A hardcore industrial metal band from Cleveland, Ohio. Their sound (noise?) could be characterized as an assault on the senses...until you've acclimated to synthesizing the many layers of sound found within the varied songs (this is true with much industrial, metal, goa, and other unfriendly* music genres) this eight member band is capable of producing.

Speaking of eight members...

Skinny: Drums
J Mann: Lead vocals
Jeffrey Nothing: Lead vocals
Gravy: Guitar
Bronson: Guitar
Pig Benis: Bass
Shmotz: Keyboards
Stitch: Samples

Yes, two lead singers. J Mann contributes the standard "growly" chants common to metal, while Jeffrey has a uniquely differing vocal style; a strangely alluring, quavering voice with distinct mannerisms that definitely leaves an impression.

The number of members allows quite a volume of sound, as is common in metal bands of this size. The 7 string guitars maintain a high presence, but are balanced with the ethereal, ambient keyboard and samples. Each member "fights for what they want" in a song, and so songs vary greatly, and focus on different elements; from speed metal to beautiful piano pieces. An interesting, and perhaps unique method of producing entirely different sounds lies in Mushroomhead's policy of not listening to the music of their own genre during songwriting, hopefully resulting in not subconsciously emulating music heard in the past. All live Mushroomhead sets end with a rave set, as a rule. This is Skinny's remix of numerous euro techno pieces, encouraging female members of the crowd to jump on stage and dance.

From their conception in 1992, Mushroomhead has worn masks (with the design of two 'X's and an evilly toothy grin)(the singers prefer face paint) and jumpsuits during their stageshow. Originally this was to hide the identity of the band members; Mushroomhead began life as a side project with members drawn from other existing bands. As a side point: this means Mushroomhead is oft slighted when their image is "compared" to Slipknot; Mushroomhead's inception predated Slipknot by 4 years. Yet, Mushroomhead's members bear no ill will towards Slipknot, and are even commonly noted as admitting that the masked stageshow is far from unique to any modern band (KISS, devo...even kabuki), and that thus, this point is so minor as to be ignored.

In interviews, Mushroomhead list widely differing sources of inspiration, including my favorite: Twin Peaks, and Angelo Badalamenti's scores (found in many David Lynch films). There are a few samples from Twin Peaks to be found, as well as a couple from Star Wars.

I happened to catch them live at the 7th annual Krockathon, and I must say; it blew me away. I might even list it as the happiest moment of my life. The dust from the mosh pit rose in a column a hundred feet tall...

Eclipse Records first signed them, but after having to do all work themselves, including the marketing (admittedly, this was what they'd requested in their contract), and selling half of what they projected for the first Indy release of XX, they switched to Universal. Their popularity has jumped since then, and XX is selling well, in its second incarnation. Universal scored two soundtrack inclusions; Before I Die in XXX, and Along the Way in the Scorpion King.

*I say unfriendly only in that it isn't immediately understandable to someone new to the style

Discography: (I won't list the tracks, it gets a bit repetitious)

  • XIII (1/10/03)
  • XX (5/8/01)
  • Filthy Hands Sampler (10/17/00) (10,000 copies; limited edition)
  • M3 (10/31/1999)
  • Super Buick (1996)
  • Re-mix (Multimedia cd-rom including two movies of live performances and one video) (1997)
  • selftitled (1995)

Solitaire/Unravelling has gotten a bit of radioplay, and there may or may not be a video being filmed for Before I Die..

My random memories of interviews

"I've got rembrandt as my right and Solo as my pilot..
"Have you ever been inside the new masterpiece?"


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