Wednesday, November 1, 2017

CANNIBAL CORPSE - Alex Webster Interview! From The Vaults - 2011

With Cannibal Corpse releasing their new album, "Red Before Black", and hitting the road to support it (playing Seattle on 11/17/17 at Neumo's), I thought it would be fun to dig up my old interview with bassist Alex Webster.
This interview was conducted over the phone back in 2011 - right after the third issue of the hard copy version of Eclectic Arts was published.  
Due to financial issues, the interview never made it to print (sorry Alex - that's on me) at the time, only online.
Now that Eclectic Arts has expanded like crazy since this interview, it's fun to go back and read our conversation - which lasted about an hour on the phone.  
So sit back and check it out!  Cheers!

EA:  Hello this is Mark.
AW:  Hey Mark this is Alex from Cannibal Corpse.
EA:  Hey Alex how’re you doing man.
AW:  Good, sorry I'm a couple minutes late here but are you ready for the interview and everything?
EA:  Oh yeah, I've been sitting here ready to go.
AW:  Ok, cool man, cool.
EA:  So I understand you just got back from vacation?
AW:  Yeah that’s right. Me and my wife were out at the Sierra Nevada mountain area.  Just going through the national parks there. We went to Sequoia national park, Kings Canyon national park and Yosemite which is a really famous one.  So we were just out there for about little over a week.  And it was a lot of fun.  It was cool to be traveling to a certain place and not have it to be something where I’m working. Not that I don’t love my job, but it’s just fun to go and be out in nature and everything. Me and my wife both like nature. When we take vacations it’s usually something like that like going to a national park or something that has to do with nature.
EA:  That sounds nice I can understand that I kept seeing on the dvds and everything else that when you guys are touring you get to a place and it might be a really cool place like when you guys were in Malta, but you don’t get time to really check out too much cause it’s all about business.
AW:  Ah yeah really they don’t calculate time for sleep and for a lot of the touring.  Especially when you’re flying from one show to the other.  But the average day will go something like this: We might arrive at the place where we’re playing around one in the afternoon and then you’re supposed to be over to the venue. Because you don't fly with amplifiers that would be impossible.  Then you end up having to do your soundcheck cause you have to check out all brand new backline, brand new drum kit everything, you do the soundcheck when you arrive. You normally arrive early afternoon maybe late morning if you’re lucky  and you might get to sleep like an hour before soundcheck or something. It’s very hard, you just finished getting off of a plane, going through customs and then you have to try to sleep within an hour and knowing you’re going to have to get back up, it’s not easy.  So then you go redo your soundcheck, find dinner, maybe sleep an hour or something and then you go start getting ready for the show. Then you play the show, by the time the show’s done it’s usually like midnight and it takes awhile to get out of the venue. Get out of the venue like one in the morning or two in the morning, get back to the hotel and you gotta be down to the lobby of the hotel like 5 in the morning to go to the airport because you have to check in 3 hours early.  So you see where I'm going with this.  Any of the shows we were flying from show to show it’s very challenging there's time for nothing other than what you’re there to do and there's barely even time for that it seems.  We would like to eventually be able to afford having days off, but right now it just doesn't fit into our budget to be able to just sit around for a day you know we have to be playing every day to make ends meet pretty much.  I mean we do have a day off once in awhile if there’s nothing we can put on it but most of the time it’s just hustle bustle out there to try make ends meet.  It’s great but boy are we tired by the time we're done with a fly run like that.
EA:  Absolutely. I’ve watched the new dvd probably 3 or 4 times all the way through, it makes me tired watching what you guys go through.  I think a lot of people especially fans of metal bands or just metal in general don’t have a clue exactly what you guys have to go through to put on these shows. They think it’s all five star hotels and just taking it easy and just go down and do the show and just kick back.
AW:  It’s getting your physical body from one place to the other. Keeping it running, in order, by getting plenty of rest and proper food.  It’s actually difficult. And I think the dvd did kind of gets that across.  That was not the original intention.  It just wound up being that way.  Denise traveled with us, Denise K  who’s the filmmaker, she traveled with us and she didn’t know what to expect. And we hadn’t done that extensive of a festival run before either.  We had done other things.  We were flying every day.  In Australia we fly every day pretty much.  We’re  flying from show to show.  The cities are too far away from each other to do a bus tour and same thing in South America.  We’re flying every day.  We have been through those exhausting things before and we knew this festival run would be that way cause we were going to all these different countries here there everywhere, very little time to sleep and then having Denise along.  What’s she going to film?  She’s going to film us doing what we’re actually doing.
What we’re actually doing isn’t glamorous.  It’s waiting in line again and again in hot airports.  Airports are all warm temperatures. They’re always hot no matter what time of year it is, but it’s summer time so we’re always standing there lugging gear around.  We were hoping that we would have more time to hang out and show us walking around some cool buildings in Turkey or something like that, but we just barely had any time to do that. Thankfully Pat got out and did a little bit. He is good about that sort of thing and I like to get out and explore too but I need my sleep.  So any spare minute we had I would be lying down like, for example, when Pat’s first looking at that Turkish guitar and I  loved to be out there doing that same thing too but I was trying to take advantage of that extra time and I would nap and… and get back to 4 to 5 minutes of sleep.  It would have been much more leisurely if she had been riding along with us on a bus tour of Europe.  Because then you’re traveling on a bus an easy way to do it.  When you’re on a bus every day  you  just wake up, you’ve slept 8 to 10 hours or whatever you need  because there’s bunks on a bus and the driver is sleeping during the show and he drives at night while you sleep and it’s perfect.  It’s those flying shows that will really kick your ass.  The fact that which shows for Denise to come along was a mad run because there was so many interesting countries on  it just seemed like it would be lot of fun.  It was cool but I guess there was no way around it conveying a feeling of exhaustion because we were exhausted.
