MASTODON supporting Iron Maiden at Sonisphere Festival Italy on June 8th 2013, in Milano RHO in front of 38000 screaming fans
Troy, are you okay? O.o
So happy to see these guys again! Mastodon rule!
A small victory.
Brann and I met back in 2010 before a show they did with Baroness in Knoxville. Weirdly he had been following this site since before then and already knew who I was. You can imagine how weird it was to have this dude I looked up to musically come up to me in a crowd of people and ask “Hey, aren’t you the one who runs Fuck Yeah Mastodon?”. Anyway, it was the start of a pretty cool friendship. I hang out with him and his lovely wifey Susanne whenever I’m in ATL and the setting’s right. I’m not claiming to be super-close or chummy with them, but they are good people that I like to chill with whenever I’m in town. I consider it a blessing that they support what I do. Brann even wants my band’s demo whenever we finish it! Kind of crazy, huh? - Dora
Brann and Baroness guitarist/heart throb Pete Adams before the Baroness show in Atlanta last Wednesday. I didn’t attend this show after all (I was kind of more into drinking than socializing with rock dudes that night, so I skipped the show). However, riding in the car with Brann and Pete as they made use of the “Peter Meter” must have been a fucking blast! I am sad I missed out on that part! Oh well, there’s always a next time.
at China Buffet 410 Hooper Rd. Endwell, NY
Paul Juser delivers this story of what is easily considered to be one of the most infamous local shows, if not legendary in Binghamton terms -detailing MASTODON’s fourth and last show since played in the area from the Fall of 2002. I was a freshman in high school at Union-Endicott at the time, and even though it was a school night in the first week of classes, there was no way that I or any of my friends could even fathom missing this epic gig, especially after having witnessed their previous shows. Now we had them all to ourselves once more, in a closed down former Chinese buffet restaurant that us Endicott kids could simply skate, bike, or catch the #35 bus to. The rest of the school week, every kid who went to this show would dawn a different freshly new designed Mastodon t-shirt with pride as teachers tried to guess if this imagery was somehow gang-related or in some way cult inspired. We even had a pretty rad creative writing English teacher hang out with us this night.
It’s over 10 years later and I still hear people raving about how great this show was. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that Mastodon turned out to be if not surely one of the most significant metal bands of the past generation, then without a doubt one of the great rock bands of our current era (maybe even the last?) In a time when the quality and credibility of these particular styles is fleeting, especially in already apathetic punk communities (i.e. it’s getting harder to find genuinely good new music within these genres) I think that a sense of solidarity among fans of a band like Mastodon can be inspiring to create anew and reinvent for the now, the present moment. Rather than just look back here and think “Damn, those were great times…”, we can also aspire to see this particular show as a snapshot of an amazing band, or of yourself, on a continual path of self re-invention. I hope this story offers a sign post toward a way forward to your own new places, as it does for me.
Paul once wrote a short-lived zine titled “On the Run From the American Dream”. I would pick up anything on merch tables at shows, and this zine was one that I enjoyed enough to hang onto over the years. The following story is from “On the Run…” issue #3 and Paul was kind enough to submit it along with a few edits to this blog. Indeed a talented writer, I think no one is better suited to give this particular show’s legend it’s proper due. So thanks to Paul for that. He is of course a more seasoned parlor city vet than I, but has always been pretty cool to me, and I appreciate it, especially for letting me republish something he wrote over so long ago, after having published many a book, script, play, and a poem or two by now. His writing is of course apart of one the many things that inspire this blog, so in turn, it’s an honor. His website which features a collection of writing can be found at http://www.printisbetter.com
“I know it’s right but it’s always strange…”
As always, thanks for reading (and giving a shit).
“For out-of-town bands, Binghamton is a tough nut to crack. Fanfare is reserved for the local legends, like I FARM. Local heroes drew huge crowds since the days I became involved with the scene in the days of the legendary ABALIENATION. Out of town bands , no matter how big, are rarely given any kind of acceptance. Popular bands are made fun of, unpopular bands are booed off the stage. In the fall of 2000, MASTODON came for the first time, and received no taunts.
At that point, it was before their rise to power. We knew them only as “Ex-TODAY IS THE DAY Members.” In the Spring of 2001, they returned, much to the surprise of everyone, because usually, bands aren’t willing to come back. Word of mouth prevailed, and there were twice as many people than the first and was the most brutal show Binghamton has seen in a while.
(flier courtesy of Jason House)
Mastodon was in negotiations with Relapse Records at that point, and had just put out their 4-song demo, which unlike their previous release, the aptly-named “9 Song Demo,” had song titles. It was four of the five songs that would later make up their first Relapse release, “Lifesblood:” “We Built this Come Death,” “Welcoming War,” “Hail to Fire,” and “Battle at Sea.” The third show here was at the now-defunct 123 Fake St, just prior to the release of the full-length “Remission.”
