Mushroomhead Interview


Mushroomhead Interview with St1tch 10/22/08


By Barbara Fara



MI: What is your birthdate? You don’t have to give me the year.


MH: January 2


MI: Who are the members of the band?


MH: The members of the band…well, there’s myself, St1tch. We’ve got Skinny on drums, Shmotz on keyboards, Jeffrey Nothing on vocals and Waylon on vocal, Pig Benis our bass player and Gravy, he’s our guitar player.


MI: Tell me a brief history of the band.


MH: The band started in 1993, it started off as kind of a side project thing from a bunch of the guys and it started just growing and growing and becoming more popular and the side project basically starting becoming the main band. It kind of started off as a joke and blossomed into something big, you know?


MI: It blossomed into a monsterpiece. Who were your musical influences as a child?


MH: There’s alot. Faith No More, Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails…all the shock rock stuff.


MI: Did you get the new Alice Cooper cd?


MH: No I did not.


MI: You’ve got to go get the new Alice Cooper CD, Along Came a Spider. It will fuck your head up. Who writes the songs for the bands?


MH: Its a usually a good collective amount, but it usually starts off with Skinny and Gravy. They’ll usually start jammin’ and throw ideas around and then once the skeleton is down everyone kind of adds their parts.


MI: How would you describe your live show for fans that haven’t seen you live yet?


MH: Um, very high energy. We want the live show to be captivating, which a live show should be. Sometimes we get stuck in smaller clubs and we can never do the big thing, but we always try to have a good show no matter what setting we’re in. High energy, theatrical and we always try to be as interactive with the crowd as possible.


MI: When was the last time you played Atlanta and when do you plan to come back? Because I heard you guys are on a three year tour right now.


MH: We have been touring for the last three years, not straight, but we were just in Atlanta, and we played the uh, Earthlink Live?


MI: Right, now it’s called Center Stage.


MH: Yeah, we were just there.


MI: Have you seen a local band that you liked and then asked them to go open on the road with you?


MH: Umm, that’s a good question. Like smaller type bands? Yeah, we’ve taken them out. We usually do this thing where we offer like a buy-on type thing on our tour where smaller type bands that aren’t signed and looking to get exposure, sometimes they have financial backers and they sign on to our tours.


MI: Here’s one band you should look into – Zoroaster.


MH: What are they called?


MI: Zoroaster, they kick ass. What would you say was your favorite tour you’ve ever been on?


MH: Ozzfest. We were on Ozzfest 2002, we did Europe and we did the second half of the American leg. Europe was awesome. One of the coolest tours we’ve ever been on. It was like us, Tool, Slayer, there were so many bands on that fucking thing.


MI: That was a huge tour. I can’t believe she {Sharon Osbourne} cut it down to just Texas this year. I really can’t. That sucked. Tell us about the origins of the X logos on your masks and what do they symbolize, my darling?


MH: Um, well it came up right after Slipknot broke. When they came out they kind of looked exactly like we did. I’m not really trying to go there, but that’s kind of where it came from, but, it was supposed to originally symbolize the death of the image. We kind of had to start from scratch and it originally started with just the spandex black straight masks with the x’s over the eyes. In cartoons whenever animals die they have the cartoon x’s over their eyes and what that was supposed to symbolize was the death of the old and the rebirth of the new. We kind of evolved a new look from there.


MI: Yeah, I was going to ask you about the new masks, tell me about them.


MH: Well, when Slipknot broke, we didn’t want to be doing that because we didn’t want to be compared with them in any way and we wanted to change it a little bit, so everyone was kind of more uniform and wore the same style mask. After a couple years of that, everyone kind of wanted their individuality back, so with the new masks, everyone kind of had free reign to go whichever way they wanted to and transform what was there, which was the standard thing, into their own type of look. Some of the guys actually had the old masks and turned them into the newer masks but with their own individuality.


