MTHDS to premier video and new EP Ship of Fools at Bluebird show
:: MTHDS ::
By P.J. Nutting
“We played in a battle of the bands pretty early on, maybe a couple of months in, and we beat out The Black Crowes. Which is dope,” said MTHDS’ MC L, also known as Lawrence Kerr.
What The Black Crowes were doing in a battle of the bands in Summit County in 2007, or why they lost to MTHDS, is really anyone’s guess. It’s more probable that MTHDS guitarist and drummer pair Johnny Schleper and Dustin “Durty” Dentz were bumming around Vail at that time when they pulled friends together to form the band’s current roster.
At about the time of the alleged battle, MTHDS’ original lead singer forced a dramatic lineup change by ditching a show. That lead to an MC fronting the band instead. It was a “forceful takeover,” as they described it to The Marquee recently over a noisy clusterfuck of a conference call.
These days for MTHDS there are plenty of mics to go around: Kerr and Nick “Dillz” Dillen share rhyme duties, while guitarist/songwriter Schleper provides backup vocals. “These guys took over on the mic and that’s how it all started,” Schleper said.
Adding the “12-piece orchestra,” utility percussionist/synth-wiz/strong mohawk, and the only member of the band who has not given himself a nickname, Neil Yukimura added a depth to MTHDS’ stylistic real estate, giving the band plenty of room to move around and experiment with many sounds and themes at once. “Neil’s all over it. He’s got a keyboard, he has his drum machine but ‘Durty’ won’t let him use it. He keeps it locked up in his house,” Kerr said.
While that may be the case some of the time, recently, MTHDS took all of their gear into Black In Bluhm Studio in the Park Hill area of Denver. The studio, run by Chris Fogal of the Denver band the Gamits, has recently hosted sessions with Denver staples Ghost Buffalo, Mighty 18 Wheeler, Jon Snodgrass, and Taun Taun.
The result of MTHDS time at Black In Bluhm was the EP Ship of Fools — the band’s third official release.
Ship of Fools features three new songs, a live remake of the track “Believe in You” off of their last album THE MTHDS, and three songs remixed by local DJs. Black In Bluhm’s feel of a “humble but professional” studio comes across on Ship Of Fools as a sincere effort by a slew of guys out for a good time.
And they plan to host that good time this month at their simultaneous CD release and video premiere party. The band will premier their video “Upper and Downers,” a track off of their album THE MTHDS, and then play a full set, including the new tracks from the EP.
“We were debating over having a prestigious light engineer at our Bluebird show, but then we thought that people don’t really take drugs to come see the MTHDS,” Dillen said over general laughter. Haggling over prices and the questionable necessity of rave lights led to a loss of interest in the idea, but the band members go on to make a valid point about crossing genre expectations: “Why can’t a reggae/hip-hop show have crunchy headspace lights, too” Kerr said.
Schleper said that, lighting aside, he wishes there was more collaboration between Denver bands, particularly some of the ones who’ve broken out. “I just think it’s weird that The Fray, The Flobots and 3OH!3 have hit it big, and they don’t really reach out to each other and collaborate. There are other bands killing it, and we’re in this city that’s in the middle of nowhere and there’s a lot of great music that comes out of here with unique shit that no one’s heard. Pretty much every single category of music exists here, and someone in each is doing well. It’s an awesome place, but it deserves a SXSW scene. There’s so much shit going on,” Schleper said.
Shortly after their release show, MTHDS will leave town for a fall tour along the West Coast with Sunspot Jonz of the Living Legends, then later with Collie Buddz and the New Kingston Band. They have already shared the stage with such diverse acts as The Roots, Eek-a-Mouse, Ludacris, Rusko, The Supervillains, and Savoy, and headlined gigs for regional winter sports events like the Honda Sessions and the Winter Dew Tour.
With a sound that strikes differently with each song, the band strives for “party anthems with choruses you can sing along to” in styles that can range from G. Love acoustic ballads to NOFX thrash outs, transforming suddenly into MC soliloquies that complete the circle of input among the members.
“The rap-rock shit always ends up being extra hard,” Kerr said. “I think we have sort of a more mellow approach to that genre. There’s more of a classic rock approach, just a more straightforward rock than hard rock or soft metal or whatever you want to call it.”
Dillen continued, adding, “I think one of our biggest flaws is that no two songs of ours sound much alike. When you’re in a strict genre, it’s marketed to the rest of the people that are already interested in that genre. I think the closest demographic that we have are these 311/Sublime/Slightly Stoopid type of bands, but I really don’t hear much similarity between them and us,” Dillen said.
:: MTHDS ::
:: Bluebird Theater :: November 5 ::
Recommended if you Like:
• Slightly Stoopid
• Collie Buddz