Alex Webster: to the extreme

(Image credit: Miikka Skaffari/Getty Images)

For the past 22 years, Alex Webster has pretty much been doing two things: anchoring the seminal death metal band Cannibal Corpse, and pushing himself to wreak technical havoc on the bass guitar. This isn’t just garden-variety shredding, either: Here is someone deeply versed in theory, songwriting in every time signature under the sun, and applying advanced modal scales to death metal. Someone who transcribes his bandmates’ guitar parts so he can conceive boundarypushing lines on his own time. Someone who actually cares enough to write his own metal bass instructional book detailing a groundbreaking three-finger technique and other tools for anyone seeking metal mastery. Someone who now has a signature Spector bass. Quite simply, at 42, he’s at the top of his game.

Maybe you didn’t notice because, well, he’s in a band called Cannibal Corpse. As such, Alex’s typical interview starts like this: Let’s talk about the censorship problems you’ve had in Germany. What is this bloody, gory album artwork all about? That’s okay—he’s used to it. “I’m like, ‘Well those things are cool, but most of the day I’m thinking about bass and how it works with the band.’ Anything that’s emphasizing music as opposed to controversy is always a welcome question. I mean, I do love horror movies and everything, but the imagery of our band, to me, is absolutely secondary to the music.”

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