Hi Frank from Hungary. I’ve got your e-mail address from a guy, who makes an OBITUARY fansite under www.obituary.tk. Did you see this page? In my opinion, he has done a cool one.
“Yes I think his site is excellent. We have just launched our own websites www.obituary.cc and www.slowlywerot.net there will be live chatt with the band members and a live webcam to our prctice room that will show us playing live in our practice room. You can also get brand new OBITUARY merchandise that has never been sold before.”
You know, I’m a great OBITUARY fan and I’m very happy about your comeback, so I want to do an interview with you, in all right? I hope you’ll enjoy my questions ha-ha! Let we back fly into the past. You have played in HELLWITCH, before you joined OBITUARY. From which city have HELLWITCH came? Did you came also from Florida?
“HELLWITCH was from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I met them in 1987-1988 and yes I lived in Fort Lauderdale at the time.”
On witch Hellwitch album respectively albums did you play? Was HELLWITCH a death metal band or a thrash one? Tell us please both about the band and about the album(s). Unfortunately, I’ve never listened to Hellwitch materials.
“I played on one HELLWITCH demo from 1988 we did 3 originals and did a cover of DEATH’s “Arch Angel” HELLWITCH was a very technical death metal band in the vein of POSSESSED or MORBID ANGEL. I answered an ad in a record store and at the time I was heavily into the metal scene so I knew who HELLWITCH was. I auditioned and got the gig right away. We did alot of local shows with MALEVOLENT CREATION and even toured Florida with DEATH.”
Don’t you know by chance, what do nowadays the ex-HELLWITCH members do? Do they maybe regroup the band?
“I heard they played their first show in 10 years or something at the MALEVOLENT CREATION “Warcult” album release party.”
Why and when did you leave the band? How did you join OBITUARY? Did you know them earlier?
“It’s a funny story, I went to Tampa with some guys from HELLWITCH to see MORBID ANGEL and AMON (which was DEICIDE before they changed their name). When I got to the show OBITUARY was playing and they were fucking incrediible. I never heard of them before and was really impressed. During their show a friend of mine who played in a band called CYNIC told me OBITUARY was in search of a bassist. After the show I started to talk to John Tardy and in about 6 months we were touring Europe.”
You have came in the band instead of founder member Daniel Tucker. Was he fired or did he leave the band?
“Daniel actually just stopped showing up to practice and didn’t return the bands calls and they said fuck him and went out to look for a new bass player.”
Did you listen to “Slowly we rot” before you joined the band? What do you think about that album? I think so, it is one of the milestones of death metal.
“Well when I saw them live for the first time I immediately went out and bought “Slowly We Rot.” I fucking loved the album it was so much more brutal than anything I was listening to at the time. It is still my favorite Obituary record.”
Your debut was on “Cause of death”. Were the songs yet ready or did you write some ones? In your opinion, did you compare to “Slowly we rot”?
“When I first played with the band “Cause of Death” and “Chopped in Half” were already written. I thought to myself this new record is definetly going to be a Death Metal classic. No I didnt write anything on that album.”
At that time was James Murphy also the member of OBITUARY. How was to work with him? Did he write some riffs or songs?
“Me and James got along great. He was a good friend. He didn’t write anything on that record except the solos. Once we started touring we started seeing another side of James. He was always complaining or bitching about something so I nick named him Jim the Bitch. After a while we couldn’t stand his bitching and fired him. It also helped that Allen West kept calling us to come back to the band.”
In your opinion, were there differences or similarities between your bassplaying and Daniels one?
“I think the only difference is Daniel came from a metal influence and my influences are strickly punk and hardcore. I grew up idolizing Sid Vicious, Mickey Offender, Mike Dean from C.O.C., Dee Dee Ramone and Jerry Only. Overall OBITUARY’s bass parts really just follow the guitars but its your attitude that makes it more unique.”
In 1991 you were on European tour together with DEMOLITION HAMMER and MORGOTH, and within the framework of this one you have played in Hungary. Do you remember about this gig?
“I sure do remember the gig in Hungary. I remember there was a lot of people and it was located in a big park. It was very beautiful. The crowd was huge and very crazy. I also remember in the venue was a game room and a dance hall later that night there was a 50’s dance which I enjoyed very much.”
As I as know, you have played in Hungary with DISMEMBER and NAPALM DEATH too, haven’t you?
“Yes we have and had a great time on that tour. I remember that show cause Shane from NAPALM DEATH mooned us on stage.”
