INTERVIEW WITH JMANN
Shoutweb: You guys are such an independent success story! You sold 50,000 copies on an independent label and did one national tour with W.A.S.P. playing to maybe 200-500 80's rockers. How the hell did you do it? J Mann: Well, through Eclipse we sold about 50,000 and then on our own through all of our independent releases we probably sold another 50,000 without any distribution. Unfortunately for us, they don't show up through Soundscan because the majority of them were sold at our shows and smaller record stores. We actually did three independent releases and the smallest one of those did like 11,000! So it's been doing really well for a long time but now it's exciting to actually be with a major label and just experience that aspect of it. We've gone down every route but that. We did it on our own for a while and then we went through an independent label and now we're gonna try this. We're kind of fortunate because we get to run the full spectrum of this business from every facet. Shoutweb: Did the fact that you had sold 50,000 copies of the record independently help in the negotiating with Universal? J Mann: It definitely helped. Universal has been keeping their eyes on our band for a while now and been talking with us on and off for quite some time just because we've been selling so many records on our own and our shows were doing so well. A lot of labels were looking at us but most of them were worried that it was just a fad or a gimmick but here we are nine years later doing the same thing! Universal I think just wanted to see us tour because we hadn't done that before and they wanted to see the Soundscans. We did a short three-week tour with W.A.S.P. and got the Soundscans up to 50,000 and I guess it's really what they wanted to see. Shoutweb: What was it like to play in front of a crowd of W.A.S.P. fans who are definitely older and grew up on the 80's kind of rock? J Mann: Well in the 80's when I was a kid they were really theatrical with all the blood and pyro and just put on a really great show. They were like the Alice Cooper of the 80's at one point. He still does a lot of that with shooting sparks out of his saw penis thing! (Laughs) They were really nice guys though and Dog Fashion Disco made it that much better as they're really good friends of ours. I'm actually working on a side-project with the singer from Dog Fashion called The Altar Boys. We're working on demo now and then maybe shop it around. Maybe Universal will like it! Who knows Shoutweb: I was actually very disappointed that neither you nor Dog Fashion Disco made the date that W.A.S.P. played here in Canada. J Mann: Well, that was the other drawback to being on a small label like Eclipse Records was that it was only distributed in America. We wanted to go play that show but we were like we'd be going to play and our record isn't even available there so that means there would have been no press or anything for us. We actually played the NXNE festival up there in Canada a while back and had quite an experience at the border, which kinda left a bad taste in our mouths as well. Shoutweb: Don't tell me they did anal searches or anything like that! J Mann: No! They didn't do that but what they did was make a mistake and punished us for it. We entered the country in like a 15 passenger van with the equipment in a U-Haul van and they just let us breeze right through! So when we came out of the country they had no record of us bringing this van full of equipment through so because they didn't fill out the proper paper work we had to sit there for like six hours! Once they realized they made a mistake they saw that if they detained us any longer then it would just shed more light on their mistake so they just told us to go home. Shoutweb: I really hate to bring this up but people are obviously going to say your image is trying to ride on the coattails of Slipknot's success. J Mann: I'm not sure if it's going to pose a problem since it hasn't so far. We've been doing this for so long now that we can't change who we are just because another band is doing the same thing. There is like no problem between the two bands though and I think Slipknot is a good band. There have been rumors of feuds between the two camps as our fans and theirs don't really get along but its just stupid and we wanna put an end to it. When Slipknot rolled through town here Corey from Slipknot actually called our voice mail and had nothing but kind words for us and said he'd like to talk with us as there has been a lot of talk about a feud that isn't coming from our side or his. We're just hopefully gonna have the opportunity to sit down and get through this crap and maybe even do a tour together. Shoutweb: Where did the idea to make the image more military like come from? I saw the new photos and Jeffrey Nothing looks sic! He almost looks like some kind of general in the army. J Mann: We took it that route more because we were doing it where everyone kind of had a different mask and that just looked exactly like Slipknot, which is probably how