Pat O’Brien of Cannibal Corpse
The Summer Slaughter Tour brutalized the Palladium in Worcester, MA on August 10, 2012. Before the show, Cannibal Corpse lead guitarist Pat O’Brien took some time out of his busy schedule for a brief interview. He talked about the current tour run, the band’s latest disc, and how to write the perfect death metal riff.
Interviewed by: Brian Cross
How does it feel to be headlining Summer Slaughter?
It feels good, ya know? We’ve been headlining our own tours for a long time, and it’s cool to go out and play with other bands who have different styles.
You’ve been in the band since 1997, and Cannibal Corpse has been playing brutal death metal for over twenty years now. How do you still maintain the intensity?
Just by enjoying playing guitar! I don’t really know where it comes from, but we just really love doing what we do.
Let’s talk Torture. How long did you spend writing and recording the album?
That was a couple of months. The first month, were were in El Paso down at Sonic Ranch, where we did drums, bass, and the rhythm guitar parts. And then we finished up with lead guitars and vocals at Erik Rutan’s place.
Are there any songs on Torture you wrote that you’re particularly proud of?
Probably “Followed Home Then Killed.” I think I like that one best.
Did any Cannibal Corpse songs just fall into place very quickly?
We pretty much had everything ready to go before we went in there. Except for solos and things like that, and some vocal parts might change a little bit; but the rhythm parts are worked out beforehand.
What do you feel makes the perfect death metal riff?
It’s got to have pure brutality! Good question; I’m still trying to figure that out myself! (laughs) It’s probably what keeps me going! The neverending search…
Are your songs simply written to shock and offend, or is there some other meaning behind the violence and gore?
I don’t think there’s a deeper meaning, but I just think we’re trying to write the most brutal music we can. The most intense shit; it’s especially about being heavy. We just like that kind of music!
Was there ever something random that inspired you that ended up as a particularly brutal song?
Probably all the songs, in a way. (laughs)
Your album covers have been expertly rendered by Vince Locke. What makes Cannibal Corpse want to stick with his work with each successive record?
I think it’s like an Iron Maiden thing; consistency. We want to keep the same kind of identity.
If for some horrible reason, Locke was unavailable…what artists would you use as a backup?
Hmm…we don’t have anybody in mind right now, but he’s done artwork on pretty much all of our albums. We had different artwork for Kill, though; that wasn’t Vince Locke. If we couldn’t get him, we’d have to do something different…but I don’t know what we would do!
Death metal has gained a lot of exposure in recent years, with the resurgent popularity of extreme metal in general. Why do you think this is, even though extreme metal rarely gets radio airplay?
I think it’s great music and challenging to play, and I think the players in death metal have gotten a lot better. I think a lot of it is because of the Internet, and a lot of the mainstream bands now on the radio are a lot heavier than they were twenty years ago. Now, for example, you hear Metallica on the radio all the time; that’s “normal.” The only way to go from there is heavier. I think that’s why extreme metal is becoming more successful. I think people are almost preconditioned to it.
Are there any songs in your back catalog that you have yet to perform live?
There’s tons of ’em! A lot of them we could probably play live, but some would be disastrous because of the way some of the stuff was written. They would be very difficult to pull off live, so we haven’t played them yet.
Any final words for your fans?
Thanks for supporting us, and stay heavy and true to your music!
Catch Cannibal Corpse out on the Summer Slaughter tour and read our extensive review of their Massachusetts date here and stay tune for a live photo allery.