David Vincent- I Am Morbid, VLTIMAS Talks Life On The Ranch29th January 2021 0 By Queen Nikki
David Vincent needs no introduction, but he definitely deserves one. As the frontman of I Am Morbid, VLTIMAS and ex-Morbid Angel, his historical additions as a musician have ranked his place in the Death metal hall of fame as a true pioneer. We sat down over a cup of Joe, where he gave us some insight into his many pets and his life on the ranch in Texas.
David, thanks for catching up with me today, as you know we have this new column based around the pets of our music community. You, yourself are an animal lover and the word on the grapevine is that you’ve got quite the entourage of animals in your life, how many pets do you have?
Yes, well if you don’t love animals, you don’t love yourself, that’s my opinion. We have 7 Donkeys, 8 Horses, 5 registered Texas Longhorns, 1 very expensive mule and one talkative cat.
So, I do have a lot of animals, a lot less on a domesticated front and a lot more on the agricultural front I guess. We have a family ranch and its a working ranch where we breed Black Angus and that’s a business. Everything that we do here is very humane and very sustainable, it’s a free range farm on about 1500 acres and they move around as they please.
The donkeys are our pets, but they are useful pets. Everybody thinks donkeys are stubborn, which they kind of are, but it’s only because they are so smart. They are fearless! When the Black Angus calves are born, they are obviously very susceptible and since this is a wild property, there are quite a lot of coyotes around. The donkeys actually police the property and keep the coyotes out, they are so fearless. You can be hanging out with them and then all of a sudden one will come up, they’ll put their ears forward and the next thing you know they are just charging across the field, they must see them from a long way away.
Tell me about your Donkeys!
Well, we have seven total right now, they are rather prolific and we have had to rehouse some over the years, because they just keep on having babies, they are just extremely amorous. When we do re-home them, they have to go in pairs because they are very social and don’t like to be alone.
Do you ever hand-rear any of the babies, bring them in and give them a cuddle?
Well, ‘bring them in’ is not er.. a thing, because well, they are huge! I noticed that Arnold Schwarzenegger has a couple of pet mini donkeys and he brings them in, well I don’t have that kind of setup and mine are much bigger than his! If you imprint on donkeys at a young age, they can be great, they are approachable but they have a general sort of trust issue. It’s important that when they have a baby, you don’t get in between the baby and the mother but just get them accustomed to the human touch. You bring some carrots and it gets them going, but we don’t want them to become so docile that they can’t do what they do well, like guarding the ranch against the Coyotes.
How many Texas Longhorns do you have?
Hmmm let’s see, we have five, Buster, Ben, Cutter, Cash and then there is Sneaky. Now Sneaky is a young male, we call him Sneaky because he is so quiet and he just sneaks up on you. So every time we get onto the property we make sure we know where he is. We go out there with the special sweet feed and alfalfa in buckets. They just love it, but you have to watch your back for Sneaky, he is quite curious. He is actually going to turn out to be the show stopper because his horns are growing with Amazing symmetry. You just have to be aware of your surroundings at all times, you also don’t want to find yourself pinned in somewhere when two of them become a bit competitive. Although it’s not like you can go up and give them a kiss, I do take the time to give each of them and give them one on one time I do the same with the horses.
Yes! How many Horses do you have?
We have seven and a mule. Who is probably the most expensive mule in history. We had a mare that was in season and we had a stud stallion come out to the ranch. We were going to have ourselves a prize winning horse.
They were in the pen together, everything was great and the stud left, our mare was pregnant. She finally had the baby and I was looking at it thinking, “Somethin’ aint right about that baby”. All the horses were neighing and then I hear an “Eee-awe Ee-awe” come from the baby and I was like “God Bless America!” We still don’t know how it happened, but somehow, an amorous donkey, found its way to our mare. So that’s how we have a very expensive mule.
What did you name this very expensive mule?
Her name is Annie and she is the ranch Darling. She’ll act the same way as the rest of the horses, they are very interactive and follow us around. It’s really interesting, you could take a big beach ball and throw it around with them. You can almost play football with them as long as the ball is big enough. It’s not something that folks who live in urban environments would have the opportunity for unless they went to visit a farm. I find it so relaxing to just be out on the ranch. When I was a kid, I joined the Scouts, we used to go camping and it taught me at a young age a lot about the outdoors and gave me a great connection to nature. It really is a spiritual thing to be in nature.
