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An interview with George “corpsegrinder” Fisher (vox - Cannibal Corpse)
by Wendy WWAD and Corri Hubbard

WW: How did Buffalo inspire the birth of Cannibal Corpse? Was there something in the snow?

CG: I don’t know exactly. I got in the band about 15 or 16 years ago. I know that growing up listening to bands like black Sabbath, Slayer, and Kreator inspired everybody. I know that’s what inspired me, growing up in Baltimore. Black Sabbath was probably the first heavy band that I heard, well, the first metal band that I heard. That was probably ‘78 or ‘79, when I was 9 years old. When you’re grow up listening to Iron Maiden, Cccept, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and then Ozzy, and then you hear things like Slayer and Celtic Frost…that just made me want to play faster and heavier music. I think that’s pretty much across the board for most death metal bands, especially old farts like us. It always needs to be faster and more brutal. I know that the reason those guys moved to Florida was because they were sick of the damn snow.

WW: When were you (George “corpsegrinder” Fisher) first approached and asked to replace Chris Barnes? 

CG: Here’s the whole story: they kicked him out. He didn’t leave on his own. They had some issues in the studio when they were doing the album Created to Kill, which became Vile…the first album after I came in. They had some issues with him and weren’t happy with it so Alex got my number and called me up and said, “Hey, we need a new singer.” I was in the band Monstrosity at the time. Actually I was in Ocean City, Maryland staying with my parents, and was about to head back down to Florida to do the Millennium Monstrosity record. When Alex called me and asked me to do it I told him to give me a day or two to think about it, but I knew I knew then that I was going to do it. I started Monstrosity with Lee Harrison, Jon Rubin (both of Malevolent Creation) and Mark van Erp, and I wanted to take just a little bit of time to weigh it all out. Alex called me and I had heard that there was some tension between them and Chris but, hey, whatever, what’s done is done and now it’s been almost 16 years. Yeah, I came down in Oct. or Nov. of ‘95 and the rest is history.

Corri: What reaction does your family have to Cannibal Corpse?

CG: My family? My family’s crazy so they’re all cool. My mom sees the album covers and is just like, “mmm, mmm, mmm,” but she knows that none of us are maniacs. For us, they’re all based on horror movies, not horror movies that we’ve seen. We come up with our own ideas, you know? But basically it’s all inspired by a love of horror movies, and the music is aggressive. Cannibal Corpse is not really interested in talking about politics or religion. Everybody has their own views on that in the band. We like zombies and horror movies and blood and gore so that’s what we want to write about. My father doesn’t really give a shit. My mother and my father, they know who I am. They raised me. They understand what it’s all about. She doesn’t think, “Oh my God, you’re a maniac.” And they never tried to hinder me in any way when I was growing up. I could listen to any thing I wanted. I wasn’t going out getting arrested or getting into trouble. My friends and I were pretty tame because all we cared about was listening to music and partying a little bit. We were trying to listen to King Diamond, not punch people in the fucking head. I wasn’t getting into trouble, so as far as my mother was concerned, what I was listening to wasn’t a problem. I never really thought about getting into trouble, all I wanted to do was to be in a band. Not all of my friends were totally into it but I was. By the time I was 15 or 16 that’s all I cared about. That’s all I wanted to do.

Corri: What are some of the bands that you’re currently listening to?

CG: well there’s a lot. There’s this band called Ghost from Sweden. It’s kind of along the lines of Mercyful Fate without the higher falsetto going on, and some heavy ‘70s stoner stuff, Hank Williams III. That’s why I was in Austin, you know, to see the show. This punk band called Off With Their Heads. I’ve been listening to them a lot. The new Black Dahlia Murder album is pretty awesome. All the guys in the band listen to pretty much everything. We’re not just close-minded to death metal. If you looked at my iPod probably most of it is metal or death metal, but there’s country in there. I’ve got a Cardigans record, a R.E.M. record, and a Journey record. There are a lot of different influences but pretty much every one in the band listens to old ‘70s rock-n-roll and pretty much any death metal you can think of. We cover the spectrum although no one really listens to pop music. You might could consider R.E.M pop but the album I have is pretty old so I don’t know.         

Corri: Do you have any side projects going on right now?

