I just realized that for some reason I’ve been forgetting to post my articles from Antichrist Metalzine over here. So, here is one for today – an interview with sludgy/thrash/hard to define Death Metal Pope.
Mongrel is a hard rock/punk/metal band out of New England. These guys put on a great live show!
Mongrel’s had a pretty long history. Tell us!
Adam Savage (guitar): I started the band back in 2003 with the goal of having an aggressive rock based band that could draw on different styles / influences, where not every song would have the same sound/style. A good song is a good song regardless. For the first seven years of the band we had a few different male singers, as well as various bassists/drummers, but in 2010 we got really lucky and my friend Jess helped us out by filling in for what was to be a few shows and it worked out so well that she joined full-time and it’s been amazing since. Hoagie (drums) joined us in 2012 and Blue Mike (bass) joined us in early 2013. Over the years, we’ve opened for a lot of cool bands including Korn, GWAR, Danzig, Godsmack, Lacuna Coil, Sepultura, Misfits, Otep, FEAR, Halestorm, Mindless Self Indulgence, Butcher Babies, Sick Puppies, etc. We’ve gotten to work with some great companies with endorsements/sponsorships (including Marshall Amps, Monster Cable, Seymour Duncan, Artist Series Guitars, In Tune Guitar Picks, etc) and even been in magazines here in the US (Metal Edge, Revolver) and in the UK (Terrorizer, Big Cheese, Vive Le Rock, Devolution). Since Jess joined the band we’d put out 1 full length CD (Reclamation – 2012/2013) and two EPs (The New Breed of Old School -2010, Declamation – 2011) leading into this year. This year with our new CD “Evolution” we had the opportunity to work with some amazing people thanks to our friends/fans who supported our kickstarter campaign. Jim Foster (Thy Will Be Done, Sully Erna, Nullset) recorded us, Dave Fortman (Slipknot, Otep, Evanescence, Godsmack, Soil, Snot, American Head Charge) mixed the cd and mastering was done by Howie Weinberg (Metallica, Pantera, Soundgarden, Nirvana, The Cult, etc) so it’s been an amazing and exciting time for us with getting these opportunities.
Who are your favorite bands?
Adam: Guns N’ Roses, Pearl Jam, Dead Boys, Nine Inch Nails, The Bronx, Amen, American Head Charge, Black Flag, Misfits, Public Enemy, Slipknot, The Doors, etc.
Jessica Sierra (singer): Sepultura, Soulfly, The Doors, 40 Below Summer
Mike “Hoagie” Hogan (drums): Metallica, Death, Slayer, Shadows Fall. Sepultura
Michael “Blue” Ariza (bass): A Day to Remember, Cold, Moving Mountains
What drew you to music initially?
Adam: Seeing Slash play in early Guns N’ Roses videos made me realize that this was something I needed to do.
Jessica: My father and Uncle David…they played all the time and I started singing. They realized at 5 I had talent and would record our sessions…It took off from there
Hoagie: I played in high school marching bands and began listening to music at a young age. The beat always hooked me in.
Blue: Around high school my friend picked up a guitar and I was just starting to fully pay attention to music like bands and composers and was heavily listening to Blink 182 and Jack off Jill, so I picked a bass wanting to play along with and try out the whole music making thing together.
What’s in the works for Mongrel?
Adam: Right now we’re trying to keep getting the word out about the new cd “Evolution” and the recently released music video for the track “Oxygen Mask” from it. We’ve got at least a couple more videos for tracks from the cd in the works as well as writing new material as well for the next (eventual) cd. Other than that, just continuing to play shows, make new friends and fans and see where it all takes us.
How would you describe Mongrel?
Blue: A legitimate looking band with a tight sound and knows what what they’re doing, but of course don’t forget we’re crowd pleasing *winks snaps fingers, and points *
Hoagie: Family with a great vibe/chemistry, catchy songs, fan appreciation, and the ability to play a show to people who have never heard us and get them hooked to want to hear more. That’s the best feeling.
Jessica: Fierce. In your face. Driven.
Adam: I think it’s what the name says, it’s a hybrid beast that takes it’s own form drawing from our influences, personalities, and the very real connection with the listeners/audience. As far as what it sounds like? What would happen if you had Janis and Otep’s love child fronting Motorhead doing a Gn’R/Metallica/Misfits tribute – it’s something like that.
What’s the funniest thing that has ever happened onstage?
Blue: For me I was trying to do a 360 and I fell down but I never missed a note. For the whole band as a funniest thing, we had this one fan (Anders) that brought the fun. She would throw toilet paper so I covered my bass with it during a song and in between Jess covered herself with it, and she also threw panties and bras – needless to say we kept those on us the whole set. It was grand!
Hoagie: My funniest experience in Mongrel is one when I split my hand open with my snare and Jess called the whole crowd up on stage to see all the blood. The other is when my bass drum head broke and Jess’ brother taped it with duct tape and I was still able to play the rest of the set.
Jessica: Blue Mike falling down…. no I’m kidding. I fell backwards off stage and landed on my ass. I kept singing…Most memorable…Anders and the toilet paper
Adam: The toilet papering and bra/panties tossing from Anders (RIP) was always classic! One I thought was pretty funny was this all ages show we did at this basement punk club where Jess had on some jeans that were falling apart a bit so towards the end of the our set when I had a section I didn’t play on I hulk-hogan-ed half of her pants off. She was a bit in shock but dying laughing and played the rest of the set missing most of her pants. LOL.
What are some of your influences – musical and non musical?
Jessica: The previously mentioned bands… what drives me…The fans…my life. The feeling and the desire to share a piece of myself with the world.
Hoagie: The bands mentioned before and the feeling you get when you play live and the crowd participation is there. There is no feeling in the world like when you’re playing.
Blue: Video games, friends/family, and other bands.
Adam: All sorts of bands from local to national to international ones, social and political issues, and just life experiences – my own and those around me. Music is my therapy and how I deal with the frustrations of the world so my desire to express ideas, connect with an audience, and maybe help or inspire change in the world even if it’s only one person is influential in what I want to do with Mongrel.
You guys put on a great live show. I love the ‘No Gods/No Masters’ mantra. How did that start?
Adam: Thank you! That’s always what we strive to do! “No Gods, No Masters” was actually one of the first songs ever done with Mongrel back when it started. It’s at its core a self-empowerment anthem about not blindly following orders or dogma, about thinking for yourself, and standing up to those who wrongly tell you what to do or how to be. I think that’s one of the key messages in our songs and it really just became a great anthem for us. The swear-a-long chorus is just a great bonus for getting the crowd involved and participating as part of the cathartic release of a live show.
What shows do you have coming up soon?
Adam: You can catch us July 26th at Uncle Eddie’s in Salisbury MA, August 8th at Club Texas in Auburn ME, August 16th at the Palladium in Worcester MA with Powerman 5000, Hed(PE), and Eyes Set to Kill, September 13th at Mad Bob’s in Manchester NH, and October 8th at the Worcester Palladium with Butcher Babies.
Mongrel – aggressive rock/punk/metal