When Pigs Fly
CoC chats with Stuck Mojo
by: Adrian Bromley
Atlanta, Georgia's Stuck Mojo received rave reviews for their 1995 debut album on Century Media, _Snappin' Necks_. The album was a hybrid mix of metal, rap, and hardcore that flowed heavily with groove and attitude. Their debut album contained flashes of fury with "Not Promised Tomorrow", "2 Minutes of Death", and "Snappin' Necks", and the band was considered a "must see" live band. Now a year later, the band has released their follow-up to _SN_, _Pigwalk_, a much more solidified take on the live feel and groove of the band. With the help of producers Devon Townsend (frontman of Strapping Young Lad) and Daniel Bergstrand (producer, Meshuggah), the band was able to capture the kinetic alliance of both live groove and might on CD, something the band has not yet been able to do. It's raw, it's tight, and most of all _Pigwalk_ sounds heavy. Extremely heavy. Frontman Bonz and guitarist Rich Ward carry on the ways of Stuck Mojo, and with the addition of a new rhythm section - bassist Corey Lowery and drummer Bud Fontsere - the band edges itself more into becoming a towering pillar of intensity. The band is not far off that goal. Chronicles of Chaos recently caught up with Bonz at home in Atlanta following a short European tour to talk about _Pigwalk_ and an upcoming North American tour. Here is how it went:

CoC: The band has done well with sales and touring over in Europe (the band played this year's Dynamo Festival). It has been a different story over here in the United States. Why do you think that is?

Bonz: Over here they don't have a heavy metal format and over there they do. And the zines over there give us more exposure and the people are more open to the style of music that we are doing. Over here it is programmed. Over here you got one style which is alternative and that is all the radio plays. Over there they don't have any radio stations and all they do is go out to see the bands that are on tour. Also they watch a lot of video shows. Them having heavy metal format overseas it is a lot better for us than here. But we tour a lot here though.

CoC: Are you gonna go back again after playing in the U.S. for a bit? Will you be there a longer period of time next time?

B: We are going to be going back again for like two months. We are playing there in November and December with Life of Agony which should be cool.

CoC: With _Pigwalk_, what was the vision and sound that you were trying to capture and show people this time around as opposed to what you had done with _SN_?

B: The live energy is what we wanted and we did that this time. Daniel (Bergstrand) and Devon (Townsend) came in to help on the production of the record. Those guys are a lot younger and more from our vision of what we wanted. We know Devon too, he is a friend of ours, and it was a pleasure working with him. He has seen us a few times and is excited about the sound of the band and the direction we can go. Basically Rich (guitarist) has been working real hard. The boy has been working real hard and we just plugged it out. _Pigwalk_ is a growing effort of the band. It is basically the same material we were writing at the end of the last record. That record (_SN_) is very old. We recorded it in 1994 and released it in 1995. We have changed.

CoC: Whether it be the loss and addition of new members or different approach of the sound and style of the band, is this where Stuck Mojo wants to be in 1996?

B: I guess. This is what we produced and the sound that we came up with for us. Our sound continues to evolve and we have to find just what we are. We are still searching ourselves. With the addition of the new members, that has helped create and free up our creative juices because we were pretty stagnant with the old unit where they didn't want to be a part of or see things the way that Rich and I saw things heading. We wanted to change somewhat and expand our horizons a bit more. We didn't want to just talk about the things we hate. We wanted to put some solutions to some problems. You know, point your finger in the mirror and stuff like that instead of just standing on a soapbox and talking about one subject. We tried to spread some ideas around.

CoC: With album number two, how has the label support been for the band?

B: This time around I think the label (Century Media) is going to do a lot for us. Number one, they went out and got the producer we wanted, and suggested that we work with Devon too after we had been thinking about it too, which shows that they were clicking with us. The promotional staff overseas have been wonderful. They work hard. You got to take in account this is a "B" label stationed overseas and don't really have a good idea of what goes on over here in the American market. I mean they have an office in Los Angeles but it is small. So they are dealing with an American band that tours extensively but really has no exposure to a European market. They are trying to figure out how we fit into their program seeing that they used to work with mostly death metal bands. We are new material to work with for them. With the new stuff on the label you will be impressed. It is a good assortment of stuff like the new Samael, Moonspell, and Nevermore. All those new records are slammin'. I think Century Media will be a record label to deal with in the future and hopefully they will want to continue to grow 'cause we do.

