NegativeOne

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Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival 2013 Ft. Rob Zombie, Mastodon, and more!

Last week Rockstar Energy Drinks Mayhem Festival took me on a 1000 mile trip from Seattle to Napma Idaho and back for two full days of Mayhem in the Sun. 110 degree weather in a car with no AC but it was all worth it. On Day 2 in Auburn, WA I sat down with guitarists John 5 of Rob Zombie and Bill Kelliher of Mastodon. First I caught up with Ex Marilyn Manson guitarist John 5 about the heat, the tour, new music and old. 
 
 
Negative1Photo- So your a couple of days into the tour. Yesterday the sun didn't even go down until after the pyro started. How are you doing today?
 
John 5- Im good, its a lot cooler than yesterday. I think this is perfect weather. So Its gonna be great, but oh my god it gets so hot once that fire comes.
 
N1 - The Rob Zombie stage show just keeps getting better and better. On this tour heres  Giant Robots and Monsters , crazy mic stands, podiums, and instruments, Bright lights and fire. Whats the creative process and who all is behind it?
 
J5- Uhh, Trial and error... (laughts) No, Its mostly Rob. He just has tons of ideas and we see what works. I just play guitar and stay out of the way of the fire and all that stuff. Its pretty big but its gonna be bigger tonight, cuz the stage was so small yesterday.
 
N1 - I was side stage yesterday watching the guys get in and out of the giant creature costumes. Thats gotta be the worst job on tour. 
 
J5- Ya those guys have bad jobs. They're unhappy all the time. (laughs)  Hey, Its entertainment, you know were here to entertain and people want to be entertained as much as possible, so we like putting on a good show for people. You know to see their faces and reaction is really cool.
 
N1- You guys have a new album out now called "Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor".
 
J5- Ya, Its doing really well, were really happy, and Its great to play songs from that album live. Its a lot of fun. Its going really well, I love doing the new songs on the tour because we have been doing the other songs for so long, so its really good for us.
 
N1- Now you guys got Ginger (fish, ex-manson drummer) in the line up now. How did that come about? 
 
J5- I check in with the guys every once in a while and I talked to Ginger and I said "Hey whats going on?" He's like "Oh you know this and that" and he was kinda bumming out a little bit, and this was right after we finished with Joey from Slipknot, he was playing for us, and he went back to Slipknot. So we didn't really have a drummer. So I talked to Rob and he was like ya lets get Ginger down here and see how he does. So, its good cuz Ive known Ginger forever. You know he's a total nut job but its its good. (laughs)
 
N1- Do you miss any of the other guys from Manson? Did you have a particulary strong musical connection with any of them?
 
J5- Well I talk to them so its good. Its like seeing old friends that you used to live with. I talk to them every once in a while and we just did a tour with them so everyones doing well.
 
N1- Do you jam with any of them ever ?
 
J5- Just Ginger.
 
N1- You've been all over the place in your career. Working with some of the heaviest hitters around from Rob Zombie to Rob Halford, Marilyn Manson and David Lee Roth just to name a few. How are you going to keep topping yourself? 
 
J5- I dont know I just wrote a song for Rod Stewart. It was the #1 record in the UK. and its doing really well. Thats really cool. So I'm psyched, Im just happy, and I don't take it for granted. Im just really thankful for everything thats been going on.
 
N1- Thats one of the things I love about you, you just seem so humble, you love what you do, you love the fans and giving back. 
 
J5- Ya oh and thats so important to me, you know because thats how I always look at it, how when I was a kid thats what I liked. I liked meeting the musicians and getting them to talk to me bout guitar players, guitar playing, and styles, or whatever, you know whatever they liked to talk about. So I try to do that as much as possible. It made me happy as a kid, so its hopefully gonna make them happy, me doing it for them.
 
N1- I noticed you started putting up picture of fan artwork, tattoos, letters and things like that online. 
 
