Mastodon Talk Their 20-Year History, Bill & Ted, New Music & Life In The COVID-19 Era

“I’m always thinking about how we got to where we are, all the crazy times we’ve had…”

Twenty years, seven full-length albums and countless incredible shows (don’t even bother trying to count the riffs) into their journey, Mastodon remain one of the most unpredictable and restlessly creative bands in music – let alone metal.

Ahead of the release of their new rarities collection ‘Medium Rarities’, we caught up with drummer / vocalist Brann Dailor and guitarist / vocalist Bill Kelliher to look back on their journey, talk their song on the new Bill & Ted soundtrack, and consider the uncomfortable complexities of the limbo COVID-19 has left artists in.

You’re releasing a collection of rare recordings, ‘Medium Rarities’, on September 11 – and celebrating 20 years as a band. How have you found the experience of taking some time to reflect on it all, and dive back into the vaults?
Bill: “It has been 20 years, as you say: two decades. And a lot of bands don’t get a quarter of that, so we feel pretty lucky. We’ve never actually done a ‘greatest hits’ type thing, which is pretty cliché in my opinion. When you have a catalogue of seven or eight albums, a bunch of songs on each, that’s like… 2000 songs, right?! We thought we’d do something a bit different. We haven’t worked since last October, coming up on a year now. And that was fine for a time, pre-pandemic. We thought, ‘Well, we’ve done our three years of touring, since ‘Emperor Of Sand’. Let’s go home, have a rest for a few months, and then we’ve got the holidays coming up. Let’s dig into the next record’. Little did we know that we’d be spinning our wheels, with the pandemic, cancelling tours. So I think it’s the perfect time. It’s the 20 year anniversary, we’ve been stagnant for a while, and people are dying for some new music. We want to stay relevant obviously, to go, ‘Hey, we’re still here’.

“We had a bunch of stuff that was unreleased digitally, a bunch of cover songs that we’d done, so we wanted to put them all in one place for people. We added a new song, ‘Fallen Torches’, some instrumental versions of some special songs, some live things, and put it all in a package. We wanted do that instead of rehashing the same, ‘Oh, here’s ‘Blood And Thunder’ and ‘Curl Of The Burl’.”

How did you go about putting the whole thing together?

Brann: “It was cool to look back… it’s almost like our shrapnel, I guess! Troy [Sanders, bass / vocals] was the one who was really into trying to put the tracklist together so that it made sense, I wasn’t really paying too much attention to it! But I had a few friends over once I got a test press, we hung out and listened to it, and it was cool. For me, it was definitely a trip down memory lane. It was cool to go back in time and think of those different instances, and it sort of ties into the 20 year anniversary of the band.

We have our die-hards who went out on Record Store Day and got those limited edition 7 inches that came out, but how often do you sit around and listen to those? For your average person, even if you have a sweet vinyl set-up, they’re kind of collector’s items. They stay on the shelf until you move or you sell them! Maybe you have an art display… but it’s a rare person who’s like, ‘I’m gonna listen to my 7 inches all day, one song at a time! So it made sense. We could have this spanning 20 year thing that tied into being able to release this loose-leaf track, get some cool artwork going, and have this cool retrospective. There are lesser-than versions of some of this stuff floating around YouTube, but if you want to hear it or even know that it exists, you have to go looking for it. All those things live together now, they have a home.”

The record opens with a previously unreleased song, ‘Fallen Torches’. What’s the story behind that one?

Brann: “Essentially, five or six years ago, there were two main practice facilities [in Atlanta] where bands would practice, including ourselves, who weren’t at home with mom and dad and didn’t have a basement they could practice in. If it weren’t for those kinds of places, Mastodon would have had a hard time getting together and writing music, and there are hundreds of bands at each of these facilities. So, two of the major places in town were demolished and closed to make way for condominiums, yay! When we got back from tour we were crowding into Bill’s basement, but it’s kind of small, and same with mine. After 20 years of being together… we already live on a bus together most of the year, we want a little bit of space to get together and jam, without it being so crushingly loud. Three’s a crowd there, really.