The only real way to describe Mastodon’s music is to imagine that vice that was attached to your dad’s work bench, but imagine that vice rocking as hard as Mötörhead. I’ve seen their music described as doom metal, but it’s a bit too fast for that, though just as thick and intense. It’s hard to sit still while listening to their music, which is just as intense live as on either of their Relapse releases. The furious guitar-play between Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher is enough to slice you in half, while Troy Sander’s bass conjures every dark thought in your head and injects it into their music, with the intense vocals of Sanders and Hinds being punctuated by the drums. Troy sings as deep and evil as all of the one-trick-pony death metal acts they share a label with, but Troy sounds authentic. You don’t want to laugh at his singing, like you would for, say, DYING FETUS. Mixed with Brent’s high-pitched screaming, the vocals are unstoppable.
(photo courtesy of Jason House)
As amazing as the rest of the band is, the real star is Brann Dailor’s drumming. A drummer friend of mine always swore by the statement that the drummer is either the most or least important member of the band. Whereas Lars Ulrich proves the latter, Brann proves the former with no question. Without his precision, unstoppable drumming, the band would not have their driving and maddening sound. The first time I heard him was when that same drummer friend, who once lived in Rochester, home of Brann and Bill where he listened to their old band, LETHARGY. For me, it’s amusing to watch drummers watching Brann play. The usual reaction is to stand off to the side of the stage, slack-jawed and wide-eyed.
The show on 9/16 had already been an eventful one. It was a Monday night, which, for 80% of the Binghamton scene, means a school night. Another 10% were drop-outs, while the final 10% have managed to survive past our high school days.
(photo courtesy of Joey McIntosh)
More than one hundred people came out that night. While local trend-metal heros, 40 ODD MAGNATE were opening the show, the police had arrived to shut it down. I have to give the police credit for not wanting 40OM to play, but give the rest of the bands a chance. The police agreed to let the show continue if everyone stayed inside. 40 Odd, unfortunately, kept playing.
ALL IMMUNE, who has been courting Relapse for a while, played next. Now, I’m not in a position to give an even slightly unbiased opinion of them, because the entire band are friends and drinking buddies. I like their music a lot, and probably still would if I wasn’t so close to the band. They list their biggest influences as Mastodon, Tool, and Guns ‘N Roses. I could write more about them, but this is about Mastodon.
ALL IMMUNE ripped through their set with an intensity I’ve never seen before. It was hard to see, because I agreed to watch the door. The normally quiet Bobb did a jump so high that it was the only thing I could see over the sea of heads. LICKGOLDENSKY followed All Immune, and though I’m not a big fan of this band that features Ex-TURMOIL members, I was impressed. The singer spent most of the time standing on a railing to the right of the crowd, much of it without a mic, screaming loud enough to be heard above the music. Other times, he was walking around with a chair on his head like a villain from The Tick.
It was with much anticipation that MASTODON was next. I stood with Steve and Bobb from All Immune at the front to watch the band set up. Bobb guitar-geeked out, pointing out to me that Brent and Bill both use Gibsons, Brent being armed with both a Flying V and a SG, while Bill wields a Les Paul. The tension was so thick that kids were starting to dance to their intro music before Mastodon started to play. Mastodon has repeatedly claimed that Binghamton is their favorite place to play, and this time, more than any other, it showed. Between songs, Brent was on his mic, either lazily reciting their samples, making fun of kids in the crowd, or singing from his favorite band, THIN LIZZY, who he nearly came to blows over on my back porch.
Troy thrashed about like a maniac, and at one point even did his own impression of Monty Python’s “Silly Walks.” Even Bill, who before this show I had never seen without a sweatshirt or hat pulled down to his eyes, and never heard him speak, was now clad in a fading “…And Justice for All” shirt, and was rocking like nobody’s business. Brann simply sat behind his drums and made them wish they had never been assembled. The only mishap was in the opening song, when Bill broke a guitar and had to replace it. Bobb later informed me that the broken guitar was a Gibson explorer.
