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John Tardy (Obituary)

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    Posted: 24 Mar 2016 at 3:02am
The name Obituary is instantly recognisable to most serious Metal fans, and love ‘em or hate ‘em, they were one of the bands which helped define death metal. Taking Celtic Frost style metal to its extremes, Obituary blasted the metal world in 1989 with the release of their debut “Slowly We Rot”. Never before had such gut wrenching audio violence been recorded. Even in a genre as extreme as Death Metal, “Slowly We Rot” was over the top. If incredibly heavy rhythms and frenetic, deafening drumming weren’t enough, John Tardy redefined the art of death metal vocals with one bloodcurdling growl. Tardy’s guttural vocals seemed barely human, as he perfected the art of using the voice as another instrument, growling his way through meaningless, but brutal sounding lyrics.

Obituary remained at the forefront of the death metal wave of the early 1990s, releasing “Cause Of Death” in 1990, which incredibly was more extreme than the debut. Third album “The End Complete” saw Obituary slow down, tighten up, and sell a quarter of a million copies, making “The End Complete” the biggest selling death metal album of the time. The 1994 album “World Demise” saw Obituary explore African percussion and lyrical themes of industrialisation and pollution. The band’s final studio album “Back From The Dead” was relatively poorly received, despite a return to the death and gore lyrics. The band quit touring and playing live in 1997, and the release of a live album and a greatest hits package indicated to most fans that Obituary had reached the end of the line.

Cue 2004. Completely out of the blue, Obituary burst back onto the scene in March, playing live again for the first time in six years. Initial shows in the US were a success, so a low key European tour was planned. It was also a resounding success. Obituary was back from the dead.

It seemed the band’s seven year absence had not harmed their reputation at all. At the time Obituary called it quits, there was a lot of speculation as to why the band had pulled the plug. Rumours had it that John Tardy’s throat tearing vocals had wrecked his voice completely, while another story said the band had gone off touring. Both proved to be incorrect.

“First, we never ‘split’ up!” said vocalist John Tardy from Florida. “Second, the voice has never been a problem. We got to a point where I just wasn't happy with the way things were going. Roadrunner (the band’s label) and Blue Grape (the band’s merchandising company) were both doing things that I didn't want to be a part of. We finished a tour and we just took a step back to re-think the way things were going. We didn't plan on it being as long as it was but that is just the way it worked out. It was always just a matter of time before we got things going again. We are now back writing and playing again because it just feels right and Obituary still has a lot we want to get done.”

Despite not playing together for a number of years, the pieces which make up Obituary seemed slot back together with few problems. “It was really really easy. The time just felt right and songs just started coming out naturally”, said Tardy.

In the past the band had experimented a little with African percussion, and also recorded “Bullituary”, a remixed song with Hip Hop lyrics. However, it seems Obituary’s new material will be straight down the line death metal. “(It’s) hard for me to say what the new material sounds like. I listen to it all the time so it is hard for me to hear changes in our music. I would say it sounds like classic Obituary - very heavy. (There’s) no African percussion or rap yet...but we are still writing. Everyone in the band except me has done some other projects but I don't see that influencing us in any way,” said Tardy.

Indeed, the rest of the band has racked up an impressive range of other projects during Obituary’s hiatus. Drummer Donald Tardy has played drums for party rocker Andrew WK. Lead guitarist Allen West played with death metal supergroup Six Feet Under, while rhythm guitarist Trevor Peres resurrected the industrial metal project Meathook Seed. “Obituary's studio is at my house, so other than always jamming with who ever is around I have not done any other music. I did do a guest vocal spot with Necro (a hip hop artist from Brooklyn). (It was) a little different but I had a good time doing it,” said Tardy.

However, John Tardy is not one to immerse himself in the death metal scene. “I am not the most up to date person... I try to isolate myself a bit from the music as not to get influenced by anyone.”

While the band is definitely recording a new album, its release is a little less certain. “We are working out our contract situation and are not sure who will release the album. It will probably be with Roadrunner. They do have the resources to help us but it will definitely be up to us to get things done the way we want it.”

Despite not having any new material to promote, Obituary toured Europe in October. “The tour went great and I was really surprised at the amount of fan support we got. There were a lot of promoters that said we should have a new record first...bla bla bla...We wanted to get over there and make sure people understood that we were back together. We had a blast! After the new record we will be doing a lot of touring to support it. We have never been to New Zealand and would love to get over there and play. We will have to wait and see.”

So where is Obituary headed in the future? “Retirement sounds good!” joked Tardy. “But not yet. We really want to do a few more albums. We still have a lot more musically we want to do. We should be in the studio in January and hope for a release around May. We are currently working on booking shows for next year and are really looking forward to it. Thanks for the support.

First published in the Ashburton Guardian 8 December 2004

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote UMUR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Mar 2016 at 4:23am
Obituary Interview added to the interview index page:
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