The bumper sticker sums it up best - "Gore Not Core." Yes friends, for those of you who have not been paying attention, despite the fact that CATTLE DECAPITATION flies the vegetarian flag, they are indeed a Metal band and a darned good one to boot. This past Summer was a busy one for them with multiple tours, drummers coming and going, and, most importantly, the release of their fourth full-length album, "Karma Bloody Karma". Beware puny humans - auditory retribution is coming...
Alright, tell us a little bit about "Karma Bloody Karma".
"It's pretty weird... took about nine months to write and then go into the studio, so it took about a year to finally make, but it's very diverse, the music, I think, especially compared to 'Humanure' and lyrically it's everything I've been wanting to do for a long time. It could very well be the last record I ever did, lyrically, only because it's everything I've been wanting to say for a long fucking time. I don't know where I can go beyond this, but I mean, I will - we'll see what happens. It's totally fucked up. Which is funny, 'cause everybody talks about the artwork being toned down or whatever; it doesn't matter 'cause the material in there's totally fucked up."
I was going to ask about the cover art - I actually really like it...
"Yeah, it's cool."
Probably some of the coolest cover art I've seen come out this year. Tell us a little bit about the ideas behind that.
"It was actually, I hate to say it because it just kind of debunks everything, but I'm more into truth than anything and it was our second idea. The first idea just didn't work too well. I don't wanna really talk about it or anything, but it just didn't work. Wes Benscoter, the artist... you know, bands make music and it's up to somebody else, which is like, the vocalist, obviously, or in CANNIBAL CORPSE's instance, it's the bass player, Alex Webster, he comes up with all the lyrics and shit; the themes and ideas. And somebody has to come along with that stuff and I had a couple ideas; the first one just didn't pan out too well with the artist, but I wanted to work really closely with... we've always worked really closely with Wes Benscoter, like I respect his opinion... and the integrity of his opinion, just as much as our own. So I keep that in mind and I made everything work. It came together. We actually came up with that... that was my second idea, what you see now. We actually threw that at him during mixing, because we didn't... he wasn't sold on the idea that we had before and I knew this was a good, sure-fire backup. I'll always have ideas off to the side that can blossom into something else if you give 'em enough attention and I didn't have to and when I finally did, it all came together. We already had a song called 'Karma Bloody Karma' and the ideas were obviously there, you know. I mean, if that didn't work, we could have called it 'Alone At The Landfill', which is another song and it would have been perfect."
Alright, what is it like being the only well known vegetarian Metal band outside of CARCASS and how much flak do you take because of that?
"Oh, we take a lot of flak, but I think it's completely understandable, because we've put ourselves out there like that and we'd better be prepared to take it. I mean, it's an opinion. Our beliefs... since we're putting it in somewhat of a social standpoint, our beliefs are now our opinions and everybody's got an opinion on something, so opinions are always going to conflict. We get a lot of shit, but it's stupid meat jokes that go in one ear and out the other. It gets old if anything. Especially touring with bands like DEICIDE or MORBID ANGEL or whoever we've done big tours with that are primarily meat eaters or real manly men... not that we're not manly men, (laughter) it's just... I dunno; different strokes I guess, you know. We're a bunch of fuckin' white boys from southern California, what do you expect? (laughs) But it doesn't mean we can't play in the same ballgame."
I have a question... now, I just became a vegetarian less than five months ago and this question has been gnawing away at me for some time - now if I were to become bitten by a zombie (laughter) and in turn became a zombie myself, would I be a hypocrite for eating human flesh?
(sighs) "Of course, because vegetarianism is... obviously not using meat. In fact, what's funny is what you should be asking how can we, on our 'To Serve Man' album, which is endorsing cannibalism, but it's all part of revenge. It's kind of like that whole jerky mask idea of confronting something, I guess, with itself, you know. If you take meat and put it in an abstract environment where it's now looked at in a different viewpoint, I guess, where it's not delicious looking, it's not food... you can turn people off a little more like that. Like, with the beef jerky mask, here I am spewing yogurt all over the place and it looks like a big fucking gaping asshole or a vagina or something, just 'pppbbbtthhh!' shit all over the place, it might make people think a little different, you know, or just 'what the fuck is going on?' or whatever."
Yeah, like with the "Humanure" cover.
"Yeah. I mean, it's all art. Whatever."
Speaking of art and "Humanure," tell us a little bit about the art show that was designed around the album.
"This guy hit me up on MySpace, of all things, about doing an art show based on the lyrics 'cause he... I think he'd recently become vegetarian or something, but he was really moved by some of the lyrics to that song and he wanted to make an art show based around it. He had been doing these online art shows where he takes like twenty artists or whatever, they submit an art piece and he somehow gets jpegs or some sort of image of them, be it an instillation or a sculpture or whatever, but he gets some sort of image of them and he makes this online kind of art show where you walk in... like, it's a virtual thing, you walk in, you walk up to a painting and you look at it, walk onto the next one, our song is playing in the background and all the... let's see, part of the proceeds go to the Helen Woodward Center, which is a non-profit, no kill shelter in San Diego; they work with different animal shelters in the county and F.O.C.A.S., Friends Of County Animal Shelters. I don't know - we do what we can with little things like that. As far as a real, crazy vegan standpoint, like everybody likes to pin on us, we're not like that at all - we only ask that people do what they can, we don't tell anybody what to do, except for to fuck off and that's pretty much it."
