This month, Dirtfedd made its inaugural appearance at the 2012 Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival. Later this summer the band will kick off Slipknot‘s first annual Knotfest tour. On Independence Day, Metalholic sat down with half of the band to talk about Mayhem, working with Slipknot, and much more.
Nebraska is not the typical breeding ground for heavy metal, but that’s where Slipknot’s M. Shawn “Clown” Crahan discovered Dirtfedd. Not to give all the credit to ole #6. The Lincoln based sextet were already kicking up mass clouds of dust on the Midwest club scene when Clown connected with the band in 2006. In fact, the band had already released its first album, Midwestern Massacre in 2005.
The group was formed in 2002 when former guitarist Cameron Ruble and vocalist Dustin Travels met up with drummer Brock Wettstead and guitarist Eric Marshall. Fueled by alcohol, boredom and a passion for head-caving metal, the quartet soon added two more members to the line-up, and Dirtfedd was born. The group is rounded out by bassist Scott Root, guitarist Brian Luginbill, and keyboardist Travis Wagner.
Crahan produced the band’s sophomore album The American Nightmare in 2009 and is responsible for getting them on the Mayhem and Knotfest tours. The Slipknot percussionist talked about why he jumped on the Dirtfedd bandwagon:
“Dirtfedd is from the Midwest, which gives them a big advantage in how to shape their own vision, rather than get caught up in clichéd scenes. I personally cannot wait until we give this art to the world. It’s time things change.”
On July 4, as the band roiled through Boise, I sat down with Dustin, Eric and Brock. The first topic, of course was their appearance at Mayhem Festival.
“Totally honored just to be on it,” offered Travels. “It’s been a blast. We’re only the fourth day in but it’s been exciting so far.”
“We’re from Lincoln, Nebraska, which is a fly over country for everybody else,” added Marshall. “So for us to be out here doing this—we’re extremely grateful.”
I asked the guys how coming from Nebraska being such a musically shut off state, impacted the band’s own music. “It just makes you focus more on it,” said Travels. “You fine tune your sh-t, and you just get pissed the f—k off, really.”
“It kind of works to your advantage being from an area like that,” chimed in, Wettstead. “You don’t tend to get sucked into any sort of genre or scene. You kind of get the freedom to develop your own style and sound.”
The band recorded The American Nightmare in Nebraska. While they used digital and Pro Tools for most of it, they admitted that the drums had to be done old school. “We actually had the freedom to record the drums to tape,” offered Wettstead. “Clown was really big on that. He wanted the drums to go to tape because it gives it more of a big warm sound. Recording to tape’s expensive. You’ve got to have someone who really knows their sh-t.”
The band has plenty of new material written and is hoping to have their next album out by early 2013.
The guys also talked about the Nebraska music scene, Randy Blythe, zombies, and influences.
Watch the full video interview with Dirtfedd below, pick up The American Nightmare, and catch the guys on one of their summer festival tours.