INTERVIEW: Bruce Corbitt on Wizards, Warbeasts, & Filmmaking

Bruce Corbitt is a busy guy. Currently, he’s fronting Warbeast and writing material for their new album, playing occasional shows with Wizards of Gore (aka Rigor Mortis), filming, directing, and interviewing subjects for the second part of the Rigor Mortis documentary…oh, and he curates the heavy metal section of the Texas Musicians Museum.  The Void Report was lucky enough to catch up with Bruce and get the scoop on the goings on with Warbeast, the Wizards, and Part II of the Rigor Mortis documentary.


the void report: Part 1 of the Rigor Mortis documentary came out last December, but you’ve been working on it for several years, right?

Bruce Corbitt: We first started filming that…the first interviews were around 2008. Way back. But, originally it wasn’t going to just be a documentary about Rigor Mortis, it was going to be about the birth of the Dallas-Fort Worth underground thrash bands, back in that period in the 80s. But, as we were doing these interviews I kept noticing that people had a lot to say when it came to Rigor Mortis, more so than some of the other bands. Probably because of our crazy, fighting reputation and all this crazy stuff that happened at the shows. And then when Mike Scaccia passed away, rest in peace Mike, it just made sense for me to go ahead and work with Michael Huebner, who is the film editor and he works at 12 Pound Productions, and we decided to just go ahead and make one completely about Rigor Mortis and to also honor Mike.

the void report: I went to the premiere at the Kessler and I loved it. It was cool to watch it with the fans. A lot of that stuff happened when I was a teenager with no real knowledge of the scene or Rigor, so it was cool to see the long time fans and their reactions.

Bruce Corbitt: That night means a lot to me and Michael. And it always will, to finally have all this work to be displayed to everyone and our friends and family. By then we had watched these parts over and over and we didn’t know if it was good or not and we started having self-doubts about it, “is everyone gonna think this sucks?” And then to watch the people screaming and yelling and laughing, then we started to realize, “Wow, this must be pretty cool!” We’re just burned out on it. (Laughs)

the void report: When it won the Housecore Horror Fest, that was actually a couple of years before its official release.

Bruce Corbitt: Actually, the year before and it wasn’t even a…it was a work in progress at the time, it wasn’t even the full version of it. It was an hour long version. We used it to kind of test the waters. So, I did get to see it [with an audience] and reported back to Micahel about which parts got the biggest laughs. I was surprised because it wasn’t finished, we kind of just sampled it and it ended up winning Best Documentary at Housecore and it wasn’t even finished! So, that was cool.

the void report: I was wondering what cut that was, which directors cut…

Bruce Corbitt: It was only an hour long, but after it finished everyone let out a big groan, because they were so bummed out there wasn’t more.

the void report: Isn’t the final cut close to two hours?

Bruce Corbitt: Yes it was. And believe it our not we had a hard time getting it down to that. And we’ve got a Part II that we’re working on now. That’s because the story is so in-depth, I knew we weren’t ever going to get a chance to show it in a theater or something like that. If we tried to do the whole story it wouldn’t work. So, we decided to do it in two parts. We just got signed at the end of Part I and so much crazy stuff happens as soon as…the very next week! (Laughs) The rollercoaster madness continues for Rigor Mortis. We can’t wait for everyone to check it out. We’re hoping to have it out in November this year.

the void report: Yeah, I know you’ve been working on it. Filming interviews…

Bruce Corbitt: New updated interviews; obviously, as I mentioned some of the interviews went back to 2008 and a lot has happened since then with us recording the new Rigor Mortis album and the loss of Mike Scaccia, sadly, so we had to go back and get some updates from people about those stories.


the void report: Any special guests for Part II that weren’t in Part I?

Bruce Corbitt:  Yeah, sure there will be. Sammy and Ben from Goatwhore, Travis from Cattle Decapitation, we’ve got Dave Campos from the Pitbulls. We’re gonna have a few more surprise guests in this one. Well, I guess it’s not a surprise now, I just told you. (Laughs)

the void report: I’ll release this as “Breaking News!” (Laughs) Are you still doing more interviews or filming? Or just piecing it together as it goes?

