The Pioneers of Gore Metal, Exhumed are back again and with vengeance. With an almost completely new lineup, front man and gore master Matt Harvey and friends have recently released a new album of covers Garbage Daze Re-Regurgitated, which contains tracks from bands such as Samhain all the way to Metallica. Although the band has been around for ages, in many ways their impact on metal is never fully recognized. Even their predecessors, Cannibal Corpse, have been called Gore Metal, which is actually the title of the first Exhumed records. Sub-genres, labels, phoney rockers, the gentlemen from Exhumed took some time to discuss what metal means to them, what song writing should be about and what is wrong with metal today.
Revolution-Music: Let’s begin by talking about the mini-tour. It seems as though this is the first time Exhumed has been out on the road for an extensive time here in the USA.
Matt Harvey: It has been awhile. We toured so heavily for Anatomy is Destiny that we did it all in one big go. We did five weeks in the United States then another few months later we did another five weeks in the United States. In between we were in Europe and after that we were in Australia and Japan. It was pretty nonstop and none of us where enthusiastic about doing another six week tour [laughter].
Leon del Muerte: It took five months and we had ten days total rest. Not all ten days of rest were consecutive.
Matt Harvey: There were no days off on our Cannibal Corpse Tour in Europe right?
Leon del Muerte: There were no days off for us in the United States either. We had no days off in the United States or Japan.
Matt Harvey: There were no days off on our Cannibal Corpse tour in the United States because each day we were playing, regardless of whether it was a regular day or an off-day. We played five dates prior to the tour and then five dates after the tour. We played everywhere.
Leon del Muerte: The best was probably actually at the House of Blues in Chicago. We played Chicago for 1,600 people and then the day after we played in Indianapolis for literally 23 people [laughter]!
Matt Harvey: A lot of the smaller ones actually turned out pretty well though. Galveston Texas was really cool and so was Arlington. That was what happened then. We didn’t want to do any long haul touring right after all that and we didn’t have a permanent drummer and that took a long while to fix that. We got a new drummer, the third party here [laughter] Matt Connell. This is our first long haul with him, and the first long haul tour with our new guitar player Wes Caley. It is low key and it is not like we are supporting a band like Cannibal Corpse or anything, we are just going out and doing some small shows and getting the lineup to jell and smush together into one happy death metal sandwich.
Revolution-Music: How have things been working as doing your own headlining tour and how does it compare and contrast with playing in support of Cannibal Corpse?
Leon del Muerte: We are playing smaller venues that is for sure [laughter]!
Matt Harvey: Yeah, we play smaller audiences and smaller venues that is for sure. It is cool and more intimate sometimes. To me, regardless of whether there are seventy, a thousand, or fifty people, so long as they are into it we are into it. For example, we just did a show in Modesto California which is a small town. LM: It wasn’t even in Modesto, it was in a suburb of Modesto [Laughter]!
Matt Harvey: There were fifty or sixty kids at the show, but they were all really excited to be there and where totally into the music and we ended up having a great time and an awesome show. It is cool to go out on tour and hang out with people that are out there to see YOU and not the headlining band. It is great to play in front of new faces, but when you are a support act sometimes you have the guys that say [sarcastic tone], “Well, I am here to see Morbid Angel, I am just gonna sit at the bar.” It is cool have it be our show and have the freedom to play for as long as we want. We don’t have to worry about getting in trouble [laughter]! We don’t need to get yelled at by the tour manager or anything because we are the tour manager.
Revolution-Music: I was going to say you are running things by yourself.
Matt Harvey: That was also the same idea with doing the record ourselves also. We wanted to do our own tours and try to do things on our own terms and not have to worry about anything else. We wanted to do a support to tour for this album, but we could have waited for something to happen, but it was time to be out because the record was out, so we did it. That is the whole thing really. Instead of waiting around for someone to say, “hey, we will take care of everything,” we are willing to do the work ourselves. Plus I hate staying at home and working [laughter]!
Revolution-Music: What jobs do you guys hold outside of Exhumed?
Leon del Muerte: I am in networks and systems administration.
Matt Harvey: I just left Alternative Tentacles Records. It was a cool place.
Matt Connell: I work temporary jobs mainly factory jobs up in Canada and I do records and stuff.
Wes Caley:: I hold the same types of jobs Matt does. Temporary stuff like light industrial, shipping and receiving, stuff like that. I work in factories mostly.
