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Mastodon at the Michgan Lottery Amphitheatre, 5 Things To Know

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

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Mastodon has been more blessed than curse -- during its career in general, and since the release of its latest album, “Emperor Of Sand,” in particular.

The heavy rocking Atlanta quintet won a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance for “Sultan’s Curse,” the albums opening track. That follows a Top 10 debut on the Billboard 200 chart and rave reviews -- including being named the Top Metal Album of 2017 by Metal Hammer magazine and Top 10 mentions in several other publications.

Mastodon released a subsequent EP, “Cold Dark Place,” last fall, and the “Sand” storm is continuing this year on a tour with Primus that goes into the first week of July...

• Drummer-vocalist Brann Dailor says that the Grammy win was “a pretty surreal and epic moment. Something for the highlight reel.” After four previous nominations Mastodon had resigned itself to losing again, particularly when fellow nominee Body Count was announced as a performer during the pre-show ceremony where the award was presented. “I was prepared to lose another one and just have another killer date night with my wife and hang with the guys,” Dailor, 43, says by phone. “So when (presenter Jimmy Jam) said ‘Sultan’s Curse,’ I thought, ‘God, that sounds familiar’ -- ’cause he didn’t say Mastodon right away, so it didn’t register. Then it hit and it was like, ‘Whaaaaat?!’ Everything from there was sort of a blur.”

• Dailor does regret that he didn’t have more of a speech prepared for the night, however. “I didn’t want to have hope in my pocket, y’know? I watched it afterwards and was like, ‘Oh, man, I kinda blew it. I didn’t thank my parents and I didn’t think our guitar player Brent (Hinds), who wasn’t there ’cause he was sick and at home. There was a laundry list of things I wanted to say and had kind of gone over in my head a few times, but I really thought we weren’t gonna be brought up. I still don’t really remember being up there.”

• Though it just showed up on an album in 2017, “Sultan’s Curse” was built from an idea Dailor says “has been kicked around for, like, 10 years. It’s just one riff so we’re like, ‘OK, do we have anything else to go with it?’ and for some reason it took 10 years to find it. We have a lot of things like that -- we call them homeless riffs, just things we really like and are flowing around in the ether until we can finish them.”

• The Primus tour is “huge” for Dailor, who’s been a fan of the band since the early 90s. And he says it gives Mastodon a chance to approach its own performances a bit differently. “We just want to bus out some of our weirder tracks and get in there with Primus and just have this amazing night of really creative and out-there music -- for tons of people, apparently. We’re playing some really big places, which is super fun and exciting.”

• The creative beat goes on for Mastodon, even though no specific future project has surfaced yet. “It’s always in the back of everyone’s heads,” Dailor says. “The band has always been in motion since we started. It never really comes to a complete stop, the creative process; It just sort of turns on when it turns on. Right now we’re more focused on touring, but there are some irons in the fire. We’ve got some ideas. We’ve just got to come together and figure out what we want to do with ’em.”

• If You Go: Primus, Mastodon and JJUUJJUU perform at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 9 in the Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre at Freedom Hill, Primus, 14900 Metropolitan Pkwy. at Schoenherr Road, Sterling Heights. Tickets are $35-$75 pavilion, $25 lawn. Call 313-471-7000 or visit 313Presents.com.

Web Site: www.313Presents.com

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