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Interview

Bruce Corbitt Says Warbeast Is Writing New Album; Wizards of Gore Album In The Future

Photo of Rigor Mortis

Band Photo: Rigor Mortis (?)

26 years have passed since Bruce Corbitt recorded vocals for Rigor Mortis. The band recorded the “Freaks” EP (1989) and “Rigor Mortis Vs. The Earth” in 1991, but both recordings featured Doyle Bright on vocals. Rigor Mortis was put on a shelf after the latter album release, but returned in 2005. During this time of inactivity guitarist Mike Scaccia metalized industrial icons Ministry on the “Psalm 69” album and bassist Casey Orr assumed the role of Beefcake The Mighty in Gwar and Sheriff “Tubb” Tucker in X-Cops.

Just a year after Rigor Mortis’ reformation, Corbitt and members of fellow Dallas/Fort Worth ‘80s thrashers Gammacide formed Texas Metal Alliance. The group changed its name to Warbeast and recorded its first album “Krush the Enemy” in 2010. This album and their second full-length were both released on Phil Anselmo’s Housecore Records.

A year prior to the release of Warbeast’s “Destroy,” Corbitt joined original members of Rigor Mortis—Casey Orr-bass, Mike Scaccia-guitar and Harden Harrison-drums and recorded the 10 tracks that would become “Slaves to the Grave” at Al Jourgensen’s 13th Planet Studios in El Paso. The speed picking of their eponymous debut was maintained while Scaccia showed a knack for shredding that wasn’t as obvious on the first record. “Slaves to the Grave” was without a doubt Mike Scaccia’s best playing. Unfortunately, it was his last. Near the end of 2012, Scaccia died of a heart attack doing what he did best, playing a concert in front of his fans. Since Scaccia’s death, Rigor Mortis has played under pseudonyms such as The Scaccianators and most recently, Wizards of Gore. The former name performed to benefit the Mike Scaccia Heart Rock Foundation.

Bruce Corbitt was in Austin to play with both bands on the Housecore Horror Film Festival. When not enjoying the plethora of great bands, Corbitt was involved in other aspects of the fest. He sat next to metal dignitaries such as Phil Anselmo and film icons such as Bill Moseley on the Masters of Metal and Horror Panel. He also saw his documentary “Welcome to your Funeral (The Story of Rigor Mortis) debut. Corbitt’s directing earned him the award for Best Documentary by Housecore judges.

I caught up with Corbitt early on Friday to find out more about what he had in store for HHFF. He recalls recording “Slaves to the Grave” and talks about the future as Wizards of Gore and Warbeast.

Rex_84: Are you enjoying the festival? Have you caught any musical acts?

Bruce Corbitt: I got to catch a little of Evil United towards the end there. That’s with my buddy Jason McMaster. I go way back with him. Of, course he’s always a spectacular vocalist. Every band he’s in, he’s always very professional. We came in last night for the pre-party at the Dirty Dog and saw some good bands as well. We got a chance to see Mobile Deathcamp and Heavy As Texas. Hobbs’ Angel of Death, I really enjoyed them. We’re having a great time. It’s still early, though.

Rex_84: You play with Wizards of Gore on Friday and then with Warbeast on Sunday. You’re on a panel on Saturday. Tell me about this panel.

Corbitt: It’s an honor to be part of a panel with Leatherface (Gunner Hansen) Chop Top (Bill Moseley) and Phil Anselmo and some other metal legends way bigger than I am, so I feel lucky to be part of it and included in it. I don’t know what to expect. I’m a fan of everyone on the panel. I’m just excited and looking forward to that.

Rex_84: I saw online Wizards of Gore was listed as a Rigor Mortis tribute band. Will there be a Wizards of Gore album?