MI: In 1993 you guys started out, now have you seen other bands sounds and styles that your music has influenced.


MH: Yeah, I’d say so. Some of us have side projects and stuff now, you know like side bands, which are definitely influenced by the knowledge gained from Mushroomhead. As far as bands coming out, we haven’t met any current bands that we were big influences on. The Lamb of God band, we took them out awhile back and their drummer is actually a fan of one of the original side projects before Mushroomhead’s spawn called Hatrix, that was basically the band, well, four of the guys that are in Mushroomhead were a part of that, and the actual drummer from Lamb of God was like “oh, wow, I was a fan of the Hatrix stuff. It was the whole reason I was playing drums.” So it was kind of interesting hearing that because that band got pretty big.


MI: Now, are the side projects still going?


MH: Yes, they are. There’s 216 and there’s Hatrix, there’s a new side project too, that I’ve spawned called VentanA, um, Skinny and Waylon have one called Tenafly Viper, which is also the guy from Quiero. There’s also Jeffrey Nothing, our other singer, he’s got a side project as well. There’s always things going on when there’s downtime with Mushroomhead, we’ll do our other things just to keep things rolling.


MI: So tell me, what made you decide to bring out the new DVD?


MH: Well, we called the first one Volume 1, so we were forced to do one. If you say Volume 1, its like okay, that’s the first one, we still have one more. We like to let fans in on a personal side of the band and the DVD really shows that. It’s probably more personal than any band DVD that’s out there. Usually it’s just live footage or music videos, there’s never like that personal…Some people say we put too much in there!


MI: I don’t think you put too much in there at all!


MH: We definitely weren’t shy with the behind the scenes stuff. We kind of put ourselves out there with no masks and exposed ourselves to fans getting an inside look at what’s going on, you know?


MI: So who is behind the producing and engineering and the filming of the DVD – because it’s beautiful.


MH: Well, it’s kind of a collaborative collection of everyone’s camcorders. Everyone has their own cameras. Mostly Gravy, our guitar player, he’s always out filming and goofing around but a bunch of us have cameras and film stuff. The main editor’s on that was myself, Skinny, and Gravy.


MI: You played your second show ever opening for GWAR. Do you still keep in touch with them and how was the show?


MH: That show was great. I wasn’t in the band at that time, but I was actually at the show. But we just played with GWAR a week ago. We played this thing last year, and we did it again this year called the Rock N Shock. It’s in Massachusetts. It’s like a horror movie slash rock convention. They have the movie actors signing autographs and collectibles and this huge theater called the Paladium and it was us, GWAR, Suicide Silence and a bunch of other bands. That was a really good show. Every time we run into GWAR it’s a good time.


MI: If you could have lunch with any three people living or dead, who would it be?


MH: Hmm. That’s a weird one. Hmmm. I’d pick Trent Reznor, because he’s probably the only guy that…I’m a big fan of industrial music. It’s what I grew up on, and he’s the only person that was able to take an underground thing and turn it into such a big product that he is still currently selling out arenas. Like industrial bands don’t do that! Even Marilyn Manson can’t do that anymore and Manson was on top of the world ten years ago. But Trent Reznor is still selling out arenas and still selling multiple CDs and still making a huge career out of it and I’d like to just know how he did it.


MI: If you had the chance to open for KMFDM, would you open for them?

They are fantastic.


MH: Oh, absolutely. I love KMFDM.


MI: What would you warn up and coming bands about the music business and what advice would you give them?


MH: Working in the current day we’re in, um, downloading is getting bigger and bigger and bigger and it’s killing us, it’s killing the small bands. We need that little bit of hope that you can become a, you know, big rock star anymore, because anything you put out there, people can get for free. Watch out for shitty labels; sometimes bands get signed just to be put on the shelves and be ripped off and they end up losing everything. Never sign anything away – hold on to your merch. Throughout the years we’ve always held onto to our merchandise and we make all the money ourselves. Never give anything away for free. People are going to get it for free anyways, so don’t give it to them.


