It’s great to see Tomahawk reforming and back on an Aussie Tour list. How did that reformation come about?
I don’t really know as this is my first stint in the band. Basically a bunch of time had passed and I think Dwayne had a bunch of ideas to write new music, then he and (Mike) Patton talked, needed a bass player so they contacted me and it went from there.
Given the amount of time you've been involved in bands with both Mike and Dwayne, You would have been an easy selection I bet?
Yeah well I’ve been playing music with Mike for almost 30 years. I’ve also met Dwayne a few times and he and I had talked about playing music together over the years. I guess without sounding arrogant (chuckles) I was the obvious choice for those guys. I am a professional musician and I’ve worked with a lot of different bands so they knew I would be able to do the job and be easy to get along with, which is kind of key in a rock band!
I guess the main concern with me for them was that I might get bored as a lot of the music isn’t as convoluted and esoteric as a lot of the stuff I play but I actually really love just laying down a nice rock bass line and not having to worry about it!
As a whole, how was the transition been from Mr Bungle and Fantomas to Tomahawk?
It’s funny, I guess I have a reputation for not wanting to talk about the other band (Mr Bungle) so I am glad you asked. It’s been 13 years since that band has existed so ultimately there really is no transition at all, and Fantomas in fact hasn’t done anything in 6 or 7 years so its been easy.
In fact Patton and I have worked in the past few years on projects with John Zorn, one is a band called Moonchild that is all Zorn’s compositions, a drummer, myself and Mike, so he and I have always been playing music together and ultimately it’s never felt like any transition, it’s just another band.
We just did our first tour in the States, did a week in the South and there was a moment on stage where (Mike) Patton looked at me, giving me this kind of knowing look. I knew what it meant straight away and afterward we talked about how funny it was that we’re still doing this and still playing in fucken bands together - and making it work! He and I are basically like brothers but we only see each other a few times a year.
No. The writing process is all done between Mike and Dwayne. John and I sort of add our two cents as instrumentalists but we’re not really involved with the actual writing process.
I was in Nashville recording for a while and actually went down and helped Dwayne mix a few months ago and that’s the extent of my involvement besides playing the instruments.
Are there any strange routines or habits that make the recording process fun?
Umm… Unfortunately no (laughs).
It’s a very – especially at this age and after as many records as I am involved in – it’s a very professional endeavor. I go in there with a job to do and just try to do the best I can. Its a lot of fun, I get to play different basses, different amps and go for different sounds, but I have to stay focused so I am not doing anything strange and not really partying… (laughs)…much…
At the end of the day my ears are fried and I just wanna go to sleep (laughs again)
That’s kind of how it went, I mean it was kind of a strange situation as (Mike) Patton wasn’t able to be there for the basic tracking as he had some personal things come up, so Dwayne, John and I rehearsed for a couple of days, got the music solid, recorded it and then spent a couple of days doing overdubs. Then those tracks were sent to (Mike) Patton who worked on the vocal stuff where he was and that’s how it went down.
Because of the native American influence on Anonymous, fans are wondering if you’ve stayed with that for Oddfellows or if you’ve gone back to the same hard rock style from Tomahawk and Mit Gas?
Yeah its more like the first two records, in fact the short tour we just did, we were playing a mix of four songs from each of the first few records and then four or five from the new one and they all fit really well together. The new Tomahawk is definitely back to the original style of Tomahawk. In fact to me it’s even a little more concise and poppy or soundy, its still hard rock but there are some great hooks and stuff you can kind of tap your toes to (chuckles)
Will much of Oddfellows be played at Soundwave?
I think so! Festivals are always hard as there are a lot of time and sound restraints but we’ll definitely be playing quite a few things from the new one as it will be out by then.
With your appearance on the Soundwave line up, what are some of your likes and dislikes of playing in the festival circuit compared to touring by yourself?
I very much prefer playing clubs. Festivals are a very impersonal experience. You don’t get much of a sound check, the conditions aren’t always great and you’re basically rushed on and rushed off stage, and there’s no connection with the audience - or if there is its a lot more remote than what it would be in a smaller club. I prefer half a day to get our sound together, get used to the venue and sort out any problems there might be and have a tighter relationship with the audience. But whatever, it pays the bills.
Is there anyone else on the Soundwave line up that you are looking forward to seeing?
You know its funny, I saw a list of the bands and cant say I really knew any of them, but I am almost 45 years old and I don’t get out of the house very much, haha..
Even on tour I stay in my hotel as much as possible!
John Stanier is also drumming for Mark Of Cain while you’re all down here. It’s very exciting for us as Mark Of Cain are an Adelaide band, have you heard them before, perhaps through John?
I don’t know them at all, sorry, and I wasn’t aware that John was doing that.
They are very good so please check them out if you get the chance!
I will! I feel bad now!
What else are you working on besides Tomahawk and Moonchild at the moment? Are you still playing with The Melvins?
I have a lot of side things going on, I am still playing with The Melvins in a version called Melvin’s lite, I play upright bass in that. I play with Nels Cline Trio, and I am also writing music for my own trio – convulsant, which is a guitar trio hoping to premier some music here in NY. I also do some independent film music so I keep pretty busy.
Ok, getting personal for a second, how did you get the name ‘Field Mouse’?
(Laughs heavily) To be quite honest I didn’t know that was even a nickname, it’s the first time I’ve ever been called that. Where did you hear it?
While I was doing my research I noticed it on the Tomahawk/Ipecac page and was curious..
Laughs again, well I can tell you right now that who ever put that in there is fucking with me and probably did that just to embarrass me in this particular moment. It doesn’t work, I’m secure enough in myself to see past it but I have no idea what they are talking about! ... Field Mouse hey? (sighs and laughs)
Is there anything that yourself or the band are looking forward to doing while you’re in Australia?
I have an obsession with the platypus so whenever I am in Australia I often buy a lot of platypus paraphernalia, and try to get to see some while I am there.
Ok, well that brings us to the end of our chat, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me, it's been an absolute pleasure! Please enjoy your Soundwave Tour, I know I look forward to seeing you!
Yeah it was great to talk to you, definitely come say Hi!
For sure! See you later!
Interview by Melissa Donato