Adam's song‚ "Pockets" -- super catchy‚ totally fun‚ really dark. When he comes to you guys with the song and plays it for the first time‚ are you like‚ "Hey bud‚ want to hug it out?" What's it like hearing a darker type song the first time from one of your band mates?
Nah‚ for me‚ I was kind of like‚ I like the lyrics‚ I like the flow of it‚ the momentum of it‚ I like the lopes that it would fall into. When we finally found the right tempo for it‚ it really kind of just settled in. Shit‚ I've got a song about hacking somebody to pieces and feeding them to animals…
How'd that go over?
Fans love it‚ they flip out‚ they're into it. They dig it‚ they go crazy. I don't think there was any crazy reaction. For me it was like‚ it's a great song that's in a cool place and we don't have a song like this. You know‚ that's great. It's really nice when a song comes in that fits‚ that lives in its own neighborhood. You're like‚ "Wow‚ that's a pretty cool place for that song to be living."
For me too‚ first listening is one thing‚ when he's sitting around and he's showing it to you‚ that's one thing. But the song needs to have its own life and you need to play it on the road for… shit‚ a year? Couple years? You know‚ it's amazing how things change over time. For me‚ I just like that song‚ the way I can attack my mandolin and the way that Ben and I can interact as far as rhythm goes.
I take it from banter between songs that you're a big fan of Metalocalypse?
Huge fan of Metalocalypse.
I was wondering how closely you guys can relate to Dethklok?
Is Bluegrass more or less brutal than Death Metal?
I think it can be equally as brutal. The thing is -- it's a tempo thing. It's really a tempo thing. It's taking your finger and jabbing it in the bullet hole of somebody's movement. There's a certain thing that happens when you play at certain tempos. When we pick the tempo up‚ more than likely you'll look out and you'll see people getting into little skirmishes and little fights‚ you know? [laughter]
No‚ I'm serious‚ if there's a night where -- Columbus‚ OH is notorious for it. There's been fights every year for the last 3 or 4 years that we've played at this place. 2000 people packed into this room and it's just notorious for it. It just happens‚ I don't know what it is. Too much testosterone‚ like‚ it's girl fights‚ it's guy fights‚ it's group fights‚ it's this fight‚ it's that fight. We'll actually tailor it where we'll go‚ "Hey‚ let's play this next one a little faster and see what happens" or "Hey‚ I think we need to give them a break‚ let's play something in a major key that's a little slower." And we really‚ you can feel it‚ you can see it‚ it's one of those kind of things. But‚ you know‚ I don't think there's much of a separation. It's a speed thing; it really is a speed thing‚ and not the drug speed‚ the tempo speed. It just affects people in a certain way.
I think we can be pretty brutal. Even though we're singing songs about birds‚ and pigs in pens‚ and all sorts of crazy things‚ but you know‚ it's that tempo -- they live in the same neighborhood and they touch on the same events. Like I said‚ you know‚ we do a song called "Death Trip‚" it's pretty apparent what it's about. We do a song "Follow Me Down to the Riverside‚" like I said‚ at one point I'm asking the woman why she cheated on me and then I'm stringing her up by her feet and dismembering her and feeding her to pigs and dogs. And other tunes where‚ just open sessions of love and loss‚ and stuff like that. We do "Pretty Daughter" by the Bad Livers‚ "Took a pick axe to him‚ laid him right on down." You know‚ that's some brutal shit. That's some brutal shit right there. That ain't fucking kids play. That ain't come on down to the picnic let's all hang out -- I might pick axe you to death!
[laughing] That's great. You're headed out on tour -- do you have any pre-tour rituals or like must-haves on the tour bus?
I like chicken noodle soup on the tour bus‚ because chicken broth is really good for you're at all times. And grapefruits. I'm on a pretty good strict little diet. Grapefruit in the morning‚ supplement shake in the afternoon‚ and protein and a pile of seared greens for dinner‚ that's my routine. That really keeps me moving in a good way and like I said‚ losing all this weight and training and running and weight-lifting‚ all that stuff‚ it's good for me to have good‚ healthy stuff around. I like limeade. I'm a big limeade fan. I like Odwalla limeade. As much of that as we can have on the bus. Before tour lately‚ it's just been doing as many training sessions as I can‚ so that my mind and my body are ready to go. Spending a lot of time at home‚ cooking for myself‚ cooking every meal of every day. Yesterday I rolled out pasta and made hand-cut tagliatelle with a little sausage I made. I'm a cookin' freak. I'm a huge fan. And shucking oysters‚ and hanging out at the house and controlling -- the things you miss‚ I think any musician would say the trifecta of things you miss when you're on the road is your bed‚ your bathroom‚ and your kitchen. Not in that order. Before I go on tour now‚ I try to make sure that I'm in level as a place as I can be. Open‚ centered‚ prepared‚ accepting‚ healthy‚ as strong as I can be. And then when I get on the road‚ especially if I'm doing 4-5 training sessions in a week‚ I'm ready to go. I don't break the routine. I get out on the road‚ I go right back in the gym‚ I'm running before shows‚ and stuff like that.
Yeah‚ it's a whole new era. It ain't fried chicken and cocaine anymore. [laughing] It's hitting the gym‚ and having a little bit of protein‚ and a nice little steak before a show. And it sounds hippie-ish -- greens with no oil‚ please. But it's true. There's no going back‚ I really like where I am. So‚ those are my preshow rituals. Spending as much time with my dog and my cat as possible too.
How do you feel when you get back from the road?
Better than it used to. I used to be pretty beat up and it would take about a week to recover. What I do is I try to come home‚ I take one day off for myself‚ and I get right back in the gym‚ and hit my trainer up and reset everything. And get as healthy as I can again. And eating right‚ and having fun. You know‚ it's not like you gotta sequester yourself‚ but having fun -- just‚ it's moderation. It's this amazing word I learned about a year ago‚ it's a pretty cool thing -- I think they just invented it‚ because I hadn't heard of it before then. So‚ when I get home… in truth‚ a lot of baths. I'm a bath junkie. I take a bath every single day. Two a day sometimes for the first week I'm home. I just soak and let the muscles come back. And take some time off from the mandolin‚ let my nails grow back‚ because I wear my nails down pretty good. I let my fingers and hands heal a little bit and do different work with them‚ like in the gym and stuff with them like that. That's what I do when I get home. And I do the same thing‚ get to bed early‚ go to sleep‚ try to break the cycle of being up until 3 in the morning every day. Get home‚ and if I'm tired at 9 o'clock‚ I go to bed. If I'm tired. If I'm not tired‚ about 10 o'clock‚ I crawl into bed anyway‚ and watch cartoons and get tired.
When do you start planning the first meal you'll have when you get home? Do you already know?
Yeah‚ pretty much. My return meal is always a grilled rib eye‚ with a pile of greens -- either kale or chard or spinach. I'll buy a whole giant bunch of spinach‚ hit that in a pan‚ spill oil‚ just sear it off real quick‚ salt‚ pepper‚ little vinegar‚ and crusty steak‚ medium-rare‚ perfectly cooked‚ that's it. That's usually where I'm at. Sometimes that might change‚ more than likely it does not. Maybe an oyster or two‚ maybe half a dozen little oysters.