Bonus Episode: Brann Dailor of Mastodon - Atlanta, GA
During a break while on the Mega-Monsters Tour 2023 with Gojira, Brann Dailor (drummer and vocalist) of Mastodon stopped by the GPB studios for a quick chat. We learn how the band started, why they still live in Atlanta, and where you can run into Brann most days when he is home.
Peach Jam Podcast features stories and songs recorded live in our GPB studios from a variety of incredibly talented and diverse bands and artists who call the Peach State home.
Brann Dailor of Mastodon We still have the sign at our practice space that says, you know, Star Bar sold out.
Jeremy Powell, Peach Jam Podcast Host There is a universe where you are a major superstar.
Brann Dailor of Mastodon So many incredible things that so many like pinch me moments of my life are due to Mastodon.
Jeremy Powell, Peach Jam Podcast Host Welcome to the Peach Jam podcast from Georgia Public Broadcasting, where we'll introduce you to a sampling of the truly diverse and incredibly talented musicians who call the Peach State home. Each episode we'll profile a different artist and share songs and stories recorded live in our GPB studios in midtown Atlanta. I'm your host, Jeremy Powell, and this is a special bonus episode of the Peach Jam podcast because it's a little different. Mastodon, Grammy Award-winning heavy metal rockers from Atlanta are currently on a world tour, and during a short break on this world tour, Brann Dailor, the drummer and vocalist for Mastodon, had the chance to come in studio and sit down for a short chat with me. Now I'm hoping in the future we'll be able to have the whole band come in and record and play some songs live at our GPB studios. But as that couldn't happen while they're in the middle of a break for a world tour, I was happy to have a short conversation with Brann and learn a little bit about Mastodon. I don't like to put the label on the type of music people play, so I would like you to please tell me, what does Mastodon play?
Brann Dailor of Mastodon Yeah, I don't know. I like like you said, you want you want it to fall on me to describe it. I usually leave it up to other people to describe it. I just do it with with my pals, my other pals in Mastodon. But, you know, it's a whole it's a mix of things. You know, I've I've read that we're sort of, uh, you know, we kind of are in a gray area where we, we kind of go in between a lot of different genres. But I would say the, the, the basis for it is in hard rock or heavy metal.
Jeremy Powell, Peach Jam Podcast Host And the reason you're here at Georgia Public Broadcasting today is because not only are you a Grammy Award winning artist in a huge metal band, but you're from Atlanta. You live right here in Georgia. Y'all are Atlanta grown as a band.
Brann Dailor of Mastodon Yeah, we are. Yeah, I live in Edgewood, a shop at that Kroger on Caroline Street. You can see me almost every single day of the week. I live there, the Kroger.
Jeremy Powell, Peach Jam Podcast Host Almost almost every single day of the week, except for when you're on a world tour. But right there is a universe where you are a major superstar.
Brann Dailor of Mastodon Sure. I mean, I sit in the back and chop vegetables.
Jeremy Powell, Peach Jam Podcast Host Yeah, but yeah, sure. Yeah. I mean, you sing, right?
Brann Dailor of Mastodon I do some singing. No one knows where it's coming from. They're confused when it's happening. But that's me back there.
Jeremy Powell, Peach Jam Podcast Host And I mean, people come out in droves to see Mastodon. Yeah. What's it like? How do you reconcile that in your brain? You go to Kroger at home, but then you go out and you're treated like a megastar.
Brann Dailor of Mastodon There's no real you don't have to do any separating in your mind. This, I don't know know there's I don't feel any different when I'm out there. I, I love our fans and I'll do I'll sit there and sign as many autographs as we need to to make them happy. And you know, and I, I'm very grateful. And I understand that the reason that I'm there and that there is food on the floor for my dog and that I live a pretty charmed life at this point, I realize that it's, you know, because that they come and buy the albums and they buy the ticket and watch us do our thing. But I'm there's no delusions of grandeur, you know, I don't I get home and yeah, I got to go. I got to make dinner. I got, I don't know, like anybody else. So, yeah, I don't feel any kind of way about myself.