CG: Alex has a band called Blotted Science with Ron Jarzombek from Watchtower. Eventually I’ll be doing an album with Shannon Lucas, the drummer for Black Dahlia Murder and Adam D. from Killswitch Engage. We’ll do it sometime this year, which might be hard with Cannibal Corpse’s schedule. If not, we’ll get it done next year…hopefully by the summer. It’s going to happen but it’s all tentative, depending on everyone’s schedules. Basically the Cannibal Corpse album takes priority over everything else. Then we’re doing Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin. We’re playing the same day as Slayer, Nov. 6th.

Corri: How do you spend your time when you’re not touring and causing trouble?

CG: This friend of mine will come over with a bottle of Beam, I’ll get some beer and we’ll just hang out in the garage listening to David Allen Coe and Merle Haggard, Hank III, hell, all the Hanks, and we’ll just sit around and bullshit. I watch football on Sundays – Go Broncos! – and there’s a pond in my yard where I go fishing. In fact, when we’re done with this, I might go out there and catch some bass. We just drink Beam or Jack Daniels and when we do that, we gotta play “Tennessee Whiskey.” Nothing crazy. I don’t go out unless there’s a show or something.

WW: You guys have toured all over the world. What are a couple of places that really stand out?

Cg: South America for sure. When people ask what’s the craziest place to play, it’s definitely South America. There’s no close second. It’s insane. There’s so much passion down there for music. When you go down there and experience it yourself, there’s just nothing like it. We like playing everywhere but the passion down in South America is unequaled. There’s something special about it. We always have individual fans that are wilder than others, but South America seems to have the most.

Corri: You said in an interview that you “like gruesome, scary movies and want the lyrics to be like that.” That said, what are some of your favorite movies?

CG: Horrorwise? It’s definitely The Shining for me. It’s not really gory, but it’s so psychologically disturbing. The Exorcist is just downright evil. Then there’s Dead Alive, which is gore for the sake of gore. We don’t keep up as much as we used to as far as horror movies go, but the last really fucked up horror movie I saw was Human Centipede. Our guitar player Pat bought that. It was just wrong. Paul, our drummer’s favorite movie ever made is Smokey and the Bandit. No doubt about it. And that movie is really up my alley because my father used to drive a truck for Mayflower, and my birthday’s in July. So, when my parents asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I’d always say, “I want to go out on the road with you guys.” I grew up in that kind of culture, and that’s probably where I get my love of country music. We were on the road and stopping a truck stops and that’s all that was playing in the late ‘70s, early ‘80s, George Jones and Conway Twitty. Goodfellas is another all-time favorite movie. Every day off, I watch Conan the Barbarian, not the new one – I haven’t seen that, but the original with Arnold. We have as wide a variety of tastes in movies as we do in music.

WW: How does it feel to be the top-selling death metal band of all time in the U.S. and second world-wide?

Cg: I want to be number 1! We’re not stopping ‘til we’re number 1! For a death metal band to have had the success that we’ve had is great. It’s awesome! We’re comfortable with it. Sometimes we sit back and reflect and say, “Well, we did sell a bunch of goddamn records!” But we don’t sit around thinking about it too much because if you spend too much time kissing your own ass.... It’s about the fans. They’re the reason we’re all still here. Everyone busts their asses to put all their time into the studio, and give 100% of their heart and soul, and 150% at every show we play because we have to give back. The fans give to us and we have to give back to them. We’ve had a loyal fan base for a long time and we’re lucky that we still do and I think it’s probably because they know that we’re not the band that’s going to sell them down the river to make money. We won’t, and I will not, and I’m confident to say that it won’t happen with any of the guys in the band. We’re all different guys and we all have different ideas when it comes to different things but we all love death metal, and are death metal. If we didn’t want to do it anymore we would leave, or I would hope that we would. I know Jack had a time where he didn’t really want to play this anymore so he left. And we’re still cool and he’s our friend but we’re happy that he left when he didn’t want to be there we’re lucky that we have the fan base that we do. They’re here because they know that we’re the band that’s not going to turn our backs on them. Some of the newer stuff may be too technical for them. Some people may like the older stuff but I don’t think that anyone can contest the fact that we’re playing death metal. And if anyone thinks we’re not, then they can fucking die in a fire cause we’re fucking death metal and we’re always going to be death metal. We happen to be one of the oldest death metal bands out there and if some elitists don’t like it because we’re not some new band that nobody knows about then that’s just too bad. People have this idea that when a band starts getting bigger that they start selling out. I know we’ve progressed but we haven’t progressed outside of death metal, we’ve progressed within it, and we’ve helped make it better. And there are a lot of other bands out there that are doing the same thing. Death metal’s not going anywhere for anybody that wants it to stay.

