Michelle LaRose talks to Eric Rogers and John Fattoruso for Metal Masters
Photographs by Michelle LaRose
You’re rocking out on Metal Masters with Michelle. I’m here today with Stereomud and from Stereomud I have with me Eric and John.
JF: I feel like I’m in a deja vu scenario. I’m not sure why.
MM: Deja vu! Where are you guys from?
John: I’m from New York and he’s from Atlanta. [Laughing] If you are wondering why I’m laughing, this is the second take. Somebody walked past our camera before and we didn’t realize it.
MM: Cut! Take two! How many years have you guys been together?
Eric: We’ve been together a little longer than three years.
MM: Your first album was titled Perfect Self and you have the single Pain on that. How did Pain do for you guys?
John: Pain was actually in the top ten on Billboard, what was it? Active rock? Active and modern went in the top ten. It was up there with Tool, Staind, Godsmack, I can’t remember the other bands but there’s a bunch of other bands. Having your band name said in the same sentence as bands like that is actually, you know… At the end of the day it’s like wow I never thought that would happen but it did and we’re still going. Hopefully the new single Breathing will do the same thing and build up from there.
MM: It sounds like you have some momentum going. A couple of members of the band are formerly from The Life Of Agony and Stuck Mojo. Do you think they bring something with them to Stereomud?
Eric: Well yeah. A lot of it is their past history everything that they learned from being in those bands that they brought to this band. When we got together there was a big discussion about what we didn’t want to do and how we wanted to present ourselves as a band. Yeah, it’s a direct reflection on the way we are now and the way that we will be.
MM: Your new album is due out in about two weeks called Every Given Moment…
Eric: April 1st
MM: April 1st. Your new single off that is going to be Breathing. I understand that Breathing is on Cheap Date. Is that a movie soundtrack?
John: I think it’s just a compilation of Columbia acts. Pete Yorn’s on it. Who else is on that? We’re on it. It’s just a promo CD. I know in local bars out in Long Island where I live… I walked in and some guy was like… pulls up his shirt and he’s got a Stereomud shirt on and he was handing out our CD in some bar/lounge around town. I think it’s just a promo for all the Columbia acts coming out with a new record this year I think.
MM: I guess some of the members of the band come from a musical family. [Looking at Eric] You come from a family of people who are in the medical profession. Were they for or against you being in bands?
Eric: They were never against it. At a young age they thought it was something that was just a phase. As I got older and I moved out of Atlanta and I moved to New York to join Stereomud. They always supported me in everything I did. They’re proud of me. It’s funny; my father actually owns a car dealership in Atlanta so he’s not in the medical field. My brother, sister and mother are. He always introduced me to the other salesmen that worked for him, “This is my son, he’s the rock-star.” And I’m like, “Dad, I’m sure they’re not confused as to which one I am.” You know when I walk in with a tank top showing tattoos and piercings… I’m the Doctor! If I was the doctor I failed in lab really bad!
MM: Dr. Jekyll [Laughing]
Eric: Right. I kept sticking myself with the needle! But yeah, they’re very supportive. I’m proud of my brother and what he does. It’s funny; we go home for Christmas, usually the only time of the year I get to see my family. My brother’s telling me about when he was dissecting a human cadaver in school and then I’m talking about being on the road doing forty-eight shows in the last eight weeks, it was crazy with no days off. The thing we do for fun which is go play golf or something off the wall. It’s cool.
MM: The band started getting some momentum happening with Farmclub. Farmclub gave you a lot of exposure? Tell us a little bit about that.
John: Like I was telling you before we went on the air… After spending a whole bunch of time in New York writing and trying to get a bunch of showcases going we figured we’d put our name up on the Farmclub board, get the word out and people vote on it. Nobody pulled strings; it wasn’t from any past bands. We legitimately were voted onto the show. We went back down to Atlanta. They came down and met us there for a day and followed us around and interviewed us, the day in the life in Atlanta. We went out to California and did the show. Everyone started booking more showcases after that. Loud Records were the first to step up with the kind of offer we were looking for and felt that we deserved. Here we are three years later. It’s going pretty good.
MM: It is going good for you guys. You are currently on the Jagermeister tour. Do you have plans for any new videos?
Eric: Yeah. Actually on this tour we’re going to shoot the video for Breathing. What we’ve decided to do is shoot several of the shows and cut several songs into performance videos and put them out to M2 and stuff like that in the future. Our big plan is to come out with a big DVD down the road. We have footage from the making of the first record to the making of the second record, a short movie we did while we were making the first record and the second record. We want to put it all out so we’ve been compiling all of the stuff on video. We’ve got several tracks from the first record that we already have turned into video. We’re just looking forward to getting that out. Yeah, we’ll definitely be shooting some stuff.
MM: We at Metal Masters are looking forward to seeing that.
Eric: We’ll make sure you get it.
MM: Wonderful! Now we’re going to rock out here on Metal Masters.
[Music video plays]
You’re back with Michelle and Stereomud, Eric and John.
MM: John, tell me, I heard you had a lot of problems coming up with the name Stereomud. Originally it was called Amazing Disgrace. How did you end up with Stereomud?
