The undead shall rise - Chris Barnes speaks out.
Former Cannibal Corpse vocalist Chris Barnes has come along way since his departure with his previous band. After leaving Cannibal Corpse back in the early 90's Six Feet Under was merely a project that started back in 93 but soon developed into a band when Chris realized this band was no longer a project but a full time band. Chris left his previous band just after the album 'The Bleeding' back in 94. Since his departure Chris has found members such as ex Obituary with Allen West on guitar, Terry Butler ex Death/ Massacre, with Greg Hall, to complete the line up and release their debut album 'Haunted' in 95 through Metal Blade. The next album was 'Warpath' in 97 & 'Maximum Violence' in 99 with new guitarist Steve Swanson. A further 5 albums were released through Metal Blade and now their new stunning album 'Undead', which features new members Rob Annold 2nd guitars and new drummer Matt DeVries. I managed to have a chat with Chris recently about the new album and ask him a little bit about the previous albums as this was my 1st interview with his band since his departure with Cannibal Corpse. Here is what Chris had to say.
Yeah Chris good speaking to you, it's been a long time since we met back in the day haha!! So I would like to ask you which was your favourite C.C. album and why?
"Yeah Jason, how's it going brother? Good speaking to you, well to answer your question, that is a tough question to answer. It's a toss up between 'The Bleeding', 'Butchered At Birth', 'Tomb Of The Mutilated', I really can't say. I have come to the conclusion that I am not a favourites guy haha! I do feel that those albums are the most important thing that I have ever done and no one can say anything different."
Do you ever see anything of the original guitarist Bob Rusay? What's he doing now?
"No not at all, he kind of disattached himself from the scene. Well we had some slight contact with him when Cannibal did there documentary DVD, but no we have or I have not had any contact with him in a long time."
OK Chris, how would you compare Six Feet Under's music to that of our previous band Cannibal Corpse's music? Would you say that some of the music has elements of Obituary and Celtic Frost?
"Well that's a tough question, I wouldn't say we sound like Obituary not since Allen left the band, so I think we have our own identity now."
Is it difficult writing songs as a team effort or is it you that writes the lyrics, whereas the rest of the band write the music?
"Well I do write the lyrics and some of the music on the previous albums. I leave the music side to the rest of the band, I do have a guitar but I just jam some odd riffs here and there."
Is the band still Tampa based in the U.S. or are you all scattered all over the place?
"Well I am still in Tampa, the rest of the guys are in different states in the U.S."
Where do you rehearse when its time to get the set list ready for a tour or recording of the next album?
"Well you really don't have to do that anymore, with the technology of day you can work in your own studios and it all comes together when you want it too. Well we do have a studio were to jam on the east coast & one on the west coast and there is always places to rehearse."
Do you still use 'Morrissound Studios'? You very really hear of bands using that studio now. It was a great studio.
"Yeah it is a great studio, we have recorded numerous albums there with drum tracking on the last album there."
I noticed you have had some line-up changes with Terry Butler leaving the band why did he leave and are you still friends?
"Well he started working with Obituary & as we were doing a lot of touring with them & Greg left the band to do different things."
I noticed you have Rob Arnold from Chimaira on guitar as a 2nd guitarist, who did he become a member of the band?
"Well Rob had been working with some of the stuff & he had written the new album with me and he did some touring with us last year to help us out. He is not a full time member of the band but he does work with us but is not a tour member of the band."
Was it difficult having him in the band as a 2nd guitarist? What about having new bassist Jeff Hughell in the band how is he jelling with the band? Also ex Dying Fetus drummer Kevin Talley?
"No not at all, we jelled so well together and working with him was amazing!! We will continue to work together for the future albums that's for sure. Jeff has been in the band now for a couple of months and its going really well. He was in the band 'Vile' & 'Brain Drill'. Kevin is an awesome drummer, and he is a great guy to work with as well, he was in Dying Fetus at the beginning of their career."
So would I be right in saying this is the strongest line-up the band has had so far?
"Yes it is for sure, this is were I wanted the band to be for some time now. I think we will continue on and write some awesome music together."
So lets talk about the tribute CD's you have released 'Graveyard Classics', was it difficult to pick your favourite songs for these album's like Anvil, Exciter etc...?