EA:  For me as a fan I actually liked that fact .  it showed it really raw, what it’s like out there and you still get the sense of you guys going to all these different countries and places you haven’t been ever  and you got the sense.  At the same time it showed what it takes and what you guys sacrificed to pull off these shows and it really is a job in that sense because like you’re getting minimal sleep at best and you’re having to scrounge around for food and you’ve got schedules you have to get up and be down in the hotel lobby at four in the morning and all this other kind of stuff.  The average fan is like, I didn’t know they had to do that.
AW:  You don’t have to do it when we’re on a bus it’s a different story.  It could be a pain in the ass certain things on a bus tour but it’s minor compared to when you’re flying every day.  That’s when it could be kinda cruel and it’s still just the lack of sleep.  The drudgery of waiting in line and all that crap if we were just able to schedule so that we had a day off every other day, one day travel, one day to be there and play the show,  and  go to bed and get a full night’s sleep, that would be ideal, but we really can’t do that and most touring bands don’t, because you need to be playing on Friday and Saturday night.  You need to at least have those two days in a row.  It’s kind of hard.  Believe me we didn’t set out to make it something like “wow, look at how hard this is”, it just wound up being that way.  Denise was in charge in how the dvd was put together.  Any of the dvds that Denise has done for us she’s really been in complete charge of how the story was put across.  She just edited it in such a way that it’s gonna have this kind of vibe or that kind of vibe.  She was just as tired as the rest of us.  There’s no way around it there was really nothing else to film except for us doing our thing every day.  Being in airports every day.
EA:  How did you guys get involved with Denise because I know she did Century of Torment.  I thought that was just an amazing compilation of you guys getting to the present.
AW:  Denise has a lot of experience in the music documentary field.  She has worked for VH1, MTV and also when we met her she was working for Much Needed it was called at the time.  I don’t know what Much Needed on Fuse.  I haven’t watched any of those channels in awhile, but they had that show Uranium and she filmed us for an interview and Uranium sent a crew down, actually Julia she did an interview with us for that particular episode when we met Denise.  Denise was asking the questions off camera and  that’s how we met her.  It was for Kill.  When we were having a listening party for the press at Mammoth Studios in St Petersburg…studio.  After the album was finished, they had the press come down and take a listen and Uranium was part of that.  We met Denise and she seemed really cool and we saw her again the following  summer on… underground she  was doing a dvd…  we really liked how she just followed the band around.  She was just right there with them all the time and it was just cool.  She was there but not intruding somehow.  That’s really her style.  Like she’s just one of your friends and she’s got a camera.  We found her to be very trustworthy as far as not putting things on there that we wouldn’t want people to see, whatever, not that there’s things we’re trying to hide, but nobody’s at their best 100% of the time.  We could just trust her to protect our privacy and that’s…I should say... We want to give our fans as much as we can of ourselves, but still…a bit of privacy.  We’re pretty open, I think, we’re quite open.  We’re open more open than most maybe, but still you want to protect your privacy and have someone you can trust filming you and  Denise is definitely is like that. You can trust for sure.  Be respectful of your privacy and that sort of thing.
EA:  From watching those two dvds, she’s really good at walking that line of bringing the fan into every little aspect but not every aspect  of things.  There should be areas that I don’t even really know as a fan.
AW:  Since it’s our dvd, she’s respectful of that and I’m sure if she was put in a position where she was doing maybe like an investigative kind of documentary or something  she would be more aggressive with it .  But with us, like for example, in Centuries of Torment it was up to George whether he wanted to have his kids in the dvd.  It’s not something that Denise would have pushed.  Because he was comfortable with it, yes.  She’s not going to take more than you offer.  I get the feeling when I see some of these reality shows on tv and that sort of thing, some of the people have been duped into exposing more things then they wanted to or over…She’s really good at walking the line and keeping it at a level that we’re comfortable with.
EA:  I think she’s done an amazing job .  I’ve seen so many different official music dvds and I’ve got a bunch of bootleg stuff from back in the day and just watching how she’s done these last 2 dvds and man if she does anything else with you guys I’m definitely buying it because of how she’s put you guys across.  I think it’s been one of the better dvds.
AW:  She’s really good with those and I’m sure at some point somebody really big is going to hire her and it’ll kinda blow up for her, you know what I mean, like her career.  Her and us we kind have that in common.  We’re at a high level in the underground but we’re not like mainstream.  Cannibal Corpse is a death metal brand.  It’s still underground you’re not going to hear it on the radio.  We’re probably as well known as we ever been right now, but it’s still relatively speaking underground music compared to I don’t know who you know like Metallica or Korn or something like that.  Obviously we don’t sell even 5% of what those bands sell.  Not even close.  Same thing for her.  It would be great to see her get to work with one of those bands I mentioned.  Something enormous like that, cause I know she’s got the skills to do that.  To do a great job for the top level.  What people don’t know it’s really her and just one assistant that do all the editing.  She’s does all the camera work and then puts it all together too.  All the research about our career.  She wasn’t a big Cannibal Corpse fan when we hired her.  She’s a fan of metal, but she only had peripheral knowledge of our band. But she immersed herself in it and put this whole story together and ended up being more precisely remembered and retold than any of us would have been able to alone. Tracking down information for Centuries she pieced it together.  I’m glad she did it when she did it cause the longer you wait the more you forget.  It’s been 20 years or so since we all got together.  Better now than in another 20 years trying to remember all that stuff.  She’s fantastic.  If we do another dvd, it’s very likely it will be with her.
EA:  Awesome, awesome.  You know when you talk that Cannibal’s still an underground band, but at the  ceiling but you haven’t pushed through the ceiling basically.  One thing I definitely want to talk about because I have a music background, is how cool is it that you have a signature bass with Spector?
AW:  It’s awesome. Because Spector is…you can ask anybody who plays bass and we’re talking bass aficionado, they’re gonna put Spector, no matter what their preferences are, Spector will always be like in the top 5.  I mean there’s a lot of great companies, but for me they were always pretty much number 1.  Them and Modular.  Those are the two basses I’ve been playing for years.  I like some other basses Thunder and Ibanez are good too, but Spector and Modular were my top choices.  Spector that’s who I’ve been recording with for like 8 years now just because they sound so incredible.  Getting one made for me by this company it’s a real honor to have a signature model with Spector and it’s great because you have an opportunity to put together your ideal instrument with the best company.  I can’t ask for more, it’s awesome.
EA:  I can only dream about, since I play guitar, if someone from Gibson or somebody said, hey we want to make a Mark Sugiyama signature guitar I’d just be flipping out, like holy crap.
AW:  It’s a trip, definitely because we’ve done a lot, but it’s the first time I’ve had something like that and I don’t take it lightly.  Like I said I’m very honored to have a signature model with Spector and Pat’s got a signature model with B.C. Rich.  Rob has a custom model as well.  Now all 3 of us have custom models.  It feels good that death metal has finally earned from the music community in general to be taken seriously by companies and that sort of thing.  You know I can understand if you’re from a more traditional kind of music and that’s what you’ve grown up with and then you hear death metal you might not know what to do with it and then you see it.  A lot of people didn’t take it seriously at first.  I do understand why.  I always took it seriously, but I can see where some people who weren’t familiar with it or who weren’t into metal at all then they hear this kind of music and they might have been like oh what was that.  What is this, is it serious, what’s the deal.  And I think  people realize… these guys are good players.  Death metal musicians are really great players most of the time.  I think most of the modern metal, death metal bands have pretty much good players and a lot of them are some of the best you’re going to find in any kind of metal.  There’s some seriously top tier musicians in the death metal scene and I think people have realized that.  People not just in the death metal scene have known it all along, but people outside of the scene.
EA:  Right and that’s one thing that’s been kinda cool about the zine that I’ve been doing is that I have different artists from all genres, not even just musicians, but artists and painters and I’m going after food people and actors, but even in the music realm someone who’s like a  singer/songwriter can  be interviewed like the one I’m doing with you actually and say I don’t know who Cannibal Corpse is or who Alex Webster is, but they can read through the interview and say man, they’ll have an interest or at least a respect for what you guys do and that’s kind of what I’ve been looking for for everything in anybody that I interview with.  I grew up with metal.  It’s my foundation.  But I listen to other types of music too and I think there’s a lot of other people out there in the same boat.  I’m pretty fortunate that I have some of these hard core black metal bands like Satanic Warmaster, Maniac Butcher that wanted to be interviewed.  Then I have someone like Vienna Teng a singer/songwriter that wants to do an interview too and they’ve actually read their interviews in the first issue that came out and said wow that was really great I actually found some of the other artists interesting.  Cool, that was kind of the whole goal of my media outlet,
AW:  It’s very cool.  It’s something most artists, musicians have in common is that they’re not only interested in their one little chosen field.  I’ve really focused on death metal, obviously and some other type of metal, progressive stuff…I like generally all metal, but I’m focused on death metal .  I like art, I like movies, I like…  I’m interested in all those things.  Having a magazine that features different kinds of interest in art and music.  That’s such a good idea.  Things don’t have to be so tightly focused like a magazine that’s strictly extreme metal, a magazine that’s strictly about art or whatever.  It’s kinda cool to mix it up.
EA:  Yeah, well that’s what I’m going for so will see what we get with this whole thing.
AW:  Yeah, cool.  I look forward to seeing it.  It’s not very often I do interviews with print media.  I say it’s like one out of every ten these days.  It’s usually it’s just web zines these days or web? radio or something.  So it’s fun to be in print.  The printed page still carries a weight that computer screen does not.  Maybe that won’t be the same for future generations but for guys like me who grew up with magazines, it’s just means more.  Being in a zine, with all due respect to the web zines there’s something about the printed page that carries more weight.
EA:  I love the quote that you just said because I think we’re probably about the same age group I’m going to be turning 41 next month.  
AW:  I’m 41, so yeah we are pretty much.
EA:  We grew up with records and tapes, cds, buying magazines and boxes of fanzines and all that kind of stuff.  I can appreciate what the internet’s done and mp3, but there’s still something about that tangible aspect of having something in my hand that I will never get tired of.  I almost prefer it actually.
AW:  I love magazines.  To me a magazine is better than reading an iPad magazine.  That may change.  I messed around with a friend’s iPad  looking at Time magazine.  I was just thinking I’d rather have Time magazine in my hands right now.  So there’s still something about it.  Like I said that might change.  These pads might be so unbelievable. They will be.  If things keep going the way they’re going, I’m sure magazines will be one of those that sticks around longer than the rest.
EA:  I agree.  I’ve got some friends that have kindles and nooks and they’re great for books, particularly when they go on vacation, they can have 100 books at their disposal or whatever, but reading a magazine I don’t want to be sitting on the toilet with my kindle reading a magazine.   If I’m in bed, I don’t want to be looking at my laptop, I just want to have the damn thing in my hands.
