Kristen Dunleavy of recently conducted an interview with MASTODON guitarist Bill Kelliher. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below. Have you ever had an out-of-body experience?

Kelliher: Yeah, the one I can remember best is when I was playing with [my old band] TODAY IS THE DAY. We were opening for NEUROSIS, and I remember being so hot inside this tiny little club that was made for 200 people but there was like 500 people in there. I remember floating above my body, looking down on myself playing. I'm like, "Whoa, I'm actually playing on stage right now; I need to get back inside my body." I either almost passed out, had an out of body experience or both. It was cool. Did any bands in particular influence "Crack the Skye"?

Kelliher: Touring with TOOL had a lot to do with mellowing out a lot of the riffs. We tour with SLAYER a lot and watch them, but I think for me watching TOOL and meeting those guys and seeing the artists they really influenced me. I get influence from a lot of things. The MELVINS record, "Senile Animal" — I wore it out listening to it. That's a great, inspiring record. Brent had a serious accident in the midst of recording "Crack the Skye". Did that affect the album at all?

Kelliher: He hit his head pretty hard; that was right when we started writing the album. He was in the hospital for a while and couldn't be out partying every night, so he stayed in and I think that mellowed him out a tad. We focused more towards songs that had more continuity. That had a lot to do with his writing I think. Your hard-partying ways led to your own hospitalization this past November. Did that change your outlook on life or with the band?

Kelliher: Yeah, definitely. It makes you realize you're only mortal. I'm happy for everything life's given me. I think if I died tomorrow I could say I had a full life, you know what I mean? But I don't want to die tomorrow. I just turned 38 last week and I'm not a spring chicken anymore. I really want to get all the riff-age out and push the band as far as we can take it. You must be excited for your upcoming shows with METALLICA. Have you played with them before?

Kelliher: We played like ten shows with them back in 2007 and we're doing a two-month tour with them and LAMB OF GOD, so I'm very excited. METALLICA is definitely a main influence for me. Every day after school I'd come home and plug my guitar in, put on "Master of Puppets" or "Ride the Lightening" and play along for hours. That's how I got my sound. I always looked up to James Hetfield and those guys. When I was that age it was the perfect band for me to emulate.

Read the entire interview from


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