Interview with Steve Tucker
Before you joined Morbid Angel you were playing in another band. What led to your departure and how and why did you join Morbid Angel?
I played in a band called Ceremony with Pat O’Brien, who’s now the guitar player on Cannibal Corpse. We weren’t signed, we just did demos, but they were good demos, you know? Obviously, he got that job and I got this job, and these are the two biggest Death Metal bands in the world so, obviously, it was a very good tape.
Before going to Morbid Angel I talked to Trey and we got along real good. We got a lot of the same spiritual views so, obviously, we get along pretty great – although, personally, I’m about a thousand miles from Trey. But I sent him a tape, he liked it, so he asked me to fly down, try out – which I did, of course – and it worked out great.
You’ve done quite a bit of touring. How did you like playing in Portugal?
This is probably the 30th show we’ve done so far and we’ve got 18 more to go, or something like that, before we go back to the States, and I think we’re going to do more 20 shows. There was this one where we couldn’t make it, in Hungary, and we weren’t able to make it there because of the border; they wouldn’t let us in, basically, so we didn’t make that show, and stuff like that happens a couple of times. Basically, it’s been great though; I mean, there have been big crowds and they just go sick, it’s pretty cool.
I thought the Portuguese crowd was great. Last night the Porto’s crowd seemed to be a lot more aggressive than tonight, but tonight was a great night, it was just weird, you know? It’s just that some shows are weird; sometimes you get a lot of people standing there watching you, but that’s cool too. Sometimes if they’ve never seen a band they want to just watch the band and see what they’re about and, hopefully, they will enjoy the show. And the good thing is, I think, a lot of people are seeing us and they’re going to tell their friends that that was a great show and next time it’ll be twice as many people appearing.
What do you consider to be the paradigm of Death Metal and how do you feel about the current renewal within the genre in terms of sound and other aspects?
The best definition of the term would be Morbid Angel. I mean, I think we’re Death Metal, because we do a variety of things and we don’t just do one thing, which is boring.
As far as Death Metal renewing itself, I think that Death Metal is actually in an excellent position right now, because there used to be so many bands and they were all trend followers. Now they’re all gone, they’re following like the corned trend, or whatever, and now the real bands still remain: us, Cannibal Corpse, Suffocation, Vader (which is my personal favourite band, besides the fact that we are all brothers). But as far as Death Metal goes, I think Death Metal is Death Metal: it’s been Death Metal over ten years and so do I have been playing it in these ten years, but Death Metal wasn’t dead, it was just that people were finding a new trend and you can see that there are people who want to hear it, obviously. I mean, you’ve got your webzine and there’s always fanzines all over the world but, personally, I don’t think Death Metal was meant to play arenas; it is underground music for extreme people who want to hear extreme, aggressive things.
Domination was a ground-breaking release for Morbid Angel, but most importantly for Death Metal, as it established a sort of template for a new generation. What is your outlook on this album and have you got any favourite from your roster?
I love the album, I think it sounds great! I also think that the sound of that album is going to change Death Metal. I think people are going to start trying to go for that type of sound – that warmer, bigger, explosive great sound. I think Domination is a good album, but I also think Covenant is great, Blessed Are the Sick, as well as Altars of Madness, which is great too. In the end, the best would be to have a mix of these three, but if I had to choose one I think I’d go for Covenant, as it’s diverse.
Do you look up for any bass player for inspiration? Do you also have any musical education?
Alex Webster, from Cannibal Corpse, man.
Yes, I took Jazz; I mean, I played for years. I’m 27 years’ old, I started playing when I was, like, 12 so, you know, fifteen years of playing, that’s a bit of an education.
How often do you rehearse, as a band and individually? What inspires you to write?
We play, at least, six times a week. We live about less than five minutes apart – Trey and me – and we live about 15 minutes from Pete and Eric. Personally, I just like to play and sometimes things just come out; they just come through you, you don’t write them, they just come out, they just happen. That’s how I write, personally, and I believe that’s the way Trey writes – he just enters in a self-state of mind to where he lets things flow.
