“CANNIBAL CORPSE” INTERVIEW
BY: CHERRI BIRD
CANNIBAL CORPSE – PAUL MAZURKIEWICZ – DRUMS
MEMBER SINCE 1988 METAL BLADE RECORDS
CURRENT RELEASE: RED BEFORE BLACK – NOV 3 2017
Alright Metalheads – I need you to reach down…to the very back of your mind to when you first became aware of CANNIBAL CORPSE. Some of you may have flat out just reached back a few years when you saw a shirt of theirs, heard a song or were first introduced to the Mighty band hailing out of Buffalo, NY. But others (myself included) have to pretend like we were Stretch Armstrong and heave hoe that rubber and honey filled toy, all the way back to 1988. Y’all know that’s going to be 30 years in a couple of months, right?
MyLanta. Thirty years since I was in High School. Thirty years ago…mother of pearl. Welp folks, that just about does it for me. Y’all can just pretend there’s an interview typed upon the screen to read. I’m going to slowly go put on my house coat, hang up my fishnets, stir up a nice glass of fiber and wait for it to settle…
Nah, just kidding! Thirty years is a long time, that’s true but it’s just the destinies of PAUL MAZURKIEWICZ (Drums), ALEX WEBSTER (Bass), PAT O’BRIEN: (Guitar), GEORGE “CORPSEGRINDER” FISHER (Vocals), and ROB BARRETT (Guitar). And in the Mystical World of Metal, the destiny of CANNIBAL CORPSE, became a Legend. That sounds like a movie trailer – you know that guy with the deep, raspy voice? Only, it’s in your voice, not his…ever wonder about the inner monologue person is that talks and talks constantly?
I was able to talk briefly to PAUL a few days before they hit the road in support of RED BEFORE BLACK about the album, what’s changed over the last 30 years and what’s on the radar for the next 30.
MHF: Hello? Paul? Paul? Paul? Hello? I just see a black screen. Can you see me or is this just a phone conversation? (F! I hate Skype…
PM: It’s cool, video is cool. Let me switch it – there. The Skype screen flips and Paul’s face appears on my phone – looking like he could be any man in their 40s, mind you. He’s not scary at all and I am thinking as I get the pleasantries out of the way, “if people took the time to get to know someone before the shit slinging begins, there’s be a lot less conflict in the world.”
MHF: Oh there you are! Hi Paul! Man, I had to pull over and do the interview in my car as time got away from me.
PM: I see you’re in your car. That’s cool, no worries. Hello to you and thank you for the interview.
MHF: The pleasure is ours at Metalheads Forever, I know our readers will love that we had the opportunity to chat with you! You’ve been doing this a long time and in my book, a musician with legendary status! thank you for taking a bit of time to talk about your new record RED BEFORE BLACK – is it out now or does it drop next week?
MHF: 14th with the same label. That’s almost unheard of, having the same label for the entire career of a band that’s played for 30 years.
PM: Metal Blade has been good to us. Supporting a band like us hasn’t been easy. We’re doing something right.
CANNIBAL CORPSE has had the brunt of the sharp and pointy, controversy arrow stuck in the heart of their music since their inception. The band has been banned from countries far and wide; even going so far as some countries not letting them perform. In Australia, the band was completely forbidden to sell their records In 2006, all records were finally re-released to fans in the Outback (of course with warning labels and no one under the age of 18 able to purchase…don’t the politicians and people that are motivated by fear realize that creating this kind of buzz around something only makes people want it more? It’s like being told not to push the red button…all you wanna do is push that fucker, right??)
In 1995, US Senator Bob Dole went after CANNIBAL CORPSE and a few hip hop artist claiming that their music gave the American culture a bad rap (pun totally intended) and just a year later, a gaggle of geese with an agenda, lit torches and marched through town calling for record labels to drop bands that created music with offensive lyrics.
Look, come on people – are we really going to sit and say that the actions of some is the voice of us all? Looking back, doesn’t this sound kind of familiar to hot topics in current events? I mean, to me – this formula:of Person A doesn’t like the actions of a group. Person A rounds up others that they either coerce into believing their fear or they hunt those people down that feel the same – and with their agendas in hand, they start sounding off against that group with the sole reason that is based on total fear.
