Rigor Mortis – Harden Harrison

An interview with Rigor Mortis’ Harden Harrison.
Bulldozer: What is the good word on the writing of the new album for Rigor Mortis like?

Harden: The good word is it’s probably like a combination of all 3 records with some of the more basic straight ahead thrash of the first one and some of the more technically structured songs of Vs The Earth and stuff, so it be a combination of both.


Bulldozer: What song are you most fond of with the new stuff?

Harden: Right now the song I am most fond of is Bloodbath.

Bulldozer: How has the writing of that coming along like?

Harden: It was an old riff we had a long time ago, and Mike (Scaccia) kind of brought it back and then put some more parts to it, Casey(Orr) and I listened to the recording of the guitar parts that Casey had and we arranged it a little bit and ironed out a few parts. For the most part Mike wrote the music and then I came up with most of the lyrics.

Bulldozer: Now have you been coming with the “Infected”

Harden: It’s pretty much finished, Casey and I wrote those lyrics together and once again Mike came up with the music for that one.  There is sort of a long into of instrumentals to it. I think the song is pretty much finished though.

Bulldozer: What was going on through your mind to be composing new Rigor Mortis songs?

Harden: It’s pretty exciting, the subject material never runs out, I mean we’ve always been horror fans or books, movies, plays, and whatever so it’s kind of an endless supply of subject matter for lyrics and we probably have about 5 songs in the works right now and we are hoping to get about 12 of 14 together before we go record.  Just so we have plenty to choose from in case some turn out better than others but it’s the same old process that we’ve always done with Rigor Mortis which is basically Mike coming up with the basic song idea, then he shows the music to Casey and I and we tweak it a little, come up with drum parts and Casey comes up with Bass parts, and then we arrange it a little for lyrics and what not tweak it and there you have it.

Bulldozer: On your self titled album you had songs like Re-Animator and Wizard of Gore and now for a new song you have “The Infected,” that’s about zombies from the 28 Days/Weeks Later movies, are there any new songs you are working on right now that are about newer horror movies?

Harden: To tell you the truth, we are concentrating on the music end of it. We haven’t really sat down and worked on new lyrics yet except for 2 or 3 songs.  We always write the words after the music. There’s  nothing yet about new horror movies  as far as lyric content for the new songs. I’m sure there will be though. It probably won’t happen till December or maybe January before we get down to really cracking down on getting the lyrics down.

Bulldozer: Can you name me another song title besides Bloodbath or the Infected for the new album?

Harden: I think we got one, Cut Your Own Head Off which is just a random title (Laughs)that we’re gonna have to work with.  That’s all I all I really have right now ‘cuz like I said we’ve been working on the music, we’re kind of referring to it as this song or that song right now.

Bulldozer: Can you tell me a little bit about this new song Cut Your Own Head Off?

Harden: It’s a crazy beat that Mike came up with on a drum machine, and showed it to me and some riffs to go along with it, so we kind of took it from there and ran with it, we started just jamming on it and a few other parts fell into place, that’s it really, the lyrics haven’t even been started yet.

Bulldozer: Now personally can you tell me your 5 favorite horror movies of all time?

Harden: I could probably tell you 5 that I like a lot, it’s hard to pick your favorites. There’s always the classics.  Dawn of the Dead, that Fulci movie Zombi, or Evil Dead, Texas Chainsaw Massacre (The original), and probably an old one like Blood Feast or 2000 Maniacs from Hershall Gordon Lewis or Wizard of Gore maybe but something from him and Dario Argento movie would have to be in there as well probably Susperia. How many was that?

Bulldozer: Prally like 7 or 8, good choices though.

Harden: I just like to see some of the ones I can keep watching and they don’t get old.

Bulldozer: Do you enjoy any of the new Japanese splatter movies?

Harden: Yeah man, Shoot what’s the name of it. I have enjoyed a few of them though. I really enjoyed that movie, Battle Royale. That was a really good movie. There was this other movie that I thought was cool. It’s escaping me now.

Bulldozer: If you had the chance to star in a horror movie, what kind of villain would you be?

Harden: I think I’d want to be some kind of ruthless devil worshipping evil and scary villain. Something that’s sort of supernatural but kind of believable.

Bulldozer: Now how was the Keep It True Festival in Germany?

Harden: That was excellent actually, you know for one thing it’s Germany so the fans are absolutely rabid. They are dedicated and really into it and treated us really well. I had a great time playing that show. It’s one of the best things I have done lately.

Bulldozer: What were some of the things you did in Germany when you weren’t practicing with Rigor Mortis as well as being on stage?

Harden: Just the typical stuff, walked around, and checking out the cool countryside, awesome little towns, and the delicious beer they had all over the place, (laughs) the food, talking with friendly people, it’s a beautiful place.