Do you like Black Metal and classical music, for instance?
I love Death Metal, but most of the time I love Death Metal and classical music , as well as sports, since I like to watch and play a lot of sports. You could say that I’m an aggressive person and I like to do aggressive things. I think classical music and Death Metal are the two most aggressive things and playing sports is very aggressive, so they’re the things I like.
As far as Black Metal goes, I think it has its thing and that’s great. There’s some Black Metal I like, like some Marduk, and there’s a lot of little things I like here and there but, personally, I think Black Metal should mix it up a little bit more, you know? I think Morbid Angel is definitely a Death Metal band with some Black Metal influences from early Slayer and Venom – to me, that was Black Metal. Also, I like Sadist a lot and Judas Priest, and I started to listen to Iron Maiden when I was only 10 or 11 years’ old, so I’ve always been a Metal head.
Are you aware of what happened in Norway connected with Black Metal? How do you look upon Christianity and Religion?
I think that burning a church is a bit extreme because that’s not your property. I hate Christianity, I think Christianity is evil, but that doesn’t mean you need to burn down a church. That’s my personal opinion and no one should take that the wrong way, because people do what they feel and if you feel it’s right, than you feel it’s right. I, personally, would not burn down a church.
My thing with Religion is that I pretty much don’t have a religion, I follow my heart, I’m a moral person. I don’t rob, I don’t steal, I don’t murder, I follow morals. I believe in karma and I believe that if you do something terrible that’s going to come back to you ten fold. Karma is definitely what I consider to be my main religious path, or belief.
Do you use to read on the road? What are you topics of interest?
I read a lot – more books than you can imagine. I read on everything, because that’s the only way you’re going to learn, but just because I read something that doesn’t mean that I believe it, but you’ve got to read everything and you’ve got to take from everything what you want and you’ve got to use it, you can’t just take any words for granted, as you have to decide for yourself. Every single person is an individual, everyone is one and everybody’s got to decide for themselves, that’s what I think.
As for books, I would recommend you to read anything you can; seriously, anything you can get your hands on – whether it’s a horror story or a history book, just read it. I like a lot of stories, medieval-type stories, and I also like some Stephen King’s. I’m sorry to say, but I don’t really even know like the names of some of the authors, but usually people give me stuff, they give me like medieval books and I read them and they’re wonderful. So, anything you can get your hand on, read it, because you’re going to get something out of it.
You mentioned King. Do you like The Shining?
The Shining? Yes! That’s also one of my favourite movies, it’s great. I have the new series on video and I think it’s different, though not better. I mean, how the hell are you gonna replace Jack Nicholson? The dude is a fucking maniac and, till this day, he still frightens me (smiles). Well, not really but, I mean, you get my point (laughs).
How do you face life on the road – apart from being on-stage – and how do you keep yourself together after a while?
I try to find a toilet, I try to find a shower and I try to find some food – that’s what my time consists of. Basically, trying to stay healthy. That’s a pain in the ass, but you’ve got to make sacrifices. We don’t have anyone backing us up either; I mean, everybody tries – the promoters try, our roadies try, everybody tries – but shit breaks, things happen and that’s just the way it is. Touring is a bitch, but it’s great at the same time; how else can you go to get to every other fucking country and play for a few hundred people in a different place every night? All in all, I love it.
What are you plans for the near future?
We’ll leave here (Europe) in May, so we’ll go back to the United States on the 12th of May. In the end of May we’re going to Mexico city, then we’re going to Japan and then, on the 17th of June, we’ll start the Mexican tour with Vader again – Vader is going to come to the United States to tour with us.
The only final thing I have to say is for you to step out on your own, without being a trend follower, rather a trend setter. Thanks a lot for the interview and good luck to you all.