Stuck Mojo are genuine crossover pioneers. As one of the first acts to fully embrace the metal / hip hop hybrid aesthetic, their late nineties rise saw them share the limelight with genre leaders like Rage Against The Machine and Papa Roach. Disbanding when the style fell out of favour, the Georgia act are now back with latest album ‘Here Come The Infidels’. We caught up with guitarist and main man Rich Ward to talk about the release, and their impending appearance at Bloodstock, as well picking up an exclusive on U.K. dates this coming December. Engaging in verbal combat; Lee Kendrick.
Hey Rich, congrats on the new album, we love it here at Eonmusic. What inspired the title ‘Here Come The Infidels?’
Being one of the first bands who did the whole rock / rap thing in the late eighties and early nineties, it was a badge of honour to be doing something that was so outside the mainstream at that time. In the states the whole hair metal thing was king, and we were shunned as this multi-racial hybrid, and it proved difficult to get a foot in the door of the industry because we were so different. Then, as luck would have it, the trend caught up to us, which was great! But very quickly it became such a trend that we had fallen out of favour and we were once again on the outside of the ‘most admired’ list. It was a cool time with the likes of Limp Bizkit and Papa Roach having huge success, but when the backlash for those bands started we got kind of thrown in with those guys.
So you’ve always been outsiders?
I've always kind of thought we were the ‘infidels’ because we were never loved or embraced or wanted by the mainstream metal and rock community, and I love the phrase ‘infidels’; it's a word that gets used to label us in the West. You know; we are the infidels and we must be destroyed! *Laughing*
Do you think that with this album you have finally found the definitive Stuck Mojo sound?
It feels right. The previous few albums we did with [ex-vocalist] Lord Nelson were a lot more experimental because the band was more of a ‘project’ at that time. We weren't touring, and Fozzy was my main priority then. We were just recording.
So what’s the difference now?
I love making studio albums. I grew up with The Who and Pink Floyd and Zeppelin; these guys made albums that you could tell took a lot of time experimenting with sounds.
‘Here Come The Infidels’ is a ‘band album’; it has a very cohesive feel to it, and it was my intention to write a more focused album and to re-launch the band. Andy Sneap [producer] was a major part of the cohesion.
Talking of Mr Sneap, what does his input bring to the party?
He was there with us back in the nineties, and he's almost like a coach, you know? He brings a lot of focus, and I definitely credit Andy with the cohesiveness of the album. He and I are very similar; neither of us have kids and we both have stunted emotional growth because sometimes all we give a shit about is guitars and amps and having a good laugh!
Were you purposely trying to be controversial with the track ‘Rape Whistle?’
The title of that song came to me because of the new way people fight with each other. If someone disagrees with you and they are losing the argument they tend to slander people and call them names. In politics and social media, if people disagree with your point of view they call you racist or homophobic. To be called a racist is the worst thing possible to be labelled as, so people use it as a weapon, and I relate that as the ‘rape whistle’.
You guys are playing the Bloodstock festival here in the UK in August. Are you looking forward to it?
I can't wait! It's one of my all-time favourite festivals. I played there with Fozzy a few years ago, and it was great. The promoters have been very kind and we have a great slot between Corrosion Of Conformity and Misery Loves Co. We are coming back to the UK for some headline dates in December.
Is that an exclusive for us here at Eonmusic? Have you mentioned the U.K. dates to anyone else?
No, I haven't spoken to anyone about it! We are getting the dates together real soon.
Who, in your opinion can replace the metal giants who, let's be honest, are not going to be around for much longer?
I don't see anybody coming. I think part of it comes down to when the likes of Maiden, Metallica and Priest were coming up, there were only a handful of record companies signing metal bands. It was more of an ‘event’ and a special thing when those guys released albums. The internet is amazing, and it allows bands to release material and get audiences all over the world, but there's so many. It makes it hard for individual bands to shine.
Do you think there has been anyone since those heady days?
I see the likes of Avenged Sevenfold, and to a lesser degree, Lamb Of God as the last real big bands to come through recently, and these are not new bands - they've been around since the early 2000’s. You know, I used to hear older musicians dogging on younger bands, but I've seen a lot of younger bands myself recently, and I'm having a hard time connecting with them.
What are the newer bands missing?
A lot of it seems aggressive and heavy but a bit cold, and it has a little ‘heart’ missing from it. Bands like Metallica, Pantera and Sepultura were so heavy but there was a heart there. If you listen to albums like ‘Screaming For Vengeance’ of ‘Master Of Puppets’, they had amazing dynamics, and new albums seem to be missing the ‘human’ element. Maybe it's computer recording, I don’t know, but most bands now play to backing and click tracks. I don't disagree with it, I just sometimes feel that the band is playing to the tape instead of the tape being used as a supplement to enhance.
Thanks for your time Rich, looking forward to seeing you guys in December.
Thank you! Really appreciate it.
'Here Come The Infidels' is out now. Check out our review here.