MASTODON Guitarist: 'We Would Have Never Played OZZFEST If We Had To Pay To Be On It'

MASTODON guitarist Bill Kelliher recently spoke to Schwegweb.com about playing this year's Ozzfest and the band's recent signing with Warner Bros. Records. A couple of excerpts from the interview follow:

Schwegweb.com: Are you getting pretty excited for this summer now that you're scheduled to appear on this year's Ozzfest?

Bill Kelliher: "Yeah, man, it's fuckin great. I'm excited about it. To be able to play with BLACK SABBATH and IRON MAIDEN, come on. We've done the SLAYER tour, we've done SLIPKNOT and those are fuckin huge. We're really looking forward to it since we don't have to pay to be on it, we would have never have done it if we had to pay to be on it. It's like a $100,000 to be on Ozzfest, it's ridiculous."

Schwegweb.com: Was MASTODON approached about Ozzfest by them or did your label push for the position?

Bill Kelliher: "Yeah, Ozzfest asked. We've been asked like three years in a row but they wanted us to pay and we were like, 'No, fuck that.' $100,000 — I would rather put that into marketing or fuckin' put it in my pocket. Now we have a certain time slot we're playing, 1:45 every day. Some bands could play at 9:00 in the morning."

Schwegweb.com: Does it scare you guys to have that much free time on your hands every day?

Bill Kelliher: "It will be cool, the Ozzfest is like three or four days a week and we have off dates with ROB ZOMBIE playing at night and then the next day you gotta drive 4-6 hours and then play early so that's gonna be kinda hard I think. You kinda have to so you can pay for it, all the crew and we're getting a bus and they're kinda expensive. I've seen bands on the Vans Warped Tour play in the morning then play later that night, that's a lot of work to set all your shit up then tear it down just to set it up again later that night."

Schwegweb.com: When MASTODON recently signed to Warner Brothers, was there any musical control issues that became an issue.

Bill Kelliher: "Definitely stipulation-wise, we want to do our own thing. We pretty much said, 'Don't fuck with our sound, our art' and they were like, 'No, that's great. You guys already have a great fan base, you guys already have awesome artwork, you guys do your own videos for under $20,000.' They love it. It has to be that way. With Relapse, it was kinda like we just recorded our record and they put it out, it was cool. We made it very clear to Warner Brothers that we are not a radio band, we're not making hits, we're just writing the music we like for ourselves. There's a fan base and were cool with that. We're not trying to deal with the fuckin' radio and all that shit. We're just making music for ourselves."

Schwegweb.com: Do you think signing to Warner Brothers that this move will scare away some of your core fan base?

Bill Kelliher: "If it does, I think it is pretty shallow of those people. If you like a band, who gives a fuck what label their on unless it's a really evil empire label or something like that? We couldn’t stay on Relapse forever. Everyone's out to make money, money makes the world go around. You have to have money to make money, you can't be a band and not generate income. We have families at home, this is our job. You don't go to work every day for free. If someone wants to give you a raise, you don't say no. That's the next fuckin' step, you can't stay on a label like Relapse forever, they're a tiny label. They can only push you so hard and put you in so many stores. Warner Brothers is worldwide, they're fuckin' everywhere. It's going to [do] great things for us."

Read Bill Kelliher's entire interview with Schwegweb.com at this location.

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