BILL KELLIHER: Why MASTODON Splits Songwriting Credits Equally
December 16, 2021
MASTODON guitarist Bill Kelliher spoke to the FM99 WNOR radio station about the fact that he and his bandmates decided from the beginning to split their songwriting credits equally between the four members of the group. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "In our band, when we first started, I remember when signing [a record deal]… We got a lawyer, and he wanted [to know], 'How do you wanna divvy all your publishing up?' And, 'Who writes what?' — music and stuff like that. And I thought about it long and hard, and I said everybody in the band has a job and everybody does something. It might not always be this person that writes every song, and I just think it'd be silly if it's, like, well, the guys that write the most get paid the most. 'Cause that's gonna be like a competition now in our band. So many bands break up over that. Bands that have one guy that does all the writing tend to kind of sound very similar on every song.
"I said, 'You know what? Just divvy everything up 25 percent [for each member],'" he revealed. "So, no matter what people do in the band… Everyone always has a job. And sometimes Troy [Sanders, bass/vocals] doesn't write that many riffs, but he writes lyrics. Brann [Dailor, drums/vocals] plays drums but he writes most of the lyrical content lately.
"I just didn't want it to be like a competition," Bill added. "And it's worked out well for us. Everybody writes and everybody contributes in their own ways. Back in the day, Troy drove the van 90 percent of the time. It's, like, well, how do you pay somebody more for that if they don't write the music and you have it in the contract where the guys that write the music get paid more. We're not that kind of band. We're a very fair and democratic kind of band. And that's what keeps us going."
Last month, MASTODON was announced as one of the "Best Metal Performance" nominees at the 64th annual Grammy Awards, which will be held on January 31, 2022, at the Crypto.com Arena (formerly the Staples Center) in Los Angeles, California. The progressive metallers were nominated for their song "Pushing The Tides", the first single from their latest album, "Hushed And Grim", which came out in October.
The follow-up to 2017's "Emperor Of Sand", "Hushed And Grim"was recorded at West End Sound, which is located inside of Ember City, the rehearsal facility that members of MASTODON manage in Atlanta. Helming the effort was Grammy-winning producer/mixer/engineer David Bottrill, who has previously worked with MUSE, DREAM THEATER and TOOL, among many others.
The "Hushed And Grim" artwork was created by longtime MASTODON collaborator Paul Romano, who also designed the sleeves for "Crack The Skye", "Blood Mountain", "Leviathan" and more.
"Emperor Of Sand" debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard 200. That LP was nominated for the 2018 Grammy Award for "Best Rock Album," and its opening track, "Sultan's Curse", won the Grammy Award for "Best Metal Performance."