When British grindcore combo Carcass disbanded in 1995 after a decade, it appeared fairly final.
But by 2007, the group had reformed for some festival dates before officially returning in 2013 with “Surgical Steel,” its first new album in 17 years, which it backs in The City this week.
In his time away, bandleader Jeff Walker learned a valuable lesson.
“I realized that my life was in a rut when I wasn’t in a band, when I was just doing the 9 to 5 thing,” he says. “That kind of life wasn’t for me — everything was becoming incredibly boring.”
But he tried. He took a straight job with the English government, although he won’t reveal which department.
“It’s classified,” he says of the well-paying office position that required zero contact with the public. “And there was no dress code. I could go in in a Slayer T-shirt if I wanted, and you could do a week’s worth of work in an hour, and then spend the rest of the week in the pub. It was like being at school and playing truant, trying not to get caught. But even if you were caught, they couldn’t sack you because it was civil service.”
Mostly, Walker felt like Clark Kent, hiding his secret metal identity from co-workers. As Carcass — known for gory, medically-inspired classics like “Reek of Putrefaction” and “Symphonies of Sickness” — revived in the mid-2000s, he lived a double life on weekends.
“I’d bugger off to Bogota, play for 100,000 people, then be back in the office by Monday, and no one was ever the wiser,” he says.
But a new boss kept badgering him, until — with a month to go on the six-week notice he had given to undertake a Carcass reunion tour — he finally told her off.
“I can’t remember what I said, but it was basically a borderline threat, and then I just walked out,” he says. “So I left owing a ton of money, because I didn’t work off my notice.”
He made the right decision. “Surgical Steel” — with its rapid-fire bludgeoners “Thrasher’s Abbatoir,” “A Congealed Clot of Blood” and “Unfit for Human Consumption” — feels like Carcass never left.
“And we actually feel more loved, more valued now than we ever did back in the day,” Walker says of his welcoming new audience.
Walker admits that if Carcass hadn’t jolted back to life, he probably would still be working his day job. It was that easy. “But it’s nicer to be onstage playing to people than it is to sit in an office, doing some s— job,” he says. “In Carcass, we’re doing something that brings enjoyment to people.”
IF YOU GO
Where: Regency Ballroom, 1300 Van Ness Ave., S.F.
When: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday
Tickets: $28.50 to $30