Revolution-Music: Then, what kind of a release from your jobs is playing with Exhumed?
Matt Harvey: It is kind weird just because now there is so much stuff that is on our plate and up to us. It has become a part of our lives. This is what we do, and there is a lot of shit involved in it. None of us live in the same city so it is a lot logistics and coordinating, picking people up from the airport and making sure that we have the right paperwork, so it is almost like a release, but it is a job within itself. There is a lot of shit to balance. But it is the job I want to be doing. I’d rather be doing this than something else.
Revolution-Music: It seems as though as of late it has certainly become a do it yourself sort of deal. We have been seeing a bit less of the do it yourself among bands like Exhumed. It seems as though in the early nineties we saw a lot more do it yourself bands and promotion and stuff, especially in the death metal world. There were whole scenes dedicated to the do it yourself bands. I guess all those groups ended up getting picked up.
Matt Harvey: I think the difference between 1991 and now is that if you got signed back then it was a pretty big deal. It meant something to get signed. Today there are so many labels and the technology to make a good recording is so much readily available and everything from basics like CD replication is so much cheaper than it used to be. Putting out a record doesn’t mean as much anymore. That is why you see so many albums everywhere. It is a good thing really because it gives people a chance to be heard, but at the same time, it diminishes the value of having a record out. Now it is like, “You have a record out, big whoop.” So does every joker in the club, it is just a record. It is a bit different, but because of all that stuff, like the recording and the replication, it does allow more people to be more effective like being a DIY band than it was fifteen years ago. But for us, the goal is not to be this self contained thing, we are looking for a new deal for the next full length album and so this is something we are doing for ourselves and because we have a new band. I have been doing this band the whole time, and I don’t want to write the next record with some guys and then tell them what to play. We want it to be like a band thing where people feel as though they are a part of it. We want everyone to have stake in it, that is the way it is more fun and that is the way the band will get better. I have already written one record, so I have done that before, it is great, but once you have done it you don’t need to do it again.
Revolution-Music: Tell me a bit about Garbage Daze Re-Regurgitated the cover album you recently put out. Tell me why you picked some of the tracks you did and why you decided to not work with Neil Kernon again as you did on Anatomy Is Destiny.
Matt Harvey: Neil is a great guy! I think for us to do a cover album people would have expected an Autopsy song, a Carcass song, a Death song, an Entombed song, a Napalm Death song, a Slayer song, a Kreator song, because those all those are our influences. But I don’t think we could have added that much to those songs and also, everyone seems to think that Exhumed is hell-bent on becoming Carcass or something, which is just not the case. I love Carcass and we all do, but we have a lot of other influences and we have tried to blatantly rip off other bands and see if people will say anything about it and they have said it sounded like Carcass: I mean did you even listen to the song [laughter]? Did they even hear the music or is it just because the lyrics have more than three syllables per word that it is automatically like Carcass? It was kind of fun to take songs that were totally out of the blue and it was good for the new guys to have their expectations brought in a bit. I didn’t want them to think this is a total death metal band and that we are all about being super brutal, because that is not the case either. It is cool to take our sound and apply it to some different stuff. In the end I think the records sounds like an Exhumed record, but I think it is cool to take a Pentagram song, which is old doom, and make it sound like a heavy Exhumed song. The reason we couldn’t work with Neil was because we couldn’t afford him and this is an off the cuff thing, it is not like this is something to base our careers on or anything. This is just a record because we have a new lineup and we are finishing up our deal with Relapse, and we are at a crossroads, so this is the re-charge album for us. I don’t think it is a throw-away or anything, and it is not the album that will propel us to the top of the charts or anything, but it is a record for people that already dig the band who want to check out the new lineup and hear the new start and to experience the new start. We want to include people in the same process we are going through. It makes sense to us.
Revolution-Music: You just also described in a sort of roundabout way that you have come into a sound. Not that you are pigeonholing yourselves either, but you have come into a sound that people can identify Exhumed with.
Matt Harvey: I hope there is something for people to identify. I mean if it sounds like a mess of shit, we have failed as songwriters. But I think there is a certain vibe that the band has always had and it has been cool to see it evolve and yet be preserved with all the changes the band has gone through. It has always been there but it has grown up and become more sophisticated. That is really what Anatomy is Destiny is about, it is about saying, “Hey, check this out. So now you can hear what we are doing, fuck you for thinking we can’t play [laughter]!” You can’t say that it sounds like noise anymore because obviously it sounds awesome.
