Founded in 1993, in Cleveland, Ohio, Mushroomhead built a
large underground following due to their aggressively artistic sound,
highly theatrical stage show and peerless business savvy. Just how hard
the band hit is illustrated thusly:
"We played our first show on a Saturday,” says founder and drummer
Skinny. “Three days later, we got a call to play with GWAR at the Cleveland
Agora in front of 2,000 people, our second show ever!”
Mushroomhead quickly rocketed to regional prestige, opening for more
national acts (Marilyn Manson, Down, Type O Negative) and headlining
their own gigs. The reason for their ascendance was a singular, original,
aesthetic eight guys decked in matching jumpsuits and disturbing
over-the-head masks playing unbelievable, unsettling music. You see,
Mushroomhead's music unfolds like a waking dream. It is at once surreal and
vivid, intense and intelligent, and impossible to ignore.
Mushroomhead demands your attention, but is willing to work for it.
From 1995 to 1999, the staunchly DIY band released four independent albums
(1995’s Mushroomhead, 1996’s Superbuick, 1997’s Remix, and 1999’s M3)
via their own Filthy Hands Company imprint. They toured regionally in
support of each release, watching support swell with each run. Soon,
labels were calling.
In 2000, the band signed with Eclipse Records to release XX, a
compilation of tracks from the four prior albums, which sold a combined 50,000
units in the first four months. Based on these sales and robust
word-of-mouth, Universal Records picked up the band and re-released a re-mixed
version of XX. In short order, the band had lensed a video
(“Solitaire/Unraveling,” produced by Dean Karr) and were landing on film
soundtracks (The Scorpion King, XXX, Freddy vs. Jason, and the remake of The
Texas Chainsaw Massacre).
The album went on to sell 300,000 copies as the always-impassioned,
sometimes eerie soundscape that is Mushroomhead reached an apex. Since
1993, when the Cleveland-bred octet formed as a side project, no other
band was wearing masks and jumpsuits and purveying ultra-melodic,
ultra-dramatic music as influenced by Faith No More and Pink Floyd as it was by
hardcore, metal and even techno.
The band was an oasis in a sea of sameness and in XX, Mushroomhead's
years of hard work and hard music had come to a fearsome fruition.
Multiple tours of the US, Europe and Canada followed, highlighted by a
side stage run on Ozzfest 2002 (in both Europe and the USA). In 2003,
the group released XIII, on which the band’s austerely melodic metal was
more richly realized. XIII matched XX in sales as Mushroomhead
continued touring the world and watching their fan base, well, mushroom. But in
the midst of a subsequent tour, the band parted ways with Universal
Records and, shortly thereafter, vocalist J-Mann. Such changes would slow
a lesser band down… but this is Mushroomhead.
“We’re doing what we’ve always done,” says Skinny, “Which is going back
to square one.” He refers to the band’s DIY-from-day-one ethos
Mushroomhead is responsible for its own success. It was their sweat, their
enthusiasm, their talent, that made them what they are today: an
unmitigated force. Armed with new front man Waylon, whom Mushroomhead heard when
his band 3QuartersDead opened for them, the band is continuing its
“Kids are coming to shows,” says Skinny, “With their faces painted just
like him [Waylon wears a hummingbird scheme taken from the film “The
Cell”]. And we’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from everywhere
(especially out of Cleveland, where our most hardcore fans live). They say,
“He did a great job, he sounds just like [J-Mann] but he also has his
True to its cottage industry roots, Mushroomhead is wasting no time in
getting new product to its fans, producing art on its own terms. The
self-managed, self-contained band recently produced, directed, shot and
edited Volume 1, a DVD compilation of live performances, music videos
and behind-the-scenes footage due for release July 26 via Filthy Hands
with distribution via Lumberjack. A summer and fall tour with Dope will
follow, culminating in the release of Mushroomhead’s as-yet-untitled 6th
album. This, as they march on under the mantra: "New life, new blood,
back to square one" - adapting to the constant evolution that is
The band signed a new contract with Megaforce Records in December 2005.