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Mayhem 2014 ~ OKC
Mayhem 2014 ~ OKC
©Helen Orcutt Photography 2014

On Thursday August 7, 2014, The Oklahoma City Downtown Airpark opened the General Admission Gates at 1:00 PM and the music began at 1:05 pm. Originally the website showed the gates opened at 11:30 AM, so there were a lot of people standing out in the heat waiting in line for over an hour to get inside the gates.

There were multiple food and drink vendors located within the OKC Downtown Airpark that sold “fair food at fair food prices.” There were no sprinklers set up in general admission areas and the only mister in VIP was above the hot dog vendor, making it useless for those needing to cool off.

Rockstar Energy Drink had their large tent open from 1:00 PM – 6:00 PM for attendees of the festival to get out of the sun, get some canned water or enjoy an energy drink. Rockstar Energy Drink had a Peach Energy Drink there that was not bad as well as a variety of others to choose from.

Texas Hippie Coalition showed that they are just not musicians; they are music lovers in every sense of the word. After they got off stage, Big Daddy himself was front and center watching and enjoying Mushroomhead. Standing side by side with the fans and his fist up in the air, Big Daddy was as stoked to hear them play as anyone else. Those who follow Texas Hippie Coalition know that when they are not touring and there are shows in the OKC area, you will see them in the crowd and even around the stages somewhere. They travel as a whole, very seldom will you see just one or two of them at a show. They are not just a band; they are a brotherhood and brother stick together. You will always know when THC is in the house, because they do not leave home without their vests, it’s their American Express Card or better yet, their calling card. With loud voices and hands held up high in the air, those hippies that make sense out of this troubled world we live in today are some of the kindest men you will meet.

After playing their set in the triple digit Oklahoma heat, Kenny was kind enough to bring his mask with him and wear it during the interview. The influence for his mask is as crazy and cool as it looks, “this mask has been tweaked over the last six or seven years and with our current artist who does our sculpting, I told him I wanted a very much Voodoo/Witch doctor theme that was kind of creepy and poisonous, because you know the old saying, you knew I was a snake when you picked me up bitch!” With his ice blue eyes radiating out of his swamp green mask with dreds his laughter lightened it, while being serious at the same time. With over twenty years together as a band, what makes them who they are today? “The best thing I can say, it’s like Darwin, it’s Evolution and we started in a little pond and we crawled out and we breathing and we started growing arms and legs and now we are moving around the world literally doing the things we need to do and the evolution was needed to get the band where they are today. We are very much entertainers and performers and not worried about the individual musician shit. All the guys in Mushroomhead are badasses, but as a whole we are all very much entertainers.” Kenny takes on many different parts in the music process, he does all of the producing and some of the engineering, and we are very hands on with each other, not one person comes in and says here’s my idea for a song, you do this, you do that, everyone throws the kitchen sink at it and if it’s too much we edit it and if it’s not speaking to us or iffy, we get rid of it.” Mushroomhead self-produced their new album in their hometown, “It was a little bit of a blessing having our own studio, because you can do anything you want and it’s really only on the matter of the time limits, because you can keep on writing forever, but you have to have a deadline. So the deadlines speak for themselves, but the pressure was off, we got to sit there for ten hours a day playing and experimenting. We very experimental, going back to our old school roots of anything goes and if it’s not working it’s going to be very obvious.” As of right now they on hold for their four Russian dates in November. They were in Moscow in May and it went over great and they are currently talking with a different promoter to bring them back for another tour. “This time we will be touring by train, which is great, I’ve never toured by train before. The venues are 500-600 miles apart.” Breaking the language barrier when traveling overseas, “A lot of people know English and sometimes we hire a translator and hopefully you can trust them.” With followers from around the world, Mushroomhead is still humbled by the comments that fans make and love to talk with the fans who have there bands logo tattooed on them, “We are very blessed.” They would love to play with Slipknot and Stone Sour, “I think it would be cool.” Mushroomhead thanks everyone who came out to Mayhem 2014!

Ice-T and Coco did two signings on the Mayhem Tour, but OKC was not one of those dates. Coco stood in the hot and humid Oklahoma sun while Ice-T performed. The crowd was enthralled by the music and the face that Ice-T was in front of them singing. I have to say that I was excited too and as he so eloquently put it, “I’m Ice Mother Fucking T.” When he was done, Coco got off of the stage and walked up to the fans wanting to see her. Gracefully she took pictures with individuals and autographed items they had brought. And yes she is as beautiful in person as she is on television. All of the members of Bodycount were especially nice to the Media and fans alike.

