Speaking of LEFT TO DIE, we are talking about a band dedicated to the early years of the band DEATH! It features Rick Rozz and Terry Butler, former members of Chuck Schuldiner’s band! Together with them are Matt Harvey (EXHUMED) and Gus Rios (ex-MALEVOLENT CREATION). On the occasion of LEFT TO DIE’s upcoming concerts on March 27th, 28th and 29th 2023 in Athens, Larissa and Thessaloniki respectively, THEGALLERY.GR had the honor to talk by phone with Terry Butler, bassist of DEATH from 1987 to 1990! Also known for his career in SIX FEET UNDER, MASSACRE and for his participation in OBITUARY, Butler talked to us about many things including Chuck Schuldiner and of course about LEFT TO DIE, which we will soon enjoy in Greece! The full interview follows on….
– Hello Terry! Welcome to THEGALLERY.GR! Let’s start with the questions! You are touring with LEFT TO DIE across Europe! How’s the tour going so far? You have an upcoming tour on summer in the United States as well. How do you feel about this worldwide tour?
Terry Butler: The tour is doing great. Very glad to see many sold out shows, the fans are awesome. They love hearing the old songs. In the East Coast the tour was very well received. So, we were excited to bring this tour to Europe. It’s doing really well.
– You have booked three live shows for “Leprosy tour” in Greece, Athens, Larissa and Thessaloniki. What should the fans expect from these shows? Is it a tribute to this magnificent pioneering album or something more than that?
Terry Butler: It’s going to be a unique experience. When the fans close their eyes, they are going to think that they are hearing Death from 1988! Rick Rozz and I were in the band back then. Matt Harvey sounds really close to Chuck and he plays great. He does all the Chuck’s leads perfect. Gus Rios is just awesome; he is a huge DEATH fan. So, the fans should expect huge energy! The songs will sound great played. The overall feeling will be like you are time travelling back in 1988.
– All those years you have participated and contributed in many albums with bands such as DEATH, OBITUARY, MASSACRE, INHUMAN CONDITION, SIX FEET UNDER etc. Which album from all of these bands is your personal favorite?
Terry Butler: With SIX FEET UNDER my favorite album that I was in is “Maximum Violence”; with DEATH I’m going to say probably “Spiritual Healing”, because I helped Chuck writing four songs on that one. With INHUMAN CONDITION my best one is “Rat God”, because it was the first one. Concerning MASSACRE the “From Beyond” album. It’s hard to choose, there are a lot of good albums in all these bands that I have participated.
– You joined DEATH while “Scream Bloody Gore” was released. Besides “Leprosy” record, you are also credited on “Spiritual Healing” and Chuck Schuldiner had cited you for contributing to the songwriting at that time as well. What are some of your best memories of writing and performing with DEATH and Chuck? What do you remember more vividly from your collaboration with Chuck Schuldiner? Was he an easy person to work with?
Terry Butler: When I joined DEATH, “Scream Bloody Gore” was just released in 1987 and the Death Metal genre was very new and fresh. It was a good feeling to go out and play those songs on tour, bringing the music to people so that they were able to hear what Death Metal was all about from the start. I truly have a lot of great memories with DEATH and Chuck. He may have been difficult to work with from time to time, but most of the time he was looking out for the best interest of his band. We went along really great. I remember going for record shopping with Chuck constantly. I had a great time being in DEATH!
– – Concerning “Scream Bloody Gore” and “Leprosy” albums, which song do you like playing live the most?
Terry Butler: Probably over all, my favorite one is “Choke On It”, but there are so many good songs. “Primitive Ways” is great song too; “Left To Die” and “Pull the Plug” also. That’s so hard to choose just one.
– Is there any song that gets you too much emotional while performing? A song that when you played it together with Chuck you have the best memories about it?
Terry Butler: The song “Pull The Plug” is a hit. Everyone knows it and even back in ’88 people loved it and asked us to play it. I just remember people singing along to it so vividly. It’s definitely an emotional song to play through.
– You certainly are among the founding members of a whole genre, which is truly rare and remarkable. Looking back, in the case of your association with the band DEATH, what is that like? Are there any things in the scene which you would change if you could?
Terry Butler: I would change just a few things. If there is something that I could change, this is that I would wish that I was more experienced back then. I was so young and it was my first time really being in a band. Now, there are so many things that I know that I wish I knew back then. Obviously, I would have made things a little smoother in my life and contributed a little bit more on the “Leprosy” album as far as writing and other musical processes. But being really young, you don’t have all the knowledge required.
– What is, technically, the most challenging song to play as a bassist from any of the bands you have participated in the past? What’s the most complex song for you to play live as a bass player?
Terry Butler: The most challenging one is “Slowly We Rot” from OBITUARY. It’ s a song that every metalhead in the world knows and we play it in every show! People ask for it all the time and is by far one of the most popular songs that I have ever played.
– How do you see the Death Metal scene nowadays? Would you recommend any newer bands or are you still listening to the old school legendary albums?
Terry Butler: I don’t really listen to a lot of new stuff. My life is very busy and I don’t have much free time. I hear a song or two, occasionally from new bands, but unfortunately, I can’t remember who they are. I just like listening to a lot from the old school stuff.
– After playing at all the big festivals and at so many good albums, what do you think about the genre itself? Is there an album that you wish you had played in it concerning the whole Death Metal scene?
Terry Butler: I wish I had played to “Left Hand Path” from Entombed, as I love that album from the start. Also, It would have been wonderful to be in OBITUARY back and play on the albums “Cause of Death” and “The End Complete”. That would have been great!
– Last but not least, what do you expect from the Greek audience? There is a rumor going on about Greek metalheads being extremely fervent and passionate.
Terry Butler: Oh yes! I know they will be! I have played in Greece a few times and I know that the fans are very passionate. Once they hear us play those songs, they are going to love it. We cannot wait!
– Thank you so much Terry! It is a personal honor and pleasure, but also a pleasure for all of us, to see you live. THE GALLERY will be there!
Terry Butler: Thank you too! See you soon in Greece!
Interview: Filomeni Riga
Cover Artwork: Alexandros Soultatos
Design & Editing: Alexandros Soultatos
Date: March 21st, 2023
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