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Brann Dailor of Mastodon Remembers Playing for Chicken Sandwiches

Years ago, Mastodon bassist Troy Sanders told a writer he slept on a cat hair-covered couch while enduring extreme humidity on tour. Today, Mastodon graces magazine covers regularly and is one of the most celebrated bands in metal. Clearly they have come a long way from that era, so we asked drummer Brann Dailor to recount some of his most memorable tour experiences from when his band was still hoofing it in the van.

You’re at the mercy of others. “I slept on cat pee couches, too. It’s interesting when you’re at the mercy of the 10 people who showed up to see you play. They take you home and find room for you on their floor. We used to look for couples–males and females–who were together, because you would have the chance that the house would have a woman’s touch. If it was an 18-year-old dude and his buddies, you know you’d be up ’til 5 AM, listening to Deicide and they’d be saying, ‘Did you hear that new Necrophagist?’ when all you really want to do is go to bed.”

The China Buffet: “Once we were in Binghamton and we played a China Buffet that was closed. The stage was where the buffet line would start. Behind us was a light box of the Hong Kong skyline, with 300-400 kids rocking out.”

Costumed moshers: “I remember one show with three or four guys dressed like gym teachers, with the tube socks with stripes. They were playing football while we played and the line of scrimmage was before the pedal boards. They were scoring touchdowns while we played. It was like, ‘What the…?’ But I loved it.”

The Bison Sports Bar: “We were set to play a show in Winnipeg. We couldn’t cross the border and they turned us away. It was our second tour and that Winnipeg gig was the only sold-out show, in advance. We knew it would be the best. Since it was one of our first basement-to-club shows, we were over the moon. [Guitarist] Brent [Hinds] tried to talk the talk to get us over and we tried laying it on thick, but it didn’t work. So we said, ‘Let’s play the first bar we see.’ We found the Bison Sports Bar and told our story to the owner, who said, ‘You can play for all the Budweiser you can drink and four chicken sandwiches.’ We had no PA, had to wait for a dart game to finish and one by one, everyone left. But we had the bar to ourselves and our chicken sandwiches.”

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