Remember that not all bands sign at every show and on the Mayhem Tour certain bands were highlighted each show and they did their signings in a portion of the Rockstar Energy Drink Tent designed especially for bands to do their signings.

Suicide Silence’s guitarist Mark was extremely chipper with his beautiful long hair and his full bushy beard in the hot and humid Oklahoma heat. “I’m here in Oklahoma on a flat field, with a little bit of clouds in the sky and air conditioned port-a-potties behind you.” They have a new album out You Can’t Stop Me. It came out July 15th, on Nuclear Blast. “It charted 16th in the first week. It sounds well and it is being received well. We are having a blast at Mayhem. It’s good to be back.” Is there a big difference in the reception in the venues around the world? “The festivals are like a vacation day. When you buy your tickets in the US or in Europe, you are buying your “Day Pass” of fun and to have a good time.” Do you feed off of riffs of other guitarists or is it all you? “I think, being a guitarist and I’ve played the guitar for a really long time now that I have so many influence stuffed under my skin that I can’t get them out and that’s just the way that I play. Every guitar player gets into a rut every few years, I get into one about every three years and I need to learn something that will give me the step up or look at a guitar differently, but I’m a vibe player and I just play whatever comes to mind and I just play and it’s all from influences that I’ve listened to.” On stage do you play by the seat of your pants at time or are you very structured? “All the time. When I’m on stage I don’t care if we are getting recorded. If someone is filming a DVD, I don’t think about any outside stuff, I just play and whatever comes out comes out.” When family is at the shows do you play any differently? “That’s when I zone out. Home shows, the band as a whole gets a vibe, because we are on different wavelengths and we play together as well as we have places around the world that we call home shows, because we have friends and family there. I really try to zone out and get to the same headspace when I’m on stage, no matter where I’m at.” When you are traveling from show to show, are you thinking about what the set list will be, what’s the first song on the set, or are you just relaxing for that next show? “We have two set lists. We have one for Mayhem everyday and we have a set list play on our off day. WE are supporting our album Cannibal Corpse on our off days. When it’s an off show, it’s super laid back. On Mayhem we have 30 minutes to play our songs and we have to be on point. When it’s a 40-minute set we are more laid back and we can have fun. If we go over a little bit Cannibal doesn’t mind. It’s a free formed, we can have more fun on stage and Eddie talks a lot more and make fun of whatever. We try to keep it more fun loving, but I try not to overthink that stuff. That’s why I get into that mindset, whatever I was thinking about during the 1st song is long gone by the time the 2nd song comes around, During the 1st song I am addressing any problems, 2nd song I’m fixing it and the rest of the set I’m flying.” Have there been any hiccups on Mayhem?
Ill Nino “Oh yeah. There always is. It is totally impossible to go an entire tour without what we call it Total Rig Failure. There was a time when we couldn’t get any bass and we had to start the show without any bass. Luckily they figured it out before the end of the 1st song. And literally the next day a guitar, not mine, wasn’t getting any signal and same thing, they started and by the end of the 1st song they had it figured out and working. Mayhem is a fly by the seat of your pants. It’s very Groundhog’s Day, you have 30-minute changeovers the same band is playing the same 30-minute set everyday. A man came up to me at one of our signings and told me I enjoyed your show, it sounded just like the album and I had to tell him, well then you didn’t notice that there wasn’t any bass for the 1st song, but that’s the way it goes.” New equipment has been added; “I used to use the Triple Wreck Fire Amp and now I use the Mesa Boogie Mark V. There’s more to it. It’s a man’s amp and you can dial it in to the exact spot.” Most bands use the headset or the earpiece now. How do you overcome the difference in the way you sing, so it doesn’t sound like you are singing with your fingers in your ears? “We are the kind of band that pretty much 80% of us are not on monitors, we play live and we record live. We pretty much started out careers looking for ways to show our live show on disc. We didn’t start our careers by writing records, we started our careers by playing in VFW Halls and playing in small venues and touring around the world and playing at parties and doing stupid shit. So we were always a Live Band and that’s our MO. If you come and see us, expect to pretty hear the record or better. Our 1st album we didn’t record live and we can most definitely play those songs better now. You are going to be coming to see a band that is always trying to be better and sound the way that we want to sound; which is live and exciting.” Knottfest in October and they will be in Europe November for a headlining tour. They will also be touring the US this fall as the headliner.

