It's an abnormally dry season down in Florida, with brush fires going on. But what's weirder is that some native Floridians watch hockey, including Obituary's John Tardy. Metal Update checked in with the frontman on Obituary's current status and plans for their future album. The interview takes place on Friday 04/28/06, after John attended the Tamp Bay Lightning playoff game the night before.
Interview with John Tardy 4-28-06 by Kevin Page
MU: What's a native Floridian like you doing watching hockey? Isn't it supposed to be NASCAR and college sports?
JT: (laughs) I do like NASCAR and I love the NFL. The Lighting have been in the league for a handful of years and started to get better and better. I obviously started following it closer and closer and was fortunate enough to go to a handful of playoff games during their cup run and just learned more and more about hockey and enjoyed it more every season.
MU: Were you into hockey before The Lightning came into existence?
JT: No, not really. But I watch a little bit of everything. I start pay to more attention near the end of the year when the playoffs start. But The Lightning has obviously made a world of difference to me for my interest in the sport.
MU: Is the Tampa/St Petersburg area overrun with New Yorkers like Orlando is?
JT: I guess you get your fair share. At a Devil Rays game you get your fair share of Yankees fan.
MU: Are you a Devil Rays fan?
JT: I'm not a huge baseball fan, I'll follow it a little bit and once again near the end of the season I'll watch it a little more. But the Devil Rays have had their problems over the years getting a competitive team against the Red Sox and Yankees.
MU: Give us an overview of all things Obituary at this time?
JT: Right now we have the West Coast leg of the tour we're going to be doing, so we are going out there playing Seattle, San Francisco, Denver, Phoenix, and some other LA shows. Then were going back over the Europe to play a handful of festivals, which is always fun. We'll be playing with Venom and Guns N Roses. Those European festivals are pretty fun for that, as a fan of a lot of music you get to play with bands that you grew up listening to and idolizing.
MU: Are you able to get onto a major tour like Jagermeister and Sounds of the Underground or does not being on a record label make that difficult?
JT: Right now we're kind of left out on our own, which we are enjoying, taking care of this stuff on our own. We tried hard to get onto Ozzfest, but they want those younger fresher bands that are coming up instead of someone who's been around like us, which I think was a mistake. I thought we could add something to it. But we always keep the hook out there and we'll see what happens. If one of those doesn't come along, we'll continue to do the shows we want to do.
MU: Does not being on a record label make it more challenging booking shows or is it easier?
JT: The record company doesn't really have much to do with that, unless you were setting up a tour and needed financial support putting things together. But we're doing so many European festivals and the flights we're forking out all the cash up front ourselves. So the record company didn't have much to do with it. We have a booking agent that sets that up and we work with him. And it's nice, so if you show up and get yourself in a situation where you are getting offstage and have to get to the airport by 6am at least it's all on you.
MU: What can you tell us about the next record?
JT: We're working on it and we have a couple of songs written. Hopefully by the end of the year we'll have something ready to go.
MU: Any song titles?
JT: No, we usually kind of start off with working titles. As we start piecing songs together, whatever the song reminds us of we'll give it a working title. It's not until we're completely done before I give it a final write down. I'll leave it open as things change. Right now they are all kind of weird names.
MU: Do they come to you with a completed song and you add the lyrics to it or do you write as it goes along?
JT: I usually sit down with one guitarist and DT and when I see a rhythm I like we'll keep going with it and when I get a set of lyrics for it, we'll make sure we have it the right number of times to complete what I'm doing. So we'll kind of work back and forth the 3 of us. There was one time where Trevor tried to write lyrics and a song all together, it just didn't work for me. I had a hard time sitting there trying to sing it. I felt tied down. So many of the words I come up with and the way they get pronounced, it limited me.
MU: Is the new material going to differ from previous releases in any way?
JT: We're kind of rolling in the same thought pattern we had with Frozen in Time. I would think it's something similar with the couple of songs we have done.
