Six Feet Under – There Are No Shortcuts

Monday, 13th February 2017

Dead Rhetoric: Going back to less heavy subjects – as someone who is a veteran in the scene, what makes death metal timeless?

Barnes: The same thing that makes extreme horror movies and stuff like that [timeless], and rollercoasters – those things appeal to people. The shock and fun of it all – being able to peer into a part of life, or a thought, that you feel is too intense to experience by yourself or in your own head. You can separate yourself and feel that feeling, like you are strapped in but you are still dropping. You know you are okay – it’s not real. You watch a scary movie as a kid and you parents say, “don’t worry it’s not real.” It’s not really going to happen but you can still have that experience in a detached way.

Dead Rhetoric: You’ve also had a lot of achievements and successes – do you have any bucket list-type goals that you haven’t been able to reach?

Barnes: I haven’t rode a horse yet, so I’d like to do that [laughs]! Those are real things I’d like to achieve. I’ve raced a car around a NASCAR speedway, I’ve done a bunch of things – those things I’m more proud of than anything else. Getting on a horse, jumping out of a plane – I want to go under the water…[laughs]. Musically, where ever it takes me. I’ve always been keeping my eyes and ears and third eye open.

Dead Rhetoric: Has it been nice to be able to stick with Metal Blade Records since the beginning – some bands that have the longevity of Six Feet Under have had to bounce around over the years…

Barnes: 28 years coming up here! It’s been great. It’s been a long time and people always have expectations, on both sides, but it’s been awesome. It couldn’t have been anything but that to be with them for that long. They’ve always stood behind me. I think the industry is slowly and quickly changing in certain areas. It’s tough on people that are working behind the scenes at the labels, just as much, if not more so, than the bands. Bands are more isolated from the seriousness of the music industry. We kind of take that for granted. It’s just tough on everyone right now – I’m not complaining…I love what I do.

I would like the fans that are here now to have respect for the fans that got them here. Take their lessons from those early guys in the scene that made us come here. There’s a lot of those fans that are still following us – I know from my band and fanbase and the people that follow me. It’s less of a percentage – all the old timers aren’t coming to all the shows [anymore]. The young kids – they don’t buy the records, and it’s been said a thousand times and everyone says it – but it’s this slippery slope that has been going on for the past 10-15 years. The entitlement, the “I’m going to wait and sample it first. Then I’m going to buy it.” Hey man, you can’t do that…what you are doing, there’s a whole industry that is failing now. There’s a lot of industries that are failing, but this one is something we all love and it takes us away from our daily life.

If it’s gone, if it starts becoming compromised and becoming an assembly line of complete, utter homogenized junk like it is – bands that rely on certain things to be able to create dynamic and enjoyable music are gone, ultimately all you have is a catalog of material and some touring bands that are able to do that. And a bunch of streaming sites that are, for the most part, stealing from musicians and artists and filling their investors, people on Wall St, and record labels with money instead of the people that create the music. I beg my fans not to use Spotify and not to wait for our albums on YouTube and sample – just listen to it and then decide. If you support us, support us.

All of us fans in the early days – when I was a kid, it would take me 20 minutes and 2 different rides to get to the music store. I didn’t have more than 2 magazines to look at for an idea of what to buy, and no Internet. I’d beg my mother and work for a week to save up $30 for three albums. Maybe one out of the three wasn’t as good as the other two, but the one thing I’m proud of, as a fan of heavy metal, in 1982-83 when I could get to the record store – I never called up and I never wrote my favorite band’s fan club and reamed them out for not being as good as I thought they were going to be and wasting my money on them. Those fans didn’t exist back then. You appreciated what you saved for, and hey, maybe you might not like it now, but you may later. There’s bands that happened to me with, I’m not going to name them, but there’s a band that I didn’t like in ’83 but now, I can’t get enough of them. It holds up better than it did back then.

Don’t be quick to make this a flavor of the week thing, or a pop-type of deal. Don’t think you are entitled to it – we all have to work at things, there are no shortcuts. That’s a quick way to learn nothing in life, and to feel nothing. Experience something! Go out and buy the CD, do it online, and look at what we’ve created too…the artwork. That’s one of the greatest things about when I was growing up – you’d get a record and you look at the lyrics and the artwork and you’d soak into it all. It was an experience, from going to the record store to driving back with your friends…everything. I’m not saying that people should do things the way they used to be done, and it was better then. But there’s something to be said for what’s happening and how we interact with each other and what we think of each other/ourselves. And how things will end up, because you aren’t paying to attention.

Dead Rhetoric: And that applies to more than just music at this point…

Barnes: It does – it’s heavy! I get heavy with things, I go off on tangents. I enjoy this, and I want to keep enjoying it and I want everyone to keep enjoying it too. I see smiles on people’s faces, and when I’m online and someone writes me something, I can feel the passion and the anticipation. I’m glad that it still exists. I just try to do the right thing. It’s disappointing when things aren’t looked at…you spend a lot of time on something – you’d think someone would recognize that and appreciate it, and appreciate it by doing the right thing. I’m not trying make people do anything, that’s just how I feel about it.

Dead Rhetoric: Going along with the fan interaction, have you had any strange fan interactions over the years?

Barnes: Yeah, there’s always some strange things…for sure. I don’t like to talk about some of them because I don’t know if they are still out there listening and are going to try anything else. There’s been some weird things that have happened – stalker-type incidents…not in this country, but you just have to keep your eyes open sometimes. Sometimes you think about certain people that have been hurt or killed, and you think that everyone is your fan but there’s strange things that happen. Yet another reason to keep your eyes open, but I try to think everyone’s my friend, that’s for sure.

Dead Rhetoric: What’s next for Six Feet Under once Torment releases?

Barnes: We are – but it’s not going to be on the cusp of the release or anything. We are probably going to hang for a few months and promote a tour. That’s what the agents are looking at, both in the States and in Europe. It’ll probably be a late spring US tour – most likely starting on the west coast. I think we are going to do two separate legs. Then one in the early fall. That will be happening here, and I think there’ll be a few Canadian dates mixed in there. The European guys are doing some work on some festivals over there, and some club dates for August.

Dead Rhetoric: So is it easier to stay on the road for those smaller chunks instead of doing a coast to coast tour?

Barnes: It’s not only easier mentally, but also financially. It’s very expensive touring over here. We don’t have any support from the record company as far as that goes. I don’t have any endorsements or sponsorships. It’s not one of those Monster/Jägermeister things…we aren’t wearing someone’s clothes to make extra money, this is the real thing. We can’t go broke doing it – we are going to get it done on this one in one way or another. I like to get out there and do shows, and I think it’s important not to overplay. There are some bands that get out on the road and stay there. It’s like, how many more times do I have to see so and so…I mean jeez, weren’t they just here last month? I like to see my favorite bands, but I can only imagine if one of my favorite bands came through every two months or so. It would have been strange. I think the mystique and the excitement of it all – the “I don’t know when I’ll see this band I better go out,” that’s kind of part of it as well. We’ll get out there and it’s going to be a good time to get back on the road and hit the States here.

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