So Bill started looking at buildings and trying to work out what to do, and as a band we all went in on a building, to try and build it out and make it a rehearsal space. One for us, and then a bunch more that we’re currently renting out to different groups. At the end of that process, we put a studio in the basement of the practice place. There’s a lounge and a studio with a big live room, control room, the real deal. We wanted to build a space where we could eventually record our own albums. Something better than, ‘We can do our demos here, but that’s it’. When we got everything totally finished down there, we wanted to see what we had, to start out with, but weren’t in writing mode. When a band’s been going as long as we have, you get in this cycle of, ‘Write, record, tour, repeat.’ And that’s your life. Hopefully the fountain of riffs keeps going the whole time, and you’re collecting as you go along, so when it’s time to write, you already have some stuff, a couple things set aside that you want to work on. When you start to write, that’s when you really get into that mode. So we weren’t necessarily in that mode, but were like, ‘Let’s write a song!’ I went over to Bill’s basement, and I had two or three riffs strung together, and was like, ‘These are friends, I think.’ He had a few things, and lo and behold, we had ‘Fallen Torches’. So we recorded over at his house, then went over to our studio… and tracked it. Everybody came and played on it, and we sang on it, and then Scott Kelly had come in to do rehearsals for an upcoming European tour, and he sang something over it.”

Bill: “We had written that over a year ago, when we’d been in between doing European tours with Scott Kelly. We’d been thinking about writing a full EP or something with him, a bunch of songs. When we’d done the first European tour with him, there was a lot of sitting around backstage and playing on acoustics, throwing ideas around. The record hasn’t happened yet, but we did have Scott come back to do rehearsals with us, and Brann and I put together ‘Fallen Torches’ and played it to him. We wanted him to sing on it, like, ‘Just pick a place and give it your best’, you know? The idea, in a perfect world, was to release it in December of 2018, and play it as part of the part of our set with Scott. But it didn’t quite happen, it didn’t quite come out for whatever reason. We just dropped the ball I guess, I don’t know. I was ready to leak it, just put the song out on the internet and be able to play it live. But we waited and waited. With ‘Medium Rarities’, it just seemed fitting to put it out as the first song, give people an incentive.”

Did the process of putting all this stuff together bring up some interesting memories?
Bill: “I’m always thinking about how we got to where we are, all the crazy times we’ve had and places we’ve been, people we’ve met. I guess I think about it more because I have more time and… it could be over, you know what I mean? Fucking pandemic. So it’s like, ‘Well let’s see. I’ll never get to go there again, I’ve never been there, that festival was fun’. But I’ve always kind of lived in the moment, and been like, ‘If it all ended tomorrow, I’d feel really lucky that we got to do this for so long’. 20 years, being in this great band and touring all over the world, having a good time at it and actually making a living. For me, the most rewarding part is getting fan-mail from people we’ve really affected, who say, ‘Man, your music really helped me get through…’ cancer, or their father passing away, you name it. When you read that, it’s like, ‘Wow, that’s what music’s for.’ It’s supposed to be therapeutic, and if we’ve achieved that in any way, shape or form, that makes me feel good.”

Brann: “The Aqua Teen Hunger Force thing [‘Cut You Up With A Linoleum Knife’], that was funny. We were at practice when I got a call from one of the creators. We were all huge fans, when we were driving around in our van, we had the DVDs of that. We would play these small clubs or basement shows, and were always needing a place to crash. Troy was usually working the merch booth, and he’d ask people. A couple was usually better, someone who’s domesticated, they might have nice blankets and stuff, and a TV! Sometimes you’d get the random kid with a bunch of roommates, and you’d be up until 7 o clock in the morning listening to death metal, you know? It was a running joke back then, ‘Have you ever heard of this band?’ ‘We want to go to bed! We have to drive 10 hours tomorrow!’

So, we had the DVDs of Aqua Teen Hunger Force ready, we’d put them on when we went to someone’s house. So getting a call from them was, ‘Wow, what’s going on?’ They were like, ‘Would you be into doing a song for our movie?’ There’s a scene at the beginning where it’s like the classic, ‘Let’s all go to the lobby’ song from the drive-ins in the US, with the dancing snacks. They wanted a metal band to interrupt that song, and have something brutal that played before the movie. And we were like, ‘Yeah, that’s cool’. I think it was a Friday evening, and we were like, ‘What’s the timeline, when you do need the song by?’ And they said, ‘We’d like to record the song on Monday morning’. ‘Okay… it’s Friday night… we’ll see what we can do.’

So Bill and I got together Sunday afternoon in our jam space, we put together some riffs, and were like, ‘Okay, maybe that’ll do’. But we didn’t record it, we just remembered it. And then we went in on Monday morning and went, ‘This is the song’. It was all very spontaneous, you know. I sung like King Diamond, Brent [Hinds, guitar / vocals] did his best thrash voice, you know. It was a cool experience, we were bugging the dude to do Meatwad’s voice and some of the characters from the show. It was a blast. It’s cool that the song is now on something, because before you could watch the YouTube video or the movie, and that was kind of it.”

