Prolific is the first word that comes to mind when talking about Alex Story’s output with his horror-punk/metal band Cancerslug. Since forming in 1999, Cancerslug has released a gluttony of albums and demos and have generally ruled the underground scene with their unique brand of reckless depravity. Later, he joined ex-Misfits guitarists Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein’s eponymous band, releasing 2013’s Abominator album and touring the furthest reaches of the globe.
Earlier this year, Cancerslug released the full-length LP Fuck the Bullshit and most recently Doyle has been on the road touring for the forthcoming album Doyle II: As We Die. The album is slated for a June 2nd release date, but you can pre-order the album now in a variety of bundles on vinyl and CD from their label’s website and an alternative album cover through the bands official site.
Currently taking a short break, Doyle will be back on the road in June (see dates at the end of this interview) and we highly recommend checking them out. There are very few bands that can match their energy and intensity. If you don’t walk away a fan, there’s something wrong with you.
the void report: About a year ago, it was announced that Hung Like Jesus would be the final Cancerslug album. Well, that album turned into two albums, Sassy for Satan and Symphony of Savagery, and you also recently released Fuck the Bullshit. It has been a new album every 4-months pace. Is it safe to say there’s no end in sight for Cancerslug?
Alex Story: The thing with Cancerslug is that it has always been in a constant state of metamorphosis and I never know what the next phase will be like until I’m in it. I thought the band might end a few times. Only because I was so busy with other things and refuse to do it “half-assed” or just phone it in. With me it is all or nothing. But somehow the albums and tours and books just keep coming. It seems like there is always something new to say or a different way to say it.
the void report: Symphony and Sassy were said to be the final pieces of the “Sadist Trilogy” that started with Season of Sickness. Sadism has always been a recurring theme in the Cancerslug discography, so what is it that ties these three albums together?
Alex Story: With the “Sadist Trilogy” I wanted a three album cycle of studio recordings that pretty much told the story of Cancerslug. Many of my old demos were recorded crudely and quickly – on no budget at all. And a lot of people can’t get past the recording quality of those demos to see the substance of the work. Cancerslug’s sound has evolved over the years and taken many forms. So you can’t really sum up everything that Cancerslug is with just one album. So, that’s what I tried to do with these three discs…to give a good overview of what Cancerslug is all about with a higher level of recording quality than the early demo releases so that more people would give my music a chance without me changing what I love about the band.
the void report: Sassy was relatively polished and catchy compared to other Cancerslug records, but Symphony is a big brutal beast. Was that a result of a natural grouping of songs or would you say Symphony was kind of a response to Sassy?
Alex Story: I always recorded opposing albums back to back over the years. If we did an album like Alabama Bloodbath we would follow it with Soulless or Beast With Two Backs followed by Curse Arcanum or Unnameable followed by Ancient Enemy. Those are the two sides of Cancerslug. The rock n’ roll side and the brutal dark side. We try to balance these forces in the live show as well.
the void report: In reference to the previous question, Fuck the Bullshit sounds a little like a balance between the two sounds found on Sassy and Symphony. Do you agree? Or should I just consider it its own thing?
Alex Story: Exactly. With Fuck the Bullshit I wanted to make a studio album that felt like our live show. Which, as I mentioned, is a balance between the two sides of the band. So, we did all the songs live in studio with a mix of the heavy stuff and the more rock n’ roll sounds. Very raw. All the songs were done live in one or two takes with very little overdubbing. It made it a very unique record, I think.
the void report: On Fuck the Bullshit, you brought guitarist Kyle Creasey back into the fold. What does he bring to the band? Is he involved in the creative process or is it more of a touring need?
Alex Story: With Cancerslug I write everything. I play on every album and I steer the ship creatively for what the band should be. But, live I like to focus on singing, crowd participation, and my physical performance. So I’ve brought in many people over the years to help live. Kyle is an old friend who has handled guitar for me live many, many times. The lineup we have now is Kyle, Mike (Horgan) and Cassie (Baher). These three have been in Cancerslug more than any other members over the years.
the void report: Last October, there was a Cancerslug EP announced, She Wolf Rising. Did this material end up on Fuck the Bullshit? Or is it a separate project?
Alex Story: It was gonna be a short six song EP of all new material. But, I kept writing and realized that I needed to do a full length of all new material. But, it’ll take time to teach the band all the new songs and stuff before recording. And since I had these Doyle tours coming up, we didn’t have time to do a full length of all new material yet. So, we put out Fuck the Bullshit to hold the fans over until I could finish touring and we could record the full length album.
the void report: Doyle II: As We Die is coming out June 2nd, but as I understand it these songs were recorded during the Abominator sessions. But, am I right that the drums were re-recorded with Brandon Pertzborn on drums? If so, how did that affect the final recordings?
