INTERVIEW: TERRY BUTLER (OBITUARY, INHUMAN CONDITION, EX- DEATH)

I can’t thank Terry enough for taking the time to interview with me. Chatting with Terry became a must once I discovered that he and Jeramie Kling (The Absence) had started Inhuman Condition up. For old school death metal and thrash metal fans, Inhuman Condition’s debut record, Rat God is a must-own. And as for Terry’s other accomplishments during his vast career, the stories are aplenty. From Death, to Six Feet Under, to Obituary, and now, on to Inhuman Condition, Terry has practically seen and done it all in death metal. So without further ado…

1. How did your journey in metal begin? Talk about the bands that first inspired you to start playing? As a follow-up, what made you gravitate toward bass?

1. Well I had an uncle that was a few years older than me that turned me on to Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Kiss, Lynyrd Skynyrd, plus a lot of cool ‘70s rock. I had some friends that loved Kiss, Cheap Trick, Ted Nugent. We would pretend to be in a band playing so the seed was planted so to speak.

Early on in my bass playing, it was more of bands that influenced me like Slayer, Venom, Hellhammer, Angel Witch, but then as I really started getting into playing the bass, my influences were Phil Lynott, Geezer Butler, Geddy, Lee, Steve Harris, and Bob Daisley.

2. I was stoked to see that you were still credited on Death’s Leprosy record. You were also credited on Spiritual Healing, and Chuck (Schuldiner) had cited you for contributing to the songwriting at that time as well. Without taking a deep dive, what are some of your fondest memories of writing and performing with Death?

2. So many great memories of being in Death. You know, it was cool to be in a band that was kind of groundbreaking. Obviously, at the time, we didn’t realize that. We were just four dudes in a band playing and it was a great feeling you know, generally just hanging out talking about music, going record shopping, watching horror movies. That’s kind of what we all did in our downtime when we were in Death together. Being able to contribute and get my thoughts across for the music was very special to me. It was very cool. Chuck was easy to work with at that time and we were a close unit and I think it shows in the music.

3. How did you first come to join Obituary, and have you been contributing to the songwriting much, or more so just learning songs brought to the table? I guess I’m curious on how collaborative those writing processes were.

3. I’ve known the Obituary guys probably since 1984-85 and when Frank was released from the band they called me up to help fill in on some tours in 2010. So, when I left Six Feet Under in 2011 I was already helping them with shows. So, I contacted them and said, “Hey, I can give you my services full-time if you want”, and they said, “Absolutely.” Obituary is a very democratic outfit. Everyone has a voice. Everyone has an opinion, and if you have riffs, you can bring them to the table and they will get listened to 100%, and if they’re good enough, they’ll get used.

4. It looks like the debut Inhuman Condition album is getting a great response. How have the shows been going? Also, is it fair to say that Inhuman Condition was birthed by unused Massacre material, or is Rat God a totally fresh batch of material?

4. Yes, the Inhuman Condition album Rat God is getting great reviews and I agree with them (laughs). Jeramie and Taylor wrote 14 songs while they were in Massacre. It is new material and was written to be a Massacre album, but as with many things with Massacre, there’s a lot of drama involved and Jeramie and Taylor took their songs with them when they left. The songs turned into the Inhuman Condition debut album. So, if it sounds anything like Massacre, it’s because it was intended to be a Massacre record. We have played two shows live but we have a tour coming up in a few weeks and the response to the shows that we have played has been awesome.

5. Despite the recent pandemic, is the Florida death metal scene still thriving?

5. Absolutely. There has been a handful of shows and they’ve all been packed in. The crowds have been great and everyone is ready to get out and release some built up tension and energy.

6. What would you say is your favorite part about being in a band? What do you draw the most satisfaction from? Live shows, recording, practice/writing, the camaraderie?

6. I would say my favorite thing of being in a band is playing live and seeing the fans move to your songs, sing your lyrics, come to your show to see you, and buy your merch. They are into what you do and that is awesome. The camaraderie is awesome as well especially if you get along with your bandmates. There are a lot of great times on the road and the recording process is cool too but it’s a bit stressful obviously.

7. Talk about any big shows or album releases coming up that you’re allowed to talk about if any.

7. Well the big announcements at the moment would be the Inhuman Condition tour going up the East Coast starting September 4th, and going until September 18th. Then, I have about 2 months with Black Label Society starting October 1st and Obituary are going to be releasing an album early in 2022. We have just wrapped up recording it as we speak.

8. Discuss some of the bass licks or song sections you’re most proud of having contributed to. What are some of the musical contributions you’ve made to your bands that stand out the most to you when looking back?

8. Wow that’s a tough one. Playing the style of death metal I play, I don’t really do a lot of bass runs and stuff, but I enjoy creating a good bass tone and being solid with the drummer and playing solid rhythms. Any certain album I can’t really think of at the moment. Obviously, the Death stuff is a high point, but I’m proud of all the stuff I’ve done.

9. List off some bands you’ve really been listening to a lot lately. Who should we be checking out?

9. Unfortunately, I don’t really listen to a lot of new death metal stuff. I’m kind of stuck in my ways. I like a lot of the things I grew up with and I kind of just listened to that, so I would be the wrong person to ask about what new upcoming bands sound killer.

10. Do you have an all-time favorite record you’ve been a part of?

10. I would probably have to say Spiritual Healingbecause in my opinion it was an important record especially in Death’s evolution it was, and I’m proud to be part of that.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s