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I was surprised when I saw the announcement that Mastodon would go on tour with Tool. I was even more surprised that I was able to go, even though I thought I couldn’t at first. And to make it all complete, I again got to do an interview with them! This time I was confronted with drummer Brann, who had partied with the rest of the band and the guys from Tool till way after dusk, so he wasn’t really in the mood to say the least. Still, he was kind enough to talk to me on this, for him, early hour.
Slayer, Slipknot, Iron Maiden, and now Tool. How does it feel to be constantly asked on tour by these huge bands?
‘It feels good! It’s very cool! They’re all good people, and they treat us with a mutual respect. We built up a good relationship with them, they’re all friends now. And of course we get to play in front of big crowds a lot, which is great.’
You guys played at the Conan O’Brian show, how was that?
‘It was weird. TV, I don’t know, it was definitely different from our first time playing on TV. It was fun. After the performance Conan came up, shook hands, hey nice to meet you, hung out with him for a minute. He tried out Brent’s guitar, he actually plays guitar by the way.’
Yeah I know, he also does that stuff with Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. I actually have that CD. It was a birthday present.
‘You do? Hahaha. I love Triumph. So we also hung out with Max Weinberg, also from the show. He’s like the sidekick. His son is a big fan, so I guess that’s one of the main reasons we were on the show. I don’t know it was fun, we hung out in the green room all day and ate sandwiches. Terry Bozzio was there.’
‘Yeah, I love his drumming. He was there hanging out, I put him on the list and got him on the show. Hung out with him for a while, it was fun.’
Do you think you'll continue with Matt Bayles as a producer for the next album?
‘Maybe, we did three with him now, but I don’t want to rule anything out. If we decide to work with somebody else, we’ll work with somebody else.’
Like Rick Rubin, hehe?
‘Not necessarily. Rick Rubin I think isn’t interested in breaking any new talent you know. Unless there’s something crazy, you know that he’s just crazy about. Rick Rubin is interested in making the biggest records that come out. He doesn’t have to do anything, he doesn’t have to go down and pick anybody up. He’s gonna make a Metallica record, or he’s gonna make a Linkin Park record, or he’s gonna do The Dixie Chicks, he does thé biggest things that come out you know. I’m not sure if we’re looking for some kind of Rick Rubin, I don’t feel like we really need anything like that. We mix with Rich Koste, he’s sort of a big name but he does cool stuff, he mixes all The Mars Volta records and he worked with the Muse record. I think he just did the Blond Redhead record. So, he mixed us and we might work with him again. Whatever happens happens. If we work with Bayles again that would be great too. I like that dude.’
Bullshit question then, are you gonna see the Transformers movie when it comes out?
‘Probably not. They never spoke to me I guess. I'm waiting to go see Borat!’
‘Aaawh!! I love it! I think when we go to London we’re gonna go see it with everybody. We have like three days off in London. Us and the Tool guys gonna get a posse together and go see it. Don’t tell me anything about it!’
Okay, I wont! What was the thought behind the video for Colony Of Birchmen, the animation stuff? I think it’s awesome!
‘Hehe, yeah I think it’s awesome too! It’s from a guy who lives in LA. There’s a little bit of Paul Romano’s artwork in there as well. But he used his own imagination, we just kind of told him what we wanted and he got it, he understood what to do. And he did that, haha. We were hoping to get him to do a full-length feature to go with the whole record. And then we’re gonna use it when we play live, hopefully.’
Sounds cool! If you guys were to release an EP with five cover songs, which ones would you want it to be?
‘Which one I want? I only get one?’
No, you can choose five if you want.
‘Uhm, ‘The Rainbow Connection’ by The Muppets, ‘Crusher’ by Billy Joel, ‘Blue Collar Man’ by Styx, uhm, let’s see. That would be my three I guess.’
Sounds fun. Can we expect a European headlining tour after this?
‘Yeah, in like March or something.’
Is that for sure this time? Or you might get another offer to go on tour with Black Sabbath or something?
‘I guess I don’t know for sure, but we need to come back with a headlining run and play for like an hour and twenty minutes or something. But when Tool calls you gotta go.’