Alex Story: A few of the songs were around when we did Abominator and had early versions recorded at that time. But, they have changed significantly since then. The first album was all drum machine and it made that album feel stiff to me. Brandon is one of the best drummers on the planet in my opinion. From Black Flag to ho99o9, he is incredible. With him on drums this album is much more organic and feels more like a real band. The new album is more like our live sound. It’s brutal and heavy but also dark and sexy. It’s got swing to it, unlike a lot of “heavy” bands. This album really gets you moving.
the void report: Among the scant info released on the new Doyle album are rumors of a few guests. To my knowledge, only Randy Blythe (Lamb of God) has been revealed. Can you tell us what other guests appear? [ed-It has recently been revealed that Alyssa White-Gluz and Michael Amott of Arch Enemy also guest on the album]
Alex Story: We had more people planned and many great artists wanted to contribute. But unfortunately schedules didn’t work out for a few. But Randy did an amazing job. And our voices really compliment each other on the track we did together.
the void report: Considering this material is relatively old for you and the members of the band, I imagine you guys have also written a bunch of new material in the interim? Is that true?
Alex Story: Even the older material has evolved and changed quite a bit since its conception. But, we also have a lot of new material and great surprises on the album.
And yes, we’ve still got several songs written that we haven’t gotten to record yet. And we are always writing. So, we hope to do a lot with this band in the future.
the void report: At one point a couple of years ago, you or Doyle mentioned the possibility of re-recording the Gorgeous Frankenstein album with the current Doyle lineup. Is that something that’s still on the table?
Alex Story: I think early on we toyed around with the idea of “fixing” those songs. Because he was unhappy with that album and the way it came out. I wasn’t a part of that album, I had nothing to do with it. And I honestly didn’t enjoy it. But I did see potential in it. So, early on we both had ideas to kind of “fix” that album. However, over time we wrote so many new songs that we lost interest as that seemed like a step backwards.
the void report: You’ve been on tour with Doyle that last several weeks, have you had the chance to incorporate any of the new material into the live set? If so, how does it feel to play and what has the reception been like?
Alex Story: We played the first single “Run for Your Life” and it went over great. Crowd loved it and even sang along once they heard the chorus. It was great. We are getting ready to go back out and plan on doing a lot more new material this next run.
the void report: In addition to the previously mentioned Cancerslug output and the next Doyle album, you also managed to release a couple of solo acoustic albums in the last year. Sometimes I see these called “demos,” but the Alex Story/Cancerslug discography is so damn confusing it’s hard to tell. Would you call these acoustic versions the genesis of Cancerslug songs or is it more picking and choosing what would work best under the Cancerslug moniker versus a solo release?
Alex Story: It’s difficult to explain. Some of my solo material are early incarnations of songs that will ultimately become Cancerslug songs. While other songs are reworkings of older Cancerslug or Doyle tunes. And there are other songs that are unique to my solo albums and only fit in there.
the void report: In addition to touring with Doyle, do you expect Cancerslug to tour this year? I know you hit a few east coast dates late last year, do you anticipate heading west? Or is this year committed to Doyle?
Alex Story: Yes, I plan on taking Cancerslug back out as soon as I possibly can. However Doyle is in the middle of a four cycle world tour…so it’s hard to find time to schedule a Cancerslug run until that is finished up. But, we will go out soon and I also plan on doing some solo acoustic shows since people keep asking.
Doyle Tour Dates, June 2017
6.01 Raleigh NC – The Maywood
6.02 Spartansburg SC – Ground Zero
6.03 Atlanta GA – The Masquerade
6.04 Jacksonville FL – Nighthawks
6.05 West Palm Beach FL – Respectables
6.06 Winter Park FL – The Haven
6.07 Tampa FL – The Orpheum
6.08 New Orleans LA – Southport Music Hall
6.10 San Antonio TX – The Rock Box
6.11 Dallas TX – Trees
6.12 Austin TX – Come & Take It Live
6.13 Houston TX – Scout Bar
6.14 Oklahoma City OK – Thunder Alley
6.16 Mesa AZ – Club Red
6.17 San Diego CA – Brick by Brick
6.18 Santa Ana CA – Malone’s
6.19 Las Vegas NV – Beauty Bar
6.20 Salt Lake City UT – Liquid Joe’s
6.21 Colorado Springs – Sunshine Studios
6.22 Merriam KS – Afershock
6.23 Duluth MN – RT Quinian’s
6.24 Waterloo IA – The Reverb
6.25 Arlington Heights IL – Home Bar
6.26 Toledo OH – Frankies
6.28 Clifton NJ – Dingbatz
6.29 Niagra Falls NY – Evening Star Hall