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Interview: Andy Horn (Cannabis Corpse, Battlemaster)

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In the summer of 2007, Richmond, VA’s Battlemaster opened a string of shows for the legendary GWAR. In support of my friends in Battlemaster, I was front and center for their hometown show. As Andy Horn enchanted the crowd with his outrageous, troll-like voice, the girl in front of me seemed frightened and confused. Unfamiliar with Andy’s comical stage banter, she turned to her boyfriend and asked, “Does he really talk like that?” As her boyfriend shrugged, I thought about interjecting some knowledge, but opted to let her go on wondering. Three years later, it’s time for the mystery to be revealed. The answer is “yes”. He really does talk like that. Andy lives and breathes metal, weed, and dungeons & dragons from the time he wakes up until the time he passes out.

Catching up with Andy these days is harder than when we first met five years ago. Between tours with Cannabis Corpse and Battlemaster, as well as business trips to comic book conventions, Andy is constantly on the move. Somewhat of a modern-day nomad, he is content touring and meeting fellow hessians from all over the globe. Never one to shy away from a good conversation, Andy is an old soul when it comes to heavy metal. His attitude stems from a time before the Internet and text messaging made everyone awkward and lame. When I think of Andy, I picture him crushing beer cans with Slayer during the making of South of Heaven.

Wise beyond his years, Andy’s mentality is unmistakably old-school. In a time when vintage Judas Priest shirts are selling for over $150, he maintains a good sense of humor regarding the widespread popularity of classic metal and retro fashion. He laughably explains the trend as being “set forth by total buttwads like Drew Barrymore, Megan Fox, Nikki Sixx, Alicia Silverstone, and the entirety of skinny metal-core. But, hey, we all do it. I bought a Warlock Triumph and Agony tour shirt for 12USD (ahem… s/h included)”.

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On the subject of metal gear, I presented Andy with the “Sepultura” dilemma. What is the Sepultura dilemma? Well, according to legend, in the early days of Sepultura, lead singer Max Cavelara constructed bullet belts made out of batteries in order to get that “Venom” look. When asked how he would make homemade heavy metal accessories if he lived in a third world country, Andy replied, “I got the flooring nail gauntlets and the .50 cal bando warbelts already, but if I had to kick it in say, Peru? Hell, I’d definitely carry tons of sheathed knives, readily available demonic pewter skull rings and pendants, and of course have sewn bits of black trash bag to my pants”. Not only could Andy pull off that look, but he could also gain more Peruvian Facebook friends than any other rocker.

Spreading his metal message all over the world is a crucial part of Andy’s existence. What exactly is his message? He summed it up in three words: “Pot or Rot”. When he’s not worshipping Absu and casting dark spells in Battlemaster, you can find him planting seeds of death in the infamous Cannabis Corpse. This band has earned much praise in the metal community, but also flak from the pigs. For this reason, Cannabis Corpse sometimes must hide their true identity. Take, for instance, the time they were pulled over on tour in New Mexico. Andy explains, “Cops bugged out on us in southern New Mexico and asked us the name of the band before searching. I was like, ‘Eh… Radio Slap, sir’. He IMMEDIATELY followed that with, ‘Is it death or speed metal?’ What a poser! Everyone knows Radio Slap is straight Doom/Slam”.

I asked Andy if he had plans for any other drug-related tribute bands. With much enthusiasm he replied, “HEMPEROR! ‘With Strength I Burn One’ or ‘Chronic Seeds to my Creation of High’ would make great song titles”. I foresee Hemperor merchandise becoming very popular. Nevertheless, I would not rule out the possibility of cashing in on more extreme drug tributes with bands such as Cocaine Frost or Napalm Meth. Let’s face it: As time moves on, the youth will demand that their death metal bands take it to the next level.

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Singing in multiple bands comes fairly easy for lifers such as Andy. When you’ve dedicated your life to collecting Iron Man comics and avoiding the conventional nine-to-five lifestyle, touring and recording come naturally. One of my earliest memories of Andy was seeing him play in the ultra-kvlt supergroup known as Fuck Mountain. Fuck Mountain are the definition of the word obscure and are not the only trick hidden up Andy’s sleeve. Other rare gems include Shithammeror, Incestor, World Hunger, Bill Murray, and the almighty Ruler.

In his free time, Andy stays busy ripping bongs, slinging comics, and watching Candlemass videos on YouTube. Sounds like fun, but I had to find out if he’d experienced any frightening highs lately. He said that the closest thing to a scary high he’d had recently was smoking a “shwag/dorito-crumble doob and tripping out”. He went on to describe some “dude” playing Sabbath “way slow” to intentionally freak him out. Not to fear though, Andy assured me that it didn’t faze him because with weed he is “in control”.

As evident from this conversation, free time is a rare thing for Andy. He is truly dedicated to music and shows no sign of slowing down or quitting. In fact, when asked whether he was worried if Cannabis Corpse would replace him with a physically bigger and scarier vocalist after the fourth album (à la Cannibal Corpse), Andy confidently replied, “Nah, ’cause they know I’d kick that scab’s fuckin’ ass, and then slap him right before I sent him home”. No sweat, Andy. Where else could the band find a singer who not only has pitch control but also “weed control”?

— Jonathan Ayer

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Cannabis Corpse are on tour until this Sunday. Two weeks from today, they begin a run of US East Coast dates alongside Hate Eternal and Order of Ennead. For tour dates, see here.

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“Skull Full of Bong Hits”

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Cannabis Corpse @ Robotic Empire (CD’s, LP’s, t-shirts, sweatpants)
Cannabis Corpse @ Tankcrimes (CD’s, LP’s, cassette tapes, t-shirts, longsleeves)

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