this whole thing started! Our fans had been following our band for years and then they saw another band coming out looking almost identical so we just kind of took it on the chin and changed our image, which we're really happy with. We've all got pretty much the same mask with flight suits and tactical vests, which give us a far more militant look. We have banners on stage now during our live show that look like something out of ancient Rome too! Shoutweb: I really want to see how you guys pull this off live! J Mann: We're hoping to go out in January but we don't have anything concrete yet. That is one area where this Slipknot thing could really hurt us, as there are bands that have toured with Slipknot just recently and don't want to jump right back on the road with another masked band. We just have to sit back for a little while and hope the record does well enough that we can go out and do some shows of our own or find the right band to tour with. Obviously we're a new band so we'd be in the opening slot of any tour but it seems like we're having troubles with bands not wanting to follow what we do, not because of the music, but more so because it's such a visual performance with so much going on. Shoutweb: I think you guys are lucky you have the complete opposite sound to Slipknot and you sound absolutely nothing like them. You music is keyboard driven and sounds a lot more like Faith No More than anyone else. J Mann: We're not really influenced by today's music very much. We've all been in bands long enough and made the mistake of trying to be current but we're definitely not that type of band and we just do what we do. Some people have called us the missing link between like early 90's hard rock and this "nu-metal" stuff and it's kind of linked between Faith No More and something like Korn. It's still an evolutionary thing. Faith No More is one of my favorite bands and I think that comparison just comes from being one the few hard rock bands with keyboards. I think that whole keyboards with metal thing has become synonymous with Faith No More. We're definitely influenced by Mike Patton, as he is the greatest singer I've ever heard by far. Shoutweb: Jeffery Nothing's voice at times reminds me of a cross between Glenn Danzig and a bit of Ian Ashbury of the Cult. J Mann: Well, there are two singers in our band. I sing the more abrasive stuff along the rappy kind of parts. Jeffery kind of sings the higher type of screaming stuff. Shoutweb: The re-mixes Toby Wright did for this record are amazing! He really brought out the sound of the guitars and drums that I thought were overshadowed by the keyboards on the Eclipse Records copy. J Mann: The songs are pretty much the same except there are three new songs on the Universal copy. The whole mix is much different though as the whole thing was remixed. It's much cleaner now and a lot more powerful. It was remixed by Toby Wright whom as you know did work with Korn, Slayer, Soulfly Shoutweb: Alice In Chains as well. J Mann: Alice In Chains too. I think he cleaned up the vocals a lot on our record and made them more distinct. It went pretty smoothly but only our drummer, Skinny, went out to L.A and worked with him. We didn't get the whole experience as usually you start a project with a producer and finish it with them. We didn't get to work with him as much as we'd like to but hopefully we will on our next record. Considering what we handed him I think he did a great job. Shoutweb: Is he your choice to produce the next record? J Mann: Yes, Probably. Shoutweb: Why did you guys choose to sign with Universal Records as opposed to the other offers I'm sure you received? J Mann: It was pretty much the best deal we had received and they seemed very supportive of us and didn't want to change us, which was a big deal. They are one of the biggest labels in the world and our record will be available in 53 countries plus they also make movies which could lead us into movie soundtracks and that's probably why our video looks as good as it does since they would know who to call. They have it all. They have the distribution, they are giving us video support, tour support and they've been very cool about retaining our publishing and our merchandising rights which makes it one of the best experiences I've had being in a band and I've been doing this for 10 years now. Shoutweb: How have things been going so far with Universal Records as opposed to Eclipse Records? J Mann: Well you always hear horror stories of bands being screwed over by major labels and losing all rights and control. Universal has given us creative control and at same time they trust and support us as they're actually into what we're doing and haven't tried to change us. So many labels sign a band wanting to change them but they signed us because they didn't want to change us, which is fortunate. This has all happened in about the last six weeks that they re-mixed the record, shot the video and then last week we recorded a song for a movie soundtrack. Shoutweb: "The Scorpion King" soundtrack? J Mann: Yeah, that