I bit the bullet and started cleaning my office today. I love being organized, but I hate cleaning. Do I really need to save notebooks and folders from undergrad courses that I’ll never crack open again? Even my graduate studies binder isn’t really connected to what I do today.
It was my good buddy’s birthday today, and although he’s in a different province now, we still have a chat every now and then about music past and present. He reminded me of one of our conversations last year, where we were debating about whether or not we were going to go to our 10-year reunion, which quickly segued into talking about the gigs we went to in high school. In 2003, our favorite gig was the immense Summer Sanitarium tour, which was a nu metal delight: Metallica, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, Deftones, and Mudvayne.
It’s funny in a way, because Summer Sanitarium 2003 (~$46,000,000) outsold Ozzfest (~$23,000,000) and Lollapalooza (~$14,000,000) combined. Granted, Summer Sanitarium was the only stadium-driven tour that summer (save for Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band, who had a small run).
As our conversation progressed, we talked about bands that have aged well from that list (he is an avid Deftones fan) and bands that have fallen off our individual radars a bit (he didn’t believe me that Alien Ant Farm are releasing a new album this year)…
… which brings me to the title of this post.
I’m not going to waste any more words on about how putrid the faux cowboy supergroup Hellyeah are. I loved Mudvayne in my teens and then started to see the writing on the wall after Lost & Found. To this day, I still enjoy L.D. 50 from time-to-time, and I cite drummer Matt McDonough as an influence in my drumming. Couple him with the brilliant and immensely-talented bassist Ryan Martinie, and I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a rhythm section in mainstream metal who has to ‘play down’ to their bandmates’ talent level. In between their various hiatuses, I would always wonder: what are McDonough and Martinie up to, anyway? I remember that Martinie filled in for Fieldy in KoRn when they were touring (and Fieldy and his wife were expecting the birth of their child), but I didn’t really pay attention because, well, KoRn never really flew on my radar after Issues.
It bothered me that such talent was stagnating, so I did a little research: currently, Martinie and McDonough are involved in a couple side projects. The former is playing bass in a band called Kurai, who released an EP in December 2013. Comprised of Martinie, Scott Von Heldt (a bit of a vagabond musician whose most recent work before Kurai was with Brian “Head” Welch’s solo project) and Abel Vallejo (who was Ray Luzier’s drum tech in KoRn), you can probably hazard a guess as to what a Kurai song sounds like: a KoRn copycat with more mellifluous bass.
If you take a pass on it, I don’t blame you.
However, the good news is that Martinie and McDonough are involved in a far more interesting side project called On the Shoulders of Giants. Unfortunately, Martinie doesn’t play on the record, but he did produce the 3-song debut EP, and enlisted workhorse Dave Fortman to help with mixing the record. On the Shoulders of Giants is comprised of Dean Murphy (guitars), Jonathan Munnier (bass), Mike Keiper (vocals), and Matt McDonough (drums).
On the Shoulders of Giants started out when Murphy and Munnier were collaborating for fun, and Munnier ran into Martinie at the Warwick booth at a National Association of Music Merchants convention. Martinie mentioned how his new ambition was to start producing records, and Munnier asked if the Mudvayne bassist would be interested in producing the EP. After hearing the demos, the EP started to take shape, with Keiper (of the perpetually bustling Florida scene) and McDonough entering the fold shortly thereafter. For the most part, recording took place in 4 16-hour days in sweltering July heat. The EP isn’t super mathematical, but there are some neat technical flourishes here-and-there and it certainly has a lot of groove.
The EP isn’t available for purchase yet, but you can stream On the Shoulders of Giants here: