The surviving members of the legendary Santa Barbara metal/punk rock hybrid SNOT— which disbanded in 1998 following the death of the group's lead singer, Lynn Strait — have reunited and are planning to hit the road next month. Mikey Doling (guitar),John "Tumor" Fahnestock (bass),Jamie Miller (drums) and Sonny Mayo (guitar) have enlisted former DIVINE HERESY vocalist Tommy Cummings (a.k.a. Tommy Vext) and have already booked two shows, with many more to follow during the coming months.
The first SNOT dates to be announced are as follows:
Aug. 23 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Club Vegas (Dusty's 3rd Annual Plan For Damage Show - 2 Stages Outdoor)
Sep. 12 - West Hollywood, CA @ House of Blues (tentative)
Lynn died in a car accident in December 1998, putting an end to a career that generated considerable promise but only one studio album, the 1997 Geffen Records release "Get Some". Also killed was the band's mascot Dobbs, Strait's dog who adorned the cover of SNOT's debut album. The band had been writing material for its sophomore CD and had completed 10 songs at the time of Strait's tragic passing. As a memorial to Strait, SNOT eventually decided to release those tracks, with lyrics and guest vocals provided by a host of stars from the alt-metal community. The resulting album, "Strait Up", was a fitting tribute from Strait's peers and friends, featuring members of LIMP BIZKIT, KORN, SLIPKNOT, SEVENDUST, (HED) P.E., COAL CHAMBER, SUGAR RAY, SYSTEM OF A DOWN, SOULFLY, and more.
On Saturday, July 12, Mikey Doling and Sonny Mayo spoke exclusively to BLABBERMOUTH.NET about their decision to reform SNOT and their plans for the future.
Q: Why did you guys decide to reform the band at this point? Did it have anything to do with the 10-year anniversary of Lynn's death or was it completely unrelated to that?
Mikey: "Well, a lot of things kind of came together. I had a band called INVITRO, we were on tour with SEVENDUST [which at the time featured Mayo on guitar], and we played Anaheim [on April 5, 2007], and all the SNOT guys showed up to the show. And we hadn't played together in 10 years. Before the show, we all looked at each other and said, 'Hey, you wanna do a song?' And the singer [Jeff Weber] of my band INVITRO knew one of our songs. So they jumped up on stage, took over the instruments with myself and Jeff, and we played 'Stoopid'. [See photos at this location. —Ed.] And it sounded great, and it felt good, man, to play with each other. You know, we're brothers — straight-up brothers. And that happened, and we were like, 'Cool.' We didn't think anything of it. I think it just kind of sat in the back of our minds after that — like, that was really fun to play together again. And, of course, it did start coming to the 10-year point, and out of respect for Lynn Strait, my best friend in the world, we just didn't play together for 10 years — we couldn't do it without our brother. But we started kind of talking about it — we all got free time. Sonny left SEVENDUST and INVITRO is taking a hiatus. And Jamie was in the mood to play drums again and Tumor was free, and we said, 'Hey, let's just throw a jam.' We just wanted to jam out, for fun, just to play with each other. And it sounded really good, and then we just said, 'Fuck it. Let's book a few shows.' As far as finding a vocalist, we were like, 'Well, who's gonna sing for these shows?' So we started trying guys out. We tried some really cool dudes out, and Tommy Vext became available, 'cause he left DIVINE HERESY, and he came out and jammed with us and, fuck, it just sounded so good and it was so fun, we decided to go ahead and go with it — in complete respect for our fallen brother, for our friend Lynn, 'cause I know there's gonna be a backlash about it; I know people are gonna be pissed off, and I understand that — I totally understand that — and God bless 'em for loving Lynn so much; we do too. But we really wanna play together, man. SNOT really got discovered after we were done. And that really meant nothing to us, 'cause first and foremost we miss Lynn more than anything in the world, but we wanna play again, we wanna play together, and we found a really cool dude to sing and help us out. He's not taking Lynn's place in any way. He's helping us out so the four of us can play together."
Q: You said you initially just wanted to play some shows. Once you are done playing these dates, will that be it or are you guys planning on fully reforming the band and writing new material and putting out a new album under the SNOT name?
Mikey: "You know what?! We wanna take it one day at a time and not really say what we're gonna do, 'cause we don't know. But at this point, we are gonna write songs, 'cause that's what we do together — we love to write music — and we're gonna tour. We're gonna play as many shows as we can this year and into next year as well. I would like to go out there and do a hundred shows if we could — do a full world tour. And at the end of it, I would like to probably sit down and do some recording and see where it takes us and possibly put a record out before next summer and maybe jump on all those festivals — who knows?! We know this is a really sticky thing. A lot of bands out there, like DROWNING POOL and all these guys, tried to do it. It just kind of sours the legacy and the name."
Q: Yeah, while I was doing some research before doing this interview, I came across an old quote that was attributed to you (Mikey),in fact, which stated something along the lines of, "We can't go on without Lynn. It's just bullshit when bands do that."
Mikey: "You know what?! It really is. I said that, and that was 10 fucking years ago. You know what I mean?! I've had 10 years to grow up, I've gotten older, and I've learned to live with Lynn being gone — it still hurts just like the day it happened — but now the pain has subsided just a hair; enough to where we can play again. And it is bullshit when bands do that, but I really think it's bullshit to do it right away. We mourned him for 10 years, bro. And we talk about him every single day — we miss that guy like it was yesterday. And we're gonna do full-blown tributes for him and we're gonna give shirts away, we're gonna donate money for animal rights, for Dobbs — we're gonna do it right, with full respect."
Q: Do you guys think that you will be able to write music, after taking a 10-year break from playing with each other, that will sound like SNOT and that will have any connection to the old sound?
Mikey: "Well, I'll tell you what. We wrote a song already; we wrote, actually, a couple, but we have one that we actually play. And it sounds like 'Absent' [the last known recording with Lynn Strait, recorded for Dee Snider's 'Strangeland' soundtrack]. It was 11 years ago when we wrote that, but we wrote this new song and it fucking sounds right there where SNOT was, man. We still do have that same chemistry, but there's no way that we're gonna sound like we used to without Lynn Strait, 'cause he was a big part of our sound. So, musically, it's still gonna be probably some funk in there and a lot of punk rock, and we'll see where it takes us. Tommy's a whole different animal than Lynn. But the one thing that's cool about Tommy Vext is that he understands SNOT. I met Tommy in New York City outside the Roseland Ballroom when he was a kid — in 1996 — and he came up and we signed autographs and took pictures with him. He used to come to all our shows — he was a fan, a long time ago. Then he moved on, of course, and made his own music career and it just seems right. He was close to Lynn — Lynn and him had pictures together, and every time they saw each other, Lynn really liked him. So it just makes sense to work with the guy and I think he's gonna bring a whole different vibe to us."
Sonny: "Yeah, man. I'll tell you what… When me and Mikey get together, something happens. This trippy balance occurs where I tend to be a really tight, staccato type of player, and Mikey's got this really open, really loose, wild, untamed kind of vibe to him, and when we come together, we have this trippy balance. And I don't think we can decide either way. What we do is what we do, and that's what came out on the first album. And that's what's gonna come out on the next one. That is, if we do it. Right now, we are writing, we have written stuff, and we don't know what the future holds. We're just happy to be alive still and be able to play music together and go out and share it with anybody who wants to hear it."
Q: What would you say to those people who think that it's perfectly fine for you guys to want to play together again but who think that you should go under a new band name and just play the SNOT songs as a tribute to Lynn?
