Beatallica on the cover of Maximum Ink January 2008
Mashing up the Beatles and Metallica, Milwaukee’s Beatallica has been creating one of the most unique metal and pop experiences that the world has ever seen. Unafraid of categories, record labels, or the deadly seriousness of metal fans, Beatallica marches to neither Ringo or Lars but to Ringo Larz (even the identities of the bandmembers are mash-ups in this group.) Their album, “Sgt. Hetfield’s Motorbreath Pub Band,” just reached the ninth spot on Billboard’s Comedy Album chart and we got lead screamer and rhythm guitarist, Jaymz Lennfield, (real name, Michael Tierney, who also performs in Southeastern Wisconsin under the moniker, Tinker) on the phone right before the band was taking off for their fifth European tour.
MAXIMUM INK: Beatallica’s one of the most original and interesting bands out there right now. How did this get started?
JAYMZ LENNFIELD: The ideas were formed by accidents. I wasn’t even in a rock band.
MI: So, what was the inspiration?
JL: Originally we were getting ready for Spoof Fest in Milwaukee as Metallica (a Milwaukee tradition which features area musicians performing tributes and dressing up as their favorite artists) and we thought ‘What would they do for April Fool’s day? We made CDs for the event as well and handed them out. They made it to the Internet and it started growing. We had plenty of ideas for songs, so we figured, ‘These are the cards that we’re dealt, so let’s play ‘em!’
MI: What are some of your favorite shows so far?
JL: We had a really cool time with Clutch and Mastodon in New York City. We were the headliner at BB King’s, we played LoopFest in Chicago with Sammy Hagar and Eric Johnson. We’ve also hit festivals in America like Summerfest in Milwaukee and even got to open for Default in El Paso!
MI: So, I’m talking to you as you’re packing for your latest trip overseas…
JL: It’s our 5th time in Europe, we get a really great response over there.
MI: What’s on the agenda for the tour?
JL: We’ll be gone for three weeks, it starts tomorrow in Hamburg with a band called Warhead.
MI: You guys are doing big festivals in Europe. What’s the biggest difference between American audience and European audiences and why do you think you connect so well with that market?
JL: We’ve been with the same agency for three years and they’ve got us open air stuff in the summer playing with bands like Motorhead and Kreator. Europeans know how to have a little more fun. Bands aren’t afraid to let go, we can have some humor and the bands can really play. We can use pop sensibility. American metal is afraid to have fun, I mean, there are some exceptions to the rule, but there just isn’t the same tension at a metal show in Europe.
MI: What’s the live show like?
JL: We always do costumes and if the show’s long enough we’ll do costume changes. We base it on Beatlesque themes, the theme of the record itself is a Sgt. Pepper’s sort of thing.
MI: So you guys aren’t just going to be staring at your feet?
JL: We’re definitely not shoegazerS. We like to show we know our chops and really strive to make the playing fluid.
MI: After you guys get back from Europe, what’s in the cards for the New Year?
JL: We’re trying to come up with what’s best for the band, but there’s no indication of slowing up. Our plans for 2008 are to release a new single in the Spring. It’s ambitious and without giving it all away, it was a tune we were going to post awhile ago, but we worked with people around the world by translating the song into some different languages.
MI: How have your friends in the Milwaukee music scene responded to your success?
JL: People have asked me ‘Aren’t you mad that your own stuff doesn’t have the same success?’ For me to disregard this opportunity would be selfish. You do the best with what you’re given. Being in this band is harder than being in an original band in some ways. With song composition, you’re in a box in some ways because you have to make it sound seamless. We work just as hard as any other band.
MI: You guys will be at the High Noon in Madison on January 25th, what can Madison fans expect to see and what would you like to say to them to get them to come out?
JL: Be ready to see a very interactive and fun rock show. If you’re willing to lose your voice then so are we. We want to meet you. We’ve gotten to this point by people being on our side.
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