1. Mongrel - a brief history and why the name - is there a hidden meaning?
Mongrel started in the summer of 2003 as my prior band was imploding. Our original singer (Matt "Death" Rowe) and I had been discussing starting a new project so when my old band (Shockwave) broke up, we started Mongrel. The name was Matt's suggestion as we were looking to have an aggressive edge but be able to bring together a mix of styles/genres, as mixed breed of influences if you will. When he brought up the name Mongrel, it just fit perfectly. Matt ended up leaving the band to pursue school 6 months later and gave his blessings to keep the name. We went through the typical revolving door of members for a while and did a couple of short run demos/eps. After a couple of years the line up stabilized for a while and we put out the "Fear, Lies & Propaganda" album in 2006 on our own (later picked up and re-released by Screaming Ferret Wreckords/ Locomotive Records in 2008) and the "Revenge" EP in late 2009. In 2010 we parted ways with our drummer and long-term singer in the spring and by summer had found our new drummer Dave Kazukiewicz and new singer Jessica Sierra. Having been a male fronted band since it's start, we wanted to quickly prove to everyone that bringing in a female singer was the right move and to do so we re-recorded 6 songs from our prior full length cd and released another EP "The New Breed of Old School" which was very well received and quickly laid to waste any concerns about Jess coming in as our new singer. By the end of 2010 we hit the studio again and began recording what would become our just released (May 2011) "Declamation" EP, and the companion full length album "Reclamation" (due out in July 2011).
2. Tell us about your own musical history - from you first musical purchase, through your inspirations to the way you are now - go for it?
I first decided I wanted to play guitar when I saw the videos for "Welcome to the Jungle" and "Sweet Child o' Mine" (Gn'R) and watching Slash I suddenly decided that was what I needed to do. I started off with a Sears Catalog electric guitar/amp combo package (it was pretty horrible but I didn't know any better just starting out), then moved on to a Kramer which was at least a "real" instrument and eventually got my first Les Paul a couple years later. For amps I've always used Peavey or Marshall (primarily Marshall's now) and I play Agile brand Les Paul copies (much cheaper than gibson/epiphones and they can really take a beating). I've always been drawn to the less is more approach as far as lead guitar work with a few exceptions (Slash, Mike McCready) with the thought that not every song needs a solo, and every solo should be something people will remember, not just an exercise in guitar masturbation....so guitarists like Cheetah Chrome, Steve Jones, Neil Young, Pete Townsend were influential in that regard. Seeing bands like Amen, The Bronx, NIN, Trashlight Vision, etc have all inspired me as a performer.
3. The best Mongrel song to date and what makes it so special?
That's a tough one for me, as the main songwriter in the band I'm a bit too close to the tunes to pick which is "best" - but "No Gods, No Masters" has always sort of been our anthem and was the first song I brought to the band at it's inception so I do have some bias towards it whether it's "best" or not may be another story. I think perhaps some of the songs on the upcoming full length album are contenders though.
4. Onion tasting wigs - is it a viable business enterprise or do you think the plasticene panties with oak wood gussets is the preferred option. Hey and just for the hell of it - would you prefer to live with a bisexual action man or a Bionic Man hermaphrodite - reasons why are essential!
I'm not so big on Whigs, especially those tasting of onions, it's just not a political party I can get behind at this point. Plastic panties is definitely the preferred option in that match up. I'll go with the bionic man as well, worst case scenario we can sell him for parts if we're having trouble making the rent.
5. The best and worst aspects of the local scene and the general scene as you see them. Drop some names. Tell us about some good joints and of course add a few good bands in?
The best parts are we've met some really cool bands who not only are cool people but play good tunes as well and it becomes a family type event when we play together. The worst parts are those bands who believe their own hype a bit too much and think their shit doesn't stink, honestly I don't have time for that kind of thing. The other negative around here at least is that the punk scene can be rather "purist" a lot of the time - so where as we're punk influences and attitude, we're not a pure punk band playing spirit of 77 to early 80's hardcore and we don't have mohawks and tons of spikes on our jackets so we sometimes have issues when we play more straight up "punk" shows in certain cities around here. The other main negative around here is the prevalence of clubs that only want cover bands, and the emphasis on mainstream, cookie cutter corporate radio rock. Some of the really cool bands who we love around here are: Midnight Saints (great punk/hardcore band from Vermont), Fifth Freedom (a really cool hard rock band in the Gn'R/Velvet Revolver sense from Maine), Mindset-X (Scars on Broadway/System of a Down meets Rush - sort of, from New Hampshire), Scarecrow Hill (Korn meets Killswitch Engage-ish rock/metal band from Massachusetts).
