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Interviews Autopsy

Interview with drummer and vocalist Chris Reifert

Interview conducted by Luxi Lahtinen

Date online: January 2, 2013

Colored live photos by Luxi Lahtinen and Terhi Pihlaja

Ever since San Francisco's legendary blood-soaked gore meisters Autopsy released their comeback album, Macabre Eternal, on Peaceville Records, big things started happening for them. They were booked for many different events with the Slaughter by the Water 3 festival on the USS Hornet Aircraft Carrier in Alameda, CA in August, surely one of the most memorable.

Autopsy also visited Brazil for two shows in September, playing there for the first time in the band's career. In between gigs around the world, the guys haven't been resting on their laurels. They have been working on new songs for their next album, which is said to delve further into a macabre and sick world. According to drummer and vocalist Chris Reifert this horror is the true essence of the new Autopsy album.

Chris is going to enlighten us about that and other news from the Autopsy camp in the following interview...

Luxi: First off, should I start by asking, how's it rotting these days, Chris?

Chris: We are all rotting a little bit every day, aren't we? So in that case, pretty well I suppose. Ha-ha! Otherwise, life is a skull soup bowl and I'm fishing for an eyeball.

Luxi: You just recently told me that you played a couple of shows in Brazil in September (in Belo Horizonte and Sao Paulo) and the crowd over there was really fanatical and simply insane. You had to be escorted to the van by security like "The Beatles of Death Metal," as you put it. How crazy are the people there, based on your first experience playing in Brazil? I assume Autopsy haven't played in Brazil before?

Chris: Yeah, it was our first time there. It was pretty amazing and the fans there are so fucking die hard and dedicated. I'm glad we finally got to play there. Yeah we were treated very well and perhaps the reason for that analogy was due to the fact that we all wore Beatle wigs. I think next time some Bay City Roller wigs will really get them fired up, don't you?

Luxi: Have you ever run into the unpleasant situation when fans simply get too close and you had to say "back off?"

Chris: Ha-ha! Honestly, the way I see it is if it weren't for fans of our band, we would be nothing so I am pretty easy going with that sort of thing. I fortunately haven't had anything crazy in a bad way happen yet, so it hasn't been a worry. Just keep off my blue Suede shoes and we're gonna be fine.

Luxi: Also, on August 25th, you played at the Slaughter by the Water 3 festival, which wasn't at a typical venue. Would you enlighten us on that one a bit more, if you don't mind?

Chris: I don't mind but if I did I'd still tell you anyways 'cause it was pretty damn cool. It was actually held on an aircraft carrier called the USS Hornet. It's got quite a history to it and is supposedly haunted in certain parts of the ship. Hhhmmm... never got to see anything like that but the show was kick ass and we had a good fuckin' time. There were definitely some good bands there as well.

Luxi: Since Autopsy's comeback album, Macabre Eternal, was released in 2011, interest in the band has been high. Has this been a surprise for you, personally, how popular Autopsy seems to be around the globe?

Chris: Shit, the original plan was to just do Maryland Deathfest and it turned into much more. Abscess was going to stay together but when Clint quit, we knew it was over. That changed things and at that point the door was open for Autopsy to get activated full time. Next thing you know we had done the EP, album, comp album, DVD, etc., not to mention flying all over the world playing for maniacs. As for popularity, all I can say is thanks to everyone who keeps the band in such high regard. We promise we won't let you down; we'll always keep it heavy as fuck!

Luxi: Have you turned down any tour or gig offers since you re-animated this old corpse in July 2009?

Chris: There have been some offers we couldn't accept, that's for sure. It is quite a thing to organize a travelling gig or gigs and it involves a lot of preparation on the home front. We can't just go running off anywhere anytime unless the circumstances are right and we know it will be a special show. Having said that, we've played nothing but amazing shows since getting back together and I'm

happy we did them. It's great to see folks going nuts right along with us!

Luxi: If you think back a little bit, what have been some of your personal highlights, gigging-wise, since Autopsy was reformed in the summer of 2009? Are there some special venues or festivals that Autopsy would definitely do again, if you got the opportunity?