Wild. What else?

Brann: “Another one is the Feist cover [‘A Commotion’], because another cool thing we got to do was play the Later… With Jools Holland show. For metal bands to get invited to go to something like that, it’s like a lot of things that we’ve done in our past. We’ve gotten invited to do these things, and it’s almost embarrassing to be there. It’s like, ‘We’re a metal band, no one’s going to like us’. You feel self-conscious.

But we got there and everyone was so awesome and sweet to us, so nice. I remember the Bon Iver guys coming up and going, ‘We listen to Mastodon before we go onstage all the time’, we were hanging out with Feist. I remember afterwards, everybody was drinking and getting loosey-goosey, having fun after the show, and it came up in conversation with Leslie [Feist] that we should cover each other’s songs and put out a 7 inch. Although I thought it was a great idea, I thought it’d be one of those pipedreams that never comes to fruition, like most of those conversations – they end at the bar and never really happen! I’ve started so many side projects, I can’t begin to tell you, and not one of them has happened. But it did happen. That’s one pipedream come true!

The way that it came true was that someone in our band, I can’t remember who, talked about it in the press. It taught us that if you really want to make one of those things happen, you have to talk about it and that makes it happen! Everyone goes, ‘Ah shit, they talked about in the press’. If it has any legs and gets picked up by multiple media sources, it’s like, ‘Well now you have to do it’. Plus, we wanted to, so. Warner was also doing this thing – we’d done it before in the past with ZZ Top – where they put their version of a song, and they have one of the bands on their roster do a cover. And we did our The Flaming Lips cover, ‘A Spoonful Weighs A Ton’, off of ‘The Soft Bulletin’. We’re big Flaming Lips fans as well.”

Is it a fun change to do the (very) occasional cover?
Brann: “They’re very few and far between, when we get together in a room we’re not trying to jam someone else’s tunes, we’re working on our own stuff. But they’re always really fun. I like there to be something that’s unexpected in it. I think that people at this point know that we don’t just sit around listening to metal all the time. I’m not sure what they think, who knows. But I’ve never met a musician in my life who strictly listens to the music that they play. Sorry, but Johan [Hegg] from Amon Amarth is probably listening to Abba right now. That’s happening!”

There are some instrumental versions of songs on ‘Medium Rarities’ too…
Brann: “There’s an ‘Asleep In The Deep’ instrumental, which is cool. People have asked about why we’ve done that, and the reason why is, we feel like we put so many layers of stuff in the music, so many ornaments on our Christmas tree, basically! It’s like, when you put vocals over the top, that is the focal point, and should be the focal point with most music. But a lot of what we’ve played sort of gets lost. It’s almost subliminal at that point. With some songs, it’s cool to maybe take the vocal away, and highlight all those layers of ear candy that we put in every single song.

Plus, our good friend Ikey [Owens] from The Mars Volta and Jack White played keyboards on that song. You don’t really hear it that much when the vocals are laid over the song. So it’s cool to do that. It makes me think of when we were outside of Nashville in Franklin, Tennessee recording that album, ‘Once More ‘Round The Sun’, and I drove 45 minutes into town in the pouring rain to bring Ikey back to the studio. I did a lot of driving that day, and it was pouring rain the whole time. But the good thing was I got to hang with Ikey for a couple hours, and then at the studio, but it was just me and him in the van shooting the shit and getting caught up, because I hadn’t seen him in a little bit. It wasn’t the last time I saw him, which was here in Atlanta where we went and had some lunch, and he passed away a couple of weeks later. But it was awesome to be able to hang with him for a bit, and listening to that instrumental version of the track reminded me of that trip, that hang that we had. That was nice.”

Looking back on the whole journey, are there any breakthrough moments that stand out to you? It feels like in a way, it’s been something of a steady climb…
Bill: “It’s interesting, because it never really felt like there was this explosion and the band just got huge. It was a very slow moving train upwards. Which is great, what we wanted to be. You don’t want to be a flash in the pan, you want to stay burning for as long as you can. As soon as we met Nick John, our manager, opportunities and doors started opening for us. It was like, ‘We’re going on tour with Slayer? That’s amazing, holy crap’. Coming to England, after doing a couple of big tours with them, all of a sudden we were like celebrities. It was different. You can tell that when you ask for stuff and actually get it on your rider, the tourbus gets bigger and so do the shows. When we did two nights at the London Roundhouse it was like, ‘Wow, two nights here? This is awesome’. And then we played Brixton Academy and sold that out a few times. I remember seeing Faith No More there after they reunited and thinking, ‘Holy crap, there are a lot of people here’. People on the street noticing you and wanting your autograph, you’re like, ‘Wow, this is really happening. We’re making an impact, and people actually know who we are’. People always told me, ‘Be nice on the way up, because they’re the same people you’ll meet on the way down!’”