Mikey: "You know what?! I totally agree with them, but if we're gonna go out with a whole new name, man — we've been doing this shit so long, we earned the right to be called SNOT, the four of us. I really feel like, it's gonna be different, but you know what?! There's still four dudes out there that are SNOT still around, man. We areSNOT — I named the band when I was a kid. We're just SNOT without Lynn, and he's still here. I'm gonna fight for that, and I wanna use the name, 'cause that is us. I'll tell you right now — we totally understand the backlash that's gonna happen. I'm sure when you put this out on the Blabbermouth post, we're gonna have all those comments, 'Fuck this shit! This is retarded.' And I totally undertand, and God bless 'em for having so much back-up for Lynn — I get it. When Tommy took the gig, man, when we said, 'Look, you've got the job,' he went, 'Look, man. Thank you so much, and I just wanna say out loud right now, this is [with] all due respect to Lynn Strait. If it wasn't for Lynn, I probably wouldn't be a vocalist.' And we were all like, 'Whoa…' It really took us back. We did pick the right dude, just 'cause he said that first thing."
Sonny: "There's a lot to be said about the situation and a lot to be speculated upon and all that stuff, and I fully expect all the skepticism to come our way. What I would say to somebody who says, 'Don't you think that's uncool?' or something like that. I don't, personally. I didn't say what Mikey said [about it being 'bullshit' when bands choose to carry on after a key member has died], but I understand where he was coming from at the time especially. Ten years ago, Lynn Strait died. Here's a man who's processing the death of his friend. And he's going, 'Hell no, we're not gonna go and replace Lynn Strait and keep on going' at that time. Ten years later, we're all grown men, and we're all like, 'I'm not doing anything right now.' Me and Mikey literally departed from our respective bands at the same time — like a week apart — and we've been friends since we met, for 13 years now. So we were like, 'Let's do this.' I don't know what the future holds, man. I never know what the future holds. Any time I think that something's gonna be a certain way, or I'm determined to make it a certain way, it either comes out to be better than I ever thought it was gonna be or it just doesn't happen the way that my mind thought it was gonna turn out. But inevitably, I you have the right attitude, everything will turn out better than you could imagine. Here's the deal: for anybody who wants to scoff, put this in your pipe and smoke it — we put a fucking record out, a tribute album to Lynn Strait. We poured our hearts and our souls out on tape in memory of our friend. And here's what I'll tell you too… I personally… If anybody thinks that we're somehow dishonoring Lynn Strait, that we're disgracing Lynn Strait, think about this: I held his ashes, his remains, in my bare hands and threw them out in the ocean, in the Pacific Ocean, with his mom and his sister, his family. I did that. I held his ashes in my hands. I rubbed them in my face, my heart and I let my friend go. And Dobbs. And I let them go out into the Pacific Ocean [to become] one with the Earth again. So you wanna tell me that I'm disgracing somebody? Think about that. So now, here I am, after that, 10 years later, I'm a musician, man — I make music, right?! So why would I not get back together with guys that I play well with and I love hanging out with, that I really get along with. Why would I not? Why are you doing it? Well, why wouldn't we do it?"
Q: I'm assuming that all the music that you guys wrote while Lynn was still around that didn't make it to the "Get Some" record was eventually included on the "Strait Up" CD with other singers contributing guest vocals. So everything that you guys do going forward will be brand new stuff, correct?
Mikey: Yes, absolutely. But the thing about the 'Strait Up' record that people don't understand… A lot of people think that was the songs that were gonna be on the second SNOT record, which is not true. Those were the first batch of tunes that we wrote in the rehearsal spot, and usually those songs don't even make it. We were gonna write, like, 30-40 songs. Those were like the first 10 ideas we had. When Lynn passed away, it was right in the beginning of writing, so we were like, 'Let's all keep that shit, and that's what we had with our bro, and do those songs on 'Strait Up',' but who knows where those songs would have ended up."
Bonus footage with interviews from the album "Strait Up", a tribute to James Lynn Strait, singer from SNOT:
SNOT's "Stoopid" video:
SNOT "reunion" in Anaheim, California - April 2007: