Interview with David Vincent (April 1996)
By Dave Rohrback

from From Beyond

I don't think Morbid Angel should need any further introduction, so why don't you just dive into this interview with David Vincent in late April ('96) just before he left the band…

When you played in Norway and others parts of Europe, you hooked up with immortal and Moonspell as supporting bands. With the surplus of bands in this area, how did they receive the honor to open ?
David :
"We actually requested those bands. Contrary to popular opinion, we are one of the few bands who has made an attempt to support underground. We've consistently taken out young promised bands and tried to help more underground bands. They would obviously have to show some sort of effort and not just any shitty tape that comes thought the door. Somebody who seems to have something going on and are working hand towards something. We try to rewards that with an opportunity to play in front of some bigger audiences and tour bigger than they have previously. No one ever did that for us. The slayers and the megadeths and the bigger bands of the world. They'd just laugh at us any time we ever asked to go on their tours. We made a commitment a long time ago not to be not to be that way and we were going to try to give something back to the people. We've always had to do everything on our own because either we were just too extreme for this or too whatever for that and a lot of people took at things in different ways. Certainly not a creative way, the way we look at things."

So I'm assuming you go to know the bands on the tour.
"We actually shared a bus with Immortal so we had a good opportunity to hang out with the guys and I'm real happy that we took them because they're not only good band, but good friends. Moonspell went great also."

Where else Scandinavia did you travel ?
"Well, we played in Sweden, but they didn't do the Swedish show with us, but they did to Denmark. They had a studio commitment already when they say they'd do the tour so they missed around the last three weeks of the seven-week tour. When we went up through Norway they just got off in Oslo. We went down south to Italy, Spain…

How about Lithuania ?
"No. A lot of these countries that have been under communism for so long…it's going to take them awhile. It's not an overnight thing. I feel pretty hopeful because we've gone through Poland in the past and I remember going through east Germany when it was still part of the "soviet block" and things were a lot of different and nowadays, even though it still seems like it's hard. I have a lot of faith in the people that they're really going to go somewhere and make things happen."

Where did you receive the best response in Europe ?
"It's really hard to say because each country is a different language and culture and a lot of things, but I know we did a lot of shows in France this time ant that went real well and before that we only played in Paris, but this time we actually got into the countryside. That went really well and I was happy to do that."

From Europe where did you go ?
"After Europe we went back to the us and did another tour there and then Australia"

And in the states you played with dissection and at the gates.

How did those shows go ?
"Better then the grip inc. shows. Our manager manages Grip Inc., also and that's how that worked out."

How did you hook up with those two bands ?
"Earache brought over at the gates and we were looking fog another band that was able to tour and dissection were one of those. That's the whole thing, sometimes it costs so much money to tour that, in addiction to being a good band, the band's record company has to help out with some of the bills because the cost of travel and hotels and everything is more than you make a show, so there's always a shortfall most of the time. Traditionally it's the Records Company that picks up that bill, but some of these bands are on such small labels, the companies really don't have the resources to give tour support. There have been bands in the past we've wanted to take. We've tried to make it work, but they just didn't have the funds to make it happen and outside me, out of my pocket, paying all their bills, well, that's no going to happen. I have hard enough time paying my own. It'd been cool if it didn't have to be that way, but money always finds a way in there and is a factor."

Has Giant Records been supportive ?
"They've been pretty supportive. They just really don't know what to do with us. Compared to anything else on the label, we're just a rogue band. We have to basically tell them what to do almost all the way down the line. Whether or not we even do another album for them…we had a two record deal with options after that but with our next option they'd have to come up with so much money that I don't know. The budget was the same for the first two, but by the time the third came, it all of a sudden goes into another league. Our manager said he thinks they might be kind of scared of it. But they've definitely helped us sell more records and get some good videos out and distribute our records throughout the stores, which we never really had just on imports."

Have has domination been selling ?
"It's been selling really well."

Some people were a little thrown of by Covenant, saying MA were changing and going in a different direction…
"We don't ever change our direction. We just add to what we already have? I know what it sounds like when a band changes their direction because a lot if my favorite bands leave done that. Consequently, they're not my favorite bands anymore. We've always had kind of a broad sound anyway and rather than narrow or limit it to on single thing we do, we like to do a lot of different things. When we get ideas, we just try them out and see how it sounds and frankly I like when there's a really big variation between songs because it makes more interesting to listen to as supposed to every song, one after the other, sounding the same and, you'd know, we could do that right up there with the best of them… seen we've done that. We've done all those things. We've had some of the fastest stuff out, some of the slowest stuff out and we just like all the different extremes."

Getting back the tour, who did you play with it in Australia ?
"We had local support throughout Australia. We didn't pick a band. It went really well, through there were some shows where it was slow, but overall the tour did well. I'll tell you, I like going down there. The people have a good feeling about life down there. It's not really crowded, so people aren't as ornery as people you would find in area were there's a lot of people and everyone's on the edge. So much free space down there. Definitely worth visiting. In a lot of respects it's like America. The prices are affordable. You can get decent food. The nature is really nice."

Now you're back in the US. Are you working on new material ?
"Well, I'm working on a lot of things. I've got a couple of different projects going and the next things Morbid Angel has are some festivals in the summer in Europe."

Would you mind divulging information on some of your projects ?
"Well, this is a Morbid Angel interview, so let's keep it there."

Okay, as far as MA is concerned, you're the main lyricist of the band. "Caesar's palace " is, I know, about Caesar…
"Well, it's not really so much about Caesar necessarily as a person. I mean, it was inspired by that, but it's more the idea of pre-Christian society and having morals that're more in tune with the earth as they are to some book and egalitarian point of view. Things weren't always that way. They used to be very specific things that were the case and nowadays things are just so random… I don't really like it as much and I just really get inspired… I mean as an old man would say "those were the good ol' days". Being a student of history, I'm really inspired by that and mainly it's the idea of a society without Christianity. It's not even taking society and ridding it of that, but just kind of a dream of taking a time machine back into that sort of a prehistoric time."

