Sunday, May 12, 2013


Tomahawk are not your average supergroup. They are not the Audioslave, Them Crooked Vultures, Velvet Revolver type of supergroup. They are a collective group of musicians that happen to come from acclaimed bands like Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Helmet, The Jesus Lizard, and create experimental metal / prog / and very alternative rock and roll. Forming in 2000 with Mike Patton on vocals, Tomahawk took the attention of Tool and toured extensively with them and The Melvins. As the band ready to hit the road to support their latest effort, Oddfellows, which arrived earlier this year, we spoke to guitarist Duane Denison and bassist Trevor Dunn about their history, working with Patton, and touring. Take a look at our interview below:

Trevor, for you this is your first album with the band. What was it like being the new member or the odd fellow out, if you well – pun intended – in a group of guys who have played together for so long?

Trevor: It was like walking into the women's sauna by accident.  It was like being a substitute teacher in 1985 and having spit wads thrown against the scrim during the movie.  It was like bumping into an oak tree while texting an ex-girlfriend who owes me money.  It was like buying a VCR last week.  It was like Charles Ives' piece for two pianos tuned a quarter-tone apart.  It was like making a smoothing with cayenne pepper and cinnamon.  It was like trying to convince an Australian you don't have rats in your backyard.

How did the rest of the band welcome Trevor and how did it come that he would be a member of the band after Kevin’s departure?

Trevor: I was the obvious choice because I can play anything, anywhere under any condition with anyone under the influence of anything or not.  That may sound arrogant but I assure you it's just a matter of hygiene, awareness and honesty.  You can do it, too. The rest of the guys welcomed me with a surprise visit from my mom who made her famous blackberry pie.  The next day I had a fried egg sandwich. 

Being a band that is comprised of members from other bands, when you got together did you not go through some of the motions new bands have of how to write the music, come up with a style, etc., was it all discussed before getting together? 

Duane and Mike run this ship. They write the music and ultimately make the executive decisions about the "direction" of the band, which, from my perspective pretty much seems like "let's be a rock band.” Once we start rehearsing the music and shaping the songs each individual becomes responsible for nuancing his own parts all of which are disposable at any given point depending on what kind of mood someone else is in. 

Making this record it only took six days, is the blitzkrieg working environment your style?

Trevor: Apparently so.  Time is money, my friend, and I'm running out of both. Being a band that experiments with so many sounds and styles, you don’t fit into a genre. What do you categorize Tomahawk as?

Duane: I would call Tomahawk the current kings of hard pop. That, or the current dukes of art sleaze. Or the dykes of hazard. Hahaha....

Because Tomahawk is hard to classify, is that why the new record is called “Oddfellows?”

Duane: No, we called it "Oddfellows" in order to differentiate between ourselves and "The Fine Fresh Fellows".....or was it the "Fine Young Cannibals"??.....
This is your first record in almost six years, why the long gap?

Duane: We had to take a gap because I was in prison. I killed a man in a Laundromat for looking at my wife's underwear. They let me out to do the album and tour. I have to go back in 2014, so who knows, next time we talk I could be a Canadian citizen.

What was it like getting back into the studio with everyone and working on new material?

Duane: It was great being back together, actually. Our sessions had a good vibe, things moved along nicely, etc. Seriously, it felt like we were doing good work.
Being that it only took six days to make, how much pre-production went into the album?
 Duane: We rehearsed for a week prior to going into the studio. We did all the basic tracks and dubs in 6 days, but then the vocals and samples took another week, then it took another 2 weeks or so to mix. So in reality the album took about a month, as I recall.
After working on the record in Nashville, did the city inspire you in any way?
 Duane: I've been living in Nashville for 13 years now. There is some inspiration for me, at least. There's loads of great guitar players here to keep you on your toes, and the songwriting craft is serious business here as well. Then there's the shrimp and grits, bbq, moonshine, etc.

Who came up with the cover art?

Duane: The album art is by Chicago based comic artist Ivan Brunetti, who's awesome. I like the bright yellow "Curious George" feel, don't you?
Will fans have to wait another six years for a new record?

Duane: No, either there will be another right away or we'll never do another.....depends how the warden is feeling that year, I guess.

Where does Tomahawk go from here?

Duane: Tomahawk goes bad, nation wide! Cross continental! Intergalactic!  I'd be happy to go anywhere, really. Normal life can be so boring....but we'll see---if we do another album, it might be large-scale grandiose longer pieces, or it could be more stripped down short sharp shocked tunes, or both perhaps?