Not Dead Yet
CoC Interviews Obituary
by: Adrian Bromley
No one can deny the impact that Florida's Obituary has had on the metal music scene. The band changed it forever. Early on in their career, the band helped sculpt and strengthen the death metal scene with their past releases, especially the band's two earliest releases, _Slowly We Rot_ and _Cause Of Death_, which are both considered classic records that any metal fan should own. While the band saw very little success with 1993's _World Demise_, the band has come 'back' to the 1997 metal scene with a strong contender, _Back From the Dead_.

But, with a rumor circulating that Obituary's latest LP may be their final record, could it all be over following this tour? Chronicles of Chaos contacted drummer Donald Tardy (while on tour) about the rumors, work in the studio, and their record label.

He begins, "As long as we have been together, been friends, and been in the same band for as long as we have, we have never let that type of pressure bother us when it comes to writing an individual song, a rhythm, or a whole album in general. Yes there was a different atmosphere studio-wise when recording this album, but, as far as songwriting went, it was pretty much the same laid-back vibe for us. It was a different feel for us this time around because it had been so long since we had been in the studio. We were just itching to get back into the studio after such a long absence and make music."

Obituary - rounded out by singer John Tardy, guitarists Allen West and Trevor Peres, and bassist Frank Watkins - has always been one group to live off their success within the fanbase of Obituary. The band believes strongly in interacting with fans and avoiding a 'rock star' mentality with them. The fans make the band. "I don't find that we lose fans with each release. I don't see it that way," explains Tardy. "You might see that with 90% of Metallica fans or 80% of Slayer fans, but I think that Obituary fans stay true to what we are doing from the first record all the way to the new one. But we have also stayed true to them which is really, really important. I think the important thing is that Obituary believed in so much what we were doing and the kids understood that too. I think we have stayed close enough to what we sound like. Sure we have changed a bit here, a little bit of progression here and there, but we have stayed true to what we believe in when it comes to writing songs. Album wise, I am very happy with the decisions that went into it, performance wise and other aspects of this album."

He adds, "Band wise, we are happy with the direction we are always headed. You can't always be happy with where you are or what you do because this music scene changes so much."

On the topic of their label Roadrunner, Tardy says, "We now know that our label has more interest now than just in Obituary (i.e. Machine Head, Fear Factory, Coal Chamber, etc...), and now we have to promote ourselves and work as our own managers and bosses toward the record label because if you don't stay on their asses twenty four hours a day then things don't get done the way they should, compared to being a band with a management company and paying them money to be on their asses. We have realized that sometimes it gets frustrating to see other bands paying money to a management company to get on Roadrunner's ass, and it is working 'cause they are getting more promotion than Obituary is being paid attention to. That is the one thing I am paying more attention to this time out and with this record because they have to support us and see us as one of their bigger bands because we have been for sometime now. We made them a lot of money and they need to see that. We just need to pay attention to the way the label and promoters are promoting us because some of the shows on this tour are only promoted like a week in advance, whereas sometimes it is six weeks. We are glad of the turnout to shows, but they could be better if there was more promotion going on."

The band has always felt that their studio work has been their strength. The ability to bring in all their ideas and capture them on record is important. Perfection is another quality the band takes seriously when making their music. "We love to go into the studio to record and we take it very seriously. We know that what we are doing is what we want to do. When we record a song and the producer says 'Cut!' we know we got what we wanted. If it's not what we wanted we scrap it and record it again. In terms of production, we spent twenty days doing this record. _WD_ took about two months to record. We did this in just under three weeks. We were very sure of the production and knew that we had a raw groove and Obituary sound, and that was good enough for me."

Also, how does Tardy see the sound of Obituary staying true to their early days and not following trends like a lot of bands? "I can honestly say that when we are home and recording the new material we tend to stay away from outside sources or new bands that might influence our music. We want to keep it Obituary and not let other types of styles or bands come into what we are doing. We are focusing on what we are doing now, opposed to focusing on 'what didn't we do last time?', 'what would sound good right now? or 'what did sound good last time?'"

He finishes, "We focus directly on what we are doing now. Whatever rhythm comes to me that day, whether I am feeling slow and blue or seeing threatening skies and feeling quick and fast, that is the type of music that will be written that day. That is why Obituary has stayed the unique and same style. We play what we like and what sounds good. The worst thing you can do is follow in what someone else is doing. We are not into that."

(article submitted 16/10/1997)


ALBUMS
6/15/2009 J Smit 7.5 Obituary - Darkest Day
9/9/2007 J Smit 9 Obituary - Xecutioner's Return
6/20/2005 J Smit 9 Obituary - Frozen in Time
6/7/1998 P Schwarz 7.5 Obituary - Dead
6/7/1997 A Bromley 7 Obituary - Back from the Dead
GIGS
3/30/2009 Z Zf Amon Amarth / Obituary / Legion of the Damned / Keep of Kalessin An Awesome But Imperfect Monday Outing...
10/31/2004 J Smit Obituary / Master / Visceral Bleeding Back From the Dead (For Good, We Hope)
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