I spoke with comedian/ actor/ writer Brian Posehn a bit about his upcoming new comedy/metal album, Grandpa Metal; which is due out on February 14, 2020 via Megaforce Records. The album features a ton of guest including; Brendon Small, Scott Ian, Jonathan Donais, Corey Taylor, Gary Holt, Jeff Pilson, Al Yankovic, Johan Hegg and many more.
You can also catch both Brian and Anthrax’s Scott Ian for some upcoming shows at the Amoeba SF on Thursday, February 13th, as well as another even at the Amoeba store in Hollywood on Wednesday, February 19th at 5:30 pm.
Before we get into ‘Grandpa Metal,’ I just wanted to ask how things are. I know you’re really busy guy and you hang your hat and a lot of places.
Yeah, that’s true for a reason. I love staying busy, so yeah, I’ve always got something going on. But things are good.
That’s great. I want to say congratulations on the release of the album. I know this has been a long time in the making. I know you ever referred to it as the “Chinese Democracy of comedy metal albums.” How does it feel to finally have it out there?
It’s amazing. I mean, the fact that I’m actually talking about it to other people and the people are hearing it instead of just my wife and my son hearing the songs in the car as I’m working on them. It’s great. The reason it took so long was mostly me. It’s also because the few guys involved in the band all have crazy schedules. Which was the biggest part of it.
Finally, last year, our producer, he didn’t run out of patience, but he eventually said; “look, man, this label has been waiting for this for quite a while.” And then the last year went pretty quickly. It’s like us figuring out exactly what we were missing to have a complete record.
We were like three songs short about a year ago. We finished up those three songs, added solos, but all the other songs that were missing solos and or vocal parts, and got it done, and it feels amazing.
The album is filled with amazing collaborations. Are there any other artists you would have liked to have included on the record?
The obvious one is I would have liked one of the guys in Metallica to do something. We reached out to Kirk, and the timing wasn’t right for him to do a solo. He’s the only one, everybody else had the time, and everybody else was able to get it to us right away. So, yeah. That’s my only regret is getting a Metallica solo on my record would have been amazing.
Well, it’s goals for the next record, right?
Yeah, absolutely. You know the thing is, I hope he hears the record and goes, “Hey man, uh, I liked your record.” And then I’ll go, “Yeah, we’ll be on the next one!”
Absolutely. I love the cover of ‘Take on Me,’ and it was great to hear Jill. Is there any specific track or collaboration on this record that is particularly special to you?
Well, yeah. I mean, you’re bringing it up. I love Jill, and I’m so bummed. She’s not around anymore. And it really, really sucks. But to have two songs with her that people haven’t heard yet, I’m just really proud of both of them. The fact that she did my silly “Take On Me” cover, but then I wrote this song for her to sing with me, “Goblin Love.” It was pretty much my idea to do, a ‘Muskrat Love’ update.
I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the classic Captian & Tennille song, but it was sort of where the inspiration came from. To do a twist and switch to a duet like that. And she was so good at that. She recorded the track, and she was like, “there’s all these jokes in here. I don’t know if I could do this. I don’t know if I can be funny.”
And I was like, yes, you’re funny. You can do it. All you need to do is this black metal goblin vocal, and I’ve heard you do stuff like this. Then I was on the road while she was recording with my producer, and when I heard what she did, she just destroyed.
It was so good. It was perfect. I had to rerecord my vocals. Because my vocals were not good enough anymore, she had committed so hard to the joke of being a goblin, and I half-assed my vocals. So once I’ve heard hers next to mine, I was just like, “Oh dude, you got to go in and try harder.” The comedian that wrote this had to go in and be funnier because she had out funnied me.
But now I love the way that it all came out. That’s totally special to me.
You uniquely blend comedy and heavy metal in your material, and it has a distinctive personality. When did you first start to let those two worlds collide?
I feel like the late nineties, early two 2000s where part of the alternative comedy thing was, and I had gotten locked in with that label. I had always just been a comedian, or that’s all I was trying to be. But at these alternative spaces, people would be more real on stage, so I just did what was really about me.
I started talking about the things I really love and, I feel like around then, I started finally referencing all the things I was into. Comic books, heavy metal, horror movies and action films, and Star Wars. Everything I was nerdy about it. I became more real on stage cause that’s who I am.
It was never an intended thing. It was just more organic in those clubs because it’s so well-trimmed to be yourself. You know? That’s what people want. They don’t want to hear joke, joke, joke. Although that’s what I still did because I love writing jokes, but it just made my job more real.
Yeah. It seems like you kind of blend different things together, and it seems like you enjoy it. It’s not just a job for you. You enjoy everything that you do. You put your whole creative person into it.
The Weird Al cameo is great. Did you have any other influences that also combined music and comedy such as they are?
Yeah. The record wasn’t as much inspired by him. I mean, it was great to have him on it, but I don’t do any parodies. But still combining those spirits or having fun with music comes from growing up with as weird Al fan. It’s also Cheech and Chong. Those first couples of Adam Sandler records I also loved.
He made them feel like a cohesive thing, which is what I was going for. I wanted it to feel like a comedy record you’d sit down with and put headphones on and listen to the whole thing from front to back.
It felt like he did that in the 90s and 2000s, but then Cheech and Chong had done it first, and people like them. The other big influence of metal and comedy comes from Scott’s own band, Storm Troopers of Death. They were always trying to be funny.
