“It’s not shocking to me now that people are preferring to have music on vinyl. Finally something physical. We went over a decade with out holding a record physically in our hands.”
I’m one of those people that wrote Morbid Angel off when Illud Divinum Insanus was released. It was such a dramatic change in style that I equated it to Celtic Frost going glam with Cold Lake. The release is legendary for being bad. Metal purists are merciless, decisions like these can end a career.
Thankfully, Morbid Angel as well as Celtic Frost have shown they have the wherewithal to recover. Both bands implemented line-up changes for the better. Sometimes a little old blood can be a lifeblood and I am proud to say Steve Tucker is back! Please enjoy some excerpts of my 4/9/18 interview with Steve Tucker where we discuss Kingdoms Disdained, music videos and the resurgence of vinyl.
David Halbe: How did the reunion come about?
Steve Tucker: Well, Trey (Trey Azagthoth – Guitars) and I have known each other for a really long time. We have lots of mutual friends. When I left Morbid Angel, it had a lot to do with me and things I had going on outside of the band. Honestly, I feel like the time was right. Trey just gave me a call and he was like ‘Hey man what are you up to? Would you be interested?’ I mean it was a no-brainer once you think about it.
Dave: Fuck Yea.
Steve: For me personally, I enjoy writing music with Trey, I always have. I really wanted to start doing it again. I write music all the time and I have worked with a lot of different artists but I’ve got to be honest, nobody writes like Trey writes. It’s like starting an adventure.
Dave: I believe it. So how involved were you in the musical process?
Steve: When we first started talking he (Trey) already had a couple of ideas. Parts of songs I would call them and we went from there. I ended up writing some songs for the album as well but really we all contributed and just played it by ear. In some cases I worked while we rehearsed, the music just inspired me to write more stuff.
Dave: Sounds like a great environment.
Steve: It was. We ended up with so much music for this album we didn’t add any instrumental segues or anything.
Dave: Yea, I noticed that.
Steve: It’s got to be one of the most straight forward albums Morbid Angel has done.
Dave: I agree. It’s right in your face.
Steve: You know, I’m really happy with it. I’ve been happy with the response. From the studio, to the artwork, to the overall presentation, everything has gone well. It’s a record I really enjoyed making.
Dave: Excellent. Have any new visuals been planned to renew interest and hype the upcoming tour?
Steve: Man, we actually do have some videos coming. There’s one that I believe is finished now, if not it’s definitely close. We’re actually just waiting to hear from the label as to when they are going to release them.
Dave: Kick ass.
Steve: The director of the first video was Nader Sadek. I’ve actually worked with him before but that was with his In The Flesh project. For me, Nader is a very visual artist. He see things in a dark way. So once we starting working we decided to just go with it and he did a fantastic job. I’m really stoked about this first video.
Dave: Sounds awesome.
Steve: The second video isn’t really done yet so I don’t really want to go into it, you know what I mean? I’ve only seen pieces.
Dave: That’s cool.
Steve: Honestly, the video we did with Nader is going to disturb people.
Dave: I believe it. Can you tell me what song it’s for?
Steve: It’s for “Garden Of Disdain”.
Dave: (Laughs) All right! That’s a good one.
Steve: So you know the lyrical content is a bit nasty?
Steve: The gods are just completely sickened by people. So the video really follows that idea. It’s a situation similar to when ants are run over by people, know what I mean?
Dave: I do.
Steve: This is like people being overrun by the gods. I kinda feel like the video will emphasize that the gods are ready to take things back. It’s a kick ass video man I’m telling you, it’s got some shocking visuals in it. The first time I saw it I was like Woah! What the hell? But you know it’s really just so fitting. It has a tone of disgust that I think really matches the lyrics.
Dave: Man, you’re making me wanna see that shit right now. I can’t wait till the video comes out.
Steve: You’re gonna like it man.
Dave: So I read the social media bullshit about the touring set list last year. Will the whole back catalog be open this time around?
Steve: I’m gonna be honest with you. We did a shit load of shows and it felt like the people there enjoyed the shows. Then I read all this bullshit that some people were pissed off because we only did songs off this one album and that shit just got so bad that people were staring to say that we were refusing to do songs. That I was refusing to do certain songs and I’ll tell you right now, none of that shit happened.
Dave: I believe it.
Steve: Of course it’s the stupid fucking internet taking the smallest thing possible and turning it into the biggest thing it could possibly be.
Dave: I agree.
Steve: Some people out there are just bored with their pathetic lives.
Dave: (Laughs) Oh god yea!
Steve: So I mean, it’s all just a big fucking joke dude. We really just decided to play the songs we really wanted to play. Trey said he was burnt out on some songs and I have to believe any true fan of Morbid Angel would be more excited to see the band play songs they haven’t seen them play a thousand times before live.
Dave: I agree, those are the kind of shows you remember.
Steve: We’re mixing it up this time around. We’re bringing in a few older songs but even the songs we are bringing in aren’t the so called ‘hits’ or whatever you want to call them. If you wanna see the hits, there’s another band out there performing all of those, do that if you want!
Dave: (Laughs) Fuck yea man!
Steve: If you wanna see us, we’ll be out the representing Morbid Angel.
Dave: Hell yea.
Steve: It’s just us playing what we want to play. They’ll be some older songs in the set but they’ll be the songs that we want to play, I mean we’re probably not going to play “Rapture” and we’re probably not going to play “God Of Emptiness”. You know these songs have been played tour after tour after tour and now we’re going to be playing other songs.