J5- Ya its cool that they take the time to do that and I appreciate it. I thinks its great. I used to do that that, like draw Ace Frehley or something like. Its just cuz thats whats in your head and I really appreciate that!
 
N1- You do touring, studio work, and solo stuff. Whats your favorite?
 
J5- You know once your on tour for a long time you wanna go record and once your recording for too long you wanna go tour, so its kinda the best of both worlds. Just like if you get tired of eating pizza all the time, your gonna want something else. Now that taste really good! It just comes and goes.
 
N1- Its fortunate you dont hate touring because there are some people out there that are really not into it but its part of there job.
 
J5- Ya its really difficult for some of the bands but luckily its pretty great. I pretty much do exactly what I do at home except for go onstage. Ill just sit on the bus, watch TV, and play guitar. So at home Ill sit on the couch and play guitar. Its kinda the same thing, you know?
 
N1- So what led you to pursue your solo career?
 
J5- I got a chance to play with the legendary Les Paul, who I loved, and I got a chance to get up on stage with him and play and he said "Ive seen a lot of guitar players and you impressed me." and it was really cool and he really pushed me in the direction to do my instrumental stuff. It was great. Im mean, Its amazing! 
 
N1- And now you have 6 solo albums. 
 
J5- Ya alot of studio records, and more to come. I was just working on one right before I came out here. So, ya more to come, Im always working.
 
N1- Rob has something up his sleeve this halloween called The Great American Nightmare.
 
J5- Ya Great American Nightmare. It's gonna be all month long but were just playing on Nov. 2nd. Universal has like an all month long halloween thing and its like that. Its gonna be crazy tho, its gonna be so different, the mazes are gonna be frightening. Rob was telling me about some and its gonna be nuts, totally nuts! So its gonna be fun, its gonna be a lot of fun. Were psyched!
 
N1- Very cool, When do you get a little break and get back home to the family?
 
J5- I think August 10th or 11th and then we go do Rock in Rio in September. So it will be fun.
 
N1- How is it these days with all the social media. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. People knowing more of your personal life than they used to?
 
J5- You know I remember I loved Kiss and Van Halen and I remember racing to the magazine store across from school and looking to see whats going on and it was like that. That was the only way you could do it but now you can see what I was doing in the hotel a couple of hours ago. Its kinda good and bad so you gotta do it. I dont think you can fight the system cuz your gonna lose but you just have to do it, its just part of the deal now.
 
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Negative1photo- Hows the tour been treating you so far?
 
Bill Kelliher- Fucking Hot! Yesterday was 110 degrees, literally like baking, it was brutal, disgustingly hot. Its nice here, a little cooler, a little breeze. We were like facing the sun as were playing, it was ridiculous. 
 
N1- Mastodon are know to have very unique album art. How does that all come together and what can we expect for the next record?
 
BK-We were using a guy named Paul Romano for many years. Our record company (Relapse) was out of the Philly area, and he's from Philly. He worked at the Mutter Museum, which is like human oddities. So we met him and he was really interesting. Wed always stay with him at his house and we started throwing ideas around with him because he's an amazing artist. He takes a really long time tho (laughs). He kinda shuts the door, goes in his room, and turns off his phone and computer and doesn't talk to anybody until its finished. So with The Hunter record, it came together so quickly we didn't want to be waiting on Paul. We kinda wanted to branch off. The record was a little different. I mean all our records are a little different but that ones really different so we went with AJ Fosik. Brann scours the internet looking for different crazy art, for different people to do it. He's really good about all that stuff. He though Aj Fosik had some really cool stuff that would represent us really well, and it does, its really cool.
 
N1- It was amazing how you guys documented the process of the sculpture with the Black Tongue video as well.
 
BK- We own that piece, its at our practice space. Its incredible up close.
 
N1- So do you guys fight over it?
 
BK- Well, you know, I take it on weekends and Brann gets it on Wednesdays and Brent and Troy get it on Thursdays and Mondays (laughs). Ya I don't know it just sits at the space. We need to build a little platform for it. It came in this huge, huge box. Its incredibly big!
 