You’ve also got a song on the new Bill & Ted Face The Music movie soundtrack, ‘Rufus Lives’. How did that come together?
Brann: “The song was something that was sort of in the works, you know? It was pretty recent, maybe six months ago. I was going over to Bill’s, and I’d had probably more than a pot of coffee already, and was just amped up, ready to rock! He started playing guitar, we put this thing together, it wasn’t even 10 o clock in the morning and we already had this fast, crazy thing going on. It just sounded cool. That was the beginning of it. From there we wrote the song pretty quickly, and then when Bill & Ted came around, they wanted something very specific for a specific scene in the movie. They sent us the scene, and it needed to be like party rock ‘n’ roll. We sent them a couple things, but they were a little doomy. It’s hard for us not to be doomy, you know? They were like, ‘It needed to be at a party, not a funeral!’ And we were like, ‘Okay, we’re sorry!’ The notes that we all gravitate towards are all minor, spooky notes, Black Sabbath. That’s where we live, spooky! But I think we were able to maintain our aesthetic and our musical personalities, and give a party rockin’ song. It’s basically like, ‘You’re at a party, you’re in the woods, everybody is having fun, what’s on the stereo?’ That’s the song we needed to write, and what we tried to do. Then we took the situation that Bill & Ted were in, and we applied it to the lyrical content. So I’m singing in it, and Troy’s singing.”

Bill: “When I was a teenager I liked Bill & Ted and thought it was cool, though that was like 35 years ago! We got an email from someone there who must be a fan, like the music director, and they wanted us to write a song for it. We had like, 25 songs written for the new record, so could probably find one that would fit along with their soundtrack. There was one we’d written the week before that was heavy hitting, one of the better songs that was gonna go on our record. It’ll be out in a couple weeks, and it’ll be cool to be tied to that. I enjoy writing songs that are going to be in movies. If I ever get to go to the movies again, seeing it on the big screen and hearing it full surround sound stereo, it’s awesome: like, ‘I wrote that riff!’”

You’ve had quite a few movie and TV crossovers over the years, right?
Bill: “I think there are a lot of people who have found out about our band through video games, maybe movies, TV shows like Game Of Thrones and whatnot. I’d love to be in all the good movies! When Indiana Jones And The Crystal Skull came out, we’d just put out ‘Blood Mountain’, and I was like, ‘They’re totally going to use our song in the movie. They’ve got to, it has the same name!’ We did actually try to pitch it to them, and they were like, ‘Are you guys crazy? No’. It’s good to be in as many video games and any kind of social platforms as you can, because how do people discover music nowadays? When I was a kid you’d go to the record store and flip through the covers, and say, ‘This cover looks awesome!’ You didn’t hear about Slayer and Metallica or punk rock on the radio, they just weren’t played on the radio. And that’s what made music so much more fun back then, you actually had to search for it. It felt really special when you found it and turned your friends onto it, like, ‘Dude, check out this band’. It felt so cool, because you dug deep and found it.

Now it’s a different world. We get a lot of ‘Oh, I heard you guys on Grand Theft Auto’, or ‘I played a fake guitar to ‘Blood And Thunder’ on Guitar Hero’. But that’s the way it is now, and if we can turn some heads that way? You’ve got to stay relevant and involved. You can’t be old school and go, ‘I’m not gonna put my song in a video game’.  Why not? It’s gonna be cool. The Game Of Thrones thing was like a perfect match to me. I enjoyed the show a lot, and writing and recording the song [‘White Walker’] for their mixtape, it was awesome. It was killer, something we’d never done before. We also did stuff for Jonah Hex, and that was fun… the more the merrier!”

Amazing. So, work on the new record is very much underway, then?
Bill: “We have been working on a brand new record since October really. So we’re getting ready to record that soon, but it won’t be out until next year some time. You’ve got to stay sort of active and keep putting out music. Times are changing. I don’t know if we’re going to be able to tour next year, so is it worth it putting a record out, does it make sense? I always want to put music out, but is it one of those things where you put a record out, it goes straight to Spotify and because there’s no money being made off of it, you can’t survive? If you can’t tour and go out and sell merchandise, those things go hand in hand. It’s like a free giveaway, really.”

