Happy Birthday, Corpsegrinder: How Cannibal Corpse’s Frontman Helped Me Through

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It’s 2019, and I’m a Digital Editor for Kerrang! at their new Brooklyn offices. The job is hard, and I’m overwhelmed with work, and fucking up left and right, but I’m writing awesome lists and getting to interact with my musical idols on the fly. For Father’s Day, I decide to write a list of 12 of the best dads in metal. And obviously, on that list is Cannibal Corpse frontman George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher, who’s always on his Instagram showing off his daughters and talking about how proud he is of them.

What I’m not expecting is for the list to make its way to Corpsegrinder, and for him to reach out to me on Instagram. But suddenly there I am at JFK, three beers deep, boarding a plane to London and messaging with my favorite death metal frontman of all time.

What I remember most is when I mentioned that I was also planning on being a dad someday, and Fisher responded with something along the lines of, “Watching my daughters grow is the most amazing thing. It brings a tear to my eye.” It made me realize that George wasn’t just performing fatherhood, or his good-natured claw-machine-loving everyman attitude, on Instagram. This is what he thinks about in his spare time. Corpsegrinder’s heart is real.

Anyway, cut to July of 2020. The Kerrang! job is a few months gone, liquidated alongside my wife’s job when the pandemic hit. I’m now indeed a dad, with my first child having been born earlier that month. If I was overwhelmed as a reporter for a British rock magazine, I am drowning as a father, constantly screwing up, and worried about how often my child is pooping, and drinking about eight iced coffees a day, and listening to zero music. I’m a fuckin’ mess, son.

During all of this, I remember my interaction with George. So, for fun’s sake, I send him a picture of my kid, and tell him I’m a dad, now, too. And he congratulates me. And then he sends my kid a toddler-size Cannibal Corpse shirt, and his wife Stacy straight-up prints us an Obituary onesie (my wife and I discovered that she ad been pregnant when we’d seen Obituary together that October, making it our baby’s first show).

When you’re a new parent, you sometimes feel like you’re stranded on a desert island, alone except for howler monkeys that scream all night and occasionally throw up in your cupped hands. People bring lasagnas and copies of Stellaluna, but there’s also a low-lying feeling of, Ho boy, have fun with that. So to have a musician I admire so much, who only knew me peripherally through my work, do something so unnecessary and wonderful for me…well, I wish I could accurately describe how important that was. Let’s just say it felt like waking up to find a message in a bottle on the shore of the island.

So: Corpsegrinder, happy birthday. May you see many, many more. May your day be full of cake and hugs from your family and music that sounds like Nosferatu got fat as hell before being slowly fed into a giant blender. Your music has always meant the world to me, man, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned in this business, it’s that being a good person means more than any song ever could. And dude, you are one of the good ones.

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