an interview of the surgeons done a few months ago by
How's the recording coming along for your upcoming split with The County Medical Examiners? How long is your side of the split going to be exactly? I read an e-mail saying the master is going to be delivered to Razorback by the end of March.
JC: Pretty nicely, thank you very much. Only some of the vocals and the Mixing and mastering remains to do, so by the time you read this it should be done. There will be approximately 19-20 minutes of music from GS and about the same amount from TCME, so everybody will get their money's worth! We're delivering the master to Razorback as fast as we can, and if we manage to keep to our schedule it'll be by the end of March. Razorback will then release it in May/June. Yay!
A: My ears are getting sore from my shitty headphones otherwise everything is just fine.
What will you guys do to celebrate your new release? Go to the autopsy ward and mutilate some cadavers with TCME? I'm sure they've showed you around...
JC: TCME will invite us to a Californian morgue that's closed for holidays, and we'll bring some steak sauce, and we'll have a big barbecue. Burnt to a crisp!
A: Get drunk.
How did you get in touch with Razorback Records, or vise versa? Can fans expect a re-release of Necrology? Possibly through Razorback?
JC: We've been in sporadic touch with RB ever since the 1999 reformation, When they asked us to participate on their tribute to Impetigo.. which we had to Turn down, since we didn't have a band at that point. Last year, in a conversation with my esteemed colleague Dr Morton Fairbanks of TCME, he proposed the idea for this release and needless to say everybody jumped at the chance to do it. As for a re-release of Necrology... I don't see it happening in the nearest future. We prefer to focus on new material. You can download all old songs from our website, if you don't have them.
What does General Surgery go for when recording something? Shock value, Good music, both? In an interview, you said that "G.S. lyrics always had the trademark of being sick, graphical but not overly medical." Will this be the case with the split? Could you possibly give us a sample of your forthcoming lyrixxx?
JC: I can only speak for the musical goals here, as I don't write any lyrics. For me, it's about making good music, period. I want to write music that is both repulsive and catchy, if that's possible. I want the songs to grab me the same way as "Symphonies of Sickness" did when I first heard it when it came out. That record has great "melodies" and flawless song structure. So many bands sacrifice good songs for outright speed and "brutality" nowadays, which sends me to sleep in no time.
G: Initially the lyrics had some kind of shock purpose value, but since then I've focused mainly on just writing bizarre lyrics, which dwell on the subject of pathology and death in general. Overly gory or provocative disgusting lyrics never did anything for me. I'd rather take an odd idea and elaborate on it, injecting a healthy slice of black humour along the way. The lyrics nowadays aren't overly graphical either, but tend to rely more on subtlety to a certain extent. The bottom line for me is to write lyrics that are entertaining and funny in a pathological Monty Python fashion. I'll leave the graphical/medical side to Dr. Fairbanks of TCME, since he's a genius at those kinds of lyrics. Needless to say, we're honoured to have him co-writing some of the GS-lyrics on the upcoming split.
When and why did you guys break up in the first place? And what inspired you to get back together?
JC: It's hard to remember stuff like this, since it was so long ago.. Matti left the band straight after the Necrology recording, since he needed time to focus on Dismember. He was one of the major forces behind the band at that point, so we felt it was useless to replace him, thusly quitting while we were still ahead. Mind you that at this point in time (just after we finished recording) we had absolutely no idea that the band would become as "famous" as it actually did. If we'd known, maybe we would have decided to carry on, who knows? The inspiration behind reforming the band in 1999 was that Grant found a webpage dedicated to GS, at the old Braindead site.. so we figured "Why not?!" as it seemed that people still remembered the band. Too bad we wasted 3 years after that trying to find a drummer, but that's life.
OK...a question about Relapse. What do you think about those guys? When they
lied about that full-length being planned and all the other
G: The story behind the non-existant full-length on Relapse stems from the fact that I mentioned something in passing when speaking to Matt J. on the phone that it'd be great to release a full-length and maybe call it something along the lines of "Sex - God - Pathology" (the title was a slight hommage to the Swans). Judge our surprise when it showed up in the next Relapse catalogue. Whoops. Pity we'd all but split up by then. That's life. Other than that, Relapse treated us well. There were issues about not signing a contract, hence missing out on some royalties, etc. but in my mind that was made up for by the fact that Relapse have a large part in the spread and popularity of our music. Kudos to them.
What are your musical influences (other than the obvious answer)?
JC: For writing this music it's the horde of oldschool bands: Autopsy, Repulsion, Terrorizer, Pungent Stench, C****ss and so on. For listening pleasure at home it's a vast array of other styles. I mostly listen to Zappa (a genre of its own), jazz and grindcore.
A: My musical influences are Morphine, Melvins, Dave Witte, Brutal Truth and Poison Idea. No matter what band Im in, these bands are always on/in my mind.
