he influence of STUCK MOJO over rap and metal can't be denied but they've been unjustly eclipsed by that FRED DURST and that whole LIMP BIZKIT thing that came to define that cruddy late-nineties to early-2000s rock landscape. The goal of combining rap and hip hop with the more visceral sensibility of hard rock and metal has always been an honorable one and STUCK MOJO deserved a fucking Congressional Medal. In recent years, ROCKWIRED has become acquainted with STUCK MOJO's original front man BONZ and his electrifying, self-titled post-MOJO band. We also became familiar with some of the friction between him and his former band and the shake up that led to his departure. Now, I have become familiar with the fellow who stepped into the STUCK MOJO juggernaut after BONZ left the fold. LORD NELSON is a different kind of energy - imposing, yet more mellifluous than the erratic live wire approach I've come to expect from BONZ. It was LORD NELSON's rhymes and presence that helped guide STUCK MOJO through their albums SOUTHERN BORN KILLERS (2007) and THE GREAT REVIVAL (2008). Following his departure from the band, NELSON took a four year absence before returning to music making with the solo album FIGHT - MY STRUGGLE BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL with a little help from the french rock band LIES. Now, LORD NELSON has stepped into the ring again with the release of his self-released concept album BACK ON THE ROAD, sharing billing with SEB L - his collaborator and guitarist from the band LIES. ROCKWIRED had a chance to speak with LORD NELSON regarding the new album and his collaboration with SEB L. Here is how the interview went.
Your new concept album BACK ON THE ROAD is quite a surprise and a revelation all at once. Now that you're about to release onto the public, how do you feel about the finished work?
This is SEB and I's second project together. He and I toured together when I was with STUCK MOJO and we had such a good time and we saw that we had like minds. His band's music was cool. They had a cool vibe so we decided to do something. He had been talking about doing a concept album for a while now and I told him, whatever he wanted to do I was down for it. I love his playing and he's so talented and I'm really excited about this album. I'm excited for people to hear it and I hope they get it. It's all about the music. It's beautiful!
And describe the meeting of the minds between you and SEB L. How did the songs get crafted? Was it a face to face meeting or was the internet involved?
When we first decided to work together, I told him to send me some music. He sent me a song over the internet and I wrote to it as quick as can be. He was like "Are you done, already?" and I was like "Yeah, check it out!" From that moment on, we had decided to do an album together. We work over the internet and send ideas back and forth to each other. I'll do vocals and send them to him. It's been great! Technology is amazing!
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What inspired the concept for this album? Your really take the listener on a journey in a very literal sense with the narrative that surrounds the songs.
It's all about having done the music and living this life but then you get away from things for a moment. It's like a new adventure. It's about finding something else on the other side. It's about trying to get there and as we go through it, speaking about the things that we have done to get to that other side. It's a journey, just like you said.
What is the difference between heading up a project like this and having been the lead in a band like STUCK MOJO?
I'll say this. When I was with STUCK MOJO, RICH and I really worked well together. We vibed really, really well together, but when I joined that band, the foundation for who they are as band was already put in place. Even though I brought a different element to STUCK MOJO, I could never replace BONZ. That there is my brother. With SEB, it's like I'm free to be me. There is no holding back. There are so many things that I feel like I can do as far as music and writing is concerned. I feel free to do whatever I want. I can go wherever I feel the music moves me. There are no restrictions which isn't to say that RICH from STUCK MOJO was putting restrictions on me. There wasn't anything like that. It's just that this thing that I have going with SEB is our project. It's all good and it makes me feel good to have free reign over the music we are putting out there.
How do you intend to roll this album out?
