Travis Ryan Of Cattle Decapitation Discusses
It's been sixteen years since Cattle Decapitation released their first creation unto the realm of metal. And since that time, they've gotten a reputation for spouting their beliefs with no regard for who might be offended by them. In particular, people have focused tightly on one topic that the band was unabashed about; the consumption of meat. However, vocalist Travis Ryan does not like to the attention paid to it these days as the rest of his lyrics get lost. I had a chance to talk with Travis before he heads out on another U.S. and European tour to talk about their new album, why he does not like to focus on animal rights, and where to get the best Mexican food.
Buick McKane: How are you doing today?
Travis Ryan: I’m alright. Busy around the house, taking care of shit.
Buick: Getting ready for another long tour.
Travis: Yeah, pretty much. All the usual stuff that goes along with getting out of here.
Buick: And your touring for your album “Monolith of Inhumanity” which came out a while back. How has the response been?
Travis: Great. Way better than I thought it would be. We didn’t know what to make of it, we didn’t know what to think was going to happen, to be honest. But it seems that people really like it and that’s awesome. People are coming out of the woodwork to say that they like it. That’s kind of cool.
Buick: Cool. And I really wanted to talk to you because I’ve gotten into food politics and was drawn to your music because it deals with that topic…
Travis: No, not really. Our last four records haven’t. The press likes to focus on the bright and shiny things and the bright and shiny thing about this band is that we have had a history of being pro-animal rights, pro-vegetarianism, which is true. It’s not the only thing we talk about; it’s the only thing anybody else talks about, which is interesting. I think it’s because it’s a juicy topic that polarizes people and media always likes to exacerbate those things. It’s made me take notice of this and I see that as being counterproductive to the actual idea itself. So I just don’t take it very well talking about it with people, especially people I don’t know, because I don’t know what their intentions are. Not to discount that aspect of our band; it’s just that that’s all anybody talks about. It’s interesting, we’re a fucking band, and there’s a billion things that we talk about. Since our first couple records which covered the entirety of the band, I feel. There’s been threads and nuances of it ever since throughout our records and stuff and fifteen years later, that’s all anybody wants to talk about. And I think it’s a weird phenomenon. It makes sense, but I think the psychology behind it is the part that troubles me. I think it’s more finger-pointing and laughing stock kind of creation instead of really being concerned with the topic from what I’ve been able to gather from it, honestly, in talking to people. Like everything from fans to detractors.
Buick: Like they take it as a commodity and not a thought-provoking concept.
Travis: Pretty much. And I understand, but…yeah, I understand.
Buick: Do you think that some of the people that listen to you do so because they truly believe it or that they use it as a commodity topic, but could care less?
Travis: I don’t know. If somebody was to listen to us just based on that, it’s like listening to Megadeth just because they talk about nuclear war. That’s doesn’t make any sense to me. It’s a topic. That’s it. I don’t know why people want us to be so crazy. I don’t fucking know.
Buick: You are still a vegetarian, right?
Travis: Oh yeah.
Buick: Do you find it hard to eat on the road?
Travis: It’s a pain in the ass for the most part. I just end up eating crap, unfortunately. Where we live, there’s a plethora of stuff, but we can’t really say the same thing about the south and stuff. Or anywhere else for that matter. Food east of the west coast sucks to me. You’ll find that place here and there that’s good, but there’s just so much here. Maybe it’s just because I’m used to it. Basically, there’s no Mexican food east of California that’s any good at all. And that goes for the rest of the west coast as well. It was created here, at least the Mexican food that we know of, the Mexican food that everyone else knows of. It was straight-up created here in California and not in Mexico. So it’s a key staple in my diet at least, and a couple of the other guys. When we leave here, it’s like ugh. Goodbye to our good burritos and hello to garbage.
Buick: How many guys in your band are vegetarian?
Travis: Just two of us now. It used to be everybody, but we had to get a new bass player, non-vegetarian. Same with our drummer. But it was never a prerequisite to join our band.
Travis: We just haven’t done any southern tours. Hopefully whatever our next tour is, it’s going to be concentrated on the south because we haven’t done shit unfortunately. It’s going to be a while. Maybe in October. We’ll be hitting up the rest of the United States, and it will be nice to get some Texas and Florida in and that’s like two of our mainstays in the United States that we do well in. And hit Atlanta again and New Orleans.
Buick: Is there anything else you would like to say?
Travis: Hopefully we’ll see you guys soon on a tour of the southern United States instead of everywhere else because we have a lot of fans down there and we’d like to go play for them.
Emily is an avid supporter of the New Orleans scene, often filming shows and conducting interviews with local bands to help promote their music. She also runs her own site dedicated to the New Orleans scene, Crescent City Chaos.
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