We’re not like a factory farm, we are a breeding ranch, all of our animals are happy and everybody has plenty of room to move around. They have full and complete lives as much as they are capable of. As much as agriculture is a business, our business model is sane and it’s humane. The symbiosis that we have with living in nature is we give and we take. As long as there is a good balance then I can feel comfortable with that. There is a lot of people that have chosen the vegan lifestyle because they are disgusted, as I am, with how some of these animals are treated. Good conscience tells me that the way that we do it, is a viable way. It’s not as profitable as it could be, if we ran things like factory farms do, but we’re just not going to do that.
It sounds like you’re doing a great job on the ranch, now what about your home, imagine if you could shrink any one of your larger pets to be the size of a cat and have in your home. Imagine if you had a cat sized Texas longhorn running around the house?
Well, it sounds romantic, but it’s completely not practical, I mean Cattle in general are not the most graceful of creatures. In the case of the longhorns, they really are a special breed of cow. They don’t necessary have any agricultural value, I mean because its beef, you could take them and eat them, but that’s not really what’s done with them these days. They are almost more like ‘yard art’ that have a ferocious appetite. They can be approached, you just have to be really careful and aware of your surroundings because the horn span on some of our longhorns are huge, they are kind of our trophies. Their horns can get to seven feet wide and all they have to do is just turn their head and those horns can be deadly. Sometimes, they may inadvertently move around and not really paying too much attention to what’s around. The cars get damaged, we’ve had to replace some windshields and mirrors. They just walk by a car, get distracted and put a big dent in it! They are virtually like miniature elephants!
Okay, you’ve got me there, I’m disappointed, but no miniature longhorns. However, you do have a cat in your home, what’s his name?
Yes, our cat, Peyton. He lives with us in our house, which is about 1 hour 15 minutes drive from our ranch. Peyton is a total indoor guy, I had to really work with him to get him to go outside where I could brush him.
What is the weirdest thing that Peyton does at home, is he good company when you’re stuck inside?
He sits inside, he looks at birds and squirrels and he makes this little chatter noise because he wants to get them, but you open up the door and he runs to the bedroom. He pretends like he wants to do something about it, but he isn’t gonna do anything. As for keeping me company, he is actually really vocal, he is constantly talking. We make a joke about it when people come over and we’ll ask him a question and he’ll respond, we’ll say “Are you sure you want to do this?” He’ll then respond again and people comment asking if he understands us, well probably not, but it looks like he does. It looks like you’re having a two way conversation.
What does Peyton or any of your other animals think of your music? Are they Oldschool Death metal fans?
Well I do sing to them as I’m brushing them and they like it, they understand to a degree that you’re a friend. But it’s definitely much different to having a pet dog, with the bigger animals. We call them all our big babies or our puppies, but they’re really not, you look at them for what they are and you enjoy it. Like the horses, I really like riding the horses as well as motorcycles. I like to say “I ride horses, both the muscle kind and the iron kind.”
I like that one, so at least for you, having a lot of space to roam on, would’ve saved you from the lockdown blues a little?
Well, here’s the deal, in Texas, we don’t really have a lockdown, there was for a time but the Governor said we weren’t doing it anymore. He said, if you’re feeling ill, stay at home, if you’re feeling insecure or are vulnerable, stay at home. Everybody else live your life. But that being said, everybody still masks up to go to the store. It’s good but there is still no travel, I can’t get together with my bandmates, in the case of VLTIMAS, I’m the only American.
Yes, VLTIMAS had a lot of tour plans for 2020 as well didn’t you?
Yes we did, like everyone else in this industry, it’s been tough. I’ve probably made less money in 2020 than what I’ve made in the last forty years. It’s something that’s been tough and it’s hit us all. But as soon as they roll out these various vaccines and these politicians get their heads out of their asses, we can get things moving again. Quite frankly they should all know that’s its okay to say “I don’t know.” If I didn’t know the answer to something I would just say I don’t know, but you’ll never catch a politician saying that. They feel like they are expected to have an answer and their answers aren’t usually appropriate. I listen to my doctor and I don’t listen to politicians and that’s about where I’m at.
