LADDER UP AN ASS: BEST SUPERGROUP EVER!
As Vince has already explained, we were at Mayhem Fest yesterday, and in the coming days we’ll have a full review, photos, interviews with everyone from Mastodon to Machine Head, and all that good stuff.
But really quickly, I just wanna talk about the highlight of the day’s activities – an incredible performance by a supergroup going by the moniker Ladder Up an Ass (And yes, it’s “an Ass,” not “the Ass” or “Your Ass” – it’s a non-specific ladder and a non-specific ass.). Because while some members of the band seemed to think it was a one-off performance, no one ruled the possibility of more surprise appearances on upcoming Mayhem dates. And if you go to Mayhem in the coming weeks and happen to hear that Ladder Up an Ass are playing, YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST DROP EVERYTHING AND GO SEE THEM.
The story goes like this: while Vince and I were hanging around waiting to do an interview with Troy Sanders from Mastodon, we heard that band’s guitarist/co-vocalist, Brent Hinds, approach Slipknot’s Corey Taylor.
“We doing this thing today?” Hinds asked Taylor.
“Yep!” Taylor replied enthusiastically. “Today is the day!”
“What instruments are we using?” Hinds asked.
“No instruments,” Taylor answered matter-of-factly. “Maybe some triangles.”
At this point, Vince turned to me and whispered – “Do you think there’s gonna be an all-star jam later?”
“With no instruments but the triangle?” I replied, incredulous. “I think they were just kidding around.”
Still, it was hard not to notice the sudden and unannounced inclusion of some band called Ladder Up an Ass on the show’s roster for the day. They were scheduled to go on at 7:35, after Machine Head had finished their set and the second stage was supposed to be done for the night. Was Ladder Up an Ass a local band? Roadie code for breaking down the stage and packing up the gear? Or was there, in fact, to be some sort of all-star jam session?
Well, an hour or two before Ladder Up an Ass were scheduled to do, um, whatever the fuck it was they were gonna do, we got word that it was, in fact, the members of The Red Chord with Corey Taylor on vocals. Of course, this was way too enticing for anyone in his right mind to miss, and suddenly it seemed like most band members and journalists were shuffling around interview times in order to take in the show.
So before launching into the obligatory “Davidian” finisher, Machine Head’s Robb Flynn tells the crowd to stick around for an amazing new band, Ladder Up an Ass. Still, most of the crowd didn’t heed his advice, instead heading over to the main stage to catch the second half of Dragonforce’s set.
With all due respect to Dragonforce, most people are morons who missed out on something awesome.
Ladder Up an Ass’ arrival was heralded by spray-painted banners of – you guessed it – ladders up asses, and soon enough, four of the five members of The Red Chord, Mastodon’s Brann Dailor, and Taylor all hit the stage with surgical masks on and… triangles.
What followed was more of a performance piece than an actual jam session – pre-recorded “music” (usually just droning or chanting) blasted over the PA while the masked members of this new “band” lept around the stage. The Red Chord’s Guy Kozowyk sat behind a drum kit although he was making no real attempt to keep rhythm, and Taylor pranced around with a tuba, although if the dude can actually play tuba or not is anybody’s guess. As the “set” went on, more and more members of various bands – including but not limited to other musicians from Mastodon, Suicide Silence, Black Tide, Walls of Jericho, Slipknot, and hordes of others I’m probably forgetting – came up on stage, each with a surgical mask on and a triangle.
Eventually Gunface from The Red Chord took the mic and announced that Ladder Up an Ass stood for “gummy rights” – the civil rights of “real animals” who had been turned into gummy bears, peeps, etc. – and everyone on stage started throwing peeps into what little of the crowd had stuck around for this event (including the four of five dudes who actually started the world’s smallest circle pit before doing the world’s smallest rendition of the wall of death). The crowd, in turn, started throwing the peeps back at the “band.” Vince scored the silver medal for the day when he nailed Taylor in the head with a peep; his mighty throw was bested only by the dude who actually managed to get a peep into Taylor’s tuba (even Taylor stopped to acknowledge this world-shattering accomplishment).
For the final song, the intro to “Raining Blood” started to play over the PA, but just as the main riff was about to kick in, the music stopped and everyone just started to bang on their triangles/drums/air guitars/tuba/whatever. It was a wonderful cacophony of noise, metal as Andy Kaufman might have imagined it.
Later in the evening, we managed to get Kozowyk to spill the beans on how the whole project came together, and where the fuck one gets a hundred triangles. But you’ll have to wait to read the interview to get that story…