Picture this: You’re in a dark room with lights flashing on and off and it’s extremely loud. Right in front of you stands eight fear provoking men wearing matching clothes and black and white masks that resemble characters from the Spawn comic book. While it might sound like I’m describing a child’s worst nightmare, I’m actually portraying what it might be like at a concert for the metal band known as Mushroomhead. Long before Slipknot began to make a name for themselves by using scary masks on stage, Mushroomhead was shocking and wowing audiences with their unconventional look and appeal. And now with the imminent release of the group’s latest LP Savior Sorrow, it’s quite evident that Mushroomhead is a band that continues to grow and progress.
The beginnings of Mushroomhead as a band go back well over a decade, all the way back to the early 1990s. While the members had already known one another prior, Mushroomhead didn’t officially form until 1993. The very early days of the band were actually quite mind blowing for the members as only three days after playing their first ever show, the guys were asked to serve as the opening act for the band GWAR in front of a crowd of two thousand people. The band received a positive crowd reaction that night which helped give the members the confidence that they could be a successful metal band.
Eventually, Mushroomhead hit the recording studio and recorded their debut self- titled independent release in 1995. The album received positive reaction within the indie ranks, which prompted the band to write and record music as well as tour at a torrid pace. Between 1995 and 1999, Mushroomhead released four independent records on their own Filthy Hands Company label which, along with constant local touring, attracted the interest of several important record labels. After fielding several offers, Mushroomhead officially signed with Eclipse Records in 2000 and the same year, released the album XX, a compilation record of the band’s four previous discs. XX went on to sell fifty thousand copies in its first four months, a stunning figure for an independent release which prompted Universal Records to sign the band to a deal.
Equipped with the backing of a major label, Mushroomhead re-released a revamped version of XX and the band’s music was finally getting the backing it deserved. The new version of the album pulled in significant sales of around three hundred thousand copies and also helped them get on several film soundtracks like The Scorpion King, Freddy vs. Jason and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake. On the touring side of things, Mushroomhead trekked through the U.S. and Canada on multiple occasions, including a spot on the second stage of Ozzfest in 2002. Soon after, in 2003, Mushroomhead released XIII which sold four hundred thousand copies and only increased the band’s popularity, but this spike in recognition coincided with the group being dropped from Universal as well as the departure of its lead singer J-Mann.
Rather than falter in the face of adversity, Mushroomhead has returned for 2006 with a new vocalist and a new album. The new frontman is named Waylon whom Mushroomhead discovered when his band 3QuartersDead opened for them. Fans will get a taste of Waylon on the group’s brand new, third record Savior Sorrow scheduled for release on September 19th, 2006. Savior Sorrow marks a new chapter in Mushroomhead’s career, not only because of the addition of Waylon and the departure of J-Mann, but also thanks to a new lyrical direction the band has embarked on. Some of the lyrics have taken on a more serious, worldly tone as they reflect events taking place in the planet today. Armed with their new singer and new outlook, things have never looked better for the band. Expect to see them in the fall and into 2007 on tour in a city or town near you.