On touring with Airbourne, Mammoth Mammoth drummer Frank Trobbiani tells Doug Wallen, “It introduced us to a lot of bogans, which we appreciated. We like them.”
There's no doubting the rock credentials of Mammoth Mammoth. Not only have the Melbourne quartet toured nationally with Airbourne and supported Rose Tattoo, but then there's that fucking name. It spells rock loud and clear, whether it's the bluesy AC/DC drive of Sitting Pretty, the doomy low-end menace of Up All Night (Demons To Fight) or the effects-slogged stoner churn of The Dead Sea. All those tracks somehow coexist – nay, thrive – on the band's second album, Hell's Likely, steeped in the dank midnight muscle of Motörhead and Black Sabbath.
Funny, then, that the band started as a joke. “Not a Steel Panther kind of joke,” drummer Frank Trobbiani clarifies. “We were laughing the other day, saying, 'We're starting to take this too seriously. Let's not forget what the intention of the band was.'” That intention was something silly, though no less brutal. Mammoth Mammoth began as a guitar-bass offshoot of rockers Furious Dragon Love, though only guitarist Ben Couzens remains from that initial duo. But Trobbiani (also of FDL) and singer Mikey Turner have been there since near the beginning, sharing the idea of a band that was fun most of all for the members.
That's not to say they didn't consider the punters as well. “We always thought, 'Whatever show we do, the audience deserves absolutely the best that we can give.' Because we'd been to see a lot of gigs with a certain style of presentation that can be a little bit too cool for our liking.”
There's no such affected posturing in Mammoth Mammoth, only fully saturated sonic excess. Between Couzens, Tucker, Trobbiani and bassist Pete Bell, the band tear through songs with the natural aplomb of dudes doing it for the love. They may have landed the song, Let's Roll, on the soundtrack for under-viewed Aussie horror flick, The Loved Ones, but they still release their records themselves. When that means 180g gatefold vinyl aimed directly at the band's loyal fan base, why change?
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For all the momentum of Hell's Likely, Mammoth Mammoth themselves have had a hard time of it. Their first album came out back in 2009, and the intervening years have seen them break ties with their previous bassist and take time off for personal reasons. Turner was also busy in the stoner band Mighty Elk.
At least there was the Airbourne tour along the way. “It introduced us to a lot of bogans, which we appreciated,” says Trobbiani. “We like them.” But the band were still in limbo until they booked recording time with Blood Duster bassist Jason Fuller producing. Luckily their method of songwriting relies on jamming, because Trobbiani reckons there's no other way Hell's Likely could have been made: “Sitting down to write an album like this, I just don't think it happens.”
A new album from Mammoth Mammoth is cause for celebration not just because it's crazy fun, but because their first two releases are out of print. Well, there is a Japanese import CD that combines the pair – the Mammoth Mammoth EP and cheekily titled Mammoth Mammoth Mammoth album – but that's just something that got put together to answer online demand for the earlier material. So the band's not secretly huge in Japan? No, but Trobbiani says more than half of the new album's vinyl pre-orders have come from overseas, including Southeast Asia, Japan, Europe, Argentina but predominately Germany. The boys hope to capitalise on that fact with some overseas touring next year. Why the cross-continental appeal? “We're certainly not a metal band and we're certainly not the heaviest band in the world,” he admits, “although we'd love to be as heavy as all fuck. Some of those countries that are into the heavier stuff seem to like us, maybe as the white-bread version of what they're really into. That's how it is when you basically run your band through the Internet.”