Six Feet Under’s Chris Barnes: The Gun Shy Interview

Chris Barnes

In case you hadn’t heard, Six Feet Under have an excellent new album in stores this week called Undead. So, naturally, when I got the chance to talk to long-running frontman and only remaining original member Chris Barnes, you know I had to talk to him about the imaginary feud he has with Shadows Fall frontman Brian Fair — which I have dreamt up inside my crazy head.

Last week, I got Barnes on the horn, and asked him whether he feels any animosity towards Fair, being they’re both well-known metal frontmen with dreads. Being friendly with Brian, I had to throw in a little jab at Barnes; I mention that Fair’s dreads “are considerably longer, after all.”

“Is this an actual question?,” Barnes asked me in response. I told him it was. “No, man. He wins in the dread competition, hands down.”

This lead to a discussion on dreads. I had dreads for a brief period back in the 1990s. I went surfing, and ended up with sand and all manner of sea junk in my hair. In time, flying insects would get caught in them, and die.

Barnes admits he has to make decisions on a daily basis to keep his dreads in check.

“It’s all consuming,” Barnes tells Gun Shy Assassin. “At this point, it’s just a lot of aches and pains from carrying around an extra pound or two on the back of your neck all day. I never mind it when I go to the beach and get sand in my dreads. I kind of dig waking up in the middle of the night with a sandy pillow.

“It’s a pain in the ass,” he admits. “People think its low maintenance. It is after 15 years, but the first 5 or ten, its pretty much worse than washing your hair every day. I find some things floating around in there. I had a stick in there for a week once.”

Dope.

I also had to ask Barnes about the commercial you will see in this post. Its for a local car dealer, and I had to know: How much of a deal did Barnes get on his Porsche?

“They gave me nothing. Zero. Nada,” Barnes said. “I asked for free oil changes for life and they said, ‘Nah.’ It was maybe the weirdest thing I have done in a long time, but surprisingly and oddly enough, I have been living here in Tampa for 17, 18 years now, and doing that stupid commercial… I have been recognized more locally than in my 23 years of putting out albums. I go to the grocery store, and people are like, ‘You’re the guy in the commercial.’ It’s pretty funny.”

Barnes says the ride is so choice. If you have the means, he highly recommends picking one up.

“Its my second one,” he starts. “When I got rid of my first one, I went back to other cars. You are never the same after driving a Porsche. It…just…it wraps itself around you; you don’t ever wanna lose that. I have had this car longer than a lot of my other cars. This one’s a keeper.”

Barnes said working on the new album was a different experience for him, being he worked with all new writing partners…following all the various lineup changes that have hit the band in the last year or so.

“It was something that I had to do in order to progress the band in a certain way,” Barnes says. “I needed to be surrounded by the best musicians to be able to access certain things in myself that I needed to bring out and work through with this record. I’m only as good as the people around me. It’s obvious. So for me, I thrive on that, and I tried my hardest to move the guys that had been in the band for a long time to really motivate them and to try to tell them, ‘Look — we have to do this, we have to get this fucking band moving forward.’”

Those not on board…well, you know what happened.

“The only option was to go outside the band and work with different writers and to really accomplish this album and to show people that I still had a lot of fire in my belly and a lot of things still to say…a lot of motivation to do things,” Barnes enthuses.

“I wasn’t getting them done the other way. These guys in the band now are the best of the best. To have those types of guys in the band, to push me to match their talents…that was my only option for this next phase of Six Feet Under, because dead things sit in stagnant water. I want to go up stream, man.”

And spawn, right.

“Dead things float down stream, I wanna go upstream,” Barnes adds. “That’s where life is.”

Barnes and I talk about living on the road, as he is right now with Dying Fetus, Suffocation, and Revocation.

“When I get into a city, I just try to hook up with weed,” Barnes admits. “That’s my main goal, to be honest. I’m not a site-seer; I have been to Paris 20 times and I have never seen the Eiffel Tower. I don’t give a fuck about any of that shit. I wanna fucking get baked, fucking hit the stage and fucking sing and watch everyone have a good time, then go back to the bus and sleep, wake up the next day and repeat.”

Lastly, I had to ask Barnes — who has been touring for decades — to help with my Gloryholes Across America Campaign. He’s in, but has he ever seen a gloryhole?

“I have never seen any of those things,” Barnes says with a laugh. “I have just seen the vulgar writing on the wall, as we all have seen. I think its folklore, or a sick fantasy people have. I don’t think they actually exist.”

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