'One Band, One Army, One Sound'
Since the release of Mower's blistering, intentionally assaulting self-titled debut in 2003, the San Diego based powerhouse some call California's hardest working band has shot up to the rock and metal big leagues, touring and opening for icons like Metallica, Deftones, Linkin Park, P.O.D., Staind, Soulfly, Papa Roach, Slayer and Disturbed.
Fresh from a recent 40-date fall tour with Suburban Noize labelmates and counterculture icons Kottonmouth Kings, Mower continues its all-out, attitude-driven advance ransacking your senses with a wild and wickedly eclectic new album that the San Diego based rockers' fans will love but is definitely Not For You.
While Mowerówhose members include Dominic Moscatello and fellow lead singer Brian Sheerin, guitarist Matt Wannamaker, bassist Chris McCredie and the band's original drummer, back for another round, Ryan Tothóself-produced its debut album, this time they gave the reins to Mikey Doling, former guitarist for the bands Snot and Soulfly.
Chatting recently with both co-lead vocalists Brian Sheerin and Dominic Moscatello, and mentioning that their press states about them that they are quite possibly one of Cali's hardest working bands, I first wondered what they were doing differently to all those other bands that are trying to succeed in the same genre? Sheerin - "That probably came from our reputation in the San Diego music scene as relentless promoters. We have always made a point of being present as new bands play to see what’s emerging in music, and we always come armed with information about what we’ve got going on next. We also took the flyer thing to new levels in our town, wallpapering every telephone pole, wall and window in a twenty-mile radius. It got pretty ridiculous. At one point we were receiving letters from the police to cool it, but it got us noticed."
It's also been noted, by Dominic himself that this new album is a 'little lounge' in its styling! A joke ... or perhaps there really is an undercurrent of such a genre lurking there if we listen closely?! Sheerin - "Our core fans recognize that “L.A. Riot” is a lounge version of “Long Awaited Riot” from our first CD. The newer fans and members of the press aren’t all hip to that yet. We were all down to put a twist on something we had played countless times on tour, and it fit the eclectic style of the CD, so there it is. Good music is good music, it doesn’t always need to be deafening."
For the Average Joe who may not have heard of you and was thinking of buying the new CD, how would you yourself describe your sound? Sheerin - "Mower’s sound is rock n’ roll. We play hard rock, whisky, punk, metal. Some of the lyrics’ meanings are obvious; some of them take a little more time to unravel for people. All of it comes from a strong source of energy. We all love intense bands and we’re doing our best to channel that for our fans."
Your album title 'Not For You' is an interesting choice, but perhaps it originates from a more personal standpoint for you? Sheerin - "'Not For You' comes from an internal decision to make good music, period. We didn’t concern ourselves with what was going on in music these days; we didn’t focus on what was marketable or trendy. We basically shared the sentiment. I like Slayer, I like Snot, Jane’s Addiction, NOFX, Helmet and more and none of those guys sound alike. We played what we felt rocked and we think it will translate for other people as well.
Moscatello: We don’t play one specific type of music."
If there was one track on this new album that truly encapsulated Mower at their musical and lyrical finest, which one would it be? Sheerin - "'Not For You' needs to be listened to as a whole. If you only hear track one, you could easily form a totally different opinion of the band than if you heard track four or ten, etc. We do a lot of styles of music, so it’s a tricky question regarding this CD."
Moscatello - "This question a really good one, I don’t think there is one answer."
So, just where did the bands name originate and what other choices were also on the table at that time? Sheerin - "I was looking for a name that expressed a powerful force, like one army slaying another, and something that cleared away the old and made a path for the new, like the old farm workers and their sickles. The name, like every other band name out there, stuck."
So, what's the deal with Ryan Toth coming back into the fold after all this time? Moscatello - "When Ryan originally left the band he was 16 years old. We had several difficulties getting him into shows and dealing with his school schedule, so he decided that it would be in the best interest of the band to move on."
Sheerin - "We ultimately had to let Ryan focus on his schooling and that turned out to be the best decision."
Moscatello - "As luck would have it, the timing was right this time to work together again."
Sheerin - "We’re very happy to have Ryan back with us."
Mower's musical passion is undoubted, but how hard is it to exist in such a limiting creative environment where demographic research drives playlists and corporate-run radio dictates what listeners hear? Moscatello - "It’s harder to reach the listener these days than to grab their attention once they’re aware of us. We believe that good music will always be received well, no matter what. It will be nice to have the platform to reach mass audiences, however that fact will never stop our existence."
Your songs encourage the listeners to read between the lines and think for themselves in a positive way. Please give us one prime example of a so-called 'hidden' message that they might find within the lyrics of one of your new songs Sheerin - "Our lyrics aren’t all that cryptic. Offhand, “Undone” is a punk track that blows by so fast that someone might miss what’s being said. To some it up, it looks at how perfect the laws of nature seem to flow compared to the laws man creates in society. So many laws seem designed for profit and control, rather than the will of the people."
Finally, with Mower having been created in the late 90s, where can they go from here? What is expected to happen next? Sheerin - "I think it might be better to say Mower was created a long time before we ever met each other. We all share a vision of what’s important in a band. We may differ on points here and there, but we all understand how powerful songs can be and how one concert can change someone’s life. It’s something we’re all proud to be doing, and we’d like to invite more people to be a part of our scene."
Moscatello - "Mower has nowhere to go but up. We have worked very hard and survived many tragedies. Our music will continue to grow along with us and as long as we can use our instruments we will continue to entertain audiences, no matter what size."
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of Mower's brand new CD, just answer this easy question: With regard the new album it launches with 'American Psycho,' the brutal take on who's novel?!
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great new AUTOGRAPHED CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before May 31s with your answer and the subject title 'MOWER SIGNED CDs' to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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