Anyone who is creative (or Lego enthusiast) will tell you that not every combination of items leads to positive results. Sometimes even the best of the proverbial and actual horoscopes get stuck because of the wrong combination. This is why the Atlanta-born hard rock band Mastodon is such a fantastic entity. The set is one of those that fit pieces. Since their creation in 2000, the four-piece band has amassed eight studio LPs, including their most recent, Grammy-nominated one. silence and gloomy in 2021. And Mastodon’s previous album, sand emperor (2017), the group received their first Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance. Today, Mastodon is preparing to get back on the road with a combined tour in March (followed by a tour of Europe in the summer). After more than two decades together, they are still building and growing. It’s a testament to the chemistry that binds the four band members together.
“We dedicated all fours to finding a way,” guitarist and vocalist Troy Sanders told the American songwriter. “We all knew how fate was on our side and how the stars lined up.”
Mastodon first walked into a room to make a noise together in January 2000. One of the first things they did were talk songs. Collectively, there is a love for hard and metallic rock like the Melvins, Iron Maiden, and Thin Lizzy. But amid the four, there is love for an eclectic number of genres, including bluegrass, prog rock, hardcore, pop, and country.
“Combine that with the fact that we were all willing and able to get into a pickup truck to run shows, however long it took to get it, and not just sit around and wait for a great opportunity to come knocking on our door,” Sanders says.
Sanders and his colleagues knew that the only shot Mastodon would get was what they gave themselves—at least at first. So they built. Since its formation in 2000, the band has continued to play in more than 35 countries. One show that Sanders particularly stuck with is a show in Norway with artists like Patti Smith, Ringo Starr, Eagles, and Eric Clapton (see show poster below). All of this was unexpected when considering the group’s humble origins, Sanders says. Mastodon has also toured or opened shows with Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Slipknot, Tool, Judas Priest, and more of its heroes. They even recorded a song for the famous cartoon, Power Hunger Teen AquaJune 6, 2006 (6-6-6).
“It was so funny, when we were getting directions from Dave [Willis]We told him to just give us his thoughts [the character] Metoad voice. We’ve never laughed so hard! ”
Growing up, Sanders says music has always been a part of his life, from hearing his early mother play the French horn in her church quartet to about 10 years ago in the early 1980s when he discovered the beacon that was MTV’s 24-hour music video channel in Today and seven days a week. Those songs, which he could watch now, drowned out Sanders. Next, he saw his older brother, Cale, playing music. Sanders would borrow his brother’s left voice and spin around. He taught himself the two-tone bass tone of the KISS song “Lick It Up.” Eventually, after he got it, his parents bought him his own right hand machine.
“I do my chores and get good grades,” Sanders says. I’ve got to work. Sanders was born and raised in Atlanta, and the other three band members — Bran Delors, Brent Hinds, and Bill Kelleher — later moved to the city. The chemistry is just right, Sanders says. This resulted in the quartet of “road dogs” diving head first. Fast forward to the modern era, Sanders says Mastodon’s latest LP is his most proud moment with the band. For him, the record represented the culmination of everything that led to this point. It’s the sounds of the band that have been together for over two decades, barely working, and getting better every day.
“It’s a far cry from anything we could have touched on the first record,” he says. “I feel like we keep stepping up. I can speak for all of us that we take great pride in ourselves. In our hearts, minds, and ears, we think this record is so special. That’s all that really matters.”
Sanders says his bandmates, family, and friends’ appreciation of the voices is critical. But it’s also nice that the Recording Academy recognizes the album, too (it never hurts). With every nod from the awards body, Sanders says, new life invigorates the group. While it is not it is necessaryIt is certainly welcome. Thinking of accomplishment, Sanders remembers sleeping on the sidewalk, in the driveways, on “dirty cat litter” in the band’s early years. To get past these formative stages, love must abound. Sanders knows that. For him, music is love in that way.
“It’s the universal truth,” Sanders says. “He’s the great Unifier. It’s not meant to be described. It’s meant to be felt.”