"Your World Offends Me": Cancerslug's Alex Story Discusses True Horror
"3 Days She Bled, 3 Days I Bathed."
"In the Dumpster Behind the Clinic."
These are a few of the better-known and loved songs from Alabama underground horror-punks Cancerslug. Alex Story, the group's founder and driving force, is aware his band's music might seem offensive to some. But before you show up with picket signs or your local clergy at their next show, consider his take on what he does.
"The purpose of art is to evoke an emotional response," says Story. "It's not my place as an artist to say what your personal response should be to your observation of my work. If I have done my job right, then there will be at least one statement or image or song involved with Cancerslug that will anger, annoy or offend any given person."
"Your world offends me," he continues. "Your society offends me, the vile horrors that occur every day. So, if my words or images offend, why would I care? Those snobby, pretentious assholes that want to sit high in judgment of what they deem worthy or unworthy of praise or ridicule mean less than nothing to me. The kids that tell me that my music saved their lives are the only ones that matter to me."
Those kids exist -- collectively they're known as the "Slugcult" -- and many will be on hand when Cancerslug returns to Houston this Sunday at Eastdown Warehouse, 850 McKee.
"I think maybe 2007 was the last time through there, although we've played through Texas a bit since then," Story says. "The only thing I really remember was (drummer) Mike leaving with some guy to get high without his phone, so we had to detective around Houston to find his ass in time to make the next show."
Cancerslug is presently a trio, with Cassie Baher on bass and Mike Horgan on drums; Story formed the band in 1999. The current tour, dubbed "Rape The Nation," is in support of the band's new release, Seasons of Sickness.
Although its catalog features more than 200 songs across nearly a dozen albums, Story says the new title is something of a first for Cancerslug.
"The main difference between Seasons of Sickness and the previous albums and demos is the production value," he explains. "We recorded with a killer engineer at Clearwave Studio in Alabama. He really captured the sound I wanted on this disk with a clarity we have never had before, but without losing our raw feel. But when it all comes down to it, it's still Cancerslug. It's pure, in-your-face rock and roll."
For the uninitiated, Cancerslug's sound recalls the ancient ones. Think further back than the beginning of punk.
"I grew up on early punk -- Misfits, Cramps, Damned, Germs, Fear, Dwarves; all that kinda shit," says Story. "But Cancerslug is equally influenced by old religions and cult ideologies, dark poets and writers like Lovecraft and Poe, and religious texts."
You can call Cancerslug a lot of things, and people have over the years, but you've got to include "industrious" in that name-calling. Story has built a musical career that is now in its third decade. The band is planning a four-disc retrospective and more touring and Story has teamed with The Misfits' Doyle on a new album, Abominator. Like so many bands today, they've done it all without major-label backing.
"I grew up during the old tape-trade days, that was how underground music spread back then," says Story. "It's easier now. I like that it's harder for the leeches and vultures to pick the meat from the artists' bones.
Story continues on the next page.