AW:  Books less so, magazines for sure are gonna be survivors of the digital age at least in the short term.  Cds, you know record companies and stuff like that.  It’s funny, I’m talking about late 90’s, I’m getting close to 30 and everything, I was born in 69 so late 90’s the band had already put out 5 or 6 records what am I going to do when I get older.  Well maybe I’ll try to start a label.  Well, I’m not trying to start a label now.  It doesn’t seem like too many people are starting labels in 2011.  I’m not saying that it’s impossible to start one, but I would be discouraged at how easy it is to steal product.  So I don’t see record labels as being a strong business prospect as the years go by unfortunately.  It’s just the truth and I don’t see that changing for the better.  I don’t see the trend reversing at all cause? not everyone wants to buy cds again.  I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like in 20 years when you see how quickly things have changed just in the past 10.
EA:  Right, when you could look back and say remember when we use to actually download those old mp3’s.
AW:  There could be something completely different where you just have a device that streams everything that exists.  It’s very possible that they’ll make something like that where like your cell phone where they’ll have an app that streams all recorded music and you pay five bucks a month for it or something like that.  I’m sure someone’s working on that.  And that wouldn’t be the end of it.  Music is something you record to help promote your tour.  Cause you won’t be able to fill it.
EA:  Yup, when I’ve been going around to some of the local independent cd stores, I mean the few that are left here in Seattle, it has crossed my mind “how long are these guys going to be around” because most of them are already dried up anyway.  So another 5 years 10 years whatever, they’re going to need another way to keep themselves in business.
AW:  Times change, it happens.  I don’t think it’s going to be making a comeback.  And that’s a shame. I hope that print media does not go in the direction entirely.  Sure, I have a kindle too and I’m one of those guys who buys more books than he has time to read.  I have a stack like of about six books that I need to get to.  I need to read this sometime or I gotta read that.  I read a handful of books a year and buy like four more than I need.  If I read six books a year, I might buy ten that same year.  So I’ve got some print books.  The kindle I haven’t even needed to load up with anything.  I got it for Christmas.  I love books.  I like paper books.  Kindle’s cool too.  I can see it being really useful on tour.  A paper book is great if someone sits on it or something like that.  I can see that little kindle I have being completely being cracked in half if I leave it on the bus couch by mistake for five minutes while I go to the bathroom.  Book are gonna be around for awhile.
EA:  I hope so.  I hope that’s one of the medias that doesn’t go the way of the dinosaur kind of thing and also of a certain generation.  I like to collect things.  So if I have my books on my bookshelf, or my cd collection or my records, it’s kinda cool cause I have that whole library to pull from.
AW:  I like having a library in front of me too.  I have a couple of bookshelves full of books and I actually do have a bookshelf full of vhs tapes that I do have to box those up and put them away cause I just never watch those anymore.  I’ll have all my dvds there instead.  It’s nice just being able to walk up to a shelf and pull off what you’re looking for.  It’s really not worse than putting a word into a search engine.  It’s not that bad.  For all the young people reading it’s okay to look at a bookshelf for what you need.
EA:  One thing that came across the Centuries of Torment dvd was that your fans, co-workers, metal blade people describe you as being very smart and very intellectual and you definitely come across that way in all your interviews even like right now when I’m talking to you.
AW:  Thanks.
EA:  Have you ever considered going back to college to finish your degree or even completely doing something different like teaching music workshops somewhere.  It seems like something you would have an interest in.
AW:  I think about it all the time.  Obviously I love to play in Cannibal Corpse and I love playing death metal.  So I want to do this.  This is my first choice.  So I’ve got my first choice in life  and most people aren’t so lucky so I’m very grateful that I’ve been this lucky and I’m not gonna pass it up.  So my whole thing was like I’ll go back to college when the band is not happening anymore.  When we’re not doing it anymore for whatever reason, the band breaks up.  Everybody in Cannibal we all appreciate what we have so much that we’re not gonna give up on it.  So it hasn’t been an opportunity for me to do that, but I think about it sometimes that it would be great to go back to college and do this or do that, cause now I’m actually more interested in learning.  When I was going to college the first time, I did like the classes a lot, but I also really was distracted by wanting to make the band happen.  I think I’d been going for like 2 ½ years, 5 semesters I did and then we started the Butchers of…tour.  Okay, I’ll see how this goes and then maybe come back.  Well, I never came back, because we never stopped.  Eden…we didn’t tour, but Butcher…we got booked for real tours and it just happened right up and like I said it’s my first tour so I’m very happy about it.  Part of me, I didn’t mind college, college was fun, you take classes about interesting things.  That’s why I like to encourage high school-aged kids that are reading this, stick it out… high school and then go to college, because in college you can take cool classes.  Like I took sociology and deviant behavior, sociology and crime, all this cool stuff.  I was undeclared so I was like, that looks cool.  I took all these classes that looked interesting.  I wanted to go to class.  I encourage everybody to go to college if they can.  It’s fun.  You’re in fun classes and there’s a bunch of people your age around and they want to be there.  Where in high school, you’re definitely in class with a lot of people who don’t want to be there.  It’s not very positive of an atmosphere.  Way more positive of an atmosphere in college, definitely.  I would have loved to finish, but I definitely can’t complain about how things turned out.
EA:  One of the artists that I interviewed for the first issue, she’s got a really interesting background that she had graduated from Stanford, she was working on songs at the same time when she got a job at a computer software company for like two years, but she was getting that pull like this isn’t where my heart is, I really want to be doing music so she dropped everything and did her music for 10 more years and right now she’s at this point where she’s actually put her music on the backburner and she’s back in school going for her masters.  It’s crazy that she’s that decisive or that it’s just the right moment in her life.  It’s very fascinating to hear her talk about I don’t want to give up on my music and I’ve built it up for ten years but I just really feel that this is what I want to be learning more about, sustainability and some of the things she’s studying.
