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Talking about records by bigshot living legends like Mike Patton or Duane Denison is one of the driving elements behind my existence as a music reviewer. With Faith No More and The Jesus Lizard respectively these two have been of immeasurable importance for the heavier side of hardrock. The two musicians have been reunited again (at least for a while) in the new Tomahawk album 'Oddfellows' to do what they do best; creating some awesome, unpredictable, angular rock songs. Guitarist and band mastermind Duane Denison found some time to chat with us.

By: Jasper | Archive under different metal

Hi Duane! How are you guys doing these days?
Fine, thanks. All's well in T-Hawk world. Nice to be back on the rock rollercoaster!

It's so good that you are back! It took a long time though, I'm sure everybody was busy with other projects; could you give me an idea what you have been doing the six(!) years in between 'Anonymous' and the new album?
Well, I was in prison for five years for manslaughter. Just kidding! We all had other musical things happening; Patton did the Faith No More reunion thing, I did The Jesus Lizard reunion thing, Stanier has his group Battles, and Trevor stays home and plays tinker toys with his cat. There's other smaller things too, but let's keep it wham bam big time.

Could you describe how Tomahawk works as a band? Who leads the way? Who calls who? Who writes most of the material?
Typically, I'll make some sketches or demos of rough ideas with guitar, bass, and drum machine and send those to Patton. He'll add vox, samples, etc and then we all get together and work out the final arrangements. Then we rehearse and record, mix and master, pack 'em up and ship 'em out.

A good colleague of mine wants to ask you if you'd not rather play with The Legendary Shack Shakers and have fun rather than making complicated music with a big ego like Mike Patton...;)
Good one. I have a healthy ego too, I'll have you know. There's a huge difference between those two bands, obviously, so it's a whole different vibe.

Seriously though, could you describe the difference in appeal between the bands you play in?
In any band, you've got your different roles. As the guitarist/composer with Tomahawk, I get to put across ideas and experiment with sounds more than I would with a band like Legendary Shack Shakers, who are more of a traditional blues/rockabilly based outfit. Though the last LSS album 'Agridustrial' has a fair share of noise and ambience, actually.

band image'Odd Fellows' has not become a concept album like 'Anonymous' but rather a more 'conventional' collection of songs, was that a conscious decision? And could you tell me a little bit of how the album was written?
The songs on 'Oddfellows' accumulated over the last three years or so. I usually write in batches, three or four at a time, and try to keep some continuity going. To me, this album picks up where 'Mit Gas' left off; we wanted to make a more stripped down, full on hard rock album with the usual twists and turns here and there. At the same time, things are different now and we felt like we needed to be somewhat accessible for new fans because we can't be really sure who our fans are at this point.

Could you compare Mike Patton and David Yow as frontmen? Are they both as crazy as they appear to be?
They're both intense, artistic people, very different in most ways. I'd say they're no more crazy than most other music/artist types I know -- it's part of the job, really. If we were all normal, well adjusted people we probably wouldn't still be doing this….

I couldn't find any definite answer to this question, so I'll just ask you directly; is The Jesus Lizard still active? Is it possible you'll tour Europe again one day?
No, we did that one reunion tour back in '09 and that was it. They reissued the back catalogue that year with expanded liner notes and re-mastered recordings so that was nice. There's supposed to be a J.Liz book coming out (called 'BOOK') sometime later this year, I think, and maybe a DVD as well….but I think that's it.

What about touring? Which one of your bands will be most likely to visit The Netherlands any time soon?
Probably Tomahawk, that's what I'm concentrating on right now. I don't play with LSS anymore. Maybe Empty Mansions, which is Sam Fogarino from Interpol's new project that I play on.

You've been here often right? What do you recall of The Netherlands? Is it a good country to play in?
Yes, I've always liked The Netherlands, right from the start. Good food, coffee, beer, smoke, music fans that understand and appreciate what we do, cool history and architecture, a diverse culture and the sense of freedom that I feel when I'm there. We did a short tour a few years ago (w/LSS) where we only played in Holland (nine shows in about two weeks) and I was perfectly happy to just stay in Holland. We went to the islands on the north coast as well, which was different.

Having played so much in such significant bands, could you tell me what you count as your proudest achievement so far?
Oh, let's see. I think The Jesus Lizard albums 'Goat' and 'Liar' are pretty good examples of what the 90's sounded like if you were into rock and lived in or near a big city. I think with Tomahawk the albums 'Mit Gas' and now 'Oddfellows' are pretty good too…

Are there things you still have on your bucket list as an artist?
Oh sure, but we'll see if they ever happen. I'd like to produce an album for Pussy Riot. I'd like to score a Harmony Korine film. I'd like to jam with Hendrix's ghost.

Thanks a lot for your time, and I hope to see you soon in real life on a stage nearby!
Thank you, I hope to get over your way soon!

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