Then Scatterbrain was this other band that did some stuff at the end of the eighties that I liked. Not all their tracks were funny, but they had a sense of humor when so many metalheads didn’t have a sense of humor.
Speaking of which, a lot of heavy metal fans take the genre quite seriously, which is great. However, I’ve always felt that there’s been a side of comedy or playfulness to many bands. Are there any bands you think are also able to put up the fun and humorous acts for the audience while still retaining their credibility and sound?
Yeah. Well, a bunch. I mean, I don’t think I ever thought Slayer would be funny, but Anthrax and Metallica have a sense of humor. Anthrax even more so. They are the big one for me, though. I feel like a lot of the other classic…..Well, I don’t know. Maiden could be, I can see a sense of humor there. You have to; you can’t take Iron Maiden too seriously. And they’re my favorite metal band of all time, so.
Do you have any plans to take the album on tour at any point?
Yes, but it would be not with a full band and not me doing the entire album. I don’t think that ever going to happen. And I don’t think I’m going to go out and do like a full-band tour and open with other bands. But there definitely will be like hybrid shows where I perform with people.
There’ll be one op and things where I might do something with a bigger band, but what I’m planning to do is go out with Scotty Ian, and do a co-headlining tour where we both go out and do stand for storytelling, and then come out of the end and play a couple of songs. We did play Grandpa Metal on the MegaCruise
I think it’s a brilliant idea.
Yeah. I think that’s the way for me to do it. We did on that Megadeath cruise that was like four months ago. That was the first time we’d ever played it live. And then we also did our cover of ‘The Gambler’ that we did on one of my other standup records, like six years ago.
That felt fun, and I think people dug it. So we’re going to try to do a version of that.
We’ll make sure you hit Detroit on that!
Oh yeah, I love Detroit.
What are you listening to these days? Have there been any great discoveries you might’ve made from some of the newer bands on the scene?
I tried. Newer definitely, but not new. I don’t think I know any bands are brand spanking new, but bands that are new to me in the last couple of years. I feel like now I’ve been listening to Power Trip for three years, and I feel like they’ve been around way longer than that. So they’re not new, but Power Trip, Havoc. I liked He Is Legend this year. They put out I think it was like their sixth records. Those are the ones that the top of my list. I check out things when somebody pushes it hard enough.
A lot of guys my age and where Grandpa Metal came from, I made fun of Scott in the song, but I’m also really making fun of myself. Because I’m pretty stuck in my same old ways. Also, with Peart dying, I’ve only listened to Rush for the last two and a half weeks. So, there hasn’t been a lot of deviation from Rush.
Yeah. That was a big loss for the music community.
Absolutely. I’m a giant Rush nerd. I’m a metalhead, but. I think I’m more into Rush than I am anything else.
Changing to a lighter subject, I have to ask about the Mandalorian, which I’m sure you’ve gotten a few questions about already. How does it feel to now be in the Star Wars canon, and did you get to meet baby Yoda?
[Laughing] No. I would say I was made aware of the existence of baby Yoda because I was in that first episode where he’s revealed. But, no, I wasn’t around that day. The director told me what the storyline was. He goes, “do you even know what this is right now? “And I’m like, “No, not really.” You know, because we weren’t allowed to read scripts.
He just said, “you know, lone walls and Cub?” And I went, “absolutely, I do.” So I knew it was going to be a baby. I didn’t know it was going to be the most adorable baby ever. I don’t even think I knew it was a baby Yoda. I just knew he was transporting some very special baby around.
I had to ask because I know you famously prefer the older, he older Star Wars stuff.
Yeah, now I’m a fan again because I enjoyed, I mean, I liked The Force Awakens, but even more than Force Awakens, I liked Rogue One. I love Rogue One. So no, I’m back on board. Plus having a 10-year-old who loves all of them. He even likes Phantom Menace, you know, and hates Jar Jar, which I raised him. But, I have softened in my old age on Star Wars. Now when some I’m some part of the canon like you say, it’s like, you know, I’ll probably never crap on it again. [Laughing]
Yeah. That’s one of the things coming up hopefully by the end of the year. Comics always take a while, but, yeah. I’m going to do some more work with Image and then more work with Marvel too.
Two of the places I already been, but a couple of original ideas.
Does Marvel treat you well?
I love Marvel. My Deadpool run was a great experience because co-writing with Jerry was the best. The people at Marvel, they rarely stepped in. There was maybe one joke, and I had a whole 45 issues where they were like, “no, don’t do that.” They let us do kind of anything we wanted. So, it was a lot of fun.
That’s great. I have a friend that works for them, and he loves his job.
Yeah, for sure. And to be a Marvel nerd, and to get paychecks, well they’re not paychecks anymore. It’s direct deposit, but you know what I mean?
As a kid that grew up with that, which was not even one of the things I wanted to do. As a kid, I never thought that I could be, you know, a comic book writer. It just felt like completely out of anybody’s realm. I never even thought of that for a second. So to be able to do that, it’s so cool.
It makes sense, though. I mean, it may not be of something that you had planned on, but in the end, it makes sense. Especially with the character of Deadpool, and you writing it.
Oh yeah, for sure. As anybody in Marvel, he made the most sense.
Well, I wanted to thank you for your time chatting with us at Folk N Metal. Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers?
I can’t wait for them to hear this record. I mean, As you said, with six years it’s been a long, long process and it’s just amazing to have it in people’s hands or in their ears or wherever!
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