Austin Music Examiner readers have heard mention of Austin band Mothers Anthem in recent articles reviewing the bands debut record "Save the Fallen" and the band's recent SXSW performances. AME has tapped into it's archives to bring it's readers some questions from an interview with guitarist Julian Mandrake and frontman Kirk Baxley to give you a broader vision of who Mothers Anthem is and even a cause the band supports.
Austin Music Examiner: How did the band get its name?
Julian Mandrake: *laughs* that’s a funny one
Kirk Baxley: Well, I’m going to be real honest, we all sat around like elementary students and played the game popcorn. We wanted two words, and we wanted one to be very effeminate, and one to be very strong. We wanted to have a lot of substance and a lot of meaning. The word “mother” obviously means “a birth, a new beginning, to care, to take care of,” and then “anthem” is a hymn sung by legions of men, and so those are two very powerful things. What’s really cool is after naming the band we all realized really fast that, like each of us really admires our mother, each one of us in the band. It’s pretty crazy because I want to go out on a limb and just say that each one of us has been affected by our mother more than anyone else in our entire family. It’s pretty cool because they are definitely the strong point in our personal lives. I just think it’s a very effeminate and very dominate name, and that’s kind of what we wanted to go with, something really different.
Austin Music Examiner: How did the band get its current lineup?
Kirk: Zak, Julian, and Jono had been kind of jamming with a different singer and a different bassist. They kind of played around just to test it out, but they weren’t really satisfied. Julian decided from the very beginning that he wanted…uhh…umm…well he had his eye on…uhh…me *laughs*
Julian: Yeah I did. No what I did was one Christmas, the Christmas before, I got a hold of his CD, and drove around, I was like “man, if I were to have a singer, it would be Kirk Baxley,” I was like “that’s the dude.” So it was just weird how it all happened. I had that wish, and it came true you know?
Kirk: We initially had a different bassist. I went with Zak, and we went to Starbucks, and we had a commitment talk, and we were like “ok, if we’re really going to try to do this, then we’re going to go all out. But we need to know if you’re 100%,” and he’s like “well are you 100%?” and I was like “yeah that’s a good question” you know? So we got into this real serious talk, and pretty much decided this was it. Along with Zak came Drew, which I was more than excited about. He just brings a really great element. I mean you’ve got a really on top aggressive drummer, a Tommy Lee kind of vibe, and then you’ve got a really back beat soulful bassist like Marcus Miller. So it’s just kind of a cool groove. It plays rock, R&B, hip hop, soul and the whole deal.
Austin Music Examiner: Something that makes Mothers Anthem very unique is the stage costume and persona. What is the story behind that?
Kirk: Honestly, I would wear it everywhere if I had a closet full of it. I’m a huge fan of Victorian look; I’m a huge fan of Beethoven and Bach, and all the greats. I’m a huge fan of that. We all sat around like “how can we incorporate that into rock and roll?” so we went with the whole up do look and our manager loved it, and that’s just kind of what became, it just fits, it’s just right. I’m sick and tired of bands in jeans and t-shirts. I’m tired of “shoe gazers” that just stand there and look at their converse tennis shoes. We want to do something real; we want to do something that’s a little bit out there, something that would be maybe put in a movie more so than rock and roll. So we wanted to set a standard for rock and roll again.
Austin Music Examiner: I have also noticed that the band as a uniquely high level of personableness with the fans, Explain a bit about this.
Kirk: Honestly, it’s all about the fans, that’s what makes it work, that’s what makes it possible. We have very devoted people that are all on board, it’s just like it’s a machine. Hopefully, fingers crossed and all prayers thrown out, I just hope that it all takes off from here, you know? This is a great start; this is a great jumping place. We all have been in bands long enough to realize that’s how we support ourselves, that’s how we support our families, that’s how survive literally, it’s our career. People are holding us up and taking care of us.
Austin Music Examiner: The band teamed up with Invisible Children and Cause Cast recently, donating your song “Structure of the Heart” for free download to help them out. Tell more about this.
Kirk: That kind of came out of nowhere…
Julian: Everybody was donating a song; we were asked if we would donate a song, so we decided to donate “Structure of a Heart.” We really believe in that organization.
Kirk: I really feel like once the band has more of a spiritual or political platform, we’ll do a whole lot more of that for people. We’re all about giving back; we want to be a hope. Music has gotten do dark and angry and bitter. Some of the songs have that vibe, but the heart of the band is just to give hope, and that’s what we want to do.
Julian: I wish that we could do so much more than just that, which our plans are in the future to definitely contribute more than we already did, and that’s one thing about when you have continued success, that’s one of the advantages of it because you can use that towards that organization, just the fact that it is disheartening to think about the kids that are being kidnapped and used for the army against their will. So that’s just one organization that we are proud to be a part of.
Mothers Anthem is an Austin Music Examiner favorite when it comes to live performances. To find out if they are playing a show near you, add the band's myspace
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