Revolution-Music: Here is a collective question for everyone here in the band: who was the influence that got you into brutal music and what brought you into it?
Leon del Muerte: When I was younger I was really into Bad Boyz, Run DMC, LL CoolJ, and Ghetto Boys. But then I heard Appetite for Destruction and that was my sort of gateway album. From there it was a sort of natural progression into bay area thrash metal and especially since I lived in the bay area it had an impact. One day when I was with my mom at work, I was pissing her off or something and she pushed me out the door and gave me ten bucks. I walked over to the record store and was looking at the album covers and saw the cover for Symphonies of Sickness. So I bought it and I hated it [laughter]! When I finally got home and listened to it when I got home more and totally thought it sucked! I kept listening to Metallica and Testament and occasionally listened to some Carcass while I was playing Battle Toads [Laughter] and at some point it took and I got the first Cannibal Corpse album and from there it was Entombed, At The Gates, Dismemeber, Kreator, shit like that.
Matt Connell: Like many-a young metal heads I began with Metallica and spent most of my high school years sporting Metallica shirts and listening to nothing but the first four Metallica albums and mid nineties I started getting into some heavier death metal stuff. I think one of the first death metal bands I got into was Brujeria [laughter]. I just liked that because I thought it was so funny, I wasn’t really into death metal at that point. But the heavier death metal vibe of it got me into some more death metal. Because I was living in Canda, I was into more local Canadian bands like Goreguts and Cryptopsy. One of the first five death metal cds I actually owned was Gore Metal. So that was one of the cds that helped me get into death metal. It all just snowballed from there.
Leon del Muerte: How old are you now?
Matt Connell: Twenty-Five [laughter].
Wes Caley:: Basically for me, the first heavy album I heard was Vulgur Display of Power by Pantera. I was into hip-hop and rap before that, and when I heard that album I liked the heaviness of that record. From there I heard Master Of Puppets and that was amazing. It was a bit heavier I thought and I liked the vocals more because I wasn’t into Phil Anselmo’s vocals that much. I head Sepultura’s Schizophrenia and then I heard Beneath The Remains and I started noticing some more stuff from Roadrunner. One of the next things I found was Obituary’s Cause of Death and I thought that because it was on the same label it would be similar. It was way heavier than Sepultura and I just kind of went ahead from there. I just kept buying everything I could get my hands from there like Pestilence, Nocturnus, Carcass, Morbid Angel and it just kept going from there and never stopped [laughter].
Matt Harvey: I remember being on a field trip with this kid from my 6th grade class. I was talking with him because he didn’t know many people so we ended up talking a bit. He ended up asking me if I liked heavy metal. I didn’t know about heavy metal so I asked what heavy metal was and he called me a fuckin’ pussy and turned around in his seat and I was like, “what the fuck is this guys problem?” What a jerk [laughter]! So being a dutiful nerd as I have been most of my life, I watched MTV and I say Ozzy Osbourne and also Cinderella and Poison where just starting to break at the time, so I thought that was heavy metal. Before then I was listening to stuff like LL Cool J, Beastie Boys, Run DMC, like Leon. I was also exposed to classic rock stuff from my folks. So I ordered the twelve tapes for a penny add from Hit Parader. Some how, either through Hit Parader or Circus Magazine I had seen the names Metallica and Megadeth in print, so I ordered those two tapes and also some Dio, Quiet Riot, Twisted Sister and stuff like that. I put on Master of Puppets for the first time at my grandmothers house on Christmas. I put on my headphones and as soon as I heard “Battery” I thought it was some kind of Spanish music [laughter]! I thought I had the wrong tape! Then I heard the first song, and when I heard the first drum beat came in, I couldn’t believe it! I was just flipping out! As soon as the song was over I took off my headphones and stopped the tape. I looked around like I thought I was going to get caught and I couldn’t believe what had just happened [laughter]! From then on, I just became obsessed with the idea of speed and speed metal. I thought Metallica was heavy so I looked for stuff that was heavier, so I found Slayer and then Kreator, SOD, Celtic Frost, Venom, and stuff like that. In 1989, this friend of mine got the Napalm Death Peel Sessions because we had heard it was the fastest band in the world! I heard the album and I thought it sucked! I couldn’t believe that anyone would listen to the crap. But we thought it was funny, so we kept playing it and somewhere along the line, you start to realize it was awesome! From then on, if it wasn’t on Earache or Roadrunner it sucked. I got into 7 inches and demos and things like that. Then it got to the point where I became a metal nerd. It is something that gets into you. Once you get that first taste it is like a drug, you need more and you need to find more of it and other things like it. So fifteen or seventeen years later that is a lot of metal.