MI: I heard you guys have a new CD coming out in spring of ’09.


MH: Well, we’re going to be writing it, it hasn’t really been written yet but it will be written over the winter months when we’re stuck indoors in Cleveland, Ohio‘s lovely wintertime and you can’t go anywhere anyway and we’re indoors and we’re miserable. But it’s definitely going to pick up where the last cd left off.


MI: You guys plan to put out a special Christmas song?


MH: (laughs) Uh, no, I don’t if we’re that kind of band.


MI: How does your family feel about your career?


MH: My parents have always been supportive. When I was younger and in my band stuff in high school, they were always at the shows, even my grandma. Anytime we play a big Cleveland show, my parents are there. Growing up I was always into music and I always wanted to be doing this so the fact that I am doing that is in their eyes, that I’m doing what I always wanted.


MI: So your mom isn’t leader of the street team yet?


MH: No, but she does a lot of times she does go to our message boards and stuff like that and she’ll call me up and say “oh hey! I heard about this and that and you didn’t tell me about this…” and I’ll say like, “Mom, I’m 29 years old.” (laughs)


MI: Do you believe in psychics?


MH: Yes and no. I’m 50/50 on that because you see so many crackpot fake ones that it’s like okay, whatever, but then sometimes you see certain shows or things where it’s just like wow, are there really people like that? Kind of like God, it’s a crapshoot. There’s so many ridiculous people that it’s just like, that can’t be real. But you never know.


MI: Have you ever had any paranormal experiences?


MH: No, I have not. I’ve always wanted one. I’ve encouraged one, but I’ve never had one. I’m big into horror movies, big into all that supernatural stuff but it’s like, I’ve never seen any of it, so I don’t know if it’s real or not.


MI: If a movie was made of your life, who would play you and what would the themesong be?


MH: Oh, jesus. That is a really interesting question. Who would play me…wow, I think you stumped me on that one. I wish it was more in the afternoon and I had a few drinks, I might have a good answer for you. I really don’t know. That’s a good question.


MI: How did the death of Dimebag Darryl affect you and the band?


MH: Uh, it definitely affected everyone because A, it’s scary to lose someone who’s that well known and that type of person. Just to know anytime that your life could be gone. It was at a club that we play all the time, every tour we play the Alarosa.


MI: Do you ever feel him there?


MH: Nope. We played there literally the week after that happened. It’s just scary to know that you could be playing a show and some whack-ass fan can just onstage and shoot ya. We play that club all the time and we’ve never had issues. It’s kind of like, you know, working at a convenience store. It’s a random crapshoot that some crazy ass dude might jump in and shoot you, you know?


MI: Are you guys taking more protection for yourselves since the shooting?


MH: Well, especially the first few years afterward, anytime anyone would jump onstage it was just like, what the fuck are you doing? Our crew would immediately jump onstage and grab them. We’re not arming ourselves or anything like that. Usually just more attentive to any fans that might come off as that creepy guy. The ‘I love you so much I want to kill you’ people.


MI: While we’re on the subject of the Abbotts, if you had a chance to go on tour with Vinnie and Hell Yeah, would you do it?


MH: Yeah, I wouldn’t rule that out. I mean, they’re a popular band and people go see their band. I wouldn’t be objective to tour with anybody, honestly.


MI: Now we were talking about the downloading of music online. How bad is it for you guys actually. You don’t think Facebook, Myspace, Imeem, has helped you out in anyway?


