Black Tusk Drummer Jamie May Talks Upcoming Music, Life on the Road + More
Georgia three-piece Black Tusk have been busy on the road, and with a new EP set for a tentative July release, it doesn’t look like they will be taking a break from touring anytime soon. The band currently has North American dates scheduled though late May.
We recently caught up with Black Tusk drummer Jamie May and he spoke about the band’s new music, wanting to tour with the Melvins, his love of slippers and much more.
What would you say is your favorite and least favorite thing about being on the road?
My favorite thing would be going different places all the time and seeing stuff the average person probably wouldn’t get to see and the least favorite is probably not being able to eat what you want to eat when you want to eat it.
Well, you guys are from the South, so when you are home, what do you like to dig into?
We grill out a lot, we’ll get together on weekends and grill. [Jonathan] Athon really really likes to grill so he’s got a smoker and a grill in his backyard and stuff. At least once a week I probably eat something like that. It’s not even really getting to eat what you want, you just happen to eat garbage [on the road] a lot of the time.
Are there any bands you would like to hit the road with that you haven’t gotten the chance to tour with yet?
The Melvins — they’re an inspiration. Black Tusk being a three piece, real heavy and different tempos and I really respect Dale Crover as a drummer and everything he’s done.
What can you tell me about the progression of any new music Black Tusk is working on?
We got something that’s coming out, it should be out in July and it’s a six song EP release. It just ended up sounding really brutal — kind of like some more progressed things that we would’ve written if we were perhaps a little better years ago, in our early days. So that’ll be the next thing people hear.
Some bands write on the road, others don’t. What’s Black Tusk’s approach to creating music?
We’ll write some things on the road, into our phones and then when we get home we’ll have that riff or whatever. You have bands that do it with their mouth and then you get to an instrument and go from there. Some of it does get written that way on tour.
Sometimes musicians hum into their phone, in order to save the melody or idea they have.
Yeah, it sounds really stupid. You have to walk away [Laughs] before you present it to someone. Anything for a reminder for yourself.
For anyone who is not familiar with your sound, how would you describe it?
I would say a cross between Black Sabbath and Motorhead — it has those kinds of rhythms and beats with three people singing.
The band’s big sound makes it easy to forget that there’s only three members in Black Tusk…
Yeah, that’s a good thing. I’ve said it before, there’s a lot of bands out there that are a three piece and they just have a singer and people call it a four piece but instrumentally they’re not a four piece – they’re just like us, we just eliminated having one singer.
Just wondering how you guys came up with the name Black Tusk.
We went through a few names and we just wanted something that was stern and kind of big and we just went through so many names and that was one that everyone could agree on. We found out later that there was a mountain in Canada called Black Tusk but that was after we’d been using the name. When you look it up on the computer, Black Tusk the band comes before the mountain, so that was a feat for us. [Laughs] If we ever had a chance to get a picture on the mountain, we would.
With all of this touring, what is one thing you have to bring on tour with you, but it can’t be electronic.
Slippers, I always bring slippers now because I want to be comfortable in the van or in the hotel room. I just don’t think there’s anything more pimp that you could do than just walk around in some slippers. [Laughs] I’ve been doing it for years now and I always make sure I have them.