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MUSHROOMHEAD Interview


In the Spring of 1993 seven musicians from Cleveland, OH came together to form a side project called Mushroomhead. The intentions of this project were to create an eclectic blend of music combined with a vaudevillian stage show.



The Gauntlet: How did Mushroomhead decide on Universal Records as the label to sign to?



J.Mann: When Universal approached us we were very apprehensive, but once we sat down and talked to them they weren't the corporate monster we thought they'd be. They were into the music and letting us maintain creative control and they also let us keep our publishing and merchandise. Great distribution. It was a deal we couldn't pass up.



The Gauntlet: Mushroomhead has always held firm to being a very independent band, has this independence changed now that you are on a major? What sort of effect has it had on the band members lives?



J.Mann: In the past the band was independent out of necessity. After nine years of being independent we felt like we took it as far as we could on our own. So it was either take a step up or stop. As for the effect on our lives I think we are all a lot busier.



The Gauntlet: Your band is no virgin to success, but were you surprised with the latest chart numbers for the re-release of XX? Hitting #26 on the Billboard Alternative New Artist chart is impressive, and radio stations across the country are on fire with requests for Solitaire Unraveling...have you expected that people were just waiting for a band such as Mushroomhead to come along, or was this a major surprise?



J.Mann: I don't know if we were surprised but we were definitely pleased. It's nice to see the record get the push we always thought it deserved.



The Gauntlet: You recently recorded a brand new song for the Scorpion King soundtrack. Can you talk about it, as in the title, how it sounds compared to XX, lyrical content?



J.Mann: The song is called "Along The Way" and it definitely sticks to our style but we also added things to fit the concept of the movie. We were just excited to record something new.



The Gauntlet: There was been rampant debate concerning a recent story that mblzine.com broke concerning the band and former label Eclipse Records. I don't wish to go in detail, as it is really a private matter, but has anything been resolved since the story emerged?



J.Mann: Nothing is resolved yet but things are in the works. That story was ridiculous they printed contracts that were rough drafts that the band never signed. That whole article is based around a contract we never signed.



The Gauntlet: On a related note, now that Mushroomhead are on a major label, people seem to want to draw out negative stories to harm you. What are your feelings on these certain individuals that don't understand privacy?



J.Mann: Unfortunately it's the price you pay in the business. If shit is flying about you, you must be doing something right. The only bands I ever hear people talk shit about are platinum so if that's the trend I hope people talk mad shit about us.



The Gauntlet: The re-release of XX had 3 new songs that weren't featured on the Eclipse release, why? How come Epiphany was removed?



J.Mann: Universal wanted to add the extra songs to make it a better value. As for taking off "Epiphany", we recorded that on a home studio instead of 2 inch tape so when it came to Toby Wright to remix the album he couldn't remix that song because of the format it was on so it was dropped because Universal wanted the entire album remixed by Toby.



The Gauntlet: How did the band come to choose Empty Spaces as a song to cover? Would you wish to see it released as a single, why or why not?



J.Mann: We chose that song because Roger Waters is a great songwriter and it's from the highly conceptual movie/album The Wall. It fit with the sound and look of the band. I think it's too short to be a single though.



The Gauntlet: You're about to begin your own headlining tour, with Lamb of God, Five Pointe 0. Did you expect to have your own headlining tour so quickly after releasing the album through Universal? What do you have planned for the stage?



J.Mann: Actually were a little shocked to be headlining so soon. This is the biggest tour we've ever done so it will be challenging but we're all looking forward to it.



The Gauntlet: During the Summer/Fall of 2001 you had the chance to tour with WASP and Dog Fashion Disco, and had the opportunity to play in areas you had never been to before. Looking back, do you believe it was beneficial to go out on the tour, and expose the band to so many new areas?



J.Mann: Absolutely. Although we didn't fit that well with WASP it was definitely beneficial. We played a lot of new places, met some cool people, and forged some new friendships (Dog Fashion Disco).



The Gauntlet: Rumor has it you will be heading overseas to tour Europe/UK with Hatebreed and Flaw. Can you confirm this? If yes, the line-up seems quite diverse, how was this arranged? Are you looking forward to spreading your music in other countries?



J.Mann: I'm not sure if it's confirmed. All three bands are on Universal so it's not that strange and I think all three bands were to take turns headlining. But like I said it's not confirmed. I'm a big Hatebreed fan so it would be cool.



The Gauntlet: I'm sure this is a very common question, but I have to ask: Why the costumes? Are you worried some may toss you aside as just another "gimmick"?



J.Mann: When we formed the band it was a side project and we were all in other bands. We started wearing masks so we wouldn't be recognized from our other projects and we didn't want the to be any preconceptions about this project because it was a very different animal from what we were all doing.



The Gauntlet: Mushroomhead are well known for your outrageous live shows. What are some of the craziest moments you can recall while playing live?



J.Mann: Most of the truly outrageous stuff comes from the audience. We've had naked girls run on stage, people start having sex on stage, people have seizures from the strobes, band member injuries, I think Bronson holds the record with like 65 stitches.



The Gauntlet: Mushroomhead was arguably the biggest band in Cleveland for the past few years. Now that you have made a name for yourself on the national scene, what are a few bands from your hometown that you'd like to see earn some exposure?



J.Mann: Runt, Ringworm, Keelhaul, Cold Hand Of Christ, Forever Untouched, Holy Ghost, Schnauzer, NDE, and Chimaira (Roadrunner) and Sw1tched who both recently signed and released records



The Gauntlet: You happen to have a wide array of side projects, most recently I read about The Altar Boys with members of DFD, Pro-pain, etc. While Mushroomhead are first and foremost, do you plan on elaborating more with those projects such as Altar Boys or Runt? Will the band continue to release material through your independent record label for these acts?



J.Mann: We're going to continue with other projects as long as we can and we hope to find distribution for our record label SMDC to release our other projects as well as other Cleveland bands. For more information go to www.smdcrecords.com



The Gauntlet: Following up on the Altar Boys side project, members recently recording material in the studio. What's the material sound like, and what plans are there for releasing this?



J.Mann: The record is almost done. We're not sure if we're going to release on SMDC or if we're going to shop it. I wouldn't know where to begin describing what it sounds like, but there should be an mp3 up on the SMDC site very soon so you can decide for yourself.



The Gauntlet: Many groups take the opportunity of being signed to re-release past albums. Is this a plan for older Mushroomhead albums, further down the road?



J.Mann: Actually all of our prior release are currently in print and available at all of our shows, we hope to have the store on our website up soon, they will be available there as well.



The Gauntlet: Any final words/rants/opinions you'd like to express to those fans reading?



J.Mann: Thanks for your time and attention. We look forward to seeing everyone on the road soon. Take care.


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Tags:  MushroomheadSuburban Noize Records , J.Manninterviews

    November 30, -0001

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