PAUL MAZURKIEWICZ looks back on CANNIBAL CORPSE's singer change:
CORPSEGRINDER is a better vocalist overall than CHRIS BARNES
In a recent interview with Pod Scum, drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz of Florida death metal veterans CANNIBAL CORPSE reflected on the band’s 1995 decision to part ways with vocalist Chris Barnes and replace him with George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher. Barnes reportedly left CANNIBAL CORPSE in part over disagreements regarding the band’s more technical direction.
“It’s crazy to think that we did that,” Paul said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). “And here we are bigger than ever. It’s a tough to pull off. The early era, the ‘Barnes era’, what I guess everyone calls it, that’s the beginning of the band; that’s what obviously started us out and how we got going and all. And we were doing fairly well. We’re up the ladder here. We’re moving. We’re a force to be reckoned with now. So to change a singer in the middle of that seems a little crazy, but it had to happen. You look back now, and we all obviously feel we’ve bettered the band; George is just a better vocalist overall. And we’ve moved forward. And here we are — Jeez, Barnes has been out of the band how long now? 25 years or so. But both eras, they mean something, of course. That’s the beginning of the band, so you’re gonna get those purists that are gonna go, ‘I love that era more because…’ Okay — whatever. I’ve got no problem with that. It is what it is. He was a part of the band and we did do well; it wasn’t like he was nothing or nothing was happening with that time… It was a big thing to deal with, and luckily we were able to persevere and get through that and to be bigger than ever.
“It’s always gonna be debated, I guess; there’s gonna be people talking about it. But that’s the history of the band. Whether you like it or not, or whether we like it or not, it doesn’t matter. He’s a part of the history of CANNIBAL, and any member that was in the band is. If it wasn’t for him, I guess, the five original members, well, then the band would have never maybe existed. So it was an important era and it can’t be overlooked and the significance of the original band and the beginnings of CANNIBAL CORPSE. It’s cool to be able to talk about it — a cool story that maybe a lot of bands wouldn’t be able to survive. And luckily we have been able to survive and, like I said, do better than we ever thought we would have, I guess, by having George in the band.”
Six years ago, Barnes spoke about the possibility of his current band SIX FEET UNDER and CANNIBAL CORPSE one day touring together, telling “The Chainsaw Symphony” radio program: “That would be a tough one to put together, my friend. (Laughs) You wouldn’t have any problems from my side of things, but I don’t think other people would be agreeable to that.”
He continued: “I don’t think there’s animosity (between us). I think there’s just protecting other people’s feelings. I think that everyone knows certain things about everything and they’d like to see things a certain way, and that wouldn’t portray things a certain way that they would wanna portray them. So… I’m being very general and trying to be diplomatic about it.”
Barnes also talked about the circumstances behind his departure from CANNIBAL CORPSE. He said: “I just didn’t like being around them, because I was being ridiculed, and I just didn’t feel comfortable being in the same room with people that weren’t very nice to me personally. And I was part of that too, so we had all of our own type of differences, personally, and I don’t think it was gonna be able to be worked out. You know, mutual respect goes a far way when it comes to being in close quarters with people.”
He continued: “I’m sure we’d do things differently (today) — I mean, I know we would. It’s just the way things worked out. And I don’t have any animosity towards those guys at all, and I don’t think they do towards me. It’s just that… It would be too confusing for things (if we were to tour together), I think, from their perspective.”
Barnes added: “I’d do anything. I just like to see a lot of people out there with smiles on their faces; that’s the only thing that’s important to me, man. Like, seriously, if I see a big crowd of people that everyone’s smiling, like, ‘Oh, yeah! This is what we’ve been waiting for,’ I’m ready then, man. If I see a small room of people that are just fired up to go, man, it just gets me going on stage, you know. And that’s all I’m there for — that feeling, that sharing of energy, man. And I’ll go for it any which way to get that any way I can with any person I can get it with. And if it gets to that means to an end, that’s all that’s important, man — that transference. And some people just don’t see it that way, man, and it’s cool.
“I’m not gonna be mean to anybody, and I never wanted to be. I’m my own person, and sometimes I’m put at fault for that, and I think we all are in our own way. And that’s just life; those are the things we deal with as people.”