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Cannibal Corpse’s Pat O’Brien and Rob Barrett Talk New Book, New Album + Early Influences

Cannibal Corpse
Kathy Flynn, WickedGoddessPhotography.com

Death metal veterans Cannibal Corpse just completed their run on the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival. Always intense and often controversial, the band has decided to release a book this fall documenting their eventful 25 year career. When Loudwire caught up with guitarists Pat O’Brien and Rob Barrett backstage before the San Bernardino Mayhem gig, the guys had already endured a broken down bus the night before and no air conditioning on one of the hottest days of the year.

During the chat, the two Cannibal Corpse guitarists discuss the band’s upcoming book ‘The Bible of Butchery,’ their forthcoming album ‘A Skeletal Domain’ and their early influences.

Well guys, it seems like some Spinal Tap moments have already crept into this tour.

Rob: Oh yeah. Those never ever really seem to stop. I mean, it can always be a lot worse and it can get pretty funny. You think you’ve reached a certain level as a band and then right away it can get humbling pretty fast.

Pat: But you just put it behind you. I mean, the AC going out on the bus at the start of a hot summer tour is pretty brutal. But nowhere near as bad as being without a guitar or something like that. As long as you have what you need to get out and play, you can’t complain too much.

So this fall, the first book about the band will be released.

Rob: Right, it’s called ‘The Bible of Butchery’ and it’s really pretty cool. Joel McIver wrote it and he’s really good. He’s written some amazing books about bands over the years so we were really excited when he approached us. He came out on tour with us for a few days and did some really in-depth interviews.

Pat: He’d just been paying attention to us and couldn’t believe we’ve never done a book. He came over to the UK on one of our tours to hang out with us. He got a lot of great stories out of this, and in September our plan is to bundle the book with our new album.

Do you guys read a lot of books about musicians yourselves?

Pat: Yeah. I really enjoyed the Tony Iommi book especially.

Rob: I liked that one, too. I also really enjoyed the books by Vince Neil and Nikki Sixx. We think the fans will be blown away by this book. We’ve collected a ton of never-before-seen pictures and I mean there’s some stuff that much of the band has never seen before. Shots that friends and family took — it’s a really amazing collection.

What can you share about the upcoming album?

Rob: I think it’s Pat’s shining moment because he wrote so many of the songs.

Pat: I wrote a lot more than I usually do and the songs really felt good this time. I mean look, we always try and put a new twist on things with each album but at the end of the day, I think that Cannibal Corpse fans will really like it and fans that don’t care for us won’t like it. We are who we are. We always like new fans coming in, but we’ve been around long enough for most people get us and know what were about. We do what we do for the fans at this point. We just want to deliver a really good Cannibal Corpse album.

Rob: Right. We just try and pick up songs that will be memorable, not just in one ear and out the other. We look to create little hooks within our boundaries and style. We just are what we are, like Pat said.

What albums growing up played a big part in your lives?

Pat: Anything by Black Sabbath. I mean Metallica of course was always important, but every note of every Black Sabbath album still sounds fresh and new to me today.

Rob: I would say the same thing. I still listen to old Sabbath records more than any new stuff. It puts you in a certain time and place in life and reminds you of what you were thinking and feeling at that time.

Along the same lines, what was the first concert that made a big impression on you?

Pat: There was a local band that used to play in the Cincinnati area called Rock Duster. They sounded just like Judas Priest and I totally looked up to them. To me, even though they were only playing small theaters and armory-type places, they always came off as a really big band. I would go see them and my years would ring for like two days straight and that had a huge influence on me. To just get overwhelmed by a band like that was really exciting.

Rob: The first really heavy concert that I saw was Judas Priest and Iron Maiden playing together. This was up in Buffalo where I grew up, and I couldn’t believe I was seeing my two favorite bands on the same bill. Imagine being just 12 years old and seeing that. But I have to admit, the very first concert I ever saw was REO Speedwagon. It was the first thing that my mom would let me go to and it was actually a pretty cool show. Back then, any band that had a video on MTV, I was interested in seeing just to see what the performance would be like in person. To see guys up there that you knew from television playing guitars and singing live was something that really influenced me. I knew right then and there that’s what I wanted to be when I grew up.

Our thanks to Rob and Pat of Cannibal Corpse for taking the time to chat with us. Pre-order Cannibal Corpse’s new album, ‘A Skeletal Domain,’ at the Metal Blade merch store or at iTunes. You can also pick up the book ‘The Bible of Butchery’ at this location.

Listen to Cannibal Corpse’s New Song ‘Sadistic Embodiment’

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