Interview: Steve “Skinny” Felton” talks Mushroomhead’s ‘A Wonderful Life’

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Much like the world we live in now, Mushroomhead has gone through many changes over the past year. With the departure of band members, a shuffling around of plans due to the ongoing state of the world, and a new album on the horizon it’s safe to say the band has a lot going on. Setting the stage for the next chapter in the band’s historic story, I had a chance to speak with founding member and drummer Steve “Skinny” Felton. With the anticipation for the release of A Wonderful Life  looming in the air we sat and discussed the band’s future and moving forward in a time of such uncertainty.

Clearing the elephant in the room we spoke of the difficulties the band has faced in releasing an album in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. Felton gave the example of trying to shoot a music video for the single “Seen It All” during these chaotic times saying, “We started filming as soon as the pandemic started in early March. A few band members were iffy doing video work together, so almost every bit of it if you really look at those edits, almost every single band member is shot by themselves.” Felton then went on to comment about the process as a whole saying, “It’s been challenging being creative with such a large group of people”.

Upon addressing the obvious we went on to talk about the new album a bit more and how it follows up on their previous release, The Righteous & The Butterfly. The album  received both critical and commercial success. It would be the band’s first album to reach the Billboard Top 200’s top 20, claiming the number 20 spot. It also reached the number 1 spot on the Billboard indie chart. When asked how they will follow up on this success Felton recalls, “That record was really cool to make. It was a little more scattered than this one. It was not as focused at all. It was actually a little more difficult to put together with so many people, that was the album we brought back J-Mann and basically introduced Jackie on, and it was just a pain to work with that many artists to make something that didn’t sound forced or contrived. That album was really challenging.” In contrast with those feelings, Felton says that the new album was “very easy to write. A lot of it kind of wrote itself. We did a lot of writing on the road because there was a ton of touring in between that five year span. Over the last two years we did a majority of the writing from December 2019 to January 2020. That was the whole span of writing that album and putting that together. We had a lot of downtime and did that on the road. We did a lot of the recording and writing on the road.” When it comes to the audience’s perception, Felton says he’s “anxious to see” how people receive the new album.

Felton also went on to compare the nem album to the band’s earlier record, XII. Felton explains, “In my eyes I’m really proud of the record. It came out great. We were really fortunate that our schedule worked out so it can be mixed by Matt Wallace. Matt mixed the XII album and still a lot of people think that’s one of the highlights of our careers. In a strange way, this new album A Wonderful Life reminds me of XII in a lot of ways”.

With so much coming up fans of music and Mushroomhead alike certainly have a lot to look forward to. Felton himself is very excited for the masses to listen to A Wonderful Life. When speaking on what the fans can anticipate, Felton says, “I really think on this album, there truly is something for everyone.  If you’re not a fan of the more brutal heavy stuff wait for the track to end because the next will be something different. Truly there’s something for everyone on this. A lot of potential for new fans, or those who’ve listened to Mushroomhead before who don’t know what it sounds like anymore. Let’s face it, this is the new Mushroomhead. No one knows what it sounds like. I’ve heard people say ‘have you heard the new Mushroomhead’ and I think it’s really cool to be able to say that 27 years into it. It’s not just the new album, it’s the new Mushroomhead”.

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