G: Lyrically, I'd have to say Carcass, due to their inherent ability to mix humour and death in the perfect dose & also be able to conjure forth fascinatingly repulsive images. What people tend to forget about their lyrics is that they told a story and quite a bit of finesse. They a had large part in changing my outlook on death. Other lyrical influences would be Jim "Foetus" Thirlwell, the Goon Show and the inevitable Monty Python. My eclectic musical taste has practically no bearing whatsoever on our music.
When and why was General Surgery started? Was the point just to be the best Carcass clones or to actually make unique music? (I thought it was unique myself, despite the heavy Reek repercussion)
JC: I wasn't there from the beginning, I joined the 2nd lineup which was the first to actually make any songs. The "point" probably was having fun, making stupid songs and drinking some beer while doing it. I don't think we had any aspirations to make the music unique. If that happened it was by pure accident.
G: Matti and I wanted to start a grindcore band that payed hommage to Carcass, and so forth.
Here's a stupid typical question: what do you guys do for a living? Are any of you doctors (or wanted to be)? Do you use medical textbooks/dictionaries to come up with lyrics or do you actually know what you're talking about?
JC: I'm a Unix systems admin/networking tech. In the beginning, I think a lot of the lyric material was derived from different medical handbooks, but when Grant joined the band (for the 2nd time) the lyrics started to differ from the first batch. No, I'm perfectly confident none of us know what we're talking about, ever. Again, I blame the alcohol.
A: Iīm an overweight carpenter with a limp left leg from a foot fracture in december. I donīt write any lyrics in this band so no, I donīt know what we/they are talking about...
G: I'm a librarian. As Jocke pointed out, a lot of the earlier lyrical material was derived from pathology manuals. Nowadays I rely on my own vocabulary when writing lyrics. It's easier working with medical dictionaries and dictionaries nowadays, as many of them are web-based, but I can't be arsed to spend that time looking things up. Dictionary.com is however a fantastic tool, especially the thesaurus function when looking for synonyms.
Is G.S. planning any tours in the near future? Maybe with TCME? That would be authentic. If you did decide to tour, would you probably come invade the US? And speaking about countries, which scene is better at grind core/ death metal? The US or Sweden? I'll go for Sweden.
JC: Right now, we're just focusing on this
recording. We've had some show offers, but we'll have to consider very carefully
what we can do since there's not a lot of free time for the members of this
band. Pulling of a tour would be a huge achievement for us. Naturally, if
somebody from the US comes up with a good offer, we'd most certainly consider
it. As for touring with TCME, I have a hard time picturing Morton outside
By the way, how are the meatballs doing? What is your favorite Swedish dish?
JC: I wouldn't know, I don't eat meat. Oh yes, it's the Carcass influence again! Or is it? I prefer other cuisines like thai, indian, italian and Chinese, theyre not as bland as traditional swedish food can be.
A: Meatballs are great! A friends daugther got a mouseīs foot in a meatball when having lunch at her daycare center. Hahahaha!!!! Me? Iīm vegetarian since way back so I wouldnīt have any opinion really but I do love the swedish smorgasbord.
G: Funnily enough, the term "Swedish meatballs" doesn't seem to originate from Sweden, as Swedish meatballs here are not the same as the English term. No matter, being an anti-vegetarian at heart, I love all kinds of meat. As long as it's medium to well-cooked. No, I'm not a very healthy person. Favourite dish? None in particular. I love most kinds of food, though I do have an especially soft spot for braised roast beef.
What are your favorite Carcass albums? Did you feel betrayed when Swan Song came out?
JC: It's a tie between RoP and SoS. By the time Swansong came out, I had moved on to greener, bloodier pastures.
A: I donīt have any favourite Carcass album. Itīs too technical for me...
G: Symphonies. I lost interest when Necroticism came out. A bit too much heavy metal even there for me.
Did you ever get to see Carcass live? What would you say if Carcass e-mailed you guys and asked to tour with you?
JC: Saw them about 4 or 5 times in the early 90's. The early shows, when they were still a trio, was legendary. I don't know what I would say if they emailed me and asked for a tour... I would probably wonder how Ken Owen was going to handle his blast beats from that wheelchair, if Jeff was going to start wearing a wig with dreads and if Bill Was going to be able to forget all about the stoner stuff he's done for the past years.
A: I almost got to see them live once, back in 91-92. They did a show in Stockholm with Entombed but I got tired of waiting all night and went home.
G: Saw them twice in the early nineties. It'd be interesting to play a one-off show in the highly improbable chance of Carcass reforming.
Can you send me a copy of Necrology? No one else will know you did...
JC: Not at all. Here you go, sir!
OK, that's as far as my originality (or lack thereof) goes. Any more questions and I'll have to derive info from other General Surgery interviews, hahaha. Thanks and good luck...anything you'd like to add, go ahead. (E.g. Hey-your questions suck)
G: If anybody knows of some good sources for internet proxies, then get in touch with me. Yes, it's porn-related, of course. Oh, and your questions suck. You're welcome. Seriously, thanks for the interest.