The heart of every Death Metal fan started to beat a little faster when the news spread a few years ago that the legendary AUTOPSY was resurrected from its grave. Originally, AUTOPSY came to life again for a new single – "Horrific Obsession" (2008) – and a few gigs at rather big festivals. The reunion was very successful and with the demise of ABSCESS, nothing stood in the way for a new AUTOPSY record. "Macabre Eternal" (2011) was a great comeback album which can easily compete with their classics from the early nineties, "Severed Survival" (1989) and "Mental Funeral" (1991). With a new record – "The Headless Ritual" – in their backpocket, the knife was sharpened again. We hooked up once more with frontman Chris Reifert.

"Macabre Eternal" was received very well when it was released in 2011. Everybody seemed more than happy that AUTOPSY was back. How do you look back at the album nowadays, 2 years later?
"Still love it of course! We’ve never put out a record that we didn’t stand 100% behind. It got the point across and them some. Nostalgia is not the name of the game and "Macabre Eternal"’ proved that."

You already stated several times that you think the new AUTOPSY album "The Headless Ritual" totally crushes "Macabre Eternal". In which way do you think?
"In every way, if we do our job right. Not to take away from anything else we’ve done, but let’s face it … if we aspire to make an album that’s as good or almost as good as the last one, we’re not trying hard enough. In hindsight I think we’ve achieved that every time and will continue to do so until we fall over backward frothing at the mouth."

"The Headless Ritual" was once again recorded and mixed at Fantasy Studios in California with Adam Munoz. "Macabre Eternal" was the first AUTOPSY album since your reunion. So, did you approach the songwriting and the whole process of recording different this time or did you stick to your formula?
"Yep, good ol’ Fantasy again. Love that place! Songwriting is the same as always, no rocket science involved. Things went smooth as always too. At this point we should know what we’re doing, you know? We plug in, get the sound we want to start with and fire away. The studio is great. We don’t know if it’s day or night outside but that doesn’t matter."

"The Headless Ritual" lasts exactly 44 minutes – ideal for the cassette maniacs who may still be around there 🙂 – and sounds in that way maybe more compact than "Macabre Eternal" which was a very long album (although I never had problems with its length to be honest). How do you see this?
"We did indeed strive to make a normal length album this time. It was cool to cram shitloads of Death Metal on the last one, but this time we catered to the cassette maniacs exclusively. Haha! Ok, maybe we just wanted to make more impact with less time? Or maybe we just wanted to go out for hamburgers instead of recording more stuff. Can I blame the greenhouse effect in some way? At any rate, we are totally stoked with the results, whether it’s 44 minutes or 144 minutes. The material within is what matters at the end of the day."

Some of the songs are really remarkably melodic again, which is a good thing in my opinion. Take a song like ‘She Is A Funeral’ for instance.
"Glad you dig it. What else can I say? We’re a humble Rock’n’Roll combo from Oakland, California doing the only thing we know how to do well. Crank it up and see your worst nightmares coming to life, clawing at your poor quivering brain!"

The guitarwork and the sound of the guitars in tracks like ‘Slaughter At Beast House’, ‘Coffin Crawlers’ and ‘Arch Cadavers’ remind me a lot on the first PARADISE LOST album which should be seen as a very big compliment. What’s your secret in getting this sound?
"I would have never picked up on that and don’t really see it, but hey… whatever works for you is fine by me. Our secret involves several forbidden and highly flammable items that may or may not cause serious harm or fatal events in certain areas of your nervous system. Thanks for the nice words at any rate."

The intro of ‘Coffin Crawlers’ could have been taken from an old horror movie, it sounds excellent! The same goes for the atmosphere of ‘When Hammer Meets Bone’ or the instrumental title-track.
"Yes, in ‘Coffin Crawlers’ there are subliminal messages that actually cause wormlike creatures from another dimension to appear in your ear canals so they can lay eggs in your mind. As for the other tracks, they are awful, horrible and will do nothing good for anyone. Turn around and run while you still can! Aaaarrgghhhh!!!"

The last time I talked to you, you said that you didn’t really follow what’s going on in the world of horror movies of nowadays and that the only movie that recently came out and impressed you was "The Human Centipide". Did you check out any new movies in the meantime that you could recommend or that were maybe even an inspiration? Have you already seen the "Evil Dead" remake and what did you think about it (I personally thought it was quite good)?
"I haven’t been following up on recent horror flicks honestly. I’m a bit sick of remakes and CGI riddled stuff with no atmosphere. There’s probably some good stuff I’m missing out on out there, but maybe I’ll catch up at some point. Right now I’m happy watching the twisted films that saturate the dark recesses of the back of my mind. Not for children or the weak of heart!"

