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Chris Reifert (Autopsy)

Interview with Chris Reifert from Autopsy
by Mike Coyle at 14 January 2016, 3:39 PM

Since Chris Reifert's departure from DEATH in 1987, he went on to form the Death Metal band, AUTOPSY, with current member and co-founder Eric Cutler. Releasing 4 albums between 1989 and 1995, the band dissolved, only to reform again in 2009, and resumed creating Metal. Shortly after last year's "Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves", the EP "Skull Grinder" was released late 2015. As such, Mike  had a back-and-forth with Chris about the recording process, the myriad emotions following the band's reformation, and signing unorthodox memorabilia.

First off, Chris, I just want to say thank you for your time today. How are you doing?

Hey, no problem. Doing pretty damn good, thanks!

What was the recording process like for new the songs on the Skull Grinder EP?

Same as always….We record all the rhythms live, then overdub vocals and guitar solos. And of course drink plenty of beer and bourbon. Haha! Besides that, we also avoid things like click tracks, samples, scratch tracks and triggers. It's the real deal, baby!

Looking back at your career, what can you say has been the most important part of your journey as a musician and why?

The whole thing has been one constant flow, really. Every step leads to the next one, so they're all important for me, whether it's a big step or a little one. It's all part of the game. Right now one of the coolest things has been getting the After The Cutting box set. It's something we're super proud of!

Before a show, what do you do to relax?

For me, I try to avoid people and conversations right before playing. Not that I don't like people or conversations, but it's distracting when I'm trying to focus on what's about to happen. I need to get in "the zone", to use a cliché unashamedly. Some beers and a bit of smoke swirling in the air are usually going on as well. Maybe drum on walls and floors with my sticks to get warmed up. That kinda thing.

When the band first reformed what was it like for you to be stepping back on stage playing these legendary songs to a new generation of fans?

Pretty incredible, I gotta say. The main thing was to make sure we could pull it off convincingly and to see if people still wanted to hear that stuff. Fortunately, the answer was yes on both accounts. There was a lot of pressure to not blow it at first….we were all feeling it. After the first couple of shows, that feeling was gone. Now we just try not to fuck up too much, though inevitably it does happen from time to time. That's the nature of playing live….you never know exactly what's going to happen. No safety net, ya know?

When I first became a fan I first found you through Death during the Scream Bloody Gore era; I've always wanted to ask what it was like to record that album and what memories you have of the band during this time.

Recording Scream was mind blowing for me. Keep in mind I was 17 at the time and all of a sudden in this huge professional studio playing songs that I loved to Death. Heh heh! And it was fun, to boot.

I've got a head full of memories from my time in the band, even though it was only a year or year and a half stint. Lots of cool and hilarious stuff was going on. One of the best things about it was I got to play songs that I already knew and loved from collecting the demos, as well as brand new crushers that complimented the old tunes perfectly. Great times indeed!

Whenever the band plays a show do you ever take the time to explore the city? Do you try to make a vacation out of it if you have the time?

If we have time, yeah we'll fart around town if possible. Sometimes we get to do that, sometimes not. It depends on what sort of area we're in and what sort of time constraints we're dealing with. Sometimes we're out in the middle of nowhere, so the venue or hotel is the only place to pass the time. Other times we actually have an afternoon or full day in a really cool place, and that's a blast. We do like to have a good time when we can.

As a musician, what would you say has been the proudest moment of your life and why?

Pretty much every time we have a killer show or create a new album. It never gets old!

What can the fans expect from Autopsy in 2016?

The official release date of the box set, and an appearance at Netherland Deathfest for sure. Beyond that, I don't know yet. We're making this stuff up as we go. Haha! I figure you'll hear more from us though. Stay tuned!

When on the road, what has been the weirdest thing a fan has asked you to do?

I hate to disappoint, but nothing too weird comes to mind. Maybe I'm forgetting some things? That's possible. It's just usually things like "hey, wanna have a beer?". Often the answer is yes if there's time. On the US tour in '93 some guy asked me to sign his kid's Barney hat (you know, the purple dinosaur). That was kinda weird and somehow creepy but I signed it. People that we meet are usually really cool in general.

Finally, thank you again for your time, and I hope we get to see Autopsy play in the UK soon

My pleasure. Yeah, hopefully we'll get back to the UK sooner than later. It's been a few years. Thanks much for supporting our racket….cheers!



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