And "Inquisition" comes from a different viewpoint of being a witch.
"Putting myself in their shoes. I try to personalize things. I can tell and read stories until the cows come home, but when you can look deep inside and make a statement that's coming from your person whether it's fantastic or reality to it, you leave that up to the listener."

Songs like "Melting" and "Dreaming"... do you have any input on those kinds of songs ?
"No. Those are just input from trey and Eric."

And speaking of Erik Rutan, is he working out satisfactory.
"Oh yeah. Eric is such a fantastic guitar player... that's the first and foremost. He's really put in the hours or years of mastering his instrument and he's one of the best guitar player I've ever seen. He's got technique that one only gets from sitting in the room and playing eight to ten hours a day. He practiced on his stuff and not someone else's, so he's fluent in his style every bit as much as any of those other guitar heroes out of there. It's just what he does with it. He started playing his own stuff and just somehow worked its way out. That the same route Trey went. He never played covers because he just kind of started out in his room just playing air guitar, listening to some of the old stuff he did and I think it's really special when a player can really develop a style like that. You can go around and listen to anybody play the latest Joe Satriani and I'm just so bored with that. I like to gear passion coming off a guitar player. I don't wan tot hear how somebody can play a billion notes and fit them in and I'm just into that at all. I want of hear somebody really move me and make the guitar speak. Passion, it's the main thing."

Yeah, trey more than mentioned he's a big fan of Eddie Van Halen.
"Yeah, but when he says that, he's not copying and we're not a Van Halen band. I mean no one could listen to us and confuse it. He's just inspired by the ways Eddie came out of the box with such fresh-sounding technique and the ways he does the taps and some of other technique and previous to that the same way he was with Michael Schenker and Frank Marino and Tony Iommi…people that weren't just another lead guitar player in some band as opposed to somebody who had passion and could really make their guitar say something. That separates the men from the boys, I think. The mature player to the player who just goes through the motions."

Right. I feel the most enigmatic song on the LP is probably "Hatework" which features a solo that literally can blow you against the wall…
"We're getting into the habit of making the last song on the record a total departure. I love it. I think it's a masterpiece."

Very militant the style the drums are played…
"Oh yeah, that made it. The snare drum, the way Eric had it set up, was mainly timpani and one of our assistant engineers who's kind of a keyboard programmer also, he wanted us to check it out because he heard that and we kind of overlooked it… you see, we're in the studio and each of us are so trained on what we personally have to do that sometimes we see the tree and not the forest, if you know what I mean. That's why it's really good to have producers. I'm seeing such a benefit with that now because sometimes you get caught up and look too closely at couple of little things and you don't end up and look too closely at a couple of little things and you don't end up seeing the whole picture whereas sometimes an outside car that didn't write the songs will come in and say "what if we try this or that" and it may be the best idea in the world and it may have been something that if you had another year to sit and listen you may have come up with, you don't have the luxury of that amount of time, so getting in there and being able to work with a good producer, that changed me. I'm a changed man after that."

Could you tell us about any new Morbid Angel material that has been written ?
"Well…I really don't like to preempt myself, but I don't think anyone's going to be upset."

I wouldn't doubt it. Just by the response from domination as well as the demand for Morbid Angel interviews and/or paraphernalia it's pretty easy to say the band is moving onward and upward.
"Well, that's great. We write stuff that we really like and hat o been just a fan of the band starting off and I bought these records. I'd be happy with them. It's definitely very rewarding when you've finished something. ... I mean, we put more onto this last record, we spent more time and money on it than we ever have on a record before. It sure is gratifying when people can come up to you and say "man, such n'such a song at this part… I can really identify with it" and just come up to you after the show and you can look in their eyes and tell that you've been able to share something that deep with someone on that level, that's what makes it all worthwhile."

When did you officially join Morbid Angel, David ?
"I joined Morbid Angel in 1986. It had been around. I guess, since late 1984 played shows and did a couple of rehearsal tapes and a couple of shows in '86. Right after those shows is when I got into the band. I've been in the band for ten years."

Back then, did you ever think you'd be as popular as you are today ?
"I can't say I looked at things on that level as far as how popular we would be. We worked hard to be unique and to try to be the best, but we never had any idea this type of music would get the "popularity" that it does as a genre. When we were doing this, it was the furthest thing from being cool, I mean, nobody was doing really. We had big band house, everybody lived in a terrible side town and we just worked crummy jobs during the day and played all night. It was really for us… we started playing shows, but we really into what we were doing and, like I said, it is very rewarding that it has been able to touch people the way it has. Ultimately, it had to touch us first."

Now when you were picked up by Giant Records which is essentially a major label, Columbia was signing a bunch of bands from the Earache roster such as Cathedral and Carcass and basically all of these bands except for maybe Cathedral have gone somewhat downhill. They've been dropped by Columbia and their sound has changed for the most part, thereby lessening their fanbase a bit, meanwhile Morbid Angel's seem to be escalating with every consecutive album and that's something to look at.
"Well, we weren't part of that. That's getting into a realm sticky area, that whole Columbia thing, but we didn't wan t to be a part of that. We saw the writing on the wall. We do what we have to do. I can't really comment on the other bands or success or the popularity. Everyone really has to live with whatever they do themselves. I can only say that everything, we try to be as honest and true to ourselves, straightforward and laying it on the line as we possibly can. That's been our key to being able to survive for as long as we have."