MH: Myspace is good and it’s bad. It’s great because small time bands can promote themselves and your music can get out there really quick, the bad part is that people get your stuff for free and there is so much traffic on there now that it’s really hard to decipher one band from the next. All these bands coming out, I mean, there are millions and millions of Myspace pages and you get lost with how many bands there are out there. And then the fact that people can get all your stuff for free and it’s kind of pushing out everyone’s websites now. People aren’t as into like the dot coms anymore, because when I younger it was always about having a great website that was interactive and had cool stuff on it and now it’s like, people don’t even visit the dotcoms. Our compared to our Myspace page – It’s ridiculous. We spend a lot of time on our dotcom and we haven’t completely sold ourselves into the Myspace realm yet, but our management is like, you’ve got to have someone come in and manage your myspace page and redesign it, make it attractive because they’re even telling us pretty soon here bands are even going to be using dotcoms – Myspace is going to be the main tool. It’s scary to think that a free site is going to be people’s main source.


MI: Now they have this music player that let’s you listen and then buy the song.


MH: I DO like that!


MI: My question is how much the artist is going to actually make per song.


MH: I don’t know because they haven’t fully launched that yet. I don’t think it’s live yet where people can buy anything but I’m not sure how it works. I know it’s like 99 cent per song and I imagine Myspace will get a big chunk of that.


MI: I hear vinyl is coming back. Do you see yourselves releasing your next album on vinyl?


MH: We just put a picture disk together that’s like an exclusive thing. But you’re right, it is coming back. There’s um, like a 15% drop in CDs and vinyl was up 20% a couple months ago. That whole collector’s angle has started to come back around but I’ve noticed it’s kind of weird the wave, because I’m almost 30 right now so I grew up seeing all the hair bands and then the grunge and industrial era and it’s almost like now everything is shifting back to the 80’s just like with what kids are wearing and the fashion and everything. It’s kind of creepy and maybe that’s why vinyl is coming back around. Vinyl was huge in the 70s and 80s, maybe that’s why, it’s just a novelty. At the same time I wonder when 8 tracks are going to come back around. I don’ even see tape players now.


MI: Everything is digital now.


MH: Which is cool, digital is quicker and more convenient. The only bad angle is that with digital it’s so easy to steal everything. Before it was like, oh, you scratched your record, gotta go buy a new one. That’s how bands sold millions and millions of albums.


MI: So, who influenced you as a pianist?


MH: Um, I’m not a pianist, that’s the other guy. I do have electronics. Um, Skinny Puppy, KMFDM, Trent Reznor. Mostly all the famous late 80’s, early 90’s electronic bands when everything was like before computers became real big in music making – real political – there was always like a message like anti-animal testing, all these outspoken part of music that really inspired me to make the raw samples and make stuff and not use stock things to make everything.


MI: What is your stance on the legalization of marijuana?


MH: I don’t really see a problem with it. I’m not like say that I do or don’t smoke marijuana, but I look at it from the angle of we’ve been to Amsterdam, and they’re always happy and there’s almost no crime out there. They have so many things legal that it’s like you don’t have to go to the crack house on 55th and you don’t know what you’re getting. So I mean, it definitely would have its perks if they legalized it. There are the harder drugs, which I don’t approve of at all. Who is the government to say that you can’t eat it or smoke it or do whatever. To me it’s silly. To me, alcohol is way more dangerous and you can go to a gas station, which you drive to, and fill up your tank and then go buy beer – it makes no sense. They use to have the drive through liquor stores, I don’t know if they have those anymore, but just the concept of that, a drive through liquor store – how many people are killed by drunk drivers every day, how many people do you hear about that smoke marijuana – if anything that makes you a more paranoid driver (laughs). You’re driving more straight because you’re afraid you’re going to get pulled over! When you’re drunk and driving, you’re seeing like 5 lanes and driving like an asshole – I know because I’ve driven drunk before and you drive like a dick.


MI: Who do you think is more honest – US news or overseas news?