Corbitt: That’s not really accurate calling it a Rigor Mortis tribute band. People are trying to make it clear who we are and sometimes they put “aka Rigor Mortis” or “formerly Rigor Mortis” or sometimes they put “Rigor Mortis tribute.” It’s weird to say you are your own tribute band. That’s the thing, if we’re going to continue it, we’re not just going to play old Rigor Mortis songs. We’re going to write some new stuff. We are talking. It’s looking like when we get a chance, we’re going to work on new material. The good thing is that is part of our catalog so we always have material for our set and have some new stuff as well. There you go, we’re going to keep the band going and start working on some new songs.

Rex_84: Why did you chose Wizards of Gore as your new name?

Corbitt: We did the Scaccianators thing. We were going to do it last year and then our drummer (Harden Harrison) injured his shoulder. Then we decided we could do it for the Mike Scaccia benefit show for a Heart Rock Foundation back in May here at Emo’s. We went by the Scaccianators name for that. When we got invited to play this, we figured it would be more than just a tribute to Mike. We wanted to represent the whole band and we thought the name Wizards of Gore made sense because we do the song. The whole image and mood of the band is based on that, so I threw the name out there and they seemed to like it. We decided to go by that name instead of the Scaccianators to play this festival.

Rex_84: Who made up the name Scaccianators?

Corbitt: That was a good name. Somebody called him “the Scaccianator” one night. After the memorial, we went back to celebrate at the Rail Club where Mike passed away. You know there is Blacktooth for Dimebag kind of a drink, so everyone said we were going to call this new drink the Scaccianator, so that name was floating around. When we decided we would get my friend Mike Taylor to play guitar for us, we had to think of a name and I was hearing that name because of the drink and other reasons, so I threw it out there and everybody seemed to like it. It was definitely a tribute to the great Mike Scaccia, you know.

Rex_84: What other benefits/fund raisers have you started to help support Mike’s family?

Corbitt: Last year right when he passed away I started an online fund raiser. It was a fund raiser app that goes through Facebook. That did really well. We raised close to fifteen grand from that alone. Then at the Mike Scaccia birthday tribute I just mentioned that was in Dallas last year we had the biggest raffle thing I’ve ever seen in my life. (laughs) I mean we had like 350 prizes that people donated. The owner decided to pay his staff so all the money in ticket sales went to his family. We raised between 13-15,000 for that. Right off the bat last year we raised 27-28,000 for Mike’s family. Then they decided they wanted to carry on and start the Mike Scaccia Heart Rock Foundation for awareness of heart disease. That’s what the show at Emo’s in May was about was launching the Heart fundraiser foundation. We’re making sure Mike’s wife gets her part of any royalties from the new album’s sales. She’s become the other member of Rigor Mortis. She’ll get whatever Mike has coming. We’ll make sure to take care of her and his family.

Rex_84: Who is playing guitar in Wizards of Gore?

Corbitt: His name is Mike Taylor. He went to the same high school as Mike Scaccia and I did. We’ve known him since ’81 or ’82. He was a guy who was hanging around me and Mike Scaccia’s first band back then. Mike Taylor became a good friend of ours. He, like everybody, became so amazed with the skills of Mike Scaccia that he became a big fan. It made him want to start playing guitar. That’s the crazy part, when he started playing he tried to play like Mike Scaccia. Everybody was like “you’re crazy to even try that.” I’ve got to give him credit. He did not let that deter him. He kept at it. As you’ll see tonight, he’s got Mike’s picking style down. He’s mastered it as close as anyone else I’ve seen in the world playing Mike’s style.

Rex_84: Now that the album is released, how do you feel about it? It’s been 13 (23 years) years since “Rigor Mortis Vs. The Earth.” Do you feel it’s the logical follow up to that album?

Corbitt: For me, it’s been double that. I go back to the first Rigor Mortis album. It’s been 26 years in between. ’88 and 2014, 26 years since I was on a Rigor Mortis album. Crazy!

Rex_84: You weren’t on “Rigor Mortis Vs. The Earth?”