AW:  It’s a bold move.  To be honest, with Cannibal we’re making an ok living at this point.  It took a long time to get here so you can get into a little bit of a comfort zone, so to actually expand on the last question that we were talking about, I have tried to do some different things that push me a little bit and sometimes…a little bit differently.  We haven’t done a press release on this yet, but I figure they will pretty soon, but I’m doing a book for Hal Leonard.   They haven’t told me I couldn’t talk about it, but you’re the first person I’ve told officially.  I’ve told some people, some friends of mine about it.  I’m doing a book about extreme metal bass for Hal Leonard and I wrote it.  I’ve always enjoyed writing, I’ve did well in that in college.  For a guy’s who’s not really a writer, I got exempt from English 101.  I was like 1 of 5 people that were exempt from it.  They put me in English 102 based on my entrance essay.  I guess I just had a knack for organizing the things I write and that’s what they look for.  How well things are organized and how you handle a beginning, a middle and an end.  And how people really don’t do that if they’re not interested in writing, they don’t really care.  I can do that and I did well and I remembered that I’d  done well and I’ve always really liked the technical side of music.  Music theory and that sort of thing.  A lot of our fans, that are bass players would ask me about how do you do this, how do you do that, why did you choose this scale, why did you choose that one, these kind of questions.  So I kept thinking it would be great to do a book that answers those questions because there really is no book about extreme metal bass.  So I worked on that last year during all the spare time between tours and recorded a cd to go with it.  It’s just programmed drums, but it’s me playing bass and a special guest guitarist that will be announced I guess in the press release, not that it’s that huge of a deal, but it’s going to be something cool and I know it would have been a book I would have thought would’ve been helpful when I was getting started.  I hope people like it.  I put a lot of work into it.  I think it would be helpful for intermediate level metal bass players that are looking to move forward a little bit and just answer some questions cause there’s not.  When I got started playing bass,  there were a lot of different tours going on in thrash metal,death metal, I was like “what do I do during this part.  Should I try playing exactly what the guitar is doing”.  There’s no book that you could buy that was showing you how to play bass during a fast thrash song or something.  This book does some of those things and kinda fills in the void.  I’m surprised the void is still there after 20 something years of this kind of music being around, but it is.  If there was a book out, I would have already bought it, so I had to write it.
EA:  That’s awesome.  Like you’re saying, it’s like one of a kind.  I can’t think of anything that’s even close to a book about bass playing for metal.
AW:  I know there’s a couple of heavy metal bass books floating around, but they don’t cover the kind of stuff that I’m going to cover, like speed picking and rhythms and things like that. If there’s anything to cover, I will cover.  I stand corrected if there is a pre-existing publication out there, but I look around for this kind of stuff, so I’m pretty sure there isn’t.  That’s me kinda getting out the educational side, my genes.  My dad’s side of the family .  My grandparents on his side, both were teachers and actually his brother is a professor at college.  I definitely got that bookworm kinda thing going on on his side of the family.  Something I definitely am raised and comfortable with.  People know when they talk to me, I didn’t expect to be getting a history lesson when I came up to talk to you.  I’ll go on and on about those kind of things, if you get me started.
EA:  Your background for the average person or someone who’s not familiar with death metal or Cannibal or anything like that is that they have that whole judging a book by its cover and then they see you, hear you and in this case read what you have to say.  This guy actually has something going on upstairs.  He’s not some wacko…
AW:  People with long hair immediately assume that I’m the dude to ask for weed.  I don’t smoke pot, I barely even drink.  I have people, completely legit, normal looking people have walked up to me and, “hey dude you know where I can get… a smoke?”  First of all, they’re calling me “dude” and I’m an adult, you don’t have to call me “dude” you can call me “sir” and they just feel comfortable.  That’s just how it is, people just judge books by the cover.  Nothing wrong with being a pothead either.  Definitely have no problems with anybody, I have plenty of friends who smoke pot and I see no problem with it, but I don’t do that.  I’ve seen all kinds of people.  People just judge a book by the cover.  It’s natural, it’s normal and I actually don’t really hold it against them, it’s just how people are.  I think all of us kind of do that to a degree.  If people think that Cannibal Corpse are a bunch of Neanderthal’s at first glance, then I can forgive them for that, but on closer inspection you’ll find there’s a lot more there.
EA:  How do you guys feel about FaceBook and Twitter?  Is that something important to keep your fan base these days or will use them when we want to or what are your thoughts on the whole thing?
AW:  I think it’s pretty important.  I couldn’t say exactly how much.  I do the twitter thing.  None of the other guys in the band do.   The Cannibal Corpse stuff is done by our management which under entertainment they have one guy, Rick who takes care of posting stuff for us.  It’s just stuff that comes usually from the publicist anyhow.  The actual band page is pretty dry.  Like, here’s our tour dates, here’s a new shirt that we have, here’s a new interview with George or something.  The personal ones are kinda fun.  That’s how we connected, me and you for this interview.  I think it’s pretty important.  I like to communicate with the fans.  I’m not able to do with everybody that’s… famous I just hope that I’m going to learn a lot, but I honestly don’t have time to answer everything.  I would just be doing it all day, every day.  Unfortunate that a lot of people have a lot of questions for me. Facebook, I’ll look at the headline subject, should I do an interview or if it’s somebody I actually know, I’ll check those ones first.  If there’s a whole bunch of messages.  I think it’s a good thing.  People like to be connected with some musicians or artists who have done something meaningful to them.  I think what we do, sometimes, how it affects my life being a musician.  It’s not really important is it.  You’re not curing cancer, you’re not a fireman, you’re not saving people. Sometimes it feels like what we’re doing is not that important.  But then I think the music that I love, it’s really important to me.  And I’m really happy that the musicians who did it, made it.  Even they’re not saving the world or whatever, they definitely made the world a lot more fun for me. I’m definitely glad that the dudes in Iron Maiden didn’t do something else with their lives because I love Iron Maiden and my life is better for them having made it back and made the music that they did using that as an example.  Music’s not the most important thing in the world, but it’s pretty important.  So, for people to be able to be in touch with you and that kind of thing, I think it’s good.  I know I like it.  I like having a little interaction with the bands that I really like.  Being able to meet them, even if it’s real brief and having that be a good experience.  It’s cool.  These social things are good.  If a guy wants to do it, it’s cool, if he doesn’t, that’s cool too.
