An Interview with Steve Tucker (Morbid Angel)

Steve Tucker of Morbid Angel
As the Midwest was in the grips of a late January freeze, I dialed up Steve Tucker. Tucker, known for his guttural growls and heavy grooves, had served as the bassist and vocalist for Florida death metal icons Morbid Angel from ‘97 to ‘01, and again from ‘03 to ‘04. In solidarity, from the blustery cold of his home in the Ohio Valley, Tucker and I discussed what’s been happening since he rejoined the band again in 2015 and what their upcoming tour should look like.

What would you say feels the most different to you about being in the band now versus your original run?
I don’t think there’s a lot that feels very different. There’s still pretty much the same sort of structure. Trey [Azagthoth, guitarist] is pretty much the main force in Morbid Angel and everything sort of falls in place after that. Everybody does their job, a really good job and is extremely professional. It’s always been that way. When I first joined, when it was Pete [Sandoval] on drums, he was amazingly professional, and when Tim [Yeung, drummer] was there. Morbid Angel is kinda like a machine, bro; it kinda just keeps churning along. Sometimes the cogs are different, but the machine just keeps churning along.

What do you like most about working with Erik [Rutan, former guitarist, producer]? I’m sure him being in the band before made his production work on the latest album easier.
He’s one of my very best friends, and he has been since we first met each other, in a matter of weeks. It’s just real comfortable, dude. More than anything, it was comfortable. I’m not nervous or afraid at any given time because you sort of know everyone’s personality. Sometimes when you’re doing a record and you’re dealing with someone new, they don’t quite understand everyone’s personality and it’ll cause weird shit. It can cause weird vibes and, sometimes, conflicts. With Erik, he’s knows what he’s getting and we know him, so it’s great.

Erik’s one of the best producers to ever touch a mixing console doing metal. So, it’s a no-brainer as far as I’m concerned.

I know you’ve been writing a lot of the band’s lyrics since you rejoined. I read an interview with Trey where he went off on a weird tangent about the apocalypse, so I was wondering if you ever draw inspiration from any of his ramblings or ideas.
Yeah, man, I always have. Sometimes I spark those ramblings. Honestly, Trey and I, we’ve talked about some of the deepest, darkest, most honest things out there, man; things about humanity that humanity refuses to acknowledge, and it’s always interesting, dude.

Trey, he’s a very, very orchestrated person, so when he goes into detail talking about something, it definitely paints a picture. So, it’s very easy to get some inspiration from that to write lyrics. A good example on “Kingdoms Disdained” is “Piles Of Little Arms.” That was all about discussions Trey and I had. That songs is just about the whole idea of if you have a religious group and they go into these tribes and they’re acting like they’re helping these tribes, helping them get water, inoculating them, doing these things they think are good, when the tribe has existed for 1,000 years and was just fuckin’ fine until they came along.

So that’s where the idea for the song “Piles Of Little Arms,” that’s really what it’s about, sort of from both sides of the perspective: the religious person who thinks they’re doing God’s work, then the tribe who thinks, ‘Why are these people invading us?’ But that all came from a discussion with Trey. A perfect example.

Is there anything you haven’t got to do since rejoining the band? Places to play, bands to play with?
No, man, I’m kinda taking everything in stride, as it comes. Honestly, getting to go out and do a tour with Cannibal Corpse, these are dudes that the band, and me personally, have known for almost 30 years, so this is really one of the coolest tours I’ve got to do in my opinion, not just since I’ve been back in the band.

Has there been any work on a follow-up to “Kingdoms Disdained” yet?
No, it’s usually a few years after. We still like playing the new songs. These songs, this new set are songs from “Altars [Of Madness]” all the way through “Kingdoms Disdained,” and the way these songs mix in the set is pretty fuckin’ phenomenal.

Any tracks in particular you’re looking most forward to playing?
I’m really looking forward to “Day Of Suffering.” We haven’t played “Day Of Suffering” since 2001 or something. That one’s always been one of my favorite -- not even just Morbid Angel -- songs to play. That’s one I’m really thrilled we brought back.

You guys have Necrot and Blood Incantation on the Kansas City date. Did you have any input in bringing them along?
No, I think it was put together by Decibel Magazine … But I’ve been listening to them quite a bit. I’ve been listening to Blood Incantation for a few years now, and Necrot for the past year. I think them guys, they’re kinda old school and I think it’s a hell of a bill. I think it’s gonna be great.

Morbid Angel plays at The Truman (601 E. Truman Rd. KCMO) on March 2, 2019 with Blood Incantation and Necrot. Tickets are available here.

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