Denmark’s Metal Revolution conducted an interview with vocalist John Tardy of Florida death metallers OBITUARY. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Metal Revolution: In the late Nineties you guys split up, but then you got back together in 2003. Why, and did it have any greater importance to the band, that you had had this break from one another?
John Tardy: There’s been a few times in our career where we’ve taken some time off. I don’t know. They were certainly not planned to be that long. A couple of times, we did a lot of tours and had a new album coming out. It was time to take a step back. You really can’t come out with an album once a year and tour 12 months a year; it’ll wear you out. You’re a band, but you gotta build some kind of demand from yourself. So there was times, like “Back From The Dead” had several years in between, but “Frozen In Time” was really the one. I think it was like seven years in between albums when “Frozen In Time” came out. That was definitely one of the times, where I was thinking to myself when we started writing and jamming, I hadn’t sung one word of anything in seven years. All of the other guys had kept busy with music, and I didn’t do anything musically, so I got a good long rest there for that amount of time, so I was careful coming back to them. But I was even kind of concerned. I mean, what am I gonna sound like after seven years? Am I gonna sound different? Is it gonna be weird? It was cool by the time we got back to the studio and started recording. It was good to feel that the OBITUARY sound came back to us and that was certainly a fun record to do.
Metal Revolution: You’ve been playing old school death metal for over 20 years and you still produce music and play tons of live shows. Where does all this inspiration and passion come from?
John Tardy: [laughs] Wow. You know, I guess, as cheesy as it might sound, we still have fun with what we’re doing. Our new albums, new music kind of keeps us going and makes us excited to play it. “Darkest Day”, our last album, we were playing like 6-7 songs off that album, which a lot of bands don’t do. A lot of bands come out with a new album, and even their fans may not have heard their new stuff when they’re on tour, and a lot of people are always screaming they wanna hear your old stuff. But when that album came out, we were playing so many songs off it, it seemed to go really well, the fans were digging it and it sounded really good and heavy live, so that was a lot of fun for us. It’s really fun to play some of the new instead of the old songs you’ve been playing for years and years. I also do read a lot of fan e-mail, and you do get a lot of encouraging e-mails, and people come out and say that they saw you, and you sounded better than ever kinda stuff, and it really does make a difference. And you play shows, especially in Tampa, and you see guys come out that have come out to see you from the early ’80s and early ’90s. It’s good to see that also, and all those little things add up and keep us going.
Metal Revolution: In 2007 you changed from Roadrunner Records to Candlelight Records. How was your work with Candlelight and has it had any importance to you as a band?
John Tardy: Well, gee… If it was up to us, we’d probably just be with the same record label all the time. Just like our music, me, Donald [Tardy, drums] and Trevor [Peres, guitar], we don’t change much on how we do things, we’re kinda stuck in the way we do things, but with Roadrunner we kinda felt like they kinda run the game and it got so big and started paying attention to other bands, and it didn’t have the time or resources for us. And that’s fine, whatever, we’ll go some place else. Candlelight was one of the labels we looked at at the time, and they were willing to sign the agreement that we wanted signed. We kinda hung on to what we wanted and they just said yes to it. In those terms, they were good for us, but fact is that they are not a very big record label, and there were lots of things they were supposed to be doing that they wound up not doing. In the long term, there were a few of those albums where they didn’t press that many copies; it was, like, the album would come out, and all those copies would be gone, and when that happens, it takes another month to get them out on the shelves, you know. At the end of the day, I don’t have any hard feelings towards Candlelight. Whatever happened, happened, but at the end of the day, we just don’t feel like they did enough for us, so we’ve been kicking things around here. We have a couple of albums where we’re really dying to do the albums ourselves, but just don’t know if we have the time and resources to make that happen and the guys from Century Media actually came to Florida and visited us, and when we were on that last European tour they invited us over to their office on one of our off days and we hung out with them there. They are really a bunch of great guys, they really are into what they do, they really do like and care for their bands and do everything they can for them, so Century Media is gonna be a really good possibility for the next album of ours, you know, for them to maybe do that.
Metal Revolution: You are currently writing a follow-up to the “Darkest Day” album. Will there be any changes in your style or sound or will you stick to the old-school ways?
John Tardy: [laughs] We haven’t changed in 25 years, so I wouldn’t expect country music to start coming out of us. [laughs]
Metal Revolution: No, but some would say that you changed your style…
John Tardy: Yeah, you know, we took a few months off for the writing purposes and we just wound up doing more fishing and boating and stuff than the writing we were supposed to do, so the album we originally planned on, we really haven’t done by now. It isn’t anywhere near done. [laughs] So we still have a lot of work to do on it. We did manage to get a whole bunch done, and I know we’ve got like three songs, you know. The first three songs we finished are just absolutely awesome; I mean, they are just heavy and so cool, I’m really thrilled with the songs we’ve got. We’ve got most of the songs general ideas in place, but we do still have a lot of work to do. So now we’re gonna be gone in September, we might be in Central America in October, or actually you know, in September and maybe in the beginning of November and at the end of November and December we’re gonna be around Europe again, so trying to get the album done before the end of the year is just basically not gonna happen, which we’re OK with. We’re really not in any hurry to do it. It’s not like we’re sitting around saying, “Oh my god, we didn’t get the album done.” It doesn’t really matter to us. It gets done when it gets done. After we get back from Europe and take a small break from all the touring, I’m sure we’re gonna get back out here and start writing again and hopefully sometime, maybe around festival season, we can have that album finished up and think about some proper release date.
Read the entire interview from Metal Revolution.