It has been over a decade since Southern California alt-punk-metallers Snot made noise within the heavy music world with their highly energetic punk driven alt metal sound and caught the LA scene by storm. Led by their charismatic frontman Lynn Strait, the world got their first taste of their music through their 1997 debut Get Some and they charged towards the world head on and made a name for them immediately.
Knotfest 2015 was the band’s first high profile show since several attempts at restarting the band in 2008 and again in 2014 since the tragic 1998 death of Strait in an auto accident. This time with new vocalist Carl Bensley, the band played their hearts out in front of their semi-hometown crowd and paying tribute to Strait, who was tragically killed in an auto accident in 1998.
Guitarist Mikey Doling shared his thoughts on their set. “Intense set. My guitar rig wasn’t working for a lot of the show. I played half the set. I figured I would play it out and then smash the guitar at the end and threw it away.”
So did he enjoy Knotfest? “This reminds me exactly of what we were doing. This is Ozzfest. This is the same thing. It feels exactly the same. It’s really fun.”
He also talked about their return and how much the band has changed since those days.
“Back in the day we were so young. We were so reckless. We were playing music just to have a good time and party [with] girls and drugs. Nowadays we play because we really love playing music together. I love playing music with Jamie Miller and John [Fahnestock] aka Tumor. Mike Smith is great. Sometimes Sonny [Mayo] is around. You know what I mean? We’re all family. That’s what’s different is that we appreciate it so much.”
Being away from the scene, the members of Snot spent time in other bands over the years to hone their craft and tour the globe. He also shared how different the band’s mentality was back then as well.
“Snot back then? We were young music fans. We loved punk rock music. We loved funk. I loved heavy metal. We were fans and we all picked up initially and mushed it all together and made Snot. It turned out we were good at it. Good enough to have a career. It turned into a passion. That’s it. It still is that way. It’s 20 year now. We’re still just as aggressive about touring and playing music as ever.”
Speaking of Mayo, he clarified his status in the fold, and where he stands within the band today.
“He has a non-profit thing for sobriety style rehab. He’s real busy with that and he doesn’t really tour as much. Mike Smith did a lot of touring with us back in the day. He wants to tour so whoever’s available…let’s go.”
Doling recalled the old days and leading up to the making of Get Some. Fans from that era were drawn to the record through songs such as “Snooze Button,” “Joyride” and “I Jus Lie.” While much of their songs gave listeners a taste of their chaotic lifestyle, he admitted that a lot of that reflected on the way they wrote their songs.
“Shit dude it was so fun. When we were writing it in our rehearsal space, it was right next door to a strip club. We all lived in the same house together right up the street. We’d right music, take strippers back to our house, party with them, bang them and that leaked into our music, which turned into our record Get Some. You can listen to that record and literally hear it – strippers and rock n roll and drugs. That’s what it was like making that record. We were just wild! It was fun.”
Was he surprised the record got done with all of the debauchery happening around them?
“Not really because we were very serious about writing. I like the way the record came out,” said Doling.
The shows they are doing now pay tribute to their fallen singer. Doling talked about Strait and the kind of person he was, considering many people discovering the band now never had a chance to see him person live or even meet him in person.
“I’m proud to say Lynn was my best friend. We were roommates. Lynn had a ton of charisma. If you ever watched Happy Days, he was the Fonz. That’s all I could say. I’ve never met anybody like him….James Dean you know. He was a cool motherfucker – that’s all I could say. I’ve never saw him get turned down by one girl. He was like ‘I’m gonna pick up that chick…’ and he did.”
“As an artist, he was always writing. He always had his book with him and his pen. He’s a unique, badass rockstar.”
In 2000, a record called Strait Up was released, based on incomplete songs originally aimed to become their never completed second album. What was released were songs with guest vocals by a number of their peers from the scene at the time, including Serj Tankian of System of a Down, Lajon Witherspoon of Sevendust, Corey Taylor of Slipknot and Dez Fafara of Coal Chamber and Devildriver.
While the record was well received at the time, Doling had different feelings about the release since then and was never in favor of including those tunes in the current set list.
“Not really. I produced that record and honestly, if I could do it again I wouldn’t do it. At the time I thought I was doing something cool for Lynn. It turned into some bullshit record company thing. I don’t know. I think it lost its focus. Yeah it was about Lynn and it’s cool but I don’t think it was a necessity. I think we vented on that and…I don’t know…I wouldn’t do it again if I had a chance. With all due respect to Lynn, of course, but it turned into something I didn’t want it to be,” he said.
In terms of a much spoken about new Snot album, Doling admitted to writing new songs towards their upcoming second album. While material was written back in 2008 with then-vocalist Tommy Vext, he said those songs would not be included because they are not where the band stands today.
“We didn’t really attempt to write a record with Tommy. We just wanted to record a couple of songs. Those songs don’t count. We weren’t happy with those songs. I’m still not happy with those songs. Tommy did a great job but as the band Snot, I think we lost our identity at that point. I think we know where we’re at now.”
“I don’t think we didn’t know what we’re doing. Now I know. The record we’re going to write – it’s going to be funky, it’s going to be punk rock. I think we lost that edge when we tried to record before. We kind of got sucked into the whole, almost metalcore thing. I don’t know why we’re doing it [or] what was influencing us. We lost the recipe for what Snot does and we took a hard look at ourselves and know what we need to do now to sound like Snot.”
Aside from Snot, the various members of Snot had kept busy with various projects and Doling had kept himself busy also playing guitar with Belgian metallers Channel Zero and producing other bands.
“Producing records is going well. I just did a record with a band called Sunflower Dead. It’s getting really strong reviews. It’s getting a lot of radio play. I did the new Hemlock record. I’m getting ready to do a band from Japan called Gunship 666. I’m busy with that. That is fun. I love being in the studio.”