WW: How has cannibal corpse managed to endure in spite of a number of line-up changes and numerous side projects over the years?

Cg: Basically, we’re focused on one thing: Cannibal Corpse. It never gets halted because of side projects. And we haven’t had that many lineup changes. Technically, we’ve only had 3-4 different members. It’s kind of confusing because Rob came back, but there hasn’t really been that many, considering how long the band has been around. There’s not that many bands you can say that about, considering they got together in ’88-’89 and started writing stuff. That’s a pretty long time. Cannibal Corpse is still the priority. I’ve done a few things outside of music, like the voices for the Metalocalypse cartoon (the metal masked assassin). And they made a character of me for the game World of Warcraft and I play that very avidly, so I have a lot of stuff on the backburner but the band always comes first.

WW: Speaking of Metalocalypse, is that over? Is that done?

CG: I think they may be doing some more stuff and hopefully I’ll be involved. I don’t know; I’m really not at liberty to say. They’re probably going to be doing more of that. Brendan and Tommy are awesome. I did some of the voices in St. Petersburg where we recorded the first two Cannibal Corpse records, but then I went out to LA to Titmouse studios. And I got to meet Mark Hammill, Luke Skywalker. That was awesome, he was great. And I got to meet Brendan and Tommy, all the people that work on the show.

WW: How did they find you?

CG: They love metal! They’re metalheads! We were doing a tour called “Sounds of the Underground” and our last show was in LA and Brendan came up to meet me. The show had probably been out one week. But the owner of our label Metalblade had mentioned something about this cartoon about metal. I don’t know if it was because he had seen trailers for it or if he had seen the first episode, but it wasn’t all that big yet; it had just started. And Brendan came up to me and said “Hey, you’re George from Cannibal Corpse, I’d love for you to come out to LA and do some voices for our show.” And I said, “Fuck yeah, I will!” I didn’t know if the show was going to be big, small, I didn’t know anything about it. I came home and saw some episodes and then I was psyched, I was like “Fuck yeah, man!” One of the first scenes I did voices for, the other character in the scene was King Diamond. I never got to meet him but I wish I had, or will one day. But his character was in the same scene as mine and it was awesome. It was a great experience. I got to go out there and watch Mark Hammill do his voices for the scenes with his character. I was really nervous. I can go into the studio and record and it’s nothing. It means nothing to me. But doing that was like, “Wow, I hope I can come up with some good voices.” I’m honored that I could be a part o it. It’s a metalheads cartoon for metalheads. Those guys just asked me to do it because they knew who Cannibal Corpse was and I’m honored and flattered to be a part of it.

WW: How did you guys hook up with Vincent Locke, the artist who has done some of your most controversial covers?

CG: He’s done pretty much everything and what’s weird is that we just met him last year! For the first time! He’s [all of our] album covers and we’re just meeting him, but he’s really busy and has a ton of shit going on. It just never worked out until recently. Yeah, he used to do a comic book called Deadworld and I don’t know who in the band was reading it, but they decided to contact him. He did such a great job on the first one that we had him do the next one and the next one after that. We feel like he’s the 6th-7th member of the band at this point. Lots of times we’ll just give him the album, the title and a couple of songs, then he’ll just go for it. Then he’ll come back with a sketch and usually goes with it. He’ll go back and add more detail, and we may tweak a few things (make that bigger, make that smaller, make that more bloody) but it’s usually nothing really crazy. I just think he’s on the same wavelength as we are.

WW: Recently you guys recorded your 12th studio album at Sonic Ranch Studios in Texas with producer Erik Rutan. What was it like working with him? And when can we expect your next “death metal offering” (http://www.cannibalcorpse.net )?