Revolution-Music: What I have noticed is that people are looking at put a lot of names on genres and pigeonholing bands today.
Matt Harvey: That is why we called our first album Gore Metal. We were really into Venom not always because of the music, but just because of his attitude and the stage presence. At the time, black metal was really big in the mid nineties and I remember having this conversation with Ross [Sewage] our old bass player about death metal and why it died. The reason why it died was because it became so faceless. It didn’t stand for anything, it was just music and the guys were so regular Joes that any mystery of hearing some dude sound like he is puking was that he was some jerk that likes to go surfing on the weekend. With black metal there was an element of mystery and living and standing for something. So I came up with In The Name of Gore which was our split cd before Gore Metal and I think when Leon was in the band he came up with Gore Metal.
Leon del Muerte: At the time, Dismember’s Death Metal had just come out. So we decided that there had already been Black Metal [Venom] and Death Metal so why not do Gore Metal?
Matt Harvey: I remember reading an interview that Ross had done for some fanzine, a photocopy thing. The question was to describe the style in three words and he said, “Gore Fucking Metal [laughter]!” I thought it was perfect! The thing is that press and labels like to put names on stuff anyways. They will call you something, so it is better to come up with a name for yourselves and they have to go along with it. The cool thing is that, as silly as it is, it is cool to read magazines and they call other bands gore metal like Aborted or even bands before us like Cannibal Corpse. It is kind of funny because we were just some dumb teenagers in the bay area. But it is a kind of contribution to metal.
Leon del Muerte: It seems obvious now that then people were doing gore at the time, but there was no genre tag gore metal.
Matt Harvey: The cool thing is that back then we had the idea of taking speed metal and traditional thrash metal and smushing it into gore grind somehow and making something that was different. I remember when we first started wearing ammunition belts and wearing sleeveless Destruction shirts to shows people thought we were low lives. People either thought we had just come out of time warp from 1987 or that we were making a joke on metal. It was not a joke, it was us. Now it seems normal, it seems that every band or Razorback Records is wearing a Kreator shirt and has a bullet belt and whatever. It is kind of funny because when we were doing it in 1997 people thought we were stupid. Yes we were but it is funny to see how things change [laughter].
Revolution-Music: What kind of an impact did the bay area scene have on you?
Matt Harvey: When I first started getting into metal I really liked it a lot. I loved Forbidden, Death Angel and Exodus. But when Exhumed started and we started to play shows I really started to resent those bands because they where…
Leon del Muerte: They represented the past generation.
Matt Harvey: Not only that, but they where not really cool about death metal in general. At the time, most of those bands on where on major labels and thinking that they were one video away from being Metallica. So the thrash guys were thinking the same way about Death metal as the Judas Priest guys where thinking about them when Metallica was first coming out. They probably thought that Metallica was a bunch of shit. Now it is a lot more different. It is funny because when bands like Death Angel, Nuclear Assault or Exodus do their reunion tours you look at the support acts and they are bands like Mortician, Grave, and God Dethroned. So now it is cool [laughter]! We used to do a ton of local shows and we would open for Morbid Angel, Autopsy, and Cannibal Corpse, but we would NEVER get on a bill with bands like Exodus or even out of town bands like Sacred Reich or something like that. It seemed like they thought that we would do our thing separately from their thing, or the “real” metal. It is cool that boundaries have broken down, but it sucks because the scene has shrunk so much that Napalm Death and Kreator are just as big as each other so just tour together. It is cool that Kreator can be on a major label and Napalm Death can sell out the same size venues. But everyone is in the same cesspool together, regardless of whether you are Death Angel, Marduk, or Incantation.
Leon del Muerte: There was a definite hierarchy. Now that metal underground metal has plateaued, that is why you consider bands who sell under 200,00 cds to be under the plateau. That is why bands like Napalm Death and Kreator can tour together and are basically on the same level now. As much as I hate to say it, Slipknot is a metal band, an accessible band at that, but they are not underground. They are not a part of the hierarchy.
