Six Feet Under’s Chris Barnes Talks Evolution of Death Metal, Legalization of Marijuana + More
Six Feet Under frontman Chris Barnes was the guest on Full Metal Jackie’s weekend radio show. The band recently released their 11th studio album, ‘Crypt of the Devil’ and Jackie spoke with Barnes about the growth of death metal, recording in Seattle, the legalization of marijuana + more. Check out the interview below:
Your work with Six Feet Under and Cannibal Corpse helped pioneer American death metal. What do you like most about the way the genre has grown and evolved from bands like yours?
Just the idea that a lot of growth in the scene has come about from it. Over the years, I think that there has been different branches off of the main tree of early death metal. It has been really interesting and beneficial to the scene and keeping the underground as a whole going. So that is what I am kind of most proud of about it.
There's a movie, Manhunter, about a FBI profiler who struggles with putting himself in the mindset of serial killers in order to catch them. Do you experience any similar discomfort when imagining a serial killer's emotions and feelings to write lyrics?
No, I do not really feel that because what I am doing is not really reality based. The stories I write are just pure fantasy and fiction, so like the characters and those things to me are just make believe, like when I am watching a really good horror film. You know when I was a kid, it was like I would watch a really good horror movie with my dad or something and I would be scared and my dad would be like, "Don't worry about it, it's just a story, it's just a movie somebody made up." So, it’s kind of how I think about what I do. It’s not really real. But, I mean, sure things like that happen but I am not really attached to that part of it.
Vocals for the new album were recorded in Seattle in the very same vocal booth used by Layne Staley. Did you feel the presence of any ghosts while working there?
I do not know if ghosts is a good word for it, but there is definitely a strong energy in that studio that I did feel and that was definitely present in that room when I was working and in the control room because there was something happening and it was, you know, you cannot say ghosts. It is not like a mystery or something like that appeared but there was a very strong, strong energy that was, I felt like I was sensitive to.
Seattle has a rich musical history. In terms of fostering creativity, what attracted you to that city?
It has, it does have a rich musical history I mean a lot of people forget that this is where Jimi Hendrix came from, and to me, he is the father of American heavy metal. My mom moved up here in the 70s so I heard all sorts of great things about this part of the country and stuff and growing up and you know when I play up here I always felt very comfortable here and as I learn more about it. It’s a city that is a very compassionate city and I do not know want to say it caters to artistic people, but it does embrace people that are different by nature and choose to be different and you know treat people with equality here. I do not walk down the street and get strange looks. I think it is a really, really good place for me to be in my life and I feel very comfortable here so that is really the reason why I came here.
Being a long time advocate for the legalization of marijuana, what's the strangest thing that has ever happened to you as a direct result of being so outspoken about that issue?
Nothing really strange has happened to me from being so outspoken about it. I guess maybe the strangest thing that has happened is that by speaking out for legalization over the years that it has actually come to fruition and seeing the overall collective mindset of people like myself being able to come together and fight for a cause that is real and beneficial to everybody. To see it actually happening instead of only being a pipe dream has really been a strange journey and kind of like a dream come true.
Thanks to Chris Barnes for the interview. Six Feet Under’s latest album, ‘Crypt of the Devil,’ is available at this location. Full Metal Jackie’s weekend show can be heard on radio stations around the country — for a full list of stations, go to fullmetaljackieradio.com.