Mushroomhead

Mushroomhead Biography

Mushroomhead are one of the most unique and adventurous alternative metal bands working today. Known for their stunningly theatrical live show and artsy masks, this innovative band has forged new ground in the rock world and influenced many other bands to push the envelope and bring art into rock. Formed in the mid-1990s in Cleveland Ohio, the band’s combination of metal, rock and atmospheric elements has struck a chord with thousands of fans worldwide.

Mushroomhead have been performing incognito since 1993, when drummer Skinny founded the band. The band was meant to be a side-project so they wore masks to go unrecognized, but after only a few shows they developed a rabid and loyal fan base in Cleveland. Mushroomhead released their 1995 self-titled debut album independently and it went on to became an underground hit. This was history in the making because the band really had no proper distribution. Superbuick followed in 1996 and M3 in 1999, all released via an underground street effort. After the band felt its image and hyper-melodic and heavy style of music was being deluted by other bands jumping into this space, the band started to change their look to reflect nothing out there. After a brief stint on Eclipse Records, a move to Universal Records saw the release of XX (a combination of the past independent releases) in 2001 and XIII in 2003. The band’s last album sold over 200,000 units in the USA alone. Now, it’s 2006, and Mushroomhead will release Savior Sorrow for the pioneering rock label, Megaforce Records (Metallica, Anthrax, Ministry, Warren Haynes).

It can be said that Mushroomhead’s musical ascendance was a singular, original, aesthetic of eight guys decked out in matching jumpsuits and artsy masks, playing unbelievable, unsettling music. No other band was wearing masks and jumpsuits and purveying this type of ultra-melodic, ultra-dynamic music at the time – Mushroomhead sounded like nothing else. The band’s merging of metal, atmospheric elements, rock, and theatrics mixed with a punk DIY attitude has inspired and spawned other bands (Slipknot, among others) to follow suit. Even though Mushroomhead’s music is rock-leaning in thought, the group remains firmly committed to pushing the envelope and trying new things. Influences range from the driving rhythms and breakneck turns of Metallica, to the dark gothic melodies of Bauhaus, to the atmospheric stylings of Pink Floyd, but all done in Mushroomhead style.

THE ALBUM
Produced by Steve Felton (aka Skinny) at Filthy Hands Studios in Cleveland, Savior Sorrow continues the Mushroomhead journey that takes the listener on a fantasy ride. It is an album that’s meant to be heard from beginning to end.

Savior Sorrow also marks the first studio appearance of vocalist Waylon, who replaced the departed J Mann, where Waylon will counter the vocal stylings of Mushroomhead’s other lead vocalist, Jeffrey Nothing. The diversity and multiple dimensions Waylon brings to the band are astounding: he is a screamer and a singer who molds his voice to what the song demands. Drummer and producer, Skinny, comments: “Waylon is versatile. He is a chameleon who changes his voice at breakneck speed. It’s truly remarkable.”

Mushroomhead are no stranger to mixing a lot of styles and Savior Sorrow exemplifies this tendency. “1200” opens the album with soaring vocals by Jeffrey and melodically heavy riffs – it’s a great example of Mushroomhead’s diverse influences. “Simple Survival” could very well be the band’s mantra and illustrates their ability to adapt into a more rock sensibility. A curve ball is thrown in the sequence with the epic and beautiful “Save Us,” which builds from a soft introduction to an intensely grand song. It also serves as a motif that reappears in the album. “Tattoo” is hardcore, vicious and never lets up, but “The Doubt” whips us into a dancing rock mood. “Burn” is classic Mushroomhead with its abrasive verses with melodic chorus, which leads into the hook-laden, gothic-leaning “Pretending.” The album takes a calm atmospheric twist with “The Need,” which sets up the uber-creepy “Cut Me,” which is a wrenching song that will leave the listener haunted for days. “The Fallen” is somewhat of an anomaly because it’s a 3 piece set-up and is simple and raw. The final “Embrace The Ending” is a bookend to “Save Us,” and has similar ideas and song structure. All said and done, there is something on this album for everyone.

On the Mushroomhead’s prior release, XIII, entered the Top 200 at # 40 and went on to sell 200,000 copies in the USA and 400,000 copies worldwide. With Savior Sorrow, the band continues to explore the musical depths by remaining different and forward-thinking as ever. Sit back and experience the fantasy known as Mushroomhead.

Skinny -- Drums
Jeffrey Nothing – Lead Vocals
Waylon – Lead Vocals
Shmotz – Keyboards
Pig Benis – Bass
Gravy – Guitar
Stitch -- Noises

Mushroomhead All Music Guide Biography

Known for its theatrical live show and the black masks that most of its members wear on-stage, Mushroomhead is one of the more unique and adventurous alternative metal outfits that emerged in the 1990s. And the Cleveland band's music is as interesting as its image; Mushroomhead's forceful yet melodic alterna-metal incorporates elements of hip-hop, punk, and goth rock as well as industrial and techno. The members of Mushroomhead have been performing incognito since 1993, when drummer Skinny founded the band. At first, Mushroomhead was only meant to be a side project. Its members were playing in various local bands at the time, and they wore the blacks masks (which look like a cross between S&M/bondage masks and World War I gas masks) so that people wouldn't recognize them. The only Mushroomhead member who doesn't wear a black mask opts for Kiss-like clown makeup instead. After a few years, Mushroomhead became one of Cleveland's top local attractions -- and its members kept wearing the masks when they saw how intriguing people found them to be. Mushroomhead's self-titled debut album was released independently in 1995, followed by Superbuick in 1996 and M3 in 1999. The Midwesterners signed with Eclipse in 2000, and their next album, XX, came out the following year. In 2001, Mushroomhead's members included drummer/founder Skinny, lead vocalists J. Mann and Jeffrey Nothing, guitarists Bronson and Gravy, keyboardist Shmotz, bassist Pig Benis, and sample provider Stitch when they signed to Universal Records to re-release XX. Their first proper effort for the label was 2003's dynamic XIII, but the band soon parted ways with not only Universal, but also vocalist J. Mann during a subsequent tour. Undeterred, Mushroomhead pressed on with their D.I.Y. ethos intact and welcomed new frontman Waylon, formerly of 3 Quarters Dead, into the fray. The DVD Mushroomhead, Vol. 1 followed in mid-2005 before the guys returned in September 2006 with Savior Sorrow, released through New York-based indie Megaforce Records. ~ Alex Henderson, Rovi


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