INTERVIEW WITH PHIL FASCIANA CONDUCTED BY BILL ZEBUB
Phil has been numbered among my favorite people to interview. This interview seemed ill-fated because the first time we were supposed to chat he falked out, and the second time it was set up didn't happen because I was in the emergency room. Three time is the charm.
If you haven't read my earlier interviews with Phil, you might want to do so now. In the first interview, a girl from his record label said that his records were sent back with a censorship sign over a swastika - a reaction to the word "nigger" in one of the songs. Phil was hilarious when he talked about that, but I found out later that the label lied about the anti-racist reaction. Only one person returned the record. But it got a lot of free advertisement, right?
The second time I interviewed Phil, he tried to hint to me to stay away from the nigger questions, but he knew that I print whatever is said. I didn't know he was seriously trying to avoid the issue because he has such a cool attitiude the first time, but appartently some drama queens in metal started getting gay about the word "nigger."
I was wondering if we would have fun in this interview, and when I answered the phone, Phil's first words were, "What's up, nigger?" So I knew we were in for a good time.
WARNING: This interview is very funny, but if you read it without a sense of humor you are going to be pissed. As a special aid to your enjoyment, please imagine Phil and me talking like drunkards. Absolutely nothing you are about to read had any kind of serious tone except for maybe talking about how gay some people get when they hear the word "nigger." So don't get gay.
Your latest album, which is called "The Ten Commandments" is fucking awesome!
The latest album is not called "The Ten Commmandments,:
What's it called?
It's called "Doomsday X," nigger!
Does it sound anything like the Ten Commandmnets?
It kinda does. It's got the same four guys that wrote the album, so there's definitley a similarity to it, other than Dave on drums. There's a little bit of a connection.
I'm kind of mad that you called me a nigger.
Well, you ae a nigger.
I heard that you call white people niggers. I didn't believe it until I experienced it.
I call everybody a nigger. The guys in the band don't even call me "Phil." They call me "nigger." (laughs) Let's just keep that to ourselves.
All right. Tha word got you into trouble. Do you remember?
I know. I remember the magazine with the swastikas.
What did you think about that?
At first I thought it was funny, until I went on tour and people were trying to kill me. When beer bottles are whipping past my head and our tour bus tires get slashed, I'm like, "This is not cool."
That's nothing new. I'm talking about the other kind of trouble you got into.
Oh dude, the bottom line is that I agreed to do this interview - you know me, I know you - you know I hate niggers. You know thatt's the way the band is. But you know, we got a lot of nigger fans. We can't get away with being racists. You know what I mean? We're just a death metal band. Even when we do make some racist slurs, we keep them prety hidden. (laughs) But you know dude, I don't want people thinking fucked up shit. Believe it or not, the people who give us shit about being racist are white people! It's embarrassing when black people come to our shows and say. "You guys are my favotite band, and I know that that's (racist content) is all bullshit." I don't dislike black people. I've got a lot of black friends, but they;re not niggers. There's niggers, and then there's black people. You live, what, in New Jersey? You see the same thing. I'm sure you have friends who are black that are cool, but then there's a part of town that's all black that you would never tread into.
Especially when saying "nigger."
We stopped being stupid. We thought that we could get away with it for a little bit, but it didn't work.
When people say that they are into Odinism, that's really just a nice way to say "white power." So I'm wondering which words in your lyrics actually mean "nigger" for those of us who want to be in the know.
Dude, we're not from Scandinavia, so I don't know.
How about Onanism?
If you listen to the lyrics of any of our last record, there's really no racist slurs on them. We save that for Hateplow. We're just trying to be a realistic death metal band. We try to be realistic. There's a lot of things to sing about other than hating niggers.
Did you beat up Tiny Tim yet, the bass player?
I leave that to Jason. He likes to beat people up. While we were on the European tour with Rotting Christ he beat up their soundman. The guy was giving him shit about being American.
He called Jason an African American?
He said, "If you say one more thing about America, I'm gonna kill you." Next thing you know he was flying out the front door with his nose split wide open. It had nothing to do with racism. It was a white guy.
There is a vocalist in a death metal band. Well, I don't consider it a death metal band, but you called the vocalist a nigger. Did you guys get into a fight?