The artwork of "The Headless Ritual" was done by Joe Petagno, mostly known because of his covers for MOTÖRHEAD. How did you end up with him?
"Joe contacted us and what a thrill that was. He let us know he was into the band and was interested to see if we wanted to work together. The answer was an instant and massive ‘Fuck yes!’. Joe is insanely talented and a cool mutha as well. Hail to the master!"

You have released a new song of the album already through the internet and so far, the reactions have been overwhelming. AUTOPSY has always been a band which received a lot of credit – especially from people who’ve been around in the scene for over 25 years – since you’ve never done really ‘weird’ things with the band throughout your career. Do you think weird experiments should be avoided? And in that retrospect, how do you personally see an album like for example MORBID ANGEL’s "Illud Divinum Insanus" which was hard to swallow for many (I must say that I really like that album)?
"Hey, we pretty much stick with the original vision for the band. We play Death Metal and if we got too experimental or whatever, we’d have to call the band something else. A beast called AUTOPSY can’t go too far into regions of weirdness, even if we are weird people. I haven’t heard the aforementioned MORBID ANGEL album to be honest, so I can’t comment on that one. We do what we do and they do what they do, simply put."

Eric Cutler has been diagnosed in 2008 with avascular necrosis, a disease which interrupts blood flow to bone causing it to die. He had his left hip replaced twice since. Can you give an update on his condition?
"Eric is doing fine actually. Nothing he’s been through has slowed him down and I don’t see him slowing down any time soon. He’s getting around well and slaying the guitar with a die hard attitude as usual."

Eric has been selling a lot of really rare AUTOPSY items on Ebay the last few months, in order to pay his medical bills. Now, I’m not exactly up to date with how medical insurance in the U.S. works but I always find it extremely weird when I read such stories (that people have to sell their own stuff in order to pay their medical bills and see that people are totally left on their own and insurance doesn’t cover their bills). It also reminds me on the situation Chuck Schuldiner had to face when he was ill.
"Yeah, that’s a big problem in the US… if you don’t have money or a job that covers medical insurance, you’re pretty much left to deal with it on your own. Crazy, eh? Now, maybe if we would put more money into health insurance and education instead of weapons and crap like that, we would be better off. Same old story though. All we can do is do our best and keep rockin’ despite whatever obstacles get in our way."

Eric has also just started up a new band, NECROSIC. Can you tell a bit more about that band and the plans in the future? Is there already much material written and is NECROSIC looking for a record deal or does Eric want to keep the band low profile?
"Hhmmm, good question. I don’t really know what’s up with that at the moment. I’d just say keep your eyes and ears open for news. I hate to give a boring answer but that’s all I know to be honest. I’m sure whatever Eric has in mind will be sick and heavy though."

The bassplayer of NECROSIC – Erika Osterhout – has a very Dutch sounding name. So, is she originally from the Netherlands?
"As far as I know, Erika has always been from the US. She’s super cool though and a killer bassplayer as well. Erika also plays in a band called SCOLEX who jam in the room next to us in our rehearsal building. They are heavy as fuck and definitely worth checking out."

Since your re-union, AUTOPSY have been quite in the picture. First, there was the album "Macabre Eternal" and then there was the compilation "All Tomorrow’s Funerals" which compiled all your old EPs ("Retribution For The Dead" – 1990, "Fiend For Blood" – 1991, "Horrific Obsession" – 2008, "The Tomb Within" – 2009) as well as many rare old tracks. What went through you when you listened again to all these old recordings?
"They still sound great and are now deserving a better treatment than getting dished out here and there as bonustracks on various re-issues. This compilation is something I’ve wanted to see happen for quite a while and I think that all the stuff goes well together."

You also released "Born Undead" last year, a DVD with your history and a couple of live shows. To be totally honest, I was a bit disappointed by this DVD. For example, the history was very hard to understand sometimes (due to the sound of soundchecks or background music), English subtitles would have been a big help there. And also the footage of the gigs could maybe have been a bit better (the footage of Party San was very convincing but also here, the rest of the footage could have been better). How do you see this?
"I am actually pretty damn pleased with how it came out and I think it’s much better than the previous DVD we put out, "Dark Crusades". We can’t please everyone of course, so if you don’t care for it, I certainly won’t strap you down in front of a TV in a chair with your eyelids taped open. Unless you’re into that sort of thing of course. Heh heh! Overall though, if you want a complete history of the band with tons of footage from various times and places, you’ll get all that and more. I give it three twirling thumbs up!"

