“I like to start my day by cleaning up the messes that I’ve created,” says a robed Troy Sanders in HollywoodLife’s EXCLUSIVE outtakes video of Mastodon’s The Making of Hushed & Grim documentary. For the band’s bassist and vocalist, there’s a lot of mess to go around. The skit saw Troy sleep in the back lot of the West End Sound studio where the band – Troy, along with drummer/vocalist Brann Dailor, lead guitarist/vocalist Brent Hinds, and rhythm guitarist Bill Kelliher – recorded their 2021 double-album. After making his bed in the dirt outside of the studio, Troy takes the documentary crew to the kitchen…which is “definitely a work in progress,” he said.
“Over the past two months, I’ve had some work done to allow 100 percent organic natural sunlight,” says Troy, raising his hand to a roofless part of the garage. “This is the way of the future,” he says. “Less material, less cost, less overhead.” From there, Troy points out that he has no running water, but after some “sandpaper or a screwdriver” to get the pipes running. The tour includes an oversized hook on the wall, his future organic herb garden (which is just a collection of green onions), and a study. “Hope to have some bookshelves, some actual books, and some reading skills in the near future,” he remarks.
The skit is just one of many fictional and absurd moments throughout The Making of Hushed & Grim, a sincere documentary about the creation of Mastodon’s eighth studio album. Written after the band lost its longtime manager and friend, Nick John, to cancer, the full-length documentary shows the double album’s creation from start to finish, with the occasional oddity thrown in. In one skit, Bill is the leader of a running cult. In another, Brent is a busker who is obsessed with trains. Brann shows the clown drawings he made during the COVID-19 pandemic, something he actually did (which you can see for yourself in Brann Dailor’s 101 Clowns of the Coronavirus book.)
In another skit, Troy is a seafaring captain following his dreams of being a successful contestant on “Alaskan crab boat fishing show” only to wind up throwing a net over a random kayaker.
“We’re obviously very passionate about our music,” Troy told HollywoodLife in an EXCLUSIVE interview, right before he and the band hit the road for an arena tour with Ghost. “All aspects — the songcraft and our lyrics subject matter — our livelihoods based around Mastodon, we take that very, very seriously. We’ve built this thing from the ground up, and we’re very proud of it. But outside of that seriousness, we’re a bunch of goofballs.”
“We love cracking jokes,” he said, “and laughing and being silly, and comedy is our favorite type of movie. So, it’s only natural for us to attempt being funny. It’s absolutely a part of an extension of our individual characters in the band.”
In addition to showing their personalities, these skits are Mastodon’s way to give some extra love to their families and friends. For Troy, his “Deadliest Catch” has a special cameo, and it relates to the Wolf-Face shirt he wore for Kerrang’s Sept. 2021 cover story. “Their bass player [The Good Wolf] is one of my best friends in the St. Petersburg, Florida, area,” says Troy. When The Good Wolf isn’t delivering hard-hitting, infectious punk rock dynamite with lead vocalist/guitarist Michael J. Wolf, rhythm guitarist/vocalist Rain-Wolf, and drummer Wolf-Fart, his human alter-ego is at Rock Garden Studios, where Troy records a lot.
“I work with [The Good Wolf] a lot. I’ve cut lots of Mastodon demos with him,” says Troy. “And he is just an overall fantastic dude. And he was an extra in the captain scene, and he was behind the camera on the rest. So yeah, that’s Wolf-Face.”
Wolf-Face will be part of The Fest, Gainesville’s long-running punk rock festival. Mastodon has concluded its tour with GHOST, so keep an eye on their social media (or sign up at their website) for news on what they do next.