Want to know what life is like on tour for your favorite band? Want to hear what the musicians have to say about your favorite festival? How about getting an idea of what is going through the mind of a front man when he is looking back at you from the stage? If you want to get inside the mindset of the musician, we’ve got you covered!
In this installment of L4LM Artist Direct Connect we get a glimpse at a small slice of the hectic tour life of Southeast natives The Mantras.
Since 2005, the band has been perfecting their unique and infectious sound characterized by high energy and precision. It is fusion of jam, metal, funk, and rock ‘n roll that grabs you by the balls and gets your groove going. The Mantras continue to impress their peers, and win over new fans at every turn with their instrumental prowess, positive lyrics, and unending drive to put on an amazing show every night! This rising profile has resulted in an incredible year, seeing The Mantras and their members sharing stages in double-bills and direct support for the likes of Umphrey’s McGee, Eoto, George Clinton and P-Funk, Kyle Hollingsworth Band and many more.
We have been out on the road for the past couple weeks pushing our brand new album, “Jambands Ruined My Life”, and decided to keep tabs on some of the play by plays, day by day. We have eight people in our crew – this includes the five band members — Keith Allen on guitar, Brian Tyndall on bass, Justin Powell on keys, Justin Loew on drums, and me, Brent Vaughn on percussion. We also travel with a FOH sound engineer (Matt Gordon), a projectionist (Dustin Klein) and a tour manager/merch slinger/ band mom (Lindsay Harris). Here’s a run-down of what we have been up to lately. Enjoy! - Brent Vaughn The Mantras / percussion
January 22, 2013 – Album Release
- Our much-anticipated album “Jambands Ruined My Life” via the internets.
- In regards to the title of the new album, there’s a story behind it all. Several years ago, a friend of ours decided to bail on work, just so he could make it to one of our shows. After being fired due to missing the shift, he called Keith saying, “man…..jambands
ruined my life”. He was just being sarcastic and funny, but we’ve been saying that one liner ever since. We have now realized that the clever statement has multiple interpretations. “Jambands” hardly ever make it, or get big, but this impossible dream has kind of “ruined” all of our lives in the eyes of the generic population out there. We’ll never be doctors, or lawyers, or stock brokers. Oh well, we are just going to roll with it. What have we got to lose?
- Definitely knew the album-title choice would create some chatter amongst the live music scene—that was a no-brainer – so we’re ready to hit the road and rawk.
January 25, 2013 @ Peasant’s – Greenville, NC
- Ice, Ice, Baby – the Southeast is both scared – and un-prepared – for ice/snow. When it happens here in eastern NC, people freak out like the world is going to end. Therefore, the show was cancelled.
January 26, 2013 @ The National – Richmond, VA w/ Umphrey’s McGee
- We knew this gig was going to be a party when it sold out the day before the show at 9 a.m.
- Venues rarely put the opening act up on the marquee > so it was cool showing up in Richmond and seeing our name up there.
- We had an excellent crowd in front of us for our set. Spotted some familiar faces out in the crowd, but most of them were brand new – #crushedit
- UM’s guitar master, Jake Cinninger, sat in for the final three songs of our set. We actually recorded the new album at Cinninger’s studio (Boondock Studios) in Michigan and he was kind enough to add some shreds to two of the tracks on the album, “Kinetic Bump” & “House of Cards”.
- We wrapped up our set at The National with “Sabotage” by the Beastie Boys. Bruce “The Shark” Sharky tried to eat Jake during the tune, but he only got a
tiny nibble. Bruce travels with us from show to show, collects super heady hat pins, flirts with all the ladies, and has his very own Facebook page. If Bruce is not on the stage while we are playing, we do not have a good show. We have definitely jinxed ourselves on that one.
January 30, 2013 @ Headliners – Toledo, OH w/ Ultraviolet Hippopotamus
- Details from this show are fuzzy because it was so freaking cold/windy/icy that night – our brains froze.
- However, this was our first show with UV Hippo. Most of us had only heard them once before (at AURA 2012 – our set was right before theirs – so they were forced to listen to us as well:) Anyways, these guys are pros. Very complex instrumentation with strong lyrics – and makes you shake your booty.
- The Hippo guys got a real kick out of our use of the word “yall”. Guess that word isn’t very popular with y’all people from the North.
