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MUSHROOMHEAD GROWING LIKE A FUNGUS IN POPULARITY



According to our good friend Chris Akin of Musics Bottom Line magazine
in Cleveland, Ohio Mushroomhead is to that city what Disturbed is to
Chicagoland. Local champions of the modern heavy scene.

Mushroomhead began their ascent to the next level the national scene
with the May release of XX, which found them striking out on a Midwest
headline tour that has been parlayed into a support gig for none other than Bl
ackie Lawless and W.A.S.P. They will rock Chicagos House of Blues with
W.A.S.P. on September 12.

The eight masked rockers (formed in 1992), recently added an onstage DJ
to slap the steel wheels and broaden their live sound even further.

Mushroomheads sound is a boiling gruel of industrial, metal and
hardcore, with some latent hip-hop and dub influences. Their show is
outrageous and downright scary for those feint of heart.

We give people shows they do not forget, said Steve Felton, the bands
founder and producer. We think people deserve a show along with music. I
hate seeing bands standing there in jeans and t-shirts.

XX was released on the bands own imprint (Filthy Hands Records) and
sports artwork designed by Feltons artist wife, Vanessa. We keep tight
control of our stuff, said Felton, who uses the nickname of Skinny when
he pulls down his mask and takes his place behind the drums. Off stage, as
Felton, he wears many hats booking the band, advancing shows, handling
publicity, and managing their day to day business.

An admitted workaholic who lives, breaths and sleeps Mushroomhead, Felton
secured the bands vanity label international distribution via Eclipse
Records. XX has already gotten glowing reviews in such major music rags as
Metal Maniacs, Hit Parader and Metal Edge.

If the notion of a nine-piece Midwest band in garish costuming, using
goofy nicknames, and slamming heavy music sounds a bit familiar... well, it
should. Felton is fast to admit that there been a running feud between
Mushroomhead and Iowas Slipknot for a number of years.

We were wearing orange jumpsuits and had each member in a different
mask, including a pig mask, a clown mask and a gas mask. Then they came out
with that exact same look. So, we changed our look completely. We wear black
flight suits with big X on our faces, he said. It really gets me mad
when people say we have jumped on their bandwagon. we have been out there doing
this for as long or longer than they have. They just got signed first.

Skinny and his band mates bassist Pig Benis, keyboardist Shmotz,
vocalists J. Mann and Jeffrey Nothing, guitarists Gravy and JJ Righteous, and
samples Bronson, who creates and triggers the many samples used in the
bands music look at the Slipknot/Mushroomhead situation as being akin to
the old adage, What came first the chicken or the egg?

Does it really matter which band played dress up first? If it comes down
to that, both were beat out nearly three decades ago by Alice Cooper and
Kiss. And let us not forget The Tubes, GWAR, Rob Zombie and so many others
who have combined macabre theatre with hard rock.

XX is actually a compilation of songs culled from the bands three
regional CDs, released between 1995 to 1999. The first single, which is
starting to get some spin at radio is Solitaire/Unraveling.

Some of the songs are re-recorded and some of them are just remastered
from the original studio tapes, explained Felton, who is also the bands
resident producer. We think these songs deserve to be heard by a larger
audience than just the hometown fans who bought our local releases. Since
the band has been writing new material as well, Felton hopes that once XX
grabs a little attention, a disc of brand new songs will be forthcoming
shortly.

Their name has been interpreted in a variety of ways by the public.
Some perceive it as a drug reference, while others attach a phallic
reference to it,laughed Felton. But the real story is that we called
someone a mushroomhead when they did something stupid. It was just a term
we always used and it just lent itself as a (band) name. Theres no deep
cryptic meaning to it, unless you want to attribute the whole fungus element.
Because like a fungus, we will certainly grow on



Vivid, experimental, and indefinable, Mushroomhead challenge the limits of Metal through both sight and sound. Sludging around the vibrant Cleveland Metal scene they built a worldwide following through word of mouth, headlining prestigous shows as an independent, such as Cleveland's World Series of Metal.
Their latest album XX has landed them a major label deal (Universal Records) and surpassed 80,000 units sold, proving that the band is viable outside of their home town, representing what's good about the sometimes shortsighted Nu-Metal/Alt-Metal scene.