Jeremy Powell, Peach Jam Podcast Host Walk me through the beginning of Mastodon. How did y'all come about? And where did you play here around Georgia before you broke.
Brann Dailor of Mastodon Well, we're kind of two halves that it came came together. So you have Troy and Brant, who were in a local band called Four Hour Fogger, and I'm not exactly sure when they got together, but they were kind of they were going when I moved here and I moved here in January of 2000 with my friend Bill, and we moved here for Y2K because we thought it would be a nice place to hunker down for the apocalypse. But lo and behold, that next day nothing happened. It was all the same. And that was a big lie. Bill's girlfriend, now wife, Julianne, worked worked at the CDC out of college. And so she was you know, she was living here. She had apartments, she had extra bedroom. And she said, you guys can come down here. And so Bill said, you know, we should go to Atlanta and start a new band. And because he felt like there wasn't anybody that was in the local scene that was really doing anything like what we had been writing together. And I said, Yeah, sure. I mean, I've never been there, but I hear it's nice and yeah, I'll go down and check it out. And so yeah, in January 2000 came down here with Bill with the intention of starting a new band, and that's what happened. Two weeks later we met Brent and Troy at it was called the Parasite House and they played a basement show with a band called High on Fire. And met those guys there and they said, Hey, hey, this is Four Hour Fogger's last show because our singer is moving to I think it was moving to L.A. or Austin or something like that. Got him. Gary Lindsey used to be one of the managers over Junkman's Daughter. And so we got together that week. We started playing, and I think within about three weeks we had like enough songs, four to play a show. We were super motivated. We had found each other, you know, in this kind of, uh, aha moment, you know, in the practice space with each other. The things that were kind of coming out of that room early on were really, really exciting. And we felt like we had sort of found some gold, you know. And so we knew that we needed to get into a studio at some point very soon and record all this stuff that we were that we were. Creating. And, um, and we got it. We book some shows. And so basically we played our first show in Atlanta was at MJQ, and it was packed. You know, I mean, a lot of all four of us, I think, were very like I worked at Jenkins daughter, I worked at the Star Bar. Brant was a social butterfly as well. You know Troy as well. Bill worked at Elmyr, you know, So we were already kind of made a lot of friends right off the bat. And people were sort of excited about our our project. They wanted to come see it, you know, new band in town, I guess, you know. And so, you know, we I don't know, we sort of skipped a lot of steps as far as, you know, when you first bust on to some kind of scene, it was like, oh, mastodons here. And it was shows were packed. They were small venues, you know, we played all of them. We played the Earl many times. We played the star bar a bunch of times. We still have the sign at our practice space that says, You know, Star Bar sold out our first sold out star bar show. Mhm. Um, when you play music that you love and you just get together with your buddies in your practice space and you work on your, your, your craft and you work on your tunes and you get them just the way you like them, you don't really expect that it's going to amount to what it's amounted to for us.
Jeremy Powell, Peach Jam Podcast Host In your words, what has it amounted to?
Brann Dailor of Mastodon Oh, I mean, success beyond my wildest dreams. You know what I mean? I mean, we've, you know, we've we've done so much incredible, so many incredible things that so many, like, pinch me moments of my life are due to Mastodon and, you know, the music that we've created together. Touring with every band ever idolized as a kid. You know, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Slayer, every band, you know. So I mean, and meeting and becoming friends with all those people is pretty amazing. And. Yeah. All the milestones being on Game of Thrones. I don't know. Just all the all the cool stuff. Winning a Grammy. All that good stuff that I never thought anything, any of that stuff would ever happen. It happened. And, man, it's really fun to be a part of it.
Jeremy Powell, Peach Jam Podcast Host And now that you have that level of success, you guys could really be anywhere. Why do you stay in Georgia?
