Steve Tucker has quite a story to tell. He breaks it all down for us in this in-depth interview about life, starting out, egos, and more.
Morbid Angel were blasting screams through people’s speakers before it was cool. These guys are going on a three-decade career and have no intent to stop anytime soon. Steve Tucker grants Loud Hailer a few moments to chat about the moment he knew he wanted to be in a band, lyrical content, and so much more in this not so morbid interview.
LH: So, we will start off the interview by just asking, how are you doing?
Steve: I’m doing good man. Thanks!
LH: The album that you returned for, Kingdoms Disdained, came out a little over a year ago? How has the return been and does it feel just as good as when you left?
Steve: Yeah man, it’s good. It feels great. It’s different, it’s definitely different. It’s strange, I think the only way I could describe it is as if it just didn’t happen. It’s just one of those things where I feel like it never really went away, you know? I was gone for over 10 years, but it just seemed like everything came back together. It seems like we just got into the roles that there always was.
LH: Do you feel like you took the experiences or music on the side that you made while you were gone, do you feel like you were able to bring any of that to Morbid Angel?
Steve: I would say both. I would say I took some Morbid Angel and brought it to the side stuff and I think that I brought things when I was away to Morbid Angel. It’s both of them. I think it’s sort of accumulative of your life, you know. I think all the experiences that you had, add up to now.
LH: In 89, Morbid Angel were doing the double bass, screaming, drop down tuning and stuff like that before it was cool. I think the music was a little ahead of its time and I think it fits in great with the modern music that we have now. What do you feel is the biggest challenge for Morbid Angel going all the way from 1985 to 2019?
Steve: I don’t know. That’s a pretty interesting question. I think just maintaining being Morbid Angel to other people, not the people in the band, maintaining being Morbid Angel can just seem so odd to people. People have such short attention spans and people are only interesting for so long. It’s an anomaly for a band like Morbid Angel to stick around so long. It’s like Cannibal Corpse. I guarantee anyone in that band wouldn’t have thought they would last 30 years. I think it’s the same for Morbid Angel. I think no one really thought that far ahead. It was really about conquering the world and taking each step at a time, you know what I mean? Now honestly, it still comes down to that, dude. It’s still about being original and finding something on the guitar when writing songs that is something you never heard and doing it and making that Morbid Angel, you know?
LH: As I was going through the massive back catalog of music, you guys really do a good job to maintain being Morbid Angel, but also keep evolving your sound. Was that always the intent or does it just happen that way?
Steve: I think it’s always intent, you know. Trey is the main writing force in Morbid Angel and always has been. I think for Trey, being original is something natural to the guy. If you ever met him, you would understand that he is a very original person. I think that’s the only way that he can truly stay motivated and excited to make music is to try and come up with something new or something he’s never heard. He has these crazy techniques on Kingdoms Disdained where he’s underneath one of the strings and playing chords at the same time. It is one of the craziest f***ing things I’ve ever seen or heard, but it’s Trey and that’s what Trey does. He always finds something crazy and brings it out, you know?
LH: Do you think that having a humble personality like yours while honoring your bandmates, do you think that is an important piece to being a force within the music industry?
Steve: Man, I’m just me, dude. When I was young, I played sports. I loved it, I loved being on a team, and I loved having teammates. To be honest, I really got pulled away from that because of my artistic abilities. Sports became second to music with practicing and things like that. Honestly, the mentality that I have is a mentality that I learned from playing sports as a young kid. I know some people think “oh, team sports are for a**holes and blah blah blah”, but I’m here to say that I disagree. I think you learn a lot of things competing and having teammates while having people rely on you and you rely on them. It’s the same exact f***ing thing as being in a band, dude. Just like Drew Breeze is the quarterback of the New Orleans Saints, man, he’s not the only f***ing player, dude. If he doesn’t have a line, he doesn’t complete a single pass. He doesn’t get one yard. That’s the way a band is, man. You take away the drummer and it’s just some dudes banging on string instruments, you take out the guitar and it’s just some barbaric drumming. It’s all individually sort of chaotic, but when you bring it all together it becomes something great. I think that as far as humble goes, I’ve got an ego, bro. I have a desire to be the best, dude, I have a desire to win, but I think the only way it’s going to happen isn’t just me. I think it takes other people to make that s**t happen, dude. For me, there’s a lot of bands like Black Sabbath, you know with Ozzy was amazing and the chemistry of Sabbath with Dio was something on a whole other level, bro. It’s just about chemistry and the teamwork. These guys, I do care about them and I do want them to succeed always, man.
LH: I understand that having an ego is necessary, but at the same time, it’s also necessary to understand that you guys are a team and that you got to rise up together.
