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Interview:
Mutemath at Saint Andrews, 3 Things To Know
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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During the past 15 years, New Orleans’ Mutemath has put together an arresting blend of rock, pop, electronic and psychedelic sounds that engages both the head and the feet.

The group has followed that sonic path over the course of five albums -- this year’s “Play Dead” coming out amidst inner-band drama that included the departures of co-founder Darren King and longtime member Roy Mitchell-Cardenas, leaving frontman Paul Meany to soldier on alongside Todd Gummerman and Jonathan Allen, the latter returning to Mutemath after a brief tenure during 2004.

“Play Dead” was another Top 20 entry for Mutemath on Billboard’s Rock and Alternative charts, and Meany tells us that despite the turmoil he feels the changes have breathed a bit of new life into his band...

• Meany, 41, acknowledges that when King and Mitchell-Cardenas decided not to tour in support of “Play Dead” he “certainly battled with whether we should cancel the whole thing and it was time to call it, but I couldn’t make my peace with that. It didn’t’ feel right at the time given all the circumstances. At first it was certainly scary; To some degree now it’s still scary ‘cause it’s such dramatic change. I started out this year thinking the most striking change I was going to make was my shaved head. That’s just child’s play compared to what was going to happen.”

• The key to continuing, according to Meany, was “could we find another drummer?” He did in David Hutchison, who had taken a break from playing to be a paramedic in New Orleans. “I’d played in bands with him before,” Meany says. “He was a guy I knew had the ability. When I started planning with Darren, Hutch was one of the guys who he said was an inspiration. So Hutch had been in the family for awhile. I really trusted him if he was up for it. I certainly caught him by surprise, but he was in a place in his life where he was starting to make room for music again, and before I could finish the question it was, ‘Yes, yes, yes. I’ll do whatever it takes to make it work.’ That’s when the stars began to align that maybe we had a shot to try and pull this off.”

• Despite the tumult, Meany says he’s still happy with what Mutemath accomplished on the “Play Dead” album. “The mantra was to indulge,” he says. “We wanted to take off the guard rails, and I felt like for the first time we might have started to track the code on what this whole Mutemath thing was and was supposed to sound like. We wanted to go there completely with a sense of abandonment. A lot of these songs we started writing five years ago but they weren’t right for (2015’s) ‘Vitals.’ So they were placed on hold, on the shelf for awhile. They needed time and we needed time to figure out what our band was supposed to do with ideas like that. And it all worked out great.”



If You Go:

• Mutemath

• Friday, Oct. 27. Doors open at 7 p.m.

• Saint Andrews Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit.

• Tickets are $15.

• Call 313-961-6358 or visit saintandrewsdetroit.com.

Web Site: www.saintandrewsdetroit.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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