“Having been at their game for almost two and a half decades now, veteran goremongers Cannibal Corpse have their bloody brand of death metal down to a science. They haven’t let the years slow them down one bit—their 12th studio album, Torture, was released earlier this year and the band toured all out in support. They were kind enough to grant our humble magazine with an interview with drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz on the eve of one of their performances, which Fatherland Almighty was glad to accept.
Fatherland Almighty: I’ve had the privilege of seeing you guys live three times, all of which happened to be in the 90s. So after all this time, what can we expect from Cannibal Corpse?
Paul Mazurkiewicz: Well, pretty much more of the same. Nothing has changed in the way we present ourselves basically. We just go out and play our music. It’s not about having a visual show or anything. We’ve got our 12th album out so we’ll have some more songs to play now. It’s gonna be a brutal time.
FA: What’s the tour been like so far?
PM: The tour’s been great. The fans are great, we have a great bill. It’s business as usual. As long as the show’s going to do well with the fans that want to be there, then that’s gonna make the day happen and memorable. So there’s really nothing out of the ordinary in that sense other than just some great shows with some great bands, and the fans are enjoying it so that’s the most important thing.
FA: George Corpsegrinder told me once upon a time that people come up to him and say, “Why don’t you play ‘The Exorcist’? It’s the best Cannibal Corpse song ever!” Does this still happen to you?
PM: No, it hasn’t happened in a long time. Of course, “The Exorcist” is a song by Possessed that we covered. We gave it our own flavor when we recorded it I guess. We did that in 1992 or 1993 so it’s been a long time. What I remember hearing more back then was people telling us to play “Zero the Hero” but we haven’t heard that come up in years.
FA: Is Cannibal Corpse really potentially harmful to the children of the world? This seems to be an ongoing dilemma critical the band as your music is introduced to new generations.
PM: It’s not for everybody, obviously. You have you look at it with an an open mind. We’re playing music; it’s entertainment. We’re not dictating to anybody how to live their life or anything like that. It’s like anything else—it all comes down to upbringing from how the parents raise their children to be decent people. 98 percent of our fans that come out are just normal kids looking for a good time and they love this kind of music. We play it because we love it and we’re not bad people. If people are going to have a problem with us or look at us that way, I think they have the problem.
FA: The band has so much history behind it now. Do you ever reflect on the past and how you took a sound and an ideology so controversial and made it so successful without seeming juvenile and devoid of intellect? Let’s face facts—not every band can pull this off with the finesse that Cannibal Corpse does and there are plenty of copycats out there that shall remain nameless.
PM: Well, who would have thought that 24 years ago that we would be where we are at today? We just played music that we loved and we were growing with the scene in the mid and late 80s when thrash was just turning into death metal. We were just living in the movement and going along with it and developing our own style. It’s crazy really to think and look back on all the things that we’ve accomplished and how we’ve been influential on a lot of bands and musicians and kids growing up. It is an unbelievable thing. It’s a great thing. I’m glad we are where we’re at and the things that we have done. If we can be any help or a positive thing to society or people, I think that’s good.
FA: The press is raving about the new album, Torture, and you’re all aging well like fine wine. What’s this experience like?
PM: I think the album is one of our best. We’re on top our game more than we ever have been. We’ve been doing it for so long and we’ve matured, we’re constantly learning, and trying to better ourselves. We’re in our 40s and making a living playing crazy death metal music. How could we not be happy with that?
FA: Do you guys ever get accused of being Satanists or devil-worshippers by the rabble?
PM: Not really. I think most people know when they see us. If you don’t know anything about death metal and this kind of music, maybe some people might see that. But really, there’s nothing Satanic about us. None of our imagery, none of our lyrics and all that kind of stuff.
FA: If you were asked to, would you appear in Ace Ventura 3: Zombie Pets Gone Wild?
PM: It would be pretty cool. It would probably be our kind of movie if it’s about zombies, instead of a straight-up slapstick comedy. It was fun doing one movie, why not do another one?
FA: I understand that you guys were Jim Carrey’s favorite band?
PM: Well, back then he was into it. We don’t know. The way it all went down was he was into the music, wanted us to be in the movie, we did it and everything and all that. It’s kind of ironic that we have not spoken to him since. We actually have no contact with him and nobody knows if he’s still into it today or does he look back and say, “What was I thinking?” We don’t know.
FA: The artwork your albums is legendary, to the point where some of it it has been altered or censored altogether. Obviously, some societies that repress freedom of speech and free flowing information often stick their feet in their own mouths. What is your take on this?
PM: It’s ridiculous. Any kind of censorship is just stupid. The people that don’t understand it, it’s not for them. We’re entertainment, we’re musicians. We’re not out trying to do bad things for the world. I think it’s all ridiculous. It’s a to each their own kind of a thing. If you don’t like it, you don’t buy it or listen to it. Why do you have to make life miserable for the people that do like this kind of music and live it? They’re not bad people. If we were doing half the things we say in our lyrics we would be dead or be in jail. They should realize that this is all just entertainment. I think it’s stupid. I try not to think about it because it’s so ridiculous.
FA: Spend your time how you want to spend it. There’s always the off button too.
PM: That’s right. Some people wanna state their mind and do something about it for some odd reason. I don’t get it and I try not to think about it.
FA: Metal is cool once again. Heck, it’s damn near hip to put it lightly. Do you see a new breed of faces in your crowds that seem out of the norm from your stereotypical metalhead? Lots more plaid shirts and full beards? Guys dressed business casually? Metrosexual types?
PM: It’s everything nowadays. When we started in the 80s, if you were into metal you had long hair and wore leather. Now it’s different. You’ve got guys that were our age that were growing up, now they’re the businessmen, bankers, and lawyers. I don’t think there’s a “stereotypical” metalhead anymore. They come in all shapes. And we’re getting a lot of young kids, of course. Every tour we do there are new fans coming into the scene which is what’s gonna keep it thriving.
FA: So where do you go from here? What’s left to accomplish and what stones have yet to be overturned?
PM: At this point, I think it’s just how long we can keep this going. We’ve done more than we ever expected. It’s not like we ever had goals other than just playing music we love to play and if anything can come from that it’s a bonus.
FA: Would you give us some imparting words of wisdom even if they’re just, “Hack! Slash! Kill!”
PM: Death metal or die!