Bruce Corbitt: Yeah, we’ve got most of it done. But, we still need to do Casey’s part and my updated part. My part always comes last because after we put the story together we can use me and the narrator to fill in the blanks, kinda. So, after we get it all together then I can see what was discussed and needs to be said about certain parts and I can do my parts around that. Then I can get the narrator, who is Phil Anselmo, to do help fill in the story.

the void report: I was wondering if he was gonna do it, he kind of has to…

Bruce Corbitt: Yeah, you got to get him to do it or it wouldn’t be right.

the void report: I thought it was cool to use him, just going back to the Pantera/Rigor Mortis rivalry. And those horrible Pantera years with the spandex and whatnot. (Laughs)

Bruce Corbitt: (Laughs) It was crazy…we would’ve never thought back then, eventhough as you saw in the documentary and you’ve seen in interviews, we were always friends with Phil when he moved here and joined Pantera. Even though there was at the time a weird rivalry between us and that kind of music and our style and their style, our fans and their fans. And Phil became a fan of us and wasn’t ashamed to hang out with us.

the void report: Going back, thinking about the scene’s peak in the mid-late 80s, it was this kind of rivalry that helped make the scene interesting. Like a sports rivalry or something.

Bruce Corbitt: Later on, it was all about respect. Obviously, we knew how great Dimebag was as a guitarist, I don’t even know if they ever considered us a rivalry, because they thought they were so much better than everyone…they just thought we sucked. So, when everyone says there was this rivalry, it was probably just us saying “Fuck them!” (Laughs)

the void report: (Laughs) Well there’s the part in the movie when y’all signed the record deal and left the message on their answering machine. That was hysterical.

Bruce Corbitt: That was me, actually. I’ll confess…it was me. And I’ll tell you why I did that, because we were shocked. You know in the documentary, we were down to what we thought was our last chance. We might have never went anywhere if we didn’t get signed soon, because we were causing just so much destruction everywhere, burning bridges everywhere. So, when that happened, we were so shocked. And of course the local scene was just as surprised as us and people were congratulating us and thanking us, and all the “hey, remember me?” “I’ll be your roadie.” And all of sudden our parents and everybody are proud of us and all the local bands were “Hey, you think she’ll sign us too?”

And then I hear Pantera is over there in shock and talking shit about us. So, that kind of bothered me, you know, so I said, “fuck them.” So, I thought I would, you know, mess with their heads. So I called the Pantera hotline and left a message. You know, I’m ashamed and embarrassed about it now, but that’s how it was at the time. “You’re talking shit about me? You’re not happy for us?” So, I was like “Fuck you guys! We beat you to it!” You know what I mean? Later on, when our album came out, I’m almost certain it was one of the Pantera guys who called my answering machine and was like “You’re album fucking sucks!” (Laughs)

The thing was though, once I did finally meet them and hang out with them, Dime, Vinnie, Rex, they were all cool to me, so it was hard to not like them. And later on, as you’ll find out in Part II, I got fired and I spent a lot of time with Phil and they invited me to see them at the Basement one night after I had been fired and Darrell and all of them welcomed me and were grateful I came to the show. So, after that little period there where we were talking shit to each other we became friends. We didn’t hang out, but if we see each other we’d say “hi” and have a drink.

the void report: Let’s transition from Rigor Mortis to Wizards of Gore. Wizards is kind of moving away from the Mike Scaccia tribute band mold and you’ve talked a little bit about writing and recording new material.

Bruce Corbitt: Yeah, we’ve talked about that. At first, the first thing we said was we couldn’t do Rigor Mortis without Mike Scaccia. Obviously, he was the key to that band. So out of respect and everything it just couldn’t be done. Then we started doing the tribute shows and had the idea to call it the Scaccianators, so we did a tribute show under that name. Then we realized we have a new album coming out and people still love these old Rigor Mortis songs, plus to promote the new album it would be cool if we could play. Luckily we had Mike Taylor, who’s a protégé of Mike Scaccia and grew up being a friend and fan of Mike and grew up playing the guitar because of Mike Scaccia.

And he’s the only one who can come close to matching Mike’s crazy picking styles. So, all the first songs he ever learned in his life were Rigor Mortis songs, so lucky for us we’ve been able to continue and we changed the name to Wizards of Gore and we have discussed a couple of times, if we get the time, to write some new material and it would be under the name Wizards of Gore. You can’t replace Mike Scaccia on stage or his writing abilities. Mike Taylor is as close as you can come to Mike Scaccia, but he’s not going to write exactly like him. So, it’s cool. People still enjoy those old songs and it would be fun for us to create with Mike Taylor and, of course, it’s so cool for me, Casey, and Harden to still get to work together. Because when we’re together it brings our memories of Mike even closer to us. So, it’s a special thing to keep it going.

the void report: I was at the Wizards show a couple of weeks ago at Three Links in Deep Ellum and one of the highlights of the show was when that little kid came out and sang with you guys! It was so cool to see that. There we were celebrating a 30 year history of Dallas, Deep Ellum, and Rigor Mortis, and here we have this kid…how old was he 13? 14?

