(Our man BadWolf recently interviewed Landphil, who is a member of Cannabis Corpse, Municipal Waste, and Iron Reagan. Here’s what happened.)
In less than a month, Islander and myself will be waist-deep in filthy metal once again at this year’s Denver Black Sky Festival, and while that fest boasts more than a handful of great grind, crust, hardcore, and death metal acts, it’s a joke band that has me stoked.
Well, not exactly a joke band. Cannabis Corpse is no laughing stock—the group’s grasp on old-school death metal fundamentals is strong. But the band’s sense of weed-pun-based humor is proudly dispalyed on every album cover and in every song title. I’d expect nothing less from another project featuring Landphil, the powerhouse Virginian who also does time in Municipal Waste and Iron Reagan.
In anticipation of the fest, and Cannabis Corpse’s new album, From Wisdom to Baked, we chatted a bit about what it takes to be a funny man in metal, as well as the loss of GWAR’s David Brockie. Oh, and a bit about weed. But that should go without saying.
As of right now, you’re in three active bands. Is it hard to juggle the responsibilities of all three?
Sometimes it can be, but things get booked so far in advance that I have plenty of time to get my schedule ironed out. If I have time off, I plan on writing and recording. I have gotten pretty good about squeezing as much recording into my free time as possible. It can get crazy at times but I enjoy having things getting released almost every other month.
Likewise, your recording output has stayed pretty constant. How do you do it? Where do the riffs come from?
Writing is a funny thing. For the longest time I would sit there and scrutinize every single aspect of every single riff, and in the end I would end up going with the first thing that popped into my head. I think the creative process only gets difficult once you start second-guessing yourself.
Humor is a big part of your musical output. What’s the importance of being funny in your everyday life? Were you the class clown? What makes you laugh these days?
I am a huge fan of John C. Reilly, especially what he does in Judd Apatow movies and the terrific work he has done with Tim and Eric on Adult Swim. Being in Municipal Waste, I am surrounded by funny guys all day. Having a sense of humor is the only way to survive being on this planet. YouTube has brought a whole new era of funny stuff to my attention — one of my favorite viral videos of all time is a band from Fort Worth Texas called Complete. Check em out.
Cannabis Corpse is pretty fully committed to puns, and some of them are fucking great (my favorites are “Reefer Stashed Place” and “Pull The Carb”). What are your favorite song titles, and do you worry about running out of classic death metal songs to make puns out of?
It’s hard to pick. I like picking titles that also sound brutal as well as hilarious. Death metal will always be around so there is no way to run out of song titles.
Also, what comes first, the song or the pun? And are there any great song titles you want to spoof that you haven’t thought of a pun for yet?
We generally write a bunch of songs first then start cooking up the title and lyrics. We compile a large list of song titles and then apply the ones we like the most to a corresponding song. There have been a couple songs we wanted to spoof but couldn’t think of something funny or clever enough to make the cut.
I heard the name for Municipal Waste was found on the back of a garbage truck. That’s amazing. How do you know a good song title?
Ryan Waste was the one who founded Municipal Waste. The story is true about the band name being on the side of a trash truck. You know it’s a good song title when you can tell your friends and you don’t recoil in embarrassment after saying it.
You’re based in Richmond, and so are Lamb of God and GWAR, making the city kind of a hotbed for hard-touring but profitable (ish) metal. What’s Richmond like? Also, I don’t know anything about Richmond’s local scene at all! What’s it like? Do you participate?
Richmond has an art college called VCU so there are a lot of creative minds coming here and making art. I spend a lot if time on the road going to shows, so when I am home I become a total home body. I have sort of lost touch with the local scene.
Speaking of which, your friends in Lamb of God and GWAR have gone through some serious personal losses lately, but you’ve come out just fine. Do you react to, or ruminate on these tragedies? How do you process them?
Dave’s death had a huge impact on me. GWAR was a band that got me into metal as a kid, so I feel like I knew Dave for much longer than I actually new him. I was fortunate enough to do a lot of touring with GWAR and hang out with Brockie quite a bit. Iron Reagan was on the last ever US tour with Dave still alive. I am going to miss him. I appreciate everything he has done.
So, I live in Toledo, OH. Your projects come through here often even though most tours consider Ohio and Michigan more-or-less flyover states. What’s your relationship to the Midwest? What do you make of us rust belt wierdos!?
Michigan has a unique vibe. The first time Waste ever went to Detroit was with GWAR at Harpos. The day before we went there the tour manager pulled us aside and told us that we should not leave the venue for any reason and that it was extremely dangerous, etc. Basically scaring the shit out of us! I love playing Harpos now, it is held together by old pieces of chewing gum.
Our website, though, is based in Seattle, where marijuana is legal… well, pretty legal… Since you’re in Cannabis Corpse, what do you think about legalization vs. deciminalization, and where do you think America will go with marijuana in the future?
I think that we are on the cusp of marijuana becoming legal. I love that guns are going to be illegal soon but marijuana won’t be. The government has a plan for humanity that we don’t know about. Why wouldn’t they want to rule over a bunch of stoned unarmed people?
It feels like there’s been a rash of metal-related deaths this past year related to substance abuse. Do you worry sometimes, or think, that being in Cannabis Corpse, or Municipal Waste (what with all the beer songs) might promote abusive behavior patterns? Or do you see a hard divide between soft drugs and hard drugs?
I would think that there are plenty of other genres of music that push drugs and alcohol way harder than metal does, like dubstep or something. I could be wrong.
Check out a full stream of the new Cannabis Corpse platter at this location, and to keep track of what’s happening with the band, here’s their FB page:
Cannabis Corpse is an amazing live band
These guys have the best album art. I thought the cover to the split with ghoul was great, and then they topped it with the new one. All they need is for a giant animatronic weed monster to join them on stage, and they’d be the iron maiden of jokey underground death metal.