The band Cancerslug is Alex Story. Cancerslug has been around for almost 10 years now. The only constant thing has been Alex. He writes all the material and the music and has a revolving door of musicians that have helped him make Cancerslug a live band.
Cancerslug just put out a new full length album called "Tales of a Butcher" and they plan to tour this summer to support it. They will finally be making their way to Cincinnati to play and before that happened I wanted interview Alex. So here it is.. Enjoy!
Interview with Alex Story of Cancerslug
Evil Abby - Tell us about the new album "Tales of a Butcher" word has it that it has 28 songs on it? That's a whole lot of Slug!
Alex Story - It's definitely the longest CS album to date, running just over an hour - but with almost 200 songs to my credit, it still only scratches the surface of what we've done. We tried to pick a good variety of songs to put on it that represented most of the different styles that the band has done.
EA - How did you guys working with the Metal Blade artists Randy Butman & Jack Goodwin (Paths of Possession) and Erin Fuller (Hell on Earth) come about? How did they contribute to the new album?
AS - Well, Cancerslug never had a "regular line-up". I write all the music, words and recorded most of the albums myself. Letting different friends help on recordings and tours here and there. I had a different line-up on every album and on every tour. People come and go, and sometimes come back again.
I grew up with Randy in Alabama and we started out playing around the same places in different bands. We kept up with the different projects that each other did and eventually we did some shows where Cancerslug played with Paths Of Possession a few times. Paths even did a cover of "Soulless".
Randy and I had talked about playing together for a long time, so we finally just did it. Jack said he was down to lay some guitar and I loved his guitar style. Erin who had played in an early version of Paths and was friends with us said he would handle the drums. It all worked out great. They really made the songs sound tight as fuck. We were all real happy with how it turned out. I think its the best representation of the band so far.
EA - You also had Brian Elliot produce and record the album. He is known for working with bands like Soilent Green and Lizzy Borden. Did working with him add anything to the sound of the new album?
AS - Definitely. Brian is an awesome guy. He cut us a great deal and worked his ass off to get 28 songs recoded/mixed/and mastered in under a weekend. He really understood what I was going for. He also didn't let me get lazy. I'm the king of "that'll do" hahaha. Almost every album we have done has been all 1st takes. He let me experiment with some different vocals and get the best sound. He has a great ear and is super easy to work with.
EA - So who in the band is the metal fan? Seems like you guys take a lot of influence from the metal / death metal genre but make it your own.
AS - We all pretty much hate music. I think most bands suck actually. Can't listen to hardly anything. I grew up on punk and metal... so that's the bulk of my influence. Then there are influences across genres. So when I write I add in a little blues, a little jazz, a little whatever. Its all just rock n' roll to me. I try not to let it be classified. Rock n' roll spirit with punk energy and metal orchestrations in short blasts of inspiration with a blues mans heart.
EA - I remember back in 2002 I think when I wrote my paper zine and you sent me a burned cd that just had the words Cancerslug and Whore on it. I also remember having to lend that cd to more people than I could count. Since back then what accomplishments do you think you guys have achieved?
AS - It's hard to say. I never really expected anything of Cancerslug. "Success" to me is just making good music, playing good shows and recording good albums. I never wanted to be a "rock star" and still don't. I've turned down record deals and opportunities that people have called me stupid for. I guess the best accomplishment is that by doing this band I have been able to travel all over and play shows with bands that I grew up being a fan of. Having my boyhood heroes tell me that they loved my music. So that's pretty cool I guess.
EA - Where do you see Cancerslug going in the near future?
AS - I never really plan it out. I always said that once I got bored with it I would quits. But, its been 10 years and I'm still not bored hahaha! So who knows, but I'll continue to make the kind of albums that I want to hear and not worry about what anyone else wants.
EA - Your songs are melodic and catchy but the lyrical content most of the times are of things that most people only witness in nightmares. Is there certain life experiences for you that tend to push the pen when you write your lyrics?
