Witch, Please

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You folks in the metal-know might’ve heard of a little band called Skeletonwitch out of Athens, Ohio. And chances are, if you’ve seen a metal tour in the past four years, you’ve seen them blow up on stage, inciting madness and mayhem in metal fans the world over. Their latest, “Breathing the Fire,” was met with acclaim and landed a spot on the Billboard charts. And, as would befit a group of excellent metal players, they happen to be excellent metal dudes. In my fifth overall interview with the band, I stood outside the Rock in Tucson, Arizona with guitarist Scott Hedrick, with cameo appearances from brothers Nate and Chance Garnett, as well as Derrick “Mullet Chad” Nau, who explains what it really means to be crushed beyond dust.

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You shouldn’t be considering going into the studio for a while though, right?

SH: I’m glad you said that. You’re the first person to ask anything like, “where’s the new material?” I’m like, “damn, the album’s not even been out a year yet! We got touring to do!” Plus it’s hard to write on the road and stuff, but we’ll figure it out.

Is there any chance that material from ‘At One With the Shadows’ will come back to a tour setlist, or is that stuff just put in the bin?

SH: No, there is a chance. And we’ve recently been talking about…Mullet Chad, our drummer, has now joined the interview.

Hi, Mullet Chad.

Mullet Chad: Hey.

SH: Hey, that’s my beer!

MC: That’s weird. I thought you left it somewhere.

SH: Yeah, I left it in the green room, and I went back to find it and it was gone.

And now it’s strangely in Chad’s hand.

SH: I did a clean sweep last night and lost my beer and my toothbrush. I seriously don’t have a toothbrush or any deodorant anymore from the House of Blues in Los Angeles. And so was my Tecate!

MC: I was gonna crush this beyond dust, but you can just have it.

SH: Let’s drink it. Open it up and we’ll both drink it.

MC: It’s hot as shit! I don’t wanna drink it.

SH: I’ll drink it.

MC: I was gonna open it and drop it on the ground.

You’re gonna pour one out for your homies?

SH: (to Mullet Chad) I’ll explain it and you do the voice.

You guys have a shitload of rituals, so it’s okay.

SH: The last tour we did…well, we’re always doing dumb shit, and the newest thing was, I was coming out of this gas station after paying for the gas, and I had a box of Wheat Thins or something on the dash that were mine, and I walked out of the gas station and Nate was like, ‘hey Scotty!’ And I look over and Mullet Chad just puts them in front of the tire of the van and Nate just runs them over. And Mullet Chad yells…

MC: Crushed beyond duuuuust!

SH: And so the rest of that tour we just destroyed each other’s shit and we’d always yell…

MC: Crushed beyond duuuuust! But the rule is you have to replace whatever it is you crush beyond dust.

SH: Mullet Chad had some Moons Over My Hammy from Denny’s and one of our road dogs just blasted it out of his hands and it went all over the place. He couldn’t eat it. He was so pissed. And then what did he yell at you?

MC: Crushed beyond duuuuust!

SH: So, no one’s crushed anything beyond dust on this tour though.

MC: Not yet. (places the Tecate on the ground, then proceeds to crush it beyond dust) Crushed beyond duuuuust!

SH: Oh man, Mullet Chad just fuckin’ soaked me with fuckin’ piss warm Tecate.


SH: To answer your question, we have been talking about reissuing or re-releasing At One With the Shadows, because we actually get a lot of people emailing and Facebooking and Myspacing about it, y’know, it’s not on iTunes and it’s out of print. So at some point we’d like to get it back out there because there’s some material there that we really like. It definitely shows us as a younger band finding our sound, but we’re okay with that because that’s part of the development. And the recording quality’s not as good because we had no money and no time, and it is what it is, but we don’t want to change that. So, if some of that stuff does see the light of day, we’ll definitely bust those ones out on tour too, because it’s fun to play older stuff like that. Y’know, we played those songs so many times to nobody! It’d be really fun to do a tour where people actually show up and we bust out some songs like that, so it’s definitely not out of the realm of possibilities.

You seem to have a recurring dude that’s on all of your albums. Does he have a name?

SH: We usually just refer to him as Skeleton Mitch. Whatever we do for the next record, Skeleton Mitch’ll probably be on there.

So he’s more or less your mascot?

SH: I think so. He’s been on At One With the Shadows, Beyond the Permafrost, and Breathing the Fire.

And Worship the Witch.

SH: Yeah, and the Worship the Witch EP. Yeah, he gets a different look each time. I don’t think we’re gonna catapult him into the future like Iron Maiden does with Eddie. He’ll never be in a spaceship. And I don’t think we’re going to date him either, y’know, put him in like [American] civil war clothes. But I think it’s a safe bet that Skeleton Mitch will be represented throughout and I like that idea of having him around. He’s a good guy.

You guys recorded a video for the new album for “Repulsive Salvation”. Who directed it?

SH: Dave Brodsky directed it. He also did the “Apocalyptic Havoc” from the newest Goatwhore release. He’s done a bunch of stuff. We shot it in Brooklyn, New York before we started the Children of Bodom tour. It was a simple, straightforward performance video. We didn’t have some high-fallutin’ concept.

What was the location?

SH: The location was a bar called Lucky 13.

Very metal bar.

SH: Yeah, it’s killer! It’s also very small. We didn’t realize that when we got there, and we almost couldn’t fit all our gear in there to do the shoot. But we made it work.

You guys considering doing another video single for the album?

SH: We thought that was going to be it, but it turns out we may be doing another one. May happen, may not, we don’t know yet. But keep an eye out, because there’s a very real possibility we may be doing another one. We’re not sure if we have the time, the budget, and what song we want to do and put it all together in between this tour and Ozzfest and in late August we’re probably going to go back to Europe. But if we can fit it in, then we may actually do another one.

What’s the best thing that’s happened to Skeletonwitch since 2007, when I first interviewed you guys, to now?

SH: Wow. There’s been a lot of good opportunities and a lot of great tours, but it’s hard to peg down to a single thing. Y’know what, I’m gonna ask Nate. Hey Nate, what’s the best thing that’s happened to Skeletonwitch since Kris first interviewed us to now?

Chance Garnett: Loosh!

Nate Garnett: Yeah, Loosh.

SH: Yeah, Evan [Linger], our bass player. That’s definitely it.

That’s the answer?

SH: That is the answer, to have a killer bass player who’s also a really great guy and one of our buddies on tour, absolutely solidifying the lineup. Hands down.

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  1. Commented by: Jodi

    Really good read. I recently saw these guys for the first time (that I remember) and they totally blew me away.

  2. Commented by: Facial La Fleur

    Really good interview… and fun too. Far too many interviews are uninteresting Q&A sessions where neither party really wants to be doing it. But not this.

  3. Commented by: Staylow

    Great interview. I love these guys, they seem so down to earth and easy going. And of course, they love to party which means they’re my kind of people.

  4. Commented by: Storm King

    Pretty decent interview, and then Mullet Chad shows up and it turns to sheer GOLD. These guys sound like they know how to have fun.

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