- Jambands Ruined My Life finally added to Spotify – our previous album, Dharland, was released in early 2010 – so the Spotify selection was very out of date. Many, many, many things have changed in this band, for the better of course, since 2010.
January 31, 2013 @ The Loft – Lansing, MI w/ Ultraviolet Hippopotamus
- We rolled up to the venue a bit early — pulled up next to Hippo’s van/trailer in the alley behind The Loft. They invited some of us into their van to hang and we immediately realized that their method of transportation is much nicer, and more comfortable, than our 2006 Chevy Express. If their van is reported missing anytime soon, it wasn’t us.
The co-engineer/secret-agent-man of “Jambands Ruined My Life”, Jim Leep surprised us at the show — Jim is our tour manager Lindsay’s inspirado. He lives by the “there’s no such thing as Problems, just Solutions” method. Jim tour managed Ali Baba’s Tahini (Jake’s side project – our keyboardist, Justin Powell, joined ABT for their most recent album/tour)
- Russell from UV Hippo sat-in with us – we like to play.
February 1, 2013 @ Abbey Pub – Chicago, IL w/ Ultraviolet Hippopotamus
- While en route to Chicago from Lansing, and listening to “Chicago” the band, we see that the “Reel Feel” is going to be -5 degrees in Chi-town. Our witty drummer, Justin Loew, chimes in saying, “Man, I wish I had brought some pants”. Justin Loew – is better known to us as “#”, “Pasta”, or “J-Lo” — He has gone by the nickname of J-Lo since he was a kid, long before that no-talent ass clown became famous and started winning Grammys. When asked why he doesn’t just go by “Justin” instead, he responds with, “No way! Why should I change? She’s the one who sucks!” But hey, not as bad as Michael Bolton.
- It started snowing during our Soundcheck. Businesses and people still go by their regular daily routine in places like Chicago if it snows. In the south, everything shuts down if one flake falls from the sky. Later on that night, our bass player accidently ate some yellow snow. Well, we hope it was an accident.
- This was our 3rd time playing at the Abbey Pub, and thanks to UV Hippo, this was by far the biggest crowd we have had there to date. Happy to see the guys from Strange Arrangement make it out in time to see us too.
- Covered Megadeth’s “Symphony of Destruction”
February 6, 2013 @ The Pour House – Charleston, SC w/ Big Something
- After a couple of days off in our hometown of Greensboro – we got scared of the massive blizzard in the Northeast, so we decided to head south.
- Celebrated “Weird Wednesday” with our good friends (and NC neighbors) Big Something.
- Woke up the next morning with this photo in our inbox. I think we made a new fan last night. Why, hello there.
February 9, 2013 @ Dub’s Pub – Savannah GA
- Best turn-out ever in Savannah – was scheduled to be at the Live Wire Music Hall, but the venue was shut down randomly a week beforehand. That didn’t stop Live Wire’s production team though. They moved the show a couple doors down on the second level of Dub’s Pub.
- Want to give a shout out to our FOH man Matt Gordon – he somehow finds a way to make each and every show sound superb, no matter the obstacles.
- On the way back to Greensboro, we decided that the band deserves a Sheetz sponsorship. If you don’t know what a Sheetz is, then you have been living under a rock somewhere, but it’s a WaWa…with a deep fryer. Sheetz does give you the sheetz, however.
February 15, 2013
- On the road again headed back to the Northeast. Of course we stopped at Biscuitville one last time, and said our goodbyes. Goodbye to Biscuitville that is. You can only find these fine establishments in North Carolina, and of course there happens to be one located 500 yards from the band house in Greensboro.
- We start a run from Frederick MD (2/15) > Baltimore MD (2/16) > Pittsburgh PA (2/17) > Williamsport PA (2/18) > Boston MA (2/19) > Portsmouth NH (2/20) > Burlington VT (2/21) > and ending at the Sullivan Hall in NYC (2/22) with our good friends Turbine.
Don’t miss the Mantras NYC tour stop:
Friday, February 22nd – The Mantras @ Sullivan Hall
214 Sullivan Street – New York, NY
w/ Turbine, Newton Crosby, Chromatic, and Tweed
$10 in advance // $12 day of show
(Turbine headlines – The Mantras play right before them)
Brand new album titled “Jambands Ruined My Life” available for “name your own price” download at www.themantras.com