Chris: Hmmm... now that you mention it, there are a couple of festivals we have played more than once. We did Maryland Deathfest twice and Slaughter by the Water twice as well. Honestly though, all the gigs we've done so far have been kick ass and memorable, so a big cheers to all the sick metal freaks that showed up. Fuck yeah!

Luxi: I would guess playing at the Hammer Open Air Festival, in Lieto, Finland in July 2011, was a memorable experience for you guys. The whole venue was located in the middle of a forest, creating a very intimate environment for the bands as well as the crowd, who seemed to dig the hell out of Autopsy's performance. How much do you remember about your visit to the Hammer Open Air Festival?

Chris: Hey, it wasn't THAT long ago! Ha-ha! But yep, we had a smashing good time and the crowd was fantastic. Also, probably the drunkest people we've ever played for, with the exception of Chicago! And I do not mean that in a bad way. Hah! We were drinking right along with the best of 'em and enjoyed the forest and some of the other bands' sets as well. Hope to get back there again someday...

Luxi: As you recently informed me, you have been working on Autopsy's follow-up to Macabre Eternal. How much do you have completed and how much is still in the works?

Chris: Well, we've all been working on material at home and are about to pool all of our individual sickness together in one rancid cauldron and see what bubbles up. I really love this part about being in a band. Watching a new album take shape, like a mutant infant being formed and spat out - ready to repulse, repel and wreak madness upon a hungry Metal world. I can say there are skeletons of songs shambling about at the moment and as we approach the recording date, mouldering flesh and sinew will grow, revealing the true essence of the horror that is a new Autopsy album. Nice description of us putting some cool sounding riffs together, huh?

Luxi: You have already promised your next album will be "the heaviest, darkest and most devastating Autopsy album to date." Where will we see the most drastic changes, brutality-wise; the lyrical or musical approach or both?

Chris: Hell, I hope you don't expect anything too drastic, ya know? There are many ways to crush a skull, but the end result will be the skull being crushed, which is the important part. Lyrically and musically, Autopsy has to retain a certain vibe. If we try to get too fancy or experimental or something it would probably sound like another band. So in a way it will be more of the same, but we always strive to make our music heavier and sicker, otherwise why make a new record at all? If we said our next album was going to be almost as good as the last one it wouldn't make for a good environment for ourselves or anyone else. We have to go in ready to rip heads off of necks and flesh off of bones!

Luxi: Will there be any songs on the forthcoming record that may get the album banned in some countries due to its very grotesque lyrical content? Of course, that would only mean increasing record sales elsewhere... ;o)

Chris: We have never gone for that intentionally, though it has happened in the past. As a matter of fact, we have actually had a few incidents recently with the German BPjM. I have received letters from them where they say Autopsy is harmful to their youth and we are now on "the list", and we have had packages I've sent out confiscated by customs over there as well. Again, we never set out for that to happen and it is a bit of a pain in the ass, but ultimately we get a laugh out of stuff like that. You know, pissing off uptight people without even trying!

Luxi: Can you reveal the working titles for some of the songs on Autopsy's next record? I know, curiosity crushed, mangled and dismembered the cat, but still...

Chris: I have plenty of titles that are confirmed, but we're not ready to give out too much info yet. Nothing to do with cats though. My cats would never forgive me. Haha! When we get a bit closer to recording time I'm sure we'll put a band statement or something out there to whet everyone's' bloodthirsty appetite.

Luxi: How much has each band member contributed the songwriting process for your next record? I was also wondering whether there's a possibility that you may end up doing something as crazy as "Sadistic Gratification" was, lasting over 11 friggin' minutes?

Chris: Eric and I usually write the majority of the stuff for a given album, but Danny has thrown down some sick slabs as well and Joe came up with the music for "Sewn into One." As for crazy new songs, we're pretty much just doing what we always do, which is to write and record the best Death Metal we possibly can. With "Sadistic..." we honestly had no idea how long it was until we got it recorded. As I've said before, I'm glad I didn't know, because that fact would have been on my mind while trying to record it and most likely cause me to fuck up more than usual. Ha-ha! Don't worry about anything though, we will deliver total fucking death and Autopsy fans will not be disappointed.

