In the death metal world, there aren’t too many bigger luminaries than Chris Barnes. Coming up during the infancy of the genre as lead singer of Cannibal Corpse, Barnes’ unmistakable guttural vocals made paved the way for thousands of imitators. During his time in Cannibal Corpse, I’m pretty sure Barnes became the first death metal singer to appear in a major movie- as the band played in a scene of the first “Ace Ventura” movie back in 1994.
Since his departure from Cannibal Corpse in 1995, Barnes has working with his band Six Feet Under. Alternating between putting out original tunes with Six Feet Under, Barnes has almost put together three albums of cover songs, creating the “Graveyard Classics” trilogy. With the band’s last record out in 2008, the band has not toured since being on tour with Chimaira in 2006.
Barnes became good friends with the guys in Chimaira, and ending up having guitarist Rob Arnold help him write songs for the band’s next album due out in 2012 and also have Matt DeVries from Chimaira round out the touring lineup.
Barnes was at home resting up for the upcoming Summer Slaughter tour when I had a chance to talk with him. We had to chance to hear all about the upcoming album and his eagerness to get back on the road.
Here’s my interview with Chris:
AM: The new album is worked on at the moment- how is the album coming along?
CB: We’re moving along man. We’ve got 21 songs demoed or in some form of completion and we’re really working hard on this album. We are hoping to have the album out sometime either in March or April of 2012.
AM: What did Rob Arnold help bring to the band that maybe had been missing with past albums?
CB: Well, Rob is doing a lot of writing for the album, and we also brought in Kevin Talley (ex-Chimaira, Daath) for the recording as well. These guys bring a lot to the table that had been missing. Rob’s an excellent writer and has excellent musicianship. This allows me to get back into my own pocket of writing faster tempoed songs and more diverse and giving me the feeling of doing what I can do once again. We’ve been readjusting songs as we speak and are always tweaking things up a bit. Rob focuses on analyzing the riffs, but has a great foresight of writing the vocals and has inspired me a lot on this album.
AM: How did you initially meet the Chimaira guys?
CB: I met those guys when Six Feet Under toured with Chimaira in 2005. As we bonded on the road, we always talked about putting together some crazy side projects due held off on it for a while. I think we’re equals in a musical sense and being with other people like that help push you to be better in what you do. I feel like I’m rehearsing as much as I did back in the early days of Cannibal Corpse, so these guys are pushing me to be my best.
AM: As you progress in your own musical journey, how do you feel you have improved as a vocalist?
CB: With my lyrics, I’ve always kinda hyper-acceralate my views on my topics- such as death, gore, zombies and pain in different facets. But overall, I try to stay in that same frame of mind and try to just make what I am doing better with every album. I’ve always stayed true to myself and the way I do things, and it works best.
AM: Looking back at “Graveyard Classics 3”, how did you feel that was received by fans?
CB: Well, I didn’t hear as much as s— as I did for “Graveyard 2”, so I guess it was pretty good (laughs). I think the album was pretty straight forward and didn’t come out of left field on a lot of the songs. The album seemed to fit us and the fans enjoyed it. But I feel that “Graveyard 3” was part of the end of a trilogy of sorts and probably will not be doing another one.
AM: Looking at the Summer Slaughter Tour, what are you looking most forward to with this tour?
CB: I am thinking it’s gonna be one of the best times of my life. It’s been five years since I toured last and the fans are begging us to get back out on the road and do our thing. A lot of the shows are already sold out and I am looking forward to meeting new friends. I’m training like an Olympic athlete and I’m ready to go.
Six Feet Under play as part of the Summer Slaughter Tour, hitting St. Andrew’s Hall on Friday, August 5th. Tickets are $24.50 and are available at www.livenation.com. Additional Six Feet Under tour dates and band info can be found at www.sfu420.com.