Each of Mastodon’s members is undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with in their own right. In this feature, we’ll take a look at each of Dailor, Hinds, Kelliher and Sanders, and particularly their pre-Mastodon past! We start, alphabetically, with…
Mastodon’s youngest member, Brann got into playing his instrument the same way most drummers do: because nobody else wanted to. He got his start drumming along with guitarists in his parents’ basement – never any bassists, of course – trying to match his friends’ busy, note-heavy style.
Dailor’s earliest available recorded output is a 1992 demo, charmingly titled Fondling The Dead, with a band called Evisceration. He was about 17 at 18 at the time, so it’s understandably…pretty ropey…but here it is anyway.
The band probably most important in Mastodon’s past is Lethargy. Although Mastodon are known for being founded in Georgia, both Brann and Bill Kelliher are from New York state, and were in Lethargy (and another band, briefly) together from 1992 – 1999. There was only one full-length – It’s Hard to Write with a Little Hand (1996) - but also several EPs and even a split, and it definitely represents the most consistent pre- Mastodon endeavour of any of the members.
Listening to cuts from the album, you can really hear the formation of the early Mastodon sound. It’s a little more tech-death, but the early combination of the two future Mastodon members was potent, and continues Dailor’s early template of matching the notey wanderings of a guitarist with his tom work.
Dailor was nothing if not busy during the late nineties, also releasing a record called Sparkling Cool in 1998 as part of an instrumental three-piece called Gaylord. There’s not much of their output available online, bar some video of his first performance with them. It’s actually pretty cool stuff, despite the name: lots of avant-garde, jazzy stuff going on, which is a key signature of his drumming style; plenty of fills and that kind of thing.
Another band Brann and Bill were in together, albeit briefly, was Today is the Day. They featured on 1999′s In the Eyes of God, which was the last thing either released before moving to Altlanta, meeting Brent and Troy, and starting Mastodon.
Of course, Today Is The Day are still going – the Mastodudes were but a blink in the band’s history (and In the Eyes of God was already their fifth album; an eleventh is due later this year) – but again, all the hallmarks are there (not unsurprising, as it came out just a year before Mastodon themselves formed). Some of Remission‘s building blocks are undoubtedly there; particularly with a drummer as iconic as Dailor.
Since forming Mastodon in 2000, Dailor has been one of the least active outside the unit, with only electronic project Arcadea to his name otherwise – and they’ve yet to formally release anything beside this track, “Gas Giant“, in early 2015.
Did anyone catch Dailor, along with bandmates Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher, in season 5 of Game Of Thrones?
Brann Dailor (centre) with (L-R) Kristofer Hivju, Eddison Tollett, Brent Hinds and Kit Harrington