In this months US articles I’m gonna do something a little different here. Normally I focus on new or relatively unheard of US bands and technically thats still what I’m doing this month but by way of a tribute and history lesson at the same time.
Now let me, if I may, take you back to California 1995. The California Punk scene is thriving, Hardcore Punk is still a small scene and Nu-metalers are still wearing their jeans at a sensible height. But in Santa Barbara something new was happening, a cross breed was born. People still argue what genre this band actually fit into and many still haven’t heard of them as they only released one album but for many of us this band had a fantastic start but a truly bitter end. Who else could it be but Snot.
The band was originally formed by vocalist Lynn Strait and guitarist Mike Doling. Sonny Mayo, John Fahnestock and Jamie Miller then joined to complete the band. In 1997 Snot released their first and only album, ‘Get Some’. Despite the critical success, it never hit it off with the general public. This did not stop the band and in 1998 they took part in the Ozzfest tour. A few months after the tour finished they began work on their second album. This was never to be completed however, as on December 11th, Strait was killed in a car accident. This was the final chapter for the band who then split.
As Lynn never recorded vocals for the second album, the band took this as an opportunity to use it as a fitting tribute to their departed friend. As such, the vocal tracks where then completed by friends of the singer, including vocalists from Korn, (hed) p.e., Slipknot, Sevendust and many more. ‘Strait Up’ was released on November 7th 2000. A live album then followed and in 2007 the former band members performed a live set with vocals from Invitro singer, Jeff Weber.
Things then went quiet on the Snot front for a year or so. In 2008 the band once again reformed but this time with the addition of Tommy ‘Vext’ Cummings of Divine Heresy taking up the vocal duties. This line up never made it into the studio and within a year Tommy and original guitarist Sonny Mayo parted ways with the band. Then in 2009 Tons was born.
Tons has kept the original line up of Mike Doling on guitar, John Fahnestock on bass and Jamie Miller on drums but has since added Brandon Espinoza into the mix. This has been a much more successful line up and the band has so far released three new tracks, ‘Ability & Control’, ‘1000 Ways of Pain’ and ‘Fan The Flames’.
Tons have done well so far to keep the same musical style that set them apart in their earlier guise of Snot. So much so that many within the music industry still cannot put a finger on precisely what sort of music they are. They blend aspects of punk, metal and funk into a coherent mix of aggression and fun in equal measure. Many see them as an early Nu-metal band whilst others see them as a Hardcore Punk band. There punk roots are completely undeniable in the attitude Lynn and the band showed in their music and their behaviour both on and off stage. But the funk is definitely with them and always evident in the musical composition of the band.
It was never the musical style of the band that would be called in to question however. With so many of the original band members writing the music, it was obvious that Tons would fill the mould they created over a decade earlier. The only problem they ever faced was finding someone to step up to the plate as singer. With Lynn achieving cult status it was always going to be a difficult task but Brandon has done it brilliantly. He is exactly the kind of person you would expect to pick up the mic in a band like Tons and I think even Lynn himself would approve of the effort Brandon is putting in to take the band in the right direction.
So here we have it, some old news that’s new to some. Some new news that’s old to others. But whther you have heard ‘em or not, do ya self a favour and blast some Snot or Tons as load as you can this December and have a truly metal Christmas!
R.I.P. Lynn Strait – your legacy lives on and your memory never forgotten!
Keep it metal and have an awesome festive season to everyone at the IV and all you reading this!