Okay, I was reading about a show you played with DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN where their guitar got stolen and one of you ended up throwing a hammer through the window of the perp...
"That was me."
Tell us a little bit about that then.
"Well... I probably shouldn't even say that it was me, but if you're stealing a guitar from a show, you pretty much deserve whatever's coming to you, so I don't mind if that person reads this and knows that it's me, because hey, anybody will tell you, dude, you had it coming to you. But our guitar player actually got jumped during one of the bands. He was just walking around, some fucking floor punching hardcore idiots, which I found out later were Christian hardcore idiots, which I think is funny for reasons I'll probably explain. But... totally kicked his ass. Like one of 'em pushed him, he just kind of went 'get the fuck off!', kind of pushed him off of him and then eight dudes jumped his ass. So I went and grabbed a mallet out of the van, which we called the Judgment Stick, and I came running in and I was really wasted; I was just kind of at the time feeling somebody, one of these hardcore fucking assholes... we'd just started on this tour... this is the first fucking day, actually of this tour that was going to be primarily hardcore fans that we were going to be playing in front of, so I was just reading it off the bat and then this is what we're confronted with right off the bat. So I fuckin' said 'fuck this,' I grabbed the mallet, went out there, we tried finding the dudes - they all bailed. I was outside, about an hour later, I still had the mallet in the back of my pants and I was talking to the guitar player of DILLINGER... I don't even remember his name now; the dude that got the guitar stolen and our tour manager comes running up saying 'hey, this guy just fucking ran off with your guitar.' And I was just so hopped up by testosterone and alcohol, I just fucking took off with this dude and we went outside and immediately saw this car leaving the parking lot and I said 'that's the dude, that's gotta be it; they're bailing really slow and weird.' We hauled ass, we opened the door and sure enough, it's the dudes, because we said 'hey, you got a guitar?' and they said 'no' and then the dude from DILLINGER said 'no, I think you got my guitar, man' and then the kid in the passenger side says 'go! Go!' They fucking took off and just immediately my instinct was like, I took that mallet and I threw it through the windshield, which I heard it smash and they pulled over off to the side of the road out of instinct, like 'somebody just hit my car' and then the dude in the passenger had to say 'dude, get the fuck out of here' or something, 'cause they took off right away. We never saw them again, but that made it to that Lambgoat shit. It was pretty funny. It was a pretty crazy bunch of shit and we almost got in a fight with that band BLACK MY HEART because they were friends with these people, supposedly. We were just saying 'this is bullshit', you know; our guitar player got jumped for no fucking reason. So we find out later they're all a bunch of Christian dudes who were just pissed off about the rant I had about one of our songs, where I said 'this goes out to' either 'ignorant Christians' or 'stupid Christians.' This doesn't say 'all fucking Christians', you know? If anything, I'm no fucking Christian, I don't belong in that shit. But if anything, a Christian should be the way you want to lead your life. You should wanna live a passive existence, which is what Christian means, and these idiots don't turn the other cheek like it says in their fucking book that they resort back to when their religion is questioned, you know. It's ridiculous."
The great human hypocrisy.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah! It's a joke. And we've gotten so much shit for when I introduce that song that way."
See, I'm a Christian, I was not offended. I'm used to this! Why? Because I know there's a reason people hate us! (laughter)
"I have this shirt at home and it says it perfectly, at least my feelings, it says 'Jesus, save me from your followers.'"
I love that shirt.
"Because that's all it is. If you're any kind of sane Christian, you'll know that the Bible's been written and re-written over and over and over again. You can only take the real... I guess, positive teachings, if that's how you want to live your life. I don't think anybody should be told what to do. To me... I grew up Catholic, the whole thing to me is just a big morality crutch. I don't think anybody on this Earth is okay to say... Buddhists are going to Hell because they've never read the Bible? Muslims? All these other religions of the world, they're all going to Hell because they didn't read the Bible? That just doesn't make sense to me. They didn't praise the Lord Jesus Christ?"
There are some Christians that believe that Hell is not eternal, just simply a temporary thing.
"To me, if anything, it would be we are living Hell and the only thing after this could be beneficial."
Alright, I just have one last question and that is, are there any plans for a reissue of the "Ten Torments of the Damned" seven-inch?
"No. What happened was a friend of ours, the guy that put it out, found multiple boxes, like a thousand records, 'cause they printed like four thousand and they thought they sold all of them, but there was speculation, they were like 'no, there's got to be some somewhere', and then this chick calls them saying 'hey, I've got a thousand of these fucking records, what do you want to do with them?' And he sold 'em to me for pretty cheap, so we're just getting rid of 'em and that's it." [FIN]
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