Dillinger vs Mastodon: Ben Weinman quizzes Bill Kelliher
Despite having some of the most eccentric personalities of any band I know, you guys seem to get along really well. After all these years of touring together, how do you do it?
Well, we each have our own dressing room – we don’t speak to each other. No, that’s not true. I dunno, for the most part, everybody’s got their own personalities but we all know each others limits. We try not to get on each other’s back about anything; we’ve gotten into a routine and we just follow it. Everyone’s got their interests, we find better things to do than just sit around picking on each other. We’re not naggy egomaniacs. Well, not all of us, some of us are. Mostly, we all have a common goal in mind, which is to play a good show and try to get along. We all have to live on a tour bus together; we just learned how to give each other our space. It’s important to not always be bothering each other.
If you weren't in a band what do you think you would be doing with your life?
Aw jeez, I don’t know. I’d probably be a stay-at-home dad, really. I’ve got two boys, there’s a million things to do back home. Right now my wife does it all with a fulltime job, she gets them to soccer practice, to Capoeira class, to school in the morning in two different directions, then she goes to work herself and comes back to pick them up. I’d be a stay at home dad who works on his house. I have gardens that I like to tend to, when I’m at home I mow the lawn. Mowing the lawn’s one of my favorutie pastimes, it’s very therapeutic for me to be in my own back yard. I just sorted my entire back lawn with turf; that’s my pastime when I’m back home is working on the house. We’ve got a 100 year old house so it always needs repair. I wouldn’t really have a career; I’d be Mr Mom like Michael Keaton.
What's the best part about being in a band?
We’re pretty fortunate. There’s a million bands out there, there’s even more kids trying to be in bands now, who are trying to get out there saying ‘hey, we’re relevant, we want you to hear what we’re trying to say, we want to get our art out there.’ I guess the artist in me, I used to paint and I used to sculpt. For me, I gave up, because I realised there were so many other people doing the same thing I was. But with music, I was like ‘man, I can’t stop playing my guitar.’ For me, to be recognised, to be able to travel to all the places that I’ve been and all the people that I’ve met. If I wasn’t in a band my phone wouldn’t have 2,000 people’s phone numbers in it. All the people I’ve met through all the touring and constant travelling, all the beautiful things I’ve seen, the food I’ve had. The travel part is really amazing, even though 90% of the time we’re backstage, be it Japan or wherever, we try to make time to see all the sights and experience everything the best we can.
What do you tell people when they walk by the dressing room at a Mastodon show and they hear the word ‘Pwaunis’ being yelled repeatedly?
When I hear someone saying Pwaunis I know Ben Weinman’s in the house. That’s his favourite word.
Do you remember when we were on tour about 10 years ago and the Lights turned off for literally three seconds and then I was suddenly naked? How did that happen?
Yeah, that was funny. We were all standing in the dressing room and the power went out for like a split second. Me and Brann were just talking with Ben, the lights went out for a split second and when they went back on Ben was just standing there in his pants around his ankles. It was the funniest fuckin’ move I’ve ever seen. Ben’s a very funny guy – he’s a great dude. I love him to death and those were some good questions.