RIGOR MORTIS - USA

Rigor Mortis - 1988 - Capitol
Rigor Mortis Vs. The Earth - 1991 - Triple X

Rigor Mortis image
  
 
Members
Vocals
Spectrum>>Bruce Corbitt>>Malignancy, K.O.D., Warbeast, Texas Metal Alliance, The Scaccianators, Wizards Of Gore - The Bang Gang>>Doyle Bright>>SOG, The Scaccianators - X-Cops, The Scaccianators>>CASEY ORR>>Blohole, X-Cops, The Scaccianators, Wizards Of Gore - Spectrum, Malignancy, K.O.D., Warbeast, Texas Metal Alliance, The Scaccianators>>BRUCE CORBITT>>Warbeast, Texas Metal Alliance, The Scaccianators, Wizards Of Gore

Guitar
Spectrum, Ministry, Revolting Cocks, 1000 Homo DJs, Buck Satan And The 666 Shooters>>MIKE SCACCIA>>Ministry, Blohole, Revolting Cocks, 1000 Homo DJs, Buck Satan And The 666 Shooters - The Bang Gang>>Doyle Bright>>Two Pronged Crown, Hallows Eve, SOG, The Scaccianators


Bass
Warlock, Gwar, The Hellions, X-Cops, Burden Brothers>>CASEY ORR>>Blohole, Gwar, The Hellions, X-Cops, Burden Brothers, Ministry, Warbeast, The Scaccianators, Wizards Of Gore, Warlock Texas, Lockdown Junkies

Drum
Warlock, Eruption, Pervis, Mitra>>HARDEN HARRISON>>The Scaccianators, Wizards Of Gore, Warlock Texas, Speedealer, Hint Of Death





History & Biography
There were, and are, several dozen bands called Rigor Mortis roaming the planet of course, but these Texas, USA-based thrashers were one of the first likely preceded by the California punks and the German metal act only. Death metal band Immolation also carried the monicker in the 1980s. In fact, this Rigor Mortis had to buy the copyright to the name from a US punk band itself.

Thrash metal forerunner Rigor Mortis was founded in November 1983. The rhythm section consisted of two highschool-mates since grade seven who had been jamming together in a band called Warlock since 1981. The singer and guitarist were in a covers’ band called Spectrum playing Black Sabbath and other songs. Bassist Orr and drummer Harrison, who had broken his ankle as a child, were from Arlington. Guitarist Mike Scaccia and singer Bruce Corbitt came from another suburb called Irving. Harrison would move on to Euption from Warlock. Eruption would open for the local band, Pantera. Warlock would recruit future Gammacide member Rick Perry soon. They had to start from scratch when Harrison stabbed a band-mate over a girl.

The guitarist was introduced to the bassist and drummer through the former guitarist of Eruption, Mark, which itself had broken up. Mike Scaccia and Casey Orr shared the vocals in Rigor Mortis at first. A dedicated singer (Hugo “Marz” Rodriguez of local band Agent) was in the band, but did not stay long. Fan of the band Corbitt would join the act next after his probation from a drug bust was over. Scaccia joined Orr and Harrison before drafting Corbitt into his newer band in July 1986. There were several originals as well as cover versions of Exciter, Iron Maiden, Venom, Slayer and Judas Priest. The band played a show with Samhain. Other gigs were with Watchtower/Gammacide, Anialator and The Helldogs. Demo 1986’s line-up, therefore, was singer Bruce Corbitt, guitarist Mike Scaccia, bassist Casey Orr and drummer Harden H. Harrison. A concert with D.R.I. turned into a melee among the audience members resulting in the crossover headliners not playing.

Somewhat unbelievably, Capitol Records signed the band and issued a self-titled debut in 1988. This made Rigor Mortis the rare extreme metal band that had signed directly to a major label without going through indies first. A&R rep Rachel Matthews, who would later work with Exodus, was instrumental in this signing. The band’s friend and local promoter Jeff Liles had made the introduction. The same man had the band open for Megadeth (the band and Megadeth got into a fight). Liles was managing Rigor Mortis de facto. At the same time, Corbitt was stabbed in a fight at a concert. In fact, the band was making trouble and starting fights, which made enemies for them. Several demo tracks made it over to the album. The band emphasised horror themes. The group opened a concert for Slayer. A few concerts with Death Angel in Canada and the USA were next. The group was also added to the soundtrack for The Decline Of The Western Civilisation Part II. Capitol promptly dropped the band or, rather, handed it to Metal Blade. Corbitt was fired at the beginning of 1989. He joined Malignancy. The band attributed the firing to musical and personal differences and the singer’s “attitude.” The band had falsely insinuated to the singer that Capitol wanted him gone.