6. Heroes and zeroes in life and music please?
Heroes: Ian McKaye, Henry Rollins, Trent Reznor, Slash, Eddie Vedder, Jim Morrison, Casey Chaos, Acey Slade, The Bronx, Iggy Pop, early Marilyn Manson, people who stand up and try to make a change in a broken system and try to make a difference in the world.
Zeros: people who waste their talents with drugs/alcohol, people who have an over exaggerated sense of self-importance, George Bush, Dick Cheney,
7. What are your ambitions for the band and what are your ambitions in life and music dude?
My ambitions for the band is to see how far we can take things. We would like to be able to tour and do music full time and ditch the day job thing, regularly touring the UK and Europe is definitely something we're working for and hoping to do! I want to write songs I'm proud of, get them heard by the people that like the kind of music that we do, and tour !
8. Polythene flesh - would you have the operation and make your body see through. What hazards do you foresee and how would it interfere with your bodily functions?
I get kind of grossed out by internal medical stuff so I see my vomiting and passing out as hazards of such a thing.
9. Best and worst CD's in your collection and best books and worst you have read.
some of my favourite cds:
The Bronx - all 3 s/t albums
Trashlight Vision - Alibis and Ammunition
Amen - all
Nine Inch Nails - Pretty Hate Machine and Downward Spiral
Guns N' Roses - Appetite for Destruction
The Doors - In Concert
Pearl Jam - Ten
worst?? um... I do have a guilty pleasure of some 80's hair metal now and then
10. Tell us about the bands song writing process - from the embryonic stages to the finished article - what transpires in-between?
Historically, I'd typically bring a song in to practice anywhere from 85-100% done (lyrics and music), we'd jam on it, figure out if it needed other parts, I'd take it back home figure it out and we'd give it another shot. I'm interested to see the song writing process with the new line-up develop as I know Jess can write songs so I'm looking forward to having a co-conspirator in the process now. She's already contributed a chorus on one song on the upcoming full length, and a re-written bridge on "Houdini Act" from our EP "The New Breed of Old School". I definitely expect there to be a much more collaborative process on future material after our "Reclamation" full length album comes out this summer.
11. St Spongoid Sprocket the patron saint of bathroom plugs has come up with a theory that if one fills one fingers with mustard gravy and then plays the piano one can send musical vibes to the long dead body of Liberace. This can lead to contact and certain info regarding homosexual ants and life under logs. Give me three facts you think can be gained using this kind of communication. My head is throbbing at this point please help me.
I think this is the information gathering technique that led us into the war with Iraq, so I would presume we would learn that homosexual ants under logs do NOT really have weapons of mass destruction, are not involved in the 9-11 attacks, and that seeking to topple the reportedly oppressive ant regime will lead to a long and costly quagmire as we try and fail to win the hearts and minds of ants in the midst of a log pile.
12. Finally - the tattoo gun of promotion is free - Mr Music Mans flies are undone and his left testicle is swinging loose. You have the chance to imprint a message on the turkified skin - push your band dude and get the contact details on there too.
If you're not aware by now, I'm not sure why you've read this far but Mongrel is a female fronted punk-rock-metal band (think Misfits meets Gn'R meets Metallica). If you want to find us online the first place to go is www.MongrelBand.com is the main site and will get you to all our other social networking pages including http://www.facebook.com/mongrelofficial , www.myspace.com/mongrel , www.twitter.com/mongrelband , www.reverbnation.com/mongrelband , and www.youtube.com/adamMONGREL - our EP's "The New Breed of Old School" and "Declamation" are available on itunes, amazon, and cd copies are available on our main site or at http://mongrel.bandcamp.com
Thanks for all the support here at Fungal Punk!!