AUGUST 6th 2012
"DEATH TO ALL" EXCLUSIVE
 
 

We at MetalTitans, have the distinct honour of talking to Charles Elliott, who performed vocal/guitar duties on the DEATH TO ALL tour back in June. Thank you Charles for taking the time out of your busy schedule to do this interview with us.
 
1.  How did it come about , that you were recruited to do vocals and guitar for the Death to all Tour? Once you were recruited, what emotions ran through you? How excited were you?

Well, it was a combination of things. I met Eric Grief (former DEATH manager and current lawyer for his estate) when we were on tour in Canada. He’s a promoter in Calgary and I just nerded out with him over DEATH and asked him a ton of questions, so he knew I was a huge fan. When I went to the NAMM Convention this year I saw one of the guys that runs SickDrummerMagazine.com. He told me he was thinking about doing this Death To All tour with some of the musicians that had been in the bands throughout the years. He asked me what I thought and I actually told him I didn’t really like the idea (laughs). I’m such a huge DEATH fan and it seemed weird that they would do it without Chuck. But I offered him some advice on booking agents, and whatever else along the way, and put him in touch with Eric. Sooner or later they just asked me if I wanted to do it. They promised me the blessing of the family and that there would be a charity involved, so since it was done respectfully, I finally said yes.

When things like that come up, I try not to think about it too much and just go with it. If I really thought about it, the weight of the whole thing might have brought me down. Who knows if it will happen again but I’m happy to say I was a part of it.

2.  Was it a long process to learn the songs they chose to play on the tour, or were most of the songs, songs you knew how to play already ?

I started right after we got back from the CANNIBAL CORPSE tour, and it took me about a month to learn everything. That was me listening to the set every day to and from work, then getting home and practicing and learning the parts. I did know some of the parts already but some of the riffs were wrong and had to be relearned. I knew the structures and a lot of the lyrics already just from listening to those albums so much. The leads I never tried to learn until I was asked to do the tour. Some of Chuck’s fast runs are a bit unorthodox. I tried to do something similar, injecting my own thing into it as well, getting the basic vibe of the lead down. It was close, if not exact. It was a lot to learn in that amount of time to say the least.

3.  Did you all get together in one place to practice, or were the songs given to you then you practiced them at home beforehand?

We really didn’t practice as much as I would have liked. Since Sean and Paul live relatively close to me I was hoping we’d get together much more than we did. Sean injured himself though and we weren’t even sure if he would play the shows at all. In the end, I got together twice with Paul to just fact check riffs and go over harmonies. We got together with Sean once, ran through the set once, and it wasn’t looking too good. Later we all went up to San Francisco to start rehearsing. We had three days to get it together. Those rehearsals were pretty rough to be honest. When you put a small crowd in front of us at practice though you could tell we played better. Once the first show went off without a hitch it just felt surreal. Everyone had their game face on and it’s one of those magical moments I hope I never forget. It was definitely nerve racking leading up to that point though.

4.  How was the tour for you ? Do you have a memory that stuck out this tour? How was it touring on the DEATH TO ALL TOUR, in comparison with your other bands?


Well it was cool in the sense that I’ve never toured on a bus, or had a crew, or such awesome catering before. I kind of didn’t like it in a way because you get bored and eat and drink way too much for your own good (laughs). When I tour with Abysmal Dawn, I’m driving a lot, doing merch, and loading gear in and out. It’s a lot of work but at least I sweat out all the alcohol and maybe lose a few pounds (laughs).

I think my fondest memory was in NYC though. The crowds were pretty insane everywhere you know; stage diving, singing along, yelling their guts out. At this show though, people started singing the opening riff to “Lack of Comprehension” as soon as we went into it. It must have been 120 degrees in there and people still had all this energy, which gave me goosebumps.

Sean threw up right after he played, and Gene and Matt nearly passed out it was so hot. The Irving Plaza should really be shut down if they’re going to pretend their AC is broken at every metal show that comes through there. It’s inhumane but that’s a whole other tangent I don’t want to get into right now.



5.  What about the cities you played in, was there a good response?

The response was terrific everywhere. I’m really happy to have been a part of it and accepted by the DEATH fans. I wasn’t sure how it would go over. I don’t pretend to sound like Chuck but it was great I was able to be myself and people still liked it. It was quite an honour paying tribute to one of my idols and favourite bands.

6.  Did you have a favourite city that you played in, or one that had more response compared to others?

They were all great. I have to say playing the first show in San Francisco meant a lot to me though. Just because that’s when the realization came that we were actually doing this. It was a beautiful, emotional, and surreal moment to say the least.

7.  What was the most important, or best thing on the tour for you ?

Being able to play with some of my favourite musicians and idols really. Just sharing the stage with them and holding my own meant quite a lot to me. Also, playing some of my favourite songs for kids that never got to see DEATH like I did. Being able to pay tribute to one of your favourite bands and share that music with a new generation is a great feeling.
 
8.  As an experience for you, do you feel you have grown so much more, as a musician touring as part of a band like DEATH? Would you do it all again?

It was a great experience for me and it made me feel like a real musician having to step in and learn someone else’s style. I haven’t done that in a long time and it felt good to be able to meet that challenge. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat as long as it’s done respectfully and doesn’t get to the point of exploitation. I’m a DEATH fan first and foremost and always want to make sure Chuck’s legacy is respected.
 
9.Anything you would like to say, or promote that we hadn't mentioned above?

Working on a new Abysmal Dawn record now. Expect a new album in 2013. Thanks for the interview!