When the homie Rick gave the green light on a Mastodon interview I was stoked! I fucking LOVE Mastodon, which says a lot, because I could give a total Fuck about the metal scene in general. I'm never one to equate myself with a “scene”, especially as a 31 year old existing in middle America hell.
But DUDE! I fucking LOVE Mastodon. Their music is amazing, loud, melodic, interpretive and overall falls into the one category that I probably enjoy most: BAD fucking ASS!
Joel & I planned on good-cop / bad-copping this interview, but when I showed up to work pant-less with a fifth of Wild Turkey on empty, and wearing my 7th grade, Riki Rachtman autographed, Headbanger's Ball t-shirt, Joel quickly realized that I WAS NOT up to the task.
I don't remember much from this interview except rubbing myself bloody & breathing deeply into my iPhone on mute, but I'll tell you this much Brann, I'm working on some shit for the velvet painting room to put your Furry art to shame... Metal Man Love, bro... Metal Man Love.
SYFFAL: Brann, greetings. I am Joel of the Syffal variety. My boyfriend Roy is here on mute typing everything I say thus turning all of your comments into compliments on my delicious penis.
BRANN: That sounds important.
SYFFAL: He actually just got promoted. I won't fill you in on what he was doing prior to this but it's his new role in life and he seems to accept it.
BRANN: From the balls to the dick?
SYFFAL: Exactly. He's working his way up to the glans. When he finally reaches said glans, he will achieve happy. We can let him out of the basement at that point.
BRANN: Yay Roy!
SYFFAL: So let's get naked. Are you in Atlanta right now? Where the Fuck are you?
BRANN: Yeah, I'm in Atlanta. I'm laying in bed right now with my cat.
SYFFAL: What's the cat's name?
BRANN: Dr. Fluff.
SYFFAL: Fantastic. Let's get back to the puss shortly. What is your aversion to facial hair?
BRANN: It causes horrible acne on my face, after 3 or 4 days of stubble.
SYFFAL: So it's a physical issue, it's not that you can't actually grow it? You're over 14 years of age?
BRANN: No, I can grow it, I'm not Native American or anything. It can happen. But it just starts to hurt and I start to look younger and younger underneath the beard of acne.
SYFFAL: Is it a blonde beard?
BRANN: It's kind of blondish/reddish, it's kind of *cockney accent* "Ginger Beard. Ginger Beard."
SYFFAL: Ginger Beard would be a great cat name.
BRANN: Well, you know, Dr. Fluff... He has a PhD. He's a family doctor. He's a general practitioner. He's fed up with all the specialists these days, and he just kind of wants to be the kind of family doctor that can see anybody on their watch, treat anything, and REFER you to the specialist... If need be.
SYFFAL: What are his opinions on high cholesterol medications? Does he prescribe statin drugs?
SYFFAL: Well, is he for healthy living or is he a proponent of drug use?
BRANN: It's kind of hard to say... Well, he likes catnip. A LOT.
SYFFAL: So he's a naturocat.
BRANN: He's pretty fucking high right now as we speak. I dumped a bunch out on the floor and he's been rolling around in it. Now he's kind of staring at the wall like *weow weow weow weow weow*
SYFFAL: I appreciate Dr. Fluff's position on the medicinal benefits of the herbals.
BRANN: My wife's always like, "What do you think the cat's thinking about right now?" I'm like "The Fuckin' cat's not thinking about anything. He's staring at the wall. It's just white noise."
SYFFAL: So is it safe to assume that at some point in the future you wouldn't mind trading places with the good Doctor for a day or two?
BRANN: No, not at all. That would be super awesome, with MY cat. There's cats living very different lives out there, I mean, there are cats in Egypt right now that are fucking all fucked up... faces are all scratched n sht and they have AIDS. And they're running rampant and it's not good! But my cat? Fuck yeah.
SYFFAL: I wasn't aware of feline AIDS. That is awesomes, plural.
BRANN: You don't know about feline AIDS?
SYFFAL: No, I have not been doing my homework on the feline variety of such a turrible, turrible disease. My knowledge is somewhat limited to just canines and monkeys.
BRANN: No, feline AIDS is THE best.
SYFFAL: So if there were a preferable AIDS, feline AIDS would be the most preferable AIDS?
BRANN: Yeah. The death is quick and painless.