N1- What about the next album?
 
BK- I dont know, Im not really sure what were gonna pick for the next album cover. I have no idea what were gonna get into. We've got some ideas floating around tho.
 
N1- Theres almost a sense of split personality when it comes to Mastodon. On one hand you seem to take your work and music very seriously yet you guys have so much fun with you concepts, videos, and interviews. 
 
BK- Oh yeah, you have to have a sense of humor. You cant take yourself too seriously.
 
N1- Like in the "Curl of the Burl" video... snorting wood to get high. Who's idea was that?
 
BK- (Laughing) Im not really sure. Probably Branns. He comes up with a lot of the aesthetics for the band.
 
N1- You can tell you guys are really tight knit and to see such talent not taking themselves too seriously is very refreshing.
 
BK- Were serious on stage but off stage were very goofy. We just like to tell jokes and pull pranks and do stupid shit and laugh about it.
 
N1- Do you enjoy being on tour for the most part? 
 
BK- Ya, its kinda tough being away from home, my kids, and wife, my own bed. But this is my job and you have to get out there and earn some money. We were off for seven months. Its a long time for somebody to be out of work. This tour is kind of easy tho because were doing a lot of flying. Like tonight, were not gonna drive on the bus for two days to Arizona, were gonna fly there tomorrow morning. Then Ill be in Rochester next week and Ill see my mom, my brother, my family, and then a week later, I think Im going to Denver to meet my wife and then her and I are going to fly to Atlanta for two days off. Then Ill fly to Toronto, Play the show there and like a week later we roll through Atlanta to play. So its like every week Ill be able to see her. It will be nice! Theres a lot of good breaks in it so its not too bad.
 
N1- How old are your kids?
 
BK- Harrison is almost 9 and Conan is gonna be 7. They're really fun at this age. They're so into everything. They love fishing and my older son is doing soccer camp right now in New York. So Ill get to see them in a couple of days. we go through Pittsburgh and I get to see my sister-in law. So its like everyday you get to see somebody you haven't seen in a while. Thats the best part about touring. I like seeing old friends and reconnecting with people. Its always nice and this tour is pretty well laid out. You have good catering, and every thing is set up everyday. We play at the exact some time. Its just like going to a job. Its like... ok, you get onto the bus at this time, you wake up, your here, you do the meet and greet, you do a couple of interviews, you play the gig at 7, and then your don't for the rest of the night. You have dinner and onto the next place.
 
N1- So wat your saying is you don't miss the days of the "Fart Box", 4 guys crammed into an old Chevy Van, playing in front of 20 people.
 
BK- Ya, I don't miss those days no. I don't know how we lived and did that. We used to party and drink so much and be so hung over. Wed be loading all our stuff and driving to the gig that was 9 hours away THAT DAY! I don't know how we didn't just burn out. We were just living by the seat of our pants for so many years. Now we've got a tour bus, its nice! Even if we were still doing that id probably still be doing it because I love playing music and guitars are my life.
 
N1- So you guys have a new record coming here pretty soon.
 
BK- Ya we've got about 25, 30 songs ready to roll. Were getting ready to record those when we get off this tour. Its gonna be great!
 
N1- I noticed Brent has been messing around with some Lap Steels and thing of that sort. You guys are know to mix in weird instruments like the Moogerfooger and now maybe the Lap Steel when recording. Is that something we can expect to hear on the new record?
 
BK- I dont know, he plays it a lot at the practice pad so Im sure it will make it on there.
 
N1- Thats one thing I can say about you band is there has never been a regurgitation of the same record.
 
BK- Ya, you cant keep writing the same record. You gotta make it fresh and new and exciting.
 
N1- So what the new one gonna be like?
 
