You hear that there is no protest music, anymore. That’s simply not true, but Mongrel are a band who blur the distinction… in a good way! The social awareness and yet ability to enjoy their lives approach makes the band more human, and more invested, than most. When you hear “Tarnished Halo” or “Snakes” for the first time, you know this band is special and living their songs.
Mongrel’s snarling punk rock vocals over gritty rock n roll tinged punk, hard rock and metal fuses together different elements to create a direct impact on any listener with blood in their veins. Fans of Otep’s ragier Atavist moments or even something as abrasive as Amen’s prime We Have Come For Tour Children ought to pee when they find out this band has been under their radar, if for some reason they don’t already know about Mongrel’s fun blend of fiery hard rock.
What’s up with the band currently? What are your plans for the New Year and how was your 2014?
Hey Morgan. We’re currently working on some new tunes for the eventual next cd and plotting out our next video. 2014 was great! We put out our new one Evolution on Unable Records in June, did videos for 3 of the songs on it so far – “Snakes”, “Oxygen Mask” and “Over & Over”, played lots of fun shows including the Rock & Shock Festival, got named the Pulse Magazine punk band of the year for a 2nd time, etc. Certainly can’t complain!
How was the experience of making Evolution? Jim Foster and Dave Fortman are a dream production team.
It was a good time. We’ve worked with Jim Foster (POD, Nullset, Thy Will Be Done, Sully Erna) for the last 4 cds now so we just click great with him. He knows how to get the best takes out of us and works efficiently with us so we get stuff done and get it done well which is always how you want it. We approached Dave Fortman (Slipknot, Otep, Godsmack, Snot, Evanescence, American Headcharge) about mixing the tunes and we were psyched when he was on board (even more so when he was really into it and had high praise for what we did, considering the people he’s worked with!). We’d then reached out to Howie Weinberg about mastering and got lucky there too. He’s done like 85% of my all time favorite cds (Metallica, Pantera, The Cult, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Public Enemy, etc) so getting to work with all 3 of these guys on the cd was really exciting for us as music fans as well as professionally as a band.
I bet! “Snakes” has cool energy. Very heavy but also has a bluesy quality like early Danzig. How fun is it to play this stuff live and do you write for live or for the song’s sake?
Thanks! Can’t go wrong with the early Danzig stuff so that’s a nice compliment indeed! It’s definitely fun to play “Snakes” and pretty much all our songs live. I wouldn’t say we write for the live performance, it’s definitely a matter of “what does the song need”, but if we’re not having fun playing the song or the parts odds are it won’t make it to a final stage in that form or to the live stage period
I was reading a Rollins older piece and he mentions “Everything is horrible. I am free.” I thought it was liberating in that when everything is bad, you can develop a thicker skin and hopefully find a higher mind in yourself or your higher power to pull you through.
Definitely a fan of Hank and his insights/observations on things. I don’t know if everything being bad is liberating per-say but I’m all for self-empowerment and recognizing that you can make a difference in things and as such it’s important to not just passively let things happen without doing your best to create change in the situation.
Is living well truly the “Best Revenge”?
I think so. What’s better than being happy and successful by your own definition in the face of those who told you you couldn’t, weren’t good enough, etc etc. Let the haters have their bitter misery. You’ll get more done making yourself happy and successful than by arguing with trolls and getting stuck in other people’s negativity.
Do you think most people are smarter than polls or trolls online would want us to believe? I know many people react from fear but essentially is there a sense of obligation to humanity’s progress that people strive for, even when they are misguided? Boston is known for the tea party but these “tea party” people are serving the masters now by buying into ruining the environment, getting tricked by the social engineering elements of the Bible instead of the “Love” message and being oil companies bitches.
I think a lot of internet polls and trolls are people with too much time and not enough ambition to start with so you get a lot of lowest common denominator bullshit and hate. Basing a judgement on all humanity on that would be like saying those Westboro idiots are representative of baptists in general. Obviously not true. As for the “Tea Party” as a political entity unfortunately slogans and names of genuinely good ideas get adopted and misappropriated by groups and the leadership of those groups are savvy enough to be well aware that a lot of those that they are recruiting as supporters won’t look past the sloganeering at the real agenda going on. Sort of a “Operation Golden Democracy” type name to gain support for a bombing mission overseas.
