Another of the titanic bands playing on the Deathcrusher tour was Obituary and we got to spend some time with guitarist (and founder member) Trevor Peres before the gig. As well as delving in to the history of the band and talking about how life on the road has changed over the last thirty years, he has some great advice for young bands just starting out…
First of all, on a sad note, condolences about Frank. The first news we got was Fear Factory posting as we recall you took them out on their first tour.
Yeah, it’s terrible. Yep, ’93 we took them on tour but no it’s too young to go. He’s got kids as well, 13 and 6 I seem to recall. I’m sure everyone will rally around and help out but it’s still far too young to go.
30 years Obituary has been together now…
Fuck man… It’s 31 years actually, 84 we started.
Wow. How have you managed to not kill each other?
Well, we did and brought ourselves back from the dead! Nah, I mean Terry’s been our friend for over 30 years now. I moved from Jacksonville to Tampa when I was 10 and I started 6th grade and his sister was one of the first people I met. I then met him a year or two later and met the Tardy’s soon after. We’re basically like family at this point, we know how everyone clicks and we’re older and wiser now. We then split up for six years at one point as we decided to get married and make babies and not tour for a bit. But other than that, we’ve always been good friends.
These days when a death metally sounding band comes through they normally cite you and/or Death as one of their influences. What were your influences to inspire you to create that sort of sound?
Tone-wise probably Celtic Frost – Hellhammer was a huge influence. Obviously the standard Maiden and Preist stuff and then Slayer as well influenced us. Hearing the Slayer and Frost stuff made us want to create the heaviest thing we could think of at the time. It’s hard to make something heavier and still be musical you know what I mean. Beyond that you have to get into the atmospheric stuff.
For some reason, a lot of the death metal bands come from the Tampa Bay area. Do you know of any reason why?
I don’t know man, we scratch our heads on this regularly…
Not really. I mean we had that sound before they recorded us but a lot of bands came to Florida to record there and a few ended up staying there. I mean Chuck was from Orlando doing his thing so I guess we sort of had a small competition in the area. We’d play shows and there’d be 400 to 500 kids at your show. It’s pretty crazy.
Well Florida is the retirement capital of the USA now.
Yeah, I was talking about that with Shane (Napalm Death) just then. He was like “Man I’m getting old, bones hurt and everything. I should go to Florida, all the old people go there!”. I live like a block away from the Gulf of Mexico and it’s lovely there.
You mentioned that the band took a break for about 6 years and when you came back it was as if you never left. Particularly with the albums, how easy is it to come up with stuff that’s original and is also going to appease the fans?
I don’t know man. I know I’m at the point now where I’m like, “do I really want to write another album?!”. That’s because Inked in Blood came out so good. I know that we have our little niche in terms of sound and style and as long as we create stuff in there then that all works. We keep lubing up the axle and keep on going.
Inked in Blood was your first crowd-funded album and you went with Relapse to distribute it. Has that model worked for you?
We did it through Kickstarter and it worked way better than I thought it would. They took a big chuck however and another 3rd party that helped us took quite a big chunk as well without even telling us. For a young band, I think it’s a great idea but Obituary is at the stage where I could do it all through my website and have a presale on it. Relapse loved it as they didn’t have to dump any money into it, they just had to market it. It was awesome to see how quick we hit the target. We got the target in one day and by the end we got $60,000. But when we got the money, it actually ended up being a $45,000.
If somebody pre-order the album via Kickstarter, does that count towards the charts?
Yes actually, we sold about 800 through that and they went towards the sales charts. They helped us get to #75 on the American charts so we were pretty happy.
On the live stuff, how is it touring now compared to 20 odd years ago?
I mean the physical part of it is pretty much the same. You have to try and take care of yourself a little better as we’re all older now. It definitely keeps you young, I can tell you that!
Are there any real memories that stand out from 30 years ago?
I mean there’s a million things we can talk about but probably the first time we played with Slayer. That was around 8,9 years ago. Kerry King came walking by and was just like “Alright!”. There was a time that they all got out of their cars and someone was saying hi to Jeff and I walked past and just said: “You guys suck!”. Hanneman then did this crazy laugh because he knew I was joking.
Obviously another big loss with Hanneman.
Yeah man, that was kind of sad to hear about that one. He’d been ill for a while though with that spider bite thing. Yeah I mean, he played not too long before he died and I guess his liver just gave up. Don’t get me wrong I like to party but I try and eat healthy and balance the whole thing out. I don’t think he did which is why. I can’t do that, I’ve got kids and family and I want to live until I’m like 200!
You’re all quite involved with side-projects and in particular you’ve got Catastrophic. Is it hard to juggle all these projects?
Shit man, I’ve not done that for a load of years because Obituary’s been so busy. When I have that little time at home, I just stay at home and not tour because my wife would probably hang me. I don’t really like playing at home because I do it on tour so much. My wife always asks: “Why don’t you play guitar at home?” and I’m just like. “What?!”. (*Laughs*)
One slightly unusual question here but what can you tell us about Metal Meowlitia?
That’s a once a year campaign to raise funds. Donald has about 30 colonies of cats that goes and feeds and helps. His girlfriend also helps him out with that and we get a few local bands to play at the concert and I do a wee barbeque as well which always goes down well.
Last question – You’ve been doing this for 30 years. What advice would you give to a new band?
Go to college and become a doctor. You’ll make more money!!!
Thank you for your time today!