BK- I dont know, Im not really sure yet. I haven't heard the vocals or lyrics yet, but I've heard some ideas that we've been throwing around and it sounds really proggy but theres a lot of rock. Somebody told me when they heard the riff I wrote, they were like "Man it sounds like the Scorpions meets Slayer or something" and I was "Oh thats cool, I like the Scorpions and Slayer" You know were trying to just evolve even more, just get more melody in there and not make things too complex like we used to. We used to sit there and over analyze ever riff. Wed be like, Its not heavy enough, or its not crazy enough, or its not noodly enough. Its like, its ok to just lay back like the Curl of the Burl song. If we want to feel like writing a song like that we should be able to. 
 
N1- Definitely!
 

Ginger Fish, Rob Zombie, 07.02.13, Idaho Center Amphitheater, Nampa, ID.

 

Piggy D, Rob Zombie, 07.03.13, Whiteriver Amphitheatre. Auburn, WA.

 

John 5, Rob Zombie, 07.02.13, Idaho Center Amphitheater, Nampa, ID.

 

Mr. Zombie himself, Rob Zombie, 07.02.13, Idaho Center Amphitheater, Nampa, ID.

 

Piggy D & Mr. Zombie, Rob Zombie, 07.02.13, Idaho Center Amphitheater, Nampa, ID.

 

John 5, Rob Zombie, 07.02.13, Idaho Center Amphitheater, Nampa, ID.

 

Rob Zombie & John 5, Rob Zombie, 07.02.13, Idaho Center Amphitheater, Nampa, ID.

 

Mr. Rob Zombie, Rob Zombie, 07.02.13, Idaho Center Amphitheater, Nampa, ID

 

Brent Hinds, Mastodon, 07.02.13, Idaho Center Amphitheater, Nampa, ID.

 

Bill Kelliher, Mastodon, 07.02.13, Idaho Center Amphitheater, Nampa, ID.

 

Troy Sanders, Mastodon, 07.02.13, Idaho Center Amphitheater, Nampa, ID.

 

Brent Hinds, Mastodon, 07.02.13, Idaho Center Amphitheater, Nampa, ID.

 

Brann Dailor, Troy Sanders, & Bill Kelliher, Mastodon, 07.02.13, Idaho Center Amphitheater, Nampa, ID.

 

 

Jason Hook & Chris Kael, Five Finger Death Punch, 07.02.13, Idaho Center Amphitheater, Nampa, ID.

 

Ivan Moody, Five Finger Death Punch, 07.03.13, Whiteriver Amphitheatre, Auburn, WA.

 

Chris Kael, Five Finger Death Punch, 07.03.13, Whiteriver Amphitheatre, Auburn, WA.

 

Zoltan Bathory & Chris Kael, Five Finger Death Punch,  07.02.13, Idaho Center Amphitheater, Nampa, ID.

 

Johan Hegg, Ted Lundstrom, & Olavi Mikkonen, Amon Amarth, 07.02.13, Idaho Center Amphitheater, Nampa, ID.

 

Ted Lundstrom, Amon Amarth, 07.02.13, Idaho Center Amphitheater, Nampa, ID.

 

Johan Hegg & Ted Lundstrom, Amon Amarth, 07.02.13, Idaho Center Amphitheater, Nampa, ID.

 

 

Rob Flynn, David McClain, & Jared MacEachern, Machine Head, 07.02.13, Idaho Center Amphitheater, Nampa, ID.

 

 

Phil Demmel, Machine Head, 07.02.13, Idaho Center Amphitheater, Nampa, ID.

 

 

Rob Flynn & Phil Demmel, Machine Head, 07.02.13, Idaho Center Amphitheater, Nampa, ID.

 

The General Rob Flynn, Machine Head, 07.02.13, Idaho Center Amphitheater, Nampa, ID.

 

Nick Shinz, Job For A Cowboy, 07.02.13, Idaho Center Amphitheater, Nampa, ID.

 

Alexi Laiho, Children of Bodom, 07.02.13, Idaho Center Amphitheater, Nampa, ID.

 

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