MH: Overseas, because I’ve seen it firsthand. They show you shit that you didn’t even know about in America. We’ve been to Europe, Germany, Italy, Australia, Scotland and the news is uncensored and it’s the truth and they talk about shit that we don’t hear about over here. You look at American news and it’s “Oh, Lindsey Lohan bought a new purse or Miley Cyrus dyed her hair. Oh, Paris Hilton has a new best friend.” That’s our news. Our news is eye candy and attention diversion and America‘s stance on news is that our government is so screwed up and corrupted so why don’t we flash this new Ipod and these beautiful girls and stupid crap that no one cares about to distract us from the truth. It was 9/11 and those building falling down and now it’s Paris Hilton and all this stupid crap that doesn’t matter.


MI: How did 9/11 affect you?


MH: Well, we were supposed to be in New York. We were actually on tour with this band called WASP from the 80’s. It was our first tour we got back in 2001. We actually had a day off and we up at the studio and that morning we were supposed to go to Columbus and somewhere else in the New York and we were getting on the bus and a bunch of the guys were watching something with blank expressions on their face and they were like, turn up the TV. I had just woken up and went straight over and turned the TV on and was like what? They kept showing this footage over and over and I’m like “What movie are you watching…” It was pretty crazy. I’m thinking of these conspiracy theory crap…


MI: Do you think the government was behind it?


MH: I do, I do. If you ever get a moment, there’s a movie called Zeitgist – it’s really interesting. Whether or not it’s true or not, the guy that put it together is very well educated. It’s not just rants but has hard facts backing it up a lot of things from the banking system to 9/11 to everything the government is hiding from us and other conspiracy theories stuff but it’s backed by such hard facts that it’s hard not to believe it.


MI: So he’s better than Michael Moore?


MH: Oh yeah, Michael Moore sucks. He’s such a crybaby. This guy doesn’t really put his face on anything because there’s so much stuff in there he probably would get bashed for some of the stuff that’s in there. It gets you so mad. There’s so many distractions for the American people and its like don’t pay attention to your government, pay attention to MTV, you know. MTV doesn’t even play music anymore.


MI: Tell me about it. Everything is fucking reality shows.


MH: Reality shows of reality shows. Scripted sitcoms…I remember when the Real World was like the only reality show that was out there and now it’s every freaking channel. Reality is on TV; it’s not outside in you know, real life. These shows are just so brainless and they’re making everyone dumber. When I was growing up, it was like family shows, and like TV shows, interesting stuff. Now every time I turn the channel, every channel has like the same crap.


MI: So when we were talking about the conspiracy theories with Bush and stuff, would you consider this great bailout to be a new recession or another Great Depression?


MH: That whole bailout thing, I’m like, are you kidding me? He’s about to be out office and he’s doing this? The way I look at it, it serves no benefit. It just doesn’t make any sense. I’m really interested to see who becomes the next president –


MI: That’s my next question – who are you planning to vote for in the next election?


MH: I originally told myself that I wasn’t going to vote for Obama, not because of any reason other than it would be weird that – now, not at all, am I in any shape or form racist – but like it’s America, you don’t see American’s running other countries. America is so lenient of just everything like we let anyone in the country. They have a four year waiting list to get into Canada.


MI: No shit.


MH: …but taking the extra time, hearing the guy speak, he definitely presents himself well. I must say that. He definitely reminds of a Ronald Reagan or a John F. Kennedy. I don’t know but then again Reagan was a great actor and George Bush is an idiot.


MI: Oh, of course he is.


MH: guy doesn’t even know how to talk and we’ve had him for two freakin’ terms. He mis’says words – he’s a freakin’ retard. He never had any answers; we’re in the worst state ever. Gas prices are 3.50 a gallon today. When I started driving gas was .97 cents. Granted everything goes up over the years but that jump is just unheard of. Over 3 or 4 years there’s been like a two dollar increase.


MI: It’s horrible.


MH: It’s just so much that I know the government just controls everything. It’s about how much money you have. I look at the president kind of like…during the campaign there are all these people running but the person I’m into that I want to become president never makes it to the final stages because they don’t have enough money. It’s like, hey I’ve got a bunch of money, I want to play rock star, I want to be president! I can buy my way into the government. George Bush did it. Half of his oil fields are in Iraq.