was it. Shoutweb: I saw the video for "Solitaire Unraveling" and was blown away by it. J Mann: That was Dean Carr who is another really talented guy and really fun to work with. We choose him because when we heard Universal wanted to do a video we had like six or seven different directors send us their reels which are like 30 second clips of all the videos they've done but with Dean's he also sent all these photos and sketches along with a 10 page synopsis of his idea for the video. It was obvious that the guy was passionate and energetic about the project, which really set him apart from the other directors. Shoutweb: What are your hopes or expectations for the re-release of this record? J Mann: We just hope it does well enough that we are afforded the opportunity to continue doing this and to do another record with Universal. Hopefully we can go out there and make a name for ourselves. Shoutweb: The hidden track has to be one of most hilarious things I've ever heard. Where the hell did you get that clip? J Mann: That is just a friend of mine making a prank phone call out of the local entertainment paper here in Cleveland where there's classified ads for people looking to start bands. He went through there and saw a guy looking to start a Black Metal band, which was just so funny! During that prank call he actually took a jab at our band, which we found funny so we put it on the Eclipse version of our record. Unfortunately it's not on the Universal re-release of "XX" just because they are such a huge company and didn't want to risk problems from lawsuits. Prank phone calls aren't exactly the most legal thing if ya' know what I mean? That's why it was hidden on the Eclipse copy you have and plus we kind of know the kid who was called. Shoutweb: Does Joe know he's on your record? J Mann: I think he does. I don't think he was thrilled about it but he wasn't pissed or anything. Shoutweb: I crack up every time I hear the line, "What's a matter Joe, you don't want no chocolate in with your vanilla!?" (Laughs) J Mann: He did make a whole record of those calls called "Original Prankster". The guy who made them got threatened with a lawsuit so he quit making them. There are probably only about 500 copies in existence but they're great. It does get more out of line than that but we choose that one just because he mentioned our name. Shoutweb: Well, if people can find that clip on the net they should definitely check it out cause it some funny shit. Well thanks for taking the time to talk to me today and I urge people to check you guys out at www.mushroomhead-music.com J Mann: Thanks James.
INTERVIEW WITH JMANN
Can you tell me who is in Mushroomhead?
I'm the vocalist [J Mann]. There is another vocalist named is Jeffrey Nothing. We have a keyboard player names Shmotz. Skinny plays the drums. The bass player's name is Pig Benis. The guitar player's name is J.J. Righteous. And then, actually there's another guitar player, so we're a seven-member band right now. His name is Gravy.
I'm sure most people knows your history, but wasn't Mushroomhead a collaboration of a few different Cleveland bands in the beginning?
It was actually a mixture of quite a few bands. There was this practice place in downtown Cleveland on the west side, and a lot of bands used to practice on the fifth floor of this building. There were about nine or ten bands up there. Late at night some of the guys from the bands would hang out, and that pretty much just became Mushroomhead - just members of other bands hanging out late. It really did start out as a side project, and then it just took a life of its own.
I'm wondering what's in store for Mushroomhead in the year 2001. I've heard and been impressed by your "Filthy Hands" sampler on Eclipse Records. When is this going to be released?
That's actually just a pre-release promotional sampler for the album. There will be those three songs along with eight or nine others on the actual release. The full length will come out in the spring. I would say some time around April. Eclipse Records is out of New Jersey. The album will be distributed nationally through Big Daddy. "Filthy Hands" will be material previously released on our three independent recordings. It's material we selected from all three, to try and give it an opportunity in a national market.
We see Mushroomhead playing here in Erie pretty often. What is your opinion of the scene here maybe as compared to back in Cleveland?
Yeah, we come to Erie probably six times a year. I don't really know too much about the city. I think Sherlock's a great. The people treat us great and it's a great place to play. The crowds have always been great. I know it's 21 and over, and we're not really used to that, we usually do all ages shows, so that's one thing that's different. But we always have a great time when we come up there.
How about your scene back in Cleveland?
It's pretty strong out here. There are a lot of good bands coming up now. There are a lot of bands that have been out for a while that are still doing well. It's a pretty strong scene.
