ROCKET Interviews Vocalist John Tardy of OBITUARY
August 7, 2012
Tampa, Florida death metal legends OBITUARY have been terrorizing the metal community since 1989′s Slowly We Rot was unleashed. With hundreds of thousands of units sold, the band is one of the all-time top selling death metal artists and recently announced their long-anticipated North American headlining tour, which is brought to you by Rock The Nation and sponsored by Fender, that sees the band throwing down on a month-long Carnival Of Death Tour 2012, running through September and includes support from Broken Hope, Decrepit Birth, Jungle Rot and Encrust.
The Metal Den’s Randy “Rocket” Cody has conducted an exclusive interview with vocalist John Tardy of OBITUARY for his loyal worldwide Den Headz.
ROCKET: How is life treating you, John?
JOHN: Good, I’m just sitting here watching women’s Olympic volley ball. (Laughs)
ROCKET: Killer, brother. So things are good?
JOHN: We’re doing good. Just keeping busy. Had a real busy summer. You know, a fun summer, with all those big summer festivals over in Europe. Got to play with a lot of cool bands. Ozzy and Skynyrd and Slayer… Molly Hatchet and Hank III… Lamb of God guys, hanging out with them. It was a great summer, that’s for sure.
ROCKET: That’s awesome. Now I wanted to ask you as far as where you’re from, I know the band is out of Tampa, Florida but is that where you were born and raised?
JOHN: I was actually born in Miami and then moved up to Tampa about 7th grade… and been there since.
ROCKET: Now we know your brother Donald plays drums for Obituary. Do you have any other siblings?
JOHN: Yes, I do. I have an older brother and an older sister.
ROCKET: What do you think is one of the biggest misconceptions of your band?
JOHN: When I look at what Obituary does and the corners that we get painted into… people refer to us as death metal and there’s a lot of kids who just instantly turn their noses at it. I would like to think if those kids came out to see us live ‘one time’ that a large percentage of them would have a different understanding or better appreciation than what they do.
ROCKET: In terms to how Obituary writes new material against what you did in the past, is that something where you are always trying to do something that harkens back to the old classic sound or more of just go for what your sound is now about in a modern sense and work from that?
JOHN: We are just not that type of band that thinks too hard. We don’t sit around going we need to write a faster or slow album. We just enjoy getting together and jamming.
ROCKET: It’s more of being like a garage band, right?
JOHN: It is. It’s just sitting around and Trevor will come up with some riffs. I see what it all feels like and then I throw my two cents in. If it feels like something I want to sing on I will start nodding my head. Give me that rhythm right there, cause I’ll eat that thing up!
ROCKET: Hell yeah, brother. Just letting it all hang out!
JOHN: It really is just hanging out and just a matter of spending time together.
ROCKET: So you guys will get together and just jam on ideas?
JOHN: Yeah, we get together and next thing you know we are shooting basketball… and they may never pickup their instruments.. or there’s other times where we planned on having a barbecue but then started jamming instead. (Laughs)
ROCKET: Who are some of your biggest vocal influences?
JOHN: John Oliva is one of my biggest influences who I think is just the greatest. You know, Savatage. They were one of those bands that got us into jamming. Started hearing Hellhammer, Frost stuff.. and Slayer, those were bands that steered us in the direction of being as heavy as we could be.
ROCKET: As compared to these super technical bands out there of today, say like Meshuggah, what I like about Obituary is you just keep it nice and simple.
JOHN: We are just cave men of metal. (Laughs) We just take it down to its basic roots and go from there.
ROCKET: Obituary is still a free agent, correct?
JOHN: We are. The guys from Century Media came here to my house where the studio is, and we also went down to Germany and talked to them at their office there.. and they are a bunch of great guys and they are really passionate about their bands and they work hard for there bands.. and they are interested in working with Obituary on this next release so where nothing is official yet probably our new release will be with Century Media.
ROCKET: Okay, great to hear. Now you guys have enlisted long time Six Feet Under bassist Terry butler to replace Frank Watkins. How has that been working out?
JOHN: I’ve known Terry for a long time he was one of the first people we met when we moved here.
ROCKET: Okay, you guys go way back.
JOHN: We would hang when he was not on tour with Six Feet Under, watching football, just having him around it feels like he’s been in our band the entire time.
ROCKET: How do you feel about fans jumping on stage? With the death of Dimebag in ’04 being murdered on stage, and now this ordeal with Randy Blythe, how do you feel about it?
JOHN: When you consider the small places (clubs) we play compared to Lamb Of God.. and how they have all that security, it would be tough for us to turn the key and shut that thing off. Since Dime, every time a kid comes up on the stage and be it 99% of them just want to come over and give you a hug and then go jump back into the crowd. But honestly, it goes through your mind you don’t know who it is. But you know we’ve been talking with those guys in Lamb of God, they are big Obituary fans… and we known each other and played with each other, enjoyed having some cool ones with those guys. It’s real unfortunate. We’ve been in touch with them and try to let them know we are thinking about them
ROCKET: Do you get into the current underground bands that are out there like Foreshadow and Sargon?
JOHN: Almost every night a band hands you a CD. (Laughs) I’ll try to listen to it and contact them back and tell him to keep working at it and keep trying. But to be fair, there is a lot of them!
ROCKET: What is the one piece of advice you’d give to kid starting out with a dream to make it in the rock music game?
JOHN: Do it for the right reasons. Because you like to do it. Start with writing the music you like and playing the music you like. And the combination of people you put together based of that kind of music.. well the success of the music is going to build off of that. If you don’t do that you will find you’re not having fun with what you’re doing and everything is going to come crashing down around you anyway.
ROCKET: Well, brother, thanks for rocking this out with me. Best of luck with your music. I look forward to hearing some new Obituary tunes. Any last words?
JOHN: We are going out in the US on tour in September, so there’s a handful of twenty something dates. Which is cool. We haven’t been out in the states in a while. Hope to see you out at a show!