Casey Orr talks about Rigor Mortis’ new album “Slaves to the Grave”

Casey Orr is the bassist for the band Warbeast. He has also been a member of such bands as GWAR, Ministry, Ex-Cops and thrash/metal legends Rigor Mortis. Media Mikes spoke with Casey recently about Rigor Mortis’ new album (their first in 23 years) titled “Slaves to the Grave”. We also spoke about the hardships which occurred during its creation and the whether or not the band plans to continue despite the death of guitarist/founding member Mike Scaccia in 2012.

Adam Lawton: Tell us about the new album and the struggles you encountered during the recording process?
Casey Orr: It’s been a pretty fucked up turn of events. We lost our guitarist Mike Saccia in December of 2012. He had actually been in the studio 3 days before he died and signed off on all of his parts for the album. He had finished everything he had to do and was happy with his work. Even still it was hard to really say that the album was done. We spent a lot of time listening to it and tweaking things and we got it to where we think it’s perfect but Mike’s not here to enjoy it with us. That really sucks because after all the years and ups and downs we were excited to hit the road and work on more new material. It’s bitter sweet. We are glad the record is coming out but it’s the end of an era.

AL: From start to finish how long did the writing/recording process take?
CO: It was relatively short. We had a couple songs we were working on for about a year before they were recorded. The majority of the record was written about 3 months prior to it being recorded. We did do some last minute arrangement stuff. We wanted that type of element to the album. We didn’t want it to be like we spent months and months on the album. That just wasn’t the vibe we were going for. We had a window of studio time become available and we just went in and did it. We did a lot of work and the crew we worked with was really great.

AL: How long after Mike’s passing did you wait to start working again on the record?
CO: We went back in after about two weeks to listen to what we had. We didn’t really do any work that first time back and from there it was kind of a slow process. It was hard to listen to Mike’s playing. There’s some real heartfelt playing on there. Mike could transition from style to style and just sound great. That was really his strong suit. We knew Mike would have wanted us to finish these tracks and that was our drive to get things done.

AL: Tell us about the decision to use IndieGogo to help with the release of the album?
CO: Rigor Mortis never had a business plan or a bank account. At the end of the night we split the money and went to the bar. Things were just so loose and punk rock. It was so wrong. (Laughs) We were going to shop the record to a label and start talking to people however a lot of the interest we had thought was going to be there just wasn’t. We weren’t asking for a lot of money or anything we just wanted to get this record out. Even before Mike died the interest was just sort of gone. We got a lot of positive feedback but because there wasn’t going to be a tour or anything behind it places didn’t want to take the risk. We said “fuck it” and we did it ourselves. We rolled the dice and went for it. We reached our goal and we were able to do things just right. Now I have to fill all the requests for paintings from the campaign as that was one of the things people could choose. I have to do 10 original paintings! It’s going to be fun.

AL: Can you tell us about the bonus DVD which will be included?
CO: There’s a short 30 minute DVD that comes with the record. There’s some behind the scenes stuff from the studio. There’s some other really cool stuff on along with a live song performance. It’s not a full length by any means but we are working on something bigger for the future.

AL: Has the band thought further about performing any of this material live?
CO: After Mike died it wasn’t even a thought. We just weren’t going to perform as Rigor Mortis again because without Mike it isn’t the same. We did a benefit as a one off thing calling ourselves “The Scotchinators”. Doyle our second singer came out as did Mikes guitar tech who really captured Mike’s style and sound. The show resulted in getting offers to do more shows. It’s fine line because we don’t want to come off as a tribute band of ourselves but we don’t want to let the music die either. My thoughts are if we are going to continue on then we start a new band and create new material to go along with the other stuff. Nothing is really long term at this point but the thought is there.

AL: Can you give us a quick update about your other projects?
CO: My band Warbeast will be performing at the House Core Festival this year. We are also slowly in the process of writing a new record. I haven’t been able to be much help as the Rigor Mortis stuff has kept me pretty busy. Shelby our guitarist who’s a brilliant writer has been working hard on that. I also will be reuniting with my punk band The Hellions for a show in December with D.R.I. We might be starting a new version of The Hellions as some of the original lineups aren’t able to continue. Guys will be moving around and we also are changing the name. Things are really busy right now.

Blu-ray Review “Rigor Mortis”

Actors: Anthony Chan, Richard Ng, Chin Siu-Ho, Kara Wai, Nina Paw
Directors: Juno Mak
Rated: Unrated
Studio: Well Go USA
Release Date: July 8, 2014
Run Time: 105 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 1/2 out of 5 stars

I love J-horror or Japanese horror films…or at least I think I do. The last few I have watched haven’t been bad but freaking terrible including “Tormented”, “Sadako” etc. “Rigor Mortis” has a really cool poster so it won me over (and I don’t mean this cover art for the Blu-ray, that is a failure). So with this film, I obviously went in with a bad attitude but I was pleasantly surprised. The story had its moments were it was awesome and at the same time super confusing. The visual effects also range from great to absolutely terrible. Either way this was a big improvement over the last few and worth checking out.

Official Premise: In this eerie and chilling, contemporary, action/special effects laden homage to the classic Chinese vampire movies of the 1980 s, writer-director-producer, Juno Mak makes his feature directorial debut. Co-produced by J-Horror icon Takashi Shimizu, and reuniting some of the original cast members of the classic Mr. Vampire series, RIGOR MORTIS is set in a creepy and moody Hong Kong public housing tower whose occupants we soon discover, run the gamut from the living to the dead, to the undead, along with ghosts, vampires and zombies.

I don’t know what is going on with horror recently but they just isn’t scary anymore. Films like “Ju-on” and “The Ring” are scary, this isn’t scary at all. This was even co-produced by Takashi Shimizu, who directed “Ju-on”, but even he has fallen far his J-horror seat. The 1080p transfer looks good and works with the visual effects. The DTS-HD Master Audio track sounds good enough with the eerie score, I just left that it missed the mark with the scares. Lastly there are no special features included besides a trailer.