A while back, and I do mean a while back, we here at Metal Riot were lucky enough to get some time with Josh Elmore of Cattle Decapitation. When I say some time I mean the better part of two hours and one of the longest interviews ever. This was both a blessing and a curse, as anyone who has transcribed an interview can tell you. We caught up with them at The Middle East in Boston on November 5th, the last night before they dropped off the Six Feet Under tour. If I can give you a word of advice, go see Cattle Decapitation, they are absolutely amazing live and have had a rough patch between Travis getting punched and the loss of “Trailey,” you will not regret it. Now with out further adieu I bring you part one of two of our Cattle Decapitation interview.
Click here to read the interview.
Josh: Oh you have that app (referencing the voice memo app on the iphone)? I have that app. I record…well, I’m not going to tell you what I record.
Tyrus Riot: Now everyone is going to be curious.
Sean Riot: How is the tour going so far?
Josh: Its fine, we just started, we did a few shows on the way out. It started in Richmond on the 2nd. So far nothing really exciting to report. No one has crapped their pants yet.
Tyrus Riot: Aww, how did you know our question?
Josh: You aren’t the first to ask that.
Tyrus Riot: Do you have any thoughts on the election?
Josh: Well I don’t want to speak for the band so I am just going to put out my personal thoughts, which are probably pretty worthless anyway. I don’t know. I feel I don’t identify with or buy into any of the “this or this” in this country. There is so much grey area, for a lot of people, I believe but we are kind of stuck, unfortunately, protest voting. Sort of like “Oh anyone but…” or “ugh, That guy…” I find very little of people finding positive attributes “Oh this guy has some positive attributes.” Its more like “ I hate this guy a little less.” I don’t see my life going to complete crap because of one person. We try to make it like “he” has all these powers over things and “he’s” just one part of the problem. I don’t know, I find it kind of a bad situation…this country…to turn on my grandpa, I don’t believe that Obama has been given enough time to fix what people are insanely upset about or parts of their lives they are dissatisfied with and are out of their control but it seems that more can be done. I look at the first debate where Obama was like somewhere else, I feel like he needs a do over. To go “Ok Seriously this time.” Great intentions and I know that people will say anything to get reelected, regardless of the party, grease it up with whatever people want to hear. Its about who ever has the best PR and can instill a good feeling in people. This election Romeny is a…I find most of his social issues to be deplorable but that’s just me. At the same time…I don’t know. I am Mr. Grey area on everything, not necessarily as it applies to this election but more like in general politics.
Tyrus Riot: That’s the trouble with the two party system.
Josh: Yeah, exactly. I think an alternative, which may just as bad, but at least its something…a challenge. Its either a or b.
Sean Riot: Its like the lesser of two evils, you are still voting for evil.
Josh: Exactly, I am not what I would consider very politically active but I could be more informed. I almost want to start that over because I am realizing more than ever that due to a lack of sleep…I basically wanna say “Um” and “I don’t know 50 times.
Sean Riot: You are in good company then.
Josh: How do you guys write a stammer down?
Sean Riot: We clean it up.
Tyrus Riot; There are a lot of “…’s”
Josh: I don’t want to be the damned if you do, dammed if you don’t of the election, but we are pretty much voting for the lesser of two evils. I am not insinuating Barak Obama is evil, because I am not my mom. “No Mom, its ok.” I am not insinuating at all but chose the choice which offends you the least, that’s a better way to put it, probably a lot more accurate, . I highly doubt that most people, although there are some, believe that either candidate is evil or something like that. Obviously its easier to hold a certain opinion when you make this sort of cartoonish image of the person you disagree with it just solidifies everything you believe. “Oh they are ridiculous”
Tyrus Riot: You dehumanize them?
Josh: Yeah , just make them into this figure head of everything you find, whether it be true or not, objectionable for whatever your perceived viewpoint of what they stand for is.
Tyrus Riot: Now more than ever it seems like you vote along party lines more so that for a specific candidate
Josh: They are just there as a figure head, “Oh this will be the guy who is executing or non-executing.” I am the same way. I lean left on most things, it’s mostly social issues, but I wouldn’t want to categorize myself. I would not want to categorize myself one way or another, I just say Independent personally. Unfortunately neither side wants to compromise anything, they just want to polarize everything because it reaffirms their “We are very different!” well…maybe…kind of…so.
