Thursday, 2 September 2010

CANNABIS CORPSE – Stoned to Death

Make no mistake this band is not a joke. It is as real and death metal as Immolation, Deicide, Obituary or Cannibal Corpse. And they have funnier song titles. Songs like „Staring Through My Eyes That Are Red”, „I Cum Bud”, „Mummified in Bong Water”, „Gallery of Stupid High” or „Skull Full of Bong Hits” are top examples of brutal blasting and heavy crushing riffage. I spoke to a vocalist Andy „Weedgrinder” Horn to find more.

Could you tell me about the history of the band?
Weedgrinder: We began as a 3-piece home recording project in Richmond, Virginia back in late 2005 or early 2006. My memory isn't too sharp these days. Hallhammer and Landphil were staying in my tiny modest apartment with me and my room mate for a couple months. They began recording “Blunted at Birth” and asked me to track most of the vocals. We never intended to really release it, or play out. We figured it would be fun to just re-approach Cannabis Corpse, which the brothers had played a show as sometime ago. Our close friend had just started Forcefield Records and offered to release a CD/LP. It was received so well that people encouraged us to play a few shows. We did, with the help of Nickropolis on guitar and had such a blast that we continue to play now. Couple of  years later with 2 LPs and a “Weeding” EP.

No doubt Cannibal Corpse is pretty much your favourite band. How did you get the idea of sort of remaking them? I know that you're a unique band with kick ass songs but I suspect lots of people might think you're only taking a piss and didn't take you seriously at first. Was that ever an issue?
Weedgrinder: We have always taken death metal seriously, as have we taken this band. We never tried to “reinvent” Cannibal, we just use to always throw weedy song titles around whenever we were smoking and listening to death metal. To me, death metal is no joke, it is a part of our lives that cannot be replaced. Cannabis Corpse is death metal we love, so we play it whenever we can, and are happiest when we get to play it. I'm sure some people think we are taking a piss, but fuck that. We play what we like. No parody here, just worship.

One of my ideas how you could have started is you all been Cannibal Corpse fans and loved to play their songs together and one day you started to write your own songs but writing them like you're them, sort of “how would Alex Webster write that bit or how would Paul Mazurkiewicz play that blastbeat?”. Does that make any sense or I'm chatting some bollocks?
Weedgrinder: Your perception of our band's conception isn't to far off. We never tried to copy Cannibal, or any other band. We are playing a form of death that we like very much. To me, death should be punk. If you're not behind your music, you might as well be a bunch of silly jazzheads playing the most complicated technical jibberjabber you can, which is often unlistenable. We all like death metal you can bang, thrash, and skank to. Not art metal, no breakdown mosh crew radio false metal.

Phil was with Municipal Waste before and surely that gave you some more recognition since they're a great and popular band. What bands did other guys play with before or still playing?
Weedgrinder: Yes, Landphil plays bass in Municipal Waste. Nickropolis plays in Parasytic (ala Deviated Instinct, English Dogs, Concrete Sox) and Volture (heavy metal ala old Priest, old Maiden). I play in Battlemaster (ala Immortal, Absu, Destroyer666). All of these bands are still active.

I dig Cannibal Corpse but need to say I prefer their earlier stuff with “The Bleeding” being my favourite record. Last couple of records seem to be slightly repetitive and I was over the moon when I first get to listen to “Tube of the Resinated”. It blew me away because it had all the best things I always loved about Cannibal Corpse but all the freshness on top of it. You have somehow reinvented their style, redone it and to me it's better then their new record because it's less expectable. How do you see that?
Weedgrinder: We all have different favourite albums. We all favour the older stuff, as do I, but my favourite all-around record is “Gallery of Suicide”. Our favourite to listen to in the van is the “Created to Kill” sessions. Every album they have is heavy as shit. Again, we aren't trying to reinvent them at all. Thanks for the kind words, but we just add our fair share of 90's east coast death metal influence, haha!

