Dead Meadow Ushers in a New Sound With Their Old Drummer

Usually when a band reintroduces a former member into the equation, the results aren't as good as it seemed on paper. But fortunately that isn't the case for Dead Meadow, which brought original drummer Mark Laughlin back into the fold.

Though it took two and a half years to complete, which included dry spells due to touring commitments, Dead Meadow have an album that they're extremely proud of in Warble Womb, which is entirely released on Xemu Records. This Sunday, the stoner rock trio are playing their record release show at the Think Tank Gallery in Los Angeles before heading to the east coast and possibly Australia early next year in support of the release. Before the show, we caught up with singer/guitarist Jason Simon who filled us in on all the happenings that went into making the record.


OC Weekly (Daniel Kohn): What went into making this album that was different than the last one?

This was probably the longest we've ever spent writing and recording a record for a lot of reasons. Mark just rejoined the band, he wasn't living here, and we started to write songs and record a few. Then he moved out here and we'd write and record some more. It was kind of cool in that we'd just keep doing this process of writing a few and recording them in small batches. It definitely took a long time because of that. But I think it turned out pretty cool. We have our own studio in Downtown Los Angeles and recording space so we could spend as long as we want making it and trying different sounds.

How did having Mark change things?

He has a different feel than Steve McCarty. It was interesting recording because as we started, we were just getting used to playing with him again, and by the last batch of songs, it was like “Oh, cool.” We developed a feel that was like back when he was in the band, but pushed further. I think Mark is a little more of a swinging, jazzy drummer where McCarty is more big and Bonham-esque.

That said, did the band fall back to where it was before with Mark drumming, or was there a big leap forward?

I think it became something different than what it was, as it always does. You'll probably find similar stuff to what we've done with Mark back in the day just because of how we all play together. We're always trying to push forward and we have to do something new, that's the fun of it. You don't want to try to make the same record. You want to make something that gets you excited.

Was there an adjustment period?

Definitely after not playing with someone for so long. I mean it was cool from the get-go for sure, but as it went on, we were like “Wow, we're settling into something cool” and it had a natural feel with him coming back.

Why did you decide to release the record on Xemu?

It's a really cool label owned by a friend of ours, and Steve Kille, the bass player of Death Meadow, pretty much runs the label. It's been great because we've eliminated the middle man the best we could, they'd be making money of our creative endeavor while we're not. The last one, Three Kings, was on Xemu as well and the first two Dead Meadow records have been reissued on Xemu. We have a pretty good share of our catalog that we control and own. I think these days, that's all that musicians really have. There's no point in selling your publishing and any of that stuff if you can go with an indie label. And we can keep the masters.

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