Corbitt: No, I wasn’t on that one or “Freaks.” The last one came out in ’91, so it was a long time for those guys—23 years in between albums and 26 years with me and the original lineup from the first album. I don’t know if you could say it’s a follow up if it’s 26-years later.

Rex_84: Do you think it still sounds like the original?

Corbitt: I think we captured some of that, but we’ve also evolved as musicians and grown. We didn’t get wimpier or sold out, it’s just that we had so much experienced that we wanted to make an even better album, in our minds, and let Mike display his full arsenal—the great skills he possesses on guitar. He’s not all about speed picking, which is amazing what he does. He’s shown that he’s a well-rounded guitarist overall.

Rex_84: You go into some long jam sessions during some of his solos. Starting with “Poltergeist,” there is a solo that goes on for about two minutes.

Corbitt: Exactly. I thought that was the perfect first song on the album because of the speed. It’s one of the fastest Rigor Mortis songs ever written. People will think “there they are, they’re still Rigor Mortis.” Then the second half we’ll show we have a different side to us. We touched on it a little bit on our older albums. There were small parts here and there that some people are familiar with. They will know we are able to do that we just didn’t do it very often back then.

Rex_84: Two songs, maybe more, refer to serial killers. One is “Blood Bath” and the other is “Fragrance of the Corpse.” The latter track is about Ed Gein, correct?

Corbitt: It’s not specifically about him. I did have him in mind. I combined a lot of characters to try to make my own sick, twisted character. I thought of Frankenstein, even, “modern day Frankenstein,” you hear that line in there. What’s sicker than a guy who goes out and takes dead body parts and tries to bring them to life? Go out and kill people, take live body parts and put them together and let it rot and decay away. In “Chainsaw 2,” Chop Top is carrying around his brother the hitchhiker as a dead corpse throughout the movie. That’s where the idea kind of came from. I thought this guy is so sick that he doesn’t have any friends and he builds bodies out of dying, rotting flesh. That’s why I have the line, “the fragrance of the corpse is the stench of his kin.” In “Chainsaw 2,” Chop Top is carrying around the hitchhiker all decaying and rotted but he’s still carrying him around, man, like a dead puppet. “Bloodbath” was based on serial killers. We wrote that way back. It was an original title of a song that we never put out, so Mike brought that original riff back. “That’s the riff from Bloodbath, so let’s call it that.” I actually remembered the lyrics back and even though the song is different other than the one, opening riff, the lyrics from the old one fit with the new one. Old lyrics, old title and old riff came back and made a new song out of it all.

Rex_84: Tell me about “Flesh for Flies.”

Corbitt: Casey wrote the lyrics to that one. He was inspired by “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”

Rex_84: I thought it was about Leatherface.

Corbitt: Yeah, you can hear some lines from that one in there as well. And that whole horror-fun theme from Chainsaw Massacre 2 is in there, too. You hear Drayton Sawyer “Meat’s meat and man’s gotta eat!” “I’ll use your skull for my dinner bowl.” It’s based on the Chainsaw series.

Rex_84: What was it like working with Al Jourgensen on the gladiator song “Ludus Magnus?”

Corbitt: We got Al to do the original voice over for that, but we ended up getting Casey to redo it, so Casey ended up on the final cut. We got rid of Al’s version. It’s Casey Orr now. Al was cool enough to let us come in and record a new Rigor Mortis album in his studio. He made us feel very welcome and let us stay at his house. He treated us right. I didn’t know how involved he was going to be. He kind of let us do it our selves. When we were in the studio recording he was never in there but for a few seconds, maybe. He let us take over his studio and let us use his engineer. He has a nice studio. You can tell by the production on it how it turned out. I think we did a good job.

Rex_84: It seems to have a fuller production than the first album

Corbitt: Right, we took our time with the mix and mastering. Sometimes, back then, you rush to get it out. I think we could have taken our time back and done more back then.

Rex_84: What’s going on with Warbeast. How is the new album coming along?