The Plain Dealer says that Mushroomhead is the first local Cleveland band to headline the Blossom Music Center since Michael Stanley in the eighties. Pollstar quoted six thousand people in attendance. That's a pretty phenomenal feat. How do you translate that into some national recognition?
I hope we can turn that into some national recognition! I think we were all pretty shocked by that. But ever since day one though we've been pretty well embraced by the city. It's been a great ride so far. I don't think any of this could have been predicted. I mean, we still don't understand it and here we are seven years later, you know? It was exciting to play there, and hopefully we can start duplicating that. That was pretty much our goal in working with Eclipse Records, to try to get our music out there in some of the national chain stores and try to give us an opportunity to expand a little.
I can't imagine a band drawing six thousand people at a show and not taking off. So your game plan is to sort of hand the ball off to Eclipse and hope they can run with it.
Well, part of it was also waiting on the right deal. We've had plenty of opportunities. We've talked to many labels; it's just a matter of trying not to settle for less, you know. Too many people get caught up in the fame aspect of it, and they'll take a shitty record deal just to get their face on the cover of a magazine. We care about our music a little bit more than that, we care about the music more than the fame, so we're really out for just the best deal for the band, as opposed to just landing a record deal in general for fame's sake.
So you must be as good in business as you are in musicâ€¦
Not when we started! I'll tell you what though; we've all been in this business close to ten years. You're forced to learn a lot in a short period, or else you're doomed to repeat your mistakes. It was a rough road we traveled to this point, but I guess we've learned a lot.
How has the band changed over the past seven years?
I think it became a little bit more of a priority. It started as a side project but became a priority. We've just tried to keep challenging ourselves musically and keep challenging our audience to see how far we can push the boundaries, you know, just trying to combine different elements of music.
(A note for our readers, mushroomhead.net is about the band, and run by a friend of the band, but it is not the official site, that web site address is: dogcollarproductions.com/mushroomhead) Do you monitor how many visitors you get at your web site?
Our web site has only been up for about six months, but it's somewhere around 32,000 maybe 33,000 visitors. We had to switch counters though because of frequent hits - the counter went out a lot. The figures are a little more precise now than they were in the past.
Do band members maintain the official web site? And is the message board run on your site as well?
Yes. Actually we have a Webmaster, and he works with band members on the site. And, no, we don't have a message board on our site. We were going to put one on our website, but too many problems can get started. Too many rumors get started, too many people start fighting and arguing; it's not worth it. It's too easy to write anything under any name or anonymousâ€¦ everyone's a tough guy.
Some of the message boards on the other sites had fans complaining about 'bullies' in the mosh pits, but those dated back to, like, August. Is that a big problem? Or is it just a small group complaining on the board?
Actually, no. Sometimes you do. When your band gets popular like we are here, people just come not because they're into the music or they want to see the band, but because it's the trendy or popular thing to do, so some tough guys from the football team might show up and try and show everyone how cool they are. That really doesn't happen too often though.
Something I've noticed through your promotional material is that Roxy has been missing for a little while now.
Actually, she left the band in the summer of 1999. It's been a little over a year and a half that she's been gone.
Are the members of Mushroomhead in a lot of other side project bands?
Yes, there are quite a few others we are in. There is 216, which is a metal-core band. All four members of that band are from Mushroomhead, there's the guitar player, bass player, drummer and I. There's another band called 10,000 Cadillacs, which is like a rap project, and we just put out our second CD; that is, the drummer and I. The second CD from 10,000 Cadillacs has Bizzy Bone from Bone Thugs 'n Harmony on it. We also have an independent record label where we can put out compilations with a bunch on local bands on, and we put out a lot of our own records as well.
What are some bands Mushroomhead works with pretty regularly?
There is Runt, NDE, Ringworm, actually there are quite a few bands that are pretty solid. Our record label just put out a compilation with thirteen different bands on it. I'll send you one of those; it would give you a pretty good idea of the cross-section of Cleveland.