SYFFAL: Is there a lesson in here somewheres?
BRANN: Don't Fuck a cat. Basically.
SYFFAL: Let me write this one down.
BRANN: Or stop fucking your cat. Get that thing out of there! So yeah, my cat lays in this bed, then he goes and lays on the couch in the velvet painting room. He's just, you know, it's a good life.
SYFFAL: You have a velvet painting room?
BRANN: Uh, yeah.
SYFFAL: Do you also have a weapon room?
BRANN: Hmm. No weapon room.
BRANN: But I was considering, well, I went to a Furry Convention a few days ago...
SYFFAL: Furbys? Like. Furbys?
BRANN: No. Furry. Like... FURRY
SYFFAL: Baseball Furies?
BRANN: No. FURRIES. You know what Furries are?
SYFFAL: Um. Furbys?
BRANN: Like mascot sex like...
BRANN: Well yeah, that too. I might need a Furby Room. Just have a separate room just for my furby collection.
SYFFAL: That would be fuuuucked up.
BRANN: That's where I would do all my sexin'.
SYFFAL: Mmmm, the Furby Room.
BRANN: Yeah, they all start talkin' at the same time. "Merrt merrrt merrt"
SYFFAL: All eyez on me.
BRANN: Yeah they're all like *blink, blink, blinkblinkblink*. You know that clicking noise they make when they blink? *blink, blink* That would be so fucked. That's a good idea. "Let's fuuuck in the furby roooom!"
SYFFAL: "Dude where have you been? I've been calling you all day?"
'SORRY I WAS IN THE FURBY ROOM.'
"Say no more."
BRANN: Oh shit. My bad man.
(Telephone high fives are exchanged)
BRANN: So I was at a furries convention and we went to buy some art there. They had these artists there painting shit like two dragons having sex. And then there was some really, really obscene art. Like horses giving birth, and then they were like fucking each other at the same time and they all had these huge dicks. It was just insane.
I kinda wanted to buy one of the pieces, because it was cool. It was really super perverted and I thought it was just so far out, but then it hit me... "Where would you put this?"
You couldn't hang this shit in your house. Like, you'd have to explain it every time. Someone would be like "What the Fuck is this? Why do you have this hanging in your house?"
You'd have to take it down when certain people came over... So you'd still need to have a secret room in your house. Like two furry costumes hanging in there with a bunch of weird art... That's just not good.
SYFFAL: But you'd have a place for all that shit. Otherwise it would kind of suck, you would know people are on their way over, the doorbell rings and you look at each other:
"DID YOU MOVE THE PAINTING?"
'I THOUGHT YOU MOVED THE PAINTING!'
"YOU ALWAYS MOVE THE PAINTING!"
And then the inlaws bust in and they see the horse boning the cat who's strap-onning the other dragon.
BRANN: See what I'm saying?
SYFFAL: But at the same time, if you installed some sort of camera you could take a picture of your guests seeing these paintings for the first time. You could have a wall with a wide assortment of really perverted pictures and then on the other wall, the reactions of people who have never seen such perverted art before.
BRANN: You could have like a motion detector camera that's in the painting so when a new person approaches the painting it would automatically snap the picture. Like Teddy Cam.
SYFFAL: You could use the Furby to take the picture.
BRANN: AWW YEAH, have the Furby take the picture!
SYFFAL: Have a Furby in a perverted position in the painting
BRANN: "SAY CHEEESE" *click, click, clickclickclick* "SAY CHEEESE"
SYFFAL: That whole vestibule, foyer, hallway, walkway area could be your own personal social experiment.
BRANN: *sighs* That was fun.
SYFFAL: So the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago? How did you pick that location for the site of your Live DVD package? Did the delicious ladies of the night around Lawrence and Broadway have anything to do with that decision?
BRANN: No, we love that joint. We put all of our eggs in Aragon's basket. It's a beautiful place, it's a really cool venue. Not that you can tell from the DVD because it's completely black, but I'd like to ensure people it's a really cool venue.
SYFFAL: Duly noted. We've noticed that you're the "normal" one in Mastodon, but your mysterious ways seem to entrance a wackier breed of hardcore fan. What is the creepiest or most surprisingly inventive thing you've ever received from a fan and why didn't you say thanks? We worked awfully hard on that elbow macaroni sculpture of your forearms.