The guitarist for Erimha, Kthien, came straight from their set to the interview, in full costume and make-up. Kthien was hot and tired and by my making him think about what day they were on the true was serious, but his response was comical, “I have no idea. I don’t even know what day of the week it is. All I know is that we are in Oklahoma City. I believe this would be day 25, because we have 26 days on the tour and we have one show left.” Erimha has 39 shows scheduled October and November, which will be a full US Tour and a few dates in Canada. The dates will be posted on the Erimha website when they become available. Playing out in the in make-up and costume must be hard, but, Kthien sees it differently,“It’s not so bad, the Winter is the worst. You put your clothes into the trailer wet and when you pull them out you have popsicles. It’s like make-up doesn’t let your body breathe. In the summer it’s just hard to breathe, but it’s heat and what are you supposed to do about it?” The only Sponsors that the band has is a personal endorsement that Kthien has with Kramer Guitars, “Other than that, Victory Records takes good care of us.” “Kramer gave me the new Kramer Assault Plus for this tour. It is by far the best guitar on the market and I’m not just saying that since I am endorsed by Kramer Guitars.” Kthien uses a Intune .88 pick. “What’s neat about Intune is that they make the perfect pick. It is in between the large Dunlap and the Jazz 3. They aren’t too big and they aren’t too small. Very rarely does he change a pick, “Once I find one that I like, very rarely do I change. That’s why I like the .88, it’s hard enough to play the fast riffs, but swoop enough to play the chords and it doesn’t feel like you are playing with a brick.” Since they had to have another guitarist fill in for the Mayhem Tour, they stayed with the same three songs for the entire tour, otherwise they try to mix things up a bit. “That’s why we work a little harder, so that when we go out on tour we can switch things up a bit.” As a Victory Records band I asked how they like Victory Records, “Great, we love it. A lot of people ask how a band like us got with Victory Records, but we are a very hard working band like a lot of other underground bands and when Victory came about and we saw how hard their entire team works and it was a perfect fit for us all. Things have been going really good for us.” Where’s home for you? “Everywhere. We’re so not attached, don’t get me wrong, we’re attached to our family. That’s just the way we live our lives on the road. We live off of the strict minimum and blocking everything else out. We miss our people, but to say we miss home, NO.” The band takes care of their own Social Media.
Leather King~Bass and backing vocals

Dude and Andrew from the Greenville, SC based band, Islander. The current single for Islander is Coconut Dracula. Their singer comes from the Dominican Republic and he was talking with his uncle and he heard what he thought was Coconut Dracula and asked him if he had just said Coconut Dracula and he just blew it off as something else. But our singer took the idea and ran with it. This Dracula found some beauty in mankind and started eating coconuts instead of people. The song is from the point of view of his mummy roommate. He is jealous of his new outlook on life and he wants to be more like him. He had a change of heart and he wanted to be a better person. They start a three-week tour on September 11, 2014 with Otherwise and Like A Storm. They will also be performing at Aftershock, Louder Than Life Festival and a few dates with Rob Zombie. While on the road they cannot travel without headphones, “Because everyone snores. Toothbrush, baby wipes, coconut oil.; I don’t cook with it; I put it on my skin and my hair. Cell phone chargers and the adapters for the bus. It is common for the member to get their phones hacked by others in the band; posting stupid and lame things on their social media sites, but that isn’t the case with the young men from Islander. Dude was very frank, “We are an honest group and we don’t care what each other has on their phone.” While Andrew was happy to point out that you would find pictures of his cat on his phone.” Life and the road have changed them and their music. They booked their own tours in the beginning and they only saw one facet of the local music and getting out and seeing what everyone was doing and what the trend were. The same thing helped us when they were writing their first full-length cd. We wanted to step aside from what everyone else was doing, so that we would stand out and really make a name for ourselves.” Andrew was not wrong about them making a name for themselves. The coolest person that has been out in the crowd or was standing on their side stage, “We will randomly see any member of KORN. Today we get on stage and I do a spin on stage and there’s Fieldy and his son Monkey. When they have conversation it is random. They talk just to talk. They had one conversation about having kids and being a father and not about being a Rockstar.” The members of Islander are always brainstorming and writing, even on the road. For Andrew, writing is his favorite par of being in a band, even more so than playing in the band. “I don’t know what I would be doing if I weren’t writing music.” Self-interpretation of their music is best, Andrew stated, “They’re not going to see it the same way I do. As long as it means something to someone, then I have done my job.” With bright and promising futures ahead, Islander made life-long friends while on Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival 2014.