We're going to have a couple of music videos for it coming down the line. For the last record that SEB and I worked on, we were on a record label called MNO. This time, we're doing everything ourselves and taking our time with it. At first, we simply wanted to get it recorded and throw it out to the public. Once we started going through the process and listening to these songs I was like "Oh, I don't know if this is ready yet!" I wanted to let other people hear it like my manager who is with the band VENGEANCE out of Napa Valley. We've had the album completed for months now, so what we did was send it to a few people in Europe and we got a great response from it. They were like "Wow! Give me a moment to digest this!" This album was so different to them. They didn't know how to process it. "What genre is this? How are we going to promote this?" I say, "Hey! Create a new genre! It's just music! If it's good, it's good!" Some of the people that are really hardcore metal fans really loved it. When we tried shopping the album around, those were the kind of responses that we got, so we figured that we would just put this album out ourselves. We're just going to put it out ans see what happens and put some videos with it and do our thing. In this time that we live in now, it's not all about having a label anymore.
For biography's sake, how did music get started for you? What inspired you to pick up the microphone and start rapping and singing?
I was a military kid and there was always music around the house. Mom and dad always listened to music. We had all of the MOTOWN stuff and whole lot of other pop tunes and rock tunes. Being a military kid, I listened to everything. I had friends from every culture, race and religion. Music was always there. When I'd be hanging out with my friends fishing or riding a bicycle or if I'd be hanging out at their house, we would be listening to country music or rock music. We'd be listening to everything. That is where it comes from with me. My brother was a deejay. As a matter of fact, he still deejays down here in South Carolina. He has always been a deejay and he would always take me to shows when they would bring down certain artists. I actually got to see people like RUN DMC and NEWCLEUS perform right in front of me. I was right there talking to them. It was great sitting at the side of the stage and seeing how all of this stuff went down. It was so exciting to be around all of that. I had my little groups here and there with some of my homeboys. We'd get together and do some things. I've been rapping for a long time.
And eventually, you found your way to STUCK MOJO. Talk about how you made an entre with those guys and what was it that made you think that you could contribute something to that band?
Another great question and I'll give you a great answer.
Can't wait to hear it!
I went to a FISHBONE show. At that concert, I saw a guy that I graduated high school with. This friend of mine was telling me that another friend of ours from high school - BONZ - was in a band called STUCK MOJO and that they were going to be coming to town next month and that I needed to come down and check them out. I hadn't seen BONZ since high school. A month later, I remember walking into the venue and I'm this rap guy with my khakis and being this clean cut dude and then all of a sudden I hear someone screaming my name out loud. I looked and it was BONZ. He ran up to me and hugged me and I just looked at him. It wasn't the same guy that I knew all of those years ago. He was truly a rock star. So we started hanging out and talking about the old days but when I saw him interact with the fans, I realized that this was something different. So we went into the club and I meet everybody in the band. I met RICH and I met COREY. I'm not sure if FRANK was with them then or not. Soon, he tells me that he has to get ready for this show that they are about to do and I go up to the very front of the stage. Right at the front of the stage! I'm looking behind me and everybody behind me is is like ten or fifteen feet back. What's going on? There were a lot of people there and I didn't understand why they were standing all the way back. The band came out on stage with the opening riffs of their intro and all of a sudden I had realized that I was in a mosh pit. That was the craziest! I look back on it now and all I can do is smile and laugh. It was unbelievable. That was my big introduction to STUCK MOJO. Anytime the band would come to town, I would start inviting some of our other classmates to the shows. Years later, I told BONZ that if he ever needed me to do anything to just let me know. It was after the PIGWALK album, BONZ gave me a call and asked me to come down to Atlanta where they were putting a new album together called SOUTHERN BORN KILLERS and that they wanted my help on a few songs. I drove down to Atlanta and did some sessions and got on a couple of songs. We were having a great time. At that time I didn't know that BONZ and RICH were going through some things. I had no idea. While they were touring and coming through town, I asked BONZ if I was ever going to get to hear those songs that I had worked on and he said "I don't know if I'm going to be with STICK MOJO anymore." He gave me RICH's number and told me to ask him about getting those songs to me. I only know BONZ one way. I know the BONZ that I knew from school and the band member, the trumpet player and basketball player. That was how I knew him. So when these other people spoke about other things that he was going through, it just seemed odd to me. I like to see the goodness in people, so I didn't see any of this stuff that people were talking about. Coming down the line, RICH asked me if I would help them finish writing this album. I said of course. It was the same thing I said to BONZ when he asked me to come onboard with those recording sessions. So, I helped them finish writing the album and then RICH got back to me and said that they had been interviewing a lot of people and wanted to know if I would be willing to go out on the road with them for this album since I had written a lot of this stuff. I had to think about that. Finally, I decided that I was going to move forward with them. I had done all of this stuff and I had recorded all of this music but I wanted to have a good sit down with BONZ and talk to him about it. Before I could do this, the band had released a song beforehand. They didn't give me the chance to talk to BONZ first. So BONZ and I had a conversation and he was a little upset and he had every right to be. He was my brother and I didn't want to disrespect him or anything. Here is what it came down to. BONZ called me up one day letting me know how he felt about things and I said to him, "You tell me what you want me to do and I'll do it. If you don't want me to do this, I won't do it, out of respect to you." Right there and then, he gave me his blessing. He said "No man, you go out there and do what you do." That right there took a big weight off of me. I don't think a lot of people understood that it was with his blessing that I moved forward and that I wouldn't have done it without that. Because of that I was able to move forward and I'm grateful for the time that I was with STUCK MOJO for the couple of albums that I did.