EA:  One of the things that you can hold true to is that.  So many bands say we’re all about the fans.  If it’s Manowar or KISS or anybody else.  I met you guys and the way you guys are on dvds are exactly how you are in person.  You’re like regular metalhead fans basically.
AW:  We try too.  It’s something where people might think they’re going to be really pumped up about meeting the fans in the beginning and then it’s going to get old.  But for me I think I spend more time with the fans after shows now that I’m older.  Before, when I was young and I was single, I’d be looking for girls and drinking with the guys in the other bands.  We’d actually would hang out with our fans, but there was also a lot of partying going on.  Now I don’t party.  After the show, it’s time to go talk with people and see what they thought of the show and just talk with them in general about whatever.  I’d just hang out until pretty much until people are sick of hearing me talk or it’s time for the bus to leave or whatever.  I’m happy to hang with everybody if they’re interested.
EA:  I never thought about that.  It would definitely make sense that as you’ve gotten older you’ve left that stuff behind.  Now you’re married and you’re not partying that much or not at all, so I have time to talk with the fans and see what they think about the show and whatever else is out.
AW:  Half the time we end up talking about something totally different, like video games or sports or different bands, different musicians.  We’ll end up not really having the conversation focus on me or Cannibal Corpse.  It’ll just be a couple of metalheads talking with each other.  It’s cool, I like it.
EA:  George kind of addressed in the dvd about you never forget where you came from, the people who put you where you’re at.  Is that the mentality that all of you guys basically have.  You guys have been doing this for 23 years and you’d think that at some point you’d think your ego would grow a little bit.
AW:  I’ve said this before, it’s not something I just came up with at the top of my head, but I think it’s worth repeating.  That’s why I’m going to say it now. How many people have a job, where you finish the job, as you leave your place of work there’s 50 people waiting to tell you what a great job you did.  Think about that.  Why wouldn't you want to talk to fans?  That’s what always confused me was bands that kinda hide out on the bus and don’t want to don’t want to hang out with their fans.  Why not?  Usually they have the kindest, nicest things to say to you.  Who wouldn’t want that?  It doesn’t make sense to me actually that someone would want to avoid that positive reinforcement on the job you just did.  It’s always this overwhelmingly positive experience.  You try not to let it go to your head, for sure, but who knows if there’s some of kind of self-conscious thing that constantly everyday having people tell you you did a great job and wow you kick-ass you just gotta take it in stride.  For me, the way to keep it in check is to watch bass players who shred me and that helps.  I watch other bands I feel are doing a better job than we are in certain areas. I’m not going to discuss any perceived weaknesses I have in our band in an interview.  That’s probably not a wise thing.  There’s always things that we could improve on.  When I hear someone tell me I’m the best bass player in the world I know that that’s not my opinion.  My opinion is that hundreds are better than me and I’m just always going to try and get better.  I’m just not going to let it go to my head, but it is nice.  It’s completely nice to get that positive reinforcement from people.  I really appreciate it.  It’s got to go to your head a little bit.  I hope it doesn’t, you try not it, but how can it not, I guess.  There’s no other situation like it where you have this many people tell you that you are doing a good job.  We do our very best not to ever be arrogant.  We try to concentrate on our own weaknesses and kinda dwell on the negative stuff to keep us improving as a band and also to keep us levelheaded.
EA:  You guys do an amazing job of it.  I remember after one of the shows I saw you at in Seattle, I went up to Paul and asked if he would sign the cd and all that kind of thing.  I thanked him and he was like “no, thank you”.  I was like “what?”  Is he thanking me for coming to the show, bringing the cd and everything and  I remember talking to Jack and Corpse Grinder and yourself, all of you were exactly the same way.  Just totally down to earth regular kinda guys.  You guys are absolutely no bullshit when it comes to how you come across in any format, movie that type of thing.  You’re doing it right the way I look at it.
AW:  Thanks man.  It’s just the way we’d want it to be if we met a band that we were into.  We want our fans to feel great having met us.  Not like, wow I love that’s guy’s music, but he’s a dick.  I want them to go home and say “wow, that guy was really nice to me” and it makes me feel good that I like his band because he treated me well.  Anytime someone meets me I want it to be a good experience.  If I’m in a bad mood, I’ll definitely stay away until I’m feeling better cause I don’t ever want someone to meet me on a shitty day.  Like on a day when I’m just not myself for whatever reason.  That doesn’t happen too often, but occasionally I’ll stay away until I’m in a better mood .  Like if something in my personal life is bothering me or something like that.  I always want it to be great experience for the fans anytime they meet us.
EA:  That also means you know yourself pretty well.  That way if you’re not in the best of moods, you know I’ll hang back and not put myself out there, cause I might say something that’s gonna piss somebody off.
AW:  I’m pretty good even when I’m grouchy about that sort of thing, but why take the risk.  I want to give everybody my best.  When I’m not at my best I’m aware of it.  It doesn’t happen too often, but nobody’s perfect and everybody has bad days.  I’ve learned over the years that you learn to know yourself a little bit like hey maybe I need to sit down and have a drink of water or something…  I just an argument with somebody or something and I shouldn’t be in public right now.  Just for a couple of minutes I need to cool down.  Because I want to give everybody my best.  Anything less, I would be unhappy with myself.