(laughs) Me and him have been friends since we were fourteen years old. He calls me a nigger. I call him a nigger. It's just us being stupid. I don't consider Chris a nigger.
What about his dreadlocks?
When he calls me and I see that it's him on the phone, I say. "What's up, darkness?"
Does he sing, "Darkness, my only friend?"
(laughs) Chris is from Buffalo, so he thinks the same way we do. Like I said, I agreed to do this interview, I don't want you to start no trouble with us. You wouldn't believe the problems we've had over the years with this racism shit. We just want to avoid all that crap, dude. The music just just pure death metal.
Ok, let's change the subject a little bit. How many niggers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
It would probably take a hundred of them to set up a ladder and get up to a light bulb and screw it in. You're trying to get me in trouble.
No. I'm just trying to show that we can laugh.
Well listen, I know enough dumb white people. But let's be real. I'm not a lover of black people. You know that. I know that. Many people know that, but we don't need everybody in the world to know that.
Just to clarify, is there now, or has there ever been, a nigger in the band?
Never. (laughs) There's been many attempts. The drummer from Diabolic.
And he knows about your...
Of course. Every time he hears that there's a drumming issue with our band, he's like, "Dude man, I can't believe you never called me. I'm the man for the job." In all reality, it wouldn't matter if you're the best drummer in the world. We'd never have a nigger in the band.
Did you use the "n" word or did you use another word?
Some people don't think that you use that word in front of actual niggers.
I do it. They say it in front of me. It's not a bad word anymore. When it's printed in magazines, it's not even black people that get offended. I'm Italian. When people crack Italian jokes, I don't get offended. I fuckin' laugh about it.
Are you sure you're Italian? Or are you really Jewish and just saying that you're Italian?
My mother's from Sicaly, and my father's from Florence, Italy. I'm 100% Italian.
You don't look or act like a Guido.
People hear that my mother's from Sicilay, which is close to this and that, and they say, "You know, you may have a little nigger in you." I don't think I have any nigger in me. I'm pretty white.
So What has life been like, after the change of not using the word "nigger" anymore in your lyrics?
Nothing. The lyrics are still the fuckin' same. They're brutal. Off the record - you don't need to print this - Hateplow was the band that was supposed to be like that. we wanted to be racist against everything. We wanted to be racist against ourselves and everybody else. But too many people knew who was in the band. Malevolent is a death metal band. Being racist does us no good. I just want to be a musician. I'm not out there to be some dickhead.
Do you think it would be better if you don't tour with black bands?
No, because I toured with a lot of bands that have black people in them. I have no problem with that.
Well, maybe that's why you get your tires slashed. You should play with bands like Screwdriver.
I never even heard about that band.
I heard that they're pretty similar. I'm not saying that they rip you off. Anyway, what does the name George Corpsegrinder mean to you?
He's my buddy, man! I love the guy. I've known George since he was in Monstrosity. He's one of the very few people I know who is a real true metal fan. He's a real metalhead. He listens to metal 24/7. He's more metalhead than I am. If it weren't for him, Cannibal Corpse would be shit. He's a good guy.
Did you ever call him any sort of racial slur? Like, did you ever call him nigger... or jew?
I've called George many names. (laughs)
Which of those two names did you call him?
He's called me many names as well. But he's neither Jewish or black, but we make racial comments to each other when we see each other. It's only out of fun. I don't know how well you know George, but he's got a little redneck in him. But he's just like me - he doesn't want to start shit, and he doesn't want any problems with people. And neither do I. I get scared, man. When we go out on tour and I see black people in the audience, I'm scared. Sometimes I don't know if they want to kill me or if they're cool.
You know that I play around with the racial humor myself.
I do too, but I don't like it printed in magazines. It gives people the wrong impression. Like with a friend of mine that's funny - I can crack nigger jokes all day long. But if you're in a band and say shit like that, it affects things.
But what I'm saying is, I go to horror conventions to sell my movies. I don't hide. I'm out in public. Every once in a while a black person will come up to me and ask me if I am Bill Zebub, and I sometimes wonder what's going to happen next, but it has always been a fan. Sometimes they joke around, saying, "Are you surprised I like your magazine?" and stuff like that.