Matt Harvey: I think there is an idea in the metal underground that most of what can be done has been done. This whole “New Wave of American Metal,” or whatever the hell they are calling it, is silly. Any asshole can take an At The Gates riff and put it next to a Hatebreed riff [laughter]! That doesn’t make a new genre of music. Nothing against either band, but there is nothing new about what God Forbid or any of those bands is doing. More power to them and that is great, and I am sure they are selling records, but there is nothing new. It is new to fourteen year old kids because they weren’t around ten years ago. It seems like it is original, but it is not.
Leon del Muerte: It is the cycles within the cycles. At The Gates got popular and then the bands that followed got popular. As metal in general is taking a downward swing, those bands are taking an upward swing.
Revolution-Music: I always thought of it as being the kids who grew up on those bands ended up playing the stuff they grew up listening and eventually living vicariously through their idols’ music.
Matt Harvey: At The Gates, in their most popular stage was direct support for Morbid Angel.
Leon del Muerte: When we saw them, they had to split a fourty set with Diessection.
Matt Harvey: We were At The Gates fans since the first album. It is just a continual recycling of ideas and music.
Leon del Muerte: At the same time, while there are At The Gates clones out there, there are tons of Morbid Angel clones and even a lot of bands that are doing the retro-Swedish stuff, and I enjoy that a lot more than other stuff, but it all comes from the same stuff and is still ripping bands off none-the less.
Matt Harvey: We are not trying to saw we are saviors here either [laughter]. If Exodus and Sepultura where putting records out on Earache in 1989, we hoped to sound like that. We’d be the last ones to say that we are breaking tons of ground, but it is a matter of mashing shit together in ways that it hasn’t before. Really, all the tools are out there. I have heard gothic metal, folk metal, funk metal, opera metal, and everything. I heard metal mixed with every genre of music. It is like, what can you take and shove in? For me, I am not into operatic metal or folk metal, I am into metal that is actually metal.
Leon del Muerte: Pick and choose what you like and mix it with metal, it is interesting to see that happen. It works now and again to some degree, but it seems like metal is being watered down by other genres.
Matt Harvey: It is like a compromise. When you let operatic vocals get in the way of being aggressive, I don’t like it. Aggression is what attracted me to metal in the first place: it was aggressive. I remember talking with a friend of mine and when the Metallica album came out, I asked him how he could like it when we liked Master of Puppets and Ride the Lightning. He said it was huge and it was massive, like a lot of the old riffs like “For Whom The Bell Tolls” and “Thing That Should Not Be.” Now I agree with him and I like the record, but at the time, I didn’t listen to them for big riffs, I listened to them for aggression and being powerful, up-tempo. Okay, “Orion” is cool, but let’s play “Damage Inc.” or “Disposable Heroes.” Those are the songs that caught me. It is cool to have other elements, but the core has to be something that is aggressive.
Leon del Muerte: I can’t really think of any mixed genre that really makes me think it is more metal than anything else [laughter]! It always breaks down the structure of metal, which is not a bad thing, it is just not something we do.
Matt Connell: If you want to sit around play some polka and think you are listening to metal, that’s your business, poser [laughter]!
Revolution-Music: So what I am gathering is that it’s not that there is no originality out there, it is that it is maybe a new type of originality where you are meshing things together into something that people can identify you, and not just the groups you are meshing together.
Matt Harvey: A good example is from when we recorded Slaughtercult I remember talking with different people and hearing their takes on it. I remember talking with Mieszko [Talarcyzk, Nasum] and he said that he liked it because it was the most grindcore thing we had done. I remember talking with Patrick [Jensen] from The Haunted and he called it a Swedish Metal record. I remember talking to Don Of The Dead from Nunslaughter and he said he really liked it because it was the most thrash record we had done. None of that made sense [laughter]! But we end up just doing what we do and there is stuff in Slaughtercult from all that stuff plus punk stuff and doom stuff. Somehow all we listen to ends up in there. I listen to a decent amount of country music and I am sure that shows up somewhere. Actually on the first song on the new record has some stuff on there. I am trying to mix To Live Is To Die with Fistfull of Dollars. It all comes out in one way or another and I am sure it is the same way for other bands. That’s why it is annoying when people call us Carcass. Someone who has spent thirty seconds with the record would say something like that. Like, if there are not thirty riffs packed into the first ten seconds of the song it is automatically Carcass. Instead of talking about riffs and stuff we talk about song writing now and how to write a good song. What we really work at is making something you will want to listen to in twenty years.