Mushroomhead's music unfolds like a waking dream. At once surreal and vivid, intense and intelligent--and impossible to ignore both aurally and visually--the Ohio octet's Universal debut, XX (Double X), delivers a left-of-center fervor, as evidenced in such songs as XX's creepily compelling debut single, "Solitaire Unraveling." And the time is certainly ripe for the masked marauders of Mushroomhead to unleash their highly musical, totally unusual, fully compelling onslaught on the public. Inked to Universal in late 2001, Mushroomhead's XX was previously released independently, the updated Universal version remixed by Toby Wright (Alice In Chains) with three additional tracks added. And with the completion of the Dean Karr-produced video (Marilyn Manson) for "Solitaire Unraveling," the always-impassioned, sometimes spooky soundscape that is Mushroomhead has reached an apex. Since 1993, when the Cleveland-bred octet formed as a side project, no other band was wearing masks and jumpsuits and purveying ultra-melodic, ultra-dramatic music as influenced by Faith No More and Mr. Bungle as it was hardcore, metal and even techno. In XX, Mushroomhead's years of hard work and hard music have come to a fearsome fruitation.





"With the current climate in music, the playing field has leveled," observers J Mann, one of Mushroomhead's two lead singers. "Anything is possible now for us." Musically nothing is impossible, made clear on XX, Wright's remix of their 2001 indie release on Eclipse Records now featuring "Fear Held Dear" and "Too Much Nothing" as well as "Empty Spaces," a cover of the Pink Floyd song found on The Wall. "We're huge fans of the trippy, the analog, the spooky (as evidenced on aural adventures such as "The Wrist"). Anything against what's happening right now, we're into!" laughs band founder/drummer Skinny. "The mainstream right now is very predictable, very safe, not much of it has substance. It doesn't come across as sounding honest to me. Mushroomhead looks at the song writing process as an art form." Mushroomhead write because they want to and need to, from the oldest song on XX, "43" to the most recent, "Before I Die," which kicks off the album with double-kick fury. "JMann and Nothing are the lyricists," explains Skinny, and "they don't write together, usually. They'll bring their own thing to the table and throw it on tape. The two feed off each other. It's not like verse-chorus, though there is structure. In the long run, we care about the quality and integrity of the songs, we don't write them just to write songs."





"I like to try and almost write in riddles and keep things continually new so it's adaptable to whatever is going on with you at the moment," furthers J Mann. "I'm fairly metaphoric." On the record, but especially live, "everything ties together with samples, there's no dead space. But," Skinny explains, "our songs vary so much, that the continuation is dynamic, the whole set is a roller coaster, with our look matching our vibe and sound." And Mushroomhead don't fall back on the easy to make point: "I think there are four swear words on the entire album and our previous album, none!" the band observes. "Hating and having a bad attitude is very easy. But being able to live and smile and be happy with what you've done with your life, that's what's difficult."





As the lyrics indicate, Mushroomhead are no strangers to difficult times, though the enigmatic eight-man lineup enjoyed huge regional success prior to Universal's full-court press on the Cleveland conquerors that culminated in a deal. On their own, Mushroomhead sold 50,000 indie records; played with Marilyn Manson; were lauded in Guitar World, Revolver and CMJ; toured with W.A.S.P., hit Billboard's indie charts, and have proven that Cleveland does, indeed, rock. Back in '93, Mushroomhead's impact was instantaneous. "We played our first show on a Saturday, and three days later, we got a call to play with GWAR at the Cleveland Agora in front of 2,000 people, our second show ever! We barely knew each other," recalls J Mann. "And I've never been in a band with two singers. But Jeffrey (Nothing) and I come from such different backgrounds, me being more rap and funk influenced and into Bad Brains and Black Flag, while Nothing is more old-school metal, which is one of our strengths." It's clear that Mushroomhead's strengths are manifold, and with five indie releases under their collective jumpsuits, not to mention a buzz that was becoming a roar and stunning Sound Scan numbers, the labels came calling. But for several years, Mushroomhead choose to stay indie and underground, writing, recording and growing on their own terms, starting their own label (Filthy Hands/SMDC) with stellar success, as evidenced on records such as 1995's Mushroomhead debut, 1999's M3 and others. They're also a cottage industry; the band books many of their own shows and tours, had been self-managed, and Skinny and J Mann head a record company, SMDC, that has released compilations of Cleveland bands as well as a wide variety of side projects by the Mushroomhead men.