Brann Dailor of Mastodon I like it here. I don't know. It's, uh. It's. And I think it's a really wonderful city, and. Hey, the weather's decent. I mean, it's getting extremely hot, but it's doing that everywhere. So. But. Atlanta's real green. And. There's a lot to do. And, you know, it's maybe I'm just too lazy to move, but I don't know where I go, you know? I mean, I think I like Atlanta's cool. I think it's a cool sit in, you know, I don't know. For me, I'm kind of a homebody, so I really like my house. Got a nice yard, got my my lady and my dog and I'm grilling and chillin if I'm home. But. You know, I got my buddy Armando, who owns the Argosy. I love going over there and hanging with him. And there's lots of great restaurants in town. I mean, there's plenty of trouble to get into if you want. Mm hmm. It's all there. I kind of live right in between East Atlanta Village and Little Five Points. So pick your poison on either side of the of that. Uh, yeah, Well, no, I like it here. I got a lot of good friends here, and like I said, a lot of my success or a lot of our success in Mastodon is. It was the first the first notions of it were were were here in Atlanta, in those very areas of East Atlanta Village and, and, uh. You know, the star bar and stuff? Mm hmm.
Jeremy Powell, Peach Jam Podcast Host You're currently on a world tour with Gojira. It's the Mega Monsters Tour 2023. And you're in studio here at GPB today because y'all are on a short break before you head back out. So what do you do? Like when when you're touring the world? This is a big, massive tour all across the country and then overseas and you get a break. Like, what do you do to turn off?
Brann Dailor of Mastodon Well, first thing I do is go to Kroger.
Jeremy Powell, Peach Jam Podcast Host Yeah.
Brann Dailor of Mastodon And Troy and myself always compare grocery lists about a couple of days before about to get home and like, you start your grocery list yet. And he's like, Yeah, I got it.
Jeremy Powell, Peach Jam Podcast Host What's on that list?
Brann Dailor of Mastodon Usually for me, I mean, it's, you know, if it's I mean I'm definitely I will try I will to the bitter end of of of summer and into fall. I will be on the grill. Mm hmm. You know, so it's a lot of fish and. Corn on the cob. And, you know, so I'm just out there with all the all the grill ables, you know, zucchini, yellow squash. Um, I don't know, as far as like, I'm not meal planning for, like, a week. Like I said, I go to pri, go to the grocery store just about every day, and I do my workout. I play my drums. I take a shower, I go to the store. I get the things I need for tonight's dinner, whatever. Which is undecided at the moment. What's happening tonight? So that's why I really like to cook. So that's that's usually my my thing I like to do to to shut off. But I always have to keep chopping it up in the basement on my drums. I mean, I try to play just about every day except the weekends. I take the weekends off.
Jeremy Powell, Peach Jam Podcast Host Yeah. So is that like a is that like a baseball player taking batting practice or a golf player going out to the driving range? You need to get down on the drums and work out every day.
Brann Dailor of Mastodon Yeah, I mean, especially now I a little older guy and, uh. I can. I'm not. You know, it's just harder to get back up to that level. I called. I call it Drum Mountain. And wherever I am on drum mountain, you know, I don't like to go on vacation for too long because I puts me down below base camp. I'd like to be at least at base camp. Otherwise it's like, painful, you know? And I have and I think about it, I'm like, Oh, man, I don't want to have to go. You know, a 23, 24 year old is the person that wrote these songs on the drums. A lot of a bunch of them, you know, especially the ones that were playing on this this tour especially are heavy, fast, crazy stuff that we wrote when we were kids. And now I'm 48 years old and so I'm like, Man, it takes a little bit more for me to get up to that level to do it. So I like to try to stay there. So yeah, I try to play for like an hour, a couple of hours a day, and I like to try to concentrate on something that I can't do, you know, and try to continue learning on my instrument and see if anything down the line. Writing with Mastodon is applicable, you know, with the different things that I try to learn.
Jeremy Powell, Peach Jam Podcast Host If somebody runs into you in Kroger over in Edgewood. Yeah. What's the most complimentary thing they could say to you?
