Bill Kelliher Explains How Turnstile Is Impacting Mastodon’s Musical Direction
Mastodon may have some pretty epic tracks in their catalog, but if guitarist Bill Kelliher has his say, you might see that offset with some more direct, hard-hitting songs that aren't as drawn out. The guitarist admits he feels it's time to vary things up a bit and he credits recent Grammy-nominated rockers Turnstile for providing some of his musical inspiration.
“I want to write music that’s really fucking heavy and to the point. I want it to sound like Mastodon but steer away from the long, drawn-out songs. I feel like we’ve been on that kind of kick for a while, and I want to move on to something a little more tangible," Kelliher told Guitar.com.
He then elaborated, “The stuff I’m working on is the sort of stuff that comes out swinging, you know? I’ve been listening to a lot of Turnstile, and their last record, Glow On, to me, is fucking great. I just love their guitars, and their production of it sounds great. Their songwriting is really good. It reminds me of Bad Brains, but if they were more modern, with some Jane’s Addiction mixed in.”
He then revealed that the Turnstile album had reinvigorated his songwriting in a way. "That Turnstile record kind of [renewed] my interest in writing in that way," he explained. "It’s like, ‘Well, you guys are bringing back all the cool things about the bands that I used to listen to and really look up to. I wanna do more of that.’ I’m a product of the 80s and early 90s when all that kind of stuff was really popular.”
Turnstile's Glow On record took the band to new heights following its 2021 release. The album debuted at No. 30 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart, was a favorite for many publications year-end "best of" lists and resulted in a pair of Grammy nominations earlier this year.
Mastodon continue to tour in support of their 2021 album Hushed and Grim, but Kelliher's comments reveal that at least he is already preparing for the band's next studio album. However, no official word has been announced concerning when the next album might arrive.