How do you think I feel? When I'm on stage and I see a black guy in the front row, I don't know if this guy is going to throw a knife at me, or a bomb, or hop on stage and kill me. That's why I agreed to do this interview with you - knowing that I wouldn't be asked fuckin' insane questions. (laughs) Dude, you're just like me. I'm into the same humor. But the scary thing is that when you go on tour you're a target. I've had people threaten my life. All because of this racist shit. It's really not worth it to me.
So do you belong to any racist organizations?
(laughs) No. I mean, dude, if you want to be realistic, considering that I'm half Sicilian, I am not completely caucasian. If they wanted to dig back to my roots - I don't know what KKK people consider the right thing. Jason is 100% Polish. Brett is 100% German. John is Jewish. Dave is Scottish. I don't know what that means to anybody.
It means that you've been infiltrated. Do you still play golf?
Well, I have lately, but I've been sucking so bad that I've been practicing guitar more than I've been golfing.
How do you feel about black people playing golf? Should they play with black golf balls?
(laughs) Here we go. Let's put it this way. The best golfer in the world is Tiger Woods. So there you go. I don't really see many people golfing when I do go golfing.
Would you see more if golf balls had value and they could steal them?
He (Tiger) is definitely the one exception. Anybody can golf. Look at me, I'm covered in tattoes and I've got long hair, and I'm a good golfer. It shocks people because when they see a guy like me they think I'm gonna destroy the golf course. I'll play anybody who would want to challenge me for money.
Getting back to Tiger, don't you think that a better nickname for him would be "Gorilla" or "Monkey?"
Or Jigaboo. But the bottom line is that the guy reigns.
Are there any rap songs on the new album?
You're kidding me, right?
Just curious. People in their later albums sometimes do strange things and stray from the original style.
We wouldn't even know how to do something like that.
What about the dance re-mixes of your Joe Black and stuff like that?
That was done behind our backs. The guy who actually mixed the album was recording a lot of rap. That's how the whole nigger thing started. The studio was in the middle of niggertown. When we were recording the album "Eternal" we would look out the window and there were niggers sitting out there making drug deals. We couldn't even go outside to have a cigarette without worrying about getting mugged. That whole song took on an entirely new dimension because of where we recorded that album. But, he's a producer that was not only doing metal bands but rap bands and shit. One day, in his spare time, he just dissected some of our songs and turned them into some gay hip hop shit. And being as gay as they were, the record label, Pavement, and Mark - that owes us umpteen million dollars - that we're gonna murder - and you can print that, he thought that this kind of shit would help him sell records. Without our consent he did this. He heard these re-mixes and decided to release them. Unfortunately when you're signed to a record label you're kind of fucked. Malevolent's not even done a video.
Is that because you're shy?
We have ten fucking albums and not one video. We have three "best of" albums. There's one on Roadruner, one on Pavement, and one on Crash. For a band to not even have a hit single to have three "best of" albums is fuckin' ridiculous. It's embarrassing. Record labels can do whatever the fuck they want to do with our songs. It kind of sucks.
Which is your prettiest album?
Prettiest? I don't think we have a pretty album cover. Maybe the tamest is "Stillborn." That's one album that we're not really fond of. We play some of them songs the way they should be sounding, when we tour. If Nuclear Blast would've given us enough money we would have re-recorded that whole album. We were gonna put that as a bonus CD on the new album, but unfortunately they don't think that we're as good as Nile. The funny thing is that our new album was released on the same day as theirs, and our album went to #3 on Hard Radio and everything else, and it's been outselling their record. That's (Stillborn) the one album where we liked the songs but the drumming was bunk. Brett was in a bad state of mind at the time and the whole band was a wreck, but the songs are good songs. We wnat to re-record that whole album and let people hear those songs the way they should sound. Eventually we're gonna do it even if we have to pay for it out of our pockets. Our band was going through some turmoil and our record label was pressuring us to do a record immediately, and they sent us to a studio with a producer who had halotosis. It fuckin's sucked.
Did you make out with him?
(ignores the question) To me, the songs are really good. If we hade Dave playing drums on that album, it would have been a different story. If Brett wasn't on drugs, that would have been a different story. If all of us weren't on drugs, it would have been a different story.
Are you pissed at Roadrunner for pretty much remastering all other albums except for Ten Commandments?
