By Tracy Dietlin
This Friday, March 14 beginning at 8pm The Hood Bar in Palm Desert will present the punk rock show of the year sure to blow the roof off and rock the neighborhood when iconic, cult status band Snot takes the stage. Also on the bill that night are local bands Brain Vat and Se7en4, both capable of packing the place on their own but considering that this is the first time local musical hero Mikey Doling’s band Snot has ever performed here in the desert, I suggest you arrive early as the place will be beyond capacity.
For those readers that are not familiar with the hardcore punk, funk, metal band Snot, they formed back in 1994 and in May of 1997 released their debut album Get Some on Geffen records. They caught a big break in 1998 when they were signed to play Ozzfest and were in the middle of recording their sophomore effort when tragedy struck and they lost lead singer Lynn Strait in a car accident in December of that year.
Snot broke up after that and then reformed for a while in 2008 and then most recently in February of this year to perform a show for charity at the Whiskey in LA. The current lineup consists of: Tommy Vext on vocals, Mikey Doling on guitar, Sonny Mayo on guitar, John “Tumor” Fahnestock on bass and Jamie Miller on drums.
The band is performing 3 shows and we’re lucky enough to have one of them take place here in the desert. Doling, who is from the Coachella Valley and graduated from Indio High School is especially excited about this show as he has never performed in his hometown with Snot.
Many desert musicians hold Doling in the highest regard as he is not only an amazing musician but also an in demand producer who has produced many local bands as well as bands all over the world. To have the opportunity to have Doling work on your record is a step towards a band’s success. He is currently working with Se7en4 on their album in a studio down in LA, with all four members singing his praise and extremely excited to have Doling producing their project.
Talking about projects, Doling has many, including his other band Channel Zero and he recently partnered on The Roxy Tokyo and is now a club owner to add to the list of the many hats he wears well.
I had the opportunity to talk to Mikey Doling this week and here is what he had to say.
CVW: So is the show at The Hood a reunion show?
Mikey Doling: No it’s not. Snot formed in 94 and we were at the height of our career touring on Ozzfest, on MTV and slated to be the next Limp Bizkit and then we lost our lead singer at the end of 98 and the record label told us to get another lead singer and we said “fuck off…we’re not gonna do it!” We were devastated. So in the years after all the members went out and did their thing. I did Soulfly and we all still had careers and then about 5 years ago we all met up and said “hey wouldn’t it be so cool to all jam again if we could find someone to fill in for Lynn” and we tried out about 10 guys and then Tommy came in and fuckin note for note killed it…just rocked it and blew our minds actually. Everyone else who came in got red in the face because Lynn was a really hard singer you know? So we thought let’s do this so we did a tour with Mudvayne and we did some stuff with Hell Yeah, Vinnie Paul’s (from Pantera) new band and we did about 3 months of touring and we said that was enough and we went off and did our other bands again. Then earlier this year we all got together and decided we had that itch again. And Sonny and Tommy have this charity event that they do for sobriety and we did a show at The Whiskey the other night and the tickets were $50.00 because it was a benefit and I’m like no way are we charging that to play but the place sold out and we had a super good time and made money for charity. So we decided since we all had a month off before we all go on spring tour with our other bands, to book 3 more dates in March for Snot. We’re doing a free show at The Troubadour on the 18th, a show in Santa Barbara at Velvet Jones on the 22 and at The Hood this Friday.
CVW: Are you planning on doing any new Snot material?
MD: At this point no. We wrote those songs 18-19 years ago and we were different people back then. We had a big middle finger in the air and now we’re all a bunch of 40 year olds so I wouldn’t want it to come across wrong. I want Snot to still come across with the same fuck you attitude we had back then.
CVW: How do you feel that your music has evolved over the years with your different bands?
MD: I’m a more confident songwriter now. Back when I was writing for Snot…I really didn’t know what I was doing (laughing). We wrote from the heart. We would get an 18 pack of beer and smoke some pot and get down to it… but now it’s in a studio and I think about it more. I’ve grown up, been around the world, met just about everyone I’ve ever wanted to and I’ve learned a lot.
CVW: You’ve worn so many hats over the years including songwriter, guitarist, producer, label owner and now even club owner. Which one would you say is your favorite or the most rewarding?
MD: My favorite thing in the world is to get in the recording studio and write music. I love playing live but I’ve played live so many times all over the world and a drunk guy standing in front of me wearing a bandana with a beer bottle in his hand just doesn’t do it for me like it used to. I like to create. I love to get in the studio and walk out with something that wasn’t there before I walked in. That for me is a reward. Touring is great but you know I’m older now. I have a wife and kid and I need to make some money. And producing is super fun too because I love being in the studio.
CVW: So you’re a club owner now. Tell me how that came about?
MD: I just flew in from Japan last night and I’ve got a partner there and we’ve been planning on opening a place like the Rainbow Room in Hollywood. My wife used to work with this guy at Roadrunner Records in Japan and I met him years ago and about 2 ½ years ago my wife and I went on a trip to Japan and we met up with him and he already had another bar and I came up with the idea. I told him I had a lot of friends in bands around the world that would want to stop here and play. And we just had a Testament party, a DevilDriver party and Gwar and next week Exodus is coming. So it’s working and we’ve only been open about 3 months.