Wretched is under Victory Records. They just released two music videos. The band is out of Charlotte, SC. They will be doing a full US Tour and they hope to be heading to Europe in the fall. “The label is very good about financing us, but we hope to make enough along the way to help pay for at least part of it. The income from merchandise sales at the shows yields a higher profit margin and it is quick easy money for the bands. Wretched just released Cannibal on June 10th and they are working really hard pushing their new album and touring. “When I get home I’m going to take a two day nap and then I am going to the beach.” “Thanks to all of our fans for their support. Keep supporting us and we will continue to put out the kind of music that you like listening to. We hope to see you soon.” Wretched runs their own social media sites. “We like getting out amongst our fans. Everyone has their own way of doing thing sand their own personality and good to get meet these incredible people. At all of our shows we are out signing and talking with our fans.” Advice to a band starting out, “You’ve got to give it 100%, you can’t half ass anything, especially when it comes to music.” And yes they are happy with where they are today, “I’m absolutely thrilled,” and enjoying the ride.

Ill Nino’s current single Live Like There’s No Tomorrow and they are unsure of how many hits it has received on YouTube, “That’s really unusual, I’m always on top of things. Our others have over 40 million hits each.” Fans will had their cell phones to the artists to take pictures from up on stage. Do you do that? “It’s hard to do that on the Mayhem Tour. We can’t get close enough to them because of the barriers. But when we can we do. When we are doing a club show I’ll take pictures of the audience and myself with fans phones if they hand them to me.” When you do signings, do you spend time with your fans or do you run them through like cattle? “We are a very fan friendly band and we take pride in the fact that we spend time conversing with our fans. We pay tribute to our fans that have stuck around with us since the bands conception. Even though trends come and go and Ill Nino may not have been the coolest band around, so to those who stuck around, Till Death, La Familia is for them. We call our friends, family and we call them out by name when we see them and we know their name. We have friends, it’s not just the Artist/Fan relationship.” The band handles all of its own Social Media accounts themselves, so if you comment directly to a band member, they will be the one responding to you. They are on these sites daily. Going from stage to the bus, is that a cooling down period for you, or a place to regroup and think about tomorrow? “It’s definitely a cooling down period for me; where I compose myself and get back to my normal personality. They say when we are on stage it’s our alter-ego and I have to get my head back straight and get out of show mode." Is music your passion? “Of course, I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t.” What would you do without music? “I don’t know, probably be in a very bad depression. I can’t imagine a life without music. After hearing Santana when I was 8, that’s all I wanted to do since. I’m 33 now, you do the math.” Who was your 1st concert? “Gypsy Pistoleros.” If you had kids would you let them listen to your music? “Mo

As Media we are privileged to the insights to what makes an artist tick and how their outlook on life may be expressed through their music, but we also have some that aren’t as receptive to our questions as was the case with Frankie from Emmure. Taking into consideration it was the end of the Mayhem Tour and they had already played their set for the day in the brutal heat, and you take it with stride and go with it. Frankie has a friend that was in a bad car wreck recently and he was given a guitar and he had all of the bands that played on the Mayhem Tour sign the guitar, so that it could be auctioned off to pay for the medical bills. Frankie found wonderful way for an artist to use his resources to help out a friend in need.

Multiple stages made it easier to book more bands for the Mayhem Tour this year. With two bands playing simultaneously, fans had to have their game plan set ahead of time so that they would not miss out on their favorite artists. Some waited until the day of the festival and tackled it head on.

Victory Records had their own stage this year at Mayhem and had optimum placement of their Merchandise Tent at the OKC Downtown Airpark. It was located right as fans walked through the gates. They were giving out plastic bags filled with a cd of samples of some of their featured artists, information on the bands and ways to order online through them or the bands themselves. They came prepared with plenty of sacks and were still handing them out to people as they were leaving the festival. Victory Records was promoting their artists in every way possible at Mayhem this year and a job well done.