MI: Speaking of Iraq, I recently saw a documentary on HBO called Plot 60, thinking about conspiracies…it’s really heartwarming and really sad. But when you look at this, it’s a plot in Arlington just for the boys from Afghanistan that have died and these kids are no more than 18 to your age and I’m like wow. So if you get a chance, check it out. Now you guys are playing Ohio on Halloween. What do you have planned for your little Mushroomheaders – are you planning to scare the shit out of them or what?


MH: Well, as always, the Cleveland show is always around Halloween because sometimes we’re unlucky and Halloween comes on a Tuesday and we’ll play on like the 27th or something. But we always play a Halloween themed show for Cleveland. We dump an extra 5000 dollars into the production for that show – we have lots of extra stuff for that show and we put on a way bigger caliber show than we play on tour. We have stuff made specifically for the show – this year is actually the 15th anniversary of the Mushroomhead Halloween show cause Mushroomhead actually started in October.


MI: Are you going to be giving out candy and trick or treats?


MH: We usually do! Me and Dan the other guy, he and I will be out looking for the stupid pumpkins and jack-o-lantern trick or treat things – it’s the worst candy you can buy in the store. We throw that out in the crowd – we just throw them at people.


MI: How the hell did you get Dana Gordon as your PR – she is wonderful.


MH: I’ve definitely seen a lot of good stuff happening. Our manager actually recommended her and it was a good recommendation.


MI: Oh, she’s wonderful. If you had a million dollars to donate to any charity, what would it be?


MH: It would have to be a legitimate charity because there’s a lot of bunk charities out there. I would donate it to something like research for cancer things like that. Whatever charity would be for like curing AIDS or cancer or whatever. Serious issues. Not to sound like a dick, but starving kids in a different country, you know, that doesn’t affect me.


MI: It’s the kids here…


MH: If I’m starving, who’s helping me? (laughs) They’ve got these countries where they are poor and they just go further and further into poverty by having like 15 children. It’s not that I’m not sympathetic but it’s like being guilted into giving your money away. We’re starving. They get those people with bleeding hearts that may not have money to donate money to charity – I know people like that. And they put themselves further into poverty by giving these donations. “Oh, we’ll send you a picture of your child” and they have these stock photos – how do you know your money is really going there?


MI: Do you have a message for your fans, darling?


MH: Yeah. Thanks for sticking by and for the support over the years, through the good and bad. It’s been awesome and like I said, going on 15 years now and we couldn’t have done it without them, our hardcore followers. You can’t buy that. The fans that get it and stick by you and don’t ditch you and find some other band. We have fans that have been with us since day one that still come to shows – they were like 15 and now they’re 30…


MI: And they’re bringing their kids…


MH: Yeah and their bringing their kids, it’s awesome. We are very appreciative to all our fans – it’s why we do things like the DVD and I want them to know we appreciate them.


MI: What sites can your fans find you at?


MH: umm, is where we have a lot of interactive stuff – there’s actually a little video game simulator on there called MushroomKombat, like a Mortal Kombat knock off where you can kill the members of Mushroomhead.


MI: Oh, cool, I will play that one tonight.


MH: It’s kind of low quality but it’s made for streaming internet. There’s the myspace, and if you look in our top friends you can see all our side projects.


MI: Here’s the last big hard question of the day – what is your favorite quote of all time? The first one that comes off the top of your head.


MH: There’s so many….”When the there’s no room in Hell, the dead walk the earth.”


MI: That’s a good one, baby.


MH: Especially in October, that’s a great one. I love that because I really wish that was the way the world would end. A zombie holocaust.


MI: Thanks a lot, honey.


MH: Thanks so much!





























About Author

My name is Barbara Fara. is my baby. I am a psychic and a photographer-and a writer! I am more than a little crazy, because I love taking pictures with people body surfing over my head

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