Brian Posehn: I Don’t Have the Energy to Front a Band for ‘Grandpa Metal’ Tour
Comedian Brian Posehn recently dropped a metal record, dubbed Grandpa Metal, which he worked on with Anthrax's Scott Ian, Metalocalypse creator Brendon Small and Fall Out Boy's Joe Trohman.
As a guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio program, Posehn discussed the old days of metal, before everything was broken down into countless subgenres and it was all grouped under one more or less united banner of "heavy metal."
Elsewhere, he talked about his inspiration for blending comedy with metal, which dates back to the era of Scott Ian's side group Stormtrooper of Death, whose tongue-in-cheek record Speak English or Die merged the two worlds in 1985. Unfortunately, taking the album on the road for a proper full-band tour, doesn't seem all that likely, as Posehn explains in the chat below.
There's a lot of amazing guest performers on Grandpa Metal, which represents many different genres and generations of metal. What do you miss most about metal sort of describing an all-inclusive genre rather than this collection of different subgenres that we have now?
Oh, I don't know that I do. I grew up with traditional metal, but then I got into thrash so that was already dividing in the '80s. I also liked the other stuff that you weren't supposed to like if you like thrash, so I guess you're right — I liked it more when it was just all metal.
Especially now, because everyone is like, 'That's not metal enough,' or 'That's not the kind of metal I like.' I feel like we're always going to be the underdog even when we're fighting each other. Good metal is good metal.
Yes, for sure.
Humor was always an underlying facet of metal even though it was often subtle and less than obvious. Why is it important to re-establish that connection with Grandpa Metal?
My favorite stuff is when there is a crossover — when there's a combination of comedy and metal. I love it when metal is serious, but some of my favorite stuff growing up was Stormtroopers of Death. This [Speak English or Die] record is really inspired and Scott Ian is all over this record, but it's inspired by him.
Brian Posehn, "Grandpa Metal"
I was going to junior college, I had just gotten out and I was going to be a DJ and then I found that record and I thought that record was so funny. I remember putting that record on this reel that I did, going way back to that and [the band] Scatterbrain.
You’re right — a lot of metal is so serious but when you combine it with jokes it can be really great.
Collaboration was a key part of the songs on this new LP coming together. How much of that process was reminiscent of hanging out with your friends to discuss and debate your favorite bands?
Not a lot. All of the guest vocalists kicked ass, but they all recorded out of town. So, unfortunately, there wasn't like a big hangout for this, other than the people I wrote it with. So, Scott Ian and Brendon Small and myself and Joe Trohman, we hung out in a room together but everybody else kind of sent their things in. I asked Bumblefoot to be on the record in an email and then he sent me his recording the next day.
When Jill Janus from Huntress recorded, I wasn't here so I missed all the cool stuff like everybody recording and then I just got to hear it and go, 'Oh, this is going to be awesome — I've got this amazing record.'
The "Take On Me" cover is really great by the way and it was just cool to hear something with Jill's voice on it that I had not heard.
Brian Posehn, "Take on Me" (A-Ha Cover)
Right. And have you heard the other song "Goblin Love" yet? That's one I'm really proud of because she's hilarious on it. Again, I didn't get to be in the studio, but was talking to her before and knew that she would crush it. Then I had to re-record my vocals because she crushed it so hard that… I had kind of half-assed my goblin voice but she committed so hard to do in a goblin voice that I was like, 'I guess I gotta re-goblin my goblin.'
[laughs] I never heard of anyone having to do that.
She made me. She rose the bar in goblin voices.
Brian Posehn, "Goblin Love"
Grandpa Metal refers to an obstinate love of classic metal bands. What new or more recent bands are you currently listening to?
Well, the song is really about Scott Ian being "Grandpa Metal." I still like new things like Power Trip, Havok and He Is Legend. There are all those bands that have probably been bands for 10 years now, but at least the fact that I'm 53 and I'm aware of bands that are in their 20s and 30s says something because Scott is not — he probably has never heard of any of those bands I mentioned unless he's been on a festival with them and he wouldn't watch them because he hasn't liked any new music since 1992.
I've seen you in the pit at many shows. Fo you feel like you are never going to stop going to shows?
I know I'll never stop. I do the all-day festivals which are harder as you get older. You've got to stay hydrated — that's really important. You can't mix things. You might have to bring extra underwear sometimes as you get older if you're combining whiskey and that kind of thing.
I was at KnotFest once and it was so hot that I think they should have canceled the festival because. I brought this necklace fan like an old lady, but everyone wanted to borrow it.
The one that they do out in San Bernardino, right? Yeah. I'll never go out there again. I went to one 10 years ago and I almost died. I was in my 40s and I was like, "I'm too old to come out for an all day festival at San Bernardino."
Comedians and metal bands have been touring together pretty regularly over the last several years. How do you envision a form of Grandpa Metal that could be presented live onstage?
We did a version of it, on the Megadeath cruise where Scott went out and told stories and then I came out and told a bunch of jokes and brought him back up to do a couple of songs. We're talking about doing that kind of tour.
As far as going out with a full band and then the fact that I couldn't get all these guys to go out at once anyway, so it wouldn't be worth it. Like if I could go out with Brendon Small and Joe Trohman and Scott, Ian together as my band, I would do it. But that's not gonna really happen.
Back to my age, the idea just me running around the stage for an entire hour... I get exhausted just telling my fart jokes for an hour so the energy that it would take to be a frontman...
You've just done so much in terms of writing and acting — what has been the most favorite thing that you've done in your entire career?
Mr. Show of all of all things because I owe so many things to that. A couple of years ago for Netflix, [hosts] Bob and David [did an offshoot called W/Bob and David] that combined the experience of working with those guys and my sensibility. That show always represented what I thought was really funny. Before I wrote on it, I was a fan of those two guys and it's still the pinnacle for me of sketch comedy.
Thanks to Brian Posehn for the interview. Grab your copy of 'Grandpa Metal' here and follow the comedian on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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