How was the experience writing “Oxygen Mask”? That’s a very powerful song. “You only get one shot at this life.” Is there a chance to breathe before you are smothered by external forces? How can you “make it count while there’s still time”?
Thanks. I’m glad you found a strong connection with it. I think it’s important to make our time count. There are no guarantees for the future so it’s important to live day to day to the fullest. Make what you do matter to yourself, those around you, etc. Not in a “YOLO” type thing where it’s more of a “fuck it, it doesn’t matter i’ll do anything” sense but very much in the opposite vein that it DOES matter – in a if there’s something you care about – work towards it, if there’s someone you care about – show it, do the things that are meaningful, find some fun in the day to day, make your mark.
Do you think America can ever heal the pain of karma from so many low level drug offenders having wasted their lives n prisons for marijuana sales? Or the misguided fear and lack of individual development in the common core system of testing for our youth? And they say metal is bad but it is proven again and again to keep kids alive during the hardest times, to have that Machine Head or Otep or Meshuggah record to pull them through, y’know?
No, I don’t think we can set right the wrongs of our justice system. Unfortunately much like the military industrial complex, the prison industrial system has become big business over the years and too many of our fellow citizens are imprisoned for things they shouldn’t be, yet many people who have committed worse crimes are set free sooner if they serve time at all. Prison should be for those who are truly dangerous to society. Convictions and sentences shouldn’t be biased based on race and poverty.
Standardized testing and common core testing is a whole other issue but essentially in my opinion, yes, there should be some basic minimum level of common learning that is essential for people to survive in the world and everyone should be expected to get to that point (ie. basic skills needed for independent living, to work and provide for yourself, basic history/civics so you can rationally interpret the news and elections, etc). Teaching kids to take tests as opposed to teaching them real life and meaningful concepts doesn’t seem to be the answer. Obviously if you want to go further in your education and concepts, by all means but dictating education by tests and paperwork doesn’t seem like it would be the best way to do things especially if you’re not providing the necessary funding so that it can be done well.
People who are scared/ignorant need something to blame for things they can’t understand. Blaming artists rather than themselves (ie. Columbine) is nothing new and not likely to change. Should music or television be seen as a substitute for parenting, appropriate supports, etc? No, of course not. Have people made poor choices cause of these things, yes,but those people were often failed by the influences in their lives that should have been there. Music, whether its rock, punk, metal, industrial, goth, rap, etc can be a very positive and powerful force that does help people cope with and find strength to deal with things whether its the day to day bullshit or truly horrible experiences and if our music can ever help someone through a tough time, then what we do made a difference and I’m really honored to be a part of it.
You have shared the stages with some big bands from Korn to Sepultura. I wanna know though, how was it playing with Dizzy Reed? I am a GnR fan for life, even if their albums take forever and are way too expensive. I’d love to hear Axl and Tommy Stinson just bang out a blues rock record with good keyboards here and there.
Yeah, we’ve been really fortunate to get to play with some great bands over the years! I’m a die-hard Gn’R fan myself – Appetite for Destruction is the reason I play guitar in the first place and getting to meet/talk to Slash once was one of the coolest experiences ever for me (he was super humble and nice). Playing a couple of shows with Dizzy was cool. It’s pretty amazing how well he covers Axl’s vocals on the tunes they cover. They weren’t life changing shows but definitely a fun time and certainly as a fan cool to play a show with a member of Guns N’ Roses.
“Consumed” is another cool song, kind of has a classic rock feel more than the others, like Pat Benatar (which I mean as a compliment cuz I think she is the best). How does it feel having been called one of the hardest working bands in Boston, a city known for great bands?
Again, thank you! Can’t complain about that comparison either for sure. Definitely some great music has come out of this area but seeing that “the hardest working band in Boston” quote in Metal Edge magazine was definitely a trip. I grew up reading that, Circus, RIP, etc back in the day so seeing us in print mentioned like that was definitely a proud moment.
Thanks for the support and the interview! If anyone wants to get in touch, comment, or just check out more about what we’re about, please visit us online at http://mongrelband.com , http://facebook.com/mongrelofficial , http://facebook.com/mongrelband or http://twitter.com/mongrelband – to check out the videos I mentioned please visit my youtube channel – http://youtube.com/adamMONGREL
Show pics from Thrifty’s in Manchester NH 12/13/14