Wes Caley:: There are like a million riffs going on and there is no verse or chorus just a bunch of random riffs going on at once. There are like thirty riffs and only five of them are good, you just have to break them down. You have to get to the good stuff and try to analyze that. That is the way to go really. Brutal death metal is cool and all, but how many times can you do that same formula over and over again. They are all talented musicians, more talented then I am, but to remember all those parts and ideas is cool, but it is not the way I would do things. I like straight verse, chorus, bridge and stuff like. It is a bit more coherent that way. Maybe someone that is not into death metal will be able to listen to it also, and it won’t be brutal all the time. Maybe you can make it more interesting with harmonies and textures that someone wouldn’t think of. That’s why At The Gates was cool because they used a lot of weird harmonies like Judas Priest’s old stuff on Sin After Sin, when they would do not just third harmonies, but third and then fourth and fifth its counterpoint like Bach. That is a cool thing that should be done more often, but not like how the new bands are doing it. They are totally just ripping off At The Gates. I have nothing against them, but someone did it already, come up with your own spin on it.
Matt Harvey: We are trying to write music that is music and not just death metal. A lot of the US death metal stuff to me is interesting from a technical standpoint, but not interesting from a listener standpoint. It is cool to hear that guys can play that fast and see them play the riffs, but it doesn’t mean it’s a good song. I am impressed because some of them are better guitarists than me, but that’s cool. Hopefully some of our songs will have people singing along.
Revolution-Music: I was going to cite a few bands such as Naglfar who have written songs recently that have parts that are slow enough and coherent enough to the point where you can actually process it in your mind and sing a long with it and head bang with it. I think that brutal music is missing that element in many ways.
Matt Harvey: I think that also. It doesn’t even need to be slow to be heavy. I think death metal is missing catchiness and it doesn’t seem like it has anything to do with rock music anymore.
Wes Caley:: It doesn’t have any dynamics, which is one of the cornerstones of rock music. With AC/DC for example, the harder they hit the guitar, the heavier it sounds. After you get to the point where it is so fast and so distorted that it gets to the point where it either has to slow down or it has to go somewhere else with that concept. We know some drummers can play so fast, but there is no feeling. There is a fine line. What if you can take that technical finesse and add some emotion to it.
Matt Harvey: I think that when you can play that fast you have a tendency to play that fast and use your skills to a maximum. We were listening to Danzig the other day and we were talking about the old Danzig guitarist John Christ who is actually a total shred nerd who can play crazy arpeggios and super fast licks. But the reason he sounds so good on the Danzig records is because he is playing something straight forward and something hooky. It is great to see a technical player step back and say, “Hey, I can do this, but I don’t need to.” It is not about showing off, it is about playing the song and what is best for the music.
Wes Caley:: You have to play for the song, not just the instrument. You have to be able to play slow and fast, so long as it sounds good. It needs the rock element. That could be the thing that could save death metal or whatever you want to call this stuff. Maybe you can save it with more dynamics. You don’t have to do the crazy stuff on stage, but if you can have a good time on stage and connect with audience that is also important. The main thing should be that you can play songs with some dynamics and have some catchiness to them without sounding like you are selling out. You also need to have good stage presence. Mastodon doesn’t have great stage presence, but there is something about them.
Matt Harvey: Mastodon is one of the few bands that really deserves everything and all the hype they have gotten lately. They are really doing their own thing. You can hear all the influnces from The Melvins, Thin Lizzy, King Crimson and all those people, but they sound like Mastodon. When you hear it, you know who it is. It isn’t like some bands when you listen and say, “Is this Shadows Fall or God Forbid?”
Wes Caley:: The clean vocals of Mastodon has a totally southern vibe. Bands like Clutch come close, but nothing can touch it really.
Matt Harvey: That band is amazing and I hope they do well! They are great guys!
Revolution-Music: Could you have imagined going around the world playing your music for so many people?
