HHM: The lifespan for most bands these days is a lot smaller these days than what it used to be pre-internet. What keeps you guys going after more than 25 years in the business?
Jeffrey Nothing: Skinny and I started writing and performing together in Hatrix, our band prior to Mushroomhead in 1989, so we are in our 25th year. MRH is 20 years old, but even back then we realized the key to longevity is being able to do as much as possible, in house. D.I.Y.! We Record, rehearse, edit video, design CD packaging and all Merchandise graphics, as well as pour and paint masks at our facility. Album sales are very much a thing of the past as is tour support. The misconception for a lot of bands seems to be: We got signed we made it. The difference for us was we knew. That is when the real work starts.
HHM: What has been the biggest misconception of Mushroomhead over the past 25 years?
Jeffrey Nothing: That we are Slipknot Wannabes. We predate them and another one is that there is ill- will between the bands. Our problem is with the label. We sent them everything we ever made during Negotiations with Roadrunner Records. We said no to a very bad deal. They said yes and the rest is history. Hindsight being 20/20 maybe we should have took the deal. They got a huge push. In the end, I’m pretty happy with where we are sitting today.
HHM: When you go to write new songs with a band your size, is there an over all collaboration between everyone in the band or is there a couple main songwriters in the band? What is the songwriting process like?
Jeffrey Nothing: For the longest time a few members would get together and Jam. We would record these sessions and find the parts we liked and build on those. Sometimes a more semi – structured song would be presented and that too would be reworked and then there were the riffs that turned into little interludes, not quite full songs. Today we had an overabundance of complete pieces down to electronic drums. Dr.F and Church, on Bass and Guitar respectively brought 20 full songs to the table. We had to say,”Stop Writing” and concentrate on what we’ve already got. It is a good problem to have.
HHM: Your new album ”The Righteous & The Butterfly” is an amazing album. What songs stand out for you the most and why?
Jeffrey Nothing: The song: “For Your Pleasure”. During the writing process and prior to the Album being named, the working title for this song was “Righteous” and it just spoke to me. This song since day 1 for me was about our fallen friend and original Guitarist; JJ Righteous. I passed my feelings onto J Mann and he too wrote his parts about John. This is an emotional song to say the very least.
“Portraits of the Poor” this one wrote itself. It brings a “Never Let It Go” lyric to mind. ” the cut that always bleeds, but never shows” wounds and scars can be far under the surface and cut way deeper than anything physical. I feel I speak for a large community when I sing this one.
“Out of my Mind”. So many people can sleep walk thru life. We see things on the news so they must be true. This song is really a wake up call. Question everything. We as humankind deserve the truth. Not their watered down reality. We are people, not pawns.
HHM: Which songs off the new album do you think will surprise fans of Mushroomhead?
Jeffrey Nothing: The whole record. We are still Mushroomhead, but I feel we are coming from a new Confident, hardened place. The tongue in cheek delivery has given way to full on, in your face brutal, reality. If I had to say one song. The Adele cover. We disected it, re-worked it, made it an entirely new, Animal.
HHM: You guys have always been loyal to your fans in Ohio, what is it about Ohio metal that people have yet to catch on to yet?
Jeffrey Nothing: Cleveland like many other midwest cities had our industry dry up and or move away. The Metal scene in many ways grew from that same economic wasteland and it scratched and clawed it’s way back to relevance. Blood, sweat and tears poured out on every Cleveland stage and our fans have been there every step of the way. Giving that same: All, for the cause. Our pits back home reflect the same heart and rage our hometown bands put into every note we play, try one some time, they are no joke. Cleveland is home and as we find ourselves in more parts of the world bringing Mushroomhead to the masses, the 216 is right there with us, every step of the way.
HHM: What are you most looking forward when touring and promoting the new album this year?
Jeffrey Nothing: Playing this new Record. We are planning to do at least half of it live and I am glad Because I can’t wait to share The Righteous & The Butterfly with our fans. More than any other release, this one screams Mushroomhead and it’s looking like we are going to be sharing it with a lot more of the world and that is all I have ever wanted to do. Play on as many stages around the world as possible. Mayhem is coming there is talk of Japan. The sky finally seems to be the limit.
HHM: Is there anything specific you want to accomplish musically that you have yet to achieve?
Jeffrey Nothing: A Grammy would be nice. But at the same time making the music is it’s own reward. Staying on and playing new festivals would be great too. I like the intimate atmosphere of small clubs, don’t get me wrong, but we thrive and truly shine on the big stage in front of a large crowd.
HHM: I want to thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions for me, if there is anything you’d like to add please feel free to do so…
Jeffrey Nothing: Thank You and I want to say: Pick Up The Righteous & The Butterfly and keep an eye out for our “Qwerty” video on MTV.com and where ever videos are shown and see You on Mayhem.
Interview by Chris Axe HHM
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