Ellen Gager of Midwest Excess recently conducted an interview with MUSHROOMHEAD frontman Waylon Reavis. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:
Midwest Excess: Changing lead singers can either make or break a band. How do you think this change has effected the whole ensemble?
Waylon Reavis: "It's been very well, surprisingly. I thought the worst when I first started the band, but the fans have really, really accepted me — it's kind of shocking how much. I got people who dress up like me now. MUSHROOMHEAD has always been about the fans, and them participating and being a part of the show, and they'd all come dressed as J, and now they're starting to show up as me, and it's like ‘wow'. So, I think it's been a good change. I don't think we'll have much of a problem with the new CD; I think people are really excited to hear what I'm gonna do. Because they know that I can do the heavy stuff, but they also know, they've heard my other band, and they know I can do some more mellow stuff, so now they're kinda waitin' on seein' what the new MUSHROOMHEAD's gonna be about. Curiosity."
Midwest Excess: You guys have a new album coming out, and it's been three years since the last release, what can fans expect from this?
Waylon Reavis: "(Long pause) Take everything you think you know and throw it out the window. That's exactly how it is. This album is get in the bathtub and slash your wrists. It's a very dark album. I think it expresses the times that MUSHROOMHEAD's goin' through, and I think the fans are gonna really relate to this. And just take everything you think you know, and forget it. Just keep an open mind and expect the unexpected, really."
Midwest Excess: In my opinion, your music is like the soundtrack to nightmares. From where do you draw your inspiration?
Waylon Reavis: "Life. Just look at how things really are. Just don't candy-coat any of it. Just look at really how life is and how life has become, it's not a pretty picture anymore. It is a nightmare. And if you can't see it, there's something wrong with you. I hate the thought that everybody's on medicine now to make life better -- but not in my head. Don't give me a pill and tell me the world doesn't suck. It shouldn't, but when you travel a lot like this, you're gonna get to see the bad, and you tend to notice it's depressing every day. So that's where our influence really comes from, it's really just lookin' around and seeing the world for what it really is and trying to put it into words so people can understand it. Maybe they're in a society that doesn't care any more, and maybe they can do something about it, because that's the real point of being an artist, being able to say something about it. Maybe being able to influence the masses into thinking, ‘hey, you know, I maybe I need to look around myself and see what's really goin' on'. And maybe we can do that with this new album. I really hope so, because in my opinion, the worlds' goin' to hell in a handbasket really quick. Especially with the last year and politics goin' on and this war and everything. It's just bad. Maybe we can say something that might stir up some feelings and hopefully we will. Whether, you know, it might piss some people off, or it might make some people wanna stand up and fight for what they believe in, and hopefully it does one of the two. Reaction's a big thing, but I really want people to open their eyes, and that's my goal with this new CD. To write some lyrics that'll really make you look at what's going on, and be like, ‘oh, this shit is fucked up', and do something about it. Everybody says you can't do it with one, but if one person changes, that's great, and maybe somebody'll follow in those footsteps, and that's all you can hope for. Bein' in a band and bein' in a position where a lot of people really listen to you, I feel like it's my responsibility to do something. I don't candy-coat anything, and say 'It's all jolly, I love you.' No. No, that's complete bullshit. Nobody wants to hear that anymore. People wanna hear the truth, and people wanna hear what's really goin' on. Our fan base is young, and they're the next leaders, and if you can get them on a straight path now, maybe better times are ahead, and that's the truth ‘bout that. I got two children, and with me travelin', I've seen some of the bad, and I want my kids to stay where they're at in North Carolina in a hole, where it's cut off from the rest of the world, where it still is nice and you don't have any crime or anything. I go to places and people try to mug us and rob our bus, like gettin' in the bins and tryin' to rob us and stuff. It's like ‘What? What is this?', ‘cuz I'm not used to that. I come from a town where there's one murder every five years. I'm from a very secluded place. The town has been cut off; there it's still the ‘50s, and it's really laid back, and they really don't know what's goin' on in the world. And I didn't know. I moved to Cleveland and I got a shot in the ass of really what life was. And I was like, 'Whoa', it scared me at first. 'Cuz I mean, I'm from a small country town and never seen anything like that. Seeing gangs and people shooting each other, and I was just like 'Whoa'. It freaked me out and I guess that had a big influence on me during this writing process, too, everything I've experienced in the last year. Coming from the small country town to the big city is very, very different."
Read the entire interview at www.midwestexcess.com.