As someone who is a sucker for bands with weed paraphernalia in their title, I expected Bong Mountain to be a stoner band like Bongzilla or Bongripper, instead I got something different. Bong Mountain, while still affectionate weed lovers, are actually a punk band. I had to know more, so I shot some questions over to bassist Adum to find out more.
Jack: Hello, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. How are you doing?
Adum (Bass): I’m burnin’ trees and binge watchin’ Homeland on Hulu, so I’m doing pretty great.
Jack: So how did Bong Mountain form?
Adum: Two large weedtonic plates collided in the Great Lakes region of the U.S. resulting in the type of subduction process that tends to produce the more common weed volcano. However, due to unknown circumstances this particular collision of weedtonic plates resulted in the much more rare Bong Mountain.
Jack: Have members of Bong Mountain been in any other bands, if so which ones?
Adum: We have all been in other bands, most notably Chris was in Cain Marko. Matt is also in a band called SHAAAARKS. Chris and I are in another band called Minkus.
Jack: What are your biggest influences?
Adum: Alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana, various energy supplements, Takis, pizza, and vegan burritos.
Jack: You’ve been compared to Against Me! before. Are they an influence?
Adum: It’s very flattering to be compared to Against Me! I remember seeing them for the first time in 2007 at this small venue in Grand Rapids and it was insane. The energy of the band and the crowd was overwhelming, the floor felt like it could give way at any second, landing us all in the basement, I nearly lost my glasses and totally lost a pretty sweet hat I had at the time. I’ve seen Against Me! four or five times since then, to increasingly larger crowds and through several line-up changes, every time they play with the same intensity as that first time I saw them. I think they set a high bar for other bands to strive for, musically speaking. Like a bar as a musical term.
Jack: Did you form with the intention of being a punk band?
Adum: Not really, we started the band with the intention of playing music and having a good time and hopefully helping other people have a good time. So far it’s going pretty well.
Jack: When I first saw your name I thought you’d be a sludge or stoner band like Bongzilla or Bongripper. Is this misconception common