Mastodon is plotting the follow-up to their 2021 double album Hushed And Grim. According to Mastodon guitarist Bill Kelliher in an interview during the Guitar Summit show, the band is planning on putting together a new record once their touring committments for 2023 are done.
"Hopefully when [touring for 2023] over, December and in the beginning of next year, we can start sitting down and actually riffing out and writing a new record. Because it's already time to… it's past time to write a new record, even though Hushed And Grim was a double album, you know? I feel like there's a lot more juice for the squeeze of that record, but we just haven't… because of COVID, we didn't tour enough on it. We haven't done a proper European tour. There's a lot of places we've missed and it's hard these days to get out and tour because everything has changed."
"Without going into too much detail, the price of everything, the price of gas goes up. And that trickles down to us as a band. When we go out on tour, we have to come up with half a million dollars just to support the tour, of our own money that's supposedly saved, which I don't have that much money — we don't have any money saved. Every time we do a tour, we spend all the money — 'Hey, here's your paycheck.' Because we were home for two years from COVID, and try not working for two years.
"It's difficult. Luckily, my wife works. She's got a very good job. So it's been very difficult. Our manager passed away a few years ago, and that kind of put us in this crazy tailspin because he was our everything. And COVID happens, and the way the world is going right now… it's not the easiest thing to get out there and just start touring and trying to make money."
Kelliher elaborated on the difficulties of touring in 2023 and mentioned the fact that he feels Mastodon still hasn't properly toured Hushed And Grim. A quick consultation of Setlist.fm reveals that Mastodon has only played eight of the 15 songs from Hushed And Grim, with songs like "Gigantium" and "Gobblers Of Dregs" only having made it onto their setlists a few dozen-ish times.
"Like I was saying, with Hushed And Grim, I just feel like that record — and I knew this was gonna happen, because if it comes out during the pandemic, it's not gonna get as much attention as, say, if there was no pandemic and you put a spotlight on it, 'Hey, you guys got this great 90-minute record.' There's a lot of songs on there to be… We only played a handful of them.
"I mean, I guess it's good to have all that ammunition in the bank, like, 'Oh, we can pull out all these songs,' but sometimes it's hard when you're out there on the road. People are, like, 'Why don't you play anything off The Hunter? Why don't you play anything off Once More 'Round The Sun?' Because we only have an hour. And we have to play… I don't know. It's difficult. But those are good problems to have.
"The answer to your question is yeah, next year we are gonna write a new record, and I've already started writing and I'm very excited about it. It's a nice time. It's just — I guess what I'm getting at is, like, it's already time to write a new record and take time off when my wife's, like, 'You need to get out there and work. You guys haven't worked in the past three years.' You've only done a month a year.' It's not a lot of time out there. But I'm, like, yeah, well, the world is upside down and the gas prices are crazy. And everybody's on tour trying to make back their money from the lost wages. And it's a mess. But I'm not gonna let it stop me from writing the next right-turn record."