The Inevitable Fate of Pop Metal

I’d never thought of Mastodon as “pop metal,” but maybe they are.  Grantland has this look at their new album, Once More ‘Round the Sun, and the whole pop metal thing.

Back in March, about three months before the release of Mastodon’s latest album, Once More ’Round the Sun, I spoke on the phone for 20 minutes with the band’s drummer, Brann Dailor. In the traditional rock-band hierarchy, the drummer is typically the fourth, fifth, or sixth member (depending on whether your band is a quartet, quintet, or Arcade Fire) to do interviews. If the drummer talks to the media at all, it’s usually with local newspapers in secondary markets where tickets aren’t selling well. The reason for this is obvious: Unless you’re Don Henley, Neil Peart, Phil Collins, or the guy who sang “Sister Christian” in Night Ranger, the drummer is not considered the star or focal point of a rock group.

This is not true for Mastodon — Dailor is arguably the most recognizable person in the world’s greatest (though only semipopular) metal band.1 Dailor certainly stands out the most, due to his physical appearance (he’s the only member who doesn’t look like an actual mastodon) and instrumental prowess (he is currently rock’s most kinetic timekeeper). Dailor also occasionally sings and frequently contributes lyrics. But he and I didn’t talk about any of that. We instead talked about nothing for approximately 1,200 seconds.

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Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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