Mushroomhead have been at it for more than 16 years, and next year they'll release their seventh studio LP. So, when members Waylon and St1tch swung by Noisecreep's New York offices a few weeks back, we just has to ask the obvious question: What's been the key to the band's longevity?

"With us, it's always been about the fans," says St1tch. "Without them, we wouldn't be sitting here right now. Most bands trickle out because they put out a record, they get a lot of hype, a label puts a bunch of money into 'em, they have a hit song, then the label moves on to the next band. And then, that band never really did a lot of touring and a lot of underground building of their fan base. They just got a bunch of quick radio fans, and that trickles off because it's flavor of the week, and then it's the next thing in line.

"But we were touring before a major label ... we're touring after a major label. We still have a good core underground following. We still are fortunate enough to have kept a good enough fan base to still stay current with bands that are hot right now, like Killswitch Engage and Marilyn Manson, and all the bands that are still heavily touring. Our name has kept its quality, which is great and it's because we stayed true to ourselves. We never sold out and played the major label game. We do what we do."


Not too long ago, Mushroomhead were invited out by the Insane Clown Posse boys to play the annual Gathering of the Juggalos. It's the second time they've played for the ICP crowd, and it's a base of fans they're more than happy to tap into.

"The thing is, that they throw stuff, and -- wearing masks -- you get pelted by stuff you just don't see even coming," says Waylon. "And [ICP member] Shaggy was really cool the first time. He walked up, and he was like, 'Don't freak out' and I'm like, 'What do you mean?' He's like 'They like you.' 'Really?' 'Yeah. They'll do it even worse to us.' I'm like 'Cool!' They brought us back this year, and we played in front of a ton of kids. Like 13,000. At $150 a ticket ... those guys are some smart dudes. They're like the rap, circus version of Kiss."

It was the loyalty of the Juggalos that impressed Mushroomhead the most, especially St1tch. "ICP's love for their fans ... people forget, the kids are what put you there," he says. "And ICP hasn't forgotten that, and seeing them do that warmed my heart 'cause I was just like 'Wow.' If you treat your fans with that kind of respect, then they're there forever and they're never going anywhere, 'cause you were there for them when no one else was. Especially Juggalos man, 'cause they're family. You never see one by themselves."