Morbid Angel interview

Originally published in ‘zine issue #2, 1991

Morbid Angel came ‘round to the Bayou in Georgetown, Washington, D.C. to play in support of the new album, Blessed Are the Sick. Before soundcheck, David Vincent and I sat down backstage.

D.U.: Starting off with the video you released, do you like how the “Immortal Rites” clip turned out?

David: Well, that really wasn’t even supposed to be a video. Dig [at Earache Records] had some camera dudes come down and record all the bands, us, Napalm, Carcass, and Bolt Thrower, when we did the tour a couple years ago. And all the bands looked at what it was, and we didn’t really like it. And they ended up doing that, and they just put it out. So, I mean, it’s not really even an official thing, other than our record company officially put it out there. We didn’t really know anything about it.

On the next album, is there gonna be any more demo material?

We’re done with that. It’s all new shit.

After looking at Blessed Are the Sick after it was all done, what improvements would you have liked to have made on it that you’ll implement on the next album?

Hmm [pause] that’s a good question. Um, I don’t know that there’s really anything that we’re unhappy with. Certainly, y’know, you grow a lot from album to album. I think we showed a marked growth between Altars [of Madness] and Blessed Are the Sick. And I’m sure when it comes time to do the follow-up to Blessed Are the Sick, that we’re gonna have some different ideas, some different things we wanna do. But this soon after the project—see, I’m real happy with it, and we’re all real happy with it. So I can’t really say anything bad about it.

“If any right-wing conservative motherfuckers get in my way, I’m gonna walk through them.”

Did you catch on the news that radical right-to-life group that blocks abortion clinics?

Yeah, I sure did.

Do you have any comment or opinion about that?

I sure do. I just have to say that if any right-wing conservative motherfuckers get in my way, I’m gonna walk through them.

Is that everything?


There’s a lot of death metal bands getting signed. Do you think it’s at the right time, it’s overdue, or should the labels look into the scene later after it progresses more?

Well, um, making an honest comment, I think there’s a lot of really good bands out there. Also honestly, I have heard a few records that have come out by bands who I think are probably a couple years away from being what I would consider ready to put out a record. They need a couple more years to maybe grow or mature as songwriters or get away from writing riffs or putting together songs that just sound like, say, their favorite band. As opposed to being something that’s gonna make an artistic statement, or have a style, y’know, have a niche. I see a lot of bands that are kinda more copycat, not really doing anything new, just kinda sounding like whoever. And, I mean, that’s fine, they have a right to do that, but I don’t think that I would sign those bands. I’m not gonna mention any names, but on the same hand, I think there’s a lot of really good bands that are getting signed, so it’s good.

The scene is getting real big. A lot of people have said that they think maybe it’s getting a little too over-saturated. And I would say that the good bands are gonna continue to do better and, y’know, get bigger as death metal moves from the underground into also general acceptance. Because that seems to be what’s happening. It’s happening for some bands because they’re selling out. It’s happening for some bands because they’re taking real seriously what they’re doing and writing really good material. And it’s happening for some bands just because they found their niche and it’s getting more popular. So we’ll see. Only time will tell. It’ll be a couple years before we really see what’s gonna happen with it.

In your lyrics, you concentrate on how the oppressionistic side of Christianity is affecting people. Have you ever covered any ground on any other religions?

Well [pause] Islam is pretty fuckin’ oppressive as well, but that’s not something that touches my life.

Just because Christianity is prevalent in the USA, and that’s where you’re from.

Right. Well, see, this being a supposedly free country, I just see more and more liberties being kinda pushed away for certain, y’know, morality-conscious groups, quote-unquote, to kinda have their way be the way, and that definitely ain’t my way. And if it gets in my way, then it’s gonna be dealt with.

Do you mind telling me what you do on the side to make a living?