I know you can see this question comingâ€¦ but I want to ask you about Slipknot. I read an interview with you where you said that you didn't really think that Slipknot stole your act after Monte Conner from Roadrunner Records saw your act. You also said that it didn't really bother you that much. Is that still an accurate statement?
We look at it both ways. We don't blame them. There is obviously controversy, because of the timing; I mean we were courted by Roadrunner Records and some other labels. The timing worked out that way, once we sent them posters, pictures, calendars, CDs, then they ended up having a band that looked a lot like us. I'm sure they were probably just looking for a band that looked kind of like us, and they probably weighed some different options, but I don't think either band was the first or the last to perform these types of shows. It's been going on since Alice Cooper, KISS, through the eighties with GWAR, there have been tons of bands and there is going to continue to be more, I don't think we could really blame them. It is frustrating though because we've had to alter some things about our show just so we don't look like we're trying to ride their coattails. That can be a little frustrating, we've been doing what we're doing for almost eight years, and now we have to start altering things, since we're considering a national market. There's definitely no anger, just a little frustration at having to change our initial vision.
You have a pretty positive attitude about it.
I've been in a band long enough to know that you can't really worry about things like that, otherwise you'll just drive yourself crazy.
INTERVIEW WITH JMANN
PRP: How and when was the band formed?
jmann: The band was formed in 1993. Everyone in the band was in other bands that all practiced in the same building. Late at night after all the bands were done jamming a few of us stuck around, and that became Mushroomhead.
PRP: And how has the lineup and sound changed through the years?
jmann: I think the songwriting has matured a bit, but for the most part the sound stayed pretty much the same.
PRP: How would you describe the state of the Cleveland heavy music scene?
jmann: The state of the current heavy music scene is pretty strong with bands like Ringworm, Runt, NDE, Chimaira, and a few others. It's just a shame that this scene as well as most others get turned into competitions. Bands need to be more supportive of one and other.
PRP: How do you feel about fellow Cleveland bands SW1TCH and Chimaira recently being signed?
jmann: I like the guys in Chimaira. They're good people and a good band. Unfortunately they're not signed yet, but I'm sure they will be soon. As for SW1TCH, I'm unfamiliar with them. I don't think they play out very often so I haven't had a chance to check them out yet.
PRP: The spotlight was thrust on you guys when it was claimed that Slipknot ripped off your image. How do you now feel about that and are you at all bitter about their current success?
jmann: I'm not bitter about their success at all. I wish them the best. I don't think they ripped us off either. Theatrical shows have been happening in music for years. Neither band is the first or the last.
PRP: Can you shed any light on what went down at the Slipknot Cleveland show in which fans of your band threw lighters and rolls of quarters at slipknot?
jmann: Fortunately I wasn't there. I would have been pretty disgusted to see something like that go down in the name of our band. Those are the
judgmental preconceptions and actions our music speaks against. No one should be assaulted for expressing themselves.
PRP: A lot of people are going to compare you to Slipknot despite the fact you've been doing your thing a lot longer. Do you feel this will hinder you at all?
jmann: It might hurt. It might help. I don't think anyone's quite sure yet.
PRP: How would you describe your band's sound to someone who has never heard you before?
jmann: Heavy guitars, theatrical keyboards, two vocalists that are very different. I don't know.
PRP: Can you tell us a bit about your image and what purpose it serves for the band?
jmann: I'm still not quite sure what our image is. I think that's where the masks come in. They tend to hide our images creating an image all it's own. There's definitely a sexual tension with a hint of psychological violence.
PRP: What bands would you list as your musical influences?
jmann: Black Sabbath, Faith No More, Meshugah, Slayer, Bad Brains, Negative Approach, Bjork, Alec Empire, Mr Bungle, 2 Pac, Wesley Willis, Charles Manson, Angelo Badalementi (I don't know how to spell his name, but he scores a lot of David Lynch's work).
PRP: What bands are you currently enjoying the most lately?
jmann: Right now I'm listening to Tenacious D. and Mindless Self Indulgence.