Bulldozer: Can you name me some of the good beers you drank in Germany?

Harden: Oh man, Nahhh I really can’t remember, there are just so many, every town has their own, I didn’t really write down what I was drinking. I just walked someplace and said give me some of the local brew and I would drink it.  I honestly couldn’t remember the exact names.

Bulldozer: Have you been approached recently about releasing or promoting Rigor Mortis albums in Japan or Australia?

Harden: Not in Japan or Australia yet, but we have been approached for European releases, I suppose those places would be next. I haven’t heard any news about that yet. But we’d be happy you know.

Bulldozer: Thinking back to your co-headlining tour with Death Angel what were some of the better moments?

Harden: We got along good with those guys, I think at the time we were a little bit crazier than them ‘cuz we were partying hard and they were rather young and the highlights were the shows, seeing different cities and traveling around and we hadn’t done much of that when we did that tour, so it was relatively new to us. We only traveled locally not really nationally or even internationally to Canada and stuff, so just seeing the world you know, traveling with friends, I guess that’s the highlight.

Bulldozer: Now you had a tour back in ’05 and played a show with Toxic Holocaust in New York, How did you like New York and do you expect to have any more shows sharing the stage with Toxic Holocaust?

Harden: I don’t know if anything is in the works with Toxic Holocaust or not, we certainly wouldn’t mind playing with them again. It was a great show and we had a good time in New York, I thought we had a really good turnout.  Sometimes New York can be a little difficult, Rigor Mortis has always done really well there.

Bulldozer: Now what’s your favorite story from being on tour over the years?

Harden: (Laughs) Oh man, I don’t know, there are so many of em, I don’t know I really have a favorite.

Bulldozer: Pick your favorite story from Texas then?

Harden: I don’t know, mostly its stuff that you remember more of the tragic stuff, I don’t know if that’d count as a favorite story, like falling off the back of a drum riser in the middle of a song or something like that, that really made you mad at the time. But you can look back and laugh at it. It seemed awful at the moment. I guess that’s the more memorable stuff. Unfortunately that happened, fell off the back of a drum riser and that’s never good, especially when it’s about 8 feet high.  Then there is just crazy times with just trashing rooms, getting in fights (laughs), you know typical crazy stuff.  We try to calm it down a little bit these days  (laughs) as far as the fighting and trashing places.

Bulldozer: Now if there could be another reissue of the self titled album, are there any tracks that weren’t on the 03 reissue that you’d want to put on a future release.

Harden: Like old songs that we’d tack onto that, Maybe the Troll, or Condemned to Hell, and probably there are a handful of other songs, I would think that if we released that album again we would probably put something that wasn’t on there before just to make it more interesting.

Bulldozer: I noticed on the Warbeast  song “Unleashed” Phil Anselmo contributed some vocals to that song, as well as sometimes at Rigor Mortis concerts Phil contributes some vocals to songs like Demons, Is there any possibility that Phil  might appear on the next Rigor Mortis album maybe doing some backing or co-lead vocals with Bruce or something?

Harden: That for sure is a possibility. Nothing has been officially discussed. Whenever we see Phil, he’s our good friend. If he’s got the time and we happen to be doing it, I’m sure he would like to join in and be a part of it, we’d love to have him so it’s definitely a possibility and it all depends on how busy everyone is and the timing like everything else.

Bulldozer: Have your inspirations for writing music changed from back in the days of the ‘80s to nowadays?

Harden: No not really, I wouldn’t say a lot, not for Rigor Mortis. It’s still the same basic inspirations like something that really pisses us off, or books or movies we find entertaining or even just made up stories that might take a hint from something else but really our own story.

Bulldozer: Now tell me what was it like at that the 1st show that you played after Rigor Mortis got signed to Capital Records?

Harden: Well the first show afterwards, we were all excited obviously, we played some shows after that, but still nothing really changed until we had our official release party. That was a really big awesome show, and I’m not sure what changed exactly, it kind of stayed the same but that’s the way we were, it was definitely an exciting time and everybody like our friends and family were excited for us too.

Bulldozer: What was the release party show like?

Harden: It was a show at this place in Dallas called Tommy’s at the time and it was just a big Rigor Mortis show, and there was food for everyone and things like that, it was open to the public but there was also a huge VIP area, for friends and family. There were a lot of pictures and people flying in from Capital, participating and things like that. It was a good time.

Bulldozer: Any words for fans of yours that have yet to catch a Live Rigor Mortis show?

Harden: You should come and check it out and see us in action. Especially if you can seeing a guitarist like Mike Scaccia, it’s like looking at one of the wonders of the world. He’s a trip to watch. I definitely recommend it.

Interview by Nick Perkel