While speaking to Pod Scum recently, Paul Mazurkiewicz of Florida death metal outfit CANNIBAL CORPSE ruminated on their 1995 decision to replace vocalist Chris Barnes with George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher. It is believed that the departure of Barnes was partly due to a conflict concerning the band’s more technical approach in music composition.
“It’s crazy to think that we did that,” Paul said. “And here we are bigger than ever. It’s a tough to pull off. The early era, the ‘Barnes era’, what I guess everyone calls it, that’s the beginning of the band; that’s what obviously started us out and how we got going and all. And we were doing fairly well. We’re up the ladder here. We’re moving. We’re a force to be reckoned with now. So to change a singer in the middle of that seems a little crazy, but it had to happen.
“You look back now, and we all obviously feel we’ve bettered the band; George is just a better vocalist overall,” he continued. “And we’ve moved forward. And here we are — Jeez, Barnes has been out of the band how long now? 25 years or so. But both eras, they mean something, of course. That’s the beginning of the band, so you’re gonna get those purists that are gonna go, ‘I love that era more because…’ Okay — whatever. I’ve got no problem with that. It is what it is. He was a part of the band and we did do well; it wasn’t like he was nothing or nothing was happening with that time… It was a big thing to deal with, and luckily we were able to persevere and get through that and to be bigger than ever.
“It’s always gonna be debated, I guess; there’s gonna be people talking about it. But that’s the history of the band,” Paul added. “Whether you like it or not, or whether we like it or not, it doesn’t matter. He’s a part of the history of CANNIBAL, and any member that was in the band is. If it wasn’t for him, I guess, the five original members, well, then the band would have never maybe existed.
“So it was an important era and it can’t be overlooked and the significance of the original band and the beginnings of CANNIBAL CORPSE. It’s cool to be able to talk about it — a cool story that maybe a lot of bands wouldn’t be able to survive. And luckily we have been able to survive and, like I said, do better than we ever thought we would have, I guess, by having George in the band.”