We all know if we’re looking for metal validation in real life, it’s probably not going to come courtesy of the Grammys. However, Mastodon’s Bill Kelliher might help. In an interview with the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, the guitarist mentions that he’s been added to a Grammy committee to perhaps help change things. They’re meeting later this month in Los Angeles to discuss things. As you may remember from their bizarre appearance, Mastodon was nominated this year, but lost to Tenacious D covering Dio. Kelliher thought that was as wrong as everyone else did, suggesting that there need to be more categories for heavy music and suggesting that a song by a comedy duo shouldn’t win a metal Grammy:
“They’re thinking about making heavy metal and hard rock two separate genres again,” Kelliher says. “We’ll be looking at lists of names of bands, who goes in what category. And there are many sub-genres. Heavy rock, hard rock, pop rock, heavy metal, death metal, power metal. Everyone who votes for the Grammys is 55 and up, so we get matched up against The Foo Fighters, as has happened in the past. And Foo Fighters is always gonna win, it’s like Cheerios. Nothing against Dave Grohl, he’s a really nice person. But they’re not a metal band. They should match us against Lamb of God and Slayer.
“It’s like putting soul, R&B and rap together, they’re not the same type of music. They matched us against Tenacious D last year for Best Hard Rock Performance. We were up for ‘High Road,’ and Tenacious D and Jack Black won for a cover of a Dio tune. That’s like Weird Al Yankovic winning Best Rap Album for a Snoop Dogg song. Tenacious D, those guys are a comedy duo. We actually live and breathe our own songs and record them. The Grammy voters look at Jack Black and say, ‘We’ve seen him on Kung Foo Panda, let’s vote for him.’ ”
Aside from the paper’s adorable Freudian misspelling of “Kung Fu,” Kelliher has a point. It’ll be interesting to see what gets nominated this year, and who else in the metal world is on the nominating committee. We’re not expecting any big changes from the annual music industry circle jerk, but at least some people might be willing to infiltrate from the inside. Elsewhere in the article, Kelliher talks about his decision to give up alcohol, having been sober for a year:
It’s been a struggle for many years. Everyone tells me the first year is the most difficult, when you’ve been an alcoholic most of your life. Being sober, I could hold it together when I saw my mom [after she developed a brain tumor, which revealed itself when she had a seizure], in a kind of vegetative state. My brother was losing it and I just told myself, ‘I’ve gotta stay strong.’ We’re only here for so long. For me it was a choice when I gave up the booze. I didn’t have to be that guy who needs a depressant to cope with life.”
Granted, it was definitely a life decision for Kelliher. The guitarist has suffered from pancreatitis in the past, landing him in the hospital and forcing him to miss some shows before. It can’t be easy for someone that’s spent much of the last 15 years drinking regularly on tour to at first taper off and then stop completely, as Kelliher has done. It’s great that he’s put his family first and is excelling after a year of sobriety.