Metal Mark was nice enough to interview us on his excellent Heavy Metal Time Machine blog. Check it out here.
Mighty High might be as much of a statement as it is a band name. This is also the first time I have interviewed a band that began as a fictitious band. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing vocalist/guitarist Woody to find out more about this history of this band and what they are up to.
MM-Hello. Tell us a little about the history of your band.
Woody-Mighty High started off as a fictitious band. I started teaching myself guitar at the age of 31 as a hobby and would tell everyone that my band Mighty High kicked ass. Eventually my friend Brain O))) painted a denim jacket with a logo on the back. Once I saw the band name in acrylic on denim I got serious about writing songs and putting a band together.
MM-How did you come up with the band name?
Woody-My wife and I were on a road trip and I was telling her about something stupid I did in high school when I was stoned. She said “you must have been mighty high.” There was a long pause and we both said it would be a good band name at the same time. I later found out there was a great jazz album by Milt Buckner called Mighty High as well as a gospel song called “Mighty High” by the Mighty Clouds of Joy.
MM-Who are your musical influences?
Woody-We describe our sound as Black Flag Railroad. The basic concept is to sound like Black Flag covering Grand Funk’s Live Album. Other big influences on the band include Motorhead, MC5, The Stooges, Humble Pie, Killdozer, ZZ Top, The Ramones, Mountain and anyone else with a great live album.
MM-What are you currently up to?
Woody-Right now I’m in the process of blowing a ton of money to put out a 2 song 7” single later this year. It’s mixed, mastered and on it’s way to the pressing plant right now. Our artist Brain O))) is working on another incredible cover for it. We’re also writing some new songs and have some local shows lined up.
MM-Who have you shared a stage with so far?
Woody-I’m proud to say that Mighty High is the only band to have played with both Thor and Valient Thorr. Other great bands we’ve played with include The Brought Low, Federale, Puny Human, The Saloonatics, Mess With The Bull and Backwoods Payback. We also love playing with tribute bands! We used to play with the Black Sabbath tribute band Sabbra Cadabra at the Continental in NYC before they stopped having live music. We’ve also done shows with The Murderlators (Misfits), Gimmiehead (Motorhead), Lizzyhead (Thin Lizzy) and The Scrooges (holiday tribute to The Stooges).
MM-What have been some of your most memorable shows? Why?
Woody-We played Viking Skull’s first ever show in the USA last summer at Trash in Brooklyn. That was pretty cool. The crowd was drunk and rowdy. People are still talking about the Hoboken Holocaust of 2005 when we played Maxwell’s with Thor. A really funny one was when In This Moment opened for us in February 2007, also at Trash. Not long after that they were on tour opening for Ozzy Osbourne and White Zombie. We once played with a band called Monolith who’s singer was arrested for murder about a month after the show.
MM-Is this the only band for everyone involved or is anyone in other projects as well?
Woody-Our drummer Jesse also plays in another great band called Smokewagon. Check them out. He’s also in a Misfits tribute band called The Murderlators. The rest of us jam with friends occasionally but nothing really serious.
MM-You were voted Number 1 again on the High Times Pot 40 in the July 2009 issue according to your Myspace page. How cool is that? Did they contact you and tell you this or is it something you had to put in for?
Woody-The Pot 40 is voted on by the readers of High Times magazine and is compiled by John Holstrom of Punk Magazine fame. Anyone can nominate anything for it by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s a huge thrill to be on there. I just found out that we’re #3 in the August 2009 issue. Our friends and fans nominate us month after month, but we stuff the ballot box, too.
MM-Your album “…In Drug City” came out over a year ago. Have you been working on any new material? If so then how does it compare with your other songs?
Woody-We have 6 songs recorded for the next album and a bunch of new songs in the works. Some of the songs are much faster with a strong early 80’s hardcore feel. Others are slower with a much more pronounced Deep Purple and Mountain influence. The main difference is that the songs have better arrangements. The songs are still simple but have a few more twists and turns to keep everyone interested. The lyrics remain about getting high and stupid shit like that.
