Morbid Angel’s Steve Tucker Says “James Hetfield Is The Epitome Of A Frontman.”
Iconic death metal unit Morbid Angel will kick off their US headlining tour next week. Slated to commence on April 16th and run through May 17th, the month-long trek includes a headlining set at the New England Metal & Hardcore Fest. Direct support will be provided by Misery Index from April 16th to April 25th and Origin from April 26th through the tour’s conclusion. Additional support will be provided by Dreaming Dead and Hate Storm Annihilation.
Your new album, I feel like it’s such a powerhouse and it has a lot of apocalyptic references. The cover art showing the old gods awakening and discovering the world already destroyed. What do you think stands out within the lyrics and artwork to give a greater overall message to the album?
I think the one message is that we would deserve that. What people have done to this planet, the way that people treat this planet, the way that people treat each other, I think we would fully deserve the gods waking up and waking us from the planet. That’s really what the album is about. It’s really about the state of the world. Even going track to track, you can see through the titles what it’s actually starting to reference without even having to listen to the album. And for me I feel people as a whole have become only self serving. It’s truly an individual, righteous, sort of idealism that seems to flow through people on this planet now. It doesn’t seem people are too concerned about anyone outside of there listening range.”
It does make sense and I would tend to agree quite a bit.
“Yeah, I mean to me man. I don’t wanna bring death and destruction upon the world itself, but as an observer, that’s all I see dude. My entire life I’ve seen people being killed on TV for, who knows why. Whether is for oil whether its for a difference of opinion, difference in what they believe in, who they believe in or how they believe in it. It’s just a constant battle and everyone seems to be so righteous. If the United States bombed someone, we would say ‘hey, essentially we bombed them for not living the way we think they should live.’ Which is kind of fucking bullshit. To think that we bomb people. And I’m not an anti war protester. I’m not that at all. As human beings, conflict is in our nature. And being the strongest one, it’s really part of our makeup. Its why racism exists. It’s why sexism exists. It’s why every problem of conflict exists. It comes down to the person causing the issue is righteous in doing that and is somehow doing the right thing. And maybe they are for them but the right thing for one person isn’t necessarily the right thing for another.”
Out of all the albums that you were a part of, what was your favorite or least favorite to work on?
I mean we’re talking over 20 years worth of albums. Every single album has its own challenge. I mean the first album I came in on was probably one of the most difficult ones, for me, was Formulas. Because of the amount lyrics and things like that. Formulas was a 12 hour a day job for months on end to make it happen. So I would have to say, only by default because it was the first one, Formulas would have definitely been the most difficult.
How was the recording process for Kingdoms Disdained and do you think working with Erik Rutan played a large role in its overall success?
Man, I think working with Erik, I mean Erik is one of my very best friends. I mean we’ve all been friends for well over 20 years. Working with Eric made sure we were comfortable more than anything. And I know it was the right choice. I know he was the right person to work through. And I think yeah definitely it would definitely lead to the overall success just due to the basic fact of comfort. Of going in and knowing that we’re here with someone that we trust, someone that we know. And really, he knows what we’re goingfor in the end and he’s not going to try to change that or give crazy opinions we don’t want to hear. He knows the people involved. Eric’s a genius when it comes to dealing with people, especially on an individual basis which is what you have to do when you’re recording someone. You don’t record the entire band at the same time. So you have to deal with people on an individual level and that’s something that I believe is his specialty and it definitely led to the success just because it kept a fluid creativity going.
For the time that you were out of Morbid Angel, do you have a favorite David Vincent era album?
I mean “Covenant” is, to me, an amazing album. And for me dude, not a knock on David at all, but Morbid for me has always been about Trey. It’s always been about Trey’s ability and Treys vision and things like that. I view David the same way as I view myself, which is to finish it. Our job is to polish it up and turn it into finalized songs. But Trey is the true genius behind it. I really think “Covenant” and the flow of that being the third album you’re almost used to the process, things like that, I think it was a very very exceptional album. And for myself, the one, for me being on, “Gateways” was somehow this fluid exception to the rules, you know? It just went so well.”
With you playing and being apart of one of the most legendary acts within metal, who are some of your greatest influences for playing or live?
One of my biggest influences is James Hetfield. And I mean prior to 92 or 3. I mean James Hetfield for me is the epitome of a frontman. We share the same job essentially. He’s playing guitar and I’m playing bass but we share the same job. I still to this day, think he is the predominant man as far as it comes with frontmen. The other one would be Lemmy. Lemmy was just a monster. He wasn’t so refined as James Hetfield, he was much nastier. But there’s something about that guy being in the middle and holding it all all down like that for me was very influential. And Blackie Lawless from WASP is another guy who was very influential for me. The frontman is not an easy job. It’s not a job, I think, a lot people could even do. It’s not a job a lot of people would want. It would scare the shit out of them.”
You definitely need to respect the people going up on stage.
Going up there is essentially like handling explosives. At any second, everything can go wrong. But you’re professional and we do our homework and work our ass off before the tour. We practice so many hours and then by the time we get on stage, we’re ready. But at the same time you know, one bad moment can throw everything into chaos. But that’s also what’s exciting about it.
Speaking about touring again, you’re going on tour very soon across the US. How do you feel about the upcoming shows as well as the other bands on the lineup?
We’re heading out and we leave here Saturday to being the tour. I believe the tour starts Monday or something. But I’m excited about it. We’re bringing out good bands. We split it up, half of the tour will be done with Misery Index as our main support and the other half will be with Origin. And that’s exciting. Its exciting to think that half way through the tour, the tours gonna change. I think both bands are fantastic. I know people from both bands. I’ve actually known a lot of these people for over 20 years. So going out and being able to check them out every night and them being able to check us out every night and hang out, it’s a great thing. And the other bands on the bill are fantastic. Dreaming Dead is an all female band and is one of the most vicious things i’ve seen in my life. And Hatestorm Annihilation, they got some really cool, old school sounding shit going on that we really appreciate and so we wanted to take them out with us.”
What could fans expect from the Morbid Angel live show on this tour?
Expect to come in and hear a lot of songs that’ll rip your head off. We’re mixing up the set throughout the tour. We’re going to keep rotating songs and things like that. We’re trying to keep it as diverse and exciting as we can for them and as well. We have a pretty big catalog with a lot of options and we want to play a lot of songs. So we’ll be mixing it up as the tour goes on so honestly you never really know what you’re gonna get night to night.
How do you see the state of metal in 2018 and do you think it’s rising or falling in popularity?
It’s definitely rising. Metal always seems to really explode in times of great animosity. And I believe that we are in a state of animosity and a lot of chaos across the world but especially where we’re at here in the United States. A lot of animosity going on, a lot of people who hate our current president and a lot of people who hate our former president. And it honestly doesn’t seem like anyone wants to reach across that line and shake hands. It really has led to a lot of people turning to metal not unlike the late 80s and stuff. You have a few years of a crazy world and then suddenly metal seems to explode with new music and people interested in it. Heavy metal is about escaping. It’s about letting out the angst and dealing with it opposed to just smiling and acting like you’re happy.”
Can we expect anything else from Morbid in 2018 or 19?
As far as new music, I’d say no obviously. I don’t think we’ll be recording for another couple years. But we are gonna be playing everywhere. The itinerary is full.
We’re looking forward to seeing you over in Sacramento.
We’re looking forward to it. That’s about a month from now or so but we’re really looking forward to it. I love California. It’s always fun to get out there. It has a whole different vibe to the east coast so it’s a good time.
Author/Interviewer Hayden Johnson