Floridian death metal pioneers, Obituary, are gearing up to tackle their first headlining tour of North America in three years, before heading overseas for a European headlining trek. The exact set list that the band will be bestowing upon its audience is yet unknown, but it will be strictly composed of tracks off their first three albums, “Slowly We Rot”, “Cause Of Death” and “The End Complete”. This tour also reintroduces Broken Hope, who have not played live in over a decade.
“Some of the stuff, I don’t think we’ve ever played live. Maybe back in Tampa at a local show 20 years ago, but most of those songs we haven’t played in 15 to 20 years” states guitarist Trevor Peres, but when asked what treats we might be in for, he laughs and says “ I’d have to kill ya… people will have to come check it out! It’s all classic stuff off the first three albums”.
I foolishly ask if the band has “Don’t Care” in their plans, which gets a laugh. “That’s not off the first three records! Which is funny, because one day we were rehearsing and we’re like a week into practicing all these songs for the tour and I’m like, dude! We forgot to pick ‘Don’t Care’, and John (Tardy) goes isn’t that off ‘World Demise’? Oh yeah, it is! We can’t play it! So I guess it’ll have to be the next time because it’s totally a song we get asked about a lot, so it’ll have to be on the next run. Next year we’ll have our new record out so hopefully on that tour we’ll do ‘Don’t Care’ or something”
Now that we know what isn’t in store, how about a hint at what is? Trevor was reluctant to give much information; “There’s a couple songs off ‘Slowly We Rot’ and a couple off ‘Cause Of Death’. I was surprised by how technical some of those songs are, at least for Obituary. It’s kind of funny. They’re not hard, it’s just relearning it and trying to figure out what the hell we were playing because the production wasn’t perfectly crystal clear, maybe for back then it was but for today it’s like what the hell, you can’t hear what’s going on in that song! . It’s literally 13 or 14 songs we haven’t played in 20 years, you know? But today we practiced and it sounded killer”.
Since those early days, the band has changed guitar tone from E to D, which meant figuring out which notes were being played more difficult, as the band played along to their own CD’s. It should also prove interesting to hear these older songs played in a different key. “I was going to bring two guitars on tour, one tuned to E and one to D but I was like, screw that, it’s too much shit to deal with” Trevor explains.
Although, it appears there aren’t any plans to record any of the tour for a live album, the band definitely has a few tricks up its collective sleeve for the future. “We’ve talked about re-recording all our old albums though, in the studio, re-recording each album one by one. We talked about that because we can’t get rights to our albums to sell on the road or put on our website because Roadrunner owns it all, and they won’t sell us the albums unless we want to buy all the music outright, which seems ludicrous to buy my own music. So, legally, we can re-record them and re-package the albums and then at least kids can have our music, and it’ll sound better all polished and re-done”. “The reality of that happening is very good because we own our own studio, so it’s not like we have to find the money and talk to someone, I could start recording tomorrow if I wanted to, you know? That’s not an issue and I’m sure whatever label we’re with would be interested in that too”. So, the music industry rears its ugly head once more, further demonstrating what artists have to deal with throughout their careers. What about the cover artwork? “I don’t know about that, there’s probably a bunch of legal crap to go through. We could probably license the artwork, I don’t see why that would be a problem. Somebody’s got to get some sort of cut out of it. At the end of the day, we’d be paying publishing from those sales to Roadrunner who in turn would be cutting us a cheque for royalties. We pay Roadrunner, so they can pay us back, it’s a big joke. Whatever, we just want to have the albums available. We wanted to get all the rights to our back catalog so we could re press it, to have it, but it’s like pulling teeth. From ‘Frozen In Time’ back, they own that shit until our great grandchildren are gone. Roadrunner is now owned by Warner brothers or somebody so that just makes it even worse because it’s buried deeper into the archives. Hopefully there’s some metal head at Warner that digs up the records and goes “Check this out, dude!”, you know?’
Before that happens, Obituary will have a brand new record to show off. “It’s heavy as balls, I can tell you that!” Trevor laughs, “ We’ve got three songs that we’re going to release first as an EP or a 7”, that’s what we plan on doing, picture disc vinyl only, and a digital download version of it. We’re not going to do a CD of it just to make it special, and then the next album, which will be on CD at least, and we’re in the middle of writing those songs and it’s very heavy stuff” With the band going back and re-learning all these older songs, is it likely going to influence the direction of these new songs? “You never know, it’s hard to say. I think they already do. All the stuff we’ve done in the past influences our future, as well as all the old stuff I used to listen to like Hellhammer or Celtic Frost or Slayer”.
So, when might we hear some new music? “Hopefully this fall or early next year. We’re talking to Century Media so hopefully that works out. They are good friends of ours and they are totally interested”.