Victory Records Stage:
1:05-1:25 Erimha
1:50-2:10 Islander
2:40-3:05 Wretched
3:30-3:55 Ill Nino
4:25-4:50 Emmure

Headbang For The Highway/Sumerian Stage
1:05-1:25 Local Winner
1:50-2:10 Darkest Hour
2:40-3:05 Veil of Maya
3:30-3:55 Upon A Burning Body
5:20-5:45 Bodycount with Ice-T

Coldcock American Herbal Whiskey Stage:
1:25-1:50 King 810
2:15-2:40 Texas Hippie Coalition
3:05-3:30 Mushroomhead
3:55-4:25 Miss May I
4:50-5:20 Suicide Silence
5:45-6:20 Cannibal Corpse

Rockstar Energy Drink Main Stage:
6:30-7:00 Trivium
7:15-7:50 Asking Alexandria
8:15-9:15 KORN
9:45-11:00 Avenged Sevenfold

Before KORN hit the stage Fieldy’s son and daughter came out and were throwing his picks into the crowd, making the crowd wild before the show began. When the lights came up and the music started playing, the hands were in the air and people began singing with the music. The ole too familiar sound was not the case for KORN at Mayhem, it is a time when they can play their music as loud as they want to the fans and they eat it up. With over twenty years together as a band, KORN knows the ins and the outs as to what make their light show fit in perfect rhythm with the music. Synchronized to the max and then some. Fieldy has glow in the dark strings on his guitar and when they turn the lights out they glow green, but when they use the black light, they glow the prettiest fluorescent blue. Towards the end of the set, Fieldy’s son and daughter came out on stage and danced for one song. They got to tour with him on the entire Mayhem Tour. What stories they will have to tell their friends and classmates when they go back to school. Their dad may be a Rockstar, but they got to go on tour with him and be a part of the show too.

For those that were seeing Avenged Sevenfold for the first time, they were in for a real treat. The pyrotechnics are astonishing, even in the extreme triple digits weather. The lead singer, Matt Shadows came out and said, “Since you all should out in this God awful heat all day, just to hear us play, then we’ll stay out in it and play for you.” It would not be complete without them playing their respects to their brother The Rev, he was not only their drummer, they had been friends since they were teenagers. The song for they wrote to, for and about him will make the hair stand up on the back of your neck and bring tears to your eyes. So Far Away explains how they feel, “How do I live without the ones I love?” Matt drops down on one knee while singing this, making it so much more than a song; it is an expression of their pain. The show had to be stopped due to an idiot that had climbed up the tower next to the stage. The young man was up there with his telephone waiving it around and exchanging fingers with the crowd. Security and Police on the grounds were at the tower when he decided to scatter across the catwalk like a squirrel and slid down the other side, in hopes to get onto the stage with Avenged Sevenfold. He was apprehended before he could dart onto the stage. The young man got to wear pretty silver bracelets, take a limo ride downtown and got his picture taken. Way to go idiot! The show ended thirty minutes early after the fiasco, but the fans were still pumped when they left the stage.

Thousands of people were trying to leave the OKC Downtown Airpark after the Mayhem Festival ended and with only one entrance and exit located off of a major street near Bricktown, it took hours for people to get out. It was worse than trying to get out of Rocklahoma. One attendee stated, “I’m never coming back here again, I don’t care who’s playing!” The OKC Downtown Airpark and the OKC Police did not get their schedules straight so that traffic could be directed for those leaving. Those already exhausted from the heat and many were drunk, tempers began to rise as they waited to exit. BIG FAIL.

Victory Records
346 North Justine Street
5th Floor
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 666-8661

Roadrunner Records
1290 Avenue of the Americas
28th Floor
New York, NY 10104

Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival

OKC Downtown Airpark
1701 S. Western Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK 73109
(405) 364-3700

Mayhem Sponsors:
Coldcock American Herbal Whiskey
Fuck Cancer
Legator Guitars
Metal Injection
Pabst Blue Ribbon
Revolver Magazine
Roadrunner Records
Rockstar Energy Drink
Sumerian Records
Victory Records
Wet Premium Lubricants
Zippo Encore

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