But Mushroomhead is every members' main focus, and it shows, as the band and their audience definitely groove together, from 14 to 44. "Skinny usually ends the show with hardcore techno music, and the fans get on stage as we're ending," explains J Mann. "Stage diving, stage dancing, beating each other up. It's not your typical metal show. Plus, we're constantly evolving, we're constantly revamping within the context of Mushroomhead." Come show time, "when Mushroomhead masks up, it's like Clark Kent and Superman, like a split personality," says J Mann. That said, J Mann, and sometimes Nothing are the only members who wear face paint, as the mask constricts their voices and "masks" emotions, two elements crucial to Mushroomhead's unexpected and welcome nuances. At once atmospheric and emotional, brutal and powerful and rife with vocal and musical clarity, XX is like a movie, taking the listener through a full range of emotions and scenarios in the space of 15 cuts. And by joining Universal's roster, Mushroomhead is happily melding their DIY philosophy with Universal's "well-oiled machinery." "By keeping the independent and underground spirit within a major-label context," Skinny believes, "there'll be no stopping Mushroomhead!"


STORY OF MUSHROOMHEAD
In the Spring of 1993, a group of musicians from Cleveland, OH came together to form a side project called Mushroomhead. The intention was to create an eclectic blend of extreme music combined with a vaudevillian stage show that was bound to provoke a reaction, turn some heads and leave an impression. From their first concert together in the fall of that year, it was obvious that Mushroomhead would become far more than a side project. It was to become undisputedly, Cleveland's top drawing band.
Blending sonics and attitude borrowed from metal, techno/industrial and rap, they managed to attract a varied and demographically diverse crowd with their thundering tribal drums digging a heavy groove, with big, snarling guitars and keyboards filling in all the cracks with dramatic swells of sound. Taking a cacophony of music, vocals and samples, Mushroomhead shapes it into memorable tunes that are at once sharply satirical, broadly tongue in cheek, and infinitely different. Described by the Cleveland Plain Dealer as "sophisticated, juxtaposing dense, staccato, Ministry-inspired tempos with spacious melodic passages and dark lyrics that don't merely rely on repeated swear words," their music stands on its own, but to fully appreciate Mushroomhead, they have to be experienced live. Combining outrageous costuming with the psychotic, exotic, neurotic and erotic, their shocking stage spectacle which always ends with a rave set, lives up to the music. Pushing the limits of rock theater to the max - their live show is truly an event and a multi-sensoral experience. What gives the band more substance and lasting appeal however, is their musical range. "Everybody fights for what they want in a song," says Skinny, Mushroomhead founder "and pretty much everyone gets their way - that's our strength. A song will start out sounding like metal until a cool piano part comes in or the turntables turn it into a rap song. We all bring our own tastes to the mix which gives the music diversity." Alternately, it is in the costumed chaos of their writhing live performances that the band members seem most alike and united. "When you step on stage in front of people, you know they're there for the release. Its what we are there for as well and we try to give our fans everything they came for and then some," adds frontman J Mann. It is these elements of risky and often riskin both their music and performance that have given Mushroomhead , a name, a reputation and a massive, rock solid fanbase throughout the upper Midwest.
They have performed with Marilyn Manson, Type O Negative, Misfits, Anthrax, Down, Gwar, Genitorturers, and although they are nothing like them. They headlined the 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000 Cleveland World Series of Metal, having national bands such as Drain STH, Crowbar, Overkill, Six Feet Under, Pissing Razors, Nile, and many others open up for them. They have grown into a regional phenomenon, easily and consistently selling out shows with up to 2500 capacity, a feat many national acts with major record-label backing and big publicity machines often can not duplicate.
XX, Mushroomhead's national debut, is an offering which combines the best of their independent releases in remixed form with a new keyboard interlude, "Epiphany." Each new Mushroomhead album has one. Diverse yet cohesive selections from their self titled local debut (1995), Superbuick (1996), and M3 (1999), showcase the band's musical breadth as it slips from techno to the brink of industrial metal delivering songs, complete with verses, hooks and choruses. From the band's creative use of spoken word samples on "Episode 29" to the track "Bwomp," which throws it all down, careening from an industrial-meets-hardcore opening through rap, ambient, dub and techno sections in a breathtaking roller coaster ride, XX lets the music speak for itself. Rocking the subconscious, they are a universe onto itself. No doubt, Mushroomhead didn't become Ohio's biggest draw by worrying about offending anyone.

