Florida's OBITUARY are finally "back from the dead" again. Reason enough for Hungary's most active Metalhead Lacy to contact bassplayer Frank Watson for a fresh new interview. So, read on folks...
Hi Frank, I’ve got your e-mail address from a guy, who makes an OBITUARY fansite under www.obituary.tk... Did you see this page? In my opinion, he has done a cool one...
“Yes I think his site is excellent. We have just launched our own websites www.obituary.cc and www.slowlywerot.net there will be live chats with the band members and a live webcam to our practice room that will show us playing live in our practice room. You can also get brand new OBITUARY merchandise that has never been sold before.”
You know, I’m a big OBITUARY fan and I’m very happy about your comeback, but let's go back into the past first. You have played in HELLWITCH, before you joined OBITUARY. From which city did HELLWITCH come from? Did you also come from Florida?
“HELLWITCH was from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I met them in 1987-1988 and yes I lived in Fort Lauderdale at the time.”
On which HELLWITCH album respectively albums did you play? Was HELLWITCH a Death Metal or a Thrash band? Please tell us about the band and the album(s). Unfortunately, I’ve never listened to anyHELLWITCH material...
“I played on one HELLWITCH demo from 1988. We did 3 originals and did a cover of DEATH’s 'Arch Angel'. HELLWITCH was a very technical Death Metal band in the vein of POSSESSED or MORBID ANGEL. I answered an ad in a record store and at the time I was heavily into the Metal scene so I knew who HELLWITCH was. I auditioned and got the gig right away. We did alot of local shows with MALEVOLENT CREATION and even toured Florida with DEATH.”
What are the ex-HELLWITCH members up to these days? Do they maybe regroup the band?
“I heard they played their first show in 10 years or something at the MALEVOLENT CREATION “Warcult” album release party.”
Whenand why did you leave the band? How did you join OBITUARY? Did you know them earlier?
“It’s a funny story. I went to Tampa with some guys from HELLWITCH to see MORBID ANGEL and AMON (which was DEICIDE before they changed their name). When I got to the show OBITUARY was playing and they were fucking incredible. I never heard of them before and was really impressed. During their show a friend of mine who played in a band called CYNIC told me OBITUARY was in search of a bassist. After the show I started to talk to John Tardy and in about 6 months we were touring Europe.”
You came into the band replacing founding member Daniel Tucker. Was he fired or did he leave the band?
“Daniel actually just stopped showing up to practice and didn't return the band's calls and they said fuck him and went out to look for a new bass player.”
Did you listen to “Slowly We Rot” before you joined the band? What do you think about that album? I thinkit is one of the milestones of Death Metal...
“Well, when I saw them live for the first time I immediately went out and bought “Slowly We Rot”. I fucking loved the album, it was so much more brutal than anything I was listening to at the time. It is still my favorite OBITUARY record.”
Your debut was on “Cause Of Death”. Were the songs ready alreadyor did you alsowrite some? How would you compare "Cause Of Death" to “Slowly We Rot”?
“When I first played with the band 'Cause Of Death' and 'Chopped In Half' were already written. I thought to myself this new record is definetly going to be a Death Metal classic. No I didn't write anything on that album.”
At that time James Murphy was also amember of OBITUARY. How was it to work with him? Did he write some riffs or songs?
“Me and James got along great. He was a good friend. He didn’t write anything on that record except the solos. Once we started touring we started seeing another side of James. He was always complaining or bitching about something so I nick named him Jim the Bitch. After a while we couldn’t stand his bitching and fired him. It also helped that Allen West kept calling us to come back to the band.”
In your opinion, were there differences or similarities between your bassplaying and Daniel's?
“I think the only difference is Daniel came from a Metal influence and my influences are strickly punk and hardcore. I grew up idolizing Sid Vicious, Mickey Offender, Mike Dean from C.O.C., Dee Dee Ramone and Jerry Only. Overall OBITUARY’s bass parts really just follow the guitars but it's your attitude that makes it more unique.”
In 1991 you wenton aEuropean tour together with DEMOLITION HAMMER and MORGOTH, and within the framework of this touryou also played in Hungary. Do you remember about this?
“I sure do remember the gig in Hungary. I remember there was alot of people and it was located in a big park. It was very beautiful. The crowd was huge and very crazy. I also remember in the venue was a game room and a dance hall later that night there was a 50’s dance which I enjoyed very much.”
As far as I know, you have played in Hungary with DISMEMBER and NAPALM DEATH too, haven’t you?
“Yes we have and had a great time on that tour. I remember that show cause Shane from NAPALM DEATH mooned us on stage.”
Frank, I would like you to comment on the other OBITUARY albums with your own words! Maybe detailed haha! Your third release was “The End Complete” (1992)...
“The End Complete” was a crazy album to record. I moved to Tampa and got an appartment with Trevor and spent about eight months recording. I don't really remember alot of details about that album but I think it was a great record.”
It was followed by “World Demise”(1994)...
“World Demise” was a cool album to record because we were experimenting with alot of different sounds and samples. Our live soundman Big Shirt also helped us on that record. He did an amazing job. I think that record had the best sound of all our records.”
In 1994 you played in Hungary again, together with ATROCITY and PITCH SHIFTER. What do you remember about that gig?
“I don't remember too much about that gig that whole tour was a whirl wind. Too much party.”
“Back From The Dead” (1997) was your fifth record. What did the title of the album refer to? How would you characterize this material?
