We are exactly one week away people! Rigor Mortis will be releasing their fourth and final studio album, “Slaves To The Grave“, on October 7th via Rigor Mortis Records! After twenty three years since they released new music, this new record is much anticipated from fans everywhere, and after hearing it in it’s entirety, it does NOT disappoint! This album no doubt honors the life of Mike Scaccia, who tragically passed away in 2012, and will keep his legacy going strong for many years to come!
I recently got to send questions to bassist and founding member, Casey Orr, about the upcoming album, the band’s career, and more! Read it all below and pre-order “Slaves To The Grave” today!
Metal Mark: We are here to talk about the much anticipated release, “Slaves To The Grave,” that will finally be coming out next week! The fans are excited, but are you more excited to get this out there?
Casey Orr: We are soooo ready to get it out! It’s been 2 1/2 years since we recorded it, and with all that’s occurred since then, it’s just taken time to get all the details wrapped up. We spent a lot of time with the mix after Mike died, partly because it was so important to get it right, but also because it was sort of hard to let go of, you know? But it also became a real labor of love, and I wanted every detail to be right. I wanted to know that Mike would have been happy with every detail, and that he would be proud of the final product. We really had to go completely DIY with this record, so it was a lot of work, but 100% worth it! I understand the other side of the business a bit better now, for sure!
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MM: Let’s talk about the Indiegogo campaign, because if it wasn’t for that, this record may have never been able to see the light of the day. Were you surprised at the support you received from the fans on this?
CO: Yeah, we really didn’t have much choice. None of the labels we approached were willing to put money into a project that wouldn’t have a tour to support it, or a follow up record to come. I was really surprised and disappointed, but considering the dismal state if the music industry, and the treatment Rigor had received in the past, it wasn’t a complete shock. So we just said fuck it and we rolled with it. I did a little investigating and IndieGoGo seemed like the best bet. I set the goal at $20,000 because I knew that’s what it would take to do it right, pay off recording debt, get it manufactured, promoted, etc. We went a little over the goal, and I can tell you it’s still a little tight, but it’s all getting done!
Was I surprised at the support from our fans? Not at all! I really did have faith that they wanted this record to see the light of day just as much as we did, and I was right! And that pushed me to want to make the release special for them. Not only did we offer some really sweet contribution bundles, but we went the extra mile on the packaging and related merch, as well. Things that I would want to see as a fan, like including every contributor’s name on the cd packaging, including a bonus behind the scenes dvd, an 8 page booklet with the lyrics instead if a 1 page insert, a limited edition vinyl variant, and lyric sheet insert with the LPs. All those things cost a little more, but I think they’re worth it. More importantly I think our fans are worth it!
MM: Being the first release in 23 years with the original lineup, did it feel like you were recording your first record all over again?
CO: That’s a great question and fun to think about. For me, I would say not at all. Not for me anyway. This is actually my 18th album. The writing and recording process went very smooth considering once we got word on the studio availability, we only had 6 weeks to write about 2/3 of the material! Mike and I had been working on riffs for a couple of months here and there, but when the studio date was booked it really lit a fire under are asses! Until that point, Bruce and Harden hadn’t even heard the new stuff other than 2 songs we had already been playing live. Much to their credit, they both stepped up and delivered! We recorded at 13th Planet in El Paso, and it was a chill environment, very conducive to creativity. In contrast, the first record was songs that we had played live for years, and it was our first real proper studio experience. This time we “painted” a lot of the record in the studio, and were all much more seasoned in regards to the studio and recording process. We produced Slaves ourselves with Mike definitely in the Captain chair.
MM: What’s your favorite part about working with these guys again?
CO: The friendship, I guess I’d have to say. We’ve know each other for so long, we’re almost closer than family. 30 plus years of shared experiences. And of course, of all the different projects we’ve each worked on, Rigor Mortis has always been our first love, as well as the thing that felt most that it truly belonged to us.
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MM: Obviously with the passing of Mike, this album will be a fitting tribute to his incredible talent. Is the word that some of his finest work is on this record true?