MUSHROOMHEAD



"Locked away in a cage / my rage has got the best of me / You don't know peace 'til you've had suffering
I find this fight must be won inside the mind /So uptight and confined /often blinded by the light"
Solitaire/Unravelingbr>

Mushroomheads music unfolds like a waking dream. At once surreal and vivid, intense and intelligent--and impossible to ignore both aurally and visually--the Ohio octets Universal debut, XX (Double X), delivers a left-of-center fervor, as evidenced in such songs as XXs creepily compelling debut single, Solitaire Unraveling. And the time is certainly ripe for the masked marauders of Mushroomhead to unleash their highly musical, totally unusual, fully compelling onslaught on the public. Inked to Universal in late 2001, Mushroomhead XX was previously released independently, the updated Universal version remixed by Toby Wright (Alice In Chains) with three additional tracks added. And with the completion of the Dean Karr-produced video (Marilyn Manson) for Solitaire Unraveling, the always-impassioned, sometimes spooky soundscape that is Mushroomhead has reached an apex. Since 1993, when the Cleveland-bred octet formed as a side project, no other band was wearing masks and jumpsuits and purveying ultra-melodic, ultra-dramatic music as influenced by Faith No More and Mr. Bungle as it was by hardcore, metal and even techno. In XX, Mushroomheads years of hard work and hard music have come to a fearsome fruition.

With the current climate in music, the playing field has leveled, observes J Mann, one of Mushroomheads two lead singers.Anything is possible now for us. Musically, nothing is impossible, made clear on XX, Wrights remix of their 2001 indie release on Eclipse Records now featuring Fear Held Dear and Too Much Nothing, as well as Empty Spaces, a cover of the Pink Floyd song found on The Wall. huge fans of the trippy, the analog, the spooky (as evidenced on aural adventures such as The Wrist. Anything against what's happening right now, we're into! laughs band founder/drummer Skinny. "The mainstream right now is very predictable, very safe, not much of it has substance. It doesnt come across as sounding honest to me. Mushroomhead looks at the song writing process as an art form. Mushroomhead write because they want and need to, from the oldest song on XX, to the most recent, "Before I Die, which kicks off the album with double-kick fury. J Mann and Nothing are the lyricists, explains Skinny, and they dont write together, usually. They'll bring their own thing to the table and throw it on tape. The two feed off each other. Its not like verse-chorus, verse-chorus, though there is structure. In the long run, we care about the quality and integrity of the songs, we don't write them just to write.

I like to try and almost write in riddles and keep things continually new so its adaptable to whatever is going on with you at that moment, furthers J Mann. fairly metaphoric. On the record, but especially live, everything ties together with samples, there's no dead space. But, Skinny explains, our songs vary so much, that the continuation is dynamic, the whole set is a roller coaster, with our look matching our vibe and sound, And Mushroomhead dont fall back on the easy to make a point: I think there are four swear words on the entire album, and our previous album, none! the band observes. Hating and having a bad attitude is very easy. But being able to live and smile and be happy with what you've done with your life; that's what difficult.
As the lyrics indicate, Mushroomhead are no strangers to difficult times, though the enigmatic eight-man lineup enjoyed huge regional success prior to Universals full-court press on the Cleveland conquerors that culminated in a deal. On their own, Mushroomhead sold 50,000 indie records; played with Marilyn Manson; were lauded in Guitar World, Revolver and CMJ; toured with W.A.S.P, hit Billboards indie charts; and have proven that Cleveland does, indeed, rock.
Back in 93, Mushroomheads impact was instantaneous. We played our first show on a Saturday, and three days later, we got a call to play with GWAR at the Cleveland Agora in front of 2,000 people, our second show ever! We barely knew each other, recalls J Mann. And I never been in a band with two singers. But Jeffrey (Nothing) and I come from such different backgrounds, me being more rap and funk influenced and into Bad Brains and Black Flag, while Nothing is more old-school metal, which is one of our strengths. clear that Mushroomheads strengths are manifold, and with five indie releases under their collective jumpsuits, not to mention a buzz that was becoming a roar and stunning SoundScan numbers, the labels came calling. But for several years, Mushroomhead choose to stay indie and underground, writing, recording and growing on their own terms, starting their own label (Filthy Hands) with stellar success, as evidenced on records such as 1995 Mushroomhead debut, 1999 M3 and others. Theyre also a cottage industry; the band books many of their own shows and tours, had been self-managed, and Skinny and J Mann head a record company, SMDC, that has released compilations of Cleveland bands as well as a wide variety of side projects by the Mushroomhead men.