Matt Harvey: Kind of. The only reason I was interested in playing guitar was because I saw pictures of Metallica and I thought they looked like kids from High School. They didn’t wear make up and shit like that. I mean, who really dresses like that [laughter]? This was 1986. I looked and bands like Cinderella, and even Ozzy and Dio and I thought it was cool to get on stage like that, but it seemed larger than life. There was no real connection. When I saw Metallica and they had holes in their jeans and crappy t-shirts and stuff like that, it was something I could connect with that. I also wouldn’t think that they are dressing like clowns either [laughter]. They are just kids. That is when I thought to myself, “If they can do this, I can do this!” The only reason I started playing guitar was to be in a band. I didn’t care about solos for a long time, I thought it was stupid, I wanted to play riffs and write songs. Within the first few months of playing I had written my first song and I wanted to get into a band and play it. I started a band with some kids freshman year in High School, and so then I really took control and starting trying to book shows and stuff. I wanted to get out in front of people and play shows. That is my goal, to not necessarily be successful, but to get out there and play some shows and exist as a part of the scene. I did imagine this when I was a kid. I didn’t know anything about it though when I was a kid [laughter]. When we played Wacken a few years ago and there where 6,000 people smushed up against each other with Exhumed banners outside, I thought that is what a show was like when I was twelve [laughter]. I think that my whole goal was to get out and see the world and do some things. This is what I wanted it to be. Obviously I would like for it to make more money since I am broke, but this is what I wanted when I was a kid.
Wes Caley:: I was the complete opposite. I played drums, but I could never afford to get my own drum set, so I played other people’s kits. It was too much of a pain in the ass. I started to realize I wanted to write songs or whatever. When I picked up guitar, I had an acoustic, and I was trying to figure out the “Cause of Death” song on acoustic guitar and my dad hated death metal so I had to practice that in a different room sort of in silence so he wouldn’t get pissed off. Then I got an electric guitar, and the first thing I tried to learn was Van Halen’s solo for “Eruption,” but I didn’t like the whole thing, just the tapping part because I thought that it sounded neo-classical and awesome, almost like a piano [laughter[! So the first thing I learned to do was tapping, so I knew how to solo, then I realized, “this is pretty dumb, I just learned this all backwards [laughter]!” So I went back and learned rhythms from Iron Maiden and King Diamond, not so much death metal. I pretty much got out of death metal for a year because I couldn’t find any musicians, so I played progressive rock. I realized that was boring, so tuned down to B and starting trying to figure out some Carcass riffs and then from there I have been playing death metal since. I played in Uphill Battle, which was cool cause there were no solos, it was just playing riffs and doing vocals and trying to write good songs. Exhumed is more along the lines of what I have been trying to do since 1999 or 1998. This is the direction I want to go in. Playing on a stage with all the people watching, the thought never came to me, it was more just getting outside of the garage and playing guitar. That happened and it’s a good thing. The more you try the more something will happen. I won’t be a rock star or anything, but I am playing the music I like.
Revolution-Music: What do you think about the musical differences between Europe and America?
Matt Harvey: Well in America we are really obsessed with the whole urban reality thing. They don’t have that in Europe. They don’t have drive bys or anything like that. It is fun for them and it is a release for some of them, but it is not an all consuming thing. It is not real on the street. Hans Grüber who lives in Hannover, that dude is luck if he has seen twenty black people in his life [laughter]. They don’t have the same connection to it that Americans do. I think that in the eighties metal was scary to some people. I know my parents where freaked out when I came home with a Venom shirt and cd. But now it is different, Ozzy is cute and cuddly like even my mom likes him and thinks his show is funny. Metal here has lots its fangs. If a kid wants to act rebellious he won’t get into metal. The average kid in the suburbs, if he gets into metal his mom will say, “Oh honey, that’s cute, I remember sucking dick with Def Leppard in 1987.” But if the kid comes home with baggy pants and G-unit shirt and says, “Yo, Whaddup Bitch?!” His mom will say, “Uh oh, Stevie is acting like an African American [laughter]!” But that is a big part of rock ‘n roll, pissing off your parents and being rebellious. The shock value of rock has been tamed by major labels and radio. In Europe, it is different. I have gotten more dirty looks walking down the street in Europe than I have in America. People are like, “Oh shit, those guys are into Satan, I’d better close the door [laughter]!” It is like, are you kidding me grandma? I am not gonna eat your brains or anything I just want to buy a soda. In America it is cute to be into metal. Culturally, metal has lots its significance and it has become a throwback thing. If I go to my grandmothers house I don’t wear a Regurgitate Carnivorous Erection shirt or anything, I will wear a button up shirt. But that is important and a part of the appeal, it is a fuck you to society and it has lost its impact in society. I am moving to Australia! I want to eat meat, drink beer, watch Rugby, and hang out with a lot of drunk people!