Interview: Skinny of Mushroomhead Talks Flaming Buses, Mosh-Pit Knockouts, and Interband Fighting
As part of our coverage of this year’s Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, Revolver caught up with many of this year’s performing bands for our June/July 2014 issue, on newsstands now, to ask about the occupation hazards that go along with touring. Here, writer Jon Wiederhorn interviews Mushroomhead about all the mayhem.
During their 21 years together, Cleveland, Ohio’s masked metal traveling circus, Mushroomhead, have experienced multiple lineup changes, but vocalist Jeffrey Nothing, keyboard player Schmotz, and drummer and ringleader Skinny and have stayed the course through eight studio albums and countless world tours. In that time, they’ve endured more than their share of metal mayhem, from offstage fistfights to onstage accidents.
While he has been away from the madness for the past nine years, original vocalist J Mann recently returned to contribute to Mushroomhead’s new album, The Righteous & the Butterfly. “To me, this one has a new urgency to it,” Skinny says. “And the album has got elements of everything we’ve ever done.”
REVOLVER What’s the worst road accident you’ve been involved in?
SKINNY In 2003, we were in Alabama and the generator caught fire while we were speeding down the highway. This fucker was spitting up flames out the left side of the bus and you could see it out the window. Then in 2006, we were in Iowa and we hit a semi-tractor trailer in the middle of the night. The flatbed was empty, but the semi got cut off by another car that ran a light and we nailed this fucking thing. We rolled through the median with our trailer. The bus twisted and the front and back windows snapped out. A couple of us were literally in the air for a couple seconds. And then when we hit back down, everything ripped apart. We ended up on the opposite side of the highway. No one was hurt, but everyone was pretty freaked out. We had to climb out the windows to get out.
Can you recall the greatest mishap you’ve had onstage?
We were in North Carolina at a Marine base a few years ago and I dove into the pit and was dropped. I was knocked out. I woke up being dragged across the stage and finished the show.
Any equipment debacles?
A huge 12-foot-tall lighting truss fell over in Cleveland at the Agora. All the wiring was yanked right out of it and everything shut off on the right side of the stage. The P.A. was still on so we kept playing. It turned out OK, but if someone had been hit by the lights, they could have been killed.
There have been numerous fistfights in Mushroomhead over the years. Have you guys ever thrown down onstage?
In Arizona, our keyboard player Schmotz and our bass player at the time [Pig Benis] got into it between a song. That was almost onstage. After the show, they finished up in the parking lot and totally punched the shit out of each other, putting teeth through lips and stuff. When there’s that much passion and drive and you’ve got that many artists, shit happens. Then it’s full-on until someone’s bleeding. We’ve had guys who have needed stitches and we’ve just superglued the cuts shut and moved on.