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Published: 2014/01/13
by Jesse Jarnow

Staying Moist: Mickey Melchiondo Reflects on 20 Years of the Moistboyz

Mickey Melchiondo hates it when you call the Moistboyz a side project. “I get it, I’m in another band that’s more popular,” the Ween co-founder says. “But the Moistboyz have our own identity and we’re going to keep making records for a long, long time until we can’t do it anymore.”

Five albums and 20 years into their career as New Hope, Pennsylvania’s other reprobate duo, Melchiondo and singer Guy Heller have a discography and backstory to rival pretty much any band out there. “I’m so proud of the fact that we have our fifth album coming out,” Melchiondo said recently from his home on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River. “Most bands don’t even get to five albums, and we did it while making music with other bands.” It is (dare we say) their most mature yet, though that doesn’t mean the lyric sheet shouldn’t come with a NSFW tag.

There are a bunch of tunes on the new album that seem to get away from the usual Moistboyz pedal-to-the-floor vibe.

The Moistboyz have a sound and a thing, but Guy is super super talented and he’s super flexible, and can do so many different things other than just yell through a distortion pedal. On this record, there’s almost no distortion on any of it. On the last record, we had a song called “White Trash.” You don’t even really need to know the words to know what it’s about. But the stuff that he did in his old band, the False Front, was way more autobiographical and meaningful to him. For this record, that’s the thing I’m most proud of. He gets the game ball on this record. His lyrics are just tremendous. Moistboyz are a rock and roll band. It doesn’t have to be metal.

Guy and I, it’s like Aaron [Freeman] and I with Ween, we don’t listen to new music, really. At least, the stuff that inspires us is an old point of reference, musically. Guy and I have very much the same tastes. We wouldn’t even know how to make a new sounding record. We like classic rock and roll. It’s just very much a reflection of what we like, what our tastes are.

I think the worst crime you can commit as a band—and I’ve never done it—is intentionally trying to replicate something you’ve done because you think that’s what people want. So we just followed our instincts. It led us to this. We could’ve put together a song that was in fifth gear with the foot to the floor the whole time, we have those songs, but we were using the best songs, and the best songs were more dynamic.

The only thing that’s intentional, for any project I’ve worked on for multiple records, is a logical progression. There should be growth, visible growth, between records. It’s neat when a band returns to an old sound. I’m sure Ween fans would shit if we ever made an album on a four-track, but we’d be cheating ourselves. We’re too good to record on a four-track. We need at least eight now.

Moistboyz records seem to happen every few years, which I’m sure is partly a function of you and Guy living in different places, but when do you know that it’s time to reconvene?

I hate to say it ‘cause it’s negative, but I think the Moistboyz are doing people a favor. I think the state of rock and roll is so sad and pitiful out there, and so wimpy, that every so often the frustration builds up for us. That’s not our only inspiration. We do it because we want to do it. You’ve got to come see the Moistboyz live. Guy is one of the more compelling lead singers that there is. He’s on the A-list. He’s up there with Jim Morrison or Iggy. He hates these comparisons, I hope he doesn’t see this, but he is. He’s what a million guys pretend to be. He is that guy. He’s an outlaw, he lives an outlaw lifestyle. Rock and roll is like a religion to him. It’s very, very serious. You get 110% when you see that dude. He’s like a Nick Cave or something, he’s the real thing.

Moistboyz live shows are very straight ahead. You just get an hour of a lot of sweat and a lot of Guy jumping into the audience and crawling all over, and us trashing our gear. It’s like running a marathon. After a Moistboyz show, all your clothes need to be changed, including your underwear. It’s like we’re just saturated. It’s almost like you have to train for the season before a Moistboyz tour, or at least try to eat one meal a day.

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