Mastodon are undoubtedly one of the greatest bands of the 00s. Extremely versatile, with a huge dynamic, they have created amazing albums - completely different from each other - that you can listen from the beginning to the end with the same interest and excitement. They remain as authentic (like their tattoos), accessible, and funny as in 2005; the first time they played in Athens. HeartbeatInk Tattoo Magazine spoke exclusively with Mastodon just before their awaited gig that was the perfect closure for the summer of 2016.

Interview & Photos by Ino Mei.

Where are Mastodon right now?

Brent Hinds: We are in Greece! At the basement of some club.

Brann Dailor: As a band we just got finished doing a month long tour here in Europe. When we get home, which is tomorrow, after a few days off, we will start getting together and finishing working on our new material for our new album and we’re going to record it in October.

How’s the new record going to sound like?

Brann: It’s going to sound awesome! 

Brent: Better than awesome.

Brann: We never leave the studio until we’re 100% happy. So it will sound like another kick ass Mastodon album.

Are you supposed to be currently at your “peak”?

Brann: I don’t think so. We don’t pay attention to that. We just are where we are, when we are. We’ve been the same four people in the band for 17 years, and for that amount of time we’ve been together and been on tour for almost our whole entire time, we get on really well.

Are you friends?

Brent: Yes. See we are sitting next to each other.

Brann: We went down to the pool earlier, swimming together.

Brent: We all ate lunch together and we all talked about how pretty the water was. 

Brann: On tour we do a lot of stuff together.

Do you share brother tattoos?

Brent: That is a good question… We don’t, as a band. I have a huge Mastodon tattoo though.

Brann: I don’t have a Mastodon tattoo. I am not really a big fan (laughs). We should do that though (ed. the “bro” tattoos).

Brent: Maybe we come up with one, and then we’re done.

Brann: Like Testament, they have one. But maybe is like when you get your girlfriend’s name tattooed on your arm, and then you break up. Maybe is a jinx situation. People tend to believe that kind of stuff. My mom does. 

Brent: Like superstitions.

Are tattoos still popular among rockers? 

Brent: Not anymore! Now people are not getting tattoos. Now, if you’re into body modification, it is popular blacking out your tattoos, and then doing scarification over them. The younger generation is mostly nerds. They are scared of needles and they won’t get tattooed.

Brann: Unless they’re trying to be nostalgic… Then it’s mainly the older generation. 

Brent: Tattoos are like the 70s; they’re going to come back in style from times to times. Right now they’re not when it comes to rock n’ roll.

Tattoos seem to be popular on everyone else though.

Brent: Everyone is so tattooed everywhere you go, you’re blind to it. It is so popular, it’s everywhere; on billboards, on TV…

Bill: Cops even have tattoos.

Brent: Yeah, it has gone beyond the rock n’ roll world for sure. 

Brann: You see even a lot of facial tattoos. It’s becoming a normal thing whereas fifteen years ago it was a taboo.

Why do you think the perception changed so much? 

Brent: Because of me. Because I tattooed my face. Everyone wants to be like me (laughs).

Brann: They got really popular in the early 90s and ever since then it just kind of grew and spread. The only people that had tattoos in the 80s were bikers and people in jail. Rockers had only a couple of them, punkers even less. Then in the 90s the art form started going so far. Some people got so amazing at tattooing. From that point to now, everybody has tattoos.

Brent: It’s body adornment; like jewellery. Plus tattoos, you can’t lose them. The only reason I have tattoos is because I loose everything else.

Which tattoo is your least favourite?

Brent: They are all my least favourite! I made a big mistake (laughs).

Which tattoo is your most favourite?

Brann: The “Skye” tattoo - my sister’s name – on my chest. My Gene Wilder tattoo by Bob Tyrell (ed. Gen Wilder passed away the day before this interview).

Do you get tattooed for free because you’re famous?

Brent & Brann: No.

Brent: I got all my tattoos for free before I was famous cause I was dating a tattoo artist. Her name was Lesley Allen and she was awesome.

Brann: I got most of my tattoos for free but I worked at a tattoo shop. I was a shop boy, before the band.

Brent: When we all met each other we already had tons of tattoos.

Brann: We got a lot less after the band. I’d be at the shop and if it was a slow day, my friend will be like “let’s tattoo you”. So I got covered really young. I got most of my tattoos between eighteen and nineteen.

How old were you when you first started?

Brann: I think I was sixteen when I got my first one. 

Brent: Fifteen.

Bill looks like he’s taking better care of his tattoos than you guys!

Brent: No he doesn’t.

Brann: His are just newer. Ours are a lot older than his. He started getting heavily tattooed when he was in his late 20s. 

Troy Sanders: I never felt inclined to be heavily tattooed.

Which one is your favourite Mastodon album?

Brann: I don’t have one. I am the wrong person to ask. It’s like picking a kid.

Brent: I think the first one is probably the most exciting one because it was the first album we ever made together.  

Did you think back then that you were going to make it?

Brent: No. I never think ahead. That’s my problem. I should think ahead more often. 


Brent: I should just really have a back up plan. Starting the older you get the wiser you get. So there was no way I could have these thoughts when I was younger.

What do you like best in Greece?

Troy: The ocean, the fans of rock n’ roll music and the food.

Brann: Are the fans still so good?

Ino: I think so. 

Brann: The feta cheese and the tomatoes. 

Brent: Why is the salad so good over here? 

Brann: Can you mail us some tomatoes with FedEx please?

HeartbeatInk Tattoo Magazine would like kindly to thank Piraeus Academy for the hospitality.