In the past, you’ve had several projects like THE RAVENOUS, DOOMED and EAT MY FUK. You also participated as a guest an various albums by for example MACHETAZO, MURDER SQUAD, IMMORTAL FATE and DESASTER. You also recently contributed on ‘Cathedral Of The Damned’, a track of the last CATHEDRAL album "The Last Spire". Can you tell a little bit more about how that co-operation came together?
"I got in touch with them after seeing them at the Hole In The Sky festival in Norway, which we played at in 2010. I let them know we were in the frontrow, digging the hell out of their show. It was heavy as bloody blazes! I heard back from Garry who told me they were working on their final album. I said something like ‘If you need any sort of additional vocals or whatever, I’d be stoked to be a part of it!’. I didn’t think anything of it but soon enough I heard back from Garry and Lee as well and they said they were definitely interested in that. Since I am a huge fan of the band I was and still am completely honoured! Fuck yeah!"

I recently bought "Feast For A Funeral" – a comic by Vince Brusio – which is based on the AUTOPSY-album "Severed Survival". Can you give a bit more details about the backgrounds of the whole thing and how that comic came together.
"Vince got in touch with us and told us about his idea to make an AUTOPSY based comic. We all dig comics, so his idea sounded great. All we asked was that he didn’t have us as people in there. Heh heh! He came up with a great story and there’s plenty of gore and cool references to songs and stuff. If I could go back in time and show the book to my 18 year old self, I’d probably shit my pants! In a good way, that is."

You played a couple of gigs with BOLT THROWER and BENEDICTION in the U.S. last month. Last year you also performed in London together with BOLT THROWER and BENEDICTION. Your relationship with BOLT THROWER goes way back till 1990 when you toured with them and PESTILENCE. How do you look back at these shows?
"Those shows were buckets of fun for the most part. That was our first tour and we had a blast even though the promoter totally ripped us off and ran away with the money. You can bet your ass we don’t let that sort of shit happen any more. Live and learn, eh? Anyway, we had lots of laughs with those bands in those days… MORGOTH was on the second half of that tour and they were great as well. Really cool and friendly people and heavy bands as well. BOLT THROWER are fucking great. A killer band of course, but I consider them good friends and we always have a kick ass time together. It’s been amazing playing gigs with them again in recent years. We actually played with them in 2009 when ABSCESS was around too. Woo hoo!"

AUTOPSY also played last September in Brazil – Belo Horizonte and Sao Paulo – for the first time in the band’s career. How did that go as we always hear stories about how fanatical the audience is in South-America?
"Those were awesome shows! And yeah, the fans there are insane! Fuckin’ hell, they really live for Metal. I heard of a really good band called OFFAL from down there as well. Check ’em out! Overall we had a blast… hail, all you sick freaks!"

You already stated that you don’t think AUTOPSY will do a lot of shows to support "The Headless Ritual", probably just a couple or a few really special ones. Why is that, family and health reasons?
"We are not equipped to be a touring band, honestly. Health has nothing to do with it, as we’re all fit to kill despite anything anyone’s been through. We all have obligations at home though and it’s not easy to just head out the door and go away for extended periods of time. Plus, if we play too much, it could get to be routine and it’s best if we treat each show as a special event instead of getting reactions like ‘Ah hell, here they come again… I saw them last time so this time I’ll just stay home.’ or whatever. Know what I mean? If we make it to your area, just know that we will be ready to rip heads off of shoulders and it won’t be something that should be missed!"

Any last words or anything you would like to add?
"Just the usual thanks for everything, Steven! We refuse to let you down, so expect nothing but the most punishing Death Metal that we can muster. Onward to oblivion, muthafuckahs!!!"

www.autopsydeathmetal.com, www.facebook.com/pages/autopsy-official/162194133792668

Interview: Steven Willems
Artwork: Gary Ronaldson


The word ‘legend’ is quickly used nowadays. However, if there’s a Death Metal band that certainly deserves this label, it is surely AUTOPSY. In the late eighties, this band was one of the absolute pioneers of the genre and brought us “Severed Survival" (1989) and "Mental Funeral" (1991), two records that definitely left their mark on the genre. In 1995, after the release of “Shitfun” and the lack of success, frustrations rose and the band pulled the plug, only to continue in more or less the same direction with the new band ABSCESS. For the re-issue of “Severed Survival”, the band got back together again and a bit later the reunion of AUTOPSY was a fact. With "Macabre Eternal" the band recently released their first album in fifteen years. On a hot evening – just a few days before their gig in Tilburg at the Neurotic Deathfest – we called with Chris Reifert in San Francisco…