How’s it sounding so far?
Bill: “It’s hard to pinpoint, because every day that we write something, it’s the opposite of the song the previous day! And that’s kind of how we like it. There are so many variations of Mastodon within every record. There’s a lot of complex stuff going on in the new record, I know that. A lot of good riffage as usual, and I’m not going to say it’s like ‘Emperor Of Sand’ part two, but there are some similar sounds on there. It’s all over the place, so you’ll have to see. We have like 20, 25 song ideas, and obviously they’re not all going to go on there, it depends on which ones do. I think we want to put different sounding songs next to each other, rather than everything sounding the same.”

More generally at the moment, we’re all sort of in unknown territory now…
Brann: “Yeah, your guess is as good as mine! Really, every musician is sort of waiting for the doctor to call with the results, you know? We’re sitting by the phone, not really knowing. They’re booking festivals, but it’s kind of like, these are all ‘fingers crossed’ festivals, for everybody. Do I think there’s going to be a vaccine? Yeah. Do I think everyone’s going to take it? I don’t know! Are we going to be able to go back to normal? I have no idea. Certainly not in the South, where I live. It’s still a real problem. I’m still really operating in the same way that I was in the middle of March, when everything got shut down. I’m not going anywhere, doing anything. I go to the studio, we work on new music… yeah. I play my drums, I draw a lot and try to work out every day, eat healthy. It’s made me really concentrate on eating way better. I guess I figured out that, like a lot of touring musicians… my life off tour, pandemic or not, is sort of in the realm of quarantine. Because on tour, you’re just out and about, you can’t not be. So when you get home, you want to stay home… for me, anyways. I like being here, it’s a nice house, so I’m lucky. I have space, a nice sized house in Atlanta and a nice yard, so I’m very lucky. There are a lot of people who don’t have that situation, they live in a very small apartment with a bunch of people, so to be quarantined there must be awful. I understand why people want to get out, go to a park, do something. But everybody feels a little bit crazy at this point.”

These are such strange times…
Brann: “I don’t know what’s going to happen. We’re writing music, we’re making plans to record another full-length album, but that’s the question mark. Do you put it out and not tour it? Because I know that the world needs new everything. What’s the next thing that comes out on Netflix? What’s the next album that’s out? The world needs the music, the art, the entertainment, because they don’t feel good, and a lot of people are going through really hard, crazy situations, in a multitude of different ways. So many things are colliding, especially here in the States. Our fucking president is just the worst person… I remember being a kid and seeing Donald Trump on TV, on Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous, being eight years old and going, ‘That guy sucks. That guy’s a dick. He doesn’t care about anybody but himself, he’s just a rich, spoiled brat’. And I knew that as a kid, you know what I mean? How could [anyone] think that guy cares about anybody but himself? Anyways, there’s a lot going on here, and people need music. But you say to yourself, do you just… you know, musicians don’t make any money off of record sales, or streams. There’s no money there, so for everybody who plays music… the money runs out.

I’m just trying to make sure I can pay the taxes on my house. Luckily my house is paid off, but there are a lot of people who aren’t in that situation. There are a lot of people trying to figure it all out, playing it by ear, basically. I’m doing the only thing that I know I have control over, and that is trying to write this music with my friends, be safe about it, but record it and sort of stick to the plan. Business as usual, and we’ll figure the rest of this stuff out later. If you have a record ready to go, do you put it out, because you can’t tour it? Do you just roll the dice and hope that a year and a half from now, when you’re able to go on tour, everybody wants to come out and hear you play that? I’m sure they will, but who knows? Are people going to feel comfortable going to a concert with 5,000 people? I think maybe they will, but who knows. There are a lot of unknowns right now. The one thing I can control is, we can take a little bit longer with our album, that’s for sure, and really make sure that it’s… we can pore over every single bit and piece, make sure everything’s in there. We can mess with it until we feel like it’s there. I feel like the new stuff is pretty much there, we’re ready to go into the studio for real at this point. We’re putting those plans together.”