The next release was on Metal Blade and Bill Metoyer recorded. The cover of the Freaks EP of 1989 looked like a snapshot of the attendees of a MAGA rally. Doyle Bright (later in Metal Blade band Hallows Eve) of The Bang Gang fronted the band here. He was from Alabama.

The next release, the Rigor Mortis Vs. The Earth full-length, may have been on yet another label, which was actually the group’s management company, but the thrashing had not stopped. Triple X had issued the Blohole album as well. The band did bestow yet another cover version unto this planet (a Ramones’ cover) and had Casey Orr take on the vocals for half the album. The band lost its battle against the planet however. Rigor Mortis disbanded. Members would scatter to alternative and industrial bands like Ministry, Gwar and Revolting Cocks, but first there was Blohole. This band could be considered the new incarnation of Rigor Mortis. Still, the act’s song Foaming At The Mouth found its way unto the soundtrack to the film Mr. Nanny in 1993. Another song was included in the film Brain Smasher... A Love Story.

Predictably, the band planned to make a comeback with a singer called Dave Woodard (from Orr’s punk band The Hellions) in 2003, but that did not transpire. Orr was with Speedealer, The Hellions and The Burden Brothers. Scaccia, in the meantime, was touring with Ministry. Instead, the band reformed with Bruce Corbitt in 2005. A mini-tour ensued. The act appeared on stage in Texas at Ozzfest in 2008. Keep It True of Germany had the band on stage in 2009. This was the band’s only foray into Europe. Guitarist Mike Scaccia died of a heart attack on stage on December 23rd, 2012. The act split up. Still, the group continued work on an album that was recorded a year prior to the guitarist’s death and, with the assistance of an Indiegogo campaign, issued the Slaves To The Grave full-length independently in 2014. Housecore Records of Kate Richardson-Anselmo and Phil Anselmo issued a DVD called Welcome to Your Funeral: Part 1 in 2015. It told the story of the band up until 1987. Phil Anselmo of Pantera, who published it, narrated the DVD. It was directed by Corbitt. A second DVD was subsequently AWOL.

The remaining members and friends constituted The Scaccianators to play the Mike Scaccia Rock The Heart Foundation concert. Then there was an act called Wizards Of Gore, which was meant to keep the memory of Rigor Mortis alive, but that ended when Bruce Corbitt died of cancer in 2019. Still, the final album had a record release concert (as Wizards Of Gore) with Deadhorse and Dead Earth Politics. The Rabid Flesh Eaters/R.F.E. release of 2020, simply called R.F.E., featured Bruce Corbitt posthumously on one track. The release show for the said record collected money for Bruce’s daughter Chyna who was present. Other bands present were Iron Jaw, Tower High, Malconstruct and Chasing Rent.


Reviews

WELCOME TO YOUR FUNERAL: THE STORY OF RIGOR MORTIS PART 1 (BEGINNING TO 1987) DVD – 12 POUND PRODUCTIONS  
The DVD gets straight to the point even before the opening credits. Phil Anselmo, the DVD narrator, and various others sing the praises of Rigor Mortis and repeat that the band played an important role in the DFW (Dallas Fort Worth) underground metal scene. This so-called part 1 which looks at the speed metal band's earliest days and features interviews with the now late Rigor Mortis guitarist Mike Scaccia later also of Ministry, bassist Casey Orr later of Gwar and Ministry, vocalist Bruce Corbitt and drummer Harden Harrison. The guys got to know each other from various local bands like Warlock, Spectrum and Eruption before Rigor Mortis. Line-up changes and disagreements lead to this band. Bruce Corbitt confesses to just asking to sing for Spectrum with the soon to be new band never having sang for a band before. The partying and living together while still teens was going to lead to trouble and stories are told of the effect it had on Spectrum. Scaccia decides to leave Spectrum, Eruption and Warlock disband, further fights and adventures eventually lead to Rigor Mortis being born. The style changes to speedier metal and horror movies influence the band. By early 1986 the band is ready – but officially without a singer before Corbitt switched from hanging around the band to taking on vocal duties - to unleash their dislike of glam and be the craziest band in DFW. The first demo was released in late 1986. Interestingly Scaccia mentions that the band disliked the lipstick wearing Pantera from the same metropolitan area. Anselmo reveals that he was blown away after hearing the demo and met and became friends with Rigor Mortis. Post demo release shows are booked and the band's drunken shows become more widely seen and heard on the local radio. Before long the band is opening for Megadeth, being featured in major local newspapers and heading to a major label. A frustrating fight filled time and a very brief stay at Capitol records provide the ending for this DVD.
The DVD mainly features older images with more recent interviews and some live and practice or rehearsal footage. Anselmo's narration is as monotonous as it can get but he sticks to filling in the blanks in-between the interviews. – Anna Tergel


Interviews







Rigor Mortis