Chris, let’s first take a look back at the AUTOPSY-split in 1995. We have always understood that a very poorly organized tour in late 1994 was somehow the trigger to call it quits back then. Is that right?
"Indeed, that story is exactly correct. We were three months on the road in the U.S. and we lost a lot of money as well as time. That tour was too long, we didn’t even enjoy to be together on the road anymore. When the tour was finally over, we all had the feeling that we definitely had to put an end behind it all. However, we wanted to go with our heads up high and that’s why we still recorded one more album – “Shitfun” – and played one last show."

Since then, you’ve been active in ABSCESS and various projects (THE RAVENOUS, DESECRATION). In 2008, you got together again for the first time to record two new songs especially for the re-issue of “Severed Survival”.
"That’s right, we had a lot of inspiration and therefore it was absolutely no effort to write two new songs. But that definitely was originally meant as a unique occasion, we were not planning in any way to go any further with AUTOPSY at that time. We just wanted to do something special for the re-issue because it was exactly twenty years ago that “Severed Survical” was released. We released those two songs later on also as a single – "Horrific Obsession" – which got sold out very quickly. Then we got the offer to play at the Maryland Deathfest, which was an offer we simply could not refuse. At that time, we also started working on new material since we were all very excited to get back together to do something. Clint Bower then decided at some point to leave ABSCESS in order to concentrate on his family. Clint has always been the sort of driving force in ABSCESS. I felt that the band could not continue without him. And so we put an end to ABSCESS and resurrected AUTOPSY."

In the past you often made a very clear statement that AUTOPSY would never ever come back together. Why did you change your mind?
"That was mainly the combination of all the circumstances which we just talked about. The last fifteen years, I have indeed always claimed that we never would do something again with AUTOPSY. And here we are again, luckily a person can still change his mind (laughs). “Horrific Obsession” has actually caused a sort of snowball-effect. There was suddenly an enormous interest in the band again, people were talking again about AUTOPSY, even more than ever before. The last time we played with ABSCESS at the Maryland Deathfest, there was a rumor going around that AUTOPSY would play. I always had to deny it but before you know it, we were indeed on the bill. We got booked for several other festivals, we were writing new material, ABSCESS split, … it all happened in a very short time. And suddenly there was the possibility to pick things up again."

AUTOPSY split fifteen years ago. Meanwhile, there is a whole new generation of Death Metal fans who grew up with your albums but never saw AUTOPSY perform. In the last fifteen years, you have released several live albums ("Dead As Fuck", "Tortured Moans Of Agony") and compilations ("Ridden With Disease”, “Torn From The Grave”, "Awakened By Gore") which must have contributed to the fact that fans stayed interested in the band or simply discovered the band.
"Without a doubt, you’re certainly right about that. All these young fans make me spontaneously remember the time when I was a teenager and discovered SLAYER and VENOM (laughs). Their music was the coolest thing I had ever heard. I can imagine that anyone who’s sixteen or eighteen years old and hears AUTOPSY for the first time responds the same way. The energy which is in the band right now, I really can’t specify where it specifically comes from. I think the whole part of timing also played a very important role. If we had just stubbornly continued in 1995, we would have definitely ruined the reputation of this band. We all stand one hundred percent behind this reunion, otherwise we would not do it."

One must say that somehow, you never seem to fear to start all over again or create something new. You have played in DEATH, later on you started AUTOPSY, ABSCESS, you’ve had a series of projects
"That’s a very good remark (laughs). Well, I just want to keep things interesting for myself. This is something we all really wanted to do and you should not really look for anything more behind it all. But you have a point with what you say, especially since not only we play concerts again but also released new material, something we had always said that we certainly would not do (laughs). I noticed that many people are still somewhat confused because we have made such a decisive turn in terms of our futureplans. But hey, we just follow our instincts, that’s it. "

The last couple of months, several old bands reunited again, for example MORGOTH, DESULTORY and ATHEIST. What’s your opinion about all these reunions?
"Indeed, I also noticed that in recent months there are a lot of old bands back together. Even bands which twenty years ago only recorded a few demos are suddenly trying again. That’s really weird somehow. I can only speak for myself when I say that our motivation is absolutely sincere. If others also want to try again and feel good about it, the better it is for them. There are many bands that look extremely ridiculous and others manage to convince. We can only hope that with AUTOPSY, we belong to the last group."