MU: Slowly We Rot had your most up tempo songs and different production than any future release. Any reason for the change after that record?
JT: It's hard to tell. When you look back, we don't come out with an album every year. You just change, you have different influences, different equipment. It's kind of cool when you wait 4-5 years between things; you're more likely to have something sound a lot different. If we went into the studio right now the guys would have the same mindset, same guitars, pickups, drum set. Everything would be the same.
MU: What's your favorite Obituary album?
JT: I'm always more interested in the newest thing we've done. So right now I probably listen to Frozen in Time more than anything. If I typically go back and grab something, it's our live album just because I like our music live and you hear a little bit off every record.
MU: What's your favorite song?
JT: "Intoxicated" off of Slowly We Rot is an interesting song because it has like 27 different rhythms to it.
MU: What do you think is your best album?
JT: I think that everything came together on Frozen in Time, it's a real complete album that we've done within ourselves. Some of the songs sound like they've come off The End Complete and Slowly We Rot. This album just feels real complete. I'm really really happy with this record production-wise, song-wise, just the way everything came out.
MU: Why do artists always prefer their new stuff but the fans always like the old material?
JT: A lot of times people see us live once every 2-3 years. But when you're on the road 8-9 months and you play the same songs over and over and over. The fans are not going to let you get away with not playing Slowly We Rot, it just ain't gonna happen. You play that song every single night, it's fun, but after 20 years, when you play and hear it that much...(laughs)
MU: Do you take the approach of "it ain't broke, don't fix it" with your sound?
JT: I'm sure a lot of bands do work/think real hard which direction they want to take their music and try and get a whole different feeling. We just roll through it. I don't think we've ever written a song we didn't record. It's not like we sit around and try and write 20 songs and pick the best 12. We just start jamming and things get done or not used right there.
MU: Any label interest?
JT: As you can imagine, all the likely candidates. Nuclear Blast, Century Media, a handful of others who came to us. No firm offers but they have shown interest. We're at the point of kicking it around, leaving all our options open and half considering the fact we'll do it all on our own.
MU: Any idea on a release date?
JT: We hope to get into the studio by the end of the year. With no record deal in place, the timeline could change quite a bit though.
MU: Is Roadrunner out of the mix?
JT: Yeah, they are definitely out of the loop.
MU: Does it annoy you on any level, that every two-bit nickel and dime death metal/metalcore band seems to get promoted and recognized, yet a legendary proven band such as yourselves still has to scratch and claw for everything you get?
JT: I can't sit here and say it doesn't bother me at all. I'll be honest with ya, when we first did Slowly We Rot, we sat and had that whole album recorded on the tapes in the garage, and I was happy to have that to listen to. I never actually thought about doing a record with it. So I just take what we get as it goes. It's not always the best musicians who are the most popular. It's whatever the industry wants to pick up and push. I would like to think that Roadrunner could have done a lot more with us. It really seems that only Cause of Death and maybe The End Complete, that they did put some effort into. Things were going well for so long with those records and we had a lot of things going for us. But I'm sure everybody would like to think Roadrunner could have done a lot more for us. We're in a position where we are not going to go back with them. Certainly not after what they did to us with this record, which was promise the moon and then once it comes out they sat back and their whole idea was: "doesn't matter what we do, we're still gonna sell the same amount of records." That's just a stupid standpoint to have. It wasn't like it was a shitty album, all the reviews and everything we heard, everyone liked it.
MU: So they released it and abandoned it.
JT: Yeah, it's disappointing but that's the way it goes.
MU: Anything else you want to mention?
JT: We haven't done as nearly as many shows in the U.S. as we would have liked to do, but we'll see if we can get another one going after the West Coast tour.
METAL JUDGMENT - Review of Frozen in Time
METAL JUDGMENT - Review of Cause of Death
METAL JUDGMENT - Review of Slowly We Rot
Interview: Kevin Page [ firstname.lastname@example.org ]
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