PRP: And who would you most like to tour with?
jmann: Britney Spears. That way I could make her aware of how much she's in love with me.
PRP: Do you plan on touring the U.S. extensively anytime soon?
jmann: We hope to play as much as possible this Spring/Summer to support our album.
PRP: You intend to put out a home video at the end of this year, what kind of footage can we expect?
jmann: Most of the footage will be live performances, along with news clips, interviews, and studio footage. We have about 250 hours of tape to sort through so it probably won't be released until Summer 2001.
PRP: What can people expect from the upcoming album titled "XX" ?
jmann: The new album is going to be a cross section of our career up to this point. It's going to contain material from our three independently released albums.
PRP: And can you see yourselves breaking out nationally with this effort?
jmann: Hopefully. If not it's just not meant to be. This is our band, these are our songs take it or leave it.
PRP: If a senior citizen ran into your house, dropped his pants and started dragging his ass around on your carpet like a dog, would you kick his ass,
even though he's elderly and frail?
jmann: Nah, we'd probably give him a job.
PRP: What direction would you prefer the band took to establishing a fanbase, like say MTV or constant touring and such?
jmann: Whatever works. We're not trying to be stars or anything. We just enjoy writing and performing music. Hopefully people will enjoy it also. If they don't they don't. Life goes on.
PRP: You have sold out many of the larger venues in your area and supported well known acts, what do you feel has been the high point of your career
jmann: Fortunately there have been quite a few high points. Sold out shows, good record sales, awards, press, etc. But I'd have to say the high point is always when a new album comes out. Just being able to record and release our vision is a thrill.
PRP: Is anyone in the band in any side projects?
jmann: Yes quite a few actually. (216) which is a metal-core band. 10,000 Cadillacs which is a rap project who's new release features Bizzy Bone from Bone Thugs n Harmony. Crossfader which is a techno-metal band. State Of Conviction which is hardcore. Detroit Ave. which is techno.
Members have also recorded with Hatrix, Unified Culture, In Cold Blood, Ritual, Runt, and Integrity 2000.
Skinny and I also have an independent record label that releases most of the bands above. The label is called SMDC. For more information go to
dogcollarproductions.com which is now www.smdcrecords.com
PRP: Any specific unsigned bands out there who you think should be signed?
jmann: See bands listed above. Also Runt, Ringworm and Schnauzer.
PRP: That's about it, any shoutouts or shameless self-promotion?
jmann: Thank you for yoor time. We'd also like to thank all our fans, Props, Blue Torch, Nate Wessel, Steve Beganyi, Nick Beaudoin, and everyone supporting the underground. Stay down.
INTERVIEW WITH JMANN
Raychul: Well, I guess we will start of with the basics first. So how and when did you guys all get together and form this chaotic thing you call mushroomhead ?
jmann: In the early nineties we were all in different bands in Cleveland. We all rehearsed in the same warehouse and when our respective bands were done practicing a few of us hung out together afterwards working on ideas that would later become Mushroomhead. We began recording in 1992 and played our first show in 1993. The reason for the masks was due to us all being in other bands and not wanting the public to have any preconcieved notions as to what Mushroomhead would be, so we used aliases and covered our faces.
Raychul: Did you have the intentions of getting signed and going to where the band is now, or was it just for fun?
jmann: When we began it was just a side project for fun, but it quickly became everyone's priority, so finding the right record deal had been our goal for quite some time.
Raychul: What was it that inspired you to play music? (ya know, like the hot chicks and the money... the roaring of the crowd, or just a single experience)
jmann: Music got me into music. I've always loved music and there have been a few records that have had a huge impact on my life. I can't think of anything cooler than making a record that might impact someone else in the same way. My way of repaying that debt.
Raychul: Okay... I have to ask about the name... Where did it come from? My friend from Cleveland, Chris Braid, told me about you guys like four years ago, so I've been into the band since then, and I've ALWAYS wondered about the name.
jmann: I don't think any of us are too sure about the name. It started as a joke about a friend of our guitar players and it just had a strange ring to it so we kept it.