Of course! Now it’s time for my legendary question; in movies, who do you prefer, Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone?
‘Sylvester Stallone, definitely. The first Rocky man, the original. We just watched First Blood on the bus like three days ago. The only thing he needs to do is stop with the Rocky movies man, there’s five now and there is one more coming out. That’s terrible, but the first one was awesome, but then it got really cheesy from there. Number two is such a drop in quality, it’s just terrible.’
Which one is the one with Dolph Lundgren in it again? Like Rocky four?
‘Yeah, the Russian. It’s terrible but I liked it as a kid though.’
When you’re a kid you love everything with violence in it, didn’t you?
‘Yeah absolutely! Whaa, shooting ahah! Hehehe!’
So imagine, Mr. Bungle, Genesis, Soundgarden and Kyuss are reuniting again and they all want to have you as an opening act for their reunion show. But the shows are all in the same date, which one would you choose?
Yeah I thought so. But I actually heard today that Genesis is reuniting, I don’t now if Peter Gabriel is gonna be there but I heard they already scheduled shows for next year.
‘Haha, but what about Peter Gabriel? I don’t give a fuck about Phil Collins singing.’
Yeah I saw that in an interview on the internet.
‘Ow you saw that?’
Phil Collins did to Genesis what Hitler did to the swastika?
‘Hehehehe, yeah I fucked up didn’t I? I was like I shouldn’t say this.'
And then you had to say it.
‘Yeah, haha. I talked myself through it, I explained it. I don’t mind some of the later stuff, there are some good melodies here and there, but, you know… there were two very short years of some terrific motherfuckers that put out some good awesome music.’
‘Phil just has a different view on it you know, Phil was embarrassed by Peter. He was embarrassed by his preposterous antics. Big words huh! Hehehe.’
Hahaha, yeah I can follow it.
‘Yeah I know.’
When you guys write music for a new album, do you already have in mind how you want it to be produced, and if you want to be able to bring it the same way live?
‘Yeah, we think about that, like don’t do anything too tricky. Don’t do anything that we can’t do live. That’s good for us you know, it might limit us…’
(We get interrupted by someone who pays Brann, and suddenly the subject changes to smoking weed)
‘I can’t smoke weed anymore. It makes me paranoid, I’ll curl up in a foetal position and call my grandma, haha. No not really. Haven’t done it in many years, I used to, what was that? O, it might limit us but it doesn’t because in the studio you can do this and that, but until you figure out how you are gonna do that live, you should not do that. Because there comes this point where the audience does not hear what they wanted to hear. But it’s fun to do that, to layer everything and put all kinds of noises in the songs, makes it crazy, but we’ve been talking about getting some stuff to do things live, pads and stuff.’
How about a string section?
Uhm no, we have strings on the album, but you can barely hear them. In one song we put them completely out, it didn’t work. We thought it would, but it didn’t.’
Who wrote the material for the strings then?
‘I wrote them.’
You also play guitar and stuff?
‘Not really, but I hum melodies in a digital recorder. I did the stuff for Crystal Skull, This Mortail Soil, all of those. Everyone contributes, that’s what makes it kind of buried, some sounds. There so much input.’
Okay, do you think that in ten years Brent is gonna be completely covered in tattoos?
‘I don’t know what his plan is. Could be. He did his face, I think it looks good though. It’s cool. I wouldn’t get one in my face though.’
Has anyone drank the pee-bottle yet?
‘No not yet. Still trying. Hoping, wishing. Every night; please drink the pee, haha. Never happens.’
(at this point Brann notices my Fantômas/Melvins big band shirt, so he wants to know more about it.)
This is a question from my girlfriend; what would you do if your girlfriend was abducted by aliens?
‘What would I do. Well, there is nothing you can do.’
Yeah that’s what I thought too, if you tell someone they’ll think you’re crazy.
‘Well, I would cry. I would be sad. I would sit at home and wait for them to bring her back. I would go out of m mind I guess. I would ask to be abducted as well. Please take me, I’m ready, and then they’ll arrest me. And then I’ll be abducted by the police.’
Haha, that’s it then.
All right, thank you!
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