Tyrus Riot: It seems like it would be impossible to define yourself one way or another in any aspect of your life?
Josh: For as many examples as either side gives of “Oh, See? See?” There are just as many examples to prove them wrong, so what are you supposed to do? At the end of the day you are always going “Ummm, but I hate him and he did…I guess.”
Sean: You take the information you have at hand and make the best decision you can.
Josh: Exactly, inform yourself to your level of satisfaction, to where feel confident in this or the least dirty when you look in a mirror.
Sean Riot: Think as rationally as possible.
Josh: I don’t know if that was an answer or a non-answer. That’s what I learned from politics, just say a lot but don’t really say anything.
Sean Riot: Dance around the subject?
Josh: Exactly but be really set into whatever you are talking about.
Sean Riot: That way no one will pay attention to the real things that matter.
Josh: Exactly, Alarmist freak out.
Sean Riot: So do you have any hope for the world.
Josh: Oh no, I mean eh…I don’t know. Its such a hard question.
Tyrus Riot: Don’t worry, they get easier. We talk about farts later. Dick jokes are coming.
Josh: Good, I am waiting for those.
Tyrus Riot: We had Barney from Napalm Death last week so the politics are fresh in our minds.
Josh: I consider Barney a little more informed on this. He is a very smart dude. In this country, as much as people are clinging to us being number one top dog, its like…the world changes and if you want to be like a super patriot or whatever the survival of this country isn’t going to hinge on us being number one. We have to do what’s best for us and I know there are obviously places in the world where the president needs to protect our economic interests so we are trying to keep this balance but most people just don’t want us there. “Mind your own business, get out, get out. I don’t care who you are, I don’t care who your dad is.” I think that we are just creating more enemies and spending more money to defend ourselves against people that we basically provoked, that’s not to say that some of their fundamentalist ideas if religious based or whatever aren’t extremely counter to myself and people in this country view as right and just, its just that there is no right or wrong answers. Whether it be this country or humanity in general, if you back them into a corner you cant analyze, you have to react. This country or some other European countries who are buckling under their past success have to deal with the fact that they are just people who have all these items. Its kind of like we have had it so good for so long and were successful for so long , not counting the depression or the recession through the 80’s…or the Carter administration or any of that sort of stuff, especially the 90’s WHOOO! Titties and burning cigars.
Sean Riot: It comes in cycles, I remember reading Hunter S. Thompson when I was younger ,talking about the 80’s and things he was reporting back then when I was a kid. There were all these terrorist situations and things that I didn’t realize were going on but it’s the same sort of thing.
Josh: Exactly, like the hijacking of all the airlines and all that stuff. TWA and Pan Am and stuff where they held the pilots and shot one and throw him out the door. Serious ass stuff. These things just happen in cycles. Who’s agitated with us, who did we agitate and what certain people in those positions take.
Sean Riot: The cycles just seem to be getting faster and faster.
Josh: Exactly, Quicker turn over so there isn’t like “Oh we gotta decade in the clear now.”
Tyrus Riot: Its more like a 3 week period.
Josh: With the internet putting everything in your face immediately you don’t have any real time to react, think it out and justify whatever to yourself. Now its just a barrage from all sides. You are just like ugh?
Sean Riot: You are just like “I am going to go drink.”
Josh: Exactly, I think its just not having to necessarily confront the thing we are scared about…at all. That just kind of all this anxiety its almost better if, not that it would be better if you were being shot at, but had some sort of way to confront something like that as opposed to just sitting her remotely saying “Its pretty bad, hope they don’t blow something up”.
Tyrus Riot: Its such a touchy subject, it seems that conversation use to be therapy about politics and now it’s the ultimate taboo.
Josh: Oh yeah, religion and politics, just start talking about them if you wanna see a fistfight.
Tyrus Riot: To lighten the mood, whats you favorite mythological creature?
Josh: Ohhhh, um…
Tyrus Riot: The question use to be Pegasus or Unicorn but we have moved on from that…
Josh: Grendel is pretty cool. That guy was gnarly. Its like everybody’s drunk uncle only he’s big and he eats people.
