For close to two decades, Cannibal Corpse has influenced the music world with their brand of gore-filled death metal. They have converted many metal fans into rabid faithful Corpse nuts. For me, Cannibal Corpse was a gateway into the realm of death metal. The band helped invent the sound of death metal; never straying from a fight, Cannibal Corpse has overcome controversy about their lyrics, album artwork and has been censored just about everywhere. They are currently touring in support of their newest record, Kill, which is one of their best. I was originally planning on interviewing vocalist George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher, but in a quick change of hand I got to talk to one of the founding members, drummer PM: Mazurkiewicz, before the band stopped in Salt Lake City on Nov. 22. For guys who play music that is about murdering and mutilating people, they have a lot of class and ultimately admit that the subject matter of their work is only art, and should be perceived as such. Just think of it as a horror flick in musical form.
SLUG: With so many songs to choose from when you go on tour, how do you create the set list?
Paul Mazurkiewicz: We have 10 CDs out now, so we want to play songs from all of them. We feel every CD is no more important than the last. We really like Kill a lot and it is doing really well, sales wise. We’re doing five songs off of the record just to promote it, and then we kind of pick and choose. Obviously there are some songs that are just staples for us that we have to play, and we try to mix it up here and there and play songs that we haven’t played in the last couple tours.
SLUG: Do you have a personal favorite that you like to play?
PM: Myself, I like all of them. I really like “Make them Suffer” lately; I think it is a great song off the new CD that flows really well. “Hammer Smashed Face” is a fun song to play because you know so many fans are waiting for that song and when we tell them that we are playing it they go nuts. It is really cool to see the energy that comes from a song like that.
SLUG: So Kill is the first album without guitarist Jack Owen. Why did he leave?
PM: He put out a big statement back when he quit the band basically saying that he didn’t want to do it anymore. It was a moving on kind of thing. It was like, ‘hey, if you are unhappy and you are not into it anymore, well then you ought to move on.’ I think that it’s the only fair thing you can do for both parties. Music is an art and a very creative type of medium. I think that if you are not into it you have to do what you are into. He did that and then we got somebody that wanted to be in the band again, so we got Rob Barrett, which gave us a little bit of continuity because he was on two of our previous CDs.
SLUG: There is quite a difference from the last record to the new one. Rob was a little bit more excited about it. I think the soloing is a lot better, no offense to Jack at all.
PM: Well Jack wrote the slower more simple songs. Obviously “Infinite Misery,” on the new CD that Pat O’Brien wrote, is a pretty simple song, brutal as heck, but pretty simple. Jack just wrote in a more simplistic style. I think not having his songs on there, having Alex Webster and Pat having a few more songs, Rob Barrett contributing a song and me writing a song [makes it become] a more aggressive album. We are really pleased with the way the songs turned out. Hearing them in the studio and just laying them all down it was like ‘wow, we really got something here.’ This is just a very in your face aggressive non-stop CD. Maybe not having Jack here with his contributions and style of writing made the album flow a little more than usual.
SLUG: As the album cover goes, is the word “kill” the official artwork? Or did you guys just go that route instead of having to deal with all the censorship and whatnot?
PM: You see the guy in the CD tray holding the knife and all that. That was originally going to be the cover art. We decided that at the last minute because everybody was kind of skeptical and not fully 100 percent on it. We want to please everybody, so we opted to do something more simplistic with just the Cannibal Corpse logo and the word “kill.” We have been censored here and there and that is the nature of our band, but really it is very important to us to get the music to the fans. So if we can get the CD in every record store without having a problem, then I think that is a good thing. We really want the music to speak for itself as much as the artwork and the lyrics are a part of our band. Really, when it comes down to it, the music is the most important thing. We also felt like we might be getting some of our fans mad who are wondering ‘where is the brutal cover?’ Look at The Bleeding; that album cover is really nothing as well and it is our best selling album because the music stands on its own. We feel that it is working with the same effect on Kill. The music is good and it shouldn’t matter what the album cover is.
SLUG: Any advice for aspiring drummers?
PM: It is just like anything else; if you want to do it and you’ve got to do it, you will find a way. This is all we have wanted to do since we were little. If you want to play music, you practice and you play it and you live it. I think that is the key to life, following your passion and trying to make it happen and you have got to try or you might regret it later on in life. We are very fortunate and lucky to be where we are. We worked and pushed, trying to better ourselves and kept it going.