red spatter logo

How Carcass has changed my life

by Ronald R. Rodent

A few years ago I was failing out of high school, much similar to the way I was failing out of grade school (which is very hard to do, I know, but when you're a member of the CIA you don't have much time for wreading, writing and wrarithmatic). I managed to blackmail my way out of my grade school situation (however, I can not use the knowledge I...know due to the fact that Mr. Nixon is dead) and when I found myself in high school, I much more confused because I realized that I would soon have to graduate from there as well.


Let's face it, high school is tough for those of us who can't find our way out of an empty room (which is how I was fired from the CIA). So I had to rely on making friends and avoiding eye contact with various forms of Zeppelin-fans scattered around the school. I had grown up in the city of Chicago itself, and now here I was, stuck in the suburbs. Oh the pain! The agony! Here I was at a school where the middle class was considered the group of people who earned more than $80,000 a year; by this qualification I was in the poverty level (the problem here was that I was never paid by the CIA, I never realized that they had to pay me) and thus I did not fit in very well, not to mention I couldn't stand Zep. Sorry, but it's the truth.

To keep me from asking stupid questions (i.e. Where does blood come from and why can't I have any?) my close friends would let me listen to a few of their tapes. One of them was Living Colour's Vivid, featuring the huge hit "Cult Of Personality." I thought this was the shit, so I copied it over and over again, which was completely unneccesary, I know, but remember, I was also trying to find my way out of that open room at the time, so this had second priority.

Anyways, time passed and with the help of a few more friends I began listening to metal, the likes of Anthrax and Megadeth. I thought Megadeth was always a comedy effort, and thus they were the coolest shit. However, years later I would discover that Dave M. was SERIOUS about songs like "Liar" and "Sweating Bullets," so I shuddered as I usually did and threw my Megadeth albums out the door (this is how I found my way out of that room as well, enabling me to go to class finally and get a job etc...). I had turned my attention towards Metallica and Corrosion Of Conformity and learned how to play guitar and found meaning in disco. Sepultura had taken its toll on me, life was looking good, but then my senior year hit, and this was a problem.

For every year that I had been in high school I had a different high school counselor. The first one was a hippie who thought he was Jesus Christ. I stayed away from him for a long time. I fergot who that other guy was my sophmore year, I think he killed 8 people or something I dunno but he was fired, which was quite a bummer. My junior year I faced an evil guy who used to play a lot of football, and I'm guessing this caused a lot of fetishes & obsessions dealing with pigskin because it was now his whole life. He pulled me aside mid-semester and said, "Ron, your situation is similar to that of the 72 Dolphins. What you need to do is get yourself a good quarterback and maybe some strength in the defense, not that I'm saying that it's bad right now, and think about trading that reciever, and you'll pull through to a good season, maybe even a playoff spot."

My senior year was much different and this is where the pain was about to be experienced: I would have to graduate AGAIN (as if once wasn't enough). What the hell? My last counselor was this guy who kept kicking me out of his office on occasion because he felt like it. I don't blame him (not to mention I was still having trouble finding the door, I needed the directional help). He told me to forget about existing as a normal person; normal people don't get grades like yours, he said, and I asked him who these people were.

"Normal people, you fucking idiot," he replied.

He hinted to me that college was not much of a choice for me (I would make great fertilizer, he said). At the same time I was getting trampled in all my classes and to avoid this my teachers said I should stop sitting on the goddamn floor (idiots, where else am I supposed to sit?). My life was shit: my car had been totaled in an accident and my new one, this stationwagon, didn't start up half the time. The Simpsons were on only once a week. I had not heard of a new C.O.C. album yet. I had never seen Spinal Tap. Women would not give me the time. Cars do not brake for me. My Cubbies went on strike and Jordan retired. People were remembering the 70s not for disco but instead for bell-bottoms. I had nothing to play my Steve Martin records on. Ed McMahon had my address. Life was hell, and I would not graduate with my grades (I think it didn't help that drawing on my homework assignments didn't help).

Then one day, something happened. It was a special day for Seniors where we would all have to convene and talk about the four years of hell and then get to leave. While eating the free food (free food is always good) my friend Mike showed me Carcass' Heartwork album. He said it was killer. I do not trust the judgement of my friend Mike, to tell you the truth I really don't like him that much, but the album...was very intriguing and...needed looking into. So after I was nominated for Most Likely To Start A Death Metal Band (Mike won that) and won Most Likely To Become a Homeless Person, I drove away in my station wagon, carefully denting every nice car on the way out as I usually do, and drove to the nearest used music store and bought a copy of Heartwork. As I do with any album I haven't heard yet I brought it home and pressed "shuffle" on the CD player. The title track came on.

As nations fell, people died, drugs taken effect, my life changed for the better at this amazing album. Why, this very CD could make the world a better place (it was already an okay place, after all Cheers was only on twice a day instead of my proposed 12 hours a day). the first thing I did was to call Fox. "listen," said I, still mesmorized from the beautiful music, "you need to put the Simpsons on at LEAST once a day."

"We'll see what we can do," they said (I'm amazed they actually gave me a response, normally they just tell me to stop harrassing them). I knew then that I could make a difference in my life and maybe, yes, maybe even in the lives of others (whether they wanted a change or not, it didn't matter, I was on a power trip).

Soon afterwards the baseball players agreed to stop striking and the Cubs had a really good season (not to mention Harry Carey may not be broadcasting soon). Jordan stopped playing baseball and return to saving the lives of millions with his basketball skills. C.O.C. put out that album. This Is Spinal Tap turned out to be a damn fine film. Women not only told me what time it was, they let me get at least a ten second head start before they would start shooting at me. I haven't gotten a letter from Ed McMahon in a LONG time. I got a record player (woo hoo!), now I can listen to my Saturday Night Fever soundtrack! My car not only started every time, but it became the most respected vehicle in the state of Illinois (it was even stolen once, and returned when the criminal element realized that it was my car). Sure, it's hard to get into an ivy league school, which is why I didn't. I applied to the University of Illinois and I was rejected. So I wrote to them again, explaining that I was a Carcass fan, and I was immediately let in. Life was looking good.

And it's looking better now that I have every album. Sure, I was kicked out of school for "not living up to the standards set up by the faculty," but there are so many options for me now that I listen to Carcass. As I'm speaking, I have Sally Struthers on the phone, she's signing me up for my degree right now...

heartwork arm
Paul has problems, so you can write to him at