CoC: Would you ever consider going to a major label?

B: Everybody wants to go to a major. If it happens, it does, and if it doesn't, it doesn't. We ain't gonna stop.

CoC: What kind of stuff have you been doing since the record is out? Do you write and record while on the road?

B: I write all the time and so does Rich. We are always thinking ahead and we know we just can't rest on this record. By the time we do the next record we want to have a record to kill this one. Plus we want to do some side things too, so we are always writing for something. We never stop writing.

CoC: A lot of people have dismissed the band for being one of these bands that mix both metal and rap, which wasn't the case for Stuck Mojo. You guys showed people that those visions of the band were false and proved them wrong. This time around with this record there seems to be more of a groove and a direct fist in the face saying, "We are staying."

B: We want to compete with the "Big Boys" and show them that our music has yet to be exploited. Some bands have been doing this for awhile, but we have been doing it longer. We just haven't had the exposure. We have been cut off and we just have to work twice as hard than the other because we are not from New York or L.A. - we are from Atlanta, Georgia. We deal with that shit all the time and we are prepared to do it. With this record we set out to prove a point. We want to put ourselves on the planet and not just the map. We just want to compete with the "Big Boys" and there ain't no joke about that. If the "Big Boys" would just open up and take the smaller ones out, then the sky is the limit. It is great for an "A" band to take out a "D" band because they get exposure. It's like "BOOM!", the band gets some exposure and then the band is known. But that is not happening right now with a lot of bands. There is an ego trip happening.

CoC: Where does the title name (_Pigwalk_) come from?

B: It is about society in general where people of all levels, they walk all over the weak and meek. It is a pigwalk. Be it a rich pig, a bully in high-school, your cousin, your teacher, anyone, a judge, an officer of the law. It is anyone who pushes their authoritative power on someone else, whether it be physical, political, financial power or mental power. Everyone needs help out there every now and then and people like to walk all over everyone. It happens everyday. A short story and example of this would be that we were making a video down here for "Pigwalk" with a video crew from New York in a neighborhood down here (Atlanta), and this man came out of his house making a scene saying, "Why are these white people working with these black people," and just making problems. He had a gun in his back pocket and told us to leave the neighborhood. He had back-up there in the neighborhood too and he was serious about us not being there. See, there is an example of someone pushing their power. Someone pigwalking.

CoC: What do you think fuels the aggressive nature of the music? There also seems to be a lot of reality in what you do. What inspires you to create music?

B: Everyday issues inspire me to write. Songs on the record deal with several topics. "Mental Meltdown" deals with industry radio, "Despise" is dealing with the alternative nation and how they took over and made it harder for bands like us to get out and play, and "(Here Comes) the Monster" is about us trying to get out and play, and for the big metal guys to give us a chance. It is like, give it up or we'll take it. Lots of topics make up a Mojo record.

CoC: If you had to sum up or describe the record in a word or a description, how would you describe _Pigwalk_?

B: This record is like [Mike] Tyson getting out of jail and coming back to claim his title. We are the number one contender and we want you to give it up. We just want our shot. We want our title shot with some people and a chance for us to be at center stage. We are like Tyson coming out refueled, hungry, and ready. <laughs> Be ready, we are here to beat up your eardrums.

(article submitted 18/11/1996)


ALBUMS
1/15/2009 Q Kalis 8 Stuck Mojo - The Great Revival
5/25/2000 A Bromley 7.5 Stuck Mojo - Declaration of a Headhunter
12/9/1999 A Bromley 8 Stuck Mojo - HWY 1
3/10/1998 A Bromley 9.5 Stuck Mojo - Rising
10/11/1996 A Bromley 9 Stuck Mojo - Pigwalk
GIGS
9/14/1997 S Hoeltzel Testament / Stuck Mojo / Strapping Young Lad Demonic Pigwalk
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