BRANN: I received a book from a young lady that said, "I know you have a cat, so I got you this book". And it was a book about a human-like cat that was stowed away on a pirate ship. And she knitted me a King Crimson hat.
SYFFAL: No way.
BRANN: It had King Crimson sewn into it with yarn.
SYFFAL: Cross-stitching is on my list of things to do this life.
BRANN: You should. Especially if you go to the doctor a lot.
SYFFAL: Waiting room?
BRANN: Yeah, instead of sitting there reading Highlights magazine from ten years ago, you can make shit while you wait. It's win win.
SYFFAL: It's funny you mention that, because I went to catholic school and the one thing they kept on telling us was not to masturbate. So they instituted a cross-stitching class for boys.
SYFFAL: I'm lying.
BRANN: So were you able to combine the two somehow?
SYFFAL: Well, actually there is an ancient Indian sexual practice that involves sliding a long needle down into the urethra. That must have come out of ancient Indians sitting around cross-stitching thinking "dude, this long needle and my pee hole? Magic."
BRANN: Magic! That sounds like magic that fucking hurts really bad.
SYFFAL: So getting off the cock needles, being in the metal genre, would you really miss your sense of smell if you lost it?
BRANN: I guess so. Cause that's how I taste food. I like to eat food. Are you referring to smelly metal dudes being at the shows?
SYFFAL: Of course. When I think of the "smell of metal", I usually dwell on the fact that I can actually taste the people at the show longer than the ringing in my ears seems to last.
BRANN: Well, I don't go to that many metal shows outside of my own. Luckily I'm the drummer, so I'm in the back, and I don't really get the brunt of all the body odor that's swirling around in the mosh pit.
SYFFAL: Would you ever consider using Vick's Vapor-Rub on your nose to block the stench while in some of the Eastern European countries?
BRANN: Um yeah, I would definitely resort to that. I would just do that anyway. It's quite nice really.
SYFFAL: That kind of puts your job on par with a CSI detective, because when they walk into a crime scene and you play for a stadium full of smelly Eastern Europeans, you would need to protect yourself to be able to perform at such a high caliber.
BRANN: Yeah. It's true. But it's also true that we roll around in a fart-box, or fart-tube if you will; referring to the bus. So, over the years I've learned to sort of embrace that in a mantra similar to "you have to learn to love to lose", you have to learn to love the smell of farts. And you have to kind of mentally just turn that whole thing around for yourself, otherwise life is going to be very depressing. If you're just constantly upset by someone's foul odor you're just going to have turn it around, bro. Like, instead of "hey did you just take your shoes off?" you can be like "hey can you pass me those Fritos? I smell Fritos".
SYFFAL: You are a prophet. Is there a book deal in the works?
BRANN: I have nothing. No deals. No deals with anyone.
SYFFAL: Roy has a question for you guys that he just slipped me: So you have a new studio album in the works, how many fifths of whiskey is Mastodon away from owning country music?
BRANN: Geez... ya know... we're all in rehab right now, so there's no more fifths of whiskey that we can consume.
SYFFAL: Everybody's in rehab?
BRANN: Yeah, we're all on house arrest at my house. We've all got those ankle bracelets.
SYFFAL: Awesome. Are those comfortable?
BRANN: They're actually not that bad. I mean, I think the older versions from the 80's and into the mid-90's were uncomfortable because the plastic they used would wear on your ankle. But now they've allowed us to use moleskin to line them. So, it's not too bad.
SYFFAL: Wow. This is all valuable information. You should really explore the book idea, I'm serious. So now that everyone is toning down their assaults on their respected livers, have you guys ever considered toning down the intensity a tid bit and maybe try performing for a daycare center? Imagine Czar on glocknspiel or Oblivion on the calliope.
BRANN: No, I've never considered it. I just don't know if they would enjoy it. I just see kids peeing and crying at the same time. I don't know if that would be that great.
SYFFAL: Do you not have childrens?
BRANN: I don't have kids. I just have my cat and my two dogs.
SYFFAL: Dog names?
BRANN: Two Dalmatians, one is named Thriller because he's white with black spots like Michael Jackson. The other one's name is Bigfoot, Old Man Bigfoot actually, but Bigfoot for short. He's got huge fucking feet. My dog's feet are fucking huuuuge. Bigfoot will fucking stomp you. That's what will happen.