Bruce Corbitt:  He’s eleven. I’ve gotta tell you, growing up with bands like Sabbath and Maiden and hearing them talk about looking out at the crowd and seeing younger fans, and even though it’s happening for us on a smaller level…but Rigor Mortis was a band that was forgotten about in the 90’s and for a long period, then we got some respect back when thrash made a come back in the mid-2000’s. Now all of sudden people are calling us legends and influences and I’m like, man for 17 years no one thought about me or Rigor Mortis, so it’s kind of weird for me.

the void report: He was killing it!

Wizards of Gore, Photo by J. Kevin Lynch

Bruce Corbitt: When I met him, he had came to see us here in March when Wizards of Gore played here at the Rail. That was the first time I met him. And his Dad said “My son’s a singer, man” and I said, “Let me hear it!” And he started in and I knew right away, he started doing the evil growling, but he said “I can sing!” And I said “I can kinda sing too, but it’s funner to do the bad guy, the evil guy…the Darth Vader kind of vocalist.” And that’s what it was for me and I think the same carries for this 11 year old kid.

the void report: What’s going on with Warbeast? Didn’t I see recently that y’all are working on new material?

Bruce Corbitt: Yes, Sir. We sure are. It’s been a long time coming, but we went ahead and had enough material in the works that we booked us some studio time for August for two weeks to go down to Phil Anselmo’s studio in Louisiana and we’re going to record the next new Warbeast, the third full-length. We’re a band that, like I said we’re still getting it going, but once we set a time and date and it gives us a target we bring it together. And that style has always brought out the best in us. Once we set that date the songwriting output has doubled (Laughs). When you go in to the studio, everyone knows you got to be ready, so we set the target and I’m excited. It will be four years since we recorded the last album and they’re getting up there…about 8 or 9 songs of music, not 100% finished but close to, and now I’m going to start taking them one at a time and adding some lyrics. It’s about time and I know everyone has been waiting a long time, but it’s gonna happen.

the void report: Do you have anyone producing? Or just self-producing?

Bruce Corbitt: We have always used Philip Anselmo. He did the first one, Krush the Enemy, the we did a 2-song EP with him, and he did Destroy, so we’re going to keep the same formula. I’m excited, it’s always fun working with film.

the void report: I’m interested…how deep does he get into the producing? Is he there song by song? Is he behind the board? Or does he just listen to stuff and give you feedback?

Bruce Corbitt: He does it all, man. With the first album it was songs we already had and had been playing live for a couple of years and we had a demo of some of them and he knew all of those really well and he would make suggestions on them and make suggestions like…you should repeat this part of the music because it’s a hook, or he suggests little things, like if he hears a hook or a part he doesn’t like or lyrics he doesn’t think make sense or whatever. He ain’t afraid to speak up and tell you, but he does it in a cool enough way where he doesn’t piss you off or hurt your feelings. He’ll do it where you’ll crack up on it and say “you’re right, that is fucking stupid. Let’s change that shit right now.”

Then on the last album Destroy, we did it just like this one, where a lot of it he’s hearing for the first time. But, he’s still there for every part of the recording sessions. We’ve got an engineer but Phil’s right there and he hears one thing, you know, he’s got a good ear, so I found out what a genius he is, not just his talent as a front man or his lyric writing. He’s just a music genius and he comes up with brilliant ideas right there on the spot. And some of us come up with some brilliant ideas too when you’re in there and creative juices are flowing. And that’s what so cool when I go back and hear the album and think about how we got there and then what we end up with and then remembering when a certain idea spawned from right there in the studio out of nowhere and now its my favorite part of the song. So, what we take there in August will not be exactly what we end up with, but I guarantee what we come out of there with is better than what we came there with.

the void report: Is this August session to do the whole album?

Bruce Corbitt: Yeah, two weeks.

the void report: When do you think it will come out?

Bruce Corbitt: I’ve noticed it’s about an average of six months from when you’ve finished recording it. There’s going back in forth on the mixes a few times, then the mastering, then you gotta set up artwork and once you have everything ready you still want about three months to set that release date to do all the PR and to prepare. So, usually about a five to seven month period after recording.

the void report: What’s coming up?  With Warbeast or Wizards?

Bruce Corbitt: With Wizards of Gore we’ll be playing the Fort Worth Metal Fest on Memorial Day weekend, Day 2 of the metal fest. With Warbeast we’re playing the ROT Bike Rally, a big thing they do in Austin, a big biker rally and we’re playing that with Anvil, Honkey, Sons of Texas, and Mothership. That’s a good lineup, June 11th…I think. Then we’ll be back in Fort Worth at Tomcats on June 17. After these two shows with Warbeast I think we probably won’t play anymore until we’ve done the album. But, I can tell you October 21st will be the 10th anniversary of the show we did that led to the formation of Warbeast, at the time we were Texas Metal Alliance. So we’ll do a 10 year anniversary here at the Rail Club. I can at least announce that one.


Leave a Reply