Brann Dailor of Mastodon Hey, nice produce. I don't know. Um, I've had I had yesterday, I was maybe yesterday or the day before it was in the morning and I was headed over there and a woman flagged me down and she was like, Oh my God, we're listening to Mastodon. And it was like a this nice mom and her maybe five year old kid, maybe six heading into first grade, just about to start first grade. And they were listening to Mastodon in their in their their truck and they pulled over and I had a picture with the little boy and it was cool.
Jeremy Powell, Peach Jam Podcast Host I mean, you got to get pumped up for first grade, you know? Yeah. Yeah, you do.
Brann Dailor of Mastodon You got to get amped. Uh, it's scary to get first grade. I was just like, Listen, you got this. It's just first grade is going to be all right. They're not going to, like, overwhelm you, but I was going to be some coloring, so don't worry. Give me fine, simple addition.
Jeremy Powell, Peach Jam Podcast Host Yeah, things like.
Brann Dailor of Mastodon But. Yeah. It's like it's it's not like I'm getting hounded at the Kroger all the time. Usually people just. If come up and go, Oh, dude. You're the guy from the thing. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm here. I'm. Cooking dinner. Some people, they don't know the mastodons from Atlanta, so they're there, which I think is crazy if you're from here, if you live here. It's wild to me to to. But I guess there's all there's all sorts of all different levels of fandom. But there is a level of fandom where you if you're recognizing the drummer, then maybe you probably know a little more than your average bear when it comes to Mastodon. But I feel like you should know that they live, you know, in your neighborhood probably, or maybe especially if you're at the same grocery store. But they've, you know, genuinely surprised to see me there, you know, But I get that in a sense of like maybe being younger. And see, I remember seeing my fifth grade teacher at the grocery store and just thinking like, what are you doing outside of the classroom? You're not supposed to be out amongst amongst the the public, the people. You know, you're supposed to be kept in some kind of bunker and they shoot you through a bank tube up to the your desk and your teachers, and then you go back to your whole. But I don't know, maybe they think the same thing about me.
Jeremy Powell, Peach Jam Podcast Host Yeah. Mastodon lives on the wax in the vinyl records or in the CDs, and that's it. They live in Spotify?
Brann Dailor of Mastodon That's right. I mean, I you know, these days it's a little different. You know, you get a lot of access to find out what your favorite people and your favorite bands are are up to maybe too much. Obviously, it's up for debate. But yeah, when I was a kid, I'd had no idea what Metallica was up to on their day to day basis. Like certainly not shopping at the grocery store for their own food. There's no possible way that that that would be happening.
Jeremy Powell, Peach Jam Podcast Host You wouldn't think so.
Brann Dailor of Mastodon No, no.
Jeremy Powell, Peach Jam Podcast Host Bron, I appreciate your time. Thanks for joining me here.
Brann Dailor of Mastodon Hey, thanks for having me. It was just a 12 minute drive from my house. All good.
Jeremy Powell, Peach Jam Podcast Host Thanks for listening to the special bonus episode of the Peach Jam podcast. Season 2 of the Peace Jam podcast is coming soon. The Peach Jam podcast is produced, edited and hosted by me, Jeremy Powell. Sandy Malcolm is our executive producer. Chris Howell, our director of photography. Michael Harris our production Coordinator. Rick Smith of RC Lighting is our lighting director in our sound engineering was provided by Sounds Good. Be sure to join me for the next episode. And in the meantime, please find and support live local music and independent record stores in your area.
The Peach Jam podcast from GPB features songs and stories from a variety of the incredibly talented and diverse bands and artists who call the Peach State home.
Recorded live in our GPB studios, you get a front row seat for the intimate musical performances and free-flowing conversation from a truly eclectic variety of Georgia musicians. You can find more at GPB.org/PeachJamPodcast — please download and subscribe on your favorite podcast platform as well.
And check out GPB's YouTube channel for exclusive live performances from all the feature artists.