Obituary - Setting a New Standard Part II
By: Mike Sloan
To read the first installment of Sloan's interview with Donald Tardy of Obituary, click here.
Blistering.com: While you guys are out on the road, what is hardest to come by? Is it good food? A nice warm shower? A good nightís sleep?
Tardy: Oh, a good shower. By far. Good food is easy, especially in America. And now that this tour is going to be on a tour bus, this is going to be awesome. The last three years weíve been packed in small vans and just doing it. Itís rough. Man, I give it up to these young bands who do it all the time. We did it back in the day, but weíre 43-year old men now and itís not exactly easy on the bones. But yeah, definitely a good shower is the hardest to come by. When youíre on tour, especially on a bus, youíre in your own bunk and itís like a coffin in there. You can keep it as black as you like and you can sleep in it all day. Sleep and good food is easy in America. You just pop open your smart phone and figure out where you are and whatís good to eat right down the street.
Blistering.com: How dialed in are you to the current Florida metal scene? Itís obviously quite different from the glory days, but is it still a strong scene down in that part of the country?
Tardy: Iím not an expert, thatís for sure, but I do frequent our main metal bar here in Tampa. I donít go anywhere else but Tampa, which is the Brass Mug. Iím very in tune with the local bands that still go for it here who literally donít have any albums or donít have a record label. But they love what they do and they play every weekend and just go for it. Itís totally different than how it was back in the day. Thatíd be like asking the Bay Area if itís similar to how it was back when they had Exodus and Metallica and Slayer and then comparing it to today.
The legends were already set already a long time ago in Tampa when Mike Browning was still the drummer for Morbid Angel. They were playing shows right here in Tampa and so was Chuck Schuldiner from Death. We were opening up for those guys. It was like 1986 and it was different times; it was really ground-breaking stuff. Now itís pretty cool. Not as many people show up to the little dirty bars to see bands but the young bands still always just go for it and play, even though only their friends know what songs they are. Itís cool.
Blistering.com: Considering how many different scenes there have been across the globe over the years, do you feel as though the Florida scene was the greatest of all time?
Tardy: No. The scene, thoughÖ Iím embarrassed by Florida sometimes, man. Unless a huge band comes through Tampa or Florida, no one would show up. Like if Exodus came through Florida, the booking agent wouldnít even book Tampa. Weíd have to go down to Fort Lauderdale or Orlando to see them. In the current Tampa scene, people donít show up or buy tickets to see real metal. If Exodus or Death Angel would come here, they wouldnít sell, but back in the day theyíd easily sell like 900 tickets. It was awesome like if it was with us or Napalm Death or Cannibal Corpse. Now if itís just you by yourself, itís not a good sale anymore. Itís not 800 people anymore; itís like 200, maybe 300 in Tampa now if itís a true death metal show.
Blistering.com: What about the Florida scene just in terms of legacy and history?
Tardy: Oh, we do have the history. Without sounding cocky, Florida/Tampa is the king of what happened with death metal on the planet. Slayer showed us all how to do it and that was the West Coast. They still are the greatest band in the world in my opinion. But Tampa? We took charge right away when we all heard Venom, Possessed, Celtic Frost and Slayer. Right then we knew it and we were all like, ďOkay, weíre going for it!Ē and somehow us, Deicide and Morbid Angel, we all just started right here in Tampa. We had Chuck and Death that was the main part. Death and Massacre and we immediately went heavier and sicker than the West Coast. The West Coast had a lot of great metal but it was speed metal. They had Testament, Exodus, Death Angel and then there was Anthrax [in New York] and then here comes Tampa with the garbage can swamp water-type music, you know?
Blistering.com: You guys are making the EP and then the next full-length for next year. With what you have in store, what can the world expect on the next batch of material from Obituary?
Tardy: Well, we know what our jobs are on this planet. People go out and buy an Obituary album because they want to hear an Obituary song. Itís absolutely grinding, straight forward music and we try to write the most classic Obituary riff each and every time we can whenever we start to write a new song for the album. We have four songs already and it sounds incredible. It sounds old-school, like our first two records. Thereís also some mid-tempo grooves like on World Demise and Iím excited about it. If our fans are waiting and hoping for a new Obituary record, theyíre going to be very happy.