Cg: We did Bloodthirst, Gore Obsessed and The Wretched Spawn out in El Paso at the Sonic Ranch Studios with a couple of the other guys from Metalblade. Then we recorded Kill and Evisceration Plague with Erik Rutan, and decided to go back to Texas and just take Erik with us and put him in the studio for the most recent album. Actually, our drummer Paul came over to my house after he was done with all his drum tracks and everything has been going great and sounding great.

WW: so you guys all go out there separately, record your tracks and come back?

CG: Well, I was busy doing some things while they were recording, and there’s really nothing for me to do out there while they’re recording anyways so everyone else went out there at the same time…because they have to be when the drum tracks are being recorded. So I think when Rob was done and the drums were set in stone that he came back early because he has a daughter and a wife and whatnot and there’s no point in him being out there. But everybody else is still out there. They might be coming home today, I think, but I’m not sure.

WW: What would you say to concerned moms out there whose high school kid just discovered CC?

CG: Don’t worry mom, we’re not bad. Really, we’re not. Our bark is worse than our bite. What’s funny is, I’ve met a lot of parents. Parents will bring their kids to our shows that are like 12 years old and I’m always like, “Holy shit! You let your kids come to our show?” But one of the reasons I think our fans are behind us is that we’ve always been a fan friendly band. If one or all of us doesn’t come off the bus it’s because we have family there, but we’ll always take at least 5 minutes to step off the bus and say, hey my mom’s on the bus. But we take the time out to do that. So what I’m getting at is that if some kid comes to the show and their parents are there and I remember this one particular incident. This kid was standing there and his parents were probably 10-15 feet away from me and the kid wanted to come talk to me but was totally scared. So the mom came up and said, “Hey, he wants to take a picture with you, is that okay?” And I said sure. So he took the picture with me, I signed some stuff, and he wanted to ask some questions but the kid was just scared out of his mind. So his mom asked the questions and his dad talked to me and, after a while his mom said, “You know what? After watching you on stage screaming about how you were going to kill everybody and their mother…I was just wondering if I should get him out of here now and burn your records. And then after sitting here and talking to you, I know where you’re coming from and it’s not just what the band is talking about.” For me, it’s not just about the lyrics. We take the lyrics seriously, but we don’t take them literally. And she understood that she was like, “I don’t care what you guys write about. My kid is always welcome to come to your shows. You just seem like good people with your heads screwed on right and your parents raised you right.” And that was a big deal to me because I care about all the people that come to our shows. I have two daughters and when there are young kids there I look at them like they’re my kids. I’m not like there’s a little kid over there we got to get the hell out of here. I’m like, no way, there’s a little kid over here that wants some stuff signed, and we’re going to sign his stuff. For mothers reading this, just know that we’re not as bad as some bands out there. We’re just playing music. Boil it down however you want, we’re just a bunch of douchebags playing music. We’re lucky to be here and we’re happy to be here. Don’t take our covers and lyrics seriously and you’ll be fine. We’re just a bunch of dudes, well, old dudes, playing death metal.

WW: Parting words of wisdom to your legions of fans?

CG: Stay metal. And don’t ever give up. If you’re in a band trying to make it, don’t ever give up. Don’t ever let anybody tell you that your dream won’t come true. If you put the work, the time and the love into it, and you have a passion for it…like I know that we do, nobody can stop you. Also, to everyone that’s going to be at Fun Fun Fun Fest, kick ass! And we’ll see you guys there!

Cannibal corpse is:

George fisher – vocals

Rob barrett – guitar

Pat O’Brien – guitar

Alex Webster – bass

Paul Mazurkiewicz - drums

Trust me, I’m with you. I had about 20 beers last night.

“George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher voices the Metal Masked Assassin. He was also the inspiration for the character Nathan Explosion, the lead vocalist for Dethklok. Nathan shares a similar physical appearance to George, headbangs in a windmill fashion, and was also born in Florida, although Fisher was born in Baltimore and moved to Florida later in life. Blizzard Entertainment implemented a non-player character named "Gorge the Corpsegrinder" into World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King after his interest in the game was revealed in interviews.[9]” - Wikipedia



Nashville Pussy

Photo by Larry Stern




George Fisher - Vocals
Rob Barrett - Guitar
Pat O'Brien - Guitar
Alex Webster - Bass
Paul Mazurkiewicz - Drums



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