Corbitt: Yeah, it’s that time to write new stuff fro Warbeast. I’m excited about that. Scott Shelby is putting together the first three or four songs. It’s going to be like every band says, but it’s true, this is going to be a ripping new album. We got a new album in the works right now. Casey Orr is on board and he’s going to start helping some with the writing process. Once they get some songs completed, hopefully they’ll hand them off to me and let me do my thing with the lyrics.

Rex_84: Do you have any song titles you can reveal?

Corbitt: Not yet, not really. Not specific titles. I’ve got some working titles, some subject that I want to write about. I’m thinking about that right now. A lot of times I let the music bring some ideas to me as I listen to it. Something might go off in my head after hearing a song like “oh wow, that sounds like alien war.” You know, it will spawn an idea that I want to write about. I’m going to do that and see what comes to me.

Rex_84: You filmed a video for “Birth of a Psycho.” It was recorded during a free show in your hometown. How was this show? Was it one of your better performances?

Corbitt: Yeah, I thought it was. It was a Wednesday night type of thing. They made it a free show and we decided to make this video. It was a good crowd turn out. Everybody had a blast that night. We shot that video in one take live. No retakes or anything else, so we had to be on if we were going to make a real video out of it. I think we nailed it. I think it turned out good for such a quick type of rushed video. One take, let’s do it and get it right. We pulled it off, I do believe (laughs).

Rex_84: Speaking of hometown shows,
I conducted an interview with Phil Anselmo.
We started talking about Rigor Mortis and he said the Pantera guys had a bit of a feud with Rigor Mortis back in the day. How did you feel about Pantera during these years. What’s your take on the whole Pantera vs. Rigor Mortis drama?

Corbitt: I had obviously heard about them. I always heard about Dimebag, back then he was called Diamond Darrell, and Pantera but had never gotten to see them when I joined Rigor Mortis. Casey and them knew them from high school days or junior high days or whatever and didn’t really care for them. Pantera was not the band that everybody knows today. At that time, they were still doing a lot of cover songs of some glam-y stuff. Casey and them were wanting to do this heavy thrash stuff. Naturally, everybody who’s not into that was a poser. They were like “fuck Pantera! They are posers being posers!” That was their attitude. I joined the band and I was like “fuck those guys” and I didn’t even know them then. When I did finally meet them they were super cool. The rivalry wasn’t because they thought bad about us anything, just didn’t agree with what each band was doing. They didn’t like what we were doing. We didn’t like what they were doing. But they were always cool to me and us in person. I think the fans of both bands made the rivalry bigger than the bands actually did. Rigor Mortis fans did not want to go so Pantera playing Whitesnake and their fans thought we were a bunch of fast, loud noise. That’s kind of what it was. There were a few that liked both bands, but most of the time you were either on the Pantera or Rigor Mortis side. Now years later, I’ve gained a great deal more respect for that band, for what they went on and became. As they found Phil Anselmo and found their style, they became the biggest band to ever come out of our area. I’m very proud of the fact they came from the Dallas/Fort Worth area where I was born and raised. I don’t have anything bad to say about Vinny, Rex or Dimebag. I love those guys. Of course, Phil Anselmo is like my brother. It’s true: there was a long-time rivalry back then, but it’s all good now.

Rex_84: You’re working on a new Warbeast album. Rigor Mortis’ final record has been released. What are you doing after this weekend?

Corbitt: It’s going back to writing. Wizards of Gore decided we’re going to keep this going so we’ll write some stuff. Warbeast is in its writing phases. I’m going to finish the final touches on my documentary, the Rigor Mortis documentary that I’m showing this weekend. I’m going to stay busy trying to make new songs with my bands and touring. We’ve got a big tour coming up next year in February and March but I can’t announce who it’s with yet. We’re just going to stay busy keeping both bands going.

Rex_84's avatar

An avid metal head for over twenty years, Darren Cowan has written for several metal publications and attended concerts throughout various regions of the U.S.

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