MHF: How was developing, writing, and recording RED BEFORE BLACK different than the other records? Or was it the same?
PM: No differences, really. We approach writing new material the same as we always have. It works, and why change just for the sake of doing something different.We do what we have done.
MHF: When y’all started back in…
PM: 1988. Thirty years ago.
MHF: I was graduating from high school in 1988! Man, that doesn’t seem like thirty years. So back then, did y’all start out knowing that this was going to be what you’d do forever? I mean, did you start the band with the goal to be such a success?
PM: At that point, we’re not even a band that has an identity yet but it grew. We were just moving with the flow, we didn’t know what to expect. Just making music, going crazy, doing what we wanted to. It was definitely cool to be a part of that at the beginning.
MHF: This upheaval, if you will, is making a comeback and there are bands entering with a thrash style or sound that is reminiscent of CANNIBAL CORPSE’s signature sound. Some of these bands are kids – young adults – that love what y’all do. I love that CANNIBAL CORPSE is still relevant.
PM: We need fans – bands need fans to keep going. The older we get the younger they seem to be! We get new fans all the time and it’s awesome when they carry on what we did back then. I mean, some of these kids could be our grandkids, you know?
All of a sudden, Skype freezes with both of our faces frozen on the screen like a picture had been taken as we sneezed, you know the one…your face is all crinkled up like a shar pei puppy, and your eyes are all googly-eyed…this is why I loathe Skype because of the lags even with a full signal….not to mention backing out of the app is impossible. So after a couple of minutes of us frozen, I finally get connected again…
MHF: Alright, well now that we’re connected again…sheesh! Gotta love technology. Where were we? I think that back in 1988, after the rebelliousness of the 60’s happened within music, the late 80’s whirled in and we saw the entrance of bands like CANNIBAL CORPSE, SLAYER, METALLICA – this residual heavy AF metal attack on fans began.
PM: Ya, we products of growing up in the early 80’s and then the scene starts to change with METALLICA, SLAYER, right? All of a sudden you’ve got thrash metal is taking over and death metal begins. I mean, we’re teenagers then. We’re building this as we go, you know? There’s no template, we’re making it, or were. I mean we got signed 6 months after forming! We only had a handful of songs, you know, making our first record.
MHF: In recording this record, did you do anything different in terms of content or the creative process? Or how did the band gear up for this one?
PM: We don’t write our songs with a hit in mind or an agenda, we have made records the same way since the beginning. Why try and change now?
MHF: Another writer on staff has reviewed the record, so I haven’t personally heard it yet but I’m sure it slays and fans will really dig the continuance of a metal legacy!
PM: We hope so! It’s been an uphill climb and were slowly getting better at what we do. I think this record is the best CANNIBAL that we’ve ever done.
MHF: Touring for this record starts this week. Being on the road for you guys is kinda like a second skin – getting on a tour bus for months at a time is something you’ve done forever. How is life on the road changed 30 years later?
PM: We head out in a couple of days and our first show is like November 3rd. You know, it’s just something we do and it doesn’t seem or feel like we shouldn’t be doing what we do. It’s like we started the band got signed and started to tour and then all of a sudden we’re 30 years into it. I can’t see doing anything else.
Truthfully – I can’t imagine doing anything for 30 years straight as a profession, you know? Y’all, this is why bands like CANNIBAL CORPSE play such a huge part of music history in the 20th and 21st centuries. There’s a definitive moment that not only paves the way for the members of CANNIBAL CORPSE, but for bands coming up after them. Whether or not Mr. Dole wants to admit it, things that have happened in so much less of a way than the music of a death metal band. Music has probably saved us from a slew of horrific unspeakable things.
Say what you want about CANNIBAL CORPSE but there is a vastly important reason for their longevity in rock’s history. Life is crazy at times, right? We see things on the “news” that have created far worse reactions in people than music. Music evokes emotions from the listener and I’d venture to guess that for some fans, having CANNIBAL CORPSE as an outlet to get all the feels outcha is far better than keeping them in.
Now that the band is on the road until December, if you haven’t seen them play – go. Go get you a nice dose of CANNIBAL CORPSE, get your rage out and succumb to the intensity of the music to rid you of your willies!
CHERRI BIRD/MHF Magazine