Music is an interesting thing, at times relatable at times totally opposite from what you might deem the norm. Able to inspire countless debates the world over simply by talking about music itself. Returning this year, Stuck Mojo released their brand new album Here Come The Infidels. Performing at this year’s Bloodstock among other festivals the band were able to treat their British fans to some of that Georgian Rap Metal. Speaking with drummer Frank Fontsere we were able to deduce what life in both Fozzy and Stuck Mojo is like and getting back to the plain and simple days of music for enjoyment.
Listen to the full interview or read the transcript below!
So I’m here with Frank, what was it like performing at Bloodstock today?
It was great! We were here two years ago with Fozzy, its a great festival, its a great crowd. I love coming over here and playing the festivals, its always a good time. We had a good show, its early in the process in putting the band back out there, we’re having a couple of technical problems here and there but you just put it aside, you work through it and soldier on and we ended up having a really good show, I enjoyed it!
You guys have released a brand new album, what was it like writing the album?
Rich does most of the writing on his own. He demo’s the songs, he writes full songs. He doesn’t just come up with ideas. He’ll write songs from top to bottom, as far as the drums are concerned, he always has the drums written but there’s always room for me to interpret things the way that I want to. We go into the studio and actually record, there are a lot of things there that he will write on drums that will really work well and try to copy it exactly then other things I will think that this works better with the way that I play and I will do something slightly different.
I don’t really have much to do with the lyrics or anything like that, there’s been occasions where I have contributed a piece of lyrics here or there but mostly the writing process is Rich sequesters himself in a room with a guitar and all his equipment and he basically writes all the record himself.
Wow. Has it always been like that?
In the very early days of the band, it was more of a band collaborative effort but he’s always come to the table with completed songs. That’s just the way that he likes to work, he likes to get an idea and take it all the way through to the end. As opposed to coming in and saying here I’ve got some riffs, lets try to jam these out. We just never worked that way. We’ve tried to and he was like “I don’t work this way, I don’t like to jam. I like to know what I’m doing”
Ok and then you can put your finishing touches on it.
Absolutely. I’ve had people say, how do you let the guitar player write drums for you? He writes what he thinks, the way that he thinks it should be but then I take it and make it my own. I’ve always had the freedom to do that. I like that, I like working from something that fully fleshed out as opposed to just jamming on ideas.
Do you try and play with more feel than what has been written? How do you add your dynamic into it?
Yeah, just try to make it more my own you know? Its all in the details, somebody might listen to a demo’d drum track and with today’s technology you can make drums sound like a person playing. It can be very natural sounding, somebody might listen to a drum track that he created and listen to what I recorded and not here a whole lot of difference but it feels different to me. Just trying to make it my own, my own identity and make it feel comfortable. It might be a drum fill that like you know, you could take a drum fill that someone does and change it the least little bit and make it very uncomfortable to play changing one or two details. So I might have to switch things up a little bit and just make it more natural for me to play.
Who would you say are some of your biggest influences as a drummer then?
The classic guys, Tommy Aldridge was always a big influence, Tommy Lee from Motley Crue was also a big influence. John Bonham all those guys, I love super technical players, I was always influenced by the kind of guys that were the kind of meat and potatoes, four on the floor heavy hitters. Played with a lot of groove and a lot of feel, that’s always just what has appealed to me.
Being with Fozzy has that influenced the sphere of creativity in Stuck Mojo?
I don’t know really that it has. They’re two different bands, Rich writes all kinds of material. He’s influenced by a lot of seventies arena rock and stuff like that as well as well as Metal and so he’s always trying to find interesting approaches to things. He’s just got like catalogues of riffs that he has written over the years. I think when he is approaching an album like this, he’s really trying to be focused on like what does this band sound like, what’s our identity. The whole thing with Fozzy doesn’t enter into it, when we’re in one band we’re in that band. When we’re in the other we’re in the other. There’s no animosity or anything you just kind of get into that mindset. This is this band, this is how this band sounds. I don’t really think there has been any influence one way or the other.
After you’ve played Bloodstock today, whats on the cards for the rest of the year?
We’re playing the Brutal Assault festival in the Czech Republic tomorrow.
So you’ve got to jet off.
Yeah. We’ve gotta be on a place at like six in the morning. Then we go home after that and we’re going to record the next Fozzy record probably September or October coming up back then and we’re going to try and get back and do a UK run her with Stuck Mojo before the end of the year. Then the next Fozzy record comes out next year, we’ll probably be busy with both bands next year. If we’re not back with Stuck Mojo this year we’ll definitely be back next year with both bands.
Does it ever get a bit logistically complicated when you’ve got both bands and juggling them?
Well, Stuck Mojo has just started getting back so it really hasn’t been an issue so far. It probably will be at some point! Luckily I don’t have to think about it! I’ve got nothing to do with it. They just tell me where I have to be which band I’m playing with.
Does it ever get confusing haha!
No, never had that problem! I’m pretty much able to focus on what I’m doing. Never really thought oh wrong band!
What about your favourite artists?
I don’t know, its hard to say as far as musically, I’ll be honest I don’t really listen to music. I would rather play music than listen to music honestly and when I listen to music. I just listen to what I grew up on. The old Van Halen the old Kiss, Zeppelin and AC/DC and all that stuff, its just like Rock ‘n’ Roll. That’s what I grew up on I never meant to be the kind of guy that has to discover new artists. I’m not one of them that’s constantly trying to find new bands to listen to or whatever I’m happy to just listen to what I grew up on.
What inspired you to become a drummer then?
Just being a kid and seeing bands that said something to me. I tried to play guitar at first and I didn’t really take to it that well and I just got a snare drum as a gift and I just took to it. Then I got a full drum kit, it was basically a toy because I was a kid but I just really took to it, it came really natural to me. Everyday I didn’t want to stop, straight after school all I wanted to do was just go home and play and you know its just the idea of doing anything else never really entered my mind.
If you had one piece of advice for drummers all over, what would be the most integral piece of drumming for you?
There’s so much advice you can give. Just be passionate about it and just follow your dreams, wherever they take you. Whether its drumming or not drumming just work hard and play hard. Its different for everybody, just enjoy it. Do for yourself, if its something you do because you think you’re going to get rich and famous, you’ve got a hard lesson coming.
Are you going to stick around to watch Twisted Sister later on tonight?
I wish we could but we gotta leave. I would love to, I wish we could but we gotta leave at seven o clock unfortunately. What can you do!
I know you mentioned that you don’t really listen to much new music at the moment but has there been an album that you have listened to over the last six months to a year, something that really grabbed your attention?
As far as new music not really. I’m not the most adventurous person in the world so I’m not that adventurous musically. I like music to make me feel a certain way and I know what makes me feel a certain way. I got those albums, I’ve the Van Halen II, I’ve got Kiss Alive I’ve got all those albums that I grew up on that remind we what it was like to be young and to be a kid and excited about music. I get what I need from those. A lot of music today, just the way its recorded and everything else doesn’t have a lot of spirit to me. I like being able to hear instruments in a room and so much stuff today is recorded with so much compression and the way that drums are sampled and everything. Its just kind of cold to me and I hear so many bands that sound the same to me. Good on ’em I’m not trying to criticise anybody I like listening to what I grew up on. I know some people can talk music all day long, I would rather just play it.
Stuck Mojo’s brand new album is out now.