Tyrus Riot: We had to change it from Pegasus or Unicorn because unicorns always lost…everybody just took the Pegasus because it could fly.
Josh: What was the power of the unicorn’s horn? It was infinite knowledge or something…
Tyrus Riot: I think you need a 20 sided die and it depends on what you roll.
Sean Riot: Maybe it helps you get a woman better?
Tyrus Riot: That is NOT the power of a unicorn.
Sean Riot: Forced Gender reassignment the video, I mean its shocking, but is there something wrong with me that I wasn’t particularly shocked by it as a lot of people seem to be?
Josh: No, people are such drama queens. There was this blogger in Europe that, and that was just a tipping point for him, his point in the whole thing…I probably shouldn’t say this because people are going to say “Hey, I’m going to check it out” and we don’t need to give him publicity. It was online for a while so people already know anyway. His point, which I agree with, this was his opinion on his little you tube blog thing “Don’t take it as gospel its just me trying to convey my beliefs on certain things, don’t take it to heart” and so his way of packaging that to everyone was a 15 minute long video where we were pretty much his most hated band, he used the word “sucks” 54 times to describe every aspect of our band and followed with “its just my opinion its your fault of you are upset by it.” Which is true, its just his opinion even if it didn’t have anything to do with us.
Tyrus Riot: Considering the number of metal bands that have killed people, admitted to torturing animals, eaten people and burned churches the fact that this guy has really taken offense to you…its mind boggling.
Josh: I know, I don’t understand why.
Sean Riot: You guys have a pretty positive message, well as positive as you can with what you are conveying.
Josh: I was always confused by that. I mean in like the 80’s you had the whole thrash scene which was very like anti-nuclear war and that sort of thing and then death metal came around and really didn’t, as much as I love it, didn’t have a lot of a message aside from rape, kill…do all that stuff.
Tyrus Riot: It’s like a poem for people who love horror movies. If you take it much more seriously than that I almost think it is troubling. The people who can’t find humor in it , you want to take a step back.
Josh: There is an equal attribute about it. It doesn’t mean you don’t have to take bands you like seriously.
Tyrus Riot: You look at Corspe Grinder or the guys in Slayer and they have kids!
Josh: That wouldn’t happen if they were out there doing these things or had that outlook. Its like Oh hey honey I got you a tennis bracelet for Christmas.
Tyrus Riot: If there is a god his ultimate punishment was giving Corpse Grinder two daughters. Can you imagine somebody comes over to date little Suzie Corpse Grinder? You can date my daughter if you can wrap your arms around my neck!
Josh: One of our neighbors has two daughters, one of them is 14 and the other is a year behind, both dating age at the same time….poor man.
Sean Riot: Yeah all my crazy friends that have daughters are the ones who shouldn’t have them. Its fate.
Josh: I have 3 friends that all have toddlers and they are all going to have hard times in sixteen years.
Sean Riot: What would your dream tour line up be?
Josh: I don’t know probably something that would never work.
Sean Riot: Queen?
Tyrus Riot: We will give you super powers in this. (yes the staff of metal riot.com can give you super powers.) They can be dead.
Josh: What about currently active bands from different eras?
Tyrus Riot: Yeah awesome
Josh: Does it have to be all metal?
Tyrus Riot: No, you seem like the creative type.
Josh: Ill do one metal and one non-metal. I would say, the Consuming Impulse line up for Pestilence, Holy Terror, Terror and Submission/Mind Wars, Suffocation any era, Emperor any era, Im not one of those to say it isn’t real after Nightside.
Sean Riot: Yeah its like complaining about the original singer of Napalm Death if you are younger than 45.
Tyrus Riot: And of course you guys would headline?
Josh: Oh we would be playing under a table somewhere…if its not metal, its almost harder, and this is just me not the rest of the band.
Sean Riot: Hey, some people love the cure.
Josh: The guys are going to see this and
Tyrus Riot:…be hiding their ipods?
Josh: Yeah “Why isn’t there a passcode on this?”
Tyrus Runyan: “Call Me Maybe?”
Josh: It is pretty funny my wife and I have two different itunes and sometimes when I plug in my ipod, some of her songs sync on to mine. The Ipod I have here on tour, Dave our drummer ask to check it out and I have to give him a disclaimer. This this and this and I’m not responsible for these.
