Known for their theatrical live show and the black masks that most of their members wear on-stage, Mushroomhead are one of the more unique and adventurous alternative metal outfits that emerged in the 1990s.
And the Cleveland band's music is as interesting as its image; Mushroomhead's forceful yet melodic alterna-metal incorporates elements of hip-hop, punk, and goth rock as well as industrial and techno. The members of Mushroomhead have been performing incognito since 1993, when drummer Skinny founded the band. At first, Mushroomhead were only meant to be a side project. Their members were playing in various local bands at the time, and they wore the blacks masks (which look like a cross between S&M/bondage masks and World War I gas masks) so that people wouldn't recognize them. The only Mushroomhead member who doesn't wear a black mask opts for Kiss
-like clown makeup instead. After a few years, Mushroomhead became one of Cleveland's top local attractions -- and the bandmembers kept wearing the masks when they saw how intriguing people found them to be. Mushroomhead's self-titled debut album was released independently in 1995, followed by Superbuick in 1996 and M3 in 1999. The Midwesterners signed with Eclipse in 2000, and their next album, XX, came out the following year. In 2001, Mushroomhead's members included drummer/founder Skinny, lead vocalists J-Mann and Jeffrey Nothing
, guitarists Bronson
and Gravy, keyboardist Shmotz, bassist Pig Benis, and sample provider Stitch
when they signed to Universal Records to re-release XX. Their first proper effort for the label was 2003's dynamic XIII, but the band soon parted ways with not only Universal, but also vocalist J-Mann during a subsequent tour. Undeterred, Mushroomhead pressed on with their D.I.Y. ethos intact and welcomed new frontman Waylon, formerly of 3 Quarters Dead
, into the fray. The DVD Mushroomhead, Vol. 1 followed in mid-2005 before the guys returned in September 2006 with Savior Sorrow, released through New York-based indie Megaforce Records. Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children, the band's seventh studio album, arrived in 2010, followed in 2014 by The Righteous & the Butterfly. ~ Alex Henderson, Rovi