When we heard the new EP “The Tomb Within” last year, we were pretty confident that the new material would work out just fine. Nevertheless, “Macabre Eternal" managed to blow our expectations.
"Thank you (laughs), that’s nice to hear. It was our goal to start with some fresh ideas and write good songs and not to rely on our past. “Macabre Eternal" sounds cool but we feel you can still hear very well where we all come from. There are certain things we haven’t changed, obviously. For example, we have recorded "Macabre Eternal” together with Adam Munoz whom we have been working with since 2000. We also worked very quickly, we were exactly one week in the studio. Adam is a very flexible person and we know we can count on him. The way we recorded “Macabre Eternal” is the same way we have always recorded as a band. First the bass and drums, then vocals, the guitar and the solos in the end. “Macabre Eternal” has very much a sort of live-vibe, it sounds almost as if the band is playing together in your livingroom, that was very important to us. The new songs were also very easy to write, maybe even a little too easy, as the album is ultimately running over an hour (laughs). That was not our intention. At first, we were thinking about the idea to leave three songs out but in the end we left it all as it is."

I was very surprised when I heard ‘Sadistic Gratification’ for the first time, it’s over eleven minutes long.
"We were too (laughs). I could hardly believe it when Adam said that that song turned out to be so long. However, I can easily listen to without getting bored so it’s okay."

Another song that really sort of stands out is ‘Seeds Of The Doomed’. It is surprisingly melodic.
"There’s indeed an almost catchy melody in that song, ‘Seeds Of The Doomed’ is going to be our Heavy Metal anthem (laughs). This song was written by Eric and he has clearly put much effort into the melody. Something like that makes an album just more interesting, I think, it keeps your attention. It still sounds very heavy and brutal. Eric has also sung on three tracks: ‘Dirty Gore Whore’, ‘Sadistic Gratification’ and ‘Spill My Blood’. Eric sounds really sick, he sounds almost like they released Leatherface of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” in the studio (laughs). We have the faster songs, slow songs, there’s more than enough variety on the album. I am pretty sure that some people will have comments or remarks as always but we couldn’t care less. We believe in what we do and that’s the main thing."

The cover of “Macabre Eternal" is also just great and was designed by Wes Benscoter (who made covers in the past for SLAYER, SINISTER, DECEASED and MORTICIAN just to name a few). It is perhaps his best work ever.
"We are very pleased with his work ourselves. We gave him only the title of the album, he was free to do whatever he wanted for the rest. He had no music nor any pictures to fall back on, he has only used his own imagination. I also think it’s really cool that Wes really made a drawing. It’s not a cover that is put together very quickly with photoshop. It’s just screaming to be released on vinyl and we will make sure that that also happens (laughs)."

”Macabre Eternal " is obviously very inspired by horror, titles such as ‘Bridge Of Bones’ or ‘Sewn Into One’ are good examples. Can you find inspiration in modern horror movies or do you most of the time go back to the old stuff you’re very familiar with?
"AUTOPSY is simply asking for morbid and horrifying lyrics, we have to. The result will always have an element of horror and dark elements. I am not up to date with what’s going on in the horror genre. I’ve seen very few recent horror movies that really managed to impress me, except for “The Human Centipide” maybe. I also prefer to invent and make up my own stories. The books of the writer Brian Keene have been an inspiration in that field. They are very brutal and written without any pity or compromise. Nothing is sacred in his books and I like that. Brian Keene is a modern writer I can definitely recommend. He goes way further than authors like Stephen King or Dean Koontz."

Besides “Macabre Eternal", there’s also a new DVD in the making, "Born Undead”.
"Indeed, we are still working on that. There will be footage of the shows we gave last year at the Maryland Deathfest, the Hole In The Sky festival and the Party San festival in Germany. There were professional recordings available, we could use them, so we would be stupid if we would not. Next to all that, there’s also going to be a documentary on there about the history of the band from the very beginning to the recording of the new album. This documentary will probably be around ninety minutes. Some people have done interviews with former bandmembers and bands we have toured with and are putting this all together. It will still take a while before everything is finished because it takes more time than we had originally thought."