Steve: You know honestly dude, it takes all kinds to make the clock work bro. For me, what I do is me. I’m a really honest and blunt person. If you talked to any of the other guys in the band they will say “Steve can say some of the harshest s**t,” but it’s always true and it’s never a lie. If someone was terrible that night, if they messed up because they were drunk or something which doesn’t happen very often, but if it does, I’ll say it.
LH: Not to say that Morbid Angel’s message hasn’t always been upfront, but I feel like on this latest album, you were a lot blunter in the content. Would you agree with that?
Steve: I think it was the attitude this time around, man. I think that it was just a vibe that was going on. I hate when I repeat myself in interviews, but during this time, that’s when the presidential elections were happening, man. To be honest, the United States seemed to be in utter chaos. Everyone hated everyone and no one could talk. Besides the politics, for me it was very unnerving on a deeper level. I felt like I was constantly watching over my shoulder. It was just a constant conflict that was everywhere. When I run into conflict like that, my instinct is to attack. If you’re going to attack me, I’m going to attack you. I’m going to beat your offense by smashing it! (laughs) That’s why all this came off so straightforward and hateful. The lyrics to this, they were all coming from that mental state of frustration and sort of anxious, you know the feeling that things could just go crazy at any second. I have seen it happen at gas stations over who the f**k people are going to vote for. That is nobody’s f***ing business. Just keep your s**t to yourself and move along. Yeah, the world was crazy and to me, it was one of those things that if you look at it from a standpoint of like a god. The Sumerian God’s come back to the planet earth and this is what they see? The most mundane and ridiculous things, people make other people feel pathetic because they don’t agree with an opinion. It’s sick, dude. Humans are f**king sick. To be honest with you, man, I really felt that, from the standpoint of the gods it would be a very blunt and instant action, they would just wipe this f**king planet. Maybe they would just wipe humanity off this planet and start over or just move on. That’s really where it all comes from and when you think in terms of nature or when you think in terms of what the gods, it’s going to be swift and just, man. There is no PC bulls**t. It’s just here’s your hurricane, here’s your flat houses, you know?
LH: Your vocals are awesome! You have a deep growl while at the same time having a deep melodic voice. You keep it so fresh and have to go between many different ranges. What are your practices for keeping your vocals fresh and able to keep it going?
Steve: I’ve been doing this a long time, I have different techniques. Man, I like it, I f**king love doing it. When I hear it back and it sounds like a monster, I love it! It’s that “if you’re going to be mean, be the f**king meanest”.
LH: When you were a kid, you went to an arcade and watched a cover band play “Paranoid,” right?
Steve: That’s a fact!
LH: Did you know at that moment that you wanted to be in a band and do this for a living and did you think as a kid that you would still be doing this in 2019?
Steve: First of all, no, I never thought that I would do it for more in my life than I’ve not done it, you know what I mean? I’ve been doing it for a long time and I’ve been making music and it’s been fantastic. When I was a kid and I seen that happen, what blew my mind was that I immediately knew I could do that. That f**king idiot right there with a guitar was a dude that I had seen several times and he was a f**king local idiot. If this dude can play guitar with these guys, then I could do it. You know what I mean? Once I knew that I could do it, the rest was just making it happen, starting from that point. That would have been the stepping point when I realized that’s what I wanted to do. That was what was most important to me. The thing was, is that I played guitar and I had been in school band. I even went to the symphony and stuff and it was all very amazing. I was in it, I was a part of it, but dude, when I saw four dudes jamming, I knew I was going to do it and I knew I had to be the guy in the middle.
LH: I know your mom listened to a lot of classic rock like AC/DC and Alice Cooper, but when did you know that heavy metal was going to be your outlet?
Steve: For me, it was always one of those things, like being exposed to heavier. I was always looking for the heaviest thing I could find. You know, when I was a kid AC/DC wasn’t a radio band that they are now. You didn’t hear the AC/DC songs on the radio all the time and you haven’t heard them a million times. They were new and ratty rock n’ roll, it was almost punky rock n’ roll. That was some heavy stuff for that time. My mom listened to Alice Cooper as well and that was some early heavy metal stuff. For me, I always like the heaviest stuff that I could find. It was a constant treasure hunt to always find something new and heavier. When I did my first demo when I was 17 and I went back and listened to it and I heard it, I said “f**k yeah dude! I know I can do this.” That’s what I thought to myself. Ever since I saw that band at that game room, it was in Cincinnati, since then it was always stepping stones to make it happen. I did anything I could to make it happen.
Be sure to catch Morbid Angel on The Decibel Magazine tour along with Cannibal Corpse. The tour starts on February 17th in San Antonio and runs through until March 14th in Tampa, Florida. Metalheads will not want to miss this amazing tour of legendary bands sharing the stage as one. Don’t be morbid and go catch this major lineup.