HeAd’s KoRner: Mushroomhead Talk New Album ‘The Righteous & the Butterfly’ and Band History
Brian ‘Head’ Welch, guitarist for Korn and frontman of Love and Death, contributes a popular monthly column called ‘HeAd’s KoRner’ to Loudwire. In his newest entry, Head interviews Korn’s 2014 Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival tour mates Mushroomhead. Check it out below:
Mushroomhead recently released their new album ‘The Righteous & the Butterfly.’ Korn has played many dates with these crazy dudes in 2014 so far, and we’re both on this year’s Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, as well. I caught up with some of the guys and rapped about their new album and some other things going on in the Mushroomhead world.
Hey guys, great album. I found some things on it I wasn’t expecting. More on that later. Let’s get into it. How did Mushroomhead get started? Tell us the story of how this band was formed.
Skinny: It was really just an experimental piece turned side project. Many of us were in other local bands at the time, so we decided to wear masks to have fun & spoil any preconceived notions of our musical style.
You have three singers? How does that work? Is it hard to share the vocal duties or easy?
Waylon: I think it’s very easy to share the stage with JMann and Jeff! We always are coming up with new ways to sing on stage.
Is it difficult to have so many band members onstage? Me and the guys in KoRn are always bumping into each other. It must be way crazier with all you guys!
Waylon: It can be very crazy onstage with everything going on, but you get used to it after time.
JMann, welcome back to the band. Can you tell us your story with Mushroomhead? Were you with the band when they first started? Why did you leave? What were the circumstances that led to you coming back?
JMann: Thank you! It’s an honor to be back. Blood is thicker than water. My story with Mushroomhead begins at the beginning. There was a rehearsal studio in Cleveland called Level 5. We were all in different bands and the guys that stuck around after their band practices and due to their passion for music ended up forming Mushroomhead. When I met Skinny, he had a few demos of his new project, five to six songs which became the first Mushroomhead record and I thought it was incredible. He asked me to be on a song and I was stoked! Shortly after that I did a few more and before I knew it we were onstage together.
Unfortunately, I was forced to leave due to family issues. My stepmother called me and told me my father (who I hadn’t spoken to in seven years) had cancer and was dying. Fearing the weight of unanswered questions and no closure, I knew it was necessary to rebuild burnt bridges and find some peace together. This thankfully occurred.
Rejoining Mushroomhead is a blessing. We’ve all been through so much yet never really strayed as brothers. It’s rare in life to know what your purpose is, where you belong and who you belong with. I’m fortunate enough to have those things easily defined for me through the creative bond that I have with Skinny and my brothers in Mushroomhead.
Wow, that’s really cool, thanks for sharing all that. Waylon, when we were touring in Australia a couple months ago on Soundwave festival, you shared with me about some cool things that had happened in your life. Can you share a little bit about what you went through with the fans?
Waylon: First off, I loved hanging with you and the rest of Korn at Soundwave this year! I remember getting a few chances to sit down with you and talking about how this life we have chosen for ourselves can change us. Korn was the first band I ever went to see live and after that I was hooked. That night I remember asking if I could I open up for you if I had a band. I got to open for you guys 19 years later, but a lot had changed for myself in those 19 years.
I almost ended up another strung out rocker during those 19 years. I, like many others, struggled with the life and temptations of the road. On the new album I’ve opened up about that struggle with my own demons — ‘Son of 7′ being the song I openly talk about my drug use. I felt I needed to be honest with myself and everyone. Through my music, it allowed me to say, “This is who I am, and I overcame it.”
Your last album came out in 2010. Why did it take so long to put another record out? What was the process in getting started on this new album?
Waylon: Well, we had a few member changes, and also we wanted this album to really say something with the different members and the return of JMann.
I got an early copy of your new album, I must say that it’s pretty sick. There’s a lot of diversity on this album. I tend to gravitate towards unique sounding songs like ‘How Many Times,’ ‘QWERTY,’ ‘Portraits of the People,’ ‘For Your Pleasure.’ Tell us what you were going for on this album and what some of your favorite moments are?
Skinny: We just went for it … The album really did damn near write itself.
You obviously have a bunch of hard hitting bangers on the album like ‘Son of Seven’ and ‘Our Apologies’ et cetera. What are your favorite types of songs to write and record? The crazy heavy songs or the more trippier/melodic songs? What about live?
Waylon: I personally like writing the heavy songs. I love the aggression and love playing them live!
I’m so stoked about touring Mayhem Fest this summer, as I’m sure you guys are. What are you looking forward to on the tour the most? What bands are you stoked to see?
Skinny: I looking forward to hanging out every day with all the bands. I’m really looking forward to seeing Body Count live.
What do you hope your fans get from your new album?
Skinny: Ultimately, I hope they love it as much as we do. This record is very fresh for us.
What’s next after Mayhem? What’s the plans for Mushroomhead the rest of 2014 and 2015?
Skinny: We’re gonna continue to push ‘The Righteous & the Butterfly’ hardcore! I can’t wait to play this entire album live!
The main passion in my life is to help people realize who Jesus Christ really is TODAY, in 2014, in our generation. Obnoxious religious people have totally made him look like an ass. What are you guys passionate about? I love to hear what other people are passionate about and what makes them excited to be alive.
Skinny: I think we’re all pretty passionate about life. The world’s an amazing place. And people in general are very interesting. We’ve been fortunate enough to visit many parts of the world and we’ve learned to appreciate it.
Pick up Mushroomhead’s ‘The Righteous & the Butterfly’ at iTunes and look for them joining Korn, Avenged Sevenfold and more on the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival this summer. Dates can be found here.
Brian ‘Head’ Welch is a founding member of the multiplatinum band Korn and frontman of Love and Death. He is the New York Times best-selling author of the book ‘Save Me From Myself.’ Brian has won multiple Grammys and MTV Music Awards and is currently active in both Korn and Love and Death. Follow Brian ‘Head’ Welch’s schedule at www.loveanddeathmusic.com and pick up Love and Death’s expanded edition of their debut album, ‘Between Here & Lost,’ at iTunes. Korn’s latest album, ‘The Paradigm Shift,’ is also out now, and can be ordered at iTunes.
Watch Mushroomhead’s ‘QWERTY’ Video