Luxi: Are you going to increase Eric Cutler's vocal parts on your next album? He did such a great job on Macabre Eternal, vocal-wise.

Chris: I'm sure Eric will do some vocals, but if he did too much it would change the dynamic of the band, you know? We still have plenty to figure out, vocal-wise, at this point and it will be cool to sort out what sounds best where. And yeah, he did a great job on Macabre Eternal. I still think of a chainsaw-wielding psycho when I hear that stuff!

Luxi: Do you think you will record your next album at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, CA again, like you did with Macabre Eternal?

Chris: Yeah, we'll go back there for sure. I don't know where else we could go that we'd like more. It's close to home, very professional and everyone there is really cool and easy to work with, so it's not even something we need to think about at this point.

Luxi: As it's already been announced, Joe Petagno has already done your next album cover. Yes, that man is such a legend, but why did you end up choosing his artistic skills instead of Wes Benscoter, who did the cover for Macabre Eternal?

Chris: Oddly enough, it was Joe who got in touch with us and asked if we were interested in working together. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the letter. We definitely love the work we got from Wes Benscoter and Matt Cavotta as well, but we couldn't turn down a chance to work with Joe. The cover is already done and I can safely say he did a fucking amazing job with it. It's perfect and now we just need to make the music worthy of his art!

Luxi: Matt Cavotta was the guy behind the cover artwork of All Tomorrow's Funerals and that artwork also looks very cool. Was Matt one of your options to do the cover for Autopsy's next album, or was it clear from the beginning that you wanted to work with Joe Petagno?

Chris: Aagghh, it seems I got ahead of myself on that last answer!

Luxi: What about this Autopsy comic book thing, "Feast for a Funeral?" What is it all about?

Chris: It doesn't have us in it, don't worry. Haha! It's a story based on the surgeons from the Severed Survival album cover. The writer, Vince Brusio did a killer job with a really cool plot and some kick ass gore. We are honored and quite excited about it. I'd love to see another one based on the thing from the Mental Funeral album cover, that would be insane!

Luxi: Have you had any talks with Peaceville Records about a release schedule for Autopsy's follow-up record? Sometime during summer 2013, perhaps?

Chris: It's hard to say right now, but I would take a guess at late spring/early summer 2013. Time will tell.

Luxi: Is it too early to talk about any touring for 2013? Obviously Autopsy will try to play as much as possible before/after the next album is out, to get the record promoted. Playing gigs is the best way to tell people that you are still around, kicking ass and crushing the weak, ha-ha!!

Chris: Hhmmmm... we'll see about that. Right now our schedule is wide open, but I don't think we'll do a lot of shows; maybe just a couple or a few really special ones. Let's see what happens. Wherever we end up, hope to see you there!

Luxi: Alright Chris, I think that's it this time. Thank you for your time and good luck with all the new Autopsy stuff and your forthcoming recordings. If there's anything you'd like to say to all the crazy Autopsy fans worldwide, then by all means spill your guts...

Chris: Thanks a bunch man, great talking with you. Thanks to YOU for reading this far. Keep it heavy, turn it up to 15, stay creepy, have a beer and cheers to all the Autopsy grave freaks and tomb fiends. We will keep coffins open for all of you...

Other information about Autopsy on this site
Review: Mental Funeral
Review: Severed Survival/Retribution For The Dead
Review: Dark Crusades
Review: The Tomb Within
Review: Macabre Eternal
Review: Puncturing the Grotesque
Interview with Chris, Eric, Joe and Danny on September 17, 2011 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
Interview with vocalist and drummer Chris Reifert on May 8, 2014 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
Interview with drummer and vocalist Chris Reifert on December 17, 2017 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
Interview with drummer and vocalist Chris Reifert on October 18, 2022 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
Interview with drummer and vocalist Chris Reifert on October 3, 2023 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)

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