CVW: So do you live in Tokyo fulltime now?
MD: My wife and I have a home in Tokyo but I live in the States too and I also live in Europe about 3 months of the year.
CVW: I know you’ve worked on a lot of projects with local bands. Can you tell me about the project you’re doing with Se7en4?
MD: I’ve produced a lot of records over the last 15 years and I swear I’ve gotten way better. I’ve been getting mentored myself by a couple of big producers like Logan Mader that have taught me some new tricks. I’ve produced 5 records in the last 5 months and I’ve been using these new tricks and all of the sudden I’m like ‘wow I can make a record sound like a real record now’. And I’m also working with Sterling Winfield who produced the last 2 Pantera records. The guys from Se7en4 hit me up at just the right time. And I love all these guys to death. I grew up with most of them in the desert and we actually start the record this week and I’m going to make the best record that they’ve ever had.
CVW: Did you choose them to open for you at The Hood?
MD: Actually when the promoter asked me who we wanted…Brad Garrow and Frankie Ramirez were my best friends growing up and they are in Brain Vat so the first words out of my mouth were Brain Vat and Se7en4. Both bands are like family to me.
CVW: Of all the bands you’ve produced is there a favorite project that you’ve done up to this point?
MD: There’s so many bands that I’m proud of but right now there’s a band that’s really taking off called Gemini Syndrome and they’re signed to Warner Bros. and I sort of discovered them and now they’re touring the world and they just got off tour with Five Finger Death Punch. I launched that bands career so I’m really proud of them.
CVW: How is it working with a lot of the local bands that you grew up with because many of these bands idolize you?
MD: It’s always cool working with guys from my hometown. We have so much in common and I love recording bands there.
CVW: You’re so highly respected in the business so who do you respect right now?
MD: Well in the desert QOTSA just blow my mind. Josh Homme, Nick Oliveri and Mario Lalli all those dudes I highly respect. As for around the world I’m a big Lamb of God fan, I will always love Pantera, I think Ozzy Osbourne will always be the God of rock, Zakk Wylde, Angus Young is my hero. As far as producers go I would say Dave Fortman. He did the Slipknot record and he’s a really good friend of mine.
CVW: So what has Channel Zero been up to?
MD: We just finished a new record called Kill All Kings and it comes out April 11. I’m actually going to Belgium April 1 and we’re going to do 5 shows and we’re going to do national TV. Last year we did some shows with Metallica and did HellFest and a ton of stuff. On another note our drummer Phil Baheux, who has been with the band for 20 years just passed away recently so that was really hard and we’re still dealing with that. But for now Roy Mayorga from Stone Sour is filling in. We’ve got all these big shows that are sold out and we’re going to be stepping out on stage without Phil for the first time so it’s going to be really emotional. (long pause)
CVW: This is the second time you’ve lost a band member so it has to be hard.
MD: I will say that for as many years as we’ve all been out there rocking and being loose and dangerous like we have the fact that only two of us are gone is a miracle.
CVW: Do you think the internet and social media is a gift or a curse to musicians and the music business overall?
MD: I love social media and I use it and it can be a great tool but I’ve got to say that I definitely think it’s hurt the business and has damaged the livelihood of the musicians and therefore I think it’s hurting product coming back to the consumer because there’s not enough breathing room for bands to afford to tour right. It’s more stressful now. Fans can go on YouTube now and watch a band instead of go to a show. I love social media but at the same time I think it can be a big kick in the balls to musicians. Everyone made fun of Lars from Metallica but he was right. Napster was the beginning of the end.
CVW: What has been the most defining moment in your career so far?
MD: The tour that I did with Pantera when I was with Soulfly. For 11 nights I got to go on stage and play with Dimebag Darrell. I mean actually play in Pantera for one song every night, not just open up for them.
CVW: So what was your craziest story on tour?
MD: (laughing) Oh man I’ve got a ton of them but once when I was in Soulfly we got kidnapped in Russia. Actually they just hustled us for money. I did 3 Ozzy tours which didn’t suck so you can imagine those stories but I went over to his house one time and had dinner with him and sat and watched CNN. Touring with Slayer was great. System of a Down who are my best friends who I watched come from young, broke Armenian skaters in Hollywood to be successful musicians that are millionaires, which is pretty cool.
CVW: What do you do in your down time?
MD: I don’t have down time. If I’m not touring or producing I spend time with my wife and my son Jax (17 months).
CVW: Is there anything else you would like to say?
MD: I would like to say to anyone reading this. Get off the laptop, get off your phone and go out and support live music. Buy a frickin CD and a t-shirt. Put some fuel on the fire.
Friday, March 14 @ 8:00pm – Snot, Se7en4 & Brain Vat at The Hood- 74360 Highway 111 in Palm Desert 760-636-5220. $15.00 at the door – 21 & over.