Jeff Kerby of KNAC.COM recently conducted an interview with MUSHROOMHEAD drummer Steve "Skinny" Felton. A few excerpts from the chat follow:
KNAC.COM: When it comes to MUSHROOMHEAD, there are so many misconceptions with regard to how you formed and what prompted the band to come into being in the first place. Then, there is the whole idea that SLIPKNOT were the originators in the whole mask/metal renaissance. Is that something that you spend a lot of time trying to dispel? Is it hard to reconcile?
Skinny: The point where we're at now is on a personal level, I don't give a fuck. That's just how the cards fell. Sure, we've been doing it way longer than them, but they were in the public eye before us. It definitely could have been different, and they could be living in our shadow, but…it went the other way. I can't say that it's not disheartening, but to be compared to something that you can't even be compared to is kind of shitty. A lot of people aren't artists. A lot of people don't have creative integrity. People should be able to go, "Shit, I don't care which came first — the chicken or the egg. Fuck it. I like this one." It is difficult though because every interview you do, that does get mentioned. Coming up though, I was into KISS and ALICE COOPER, and there were plenty of other bands way more talented than SLIPKNOT that did it before that didn't get the recognition. When we started doing it, there was GWAR and the GENITORTURERS — MANSON hadn't even broke yet. The whole pre-existing theatrical element is kind of overlooked because of the blinders many in the public have on. Bands like SLIPKNOT didn't originate this mass theatrical metal thing. There are many more talented bands out there who did it before. We weren't the first to do it, and we definitely won't be the last either.
KNAC.COM: Is the whole idea that SLIPKNOT somehow created something new perpetuated by the fact that they really haven't ever came out and said that there were a lot of other bands out there who are similar in appearance that should get recognized as well?
Skinny: Yeah, in the magazines and the promotional outlets, we don't get a lot of love from the press usually because they believe, "Oh, MUSHROOMHEAD is just a 'wannabe' SLIPKNOT." Some people just don't have the integrity to actually listen to something and decide whether or not they like it based simply on the music. If neither one of us ever wore a mask, we would never get compared to one another. It would be like comparing FAITH NO MORE to SLAYER.
KNAC.COM: Sure. The problem for MUSHROOMHEAD seems to be that although you were out there first, SLIPKNOT broke bigger, earlier and unfortunately if that group isn't going to set the record straight, there isn't a whole lot you can do to change the perception of the people.
Skinny: They're never going to do that. That just isn't the type of people they are.
KNAC.COM: If they had though, wouldn't that have been the professional thing to do in that situation? I mean, they wouldn't even have to say they weren't first — they could just explain that there are other bands in the same arena and that they're all cool — that type of thing.
Skinny: It probably would have helped. They aren't those type of people though. I say it all the time—those guys are the fabricated, N'SYNC of metal. Everything they have ever done has been copied or fabricated or taken from someone else. They flat-out went and got rid of the competition in their hometown by taking Corey Taylor and Jim Root from another band. As far as how they looked before Roadrunner, the clown was the only one wearing a mask. We all know the history, but the kids don't. They way they portray themselves publicly…well, it's not anything like they claim it to be.
KNAC.COM: When someone sees a MUSHROOMHEAD show, it becomes obvious in a hurry that there would be no other motivation for doing this other than a love of the music. The crowd sizes could be hit or miss depending on the promotion, but MUSHROOMHEAD manages to throw it down live regardless of all the other factors. I know that if I were to ask you though, I know you'd probably say that the size of the crowd is irrelevant.
Skinny: Yeah, whether it's fifty people or fifty thousand, we put on the same fuckin' show.
KNAC.COM: Isn't that the only professional way there would be to look at it?
Skinny: I don't know what the standard of professionalism even is anymore because when you look at the spotlight at the people who are supposedly professional like your SLIPKNOTs and shit like that, they aren't pros — they're just a bunch of hacks who got lucky. Honestly, if we would have broke before them, I don't think they would have gotten anywhere. Our songs are way more radio and commercially friendly. As far as what other people think about professionalism, it is really about your true passion which is creating art and doing it. At the end of the day, we aren't rock stars, we're artists.
KNAC.COM: If you had broken first, do you see yourself as having eventually gone on to participating in a side project and crooning something like "Through Glass"?
Skinny: No. Yeah, you can always do that later — the whole "Look at me, I've got more to offer than that." Would those guys have really went out and did that type of an outlet if they really believed in what they were doing? Fuck no. To me, they were just using their success to fuel the fire for what they really, really truly wanted to do. We've had side projects and that kind of shit, but we aren't pushing the record labels to get those deals too, so that we can have a sticker that says "Featuring members of MUSHROOMHEAD." That's not to say we won't, (laughs). First and foremost with Joey from the MURDERDOLLS or Corey with STONE SOUR, if they didn't have a desire to do these kinds of things, they wouldn't leave what they had. It's just fabricated. They all wanted to be known for themselves rather than just this mass band.
Read the entire interview at KNAC.COM.