Frank, I would ask for you to speak about the further OBITUARY albums with your own words! Maybe deatiled ha-ha! Your third release was “The end complete” (1992).
“The End Complete” was a crazy album to record I moved to Tampa and got an apartment with Trevor and spent about eight months recording. I dont really remember alot of details about that album but I think it was a great record.”
It was followed by “World demise”(1994).
“World Demise” was a cool album to record because we were experimenting with alot of different sounds and samples. Our live soundman Big Shirt also helped us on that record. He did an amazing job. I think that record had the best sound of all our records.”
In 1994 you have played in Hungary again, together with ATROCITY and PITCH SHIFTER. How do you remember about that gig?
“I dont remember too much about that gig that whole tour was a whirl wind. Too much party.”
“Back from the dead” (1997) was your fifth record. To what did the title of the album refer? How would you charakterize this material?
“The title referenced us being back from the dead. We took a 3 year break and returned from the dead. Were also big HOUSE OF PAIN fans and they had a song “Back from the Dead”. We took a more raw approach with that album. We used a new producer Jaime Locke on that record. We really like the NY Hardcore sound and those influences came out on that record. I love the album really in your face. Also my friends Skinner T and #1 Diablo did some rapping on it.”
“Dead” (1999) was a live album. Are you satisfied with it? What do you think about live stuffs? Do you like listening to live albums?
“I love live albums. I think our live record couldn’t be any better. The sound on that record sounds exactly like we do when we play live can’t get any better than that. It was really cool because a mobile recording studio showed up at the club and plugged in. We were all fighting because some of us wanted to do the live record and some didn’t. I really never listened to it until about a year after it was released. I am very happy with it.”
Why and when did OBITUARY split up? What did you do after the splitting up of the band? Did you follow the formation/developement of the death metal scene?
“We stopped because there were a lot of politics in the band at the time. We were spending more than we were making the label stopped supporting us and we were all getting older and for the first time in our lives realized this wasn’t going to last forever. So we all had different opinions about our band. I think it was 1998. I went into the corporate world and became a stock broker and did alot in the banking industry. I really didn’t talk to anyone in the band for a long time. I didn’t keep up with any of the newer death metal bands I only listened to the old stuff. In 2001 Donald called me and said his new band Andrew WK was playing Ozzfest and John was going too. We ended up doing some songs during Andrew WK’s set and that kinda sparked us to get back together.”
After 6 six years of silence OBITUARY have reformed. When did you decide to reform the band? Did you give some reunion shows in Florida?
“Like I said we saw each other again at the Ozzfest. After that we got alot of calls about us reforming and we all talked about it and deceided to do it. We palyed the Sun & Steel Festival in Tampa. It was a real joke. We were awesome but the festival was put on by some real idiots and there were too many bands playing at the fest. We had a great reaction and had alot of fun. A few weeks later we played in New Jersey and that kicked ass.”
In May you have played on the „Fuck the commerce” festival in Germany. Tell us please about this gig? How were you welcomed by the fans? Were they enthusiastic?
“FTC VII was great. The fans didn’t really didn’t recognise us because we were in the crowd almost the whole time and no one came up to us. But when we finally played the crowd went nuts. What I didn’t like about the show is we didn’t bring a proper soundman and the sound was shitty but overall it was alot of fun.”
Did you see some shows of other bands, they have also played on the festival? What’s your opinion about them? Which bands did you like?
“I liked CLIT EATER alot from Holland. Old School brutal grindcore. BENEDICTION was amazing I love those guys. DIVINE EMPIRE played and they are really good friends of ours and they sounded excellent. INCANTATION was also really good. But there was alot of bands that totally sucked but with that many bands its hard to only have good ones.”
Did you write already new songs? Can you mention maybe song titles? What could you say about the new OBITUARY tunes compared to the classic ones?
“All I can say is the new tunes are amazing. The best OBITUARY songs I have heard in years. We have no titles yet and have 6 songs completed.”
When and by which label will be the new record released? Are you still by Roadrunner? Did you get offers from other labels?
“Everyone wants to do this next record but we have one more album with Roadrunner. If all work out ok we will put it out with them but who knows what the future has in store.”
You have an official website. What would you say about it? It is important for the bands to have an own website? Do you use often Internet?
“I am on the internet all day. It is the second best way of communication other than the phone. These two sites we have there is going to be alot of things going on for the fans. Like I said earlier were doing live chatts I will be on live August 14 and Donald will be on August 8th. Trevor and Allen will be scheduled soon and John just did his last week. We have alot planned for those sites so be sure to check em out.”
