Now 25 years deep in the guts of a career in the genre it helped to forge, Cannibal Corpse is still considered the quintessential death-metal group. The Buffalo, New York-based goremongers have somehow managed to keep the quality of their records consistently high while maintaining the original vision that placed them forever in the (eviscerated and still beating) hearts of the metal community -- and on the blacklists of censorship-bent politicians and parents everywhere.
Now touring on its 12th full-length release, Cannibal Corpse is next up on the docket of world-class heavy metal hitting Miami's Grand Central. County Grind caught up with founding member, drummer, and nicest guy ever Paul Mazurkiewicz to discuss the band's longevity, trends in heavy-metal drumming, and just how good Bad Company is, in preparation for tomorrow night's "relentless beating."
New Times: South Florida loves heavy metal, but we particularly love death metal. Would you consider Florida the best place to play death metal in the world?
Paul Mazurkiewicz: I don't know about that. I don't know if it really fully ever was. Of course, it has a great scene, and a lot of great bands came out of Florida, and that might be more of a misconception because of that -- especially Tampa -- when you look at all of the bands that spawned from there.
There's are a lot of great places to play in the country, you know? And it's not like we come down to Florida and they're the best shows, but to say it's like the capital or that it has the most death-metal fans is a misconception. But great shows, and we always have a great time when we're playing there, of course.
How has this tour been so far?
It's been great, man! We're almost done playing with Misery Index and Hour of Penance. We had some great shows! It's a little short one for us, only like 18 or 19 dates, but it's been a success, and we've got four more to go!
As an originator of the death-metal style, how do you feel about the athletic direction metal drumming has gone in?
It's obviously taken on a life of its own since extreme music started out; it's a lot different than when I started playing, of course. There weren't really the drummers or really the musicians of today. You know, if the music's good, that's really all that matters. It turned into a competition -- who can have the fastest drummer and who can play the most technical and what have you -- I think that's not the way to look at it. To me, it's always been about playing for the song, and it doesn't have to be 100,000 miles an hour. To each their own, but in my personal view and perspective, it doesn't have to be that way.
I look at someone like Dave Lombardo, who has been my idol and the guy I've looked up to growing up and makes me do what I do, and you watch him play and he's a great drummer, and he's fast and all that, but he's got taste, he's got flavor, he knows when to lay back, and that's what I really like to do. There's a lot of great drummers, and it took it to another level and it can be very athletic and physical, but as long as the music and the songs are good, that's all that really matters. So if you're playing that fast, make sure you have some good songs, because it's only going to go so far in my eyes.
The way everything has gone now, a 9-year-old can go online and see a drummer just blazing, and that's all they know, and I look at it as running before walking kind of, but to each their own.