"No not really, it was just a lot of fun really, we just wanted to re vamp songs of bands that we enjoyed back in the day like Anvil, Exciter, Mercyful Fate, Metallica, etc... (Ed: I'm good friends with Lips and Rob from Anvil, have they heard your version of 'Metal on Metal' and what do they think?) No thSey haven't heard it not that I am aware of (laughing). I've always been a fan of the band."
Will you be doing another 'Graveyard Classics' album in the near future or is this something of the past now?
"Well I am not sure if we will do another album, we may it all depends on if we have time or not."
OK Chris, so let's talk about the new album 'Undead', so why the title and were there any other titles in mind for this album?
"Well no I didn't have any other titles, this is the one that was spoken too me whilst I was asleep. When the album cover was done and the ideas came into place I knew that this was the perfect title for the album."
So what is the artwork for the album? Was there any other covers in mind for this album?
"The artwork was done by a guy called Dusty Peterson and he has worked with us on the bits we have done in the past. He also did the last DVD we put out. He is a great artist and he knows how to get the best out of the bands music with his artwork. I think he has done an amazing job. He has done a lot of artwork for other bands too. He also did some of the booklet inside the CD cover were we are all zombies, it looks really cool!"
So where was the album recorded and how did it take to record?
"Well it was recorded mostly at Rob's studio with the guitars, the vocals where done at D.O.I studios in Tampa, and the drums were tracked at Audio Hammer studios in Florida and everything else was mixed at Audio Hammer Studios which belongs to Jason Stewcoff and he mixed the album with producer Mark Lewis."
Is Jason & Mark musicians or just engineers and producers?
"Well they actually play guitars and mix, produce albums. Jason hasn't really played with any bands but he has done some guest tracks on albums."
Which songs from the new album stand out for you and why?
"Well they all do actually, within the session of writing these songs in a year and 2 months we wrote about 15 songs with Rob and another 11 songs with other musicians so we had a lot of songs to pick out. We had to pick out the best of the songs for this album, which wasn't easy but I think we picked the best of the bunch. (Ed: what will you do with the songs that didn't make this album? Use them for the next album?) Yeah we will use them as we felt that they were very songs songs and not bonus material."
Are you happy with the way the album turned out?
"Hell yes!! This album is perfect and it was along time coming, very thing is just perfect on this album I love it!!"
Where there any guest musicians on this album? If so who?
"No we didn't have any guest musicians on this album."
So how would you see this album as a progression from the bands previous albums?
"I thing it is a big progression, the 1st step was to make sure that we all jelled well with the new musicians which we did, secondly the song writing between each member is amazing, we had a blast writing the songs."
Will the band be recording a promo video for a song from this new album? If so which song?
"Well we haven't done one yet, we have not talked about it with the record label as such so I really don't know what the plans are on that yet. After the release of the record we need to tour, that is our main priority. The promo video is something the record company will take care of when it is time for one."
So the band will be touring soon, I heard your playing on some ships, a bit like the '70.000 Tons of metal', is this true and if so who with?
"Yes we are doing the 'Barge To Hell' in December this year which sails from Miami to the Bahamas, its a short cruise and it is the same people who do the 70.000 Tons of Metal, they just decided to split it up into 2."
Have you any plans to play any festivals here in Europe this summer? If so which ones?
"Yes we are playing some in August , we will play Summer Breeze, Wacken, Brutal Assault, and then we will do some club dates in those 2 wks. (Ed: Have you been approached to play Bloodstock here in the UK?) Well we have a new agency here in the UK that we are working with and they are trying to get us 15 dates for this winter in the UK."
So has the album been receiving great reviews so far?
"Yes it has so far, I'm doing a ton of interviews today so things are going great & you are the 1st interview I have done so far for the UK, but more will follow."
Well Chris thanx for doing the interview best of luck with the CD and touring. I hope we meet it's been some time man!! Do you have anything to say before we finish the interview?
"Yes I would like to thanx the fans for their support, I hope you like the new album. We hope to mete a lot of you on the forthcoming tour. Thanx for the interview Jason.
Many thanx to Mr T & Vince @ Metal Blade for setting the interview up.
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