“The title referenced us being back from the dead. We took a 3 year break and returned from the dead. We're also big HOUSE OF PAIN fans and they had a song 'Back From The Dead'. We took a more raw approach with that album. We used a new producer Jaime Locke on that record. We really like the NY Hardcore sound and those influences came out on that record. I love the album really in your face. Also my friends Skinner T and #1 Diablo did some rapping on it.”
“Dead” (1999) was a live album... Are you satisfied with it? What do you think about live stuff? Do you like listening to live albums?
“I love live albums. I think our live record couldn’t be any better. The sound on that record sounds exactly like we do when we play live, it can't get any better than that. It was really cool because a mobile recording studio showed up at the club and plugged in. We were all fighting because some of us wanted to do the live record and some didn’t. I really never listened to it until about a year after it was released. I am very happy with it.”
When and why did OBITUARY split up? What did you do after the splitting of the band? Did you follow thedevelopement of the Death Metal scene?
“We stopped because there were alot of politics in the band at the time. We were spending more than we were making, the label stopped supporting us and we were all getting older and for the first time in our lives realized this wasn’t going to last forever. So we all had different opinions about our band. I think it was 1998. I went in the corporate world and became a stock broker and did alot in the banking industry. I really didn’t talk to anyone in the band for a long time. I didn't keep up with any of the newer Death Metal bands. I only listened to the old stuff. In 2001 Donald called me and said his new band ANDREW WK was playing Ozzfest and John was going too. We ended up doing some songs during ANDREW WK’s set and that kinda sparked us to get back together."
After 6 six years of silence OBITUARY have reformed. When did you decide to reform the band? Did you playsome reunion shows in Florida?
“Like I said we saw eachother again at the Ozzfest. After that we got alot of calls about us reforming and we all talked about it and deceided to do it. We played the Sun & Steel Festival in Tampa. It was a real joke. We were awesome but the festival was put on by some real idiots and there were too many bands playing at the fest. We had a great reaction and had alot of fun. A few weeks later we played in New Jersey and that kicked ass.”
In May you had played on the Fuck The Commerce festival in Germany. Tell us please about this gig? How were you welcomed by the fans? Were they enthusiastic?
“Fuck The Commerce VII was great. The fans didn't really recognize us because we were in the crowd almost the whole time and no one came up to us. But when we finally played the crowd went nuts. What I didn't like about the show is, we didn't bring a proper soundman and the sound was shitty but overall it was alot of fun.”
Did you get to see some of the other bands' gigs, that also played on the festival? What’s your opinion about them? Which bands did you like?
“I liked CLIT EATER alot from Holland. Old School brutal grindcore. BENEDICTION was amazing - I love those guys. DIVINE EMPIRE played and they are really good friends of ours and they sounded excellent. INCANTATION was also really good. But there was alot of bands that totally sucked but with that many bands it's hard to only have good ones.”
Did you already write new songs? Can you reveal anysongtitles already? What could you say about the new OBITUARY tunes compared to the classic ones?
“All I can say is the new tunes are amazing. The best OBITUARY songs I have heard in years. We have no titles yet and have 6 songs completed.”
When and on which label will the new record be released? Are you still with Roadrunner? Did you get offers from other labels?
“Everyone wants to do this next record but we have one more album with Roadrunner. If all works out ok we will put it out with them but who knows what the future has in store.”
You have an official website. What can you say about it? Is itimportant for the bands to have an own website? Do you use the internet often?
“I am on the internet all day. It is the second best way of communication other than the phone. On these two sites we have, there is going to be alot of things going on for the fans. Like I said earlier we're doing live chats. I will be on live August 14 and Donald will be on August 8. Trevor and Allen will be scheduled soon and John just did his last week. We have alot planned for those sites so be sure to check em out.”
What’s your opinion about the present Death Metal scene? Are there still talented Death Metal bandsin Florida that we don’t know? In your opinion, why was Florida in the late 80s/early 90s the centre of Death Metal?
“I’m not to up on the Death Metal scene now but that's a good thing cause we want to keep to our roots and not sound like what's happening today. All these new bands of today are doing what us and other bands have done for years so it's hard for me to listen to the new shit out there. I really don't know why Florida was the hot spot for Death Metal I can only attribute it to the heat.”
Which Death Metal records that got released this year did you already listen to? Did you listen to maybe the new DEICIDE, SUFFOCATION, CANNIBAL CORPSE or UNHOLY GHOST records?
“I did hear the new DEICIDE and SUFFOCATION. Both records crush, especially the new SUFFOCATION. I have not heard the new CANNIBAL CORPSE yet but want to and the other records you mentioned I have never heard of these bands. I really like MORTIIS’ last album and I really like SUPERJOINT RITUAL.”
What do you think about the comeback of SUFFOCATION? I think it is very good that they are back again...
“It's great. They are a really good band and very good friends of ours. Pretty soon us old Death Metal legends will own the scene again.”
If therewould be a Death Metal Hall of Fame, in your opinion, which bands would you like to see there?
“DEATH, POSSESSED, AUTOPSY, CARCASS, ENTOMBED, NAPALM DEATH, MASSACRE, SLAUGHTER, SUFFOCATION, MORBID ANGEL, DEICIDE and of course OBITUARY.”
Frank, thanks a lot for your words and for your patience. I wish you all the best and good luck. Please close the interview.
“Thank you, very much and be on the look out for our new rocord and tours we have coming up. Don’t forget the check www.obituary.cc and www.slowlywerot.net for updates."
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