John: The name was the name of the band before I joined and then it changed when I was trying out for the band. It was Amazing Disgrace. I had wondered what happened to Stereomud. Then it went back to Stereomud again. Billy Milano of S.O.D. named the band. He heard the demos and was like, “It sounds like stereo mud.” That’s how that came about. Eric actually has a pretty cool thing for the Stereomud name. But it came from Billy Milano of S.O.D. Eric’s little thing about it is pretty cool too.
MM: Ok, Eric’s “little thing” we must hear it.
Eric: Anybody that’s followed the band or reads anything about us, three of the guys are from New York, Corey and I are from Atlanta Georgia… We took the stereo, Radio City Music Hall in New York and Georgia red clay, mud… Stereomud!
MM: Very interesting. Eric, I heard you were sick on stage once.
Eric: Yeah, it actually happened a few times. He’ll laugh at me because I have it captured on videotape at one show. Occasionally, if you eat too soon before you go on and your amp’d up and you go out there and you start jumping around, shake everything up in there, it’s like a soda can. It will spew.
Eric: One of the songs on this tour, the Jager tour, I threw up right in the middle of the verse of Anything But Jesus which is off the new record. Luckily it didn’t fly out of my mouth though, I was able to catch it and I had to swallow it and keep singing.
Eric: Yeah. It’s disgusting. Really. You come right off stage and you want to find the closest toothbrush. Anything to get over that feeling.
MM: The show must go on.
Eric: Must go on. Yeah. So we try not to ever stop it.
MM: Your song The End Of Everything is Raven’s theme for the WWE. Did you make the song specifically for him?
John: We didn’t write the song. The lyrics were written by us. Eric and Corey got together and wrote the lyrics. Music was sent in. We were picked to do Raven’s theme song. A guy named Jim Johnson who works at the WWF, he’s the music guy, sent us a rough tape of what he wanted. We called him up and we said, “Could we at least throw in hints of Stereomud?” Because he really didn’t want to change it a whole bunch, we added in little inflections and things that we would do. Eric and Corey sang on it. It is what it is. It came out good and went on that thing and it gets played when he comes out. If we ever get the chance to do it again, I think we’d rather write the whole song. I’ve watched wrestling for years and he has too. I think it’d be a fun thing to just… oh we got that guy, I know that guy, lets write a song for him. That’s how it works. We were just happy to be picked to do something that big. The WWE is huge.
MM: That’s going to be good for your career.
John: Yeah, you know. It’s not bad. You hear it on TV. its like, “Wow I’ve been watching this since I was five years old, this guy is coming down the ramp and you hear his voice coming out.” The Raven’s going and it’s like wow, we recorded it and played it.
MM: That’s exciting. So you have your hand in sports now you have your hand in video games. I hear that one of your songs is in a video game?
Eric: Pain made it to a few video games. How I found out about it was my son was playing the game. He called me up and said, “Dad! Did you know that you’re on one of the snowboard games?” When stuff like that happens your publishing company is constantly shopping your music out to get it out to movie sound tracks, video games, commercials, ESPN2, sports events and stuff like that. We find out sometimes after the fact that stuff like that happens. Any time we hear it; it’s always a nice pat on the back. Out of all the bands and all the music that’s out there to pick from, we’re in the mix. We’re getting picked for stuff like that.
MM: I was on the internet and on one of the message boards somebody had mentioned that there was a Stereomud song on one of the games they were playing and now Stereomud is their favorite band because of the song in the game.
Eric: That’s awesome! See, I didn’t know that. That’s new. That’s awesome!
MM: That’s very awesome.
Eric: I was playing PlayStation earlier today it’s got all the 80’s rock and all the channels in it, one of the station’s has Run DMC going. I remember listening to Profile when it was a cassette tape when I was younger. Music influences our lives lots of times in ways we don’t even realize.
MM: This is true. Would you have any advice for bands just starting out, now that you guys are getting a taste of success. What advice do you have for new bands?
John: Don’t jump on bandwagons. Be yourself. Don’t paint yourself into a corner. Keep your mind open. Respect your other band members. Just do it. Don’t say, “Oh I can’t do this because of my boss.” If you really want to do music, your boss is just what’s going to support your real goal. If I had said that, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing right now. I’ve lost many a job to the music. I’d sleep in a gutter for this. If I could do it all over again, I’d do it all over again. I don’t like any of the jobs I lost. I like my job now. I could keep this one for the next few years. So be yourself and stick to your goal. That’s it.
MM: Be yourself, follow your dream. That’s the way to do it. What’s the best part of success so far Eric?
Eric: We get to travel. Everything. Everything about it is great. The interaction with the fans, the shows, it’s all fun. It’s all because of the people that buy the records and support the music. [Looking into camera and pointing] Thank you!
MM: We’re going to be seeing the video Pain. Can you set this up for us? I haven’t seen it. I’ll be checking it out with you guys.
Eric: We shot it at Griffith Park in Los Angeles. It’s a performance video so to speak with a bunch of kids that are racing through the woods to get to the stage. I thought they should have had them trip and fall down the hill you know for pain, throw that in there. A little subliminal. Just hundreds of kids falling down the mountain. But a little too violent, they felt. Obviously I’m not a director. It was a lot of fun to make it. It was the first time we’d ever made a video. It’s a long process for a three minute and thirty second video; it took about seventeen hours to make.
MM: It was wonderful meeting you and we’re going to see Pain right now with Stereomud.