Tomahawk's Duane Denison talks Oddfellows
As Tomahawk return to the fray with album number four, guitarist Duane Denison accounts for the experimental rock supergroup's five year absence
“I’m sure I was in
Then you remember the profiles that Tomahawk’s constituent parts have maintained in the intervening time – singer Mike Patton’s shock return to Faith No More and myriad projects that ran the gamut from voicing computer game effects to performing Italian pop classics with a Dutch orchestra. Then there was drummer John Stanier’s heavy shift behind the kit for nebulous math-rockers Battles (peppered by inspired collaborations with glitch-hop maestro Prefuse 73 and minimal techno producer The Field). And of course there was Denison’s own trip down memory lane with The Jesus Lizard, in-between time served with Ministry’s Paul Barker (as U.S.S.A) and four years in the ranks of Nashville rockabilly hell raisers Legendary Shack Shakers.
With this exponential growth of their collective taste buds since the last go-round, did a fourth Tomahawk album ever start to drift out of reach? “It was always there in the back of my mind,” says
As the project finally came back into focus in late 2011, the addition of long-term Patton associate Trevor Dunn (ex-Mr Bungle, Fantômas) galvanised the group as they set about fleshing out the “riffs, beats and general things” that Duane had brought to the table for what would ulimately become the band's fourth LP as we now know it: Oddfellows. “Bringing Trevor onboard kind of kicked it into overdrive,” Denison admits. “Everybody already knows Trevor, we’ve hung out, toured together in different groups and his reputation precedes him, doesn’t it – such a great all around player. Mike’s obviously known him a long time, since they were kids practically, and they’ve worked together, so that was comfortable. When we got together to rehearse, right from the get-go, I thought that the rhythm section – him and John Stanier playing together – just sounded great, a natural fit. There wasn’t even a second thought; it was as if they’d been playing together for years.”
With Dunn’s versatility compounding the collective’s mounting idiosyncrasies, the question becomes: What would a new Tomahawk album even sound like? “I like to think Oddfellows picks up where [2003’s] Mit Gas left off,” says
Is this to say they actively sought to broaden their appeal after such a long time away? “I think there was a conscious attempt, not necessarily to try to be popular…”
Now they’re finally out of hibernation, Tomahawk’s touring plans are firming up well into the New Year with gigs in the
Guest Question: Fraser Stewart (Fat Goth): Did you really sleep with Courtney Love?
Fat Goth? Oh boy… Hahahahahahaha…. [pause] Hahahahahahahaha…No, NO! She took a shine to me when Hole and The Jesus Lizard played Lollapalooza in ’95. I was just trying to be nice! Their bass player Melissa – beautiful gal – she took me in to meet Courtney, and I went out of my way to be nice. If you’re gonna be around someone on this big rolling tour for weeks, get to know ‘em – or at least reach out and try. But that’s all. You know what, I should just say ‘Yes – I did, and while we were doing it I put on a green cardigan sweater and a blonde wig!'