What’s your opinion about the present death metal scene? Are there still in Florida talented death metal bands, they we still don’t know? In your opinion, why was Florida at the late ‘80-s/early ‘90-s the centre of the death metal?
“I’m not to up on the Death Metal scene now but thats a good thing cause we want to keep to our roots and not sound like whats happening today. All these new bands of today are doing what us and other bands have done for years so it hard for me to listen to the new shit out there. I really dont know why Florida was the hot spot for Death Metal I can only attribute it to the heat.”
Which death metal records did you already listen to, which were in this year released? Did you listen to maybe the new DEICIDE, SUFFOCATION, CANNIBAL CORPSE, or UNHOLY GHOST records?
“I did hear the new DEICIDE and SUFFOCATION both records crush especially the new SUFFOCATION. I have not heard the new CANNIBAL CORPSE yet but want to and the other records you mentioned I have never heard of these bands. I really like MORTIIS’ last album and I really like SUPERJOINT RITUAL.”
What do you think about the comeback of Suffocation? I think so, it is very good, that they back again.
“Its great. There a really good band and very good friends of ours. Pretty soon us old Death Metal Legends will own the scene again.”
If it would be a death metal Hall of Fame, in your opinion, which bands could take place there?
“DEATH, POSSESSED, AUTOPSY, CARCASS, ENTOMBED, NAPALM DEATH, MASSACRE, SLAUGHTER, SUFFOCATION, MORBID ANGEL, DEICIDE and of course OBITUARY.”
Frank, thanks a lot for your words and for your patience. I wish you all the best and good luck. Please close the interview.
“Thank you, very much and be on the look out for our new rocord and tours we have comming up. Don’t forget the check www.obituary.cc and www.slowlywerot.net for updates.”
When and where was you born?
Miami, Florida „March 1968.”
What’s your zodiac? Do you believe in it?
„Fish – no.”
Did you have brothers or sisters beside Donald? Are you older than he?
„1 older brother – 1 older sister.”
How was your childhood? Do you have respectively did you have nickname?
„Childhood was great. I have great parent and a big family. A lot of my friends call me JT.”
Did you like going to school? How did you learn in the school? Which was your favourite subject?
„School was OK. I did well and graduated with honours, but was always in a hurry to get home to jam. Favorite subject was probably woodshop and computers.”
Do you have wife and children?
„Wife yes, children no.”
When and how did you get in touch with the metal scene? Did you collect vinyls or tapes?
„Not a big collector but when we first moved to BrandonIi meet the guys from Nasty Savage and Savatage. Started jaming after that.”
Which was the first album what you have bought or what you have got? And the last one?
„Don’t really remember the first album but is way probably METALLICA, CELTIC FROSTt or SLAYER. Last one probably WILLIE NELSON.”
When did you decide to be singer? Did you want always to be singer? Who are/were your patterns?
„OBITUARY is the only band I ever played with. XECUTIONER at the time with Donald and Trevor. DT on the Drums and TP on the guitar and we needed a singer soIi just did it never thinkingI would continue for this long.”
Did you parents support your career? Are they proud of you?
„Very much and I think they are.”
Did you still remember about, how did start the death metal movement in Florida? Why did Florida become the centre of the death metal movement in the USA?
„I remember and it was awesome... So many heavy bands all from this same area. Don’t know why or how but I am suprised that we all never got together for a FL Death Metal Tour or Album.”
Did you often go to gigs, concerts before OBITUARY respectively XECUTIONER were come into being? Which gig was the best what you have ever seen?
„I was actually to young to go to concerts when we started but I do love going to shows. Some of my favorites: SLAYER, WILLIE NELSON and ZZ TOP.”
Did you often read fanzines? What kind of fanzines were at that time in the underground?
„I don’t read a lot of them but I do do a lot of interviews with them...Ha Ha!”
How and when did you meet the other members of OBITUARY? Did you know each other for a long time? Were you good friends?
„DT, TP and I lived in the same neighborhood and Allen didn’t live to far away. Frank came up from Ft. Lauderdale to one of our shows and we meet him and instantly became good friends and then band members. It is hard to beleive that we have been together for this long. It is not an easy thing to do traveling and being together so much.”
As I as know, Allen West was a member of MASSACRE wasn’t he?
„Yes he was. He was with them when we first meet.”
When “Slowly we rot” was released, you have said in many interviews, you are the most brutal and the heaviest band on the world. How would you comment your statement?
