Mutoid Man just released their first album in six years, and first-ever with High On Fire bassist Jeff Matz, Mutants on July 28. But how did Mutoid Man and Matz even get together in the first place? It’s not like frontman Stephen Brodsky and drummer Ben Koller play in any of the same bands together with Matz.
In an interview with New Noise Magazine, Brodsky explained that it all started when Koller injured himself in 2019 and Mutoid Man recruited then-High On Fire live drummer Chris Maggio. The band and Maggio got to know each other pretty well, and when it became obvious that now-former Mutoid Man bassist Nick Cageao wasn’t going to be in the band much longer, Maggio suggested Matz.
“In 2019, [Koller] sustained an injury to his elbow that forced him to have to sit out on some touring that we had planned. We got Chris Maggio from Sleigh Bells and Trap Them and Coliseum, and several other bands, to fill in for Ben. In the process, we got a little chemistry going with Chris, and as things progressed with that lineup we started to struggle with Nick in the sense that he just wasn’t doing well on the road. It just was looking more and more like the best decision as a touring band would be to not subject him to our schedule of being on the road as much as we were at the time.
“So when that was all coming to a head, Chris, who was at the time playing with High On Fire, suggested Jeff Matz, and he was like, ‘I just think it would be a great fit.’ He was getting to know Jeff, and I didn’t know Jeff very well, but through Chris I was just of the understanding that Jeff was a real devoted musician, to the craft of just playing bass in all different facets—through being a music teacher, the amount of time he’s spent in High On Fire and his writing ability for the band. And then researching a little bit further with my friend Kurt Ballou, who plays in Converge and runs God City Studio and has worked several times with High On Fire—He also had nothing but great things to say about working with Jeff.
“That’s really how the conversation started, so then Jeff was thankfully game to try something new. High On Fire is a West Coast-based band and he was down to get weird with a bunch of salty east coasters and see what happens.”
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