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Interview with Mudvayne

Mudvayne - Photo by: Lesa Pence“L.D. 50” is a pharmacological term which evaluates toxicity levels a particular drug or substance. Basically, it indicates the “Lethal Dosage” factor required to kill 50 out of 100 test subjects. It is also the title for Mudvayne’s Sony/Epic debut. Drummer Matt Mc Donough (“Spag”) explains, “It represents what the general public ingests; drugs, sex, religion… the media, technology… those things we use to enlighten ourselves or escape into, which can ultimately become destructive.” Mudvayne is a cumulation of highly complex, phenomenally talented individuals who incite growth through the execution of sound. Their message, while intoxicating, is not for everyone and they clearly delight in playing with peoples’ minds, doing so very effectively. Lead vocalist and masticator Chad Gray (“Kud”) offers on their music, “If it scares you, don’t buy it.” The following is categorized by topic, highlighting excerpts from conversations with Matt Mc Donough, prior to and during this summer’s Tattoo the Earth tour. Some content may offend certain people. So prefaced, if it disturbs you, don’t read it.

On “L.D. 50”:
“We saw the album as our token little drug. People can ingest it, take it in and grow from it. We adhered ourselves to the idea that our music and the things we as individuals seek to experience… and hopefully, positively, grow from… could potentially be destructive. There are some elements in what we do which could be thought of as dangerous, but you’ve got to be willing to take some risks and face your fears.”

On fears:
“Personally, I’m afraid of not changing; of not growing… of shutting myself down from my relationships with people or my environment. I’m afraid of losing my mental and/ or physical faculties. Things like that are frightening to me.”

Mudvayne - Photo by: Lesa PenceOn layering:
“When you attend a Mudvayne show, what you’re essentially seeing is the tip of an iceberg. The current underneath is what draws people in, as is the case with any art, and is not specific to music. In addition, when we play with larger bands, it’s our job to support them and the whole atmosphere appropriate for their crowds. ‘L.D. 50’ itself presents a much better picture of what our band is about. All of the interludes on the album are like dowels for construction; 3-dimensional architectures or organisms, really.”

On hiding:
“I’m a private person, generally. When I’m home, I’m very much in need of my own space. Being on tour is a complete freak out. Sometimes, I’ll crawl into my bunk, close the curtain and sit there… just to be in a space where I’m alone. I think it’s important to desensitize yourself in order to retain balance; to limit the amount of stimulus from the people around you. When I’m constantly surrounded, I don’t always know how best to handle it, so I regularly make a habit of getting lost.”

On positive vs. negative:
“It’s impossible to separate the two. There is no difference. It’s like the term, ‘non-violence.’ What the fuck is ‘non-violence’? Simply by making a statement [on it], is recognizing the fact that there IS violence, acknowledging a part of the whole circuitry that is violence.”

Mudvayne - Photo by: Lesa PenceOn the criminal mind:
“‘Nothing to Gein’ is about Ed Gein, the necrophiliac/ grave robber, and his life. At one point, Chad and I had read a lot of non-fiction literature and searched the Internet on some really dark topics… serial killers, grave robbers, necrophilia. That’s where the song stems from. What I find fascinating about Ed Gein is he’s become an almost fictional character. A lot of people in their everyday lives have an attitude where they tend to want to put a label or a formula on everything. Scientists, psychologists… priests and preachers… seem to have a need for an answer to every single question. The thing with Ed Gein is, I don’t think anyone could ever explain him. Society has to guard itself, and judge by the concerns and needs of the system at large. He, of course, had to be removed. Still, I think Ed Gein reminds us that we live in a very mysterious, ever-changing, moving, potential universe. As an artist, I don’t ever want to find myself where I am not willing to embrace the mystery or understand people like that – at least on some level.”

On responsibility:
“I don’t feel it’s an artist’s responsibility to be concerned with the impact they have on society. A lot of people might find that statement threatening, or even rude, but it’s an artist’s main responsibility to be honest. I will guarantee that I will always check my intentions in the work that I do. If my intentions are positive, then the outcome or the impact of the work can only follow suit. If I’m misinterpreted or misunderstood, I can’t be bothered by it. Trying to control the way people perceive you is ridiculous. It can’t be done.”

On Slipknot and ‘family values’:
“Slipknot is family. They take their relationships with people in general and with bands they get tight with very serious. They would do anything for you. Being new on the touring side of things as a musician, it’s made the transition much more comfortable; having an element of family on the road. It seems that is a commitment [Slipknot has] to their touring; to have bands around and to play with those who share the same sort of attitude and energy. Sevendust is that way. (hed)pe is that way. Hatebreed… Ultraspank… the list goes on.”

On separation anxiety:
“Shawn and the other members of Slipknot have been such a positive influence in my life, and for the band’s career as well, but there’s a part of me that’s hungry to branch out on my own. I love change, and I do want to take the next step. What I am looking forward to is a time I can stand by myself, away from it, and look back; for Mudvayne to reflect on what we’ve learned… not only through others, but within ourselves as individuals. Realization is very exciting. One clear positive is how people have responded to us so far. Kids are constantly coming up after our sets and asking about things. Through most of our touring this year, we haven’t had an album out and no one’s really known who the hell we are, aside from the fact we’ve opened for larger acts.”

Mudvayne - Photo by: Lesa PenceOn heavy music:
“Our band overall is complex, but one of the things we would like to bring forward is the message that there is a positive element in what we do, and hopefully people will be able to incorporate that into their vision of what a heavy band is about. Heavy music is a genuine, respectful form of artistic expression that does reflect the human experience; good, bad… happy, sad… angry… everything.”

For tour information, music direct from the band or general further dosage, visit http://www.mudvayne.com.

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