Interview: Six Feet Under

I am excited for all metalheads to hear Killing For Revenge. I am very proud of the album musically and lyrically.

Death metal linchpins Six Feet Under return with their latest album Killing For Revenge and it sees the band sounding revitalised and as brutal as ever as they tear through the tracks on this, their fourteenth album. The album marks the second Six Feet Under album that guitarist Jack Owen has played on and Gavin Brown caught up with him to get an insight into Killing For Revenge and life in Six Feet Under as well as producing music, discussing his time as Deicide guitarist, being a founding member of Cannibal Corpse and a life in death metal.

E&D: Hi Jack, the new Six Feet Under album Killing For Revenge is released soon. are you excited to unleash this album on the world?

Jack: Hi Gavin! Thank you for the interview. Yes, I am excited for all metalheads to hear Killing For Revenge. I am very proud of the album musically and lyrically.   

E&D: Was the creation of the album a smooth process?

Jack: Actually everything went very smoothly. I have all the tools I need to write music and lyrics and have tons of extra songs leftover for the next album or other projects. Writing was comfortable in my home in Illinois, and tracking of the guitars was done in Sanford Florida for me, 

E&D: How was the experience on working on the production of the record?

Jack: Everything was written easily and recorded remotely across the country with the individual band members. It was mixed in Colorado and approved by us via Dropbox. Really quite easy.

E&D: Is producing something you want to do more in the future?

Jack: I think if I am involved so heavily in writing music AND lyrics I would like to also be involved as a producer.

E&D: You have worked with producers like Colin Richardson, Jason Suecof and especially Scott Burns. Did working with them in your bands inspire you to produce?

Jack: Jason Suecof and Neil Kernon had the most impact on me wanting to be involved with production of music. As far as Scott Burns, it was too early in my musical career to even think about producing. Colin Richardson is quite standoff-ish as far as wanting to teach others the means of production. 

E&D: The final song on Killing For Revenge is a cover of ‘Hair Of The Dog’ by Nazareth, was that a fun song to do a version of?

Jack: ‘Hair of the Dog’ was chosen by Chris, but I always liked the song and found it easy to learn. I did a demo at home to get warmed up to record it. Looking back, perhaps we could have made it a little more metal, but I am old school and did a traditional version, musically.

E&D: Have you talked about another volume of your Graveyard Classics series and what bands would you love to give the Six Feet Under series?

Jack: There is talk of another Graveyard classics album which I am preparing myself for. Or if we want to do another album of original material, I am ready for that as well.

E&D: This is your second album with Six Feet Under, has much changed for your songwriting for the band since the Nightmares Of The Decomposed album?

Jack: It is night and day as far as how I write songs now. Back then I didn’t have a drum writing program or maybe even a multi-track recorder. Now I have everything I need and an archive of riffs to draw from if I get stuck. I would not write an album like Nightmares of the Decomposed these days.

E&D: How did it feel hooking back up with Chris Barnes when you joined Six Feet Under?

Jack: He has always been like a brother to me going back to the late 1980s. We forged a new sound of death metal together back then and have been in touch since he quit Cannibal Corpse.

 

E&D: What are Six Feet Under’s live plans once the new album comes out?

Jack: We have some tours in consideration but nothing confirmed yet. When the album is released, perhaps we will have more concrete touring plans. But for now, promote Killing For Revenge, prepare for tours and continue writing songs in the background.

E&D: What have been some of your favourite live shows you have played with Six Feet Under so far?

Jack: I always liked the Christmas and Easter tours we did in Europe. Just 10-12 shows with a great tour company/crew and always great bands touring with us and many fans to enjoy it with us.

E&D: What are your favourite memories from your time playing in Deicide?

Jack: I usually enjoyed the recording of the albums because we would work with Jason Suecof or his partner Mark Lewis. I always enjoyed playing and writing with Kevin Quirion.  The tours were never very enjoyable, because booking agents were hesitant to work with the band so we would end up with fly by night companies who didn’t know how to route a tour and didn’t care about the venues we were playing in.

E&D: Do you look back on your Cannibal Corpse days with fondness?

Jack: The early days were full of wonder and fun. We were five young kids just looking to change the world. 

E&D: You played on every Cannibal album from Eaten Back To Life to The Wretched Spawn. Do you look back with pride at having played on so many bona fide metal classics?

Jack: There are some classic songs and albums for sure. Every album had it’s own story behind it, how it was written and recorded. The early tours were a challenge because of some countries and cities were not ready for death metal yet. But the fans made everything worth going through some strange times!

E&D: What were some of the other highlights of the years you were in the band?

Jack: Probably some of the places we toured like Eastern Europe. Our soundman would literally have to build a PA out of nothing. Strange foods, strange cities, strange promoters. But it was all worth it.

E&D: Do you feel proud to be a part of three of the greatest bands in death metal?

Jack: Very proud. I should have fought more to write more for Deicide, but I wasn’t prepared with the energy of the early writing days of Cannibal Corpse. And I didn’t have the tools I have to write now. But you can hear my influence on the Cannibal Corpse songs then and the last 2 Six Feet Under albums.

E&D: Have you ever had any thoughts about a Chris Barnes and George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher duet on a Six Feet Under album or with Glen Benton too?

Jack: That would be something, but the logistics of doing something like that is virtually impossible. I will make Chris Barnes do all of the parts for now!

E&D: What are your favourite vocal performances from all three of those guys?

Jack: I like Chris’ performance and writing on Tomb Of the Mutilated. I think he captured some of that on Killing For Revenge. Glen is best on the self-titled Deicide album. It stands alone as a death metal classic. That album can not be touched and is a special moment in time. Corpsegrinder could sing anything we would dare to write. Some of my faves by him are ‘Decency Defied’ and ‘Dormant Bodies Bursting’.

E&D: What are your all time favourite metal albums?

Jack: I have a few that I never put away, like: Pestilence – Consuming Impulse, Sodom – Persecution Mania, Kreator – Terrible Certainty, Dark Angel – Darkness Descends, Autopsy – Severed Survival and Sadus – Illusions.

E&D: What newer death metal bands are you a fan of?

Jack: There are so many, but a few are: Necrot, Hamferd, Blazar, Funeral Leech, Brat, Tzompantli, Vulture, Weed Priest, Street Tombs, and a million I forgot. 

E&D: What guitar setup are you currently using?

Jack: Whatever isn’t broken. I mainly use Moser guitars with my Line 6 floor preamp, through my 350 watt Crate amplifiers, running though Crimson speaker cabinets. 

E&D: Who are your biggest influences as a guitarist?

Jack: Everybody from Ace Frehley and Jimi Hendrix, Robin Trower, Dave Murray, Don Rich to Fast Eddie Clarke, to Mille Petrozza, Gary Holt, Trevor Peres, Dave Carlo, Rob Urbinati and Joe Rico, Ralph Santolla

E&D: Who do you feel are the most underrated guitarists in metal?

Jack: Probably many of the metal guitarists I just mentioned! I like the underdog. Kevin Quirion from Deicide is underrated for sure. And Pat O’brien.

E&D: What do you still want to achieve in your musical career?

Jack: At this point, just releasing strong albums that allow me to tour and keep travelling the world. The travel and seeing new places is the thing that keeps me going. Thanks again for the interview!

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