And now you have this new album. Granted that it is a concept album where every song needs another song in order to tell a larger story, what songs off of it stand out for yout he most and why?
I don't think that there is anything that I do that is bad. I don't think I like one way better than the other or this better than that one. I've always appreciated the body of work that I do. Even if you ask me about a STUCK MOJO project, like comparing SOUTHERN BORN KILLERS to THE GREAT REVIVAL, I love both of those albums because I feel like I put my heart and soul into them. Now for this album, I could say the songs SO LONG, STILL ALIVE stand out but there are so many other things about this album that I love. It's hard for me to narrow stuff like that down. I just love the project as a whole. That's not me being arrogant in anyway. I just love the music and the music is my drug. I don't drink, I don't smoke, I don't do anything. When I get into the music, I am in another place and that is what I feel people who actually do drugs do it for - to go to another place. That is what music does for me.
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So nothing stood out in the way of songwriting for the making of this album?
There is a song at the end of the album called RETURN. I went to FRANCE where we recorded the music video for TILL I DIE off the first album. When I first got to France, SEBASTIEN (SEB L) said that he wanted to take me somewhere. So we rested for a little bit at his apartment and then told me they wanted to take me to this mountain. So we started driving up this mountain and then they stopped and said that we had to walk the rest of the way. I looked at these guys and I was like "Excuse me?" and then I looked up that mountain and I was like "We've got to go all the way up there?" He told me that it was going to be worth it. Eventually I figured that I couldn't allow myself to be punked out. At first I did a good fifty yards and I was like "I'm gonna die!" This was a reality check for me. You see SEBASTIEN and his friends ski down that mountain all the time, but for me it was unbelievable. It took me everything I had to get up there and what motivated me was seeing this older couple walking up the mountain and acting like it was nothing. And I couldn't let them do that so I decided to catch up with them. I mean, these people had some age on them. Once I got to the top of that mountain, it was the freshest air I ever breathed in my life. I even use that line in the song RETURN. The sun was shining, I was sweaty but it was the best feeling and I just inhaled so deeply. That whole experience as great for me. I ended up writing that song on the plane coming back to the States because the experience was still in my mind so heavily.
With this album, what is the big idea? What would you like for people to come away with after they hear it?
I guess we really want people to go on that journey with us and know that they can go through things, but that they can also come back from things. We all go through so much stuff. I mean, how many people have committed suicide? I want people to know that life can be hard on you but that you've still got to keep going. You have to keep living. I'm just glad that I've got a great foundation of love and family and not everybody has that. If someone is able to grab or hear something that motivates them or gets them through another day, that actually makes me happy. I'm all about love. I want to be happy everyday of my life and I do my best to be that. Music is a big part of that and I just hope that people will be able to listen to this album and enjoy it and understand what I'm speaking about.
CONTACT BRiAN LUSH AT: firstname.lastname@example.org