Interview with Mr. Modo (Drums) of Shotgun Facelift and Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: What is your name and what do you do in the band?
MM: My name is Mr. Modo, and I’m the drummer in the band.
PD: How would you describe yourself or your band as an artist?
MM: I’d describe myself as a multi-purpose drummer. I’m very high energy, but I know when to hold back and when to put it on. I also love to have fun on stage, though. So, I’m sort of animated behind the kit. Sometimes I might jump off my drum stool, bounce up behind the kit, all that. But, more than anything, I just love to play. As far as my style, the song will pretty much dictate whatever I play. I match whatever the track is telling me.
PD: Can you tell us briefly about your background – i.e. where you’re from, how you came to make music, etc.
MM: I’m originally from California, Santa Rosa to be precise. There’s lots of musicians to play with. I just started when I was young by watching MTV music videos, and I just mimicked what I saw. I’d use any utensils I could find. My dad finally gave in and decided I needed a drum set, and that’s where it all started. My mom wasn’t too supportive, but, after Dad bought the kit, that was the end of it. I learned a lot. I learned how to play the drums before I even had cymbals. When I was in junior high, I started just “borrowing” cymbals, bringing them back at the end of the weekend. Haha. But, it all worked out. And just over the years, I earned those callouses, then graduated to bigger and bigger kits. Started researching how to get sounds, what kind of heads to use, what kind of wood—now I rock with the big boys as far as investing the in the right percussion companies for me. I have progressive, rock, and funk and groove style. Kind of like if you crushed Paul Bostaph, Neil Pert and Chad Smith together, you’d come out the other side in my world.
PD: Who and what inspires you to make music, both in terms of musical and other influences? What do you like to write about in your songs?
MM: My bandmates inspire me to play music, period. Music in general inspires me to play music. That’s the reason I play music—it’s because music intoxicates me. I understand it on a technical level, but it’s also something deeper. I’m not sure if I have the right words to explain what I mean, but it comes from soul. Or, I understand it from that place. I’m an emotional drummer, rather than a pragmatic drummer, which is fairly rare for percussionists.
I like to write about pure emotion: anger, hate, sadness. Whatever makes you feel something. So, my goal is . . . after listening to something that I’ve created or something I’ve helped create, that it helped transport you somewhere. Took you to some place inside yourself, so you can escape, even if for a few minutes.
PD: What are your aspirations as an artist?
MM: I want to pick people up, I want them to get swept up in the song. To have the music transport them someplace. It’s more than just a showcase of music; it’s an experience of the mind and body. Music in its best form is an escape, and it can become a spiritual experience. Something an entire crowd transcends into together. A place where we’re all one, at least for a few minutes. But that’s what I want as an artist. That’s what I aspire to.
PD: What is the proudest moment in your music career so far?
MM: My proudest moment is playing with SHOTGUN FACELIFT—playing with these guys because they’re real musicians with real passions. They’re the most professional musicians I’ve ever worked with. So, doing this for about thirty years . . . somehow, it all finally seems worth it. When you have the secret sauce, you can’t f*** with it. You embrace it, you absorb it, and you do it, and you work it, and that’s how you get ahead. And somehow, it all seems to be coming together, and this release cycle, this moment in time, is just something I’m so so proud of.
PD: Promoting one’s music is such a challenge these days, especially with so many new artists emerging from bedrooms in the day of the home studio. How is that going?
MM: Well, thank God the music industry still includes humans, and we were lucky enough to find a bunch of cool ones over at ECLIPSE. They handle so much of the stuff for us so that we can focus on creating music. I really don’t know that I’d be able to do both. At least not with my heart in it. Something would have to give for me. I guess at my heart, I’m still a music business traditionalist. I like labels, I like going to the studio and making the music with my instrument, working with a producer to come together on a collective vision.
PD: And how do you book and promote your live shows and tours? Any performances coming up?
MM: Right now, we’re booking ourselves. We’re grinding out in the Midwest, which has been great. We play some bigger venues, and some smaller ones. But it’s all really grassroots—which is fun because we get to see it all grow from the bottom up. I do know we want to work with a booking agent going into next year. Because . . . While it’s all good and fun to book this s*** ourselves, we’d love nothing more than to pass that off to another member of the team and gives ourselves even more time to focus on the music.
As far as performances we have coming up, we’ve got something like 10-15 dates between now and the end of the year. Minot, Fargo, Bismarck, Rapid City, all over the Dakotas. Check out all our social media and our website for more and to keep in touch and keep in contact so you can come out and see us. We’d love to see all your smiling faces.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online? What about streaming sites like Spotify?
MM: I think they’re great, I think they’re awesome, but, I think they suck for artists for obvious reasons. They don’t pay us, period. The idea of having something instant and accessible is awesome, and I think the convenience allows a lot of people to listen obviously, so it is healthy in a way. But, we can’t understate the obvious. Music costs money to make. And food costs us money. Surviving costs money. And I really don’t want to sound callous, but it’s a cold hard truth. It’s harder and harder to make money in the music industry, and if we get squeezed anymore, we’re really not sure what the future of music would look like, let alone whether or not anyone would be able to do it anymore.
So, I don’t have the answers other than go to bands and buy as much of their s*** as you can. We really can’t say that enough. It isn’t lip service, every dollar you spend, it all counts and goes so much further than you could imagine. So, if you like what you hear, and you connect with it, please please please, come by and tell us about it, and pick up something to bring us home with you. Give us gas money, and adopt a local drummer. Haha.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
MM: There’s a lot, but I’m gonna go with Pantera’s CEMETERY GATES. It’s the most powerful song I’ve ever heard. The lyrics are perfect, the subject matter is something I’ve always wanted to talk about. The music itself is exactly what I would have done had I actually done that song. For me, it’s the perfect ballad. It’s my template. If I do something I’m really proud of. I’m always like, “But is it CEMETARY GATES??” Haha.
PD: Is there anything you don’t like about the music industry, which you would change if you could?
MM: I hate to beat a dead horse, but, to have artists be able to pay their bills. If they’re worth their salt, anyway. Somebody has to do this stuff, because we all need it. We all want it. We need catharsis. We need to connect to something bigger than ourselves, and for so many people, it’s music. I’m really sad to see it all come down to where performers can’t perform because they can’t afford to. It breaks my heart, not just for the artist, but for the industry, and for the people that don’t get to connect with that artist anymore. We all lose something, we all die in pieces inside when the music starts to fade away. So, without the musical outlet, we as a society will perish. We become mindless drones with no feelings, no self-worth or drive.
So, again, I don’t have the answers, but if I could change anything, it’d be Spotify’s payout rate. Something’s gotta give for the art to continue.
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
MM: New songs for another new album. BLOOD STAMPEDE drops in December but after that, we’re going right back into the writing room for the next round. And I gotta tell you, I don’t know what it is, but we just want this thing to get meaner and meaner. Something that Hell would reject. And when it comes to that, we know we can nail it, and onto the next brutal album.
PD: Where can we learn more about you and buy your music/merch online?
MM: You can find us on all the social media and digital music outlets. You can find our new single BURY ME on Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer, Pandora, YouTube, all that, anywhere you can think of. We post everything across all those mediums. We also have a website going up in the very near future, if it isn’t up already. It’s just www.shotgunfacelift.com. Everything we do will go up there, all the merch is being modeled and it’ll be up. We also have a Bandcamp where all the merch is available. Visit us on Facebook @shotgunfaceliftband and on snapchat and twitter @SGFLND and on Instagram @shotgunfaceliftband
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