. I can’t wait. It’ll be the first time I’ve ever seen Accept. I grew up in Buffalo and I don’t think they ever came by Buffalo.
MD: I’ve read there’s a new Blotted Science EP in the works, ‘The Animation of Entomology’ – where are you with that at the moment?
AW: We’re in the process of recording it. It’s something that all of us have to fit in around the other things that we do. Hannes has recorded all the drums and Ron is busy doing the mixing of the drums and stuff like that because Ron’s also the producer of the album. So the drums are recorded over in Germany, the basic tracks get sent to Ron and then he mixes them in Texas and he’s got to record all the guitar parts which he’s done with most of ‘em but he’s still got to do some re-recording. I’m about half way done with the bass or maybe a little bit less than half. I have to check and see but I just practice and practice and practice the different parts of the songs, then just record and move on. But it takes a long time. That stuff is really hard! [laughs]
MD: The first album is amazing so really looking forward to the EP actually.
AW: It’s more of the same kind of music in case anybody’s wondering what it’s gonna be like. As soon as you hear it you’ll know it’s the new Blotted Science.
MD: And you’re synching the music to clips of insects?
AW: Yeah.
MD: You must use clips from Argento’s ‘Phenomena’ – the best horror film with an entomology theme, of course!
AW: Yeah, I haven’t seen that in a long time but I remember there was somebody in a pit full of bugs.
MD: Yeah.
AW: That’s one that we didn’t actually end up using. I’m not at liberty to say which ones we are; I know Ron wants me to keep that secret. It’s a bunch of interesting clips and it’ll look good with heavy music. I think with Ron, you know, if you ever get the chance to interview him he may correct me on this, but he’ll see movies and think they’re cool movies and that there’s interesting stuff going on but he wishes that the music to them was scored better sometimes. So that’s what he’s doing by taking some clips and scoring it with what he thinks it should’ve been…in a really, extreme progressive metal way!
MD: That’s an interesting way to approach it. And I’ve read you’re going into the studio in September this year for a new Cannibal album?
AW: That’s right, yeah. Those are the two things that are keeping me busy.
MD: How are the writing sessions going for that at the moment?
AW: Very good. We’re trying to…what I’ve been trying to do, on the last album I ended up writing seven songs and I was a little concerned that maybe having to work so hard learning the material that I wrote, it kept Pat and Rob from doing a whole lot of writing. They were busy practicing the material that I gave them. What I’ve done is I’ve been trying to lay off the writing for Cannibal just a little bit. You know, I’m holding back just a little bit as far as the amount I’m writing and letting Pat…you know, what’s cool about Pat doing the Slayer thing is he already has a pretty good head start. He’s almost finished with his third song that he wrote by himself whereas on the last album he only did two entirely. So he’s already ahead. What we’d like it to be is probably three to five songs a piece. Most likely we’ll try and make it four – Rob writes four, I write four, and Pat writes four. Paul does lyrics for Pat’s songs and Rob will do lyrics for his own. That’s the plan right now. Whether or not it turns out to be exactly divided that way is hard to say, but I’d like it to be that way. As much as I’m happy with my own songwriting, and I am willing to shoulder the burden of writing the last share of it if necessary, I would rather have it divided up more evenly amongst the band members. It just makes for more variety. As much as I try to inject variety into my songs, there’s nothing that’s going to create more variety than having other songwriters.
MD: The final thing I wanted to ask, there’s been so many things written about Cannibal over the years, but what would you want the band to be best remembered for in, say, fifty years time? Kind of long after you’ve finished playing death metal. Unless you’re still going, of course, with grey hair and…
AW: Yeah, exactly, I’ve got a couple of pretty good grey streaks on each side of my head! [laughs] But, I think, for us we’d like to be remembered as a band that stayed true, and stayed consistent, and was always good to the fans. Consistent in attitude, and consistent artistically, and consistent as workers. Consistency is something that I hope people remember us for, that we never quit and have always been very steady with touring, and that we’ve always stayed true to the style that we started out with. I mean, we’ve had progression here and there but, really, we can play songs from ‘Eaten Back To Life’ right next to songs from ‘Evisceration Plague’ and they don’t sound like they’re written by a different band. There’s still a thread that ties all our material together. So yeah, consistency, that’s what I’d like us to be remembered for if anything.
MD: Good closing words. Okay, thank you so much for your time.
AW: Hey, thank you very much for the interview and, yeah, hope to see you sometime early next year, man. That’s when it’s likely to happen.
MD: Yeah, I’ll definitely come out and see you on tour again. Absolutely, yeah, cool.
AW: Cool, and it’ll be a good lineup too. The wheels are already turning. When we come through it’ll be a sick tour. I can promise that and I can say no more.
MD: Ah, you’ve whet the appetite there, I’ll look forward to that.
AW: Cool, man. Right, well thanks again, man.