EA:  Can I ask you a couple of random questions before we wrap this up?  One thing I’ve always wondered with you guys especially from watching the dvds is isn’t there something you can do with your stinky ass, sweaty clothing you have all over the bus?  Can you put them in a Thule that you put on top of the tour bus and put some holes in it and have the air dry that fucker out?
AW:  I wish there was something we could do with it.  The buses aren’t ours, we rent them, so there’s nothing much we can do.  And those kind of clothes, I don’t think people really know the just exact kind of smell it is.  It’s like wet clothes that never dry because you keep sweating in them day after day.  And we don’t really get a chance to do laundry unless there happens to be a laundromat within walking distance from the club which for some reason that doesn’t happen very often.  So we have these clothes that just stink.  It’s not stinking like armpit sweat, fortunately, which is a little worse, but it gets this weird kind of ammonia, vinegar kind of mix.  It’s not pleasant.  It’s no fun putting those clothes on.  Especially like the day before it’s really hot, but then you’re putting the clothes on and it’s 65 degrees in the club or something really cool and you’re putting on these cold, wet jeans and cold, wet t-shirts and they smell terrible.  We’re still working on that problem.  Believe me, we put some thought into it. We’ve tried a few different things.  We tried hanging them in the trailer.  That worked sometimes, but the crew guys at the end of night won’t really give a shit  about keeping our clothes from falling on the floor and that sort of thing.  They try to be good about it, but mostly they’re trying to get done with the day, getting the gear in there and sometimes our stuff will fall.  Sometimes because it’s being bounced around in the trailer.  The trailer bounces more than the bus itself.  Then you’ll have wet clothes that also has all this dirt and stuff that’s in the trailer and gear all over it, and that’s even worse.  We have not found a good solution.  That’s one stupid problem that we’ve been having for years.  We still can’t get past it.  The backroom is always the funk lounge.  It stinks in there.
EA:  In the future, even if it was like for a one-off show or something maybe a little more than that, would you ever consider having Jack come back and you would have 3 guitarists in the band?  Granted it would be wall of sound, but I think it would be really interesting.
AW:  It’s not impossible, but we have no plans for anything like that.  We’re definitely still friends with Jack and Jack was obviously a huge part of Cannibal being an original member, having been in for so many years and having written so many songs and everything.  It’s not something I’d rule out completely.  We would never do the 3 guitar thing like what Iron Maiden’s doing right now.  It wouldn’t be right for us, but it’s not impossible that we’d have him up there as a guest.  Maybe if us and Deicide were touring.  If us and Deicide were touring, we’d have to have Jack come up for at least a song, definitely.  If it was something like that where we were seeing each other every day, why the hell not?  People would probably be expecting it.  Nothing we would rule out, but we’re not going to go out of our way to do it, but if we were on tour and he wanted to.  Like I said, if us and Deicide were touring I betcha something like that would happen.  If it was cool with everybody in both bands, I wouldn’t be against it.
EA:  Do you ever think you guys would do something, speaking of Deicide, kinda like looking at the big 4  Metallica, Slayer and all of those guys have been doing those shows together of having Cannibal, Deicide, Obituary and Morbid Angel doing a big 4 of death metal?
AW:  We’ve talked about that kind of thing.   The money is not the same.  Unfortunately money’s a factor cause we’re all grown men and have bills to pay.  Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer, Megadeth four of those bands put together they can demand a hundred dollar ticket and get huge guarantees and it’s going to work business-wise.  But us, Obituary, Angel and Deicide playing together might not pull, like a tour like that might not pull that many more people than any one of us could do alone.  Let’s say the 6 or 700 people that we get when we play are probably the same 6 or 700 people that Deicide would get, or Morbid Angel would get or Obituary would get.  So having all 4 of us together, we’d still all want to get paid reasonably well, so the ticket price would be a whole lot.  It would be a very expensive ticket I think.  It’s really business considerations.  We’re friends with all those bands.  Those guys are  buddies of ours.  We all live in the same city.  I see somebody from Morbid Angel, Deicide or Obituary every month.  I’ll see guys from those 3 bands all the time.  I see Kelly from Atheist fairly often too even though he lives down in Sarasota.  He’ll come up to the Tampa Bay area to see some shows.  The friendship thing is there and the mutual respect as musicians is there.  It’s just getting it together financially that’s the big stumbling block.  We’d be totally down for doing something like that, but I don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up because I think business-wise it might be pretty hard to pull off.
EA:  What else is left to conquer for you guys?
AW:  The goal of making the best record that we’ve ever done.  I think that’s something that every good band should be trying to do.  Trying to make the best record with every record you do and we feel like we could still make our best record.  That’s what we’re currently trying to do.  We’re actually home writing right now.  We’re trying to make the best record we can.  That’s a good motivator there, just to keep things going.  There’s a lot of places that we haven’t played yet that we want to play.  We want to go to India.  We want to play Southeast Asia.  We want to go to places like Thailand, Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia.  We know that there’s a great following for extreme metal in all those countries.  We’d like to check them all out.  There’s been places we haven’t been yet.  We want to go to South Africa.  We want to play everywhere.  Anywhere there’s fans of death metal and where we can actually play without there being government problems or whatever.  It’s a bummer because there’s actually a bunch of death metal fans in Iran, but Cannibal Corpse is not playing in Iran anytime soon.  Unfortunately, it really sucks that we can’t, but it’s just not gonna happen because of the nature of the politics over there.
EA:  You guys are planning on recording in the Fall, is that correct?