AS - I think its just metaphorical analogies of things that everyone thinks, even if they don't talk about it. There is no light without shadow, there is no shadow without light. But at the same time, I like to throw hidden meanings into the songs.... That way, the listener gets whatever they come looking for. If they just want the funny "did he just say that" bullshit, then that is there, but if they look a little deeper into the lyrics we have a definite message.
EA - I took 6 stitches to the face from brass knuckles at a show from a straightedge kid who couldn't take a joke about a "sensitive" word a band member I was booking said.. The show ended in a bloody full bar brawl with the cops. Have you guys ever dealt with anything of that nature due to your lyrics?
AS - Whenever you are considered a "violent band" then you always get idiots who just come to show how "tough" they think they are. We have been attacked all over. The funniest part to me, is that people assumed that since we were angry and from Alabama that we must be racist, KKK or something. So we had his huge skinhead following for a second. Until they would come to the show and see that we had a black drummer or an Iranian girl playing bass or an Indian guy on guitar or something and be all bummed out hahahaha! I love to disappoint peoples perceptions. I've come away from more than a few shows bloody and bruised up. No one has ever stopped us and usually people find out the hard way that we bite back. So do our fans
EA - You guys are well accepted amongst the "horror punk" community is this something that you embrace?
AS - I hate labels on any kind of art. It's all rock n' roll to me. I liked the Danzig bands (Misfits, Samhain, Danzig) The Damned, Bauhaus, The Cramps and shit like that. Those bands were obviously an influence on my music. Most of the bands that people consider "horror punk" I just don't like. Music is a personal journey, so if that works for you great, its just not my cup of tea.
I think the make-up and bullshit is out-dated and stupid at this point in time. Most of them can't write for shit. I mean OK, just cause you can play a chord and say boo! Doesn't mean you should paint a skull face and start a band. I mean, if you like "spooky pumpkin patches" and "ghosts and bats" and "the boogeyman" then whatever. To me those bands are more like R.L. Stine's Goosebumps or some kiddie bullshit. I prefer real life horror.
EA - There are crazy stories about Cancerslug shows. Things about you bleeding and everyone thrashing each other. Are the stories true?
AS - We have had some legendary shows. Only one way to find out - come to a show. I can say this, even people that HATE us... always enjoy the show.
EA - What is the craziest show you guys have ever played?
AS - Really hard to say. There have been many for many different reasons. I have personal favorites but then someone will remind me of something really fucked up and I'll be like "Oh shit, I forgot all about that!" hahaha. When the band is at its best the shows usually de-evolve into madness. People in the crowd (normal people) usually end up doing things they normally would not. It becomes almost a religious experience with blood the sacrament.
EA - If you could play with any bands on one bill alive or dead who would it be?
AS - The Doors with Jim. Black Sabbath on their first tour. The Germs final show. The Cramps touring Bad Music for Bad People. The Misfits 1982. Fear 1982. Black Flag 1982.
EA - What are your influences musically?
AS - I grew up on late 70's early 80's punk and 80's thrash metal. There is a little of everything. All the Danzig bands (Misfits, Samhain, Danzig) Bauhaus, The Damned, The Cramps, The Doors, Slayer, Metallica, Fear, Black Flag, Black Sabbath, Kinghorse, At The Gates, Neurosis, Rasputina, Morrissey, Dax Riggs, Jucifer - too much shit to name hahaha.
EA - So, summer tour? Where all are you going?
AS - Still plotting it all out now. We may have to do it in small 2 week at a time deals, breaking the shows up here and there. But we are gonna try to hit most of the country.
EA - Come rock and party with the SlugCult of Cincinnati??
AS - We'll be there and it'll be sick.
Big thanks to Alex for the interview. I owe him beers when they play here! Make sure you check back here for updates on the exact date Cancerslug will be coming through. As soon as they figure it out, I will get it booked. Also make sure to check out the links below and get a copy of the new album on Drink Blood Records called Tales of a Butcher.
Slug Cult Rise!