You are a pure worshippers of the ganja and its magical qualities. Do you support legalization? How does possession law look like in Virginia?
Weedgrinder: We support the legalization. In our country, the pot you can find ranges from super shitty to super trippy. Our federal government wages a silent drug war where they profit on two ends: 1) a large percentage of drug traffic funding is filtered into the pockets of politicians via loans we give to central and south American drug bosses/politicians and our west coast's growing “medical marijuana” industry, and 2) through privatized prison systems which overfill constantly, creating a tax cycling cash-grab that American citizens pay for in the end, while the corporate pig gorges itself on our incomes, crushing the weaker swine underfoot. In our state, Virginia, pot is illegal completely. Even a pipe with any amount of resin could feasibly get you jail time or 1000's of dollars in fees and fines, along with months to years of state-sponsored drug-testing and “rehabilitation”. It's bullshit, but we just do our best to stay away from the pigs. It's like this through out most of America, with the exception of parts of the west coast, where they simply give you relatively inexpensive tickets. A huge part of the population smokes weed regularly despite these cock-sucking laws. Drug-free and stoner alike, we all get along here. We are lucky to have a scene where people are not concerned with each others habits, clothing, race, etc.

People say you start with a little blunt or two then you move to ecstasy, speed and coke and all of a sudden you might end up pretty bad taking some serious shit. Do you think ganja is only a harmless funnier version of tobacco or can it be bit dangerous and you need to be conscious it may fuck you up?
Weedgrinder: What you refer to here is what the government propagators refer to as a “gateway drug”. Everyone has a different body, and responds to different drugs differently. I think idiots outnumber non-idiots. Idiots are the ones who slave themselves to hard drugs out of desperation, social naivety, and ignorance. I wish they weren't a concern to me, but you must be aware of all around you. My advice is to decide what you want, and then do whatever you want to do. But what you do is none of my business, you know?
 
The United States are a bloody big country with lots of different regions, accents, people and cultures. What would best describe Virginia and Richmond? What is characteristic about that place?
Weedgrinder: Richmond is the former capitol of the Confederate States of America, which was a short lived country comprised of the south-east part of America and went into Civil War with the United States of America in the late 1800's. The southern attitude and culture isn't as evident as it once was here, but it still survives. That attitude is typically more friendly than the north. We have some of the oldest surviving buildings in our city, which are not old at all compared to Europe's castles and towns. Richmond has a strong scene of hardcore punk metal freaks. We all like to party a lot. We have tons of killer bands and awesome people, but have been struggling for good venues for shows. We end up having house shows here a lot, with a few small bars and restaurants willing to open their doors to drunk and smelly punks and metallers. I love our city, and it is a great place to stop if any of the readers tour over here.

You have a mysterious friend appearing at your gigs. Who's the man and do you pay him in green, well I don't mean Benjamins!
Weedgrinder: The Bud Monster is who you speak of, haha! We don't know much about him, but he stops by many of our shows. His real name is in a language so ancient it remains unspeakable today. His name roughly translates to “Cool Dankula”. Not sure where he came from but we speculate he slid through a portal to our universe sometimes in the mid 80's. He's learning to cohabitate with humans, but it is a slow process.

What I love about Cannabis Corpse is that you simply have a sense of humour. Taking all your song titles, artwork etc. It's so important to be cool and don't treat yourself too serious especially when you're pushing 40, putting on corpse paint, wearing same pair of jeans for last 5 years and stating that you're true and never get your hair cut though you don't have much left anyway. Lots of metal bands just make me laugh though I love their music. Is Cannabis Corpse a bit of a mocker in a metal world?
Weedgrinder: We all have decent senses of humour, but by no means do we mock metal at all! Metal isn't some sort of short-lived phase or trend. Metal is what we have always loved, and lived. I see mockery everyday, and it lies in the fly-by-night trendies, metalcores, false metals, etc. These bandwagoneers maybe think that metal will get them money, or girls, or fame, or friends. This is people using metal, and that is mockery. We all laugh at stuff that is funny, whether it's in metal or not. A fat old guy in a corpse paint I would probably laugh at, unless his music was so black I didn't find him funny and lame.

Could say some more about your appearance in the film “In the Loop”? What's the plot about? Does it have anything to do with “Ace Ventura”? What was your part and how did it work out?
Weedgrinder: “In the Loop” is a British comedy dealing with the US and the British politics. We were contacted last minute about filming, and told whoever called that we'd show up and play some crushing death metal. The scene is kind of random, the two main characters go to a club for a drink, and we just happen to be playing. The only connection to “Ace Ventura” is that Cannibal Corpse played a similar scene in that movie and well... you know, we're called Cannabis Corpse. The director didn't seem to know that. I think it was a pure coincidence!

--
Cannabis Corpse interview was done in November 2009 and published in Polish in 2010 in “Struggle Zine”. It's the first time it's published in English.

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