„I never said that we were the heaviest band in the world. I never judge myself. I do have a lot of confidence and pride in what I do but I have enough people who judge me...good and bad!!!”
I would mention some persons and bands, please write down, what occurs to you:
CELTIC FROST/HELLHAMMER/THOMAS G.WARRIOR:
„Some of the earliest Death Metal I listened to. Very big influence. I wish Tom would have stayed a little heavier in the end but I completly understand that he wanted to do whatever he wanted to do.”
MORBID ANGEL + THE MEMBERS OF THE BAND:
„Neighbour of our I am very happy that they have stayed together as long as they have.”
„Long, long time ago but I remember them being very heavy and unique.”
NASTY SAVAGE/NASTY RONNIE:
„Early influence and very good friends of mine. I see Ronnie all the time and he is a super nice guy. There new album is classic NASTY SAVAGE.”
„R.I.P. Always had his own style.”
„Love all the old POSSESSED songs. Tried to do a song with Jeff but things just didn’t work out. I wish him the best.”
„Good friends of ours, changed members a little but we did play a handful of shows with them.”
„Played with them a few times, great band.”
„Played a handful of times with them also and friends of ours.”
„Talented player and good friend. Did a good job with the Cause of Death solos.”
„One of my favorite all time bands. Live they are as good as anyone and stay heavy!”
„Got to play with them in Belgium...awesome...godfathers of Metal.”
„Great shows, beatiful city and beautiful women!”
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING/JOEY TORTORELLA:
„Hat offs to the boys!!! As you can tell by the website I am very proud of that team. Got to go to a handful of games this year including many playoff games. As you can imagine Tamps was going crazy!!! And so was I!!!!!!”
How could you sum up the meaning, the essence of death metal?
„Fast, Slow and Evil...lots of energy!
Tell us please about your growling. In my opinion, your growling is one of the most brutal and extreme one in the scene.
No idea! I just do what I feel AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH”
Can you sing too or only growl ha-ha? Do you often go to musicteacher?
„I think I can sing but so do most people. I did take lessons for a while when I was young but now it’s just all feeling and desire.”
What did inspirate you, when you write lyrics?
„Just the feel of the music...”
How would you charakterize the OBITUARY members and yourself personally? Who is your best friend from the band?
„You don’t stay together for a long as we have not being friends...maybe take a few years off...Ha Ha!!! You have to be friends first. Having my brother in the band is the best!”
What do you think about friendship? Who is your best friend as far as the whole scene?
„Without friendship what do you have. I meet a lot of people and there are lots of great people int he business.”
Your favourite book and writer?
„Don’t have a favorite writer I read almost all technical stuff – popular science / photography, computers etc...”
Your favourite colour?
Your favourite foods and drinks? Can you cook?
„I live on Budweiser and I do like cooking!”
Do you go often to the cinema? Your favourite movie? What kind of movies do you prefer?
„Not very often but I did go and see the new Spiderman movie and thought it was awesome.”
Your favourite season?
„Football season! Go Fins! I like winter...go figure I live in FL and like the cold weather.”
What do you do in your freetime? Do you have some hobby?
„Boating and Motocycles!”
What do you know about the old death metal veterans, like the former members of MASSACRE, DEATH or about David Vincent etc. Do they nowadys still do music?
„Not to sure I am a little out of the loop.”
What would have you been, when you wouldn’t be the member of OBITUARY?
„Not sure have been doing this for so long but I do also work on computers.”
Would you have thought in the middle of the ‘80-s, that OBITUARY will be one of the most important death metal bands? Did your dreams come true as far as your life respectively the band?
„Hard to believe but we have worked very hard over the years to get to where we are.”
How would you charakterize the career of OBITUARY from the demos ‘til 2004?
„I think that other that Frank on the first album and Allens solos on Cause of Death we have been the same band and I think that we have stayed pretty heavy and true to our roots.”
Your favourite OBITUARY song respectively album?
„Hard to say but we just started rehearsing Solid State for the first time in a while and I really enjoyed it.”
Your first three all time classics. Why?
„METALLICA - Kill em all: just seemed to start things off for me.
CELTIC FROST - Morbid Tales: Just so heavy and slow.
SLAYER - Reign in Blood: Heaviest album ever.
I like so many bands in so many different styles that is hard to answer but band like LYNYRD SKYNYRD, LED ZEPPELIN, WILLIE NELSON, ZZ TOP, STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN all inspire me in so many ways...the list goes on and on...”
Contact: www.obituary.cc and www.slowlywerot.net
by David Laci