MM-Obviously you are influenced by a number of 1970’s acts. What do you think was so good about acts from that decade?
Woody-Easy – EVERYONE was high. The audience wanted to hear righteous jams that sounded good when they were stoned. The musicians were also high and eager to oblige. Bands used to sell more concert tickets than records but unlike now, there was less competition for the short term attention of young people. The artists also worked on putting on a show and the crowd would go nuts.
MM-Was it a better decade for music than this decade? If so then why?
Woody-Just about any decade is better than this one for music. That’s a big reason I started the band. People stopped creating the type of music I like around 1982.
I’m a big fan of most American music from the mid 1940’s to the mid 1960’s. There’s so much incredible jazz, blues, country, western swing, rock & roll, soul music, etc that you can spend your entire life trying to discover it all.
The 1980’s was a great decade. On the surface it was all crap like Mr. Mister, The Outfield and Huey Lewis but I was too busy with all the great metal, hardcore and weird underground stuff to pay any attention. Personally, I thought the 1990’s was pretty lame. I was so burned out from all the killer SST, Touch & Go, Megaforce, etc bands that Sub Pop stuff just didn’t do it for me.
MM-Why should someone listen to Mighty High?
Woody-Because we rock! Hard! And all the songs are about getting high.
Not many people listen to Mighty High, but I wish more would. I know a lot of people are turned off by the humor in the lyrics, but fuck ‘em if they can’t take a joke. Musically we seem to confuse people, too. We play too fast for the stoner rock crowd, too slow for the punk crowd, not heavy enough for metalheads, and too metal for garage rockers.
MM-What are some of the best albums that you have heard so far this year?
Woody-I like the latest Mastodon record a lot, Crack The Skye. Some of their older fans don’t like it at all but I think it’s great. The new Kylesa record Static Tensions is also really good. Anyone who doesn’t like the new Masodon should pick it up. Same with Quiet Earth by Bison. That’s a really heavy duty album. I just heard the new Firebird album Grand Union and like that a whole bunch. They do a great cover of Humble Pie’s “4 Day Creep.”
Older records that I’ve newly discovered include Paul Kossoff’s Back Street Crawler, Leslie West’s 1st solo album called Mountain, Brain Capers by Mott the Hoople. I also finally picked up B.B. King’s Live In Cook County Jail. I was reminded when I read a recent interview with Angus Young when he mentioned it was one of his favorite albums of all time. It’s a killer!
MM-What do you hope to accomplish in the remainder of 2009?
Woody-Put out the new single, play more shows with great bands and write more songs.
Any plans for a new album in the near future?
Hopefully we’ll be doing more recording at the end of this year or early 2010. I already have the album title, cover concept and most of the music and lyrics. We just need to get into the practice space and jam on the riffs and sharpen them up into good songs.
MM-Pick the band from each of the following pairs that you prefer and tell why you picked them.
AC/DC or KISS
AC/DC all the way. I love Kiss Alive but not much else by them. The Bon Scott era is my favorite but Back In Black is an all time classic and Flick of the Switch is an underrated gem.
Thin Lizzy or UFO
This is a tough one, I love both bands but will give it to UFO by a hair. I listen to Strangers In The Night all the time. Michael Schenker, please get your head together. We need you!
Aerosmith or Ted Nugent
Based on 1970’s output I should say Aerosmith, but am gonna go with Ted just because his music gets me so pumped up and belligerent. I had the great pleasure of meeting Ted about 10 years ago. He told me he invented the middle finger.
Black Sabbath or Deep Purple
Tie. I can’t choose one over the other. Black Sabbath is one of my all time favorites but I rarely listen to them, but listen to Deep Purple all the time.
MM-Is there anything else that you would like to say about your band, your music or anything else?
Woody-Thank you Metal Mark for the interview. It’s an honor to be part of the Heavy Metal Time Machine. You have horrible taste in music! (Just kidding).