After more than 25 years of fronting bands like Mushroomhead, Hatrix, and Purgatory, Jeffrey Nothing released his first solo album this week, a blistering metal assault called The New Psychodalia. It still sounds a lot like Mushroomhead (with drummer Skinny producing, that's bound to happen), but without having to share the spotlight with the 27 other people in Mushroomhead these days, Nothing is free to explore more personal territory.
"It's another outlet to express my feelings and thoughts on the world, without being angry," he says. "These are some of the happiest songs I've ever done." Of course, you may have a hard time hearing the happy in songs like "Deathbed Masquerade," "Darkseed," and "Devil," but we're not going to argue with a man who dresses like Leatherface onstage.
Nothing says making The New Psychodalia was the most fun he's ever had in the studio. He also says he loves having a new project to play around with different sounds and sides of his personality. "Mushroomhead is a magical free-for-all — what happens, happens. This is more thought-out."
But all this talk brushes over some of the hurdles Nothing needed to clear first. Though some of his bandmates were cool with him making a solo album, some weren't. And it took more than four years to finish the record because Nothing recorded it whenever he found time between Mushroomhead sessions and tours. Then it sat on the shelf for a year. "It really has been a labor of love," he says.
Now that the album is finally out, Nothing is looking forward to playing some shows. But first there are Mushroomhead commitments: The band has its annual Halloween concert coming up on October 29 at the Agora. Then it will start work on its next album. After that, Nothing will pull together a touring group — Skinny's on board for a few shows, he says — and hit the road, including a Cleveland date sometime next year. "This is all about escaping reality," he says. "Seeing the ugly world in a beautiful new light."
LANDING STRIP: One of the best albums ever to come out of Cleveland, the Human Switchboard's Who's Landing in My Hangar?, is being reissued with loads of extras in a couple of weeks, making it the oft-neglected band's most definitive compilation ever. Frontman Bob Pfeifer was one of the four punks-turned-authors who made up the Cleveland Confidential Book Tour that rolled across the country this spring, but he's more in his element here, copping a Velvet Underground-style shake that's part garage rave-up, part new-wave sugar rush. The reissue — subtitled Anthology 1977-1984 — tacks on a bunch of singles, EP cuts, demos, live songs, and previously unreleased recordings to the original 1981 album. The CD also includes a download card that leads to more than 20 additional songs. Seriously, you should pick this one up.
In other Cleveland Confidential alum news, Detroit garage punks the Dogs just recorded a cover of the Pagans' "Her Name Was Jane" for an upcoming single. Pagans singer Mike Hudson will join the Dogs in Los Angeles this weekend for a show that will undoubtedly mix plenty of volume and alcohol.