Drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz of Florida death metallers CANNIBAL CORPSE has declined to publicly address his current relationship with the band's former guitarist Pat O'Brien.
O'Brien was arrested in Florida more than two years ago on charges of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer and burglary of an occupied dwelling with assault. Deputies said he burglarized a house and charged at a deputy with a knife. He has since been replaced in CANNIBAL CORPSE by Erik Rutan, one of the death metal's most acclaimed guitarists who is known for his time as part of MORBID ANGEL throughout the '90s and early 2000s, as well as handling vocals/guitars for HATE ETERNAL.
Asked in a new interview with Pierre Gutierrez of Rock Talks what his relationship with Pat is like nowadays and whether the two still talk from time to time, Paul shook his head from side to side and replied simply: "No comment on that."
O'Brien, who was born in Northern Kentucky, was arrested on December 10, 2018 for burglary and assaulting a police officer while his Florida home was in flames.
O'Brien allegedly broke into a Northdale, Florida home and shouted that "the rapture is coming" before pushing a woman to the ground. He ran toward a responding deputy with a knife and was subdued with a stun gun.
Less than half a mile from where O'Brien was arrested, a fire broke out at the house he was renting, sending flames billowing into the night sky from the roof.
The owner of the home where O'Brien was arrested wouldn't go on camera but told ABC Action News he thought the guitarist was hallucinating when he spoke to him and claimed "someone was after him." The homeowner added O'Brien seemed scared and at one point even hid in his closet.
Fire marshals found a large cache of weapon, locked safes and potential explosive devices inside O'Brien's home, including 50 shotguns, 20 semiautomatic rifles, two Uzi-style firearms, 20 handguns and two flamethrowers. Authorities also discovered thousands of rounds as well as additional weapons.
O'Brien, who had been a member of CANNIBAL CORPSE for more than two decades, was released from Hillsborough County jail on December 14, 2018 after posting a $50,000 surety bond. Several days earlier, at a hearing, a judge told the now-55-year-old musician, clad in an anti-suicide vest with his hands and ankles chained together, that he would first have to pass a drug test before he would be allowed to post bail and leave jail.
During an appearance on a June 2019 episode of "The Jasta Show", the podcast hosted by HATEBREED's Jamey Jasta, CANNIBAL CORPSE frontman George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher expressed his shock over O'Brien's arrest, saying: "I don't wanna speculate about what could have happened that night, but it could have been way worse — for him.
"When people were seeing [TV reports about] it — I think on the Tampa news, they were pretty good with him," he continued. "They just said he was one of the best guitar players in death metal in America, and in the world, and he's highly respected. And they didn't really trash him at all. And they showed him on TV."
According to Fisher, most of the CANNIBAL fans were very supportive of Pat while he was dealing with his ordeal. "In the metal world, I think in general, 95 percent [of the people], everyone was, like, 'Get well soon,'" he told "The Jasta Show". "I didn't spend too much time reading stuff online, because that's when you get people who just wanna say nasty stuff just to be nasty."
Fisher went on to say that he and his bandmates were looking forward to O'Brien's return to CANNIBAL CORPSE.
"We love him," he told "The Jasta Show". "We want him back. But when I saw him in the court with the vest, dude, I cried. Because we just got home from tour… We wish the best for him, and we're just waiting to see [what happens]. He's got a road ahead of him still with legal issues, and that's out of our hands. We support him 100 percent; we're behind him 100 percent."
CANNIBAL CORPSE will release its 15th studio album, "Violence Unimagined", on April 16 via Metal Blade Records. Rutan lent his guitar as well as production skills to the effort, which was recorded at his Mana Recording in St. Petersburg, Florida. Rutan previously produced four CANNIBAL CORPSE albums (in addition to "Violence Unimagined"), alongside the likes of GOATWHORE, SOILENT GREEN and BELPHEGOR. Filling in live on guitar since 2019, in 2020 he became a full member, contributing to the writing process.