Tape Wyrm Interviews: Cannibal Corpse Tape Wyrm Interviews: Cannibal Corpse

Relax there is plenty of fucking guts and shit

Rob Barrett is the guitarist for the legendary death metal band Cannibal Corpse. Barrett has been heard on the band’s last two records as well as The Bleeding and Vile during the mid 90’s. Cannibal Corpse’s intensity and focus has only sharpened with the passing years leading to one of their finest and fierce records in years. Torture was released early last month and has been receiving critical praise as well as a healthy revenue with sales. Today, Rob takes time out of of his busy schedule to discuss the new album, the wonder of tacos and that Ace Ventura story.

Tape Wrym: Torture debuted #38 on the Billboard Top 200 Chart. Does it ever feel weird to hear the words Billboard charts and Cannibal Corpse together?

Rob Barett: [laughs] No, we actually hit the Billboard charts before back in the 90’s with the Vile album but top 40 definitely. I never would have imagined that I could say I was in a top 40 band. It was definitely a cool thing to get that high up though. Coming out of the gate it definitely has been the strongest one, to date, of our career. We are starting with some good momentum. With any luck we are starting to promote this album with a tour cycle. As long as we keep it going it will hopefully be our most successful album.

TW: How does Torture compare to Evisceration Plague. Is there any change in style or merely a refinement?  

RB: I think it’s a continuation with what we were doing with the Kill album and Evisceration Plague with some elements from the earlier days like Butchered at Birth or Tomb of the Mutilated. There are a couple of songs that are more stripped down, basic death metal that you would hear on earlier records. “Demented Aggression” is one of those. I feel it’s a good combination of the old style and our recent work.

TW: Ever since Kill (which you returned for) the band seems to have a more intense focus. Is there any noticeable change for the band to do things differently compared to the 90’s?

RB: Atleast for me, I wanted to fill in the spot left by Jack [Owen]. Jack was writing the more stripped down, basic songs out of the three. Pat [O’Brien] and Alex [Webster] write some busy stuff, more on the technical side. So I was trying to even that out but at the same time I was also trying to make all the songs sound different. When we were writing the Torture album, we wanted to have basic songs with catchy parts that people could go crazy to type of thing, but then other songs to be more involved, with more intricacies with more musicianship. But overall, all of us did make a conscious effort to make all the songs have their own identity. I think all of our songs sound different, but then you will always have these haters who are saying all the songs sound the same and blah blah [laughs] it happens.

TW: How has it been working with Erik Rutan and Mana Studios. I believe it is Florida right?

RB: Yeah, his studio is in St. Petersburg Florida. We did the Kill album in its entirety there and we for Evisceration Plague. The thing we did different for Torture, is we flew out to Sonic Ranch Studios in Tornillo, Texas which is abut 40 miles from El Paso. We took Eric out there with us because we wanted a change of scenery. We wanted to be in a secluded atmosphere on a ranch with a bunch of studios where we could concentrate on the record. There was no distractions. No driving to the studio. No thinking about things you have to do around the house.

TW: Were there any other bands in the studios?

RB: There was a reggae band in the other studio, and a couple of other big time bands in whatever music they play. I can’t remember any of their names though. We were just a death metal band at a big studio hanging out with these other bands that were on a much higher scale than us.

TW: Regarding album covers and your relationship with artist Vincent Locke. Do you always plan on having two covers for each album?

RB: At this point in time, unfortunately we have to keep in mind that we will probably need alternate artwork thanks to the open minded censors out there who appreciate artistry. If it were up to us we would have the uncensored version for everybody. Its just turned into this thing that we need different artwork for places like Germany because they can’t handle it. Store chains in particular we need different artwork to get the album sold in more places. For certain music places it is usually because of someone high up who doesn’t like the artwork and they say get it out of the store or some stupid shit like that.

TW: I still thought Torture‘s uncensored album art was still great mostly because I saw it first and had no idea there was more to the picture.

RB: Yeah we were laughing because someone showed the censored art with the hole cut out with just the torturer’s face on it and all these kids were writing in saying “oh my god what a lame cover” and we were thinking, dude your not even seeing the whole cover yet just chill out…relax there is plenty of fucking guts and shit.

TW: You have been a large part of the death metal scene with tenure in important bands. Do you have any thoughts or opinions regarding death metals growth and evolution?

RB: Yeah, I think it is definitely evolving at a healthy rate and a healthy pace. The musicianship level is at an all time high there are so many younger bands that are incredible players. I keep thinking, man I am still not that good now. But then again it is all about writing a good song. You could play like Mozart and not be able to write a good song.

TW: So what about Deathcore, I do not know if your familiar with that style?