Well, I mean, pretty much Morbid Angel’s all I do. I mean, I live with my girlfriend, and between the two of us we do alright. I have to really budget myself, y’know? And sometimes, when I’m not on the road or anything, I work at a record store. But that’s not really for money. I just take product in trade for my time. Like, I’ll just go in and grab some new CDs in lieu of money. So it’s pretty much more Morbid Angel than anything else.

So how do you prepare yourself, musically and/or mentally, to go on stage every night?

Well, coffee, concentration [pause] um, I try to be alone for a little while or just with the rest of the band, and just, y’know, think about what’s up. We’ve got our show a lot tighter now in terms of it’s not just, like, guesswork anymore. We go up and we know exactly what we’re gonna do. Everything flows a lot better now. Just planning more than anything else.

Photo of Morbid Angel

Will it really bother you if the new album doesn’t make the projected sales that you have for it?

Well, I haven’t really set any goals for it other than personal goals. And my goals were set prior to going in the studio as to what I wanted it to sound like. ‘Course, I’d love for it to sell fuckin’ two million records out of the box like Metallica. That ain’t gonna happen, though. And I know there’s things that I could do, that I could put out a record and sell that many records. In other words, I’m not willing to do those things, because that goes beyond where my bottom line is, y’know?

So we’re gonna continue to do what we do, certainly the best that we can, and as it grows I think we’re gonna grow. But I think there’s ways to do it without giving in. I think you don’t have to give in, and I think it takes longer. It’s a lot harder. I mean, we’ve been doing this for a long time, and we’ve changed and we’ve matured and stuff like that, but we’re still very, very much a death metal band. We’ve added more variety to what we’re doing, but we still have what I would consider one of the fastest, if not the fastest, drummers in the world. And I think for everything else as well, we do what we do. We write good songs, and it’s great that people like it and get into it. But if people didn’t like it or didn’t get into it as much as they do, I don’t know if we would be doing anything different.

How important is it to you that public and the press perceive the band without any wrong or preconceived notions?

Well, everyone has preconceived notions. Um, one of my talents I think is being at least semi-articulate and being able to, y’know, explain [to] people what’s going on, what I’m into. I pretty much am the quote-unquote spokesperson who pretty much says what’s happening and deals with the public side of things. And I find that from time to time people do have preconceived notions, especially talking with other bands and finding out that they’re talking to people that just [say], “Who is this guy? What planet is he from?” And I’m usually able to overcome those boundaries just speaking with someone. And if I’m not, and they’re still thinking their way, I mean, that’s fine. Everyone has a right to think what they do. But I certainly do make an effort to make myself clear, ‘cause it is important. Otherwise, if I’m not saying anything, why do anything, y’know?

King Fowley of Deceased, who was on hand for the interview, had a question for David: Are you guys gonna keep more and more working your industrial influences into your sound? I mean, you’re taking death metal to new heights.

David: Well, y’know, we don’t sit down and think, “Well, gee, we’re gonna go in this direction.” We just pretty much write songs.

King: Yeah, I know what you’re saying, but you put, like, the flutes in and stuff. And, y’know, I think, three or four years ago, I don’t think Morbid Angel woulda done that. See what I’m saying?

David: Well, it’s funny, because a lot of people try to categorize and figure out what’s going on. Y’know, trends come and go. I know that we had keyboards on the Abominations of Desolation album, and now I hear a lot of people are doing that too. And I don’t know of any other death metal band that had done keyboards before. So, I mean, I dunno what we’re gonna do or what we’re not gonna do, but whatever it is, I do know that it’s gonna be creative and I do know that it’s gonna make a statement.

D.U.: So, getting back to the last comment that you’d like to make, is there something that we haven’t covered that you’d like to throw in?

Well, yeah, I just want to really just thank everyone for hanging in there. And be rest assured that we’re gonna continue to do what we do. And everyone by now pretty much knows what that is, so definitely no repeat of any other infamous Florida bands. That’s about it. ■

Photo: Morbid Angel (courtesy Earache)


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