CO: Absolutely! I’ve had the honor of playing with Mike in several other projects besides Rigor Mortis, and probably have witnessed him play more than anyone else throughout the years, and I can tell you that he plays not only some of the most innovative and brutal metal parts I’ve ever heard, but certainly some of the most beautiful, soulful guitar work of his career, as well. The solo at the end of Blood Bath still gets me, and I expect it always will. He can go from melting your face off to pulling your heart strings in a brilliant flash. Mike was an amazing talent. Most people don’t have a clue. He could play Buck Owens or Johnny Cash flawlessly, He could play blues like he was from the Delta, believably. He could pick up a mandolin for the first time and play Bluegrass like he’d been doing it all his life. He could play a Stones song and you could tell the difference if he was playing a Keith part or a Mick Taylor part. He was one of the greats. I hope one day he gets his due.
MM: As a friend and band mate, how important was it for you guys to get this out there. Not just for the band, but for Mike’s memory as well?
CO: It was, and is, very important. It’s the last Rigor Mortis record. Ever. It’s Mike’s last record. This record and our first record bookend his career. It’s very important that we do the best possible job we can with this release and do justice to Mike’s memory, as well as the legacy of the band we started together.
MM: Mike was such a huge part of this band, so do you see you guys touring much in support of the album? If so, what’s the latest?
CO: We knew immediately after Mike died that we would never perform under the name Rigor Mortis again. But we also knew we couldn’t just let the music die. So we enlisted help from our old friend, Mike Taylor, one of Scaccia’s long time guitar playing buddies, to stand in on guitar, and we decided to play some select shows under the moniker Wizards Of Gore. We will be playing our record release party next weekend, and were invited to play Phil Anselmo’s Housecore Horror Film Festival in October. We also have a show on Halloween. Other than that we don’t have any long term plans for WOG. The last thing we want to do is come off like a cover band of our own band, or in some way be seen as exploiting Mike in any way. We know that’s not the case, but sometimes you must tread carefully. I would say that if the demand is there, we would definitely consider continuing to some extent, but I would like to see us write some new material right away, to make it clear that even though it would be a continuation of Rigor, it could stand on it’s own as well.
MM: In the 23 years since the last record, do you feel the scene is stronger now than ever? Everyone has their opinions on that, but you’ve been through it all, so I’d love to hear it.
CO: Yeah, in a lot of ways I think it is stronger, or at least, has come back around. There were a great many years where the real Metal scene went back underground, but unlike other genres, it didn’t die out completely. Metal never dies! And now that it’s coming back (and in a big way!), it’s not just coming back as some sort of ironic and nostalgic fluff, like most genres do, it’s coming back full force with great bands and the same sort of rabid fan base we saw in the 80s. It’s great to see young fans at our shows, but it’s even cooler seeing young kids playing great Metal in the new generation of kick ass old school bands!
MM: For the fans out there that may have never heard of you guys, and to the die hard fans out there, do you have anything else you’d like to add or say to them?
CO:Yeah, first I’d like to say thank you to all the fans who stuck by us throughout the years in all of our endeavors. Without you guys there would be little point in doing what we do, or at least, very little reward in it. We never made any money in this business, but what we did earn was respect and brotherhood among our fans and peers, and that’s worth a whole lot more. When I have a young cat come up and say to me the same things I said to, say, Lemmy the first time I got to meet him, that’s huge to me! To do something that means that much to someone I never met before is hugely rewarding, and drives me to keep doing this. This career path ain’t easy, but like they say, nothing worthwhile ever is.
To the new fans, and the young kids out there starting bands and trying to leave their mark, I say welcome aboard, keep an open mind, both musically and in your life, and don’t let anyone tell you “you can’t”. Think outside the box and create your own destiny. The music industry has changed so much in recent years, that the old way of doing things is quickly becoming obsolete. So find different ways of getting noticed, and always give your fans something new, whether it’s a new song, t-shirt, or sticker. Always keep moving. We’re like sharks. If we stop, we die.
Hail Smoot! Hail Brockie! Hail Scaccia!
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