Raychul: Now for a hard one, bands seem to hate this question haha. How would you describe your sound to others? I've tried to put it into words but can't seem to find the right ones to describe you guys.
jmann: It's like a script written by William Burroughs directed by David Lynch starring the cast of A Nighmare Before Christmas set to music on ice.
Raychul: Do you have a favorite song on the album?
jmann: The entire album is comprised of songs off our three independent releases so to us the material is pretty old so it's hard to pick a favorite. We just recorded a new song for The Scorpion King Soundtrack called "Along The Way" I think that's probably everyone in the bands favorite right now.
Raychul: What about one to play live for the crowd?
jmann: We don't really have a favorite live song. The whole show is tied together so it's really like one 50 min. song so it's hard to pick a favorite.
Raychul: So, what's the full story about the hidden track? I couldn't stop laughing during that... and all my friends were the same way, that is good shit haha.
jmann: That's a friend of ours The Original Pranksta, he made a whole album of prank calls that are hilarious. We chose that one because he mentioned our name. Unfortinately it's not on the Universal release and due to legal complications his record is out of print but you may be able to find a dub of it circulated in the underground.
Raychul: Alright, I know you probably get asked this a lot... but I have to do it! Ever since I heard about you guys a while ago, I've also heard all the controversy with Slipknot. I've heard lots of rumors about the relationship of the two bands. Can you kinda explain this for the readers so that the rumors can be dispelled or just tell the story behind the whole situation so we can all be clear on it haha? (... like I've heard the whole batteries thrown at slipknot story, that slipknot ripped you off and you guys had the idea first, that they stole your songs and your look, that you hate them...etc., etc.)
jmann: Everythings been blown way out of proportion. We have nothing against those guys and I think they're a really good band. Unfortunately due to rumors and bullshit there's been a lot of confusion. We'd love to just sit down and talk to those guys and clear the air. Corey actually called our vocemail and expressed the same intentions. That made me respect them even more.
Raychul: So, well even though you may have had the conept first, Slipknot got signed first (life just sucks, huh?) and so now your band is dubbed "wannabes" by a few people out there. Do you ever plan on unmasking yourselves to make a point?
jmann: I don't know anythings possible. As for people calling us wannabes, we couldn't just abandon everthing we had been working on for the past 9 years just because another band got signed. Besides music isn't a race or a competition, it's supposed to be entertainment.
Raychul: In the song writing process, who is the most difficult member to convince to go with the flow of the rest? ... because we all know there is no such thing as 100% compatibility amongst musicians.
jmann: I think at some point we've all been that person. It's important you fight for your ideas and though it can be difficult that's when the music gets interesting.
Raychul: Are you into any of the other bands coming out of the Cleveland area like Chimaira and SW1TCHED, or do they not appeal to your tastes?
jmann: We are very into Cleveland music. Chimaira and Sw1tched are great bands as well as Keelhaul, Ringworm, Integrity, etc. Skinny and I also have a record label called SMDC Records that releases Cleveland bands. For more information go to www.smdcrecords.com.
Raychul: What are some of your favorite (other) artists in the scene today?
jmann: Fantomas, Meshuggah, Mindless Self Indulgence, System Of A Down, Dog Fashion Disco, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Hatebreed, Ringworm.
Raychul: If you could give any advice to artists just starting out there today, what would it be?
jmann: Perservereance is the key. Also be sure to protect your band and music, copyright all songs, trademark name and logos and make sure a lawyer looks over any contracts before you sign them. And like Journey says: "Don't Stop Believin'"
Raychul: If you could go back and change something about your music career so far, what would be the first thing you would re-do?
jmann: Actually right now there's nothing we'd change. We are exactly where we want to be right now and on our way to fufilling all our dreams.
Raychul: Well, that's probably enough for now.... so I guess that is all I have. Is there anything you would like to add?
jmann: We'd just like to thank you for your time and we look forward to seeing a lot of new faces on the road next month.
Raychul: Thank you so much for taking the time to do the interview!
jmann: Thank You.