Sean Riot: Hey I have Wham! on my ipod.
Josh: There is no shame in that. None.
Sean Riot: Wham! is one of the greatest bands ever.
Tyrus Riot: Unless you’re at a roadside bathroom.
Josh: From that era I like Tears for Fears a lot.
Sean Riot: Tears for Fears is alright. Everybody Wants to Rule the World always reminds me of Real Genius.
Josh: Yeah, there are some really great dark pop songs.
Sean Riot: Yeah I like a lot of 80s stuff.
Josh: Yeah that was the time when I was listening to the radio most heavily, when I was young. Where was I at?…Oh, none metal. Swans would be good, even though they are heavier than a lot of metal bands. I’m never around when they hit San Diego, but they are touring. If we could get the other two dudes back 16 Horsepower.
Tyrus Riot: I haven’t heard them.
Sean Riot: I’ll have to check them out.
Josh: They are one of my favorite bands, not metal in any source of the imagination, swampy, folky, Southern gothic
Sean Riot: That sounds like a cool description
Josh: Snake handler apocalyptic banjo music but not in the get away scene music not like the Dukes are being chased.
Sean Riot: I’m into it.
Tyrus Riot: At first when you said it wasn’t metal, I wasn’t interested, but after that description I have to check them out.
Josh: Yeah they split up in 2004 or 2005…maybe. The singer, the main guy who writes all the songs in his new thing, is a very spiritual person. More like Nazarene Gnostic old school Christian. Where as all the other guys in the band are heathens. Two of the guys have were with him for ten or twelve years. It’s not a matter of him cycling through people.
Sean Riot: That’s combustibility
Josh: Yeah, they produced some amazing music.
Sean Riot: That is probably half the reason.
Josh: I was listening to them on the way here.
Sean Riot: I’m definitely going to check them out.
Josh: They are fantastic , its interesting and if you didn’t know his beliefs in God or Jesus or whatever to read his lyrics you would wonder is he talking about his Dad, his girlfriend, or Jesus, God whatever. Now his newer thing is something he started for saying “This is all me this is my spirituality. I don’t have to worry about these two other guys feelings.” and try to make it a little more artsy, not to beat you over the head with this message but the lyrics are not super direct, its not like straight like versus, but some of it is so there is no misinterpreting that.
Sean Riot: Do you watch South Park at all?
Josh: Very little, not because I don’t like it. I just don’t have the time.
Sean Riot: There is an episode where Cartman tries to start a Christian rock band.
Josh: Oh yeah!
Sean Riot: He writes all the songs from love songs, then everyone is like “It appears you really love Jesus.” He’s like “Well don’t you?” “No it’s like you really love him love him.” “What are you saying you don’t love him?” He just turns it around on him.
Josh: That’s the best way not to answer a question.
Sean Riot: Yeah, I learned that from an old roommate and his girlfriend
Josh: Ok, so we are at Swan and 16 Horsepower. I’d say Rumors era Fleetwood Mac.
Sean Riot: Ooooh interesting
Josh: Who else? Original line up of Sun Volt from the mid 90s before they stopped playing for 4 or 5 years. Who else? One more band. Oh actually that is four, I’m stopping there.
Tyrus Riot: I said they got easier then apparently they got harder again.
Sean Riot: We are going to go easy again. So back to the fart jokes. Do you have any stories about shitting yourself or band members that have shit themselves on stage?
Tyrus Riot: So far Darkest Hour have dominated this question, Lonestar is a wealth of shit your pants stories.
Josh: As far as us…I’m not going to say the name of the venue, it was in Santa Ana, and it’s very popular. They had an employee bathroom that we couldn’t figure out the door code, and then there is the public bathroom which is of course hideous, don’t even try and “he” had to take a shit really bad and the solution to this was he…I’ll just say one of our band members…how about that?
Tyrus Riot: That’s fair, that’s fair.
Josh: There was a pizza box back there, he had me watch out and…we slid it under the couch..
Tyrus Riot: You lower decked a green room?
Josh: Its not because they were terrible to us, they were cool. Which is even worse.
To be continued.