Tomahawk guitarist Duane Denison tells Billboard.com that the band’s sophomore Ipecac Recordings album, “Mit Gas,” is the fruition of a focused and weathered outfit, which is in slight contrast to the eclectic hard rock quartet’s 2001 self-titled debut.
“It’s different, maybe it is more balanced,” says Denison. “To me, an album is almost like a collection of short stories or scenes in a play, though it’s not like we’re trying to tell a whole story with every song being a section. I think there are sort of unifying vibes here and there. I don’t know, I just think the timing is right for this album and for Tomahawk. I might be totally wrong.”
Expectations have proved problematic for Tomahawk. While opening for Tool last summer, the group at first experienced great crowd reaction and an increase in album sales. Thinking, “Wow, this is great. We’re going to be rock stars,” Tomahawk was greeted with a rude awakening as the tour moved across the States playing to acrimonious metal crowds, who displayed their unhappiness by pelting band members with ice, batteries, and coins.
As for where Tomahawk fits into today’s rock scene, Denison isn’t quite sure himself. “I don’t really consider us metal,” he observes. “It’s definitely hard rock, and has a harder edge to it, but metal is very conformist. You have to have a seven-string guitar tuned really low, a singer doing the Cookie Monster thing, and then you have to have a DJ, too. We don’t really fit in anywhere and that’s fine. I don’t think we need to. To me, that’s good. I would just call it rock with touches of experimental pop.”
Tomahawk is fronted by Mike Patton (Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Fantomas), who in addition to his on-stage endeavors, owns Ipecac. Interestingly, Denison says the industrious Patton was approached by Slash in regard to vocal duties for the upcoming ex-Guns N’ Roses members’ project (he apparently passed). For now, Tomahawk is prepping for its upcoming six-week long Ipecac Geek Show tour, which begins April 28 in San Diego.
“We wanted it to be almost like in the old days, when they had traveling revues of a label,” says Denison. “With Tomahawk and Melvins, you are getting two headlining bands on the same bill, and depending on what part of the tour you are seeing, you’ll either get Skeleton Key, a kind of a twisted sort of art/dance kind of group, or Dalek, a very eclectic East Coast like hip-hop, trip-hop thing. So, it is to me a very well balanced package.”
As previously reported, a handful of shows will also feature Mondo Generator, a side project led by Queens Of The Stone Age bassist Nick Olivieri.
Tomahawk plans on traveling overseas this summer for the European festival season before a trip this fall to Australia. Unless “Mit Gas” explodes on the charts, Denison says this upcoming spring tour will be Tomahawk’s only U.S. dates.