That’s some good advice. In terms of touring, I’ve recently seen that MorbidFest is currently set to go ahead for this year, which is exciting, how are you feeling about that?
After having to cancel the multiple announcements we had to last year, I like talking about the bird that I have in my hand vs the bird that’s in the bush, potentially. As much as I’m looking forward to getting back to tour life, I still have some reasonable scepticism while we wait. The only thing I really want is to have the freedom to be able to be me. I don’t need parenting, I was done with that when I was 16 and I’m not 16 anymore, obviously. I’ve just never found myself in a situation where I’m told that I can’t be me and with music, its not just a job, its an adventure. Yes that’s where my income comes from, but it’s also who I am as a person. It’s almost like you’re being denied your personality, in addition to not being able to perform. Its rather depressing, but I try to not focus on it as much and when I’m feeling the heat, I get on my motorcycle or I go to the ranch. It doesn’t fix the problem, but it makes me feel better about it.
I’m glad you’ve got the bikes and your open space to breathe a little and yes, 2020 was a bit of a shit storm, but something good did happen. You released your autobiography, I Am Morbid, back in February, this is something to be proud of, how was the writing process?
It’s interesting, I have a friend who writes similar books who ended up being a co-writer with me, his name is Joel McIver. As we were talking about it, he said to me that he had realised over the years that all of the interviews that he had read with me, always talked about a record or song inspiration etc. but that I never really talked about myself. I agreed with him that I hadn’t really talked about myself and he said that now might be a good time to do that. So that is how it started and I wrote the book in such a way, yes, it does tell stories, but when people read the book they get some insight into who I am. They find out how I think, why I think the way I do and the challenges I’ve overcome. It’s not like “oh I had a drug problem”, because in preparation for my own, I read a lot of other autobiographies and I wanted to make mine different. I wanted it to have some life lessons and maybe some tools that people could put into their own tool box. My way isn’t the only way, but its my way and if I find a way, which is successful for me, I try to share that with others so if they made some choices a certain way within their personality type, that some good things may happen with them too. Always help.
Thanks David, I’m looking forward to reading it, as I’ve got a lot of time to read these days during lockdown 3.0 in the UK. So, is there any words of wisdom you would like to share with your supporters at this time?
Yes, we do have a lot of time to read. I would like to say persevere, keep in mind that at the end of the day, when you look in the mirror, you’re looking at the boss! Don’t find yourself in a herd of sheep, panic attacked by various things that you’ve seen on the news.
Work hard, stay humble and strive towards freedom.
Yes! I love that! Thankyou so much, in fact I’m going to go and look in the mirror after this call and tell myself I’m the boss! I have one last question I would love to ask you.
Do you have a favourite Lemmy quote?
Lemmy quote! Gosh, I don’t know where to begin. Well, I remember when we were touring with them, back in the day and myself and Lemmy were talking. I mean Motorhead weren’t really a metal band, it was always loud rock and roll, but when you break it all down, I wouldn’t have considered them metal. I said “So Lemmy? How do you feel about Death metal?” He said, “Well, its ALL rock and roll man.” Because everything is rock and roll, a lot of his inspiration came from the 50’s and 60’s like Chuck Berry. I actually had a chance to perform with Headcat after Lemmy’s passing as they were paying tribute and they asked me if I would like to participate. I told them I thought I didn’t really sound like Lemmy, but I had never done anything like that before and it gave me a new appreciation for dirty rock and roll. It’s kind of intuitive and I was really happy to have been given that opportunity. So yes, the Lemmy quote is “It’s all rock and roll!“
Wow! Yes, that is a fantastic quote. On behalf of everyone at AATR Towers, thanks so much for your time and incredible stories today. Pat your Donkeys for us and don’t let Sneaky sneak up on you too fast.
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"It does not require a majority, but an irate, tireless minority, keen to set bushfires in people's minds." Hail Satan!