SYFFAL: Rough! Our Serbian Metal correspondent, David, out in the Serbian region of Metalbia has a true or false question for you. We just ran Ozzy Osbourne's Bark At the Moon as the video of the day, and he made the comment: Even though the late Randy Rhoads will always be a better guitarist than Jake E. Lee, Mr. Lee was arguably the greatest to ever do it while wearing fingerless weight-lifting gloves. Confirm or deny?
BRANN: I can confirm that. Jake E. Lee was a total badass.
SYFFAL: Have you ever considered wearing gloves?
BRANN: I've worn gloves similar. They were black. They weren't weight-lifting gloves, but they were close.
SYFFAL: You can almost tell with Lee that he was the trendsetter because he was actually wearing weight-lifting gloves. So to be able to play around the leather lips on each finger is almost a feat in itself.
BRANN: Yeah, I don't know why you would do that to yourself. It seems like an unnecessary obstacle to put in the way of the guitar. But, he pulled it off. I don't know, did he wear them outside of the video though? That's a good video. I like that shit.
SYFFAL: Great video!
BRANN: I didn't even know it was Ozzy Osbourn, I was like "oh my god they caught an actual werewolf on film". It's crazy.
SYFFAL: At first we believed it to be a yeti, but upon further inspection confirmed that it was in fact a werewolf.
BRANN: Yeah, a team of scientists were called in:
"We took the video to the halls of medicine and watched it over and over again..."
SYFFAL: Because there was no live footage, we had to rely on these experts and our stoner adversaries on the internet.
BRANN: Yeah. You had to go to the halls of medicine to do it. It's a safe place.
SYFFAL: Does Dr. Fluff reside in the halls of medicine?
BRANN: It's where he's from, yeah, originally. It's like parallel to Superman's home planet. It looks similar. You ever seen that commercial with that dude, he's got the doctor outfit on and he's in some room that's made out of giant Halls? Where the Fuck is that guy? Where is that place?
SYFFAL: How awesome would it be to live in that house with a sore throat? "Dude, where am I? Oh, I'm in the Halls of medicine, let me eat a part of my facia. Ahhhhh. Relief!"
BRANN: The smell must be just fucking insanely overpowering. Everyone who lives there just has this constant migraine. Not unlike the Yankee Candle store.
SYFFAL: Oh god. That and the knock-off perfume kiosks at the mall. Christ.
BRANN: I don't even walk by the Yankee Candle store at the mall, I have to cross over to the other side and evade it completely. You just see the lady in there. This poor women is just in the Yankee Candle store with a constant migraine and her eyes crossed.
SYFFAL: Look at the bright side, you wouldn't have to do laundry very often because you'd reek of sweet pumpkin...
BRANN: Spice. Pumpkin Spice, yeah. "I sweat pumpkiiin spiiiice."
SYFFAL: I'm pretty sure that's how this has to end. If we keep going, both of our wives will hate us, Dr. Fluff will kill me in my sleep and your band might resort to candle making.
BRANN: I do have to eat and then practice in a little bit you know.
SYFFAL: Okay, one more question then: Your Warner PR rep Rick, does he have any dietary restrictions that SYFFAL should know about going forward? We've only known him for about a month and a half.
SYFFAL: Like is he lactose intolerant? Peanut allergy? Anything?
BRANN: Yeah, I think he's all of those things. He's allergic to most foods. He's allergic to pancakes FOR SURE. He's seriously allergic to pancakes. If you get pancakes anywhere near him...
SYFFAL: ...he would die?
BRANN: Yeah it's serious. Like on airplanes. You know how you get the bag of pancakes on an airplane...
BRANN: If you even open a bag of pancakes near Rick his head goes purple...
SYFFAL: That's sad. You know how they have the peanut-free days at baseball fields, I wonder if they'll ever have a pancake free day so that Rickles can have some baseball fun.
BRANN: I don't know if it's going that way cause he's the only person allergic to pancakes in the whole world, so... I guess we'll see.
SYFFAL: We will see. The next time I see him I'll be sure to keep my pancake bags away from him.
Thanks a shitton for Fuckin around with us today. Good luck on the next album and I'll be sure to illegally download the live DVD.
BRANN: Go for it! THANK YOU!
SYFFAL: I love you...
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