But Mushroomhead is every members main focus, and it shows, as the band and their audience definitely groove together, from 14 to 44. Skinny usually ends the show with hardcore techno music, and the fans get on stage as were ending, explains J Mann. Stage diving, stage dancing--thats one of the coolest things about our band: Our shows dont have a bunch of guys moshing and beating each other up. its not your typical metal show. Plus, were constantly evolving, were constantly revamping within the context of Mushroomhead. Come show time, when Mushroomhead masks up, it like Clark Kent and Superman, like a split personality, says J Mann. That said, J Mann, and sometimes Nothing, are the only members who wear face paint, as the mask constricts their voices and masks emotions, two elements crucial to Mushroomhead unexpected and welcome nuances. At once atmospheric and emotional, brutal and powerful and rife with vocal and musical clarity, XX is like a movie, taking the listener through a full range of emotions and scenarios in the space of 15 cuts. And by joining Universals roster, Mushroomhead is happily melding their DIY philosophy with Universal well-oiled machinery. By keeping the independent and underground sprit within a major-label context,Skinny believes, therell be no stopping Mushroomhead!

DISCOGRAPHY

Mushroomhead (1995, Filthy Hands)
Superbuick (1996, Filthy Hands)
Remix (1997, Filthy Hands) remixed by Steve Felton and Mushroomhead.
M3 (1999, Filthy Hands)
XX (2001, Eclipse Records)
XX (Dec., 2001, Filthy Hands/Universal, produced by Mushroomhead, remixed by Toby Wright)







Mushroomhead

Eight-member alt-metal band Mushroomhead complete with its trademark scary masks and matching flightsuits.

As if it weren't enough to be from Cleveland - the geographic locale arguably second only to New Jersey in the butt-of-a-joke field - the eight-member, alt-metal band was still toiling at the local level with its trademark rubber-masks-and-flightsuits stage show shtick when another Midwest band, Iowa's nine-member Slipknot, hit it big doing the whole masks, jumpsuits and volume thing.

Never mind that Mushroomhead's men had been gigging in grotesque masks and matching outfits since 1993, a full two years before Slipknot first reared its ugly head. When Mushroomhead finally did land a major label deal - Universal re-released the band's earlier indie disc "XX" in 2001 - many fans and critics dismissed the act as Slipknot wannabes.

Mushroomhead plans to prove it's the originator, not the imitator, as it joins Sevendust and other alt-metal acts on the Locobazooka tour, which kicks off its national run today on two of Summerfest's side stages.

Via e-mail - and in all caps, not surprisingly - drummer and founding member Skinny weighed in on Milwaukee, Slipknot, growing up angry in Cleveland and running for president.

Q. In ten words or less, why should someone come see Mushroomhead at Summerfest?

A. BECAUSE STAR WARS ALREADY CAME OUT.

Q. What do you know about Summerfest and Milwaukee?

A. ITS GONNA BE HOT, . . . ITS THE 20th LARGESTEST CITY, WITH A POPULATION OF 628,088, IT BECAME A CITY IN 1848, AND HAS A REALLY NICE HARBOR.

Q. What question do you most hate journalists asking you?

A. WHICH LITTLE KID PUSHED THE EVIL WITCH IN THE OVEN?????

Q. So, which little kid pushed the evil witch in the oven?

A. GRETEL.

Q. Who'd win in a fight: Mushroomhead or Slipknot?

A. ALL I KNOW IS I GET COREY (Corey Taylor, Slipknot vocalist).

Q. If you could tour with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?

A. SLIPKNOT, SO I GET (to) PICK ON COREY EVERYDAY!!!!

Q. What advice would you give to a young band just starting out?

A. DONT GIVE UP, KEEP JAMMIN, AND DONT RIP OFF OTHER BANDS.

Q. Do you think that being from Cleveland influenced your musical vision?

A. YES, CLEVELAND IS A VERY HEAVY INDUSTRIAL TOWN, LOTS OF (expletive) METAL HEADS, . . . GOD BLESS 'EM.

Q. As a drummer, would you agree with the perception that front men and lead guitarists usually get most of the groupies?

A. YES, PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE MAN BEHIND THE DRUM KIT . . . AS FAR AS GROUPIES GO, . . . THEY CAN HAVE 'EM.

Q. Would you consider running for office?

A. SURE. I'D RUN FOR PRESIDENT, THEY GET GROUPIES TOO, . . . THEY'RE CALLED INTERNS.



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