Mudvayne’s Chad Gray: “I’m Singing Probably Better Than Maybe I Ever Have”, Confirms The Band Have Worked On New Song Ideas


Chad Gray and McDonough, who respectively hold the vocalist and drummer for gold-certified progressive nü-metal outfit Mudvayne, recently partook in their first interview since reuniting. The pair spoke with Revolver touching upon various aspects of their career, from the past, their decade-plus hiatus and their return.

A September 11th show at the 2021 edition of the ‘Inkcarceration‘ festival in Mansfield, OH served as the band’s official live return, and according to Gray, the rehearsals for the band were no easy feat. Much to his dismay, he also stated that he had COVID for that first reunion show.

Speaking of getting back onstage and the work that went into it, he offered:

“…We hadn’t played together in 12 years and our music’s pretty progressive and it’s difficult. So it requires a lot of attention. and turning your back on it for 12 years, it’s not going to be easy to come back to it. So we did three, separate seven-to-10-day rehearsals in the summer of 2021, preparing for the festivals.

So we did the first 10 days, I was fucking like, ‘Whoa.’ It’s just like, my breathing even, just even breathing was like … Because in 12 years I had lost all of the muscle memory that I had had for whether it’s breathing or pitches or whatever. Anything that’s in the dynamic of voice and singing, I pretty much lost all of the Mudvayne knowledge that I had banked. So the first 10 days, the last couple days was OK, a little bit better, but the first days were rough.

And then we got back together again, got a little bit better, got back together again, got better, did a few days of rehearsal before ‘Inkcarceration‘. So that rehearsal, I got COVID or whatever. So literally, I haven’t been onstage in 12 fucking years, and the first time I walked back onstage, I have COVID. And I had that really bad. My voice didn’t warm up all day — and I know my voice. And it’s just like, I walked onstage fearful, and it wasn’t great, it wasn’t fucking great at all.

And then we canceled ‘Louder Than Life‘ and then we did the next two. We did ‘Aftershock‘, which was great. And then we did ‘Welcome to Rockville‘, which was really good. But dude, honestly, you’re talking about doing a show, not doing a show for three weeks, doing a show, not doing a show again for another three or four weeks. In those first three festivals, I can just honestly tell you, I never felt comfortable at one time onstage.”

Addressing the quality of his performances—injured ribs notwithstanding—on the recently wrapped ‘Freaks On Parade Tour‘ with Rob Zombie, Static-X and more, Gray stated:

“…I feel like, personally, I’m singing probably better than maybe I ever have. I’ve been doing a lot of training and I work with [metal vocal coach] Melissa Cross and so I’ve been doing a lot of vocal training. I’ve basically retaught myself how to sing over the last several months.”

When the topic of new music came up (the band’s last release was their self-titled 2009 outing), Gray replied:

“That’s obviously something we got to cross, right? There’s two ways you can do it. You could go out, and you can go once around the rock and just play catalog. For sure, that’s absolutely a possibility. Or you can try to put something together. You can gauge it, you can decide. I’m not going to say because I’ve been constantly writing, recording touring for the last 12 years with Hellyeah. So I don’t think my well’s dry by any means. And I’m excited, I would be excited to write with these guys.

We’ve done a little bit of file sharing or whatever. Just some riffs. Greg went into the studio in Texas. He lived in Texas. He went in there and just laid some stuff down, sent it to Matt. Matt put just a really simple metronome drum beat to it. I was working on it. It’s pretty rad, different stuff. I’ve got a few different angles that I’m working with kind of how I want it to be, my parts anyway. But it’s cool, it’s cool. And obviously we’re not going to put something out if I don’t feel like it stands up.

It’s going to have to fucking blow my hair back before I would put it out, because I wouldn’t want to put anything out and then people are just like, “[They] can’t do it anymore.” You can be your own judge of that. And maybe it’s not the first song, maybe it’s not the third song, maybe it’s the seventh song. That’s like, OK, now we’re on something, but we’ll figure it out, man. We’ll figure it out. We’ll either do it or we won’t. But yeah, I’m down for whatever right now, I’m having fun with it.”

McDonough added:

“….I mean, all that stuff’s on the table. It’s kind of a no-brainer obviously. We want new music, we want to explore that space. We love to write, nothing’s changed in that. The touring, absolutely. I mean, for me, personally, again, taking any kind of significant break is a little intimidating because to sustain the level that I want to perform at, especially at my age again, I’m going to go home and train. I’m going to go right back to what I’ve been doing for the past couple years before we started playing.

But everything’s on the table right now. I mean, we’re not quitting right now. We’ve gotten to where we are now. And again, the response and the positive environment … So we’ll stay busy. Definitely next year, we’re going to be coming back around. There’s going to be lots of opportunities for people to see us next year… Hey, I mean we’re having fun. It’s a big celebration, really.”

When asked what he thinks that potential record might sound like, McDonough offered:

“I mean, we’ve gotten together in a couple different phases. Ryan has been out at my place. All three of us have gotten together. Chad and I have communicated extensively. I mean, we’ve been demoing and writing and messing around. The file sharing situation, not to say we’re dinosaurs or whatever. And I’ve done a lot of file sharing on my own just with personal vanity projects, or whatever you want to call it. I enjoy file sharing. But for a band like us, it’s not … after the experience, I feel comfortable saying, it’s maybe not the best way for our band to work.

We’re very in the moment, reactive, reacting to what’s happening and communicating. We write slowly, we take a long time. It’s just the nature of our writing process together. We’re very reflective. We do a lot of editing and a lot of revising as we write, being receptive. So my hope, personally, is to be able to recreate those past models of how we wrote in the past, recreate that. And how you do that, how do you get the funds, the capital, obviously it takes money. We all live all over the country.

How will that come together? I’m sure there’ll still be some aspects of the file sharing sort of experience. But I mean, I think you mentioned, as well, the culture of the industry, the music industry’s changed. I mean, it was changing dramatically all through the 2000s. And since in the past 13 years now, I mean, there was no such thing as Spotify. The last time that Mudvayne went onstage, I don’t even know if there was Pandora at that time. So how it all works out, but we’ve always been a kind of band. We don’t really set out with a clear trajectory, landscape, mapping, a map of where we want to get with our music. Normally we just start messing around.

What’s it going to sound like? I can’t honestly say. Some of the stuff that we have messed around is heavy. We messed around with some typical [sounds], people wouldn’t be terribly shocked, but the opportunity to experiment and given our past success, I think I feel a sense of freedom. There hasn’t been any kind of pressure from any professional direction to try to, ‘You guys going to write another ‘Dig.” Or ‘Not Falling‘ or whatever, nothing like that. So the headspace and the culture around the band right now is incredibly positive. So I personally just would like to be wide open and excited and positive about it. I want to be surprised.”

You can find a whole lot more from the pair over at Revolver.

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