Cattle Decapitation

Cattle Decapitation

Cattle Decapitation

Words By Nowak

I called up Travis Ryan, vocalist of  Cattle Decapitation, while he was at a bowling alley in Omaha, Nebraska. He’s a socially-conscious vegetarian death/grind metal guy with a singing voice like gravel in a blender and a sick, sick sense of humor, who has been know to wear a mask made of beef jecky on stage and spit yogurt out on the crowd. The overweight fried-whatever-eating bowlers of Middle Amercia had no idea that this sick bastard would be screaming at their children about gore and coprophilia in a dark, sweaty club later that night…

How’s the tour going for Cattle Decapitation?

I broke my hand the first day of tour, so I’m kinda hating it, but it’s been pretty good. We’re out with Goatwhore and The Black Dhalia Murder, and the shows have been good.

I know San Diego is not the most “metal-friendly” place – do you find that your hometown shows are as good as being out on tour for Cattle Decapitation?
Basically, San Diego, and Southern California in general, it’s all about all-ages shows; that’s where you’re gonna get the most people to come out. We always end up, for like the past couple years, we keep getting 21-and-up places and shit like that. Our last show there that was all-ages brought out a shitload of people. It was crazy. It was our record-release party and there were like 500 people; It was pretty nuts. I don’t know where they came from, but somehow 500 kids came out, and it was really good. I wasn’t really expecting that because I didn’t think there were even that many people who listen to that kind of music in San Diego. I don’t know if things are exactly looking up, but… there are a hell of a lot of good bands there these days.

I love the cover for Humanure; that’s like one of the best album covers I’ve ever seen. Was that your concept?
Unfortunately it wasn’t. Cattle Decapitation came up with like three different concepts for the album cover, and we knew we wanted to use the artist Wes Benscoter again, since he did such a good job on the To Serve Man cover. We doodled a few ideas and he wasn’t into any of them, so he said “Let me come up with this idea.” He told me the idea on the phone, and we all thought it sounded really cheesy. And we said, well, shit, he’s the man, so… And then that’s what he gave us and we fucking loved it. When someone tells you, “How about a cow shitting out a bunch of human forms,” and I was like, “Alright, dude, just don’t make it cheesy.” But it came out being so disturbing, and funny; it encompassed everything that we’re about. It’s very tongue-in-cheek, and disgusting at the same time, and at the end of the day it makes you think, too.

Actually, the next thing I was going to bring up was the tongue-in-cheek nature of the lyrics. I mean, you can’t write that stuff with a straight face.
I find that since we’re doing like brutal kinda music or whatever – that’s always been my forte as far as lyric-writing and playing – that it’s gotta be sick and stuff, but I’ve always had a really weird take on that kind of stuff. Like, horror movies and gore and stuff like that, a lot of people laugh when they see this shit, you know? Like in Jason X, he takes the chick’s head and sticks it in liquid nitrogen and then slams her head on the counter and her face shatters into pieces. It’s funny because it’s just so… brutal! It’s just a natural kind of reaction that I have, and I think a lot of people have, to violence or gore or whatever. Some people wince, some people look away; I just tend to laugh. And when I’m writing the lyrics I’m always cracking up.

My favorite bit on this record is the ass-to-ass-pipe-to-mouth thing…the Monroe Transfer?
When I wrote that, Josh had found this glossary of obscure sexual terms on the internet. We were fucking cracking up at all the weird deviant sexual techniques that people come up with that it’s like, “Come on, you can’t do that…” A Monroe Transfer, that part is referring to when you link your ass with somebody else’s and you transfer shit back and forth. I just wanted to include that in a song for shits and giggles.

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