Dec. 25, 2003

The 8 of Mushroomhead to Debut “XIII” to Chicago

By Randy J. Klodz

Mushroomhead, a hybrid metal 8-piece outfit from Cleveland, may scare some people with each member’s stage masks and make-up, but music fans shouldn’t be fooled into thinking that this band is a gimmick. Mushroomhead has also lined up its only Chicago date, a Dec. 28 show at House of Blues.

Surprising to some, the band started touring nearly nine years ago, well before the masked men of Slipknot ever took to the stage. It has been reported that each member of Mushroomhead covers his face in order to protect his identity, while some skeptical consumers—and critics have seen this as a way to attract attention to themselves, but Steve Felton, (aka Skinny) the band’s drummer, and producer for the band’s must recent album “XIII” cleared the air.

“It’s not like it’s gimmick-rock,” said Felton. “You better have a [really good] gimmick, man. It’s [almost] 2004, people are jaded. People know the difference, they know when they are being fooled.”

In order to further keep his identity hidden from the public—though a few names have been leaked to the public—each member of Mushroomhead has devised a stage name. J. Mann and Jeffrey Nothing are on lead vocals, Gravy and Bronson are on guitars, Pig Benis plays bass, Shmotz plays keyboards, Stitch is on samples and the aforementioned Skinny plays drums.

One may assume that being part of an 8-piece band could get a bit hectic, since many standard quartets, seem to have many internal problems. But this isn’t the case with Mushroomhead: “Actually I think we have an advantage because we have a couple more people and there’s that many more hands and minds on the project,” Felton said without hesitation. “When everyone’s focused on something things move a little faster. We never run out of ideas, whether they are good or bad, somebody’s always got one,” he said jokingly.

Mushroomhead’s keyboard and piano infused rock can often vary from heavy goth-inspired riffs such as “Sun Doesn’t Rise,” the hit single from “XIII,” to the downright mellow “One More Day,” the sixth track on “XIII.” The lyrics to “One More Day”: “In my eyes I see / Free deliverance / Love everlasting / Such is punishment / You take me higher / Than the lowest place yet,” are sung by J. Mann and Jeffrey Nothing with a female vocal filling the background soundscape.

House of Blues is at 329 N. Dearborn St. Tickets for this all-ages show are listed for $15 each, with show time scheduled for 6:15 p.m. For more information on the band log on to www.mushroomhead-music.com or www.mushroomhead.org.
Mushroomhead Photo: Vanessa Solowiow