Interview with Obituary



Paris, Le Trabendo, Wednesday March 14th 2018

Donald Tardy, drummer and founding member. 


‘If you have to tell a friend it’s worth going to MetalDays, the location in the mountain where the stage is…wow! Pretty amazing!’

METALDAYS will celebrate its 5th anniversary this year. Do you remember when OBITUARY was 5 years old, without taking into account EXECUTIONER which was born before OBITUARY, in 1984?


Yeah, I can remember the very beginning, I mean the birth of OBITUARY. It all happened very quickly for us you know, we went from a demo tape and we got the origin Death Corporation, and next thing was we were signed to Roadrunner and we were doing albums very quickly. So by the time when we were five years old, we were already as a band, we were already moving very quickly into a professional role. It was the early days, when we were kids, and we were opening up for Nasty Savage, Death, Savatage. That’s early birth, before that. Once we signed, we immediately jumped into record deals, on tour, fans, people buying albums, so it was a very fast five years’ experience. 


What is your best festival memory as a fan?

All my festival experiences have always been as a band member. When I was young, there were no festivals in Tampa, Florida (USA), my hometown. There were only big concerts, such as Ronnie James Dio with his ‘Last In Line’ tour, Ted Nugent, Twisted Sister, Iron Maiden, but those were concerts for Tampa bay. The first festival we were part of was Dynamo in Holland, in 1991, and it was with Obituary as a band, I have never been to festival as a fan only. 


Ok Donald, so do you remember the first gig you’ve watched? 

Yes, it started with watching performances in people’s garages, bands like Nasty Savage, watching them perform practicing. But the first show I watched was a Savatage show, then I watched Ted Nugent and Dio shows. 


Yes, I remember you are a Dio fan.

Oh yes I am!  


Ok thank you Donald. Back to MetalDays topics, I know you have already played METALDAYS or METALCAMP three times. First time was at Metalcamp second edition (2005), then in 2010, and in 2014. You will be back in 2018 for the 4th time in the festival history. According to you, what kind of singularity has that festival?

I remember the great and amazing location which is the main attraction, and I think if you have to tell a friend it’s worth going to MetalDays, the location in the mountain where the stage is…wow! Pretty amazing! I also remember we stayed in a small hotel on the side of a mountain, and it was a great experience. 


Are there any moments you have kept in mind, a special memory about METALDAYS or METALCAMP? 

I just remember the scene, in the mountain, the sky and the fans. When we were finished, on the next day, we were still there, you can hear the festival from the hotel, many kilometers away! And when the sun was down, you can actually see where the festival was, down in the mountains…really cool experience!



Back to your music now. ‘Slowly We Rot’ has become what we call « a clayssical » and it has been released 28 years ago. Three of you, John/Donald/Trevor, have been in the band since the beginning. Do you remember the way you thought in the beginning? For instance, if somebody had asked you the following question: “Where do you think OBITUARY will be in 28 years?”, what would have been your answer?


Oh oh (laughs)! Really? Wow 28 years old Slowly we rot ! It’s fucking amazing. 

To answer to your question, I probably wouldn’t have had any answer… I was so excited as a teenager, having only one album, I don’t think I looked past the first album. So the answer would have been: what future? what are you talking about? Slowly we rot you know! But we were happy to have one album, we could not have imagined we will have ten more in the future… and a thirty years’ career. But, it’s a testament to have much fun together, me, Trevor and my brother. We are just brothers, we are a family. 


About your last record Self-titled “Obituary”, it has been released with Relapse Records. It did not require any crowdfunding action, compared to “Inked In Blood”. So, what has changed between those both records?


Well, not much have changed you know. ‘About Inked in blood’, we did the crowdfunding simply for learning what’s like, experiencing and experimenting it. It was something new for us, we didn’t know much about what crowdfunding was, that’s why we went for it. And it gave the fans a chance to get really close to us, and get the stuff they wanted, autographs, drumsticks, posters, special vinyl… it was a fun experience but…it was a lot of work! And the reality is you need a record label that has already set in place a distribution deal. It was cool again doing it with the fans, and seeing them by the packages they wanted, because a lot of people did want the autographs, and they got it. So, it’s enough work to be in a band, and a lot of work to do 900 packages! It was unbelievable!  



Now, would you please tell me what are your main musical inspiration sources? And what are your main musical influences?


Well, if we talk about early me, like Donald as a kid growing up, I was very interested in Led Zeppelin, John Bonham, because in the 70’s, I early learned to play drums, at 7 years old, there were Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Ronnie James Dio that turned into the early 80’s, and Vinnie Appice is still my favorite drummer in the world. He brought the roots of my drumming style, and of course, as teenagers, the band got influenced by Metal : Metallica, Slayer, Venom, Celtic Frost of course. But now, I recently get more into Corrosion Of Conformity during the recent past years. I knew of it, when it was in the early 90’s and mid-nineties. I wasn’t too familiar with their music, but my girlfriend is one of the biggest COC fans, she said to me: « you are an idiot for not knowing this music! ». Because when she played some COC music I asked her: «hey what is it? that’s awesome! ». Then, I get more into their music and I particularly love the four albums with Pepper Keenan singing. They are amazing! And Reed Mullin’s drumming is some of the tastiest, best, solid, rock metal drumming there is existing for me. And that style, that’s Southern Metal is like Lynyrd Skynyrd meets Metallica. or ZZ Top meets Metallica. And it’s exactly what I’ve grown up with.  


OBITUARY is a pillar and a pioneer in the Death Metal music style. How would you describe the evolution of this music style? And what about the evolution of your own music style? 

Yeah, you know, the evolution of both came together like I have been only drumming for OBITUARY, my entire career. I only know OBITUARY, and I have never created music in another band.


But Donald, I remember you was in Tardy Brothers Band also?

Yeah, and that was me on the guitar. I wrote every song and played every instrument on that album. That’s the most fun I have ever had outside of OBITUARY. But back to our music style and evolution, Trevor and I have been together since we were 12 years old you know, and listening to the music, and inspiration came to both of us. Same with my brother, it was early Metallica, early Venom, and we brought our style. I drummed so much, I love drumming, everything I need is to play drums, even when the band is not on the road, so. My evolution as a drummer as well, I didn’t try to get more technical, or more complex, I am just trying to get it more solid and natural. That’s what I think OBITUARY songs need, and it’s enough. Keeping it simple! 


Ok thank you very much Donald. Back to METALDAYS topics, do you know the names on the bill? Are there bands you like or don’t like on the bill? Please comment. 

Loudness I cannot wait to see them ! Coroner is gonna be cool for sure, and I would like to see also Judas Priest and Rob Halford with their amazing album they have out. I am really looking forward to it. I am very excited about this! 


Interview and pics by KEUF.

Very special thanks to Frank Van Liempd, PETTING ZOO PROPAGANDA.