Mushroomhead - We are what we are
A few days ago I put a review online for the latest album of Mushroomhead. I gotta admit that I didn’t know any previous albums of ‘em, but I was pleasantly surprised by this one, Savior Sorrow. As always I took the opportunity to ask some questions, here’s the result.
Hey, how are you?
Can you tell a bit more about the history of Mushroomhead?
We formed early ‘93 in what was a community jam room in Cleveland, Ohio. Our guitarist (Gravy) and bassist of our band at the time, Hatrix, decided to join a cover band to make ends meet. With the new found extra time Skinny and I decided to make a band that pushed the boundaries of everything we'd known up to that point. Since there was a wealth of talent right there in the same building we had a lot of good musicians to choose from. We chose to wear costumes and masks to keep people from having an idea of what we were gonna sound like with no knowledge of who was in the band. We wrote songs and prepared our show and after getting all 9 members in place, we played a small first show followed by opening for GWAR 3 days later. It's been a crazy ride ever since.
The band has gone through quite some line up changes. In what way has this been a(n) (dis)advantage for Mushroomhead?
It's been an advantage in a few ways. The people who are no longer here either didn't want to do it anymore because they lost that desire which is needed to succeed in anything, or they were fired for reasons detrimental to success. The only downside is the core fans who miss the original parts, which in this case are what we needed to have happen to continue to grow and besides our fan base, it constantly evolves anyway.
Since the masks you’re wearing is one of your ‘trademarks’, I don’t see you guys stop wearing those any time soon. Though, have you ever considered to stop wearing those? Why/when was that?
We never have considered it. Masks have always been a part of Mushroomhead and always will be.
Lots of bandmembers out there are playing in side-projects as well, how about you guys?
Gravy and Skinny are in a local Cleveland band called (216). We also have a side project between Skinny, Gravy and me called Hatrix. Stitch and our drum tech have a band called Ventana and there's always more coming.
I know you must have had this question many times before but I still wanna know; Why is there such a rivalry between you and Slipknot?
We were negotiating with Roadrunner Records at the same time they were. But at that time only one of us looked like we do. We said no, they made them. Members of SK have told us to our faces they know we were first. Believe what you want to. They were created in our image completely. All we want is for people to give both bands the same chance without thinking we came 2nd and who knows, a SK / Shroom world tour.
It might be hard for you being a bandmember of Mushroomhead, but if you listen closely to your music and Slipknot’s music, can you imagine people hear some similarities between the two? Why (not)?
There will always be some similarities. We play somewhat the same style although they have no idea how to share the space as much. It's always all of them other then Duality...I think we let the music breathe more.
Well about your new album then. ‘Savior Sorrow’ is the first album to be released on Megaforce Records. How did Mushroomhead catch up with this label?
They actually caught up with us. A few labels showed interest. Megaforce showed the most and made the most sense. It's a label with an amazing and proud tradition and we are the new blood. We had done the major label thing and a place that specializes in our style of music is the right place for us now. It feels like home.
On the song ‘Tattoo’ Sean Kane is performing as well, how did you come up with him?
He sold merch back in the day for 40 Below Summer, who did a couple tours with us. He used that time wisely selling his band’s (Gizmachi) demo at the table as well. I learned in that time that they were looking to complete their demo so they came to our (Filthy Hands) studio and finished it up. Ironically, it was later signed and released by Clown’s (Slipknot) label.
You guys took part in the producing and mixing of the album, why don’t you leave that to the producers themselves?
Most big name producers right now came from or are still in bands. Until XIII we did all of this ourselves for the most part anyway.
On the back of the artwork you can vaguely see the ‘X’-mark again. Is that something that will return on every upcoming album? Why (not)?
We are what we are. We are also artists and created the cover art too. Our imagery transcends releases also. Why stop a good thing? We have a strong sense of what we would want to see if we were the consumer buying this new CD.
How do you explain Mushroomhead not being in Europe that often?
Costs are incredible. We are trying to make arrangements to change the situation. It takes time as well as the label changes and that will always determine tour plans somewhat.
Any chance you will tour Europe more in the future?
If you get the chance to pick one support act for a worldwide tour, which band would you choose? Why?
Slipknot! Because it's about time they supported us.
What’s the weirdest thing that ever happened to you on tour?
When going on a big tour, what’s the most important to take with you (besides the other bandmembers and instruments of course)?
If you have anything left to say to our readers, now’s the chance!
Don't believe everything you read. The truth is out there so go find it. And definitely think for yourself. There is a lot of depth to Savior Sorrow with profound themes and much to say. We are raised to think and feel as our ancestors did. Maybe they were wrong. Hatred is inherited! Begin anew.
Thanks for your time and hope to see you guys in Europe some time soon!