How has your creative process evolved over the years, generally?
Bill: “It’s not easy to do. When we first started out, life was a lot simpler. It was just the four of us, and we had nothing better to do than go down to the band rehearsal place and have a bunch of drinks in this little box. It was actually called The Black Box! You went in there and started banging on stuff. Twenty years ago, that’s what we did. We were super excited about starting a band together, and making music together. But as you get older, and grow apart even, don’t hang out all the time… We have families and kids and responsibilities, and mortgage payments. We’ve all got lists and lists of things we need to accomplish every day. Personally, I’m so damn busy that I have to make time for writing. Before, when you’re sitting in a van or whatever, it would happen naturally. Now, I almost have to cut out time to go and clock in, go write some songs. I go and tell everyone in my family, ‘Hey, I’m gonna be unavailable for an hour while I go write some ideas’. It’s very separated now.

“I feel like I’m constantly writing on the road, I always bring a recording device with me, throwing idea after idea into it. So when I come home, I already have most of my ideas ready. I have a home studio here that I built just for that reason, so I can go in there and map out everything I’ve written. I usually get Brann to come in and put some drums to it, and once there’s some semblance of a song there, I’ll show it to the other guys. When we were kids way back when, we had all the time in the world to fart around and throw riffs at each other. As we’ve gotten older, we have to kind of schedule when we’re gonna jam. We’re still writing great stuff, it’s just a lot more focused. And that’s the way it has to be. I can’t just pick up and leave my family behind to go drink beer and play songs! I’m a lot more grounded as a person than I was 20 years ago – I was just a maniac back then!”

Looking back on 20 years, what are you proudest of, when it comes to Mastodon’s journey?
Bill: “Honestly, the fact that the band is still going uphill, getting more fans, selling out bigger venues, to me that’s an achievement after 20 years. Most bands have come and gone within a few years. That’s all I can really ask for. There have been a lot of things, like the Grammy – I honestly never gave it much thought, it was never a wish to win one, but it’s cool. Continuing to be relevant in this day and age is great, and not easy. There’s so much competition, so many talented bands out there, and always people doing more than you are. There are younger bands, and it’s hard to keep up. But we’re just going to be who we are, continue to make music that we enjoy, and luckily we have a lot of really dedicated fans who have stuck with us this whole time. They’re the ones who keep me waking up every morning and writing more music.”

Brann: “I feel like I was more impressed by a 20-year-old band when it wasn’t a band I was in, you know? Like when we were in Seattle recording ‘Leviathan’ and The Melvins played a 20-year-anniversary show at The Showbox, we all went to it. We were like, ‘Holy shit, 20 years, I couldn’t imagine’. Now I’m here! 20 years. I’m trying to put it into many different perspectives for myself. Like, ‘Okay, when was Black Sabbath 20 years old? When was Slayer 20 years old?’ I distinctly remember watching the ‘Paranoid’ video on MTV, Headbangers Ball, it being presented as this classic cut in 1988 or ’89. That band was 20 years old when that was being broadcast! I loved Black Sabbath and thought it was awesome seeing that video, mainly because I loved Ozzy. But it seemed really old, like super old. When I was 13 or 14, it felt like a million years ago! So I’m like, is there a 13 or 14 year old kid that’s watching the ‘March Of The Fire Ants’ video and going, ‘God, this is old? It’s still cool, but it’s really old’. That has to be happening, right? And that’s cool. I don’t feel classic, I don’t feel as classic as Black Sabbath, but you’ve got to think about it. If a pickup was 20 years old you could get a classic licence plate for it, it’d be funny. You could call it a classic car, you know?”

It’s a hell of a thing…
Brann: “I don’t think too much about it, but I do like that it’s been the same four guys for twenty years, and I can look at each of the people in my band and go, ‘You’ve been there since the very beginning. We slept on those cat-piss-infested floors, we were at all those parties’. It’s cool because, I lost a sibling when I was pretty young, so I don’t have a person that I can reminisce with about the first part of my life. It’s important to me to have people in my life who I can go down memory lane with, people who were there and are able to offer a different perspective or tell me about things I might have forgotten about. I’m just excited to still be here and still in the band, and that anyone cares. I love those dudes, I love playing music with them, and I’m always excited about what’s around the corner. What we can do, and what we’re capable of creating. I always wanted to be as awesome as I can be, and for everyone who’s in the band to be super excited about it. At the end of every writing cycle, once we’ve recorded everything and it’s all said and done, we sit back and blast it through the speakers, we all get the same feeling that we have together. That, ‘Yes, I love this’. That’s the moment that’s the biggest success we ever have, I think. I love playing live shows and can’t wait to go back to that, but I like being in the studio and creating something brand new, listening to it with my friends and knowing we made it together. ‘There was nothing, and now there’s this’. At that point in time, it’s ours, so it’s a special moment.”

You can find out more about ‘Medium Rarities’ here.

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