RB: Umm… well I am an old school death metal dude so I am not sure what category these newer bands fall into. Is that those bands that jump around a lot and ride the open E kinda shit?

TW: Umm… well I know they do jump around but I do not know music notes so lets say yes.

RB: Yeah…alright so I kinda got an idea. I don’t know any bands that are specifically. Deathcore, as I know it, seems to be bands taking metal and just throwing in their own ingredients to make it…I don’t know more foot stomping? I’m kinda set in my own ways so I don’t know what to say about it. I guess some of its cool but I am not to crazy about it.

TW: You are about to embark on a massive tour with Exhumed and Abysmal Dawn. Anyone in particular you are excited about playing with anyone?

RB: I always love these small headliners club tour where it is just us and a couple of other death metal bands. I think it is really good for the scene as a whole. I know some of our hardcore fans sometimes scoff at us playing with bands from different types of music so its good to be with a few other death metal acts. Plus it gives smaller bands a chance to bring themselves up to the next level so they can start doing headlining tours with other up and coming bands. Its like a chain to keep it alive and to keep it vital.

TW: Your also going to be hitting Hellfest and Graspop with Guns and Roses, Ozzy Osborne, Megadeth, and Slayer. Are you as excited about those dates?

RB: Well most of us in the band prefer the smaller club shows because it seems like you are more connected with the crowd as oppose to those big festivals where you can see how far the people go back. But yeah, [laughs] we are excited doing these festival shows with a bunch of bands. When are you ever going to play a show with Guns N Roses. Who would have ever thought that?

TW: So who would you say has been your favorite band that you played with?

RB: Slayer. For sure. That is a pretty easy one. They have always been a main influence for me and the rest of the guys in the band. That was always something in the back in my mind. I said I could pretty much be content in my career if I ever toured with Slayer and we ended up doing Mayhem fest with them. I would like to tour with them and maybe another band one day but I’ll take what I already got.

TW: Can I ask you about favorite metal record of the past few years or even favorite artist as of late?

RB: [laughs] I am not the person to ask. I block myself off when writing new shit so I have had blinders on for the last year. Anyway, usually when I do listen to something its is old shit like Sabbath or Judas Priest. So I am the wrong person.

TW: Alright, so then what about food? I remember in my travels to Buffalo, residents discussing the wonders of Mighty Taco. Is there any validation in their claims?

RB: Shit. Mighty Taco, that shit blows away Taco Bell and Del Taco and all that crap. It is definitely an awesome place if you like tacos. I was just up there last January and one of my friends told me it was no good because they got a different meat distributor but I still tried it anyway. It was still good, maybe not as good as when I was younger but still good.

TW: Finally, I promised one of my readers I would ask this. Your tenure with Cannibal Corpse began in 1993 right?

RB: Yep, I started in January of 1993 during the Tomb of the Mutilated Tour.

TW: Now, Ace Ventura was released in 1994 with a cameo by Cannibal Corpse. Were you apart of that film?

RB: Yep that was me, I was the guy with the with all the stickers on the guitar on the left hand side.

TW: How was that experience?

RB: It was kind of surreal. We were in our early 20’s, just getting started to go out on the road and touring around the world and then getting a call saying they wanted us to play in this movie. I was thinking “who would want a death metal band in their movie?” We were kind of weary about it because we didn’t know whether or not it was going to be cool or whether or not they were going to make us look stupid. But then we found out they wanted us to be ourselves and just wanted a band with a pit because it was apart of a scene. So it was surreal kind of shit but we thought “what the hell, lets go for it and hopefully good things will keep happening to us.”

TW: So, popular lore states that Jim Carrey was a huge fan and personally asked for you guys to be in the film. Is that true or was it the producers?

RB: I’m thinking, from what I recall, is he personally wanted us to do it because he had a bunch of our CDs and he thought they were so over the top that it was just funny to him. Reading lyrics to old albums gave him a little kick, he was laughing about it. We talked to him only momentarily though. It wasn’t like we had dinner or anything. When we did meet him he was about to do another scene so he was dressed up like Ace Ventura and also talking like Ace Ventura. I guess he didn’t come out of character so we pretty much met Ace Ventura.


TW: Amazing, well thank you so much for being here and good luck with your tour and also new album.

RB: Thanks for having me.


Well thank you again for making it this far down the page. I understand that there was a video above me but I might as well use this time wisely. Tape Wyrm has a Facebook page where you can get new metal videos or just old ones which I find interesting. Also I am apart of a weekly music podcast called Champions of the Universe where I discuss metal and old lounge records. You can find us on Facebook or Twitter. Golly has it been 20 issues of Tape Wyrm already. I believe it is high time for a cocktail from a skull chalice….most likely apple juice.

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