AW:  Yes, we’re gonna be recording.  The band is to go to El Paso, TX and we’ll probably recording in September and October.  We’re gonna record for…he’ll be the producer.  So that’s the current plan.  Hopefully that will mean we’ll get the record out in January or February 2012 because once we get it recorded and we have to get the packaging ready and get the distribution lined up and all that kind of stuff.  So it takes about 3 or 4 months after the record’s actually in the can as they say, to get it on the shelves.  If there’s any shelves left to put it on.  It’ll be released sometime in early 2012.
EA:  Have you guys ever thought about just like with Centuries of Torment dvd putting a historic retrospective in a book form?  It’s kinda ironic that you mentioned that you’re doing a musician thing for bass playing but I thought it would be interesting to see a big fat coffee table book about the band.
AW:  We’ve been talking with a writer that we’re friends with who’s written a few books like that.  It’s very possible we’ll end of doing something and it won’t really be a photo thing as much as it will be the story.  Centuries of Torment  is over 3 ½ hours long, but it’s covering over 20 years of history.  And a lot more happened than 3 ½ hours can cover.  There’s still plenty of interesting stories that we can cover.  There’s plenty of things that when we look at it now where we go now “wow, we should have put that in the dvd”. In hindsight you think of interesting stories that could have also been in that, but I think 3 ½ hours is still plenty.  That was about as short as she could make it.  There’s still plenty more to tell and when its written, it’ll be more detailed in the story.  Like little details about certain things that happened that people might find interesting.  That’s the kind of stuff you can cover in a book that would get tedious in a dvd.
EA:  Fifteen maybe 20 years ago, there was a special on the Rolling Stones and they were showing Mick Jagger and Charlie Watts literally looking through every t-shirt design, every piece of merch they were putting out and they were changing logos and art.  They were totally involved.  How involved are you guys with your merchandise?
AW:  Pretty much.  We help with a lot of the decision making regarding which designs get used and things like that.  Occasionally something gets by that we weren’t really into.  That happened more in the old days when we were in less control of things like.  For example, there’s an album cover for Hammer Smashed Face ep that was released in Europe that we did not approve and we didn’t even know it existed.  Metalblade had just given the rights to that.  They didn’t use the cover that we approved.  The one with the hammer in the guy’s head.  We didn’t approve that.  It’s not the worst piece of art I’ve ever seen, but we wouldn’t have approved it to be on one of our albums. So that kind of thing happened back in the old days a lot more.  Now we really learned to take a good amount of control to make sure nothing really corny gets out there.  A lot of people that might be involved with those kind of things they might not understand where we’re coming from, like what we consider to be cool and what they consider to be cool might be 2 different things.  We do have some creative control when it comes to the shirts and that kind of thing.  I have several garbage bags full in my attic of Cannibal shirts from over the years.  I think I might still have some from way back in 1991.  Like when we did our first tour. They made those first tour shirts from 91 tour, pretty sure I’ve got at least one of those stashed away somewhere.  Who knows what kind of condition it’s in after 20 years.  I’ve tried to save 1 of every tour shirt that we used and some of the other designs that we had out.  I tried to get at least one of each of them of I can.  But it’s a lot.  I don’t know what to do with all of these shirts I have in my attic.
EA:  My last question.  In your honest opinion, was this interview a rocket or a funnel?
AW:  It was a rocket.  You did a sky rocket.  It was not a funnel at all.  I’ve done many funnel interviews.  I’ve funneled because the connection is bad or something like that.  Where I’m constantly going “what, can you repeat that?”.  In another country or something like that where there’s a bad phone connection or something, that sucks.  This interview was a skyrocket.  You did a great job.  It was very interesting.  I hope I haven’t bored you to death.  Feel free to edit this down to something that won’t put your readers to sleep.  I completely understand.  It was great talking to you, man.
EA:  Good talking to you too, I really appreciate you doing the interview.
AW:  No problem.
EA:  It’s really cool for me to just again not only Cannibal fans obviously are going to love it, but non-Cannibal people to take an interest in what you guys are doing.  Even if it’s just on a human level or musician level.  Hey, these guys have been doing this for 23+ years there has to be something there.
AW:  I appreciate the opportunity. I saw the picture you sent me of your magazine and everything and thought it looks cool.  Some of the people you had in there and I think you had Russ Freeman from either the Rippingtons or Yellow Jackets?  Is that who I saw?
EA:  Russ Freeman with the Rippingtons.
AW:  Yeah, I mix him up with the guy from the Yellow Jackets.  The Yellow Jackets and the Rippingtons, I kinda put those two together.  I don’t listen to either of them very much, but I’m aware of who they both are.  Both fusion bands.  That’s very cool.  To have the guy from Rippingtons in the same magazine as a guy from Cannibal Corpse or some other extreme metal band is really cool.
EA:  Right.  I talked to Russ on the phone back in March. I was telling him kinda of an opposite thing that here you are being a smooth jazz kinda guy and I’ll be talking to some black metal people and some of this other kinda stuff.  He liked it for the exact same reason.  Most musicians or artists like things outside of their realm as well, but still in the same ballpark.
AW:  It’s really cool.  It’s been an uphill battle for death metal and other kinds of extreme metal to be taken seriously, but I think a lot of progress has been made over the past couple of decades.  It’s come a long way to where people can actually say death metal without it being like a punchline or something.  Like it’s something that demanding respect from people outside of its core following.  I feel great about it and I think everyone on the scene does.  You can just kind of tell it’s accepted on a certain level.  Songs like Fuck With a Knife are never going to be for everybody, but the musicianship and the work that goes into it  I think that people are finally seeing it and that makes me happy that’s for sure.
EA:  Well again thanks alot for doing the interview.  I really appreciate it and I’m looking forward to the new album next year then and hopefully see you guys back here in Seattle.
AW:  Cool, you will for sure, we’ll be back sometime early next year so I’ll see you then, man and thanks so much for the interview.
EA:  Thank you Alex!

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