The crowd reaction was the most intense yet, with an almost non-stop pit. Kids that normally stand around were handing out hospital jobs left and right. On several occasions, kids would steal Troy’s microphone to sing in his stead until it was taken away. When they played the samples between songs, kids were screaming along with them as well. There was nothing quite like hearing half the room wailing, “I took the butchers knife, and held it up to her neck…”
The set opened with “Workhorse,” followed by “Crusher Destroyer,” “Trampled Under Hoof,” and “Trainwreck,” all off Remission. That was followed by “We Built This Come Death,” from Lifesblood, then Remission’s “March of the Fire Ants,” “Ole’ Nessie,” and “Where Strides the Behemoth.” Lifesblood’s “Hail to Fire,” and “Battle at Sea,” but Bill immediately started into “Motherpuncher” when those were done. The final two songs were “Shadows that Move,” and “Welcoming War,” off Lifesblood. Brent struggled to recite the Cookoo’s Nest sample for “Shadows…,” while Troy and Bill were tuning up. “I’m not just talking about my wife, I’m talking about my life… I’m talking about… Ozzfest… Pun’kin pie… Cute girls… Cold beers…” He was immediately corrected when the real quote boomed through the PA. “March of the Fire Ants,” “We Built this Come Death,” and “Ole’ Nessie” are my absolute three favorite Mastodon songs, all three in a row, and early in the set, so my out-of-shape-drunk-ass could still go nuts. By the time they got to the first encore, I was too beat up and exhausted to even endure the irritating last-song-dancers, who have stood around with their thumbs up their asses the whole set, and finally get the nerve to show respect for the band in the very last song.
When the show was over, we retired to my apartment with six twelve-packs of Miller Genuine Draft, Beast Ice, and Labatts. Now, I promised myself that I wouldn’t be a fan boy but one of my favorite bands in the world did sleep and get drunk in my home. Until Slash, Duff, Axl and Izzy have done the same, not much can top that. Fuck yeah. For all you little shits that will never get to eat breakfast with Mudvayne, or whatever your lame-ass favorite band is, you can bite me.
My apartment building has families all around, and this was a Monday night. Here we were, getting drunk and rowdy, not stopping until close to five in the morning, with me, Brent and Bobb on my back porch rambling about watching the sun rise and trying to decide if we were going to finish my roommate’s Sky Blue with the beer gone. My apartment was like a Relapse Hotel, hosting STRONG INTENTION, CRIPPLE BASTARDS, CHOKE THEIR RIVERS WITH OUR DEAD, and UPHILL BATTLE (who were excited to stay in the same place as Cripple Bastards).
I never did get to do the real interview with Mastodon that I wanted, but I did get to ask them a lot of questions as we consumed more of the brew. The original “9 Song Demo” and “Lifesblood” were both recorded live in the studio, not one track at a time, and I was interested to find out if “Remission” was recorded the same way, but forgot to ask. The question that had been burning me most, was whether or not “Mother Puncher” was about a specific mother. Bill and Brann enlightened me that the title of the song came from Eric Sanders (no relation to Troy), the singer on “9 Song Demo,” named it, saying that the last riff made him want to punch his mother. When I asked their opinions of the death metal bands that make up most of the Relapse label, they were judicious and danced around the answer. “They have been really good to us,” was the best I could get.
The night progressed with people fading one by one. We continued drinking and watching old Headbanger’s Ball videos for some time after that, as we lost our momentum and went to bed one by one, with Troy first, sprawling beneath a promotional Mastodon posters Relapse had sent for the show, followed by Bill, who took my roommate’s room, since she had wisely taken my advice and slept elsewhere that night. Brann faded on the couch watching movies, while Steve, Bobb, Brent and I retreated to the back porch. This caused an extended rant from Brent, who was unhappy with the fact that I let my cats piss inside, but made him go outside to smoke a joint.
Brent began telling Bobb how he wasn’t a very good guitar player and tossing bottles off my porch onto the cement below. Normally, this will illicit a negative response from me, but I was too drunk to care. We finished the last of the beer and all went to bed.
My roommate came home that morning before going to work. He had been warned that Mastodon was probably staying, but the fact that someone would probably be sleeping in her bed had not been brought up. At the time of this writing, I haven’t seen her for her response.”
(video courtesy of Kevin Kober)
MASTODON, at China Buffet 410 Hooper Rd. Endwell NY*
Trampled Under Hoof
We Built This Come Death
March of the Fire Ants
Where Strides the Behemoth
Hail to Fire
Battle at Sea
Shadows that Move
*note: video quality is blurry (VHS transfer) but the audio is excellent.
Brent and Phil
Err thanks Anon, whoever you are ;)
The Most Epic Moment Of “Jonah Hex” ..I can’t stop laughing!!
A little thing called my 25th birthday is coming up on Wednesday, May 29th, and it would be awesome if you could celebrate this with me.
I’ll be at MiBarrio across from Oakland Cemetery around 6 PM for dinner. After that, I’m heading to the Baroness show with Jared and some other friends.
If you’d like to see me/wish me a happy birthday/buy me a drink/polka to “Jake Leg” with me, that would be beyond awesome. Just letting you know you’re included in the festivities.
Bill Kelliher of Mastodon & Primate. Photographed in Atlanta for American Six String by Cord McPhail.
Brent and I went to Elmyr after we did these photos. I had a Mastodon beer, and he had the enchilada special. We talked about great TV shows, like Designing Women, and Maude.
I KNEW Brent liked Designing Women! I fucking knew it! Now I wonder if he was the one that bought that nude Bea Arthur portrait…*shudders*