Six Feet Under Heading Down Under

"Hot Women Should Bring Me Weed..."

The life of a journalist with Metal As Fuck can sometimes be chaotic, could you imagine. I was scheduled with Six Feet Under’s, Chris Barnes recently however my son’s stomach had other plans in mind. With a quick reschedule thanks to the magic of the illustrious Chris Maric (Riot! Entertainment) I was sitting down to a coffee having a good old chin wag with the man himself, Chris Barnes.

Chris is chiefly noted for his guttural death growled vocals and explicitly violent lyrics as the founding vocalist and lyricist of death metal band Cannibal Corpse (1988–1995), his talents, instincts and viciousness on stage immortalized him eternally as one of the founding fathers of death metal. Although his career with Cannibal Corpse was somewhat short lived, this monster has created his own blend of death metal in Six Feet Under. The band began as a side project, however nine albums later the band are among the very few elite to have such a statue and the band are heading this way with a barrage of weed in toe.

What were you missing in your life, in your music that was the frontrunner of the Six Feet Under creation? “Well now, that’s going back a few. It was just a fun project myself and Allen West had an idea for, we wrote some really great material that was very different to previous or current bands we were involved with at the time (West had been a member of Massacre and Obituary) and happened within six to seven months after my last tour with Cannibal Corpse”.

Did you find any difficulties in the beginning? Was it difficult to convince the masses so shortly after the split from Cannibal Corpse, even though on mutual terms? “It was pretty seamless actually; I mean when I look back, my last tour with Cannibal Corpse was in 1995, in Australia I believe, a few months after I parted ways. It wasn’t bad for me, I had so many opportunities – the release of Haunted was just about to come out and I was having a lot of fun with the music and working with the band. My time with Cannibal Corpse had come to its end and I was off on a different path with my career”.   

A pioneer in the vocal styling of death metal, easy. Is your knowledge on this style and what you brought to death metal ever sought out? Do musicians regularly ask you for advice? “Oh yeah, fans and kids of the music; musicians just starting out would send me e-mails over the years asking how to go about things, how to get certain tones but it’s different for everybody. I don’t believe in vocal coaches or shit like that. I discovered that deep music wasn’t always about how brutal you could make it but more about raw feeling and the emotional attachment to certain aspects of the music”. When did you discover your talents for vocals? “I don’t think I have talent, some people do, some people don’t [Laughs] they all have their own opinion. I just try to match the vocals the best I can to the music”. I believe it began trying to replicate the vocals of Judas Priest? Damn that Rob and his fanciness. “Yeah [Laughs] it wasn’t working out for me, I just couldn’t get that high, so I invented something else, something completely different [Laughs] something that I could call my own and that complimented the music at the time”.

The 2012 release for Six Feet Under Undead, proved to be one of the most prominent albums to date for the band, how did you approach the writing process? “We always like to get a rough story down, the music is tweaked to how we all like it then it’s over to me to lay down the lyrics”. The album focuses heavily on the subject of death (naturally) if your life were to flash before your eyes what would you see? “Well, it has! I have had a near death experience before, you sort of get caught in a moment, time stands still – I think your life only flashes before you once you are out of the immediate situation, so afterward I was looking back, you start to think about a lot of things, regrets you have. It’s pretty intense”.  

Rumour has it that Six Feet Under is heading back into the studio this year? Any dirt you can share at this stage? “Well we are hoping to have the album out in the (Northern) Spring through Metal Blade; we’re waiting on the label to announce the date. Definitely what we do best is the death, this album will concentrate more on life and how the two intertwine, it’s all about appreciating what’s there”.

One thing that is not a rumour – Six Feet Under are featured on the Soundwave lineup this year, the first year the festival has been completely sold out nationwide “Wow, that’s awesome, you all didn’t have to do that for little old me!" [Laughs]

What are you expectations for the tour? “Wow, yeah we are really excited to come to Australia, the lineup looks excellent, it’s going to be really great seeing the Australian fans again and catching up with some mates on the tour, we go all out on tour so keep an eye out”. What are four items you just can’t live without whilst touring? “WEED!!” [Laughs] Chris bellows with just enough conviction, I got excited about weed for a moment. “Weed; that’s 1, 2, 3 and 4! I would like hot women to bring me weed on tour”. [Laughs]

“Definitely looking forward to the tour, there is nothing like touring, one of the best highs there is, but seriously I want to be cool and stoned on tour”. [Laughs] We look forward to seeing you all in February and I wish you luck with your weed (?) [Laughs] Thanks, we’ll see you all soon and I hope your son is feeling better”.