Dave: I hear ya.
Steve: Because all these great albums, they all have nine or ten songs. I mean we’ve wanted to play stuff off certain albums for years but we couldn’t because another song had a video.
Steve: Is “Rapture” really a better song than “Pain Divine” because “Rapture” had a video? I don’t think so but for some people that may be their mental capacity. They just can’t get past the video aspect of it.
Dave: I agree.
Steve: Really, it’s just about playing music and representing our new album. We wanna have fun playing the music we wrote together. We want to continue to be a band that’s relevant now, not some sideshow act living off songs that were written twenty years ago.
Dave: For sure. I’m glad to hear you say that.
Steve: And again I just want to make it clear, there’s was never a time or a point that I refused to play any Morbid Angel song. If Trey came up to me right now and said ‘Hey man, I wanna play this song’, I’d be like ‘Cool, let’s learn it.’
Dave: Fuck yea. I honestly didn’t know you guys released an album last year and now you have a vinyl copy of it coming out on April 21st for record store day. Are you excited about having music on vinyl?
Steve: Well, the whole thing came out pretty quick. It was released at the end of the year (2017) and you know how the first week supposedly gauges everything?
Steve: Well, we did pretty good the first week but you know what? We’ve done a bit better every week since. That means people are going out and buying the album, they’re listening to it with their friends and those friends are going out and buying the album.
Dave: Word of mouth still sells records.
Steve: It’s that circle dude. I remember back when vinyl was the hottest thing. We don’t think ahead bro. We didn’t realize a format like vinyl might be what people prefer. We always jump on the next thing not understanding new doesn’t always mean better.
Dave: That’s true.
Steve: It’s not shocking to me now that people are preferring to have music on vinyl. Finally something physical. We went over a decade with out holding a record physically in our hands. Remember that? Checking out the cover, reading the lyrics. That’s fresh again. I think that’s wonderful because that was always my favorite part of buying a new album. Whenever, I bought an album, back when I was a teenager or whatever I would sit down with the record, open it and read everything. I check out the gear they used. The thank you list, looking for new bands.
Dave: I did the same thing.
Steve: It’s seems like it’s becoming trendy again to do that now.
Dave: That’s great for metal. Being able to say you actually have a record out is pretty fucking cool.
Steve: Nothing beats the size of a record. The artwork is so big you can just see everything.
Steve: We’ve got a CD out too, it’s a new Digipak. Everything folds out. In the past I haven’t been completely satisfied with the presentation, what the label did whatever but this is the first time I can honestly say that the presentation surpassed my expectations; the 3D lenticular on the record is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen.
Dave: The whole packaging is amazing. So what’s the deal with the Digipak, I see it has an instrumental EP included, Extreme Acid Terror.
Steve: You know Trey always likes to give fans a sort of sneak peek into his musical world, I guess, for lack of a better way of saying it. It’s meant to give you an idea of where the music is coming from. The Complete Acid Terror EP is sort of a collection of demos for the songs that made up Kingdoms Disdained. It’s just the kind of bonus Trey likes to include, insight into where the music comes from.
Dave: That’s really cool.
Steve: It’s Morbid in its rawest from. Honestly, I don’t think a lot of other bands do that or would have been afraid to include something like that.
Dave: For sure. Do you still have an endorsement deal with Blackheart for your bass?
Steve: Oh yea. They take good care of me. It’s a personal thing, they’re not a big company. It’s just a verbal agreement between me and the guy who runs it. We don’t have a contract or anything. It’s just one of those things where they’re into the band and I’m in a situation where I don’t have to kiss a person’s ass to get equipment. I don’t want to get a free bass and be stuck having to play something I don’t like.
Dave: I understand.
Steve: I want to like the instrument I play, that’s the most important thing. You know I was a B.C. Rich man through and through for years but not anymore.
Dave: I know that’s why I asked but honestly I like the style of the Blackheart better, will you be touring with that now?
Steve: Oh yea. I have one here sitting next to me. That’s my signature bass. Anyone who wants to play that model (Kronos) can get that and if you want, they’ll wire it up just like mine. Blackheart really hooks people up. They’re trying to make you happy not just make a buck.
Dave: That’s really cool. One final question. That picture of you on Metal-Archives (www.metal-archives.com) holding back that gigantic dog, is that shit for real?
Steve: Oh yea man that’s a German Sheppard. That dog was a breeder for police dogs. It was a trained attack dog. Actually, that dog’s not alive anymore.
Dave: That sucks man.
Steve: Well, you know it’s a dog. Dogs don’t live human lives. They have much faster lives, know what I mean? But that was a real dog, a hell of a dog, in that picture it’s pretty much taking what I got to hold him back.
Dave: Man, that dog is sick. What was his name?
Steve: It wasn’t my dog, it was owned by a friend of mine who actually bred them but I think his name was Zeus.
Dave: Kick ass.
Steve: Believe it or not the guy actually had twelve of those things.
Dave: Holy shit! A trained pack of monsters! Well, thanks a lot for your time today Steve.
Steve: No problem man, take care.
Morbid Angel are:
- Steve Tucker – Bass, Vocals
- Scott Fuller – Drums
- Trey Azagthoth – Guitars
- Dan Vadim Von – Guitars