Next week you’ll play as a headliner at the Neurotic Deathfest in Tilburg in the Netherlands. Are you going to play much new material already?
"No, just one single song to give the people an idea of what’s to come. “Macabre Eternal” will officially be released in May so many people won’t know the songs by then. We haven’t played in the Netherlands over twenty years, therefore we will mainly play old stuff. Once the new album is released, we will probably put more new songs in our setlist but not just yet. One thing’s for sure: in the future we will definitely not tour anymore for several weeks like we used to do in the past but mainly play at festivals. Our schedule is getting busier every day, soon we will soon play in Texas and San Francisco. In July, we have shows in Denmark and Finland and a show in Los Angeles. That’s more than enough for now, we don’t want to play too many shows."

Dan Lilker played bass on all the shows you did recently. Why is Joe Trevisano not playing?
"Joe is taking over from Dan from now on. Dan just replaced Joe last year for three shows, hence perhaps the confusion. When we did the three festivals last year which will be included on the DVD, ABSCESS was still together. We didn’t know whom we had to take to play bass, Joe or Clint. It was a little strange having to choose between the two, leaving the other one standing in the cold. We therefore asked if Dan wanted to play these festivals with us as Dan was more a sort of ‘neutral party’. ABSCESS split up shortly afterwards and Joe was actually ready and up for it but the shows were already booked with Dan so… Joe played on "The Tomb Within” and “Macabre Eternal" and is definitely going to play as a bassist during our shows from now on.”

Twenty years ago, you toured in Europe together with BOLT THROWER and PESTILENCE. Back then you also played at the Biebob in Vosselaar in Belgium. I still remember this gig very well as this was the first Death Metal concert I attended. If I’m not mistaken, that was the only time you ever played in Belgium.
"That’s correct, I also remember that show in Belgium perfectly because I turned twenty-one years old that day (laughs). (Somebody made the remark in the meantime that AUTOPSY played in fact twice in Belgium. The day after the concert in Vosselaar, they also played in Sint Lievens Houtem, you can find footage of the set BOLT THROWER played on that day easily on youtube – Steven). We did a second tour through Europe later on that year but that was a really small tour. Most of those performances were in England and the Netherlands, we were touring with PARADISE LOST back then. The tour you are talking about – the ‘Blood-Brothers’ tour – lasted for five weeks, BOLT THROWER was present in the first part of the tour, MORGOTH was replacing them in the second part because those shows were mainly in Germany and MORGOTH was quite popular in Germany back then. I can still remember all that very well. There was a very good atmosphere among the bands, everyone could get along just fine, we had tons of laughter (laughs)."

A couple of months ago, I wrote a very big article about Chuck Schuldiner as it’s already ten years ago that he passed away. I also tried to get ahold of you for that article because you recorded the demo “Mutilation” as well as the legendary DEATH-debut “Scream Bloody Gore" together with Chuck Schuldiner. Unfortunately I didn’t succeed back then. How do you look back on your collaboration with Chuck these days?
"Well, everything comes to mind very easily. When I was with Chuck in DEATH, it was very pleasant, very relaxed too. Later on, things got much more stressful for Chuck because of many problems with musicians and labels. But when we were just the two of us, making music, that was really nice. There simply was no pressure from the outside, we also got along very well together. I’ve never played live with Chuck in front of an audience, we’ve only played together in the rehearsal room and the studio. The joy of making music together always came first, even though we were serious about it. I was seventeen, Chuck was nineteen. We never had problems with each other. We also did a lot together: discovering new bands, listening to records together and just hang out. I haven’t actually played that long in DEATH, at most one year. But afterwards I always stayed in touch with Chuck, one year later after I left I even stayed at his place for a couple of days. AUTOPSY and DEATH were once together on the bill of a festival in 1990, that was kind of funny (laughs). And when DEATH came to play in the Bay Area, I always went to the show. I was very surprised when I heard of his death. I knew Chuck was very ill, still it hit me like a hammer. When I was still a part of DEATH, I stayed for two months at his home with him and his parents who all lived in Florida. Chuck’s parents treated me really good, something that was not always obvious, especially if you keep in mind the mischief a seventeen year old is up to (laughs)."

Many people see AUTOPSY as one of the pioneers in Death Metal. It is also remarkable that especially many Swedish bands see AUTOPSY as an inspiration. Does something like that make you proud somehow?
"I would be lying if I would say that it isn’t flattering (laughs). If anyone enjoyed our music or if our music has inspired him or her, that’s always a nice compliment. But we are certainly not the first Death Metal band there ever was. We also have our influences, in a way we just pass the torch."

www.autopsydeathmetal.com

www.myspace.com/autopsyofficial

Steven Willems

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