To be honest with you, Roadrunner has been one of the only labels that has been honest with us. We still receive royalty checks and we get statements from them. I have nothing bad to say about them. They pretty much dropped all of the death metal bands that they had except for one of them. But even til this day we still get royalty checks. They're honest with us. That's more than I can say than anyone else who's dealt with us. For a label that's that big I wish they signed more bands that are more heavy and not gay.
What is the fate of Ten Commandments? Is that a dead album? Do you have the rights back?
We would love to have the rights back. They keep re-releasing it in different formats all over teh world except for America. I wish they would re-release the first three albums in America instead of putting out that "Best Of" fuckin' piece of shit. In Europe they continually re-release them. You can buy those records, but in America they're hard to find. We tried to buy the rights back but they wanted a ridiculous amount of money. It was just fuckin' stupid.
Don't you get rights back after ten years? What kind of crazy contract did you sign?
The thing is, usually after ten years the record label lets the band do what they want with it. We tried to do this with them and they won't do it! (laughs) This new album's doing really good. If they would re-release those albums in America instead of everywhere else... unfortunately we're not in control of that. And that sucks.
Do you play video games?
No. The only video game that I play is that fuckin' golf video game that my brother has in his bar. That's about it. I have no time for video games.
Would you tour Africa?
Of course. We've actually had offers to do South Africa. We didn't do it because the money was kinda not really worth it. But for this new album there's been such a big buzz about it that we're gonna tour a lot places we haven't. We're gonna tour pretty much every place we can be booked until one of us drops dead. With Africa, we'ver had offers, but there's no sense in doing something for nothing.
Do you think the album would sell better if there were more pictures of you shirtless?
(laughs) I doubt it. We're not the Back Street Boys.
How about the Back Door Boys?
Call us the Crack Street Boys. We are defintely not five guys who go to the gym.
Have you heard that there are some cities that are trying to ban the word "nigger?"
I don't know if it's true but I heard that New York has either passed that law or they are trying to get it passed.
That word is fuckin - I hear it more now than I have ever heard it in my life. To me, it's just irony. I laugh about it. I mean, do you feel offended if somebody calls you a cracker?
I found out what a cracker is. It's someone who cracks corn. Jimmy was a cracker who cracked corn, and he doesn't care, so we shouldn't either.
I laugh my ass off, you know? I love to hear rap records where they make fun out of white people because I think it's hilarious. I don't feel offended in the least bit. it's just a shame that when a band of five white guys says something bad about blacks, everybody flips out about it.
You don't play that song with the word "nigger" in it live, right?
No. But I ain't gonna tell you that we're not bringing it back.
Do you ever play it live?
Well, lately it's been in such demand. (laughs) We've been debating it. Musically, the song is a ripper.
Are you in the bathroom right now?
It's very fast. It's very intense. It's been twelve years now and we don't give a fuck anymore. I wouldn't say that on the next tour that I wouldn't be surprised if you hear it. A good song is a good song. A lot of our lyrics are a lot worse than that.
Would you play it in New York even if they ban the word?
We'd play it anywhere. If they arrested us for playing that song, it would only help us sell records. If people can't get over that stupid shit, the're idiots. How many fuckin' albums are out there that talk about white people? There's one song that we have that has the song "nigger" in it. If after twelve years that bothers people then don't buy our records. Don't come to our shows. It's kind of sad.
I know how you can keep your bus tires from being slashed.
Yeah? Tell me.
You put a sign on each tire that says, "This tire was made by a tar baby."
I would like to do that, Mr. Bill Zebub, but I don't think it would go over well.
I'm just trying to help.
We've never had a black person say something to us. It's only white people who call us Nazi's. They listen to bands that sing about Satan, but you say the word "nigger" and everybody goes (he makes an ultra gay mocking noise). I'll tell you what. Out of spite, we are putting that song back in our set list.
What's your favorite region in America to play?
America is rendy. It's kind of gay. A million mile away from where we live we can actually make more money, sell more records, and be appreciated. I'm not saying that America totally sucks, but it's just a shame that America is trendy. Whatever they see on MTV or hear on radio, that's what they buy. But in Europe and a lot of other coutnries they do play death metal and promote it. They're not a bunch of sell-outs. They don't listen to gay bands. They like metal. In America they play gay music 24/7, and that's what kids get into. It's sad. Have you heard the new album?
Then you're gay!