“Oh, I’m definitely stoned right now.” We wouldn’t expect anything less from Cannabis Corpse mastermind Land Phil Hall when we call him in his motel room in El Paso, Texas. Phil likes to get higher than a hundred motherfuckers and then start multitasking, which explains why he’s in so many goddamn bands—playing bass for crossover kings Municipal Waste, guitar in Iron Reagan, and handling bass and vocals for Cannabis Corpse, the death metal outfit he started with his twin brother Josh “Hallhammer” Hall back in 2006. The songs on the band’s first three releases—Blunted At Birth, Tube Of The Resinated and The Weeding—were weed-inspired tributes to Florida death metal legends Cannibal Corpse (see: Butchered At Birth, Tomb Of The Mutilated and The Bleeding, respectively) but by 2011, Cannabis Corpse decided to expand their repertoire to include songs inspired by Morbid Angel, Deicide, and other classic death metal bands. And now they’ve come full circle: The band’s latest, From Wisdom To Baked, nicks its title from Gorguts’ From Wisdom To Hate and features a guest shot from former Cannibal Corpse vocalist Chris Barnes.
Listening to death metal and smoking weed: When did you first discover the magical combination?
Land Phil Hall: Well, I grew up in a rural part of Virginia in a little town called Mechanicsville. Me and my buddies probably started smoking weed when we were 15 years old, which is also when we were super-excited about death metal. We were listening to bands like Cannibal Corpse, of course, and Deicide and Obituary, and having our first drug experiences. I think smoking helped us appreciate the music a little more, so my love affair with weed and death metal officially started in my formative years.
Take us back to the moment in when you and your twin brother decided to start Cannabis Corpse.
Back in those days, we were just teenagers trying to get high any way we could. We were also poor, so for a little while we would just drink bottles of cough syrup and trip. I think we were tripping on Robitussin and watching a Cannibal Corpse DVD or VHS of their Monolith Of Death tour. The internet wasn’t around full-tilt then, so we were at the mercy of whatever we had around to watch. We’d watch that tape almost every day and get high. At some point, we realized that the word “cannibal” was kind of like “cannabis” and the magical idea hit us. We knew it was too good to pass up. But it actually took us a really long time to get it together. It wasn’t until we were in our early 20s that we wrote the first songs in my girlfriend’s dad’s basement. But we came up with the idea when we were maybe 17 or so.
The band started as a parody band, but it’s transcended that now. You have several records out, your own following, and you’re not completely relying on Cannibal Corpse for your song titles.
We always kind of looked at it as a fun way to do death metal and be sort of original. If we called our band something like Bloody Skull, then it would be just like every other death metal band out there. But with Cannabis Corpse, we had a mission and a million different ways we could go with it. It’s ripe territory for ideas, and we’re having a lot of fun with it.
I understand the Cannibal Corpse guys have given you their stamp of approval as well…
I don’t know if they necessarily listen to us, but they’ve been really cool about it. Cannabis Corpse is obviously a compliment toward their band. It’s just my way of trying to be as cool as they are. I’m sure it’d be different if we were poking fun at them or something. But it’s done in a loving way. We’re genuinely trying to make cool music and something that the fans can enjoy.
Is it true that you called Cannibal Corpse bassist Alex Webster to find out what kind of gear they use?
Yeah, I sent him an email about it. He’s always been very helpful as far as giving tips to aspiring musicians and stuff. So I asked him what they used for their guitar tone and bass tone, and he just told me all the stuff they used on their last album. He’s a super-cool guy. When they play shows, he stands outside their bus and talks with fans for a long time. And not just, like, “Hey, how’s it going?” He really engages with people. I’m a big fan.
You started out using Cannibal Corpse song titles as the basis for your own song titles, but you’ve expanded beyond that now, using titles from other famous death metal bands like Deicide and Morbid Angel. Do you know if anyone in those bands is aware of Cannabis Corpse?
I know that Steve Asheim from Deicide is aware of Cannabis Corpse. We did a tour with his other band, Order Of Ennead, so I got to know him really well. He smokes a ton of weed, too—he’s like the secret pot smoker in Deicide. But I don’t know if anyone in Morbid Angel knows about us. I’ve never met any of those guys.
Have you ever smoked weed with anyone from Cannibal Corpse?
I smoked weed with Chris Barnes. He’s not in Cannibal Corpse anymore, but he used to be. As far as anyone currently in the band, no. I’m not even sure if anyone in Cannibal likes weed. I did smoke weed with a guy named Burnin’ Vernon who was a roadie for Cannibal Corpse for a really long time. Anyone close to Cannibal would know Vernon. [Laughs] And the “Burnin’” part obviously comes from all the weed that he smokes.
Chris Barnes makes a cameo on your new album, From Wisdom To Baked.
Yeah, it’s a song called “Individual Pot Patterns,” and the title is a tribute to Death’s “Individual Thought Patterns.” He actually wrote all the lyrics for the song. He’s been very supportive of Cannabis Corpse. He’s taken us out on tour with his band Six Feet Under. We actually have a bunch of cool guests on the new album. Trevor [Strnad] from the Black Dahlia Murder is on another song. Ralph Santolla from Obituary and Death does a solo on one song, and we’ve got Kevin [Quirion] from Deicide doing a solo. And Sean [McGrath] from Ghoul does vocals on a song.
You’re in three bands that tour pretty heavily at this point—Municipal Waste, Iron Reagan, and Cannabis Corpse. Are you constantly on the road, or what?
Between the three bands, the next three months of my life will be touring nonstop. But I brought my laptop along and I’m working on the new Iron Reagan record while we’re on the road, so I’m pulling double duty. The road has ups and downs, you know? People who don’t travel all the time would probably look at it as a dream come true, which it is, but when you have a job where you get to sleep in your own bed every night, that’s pretty awesome. I’ve been touring for the last ten years of my life, so I’m used to it at this point. The weed helps a lot, though.
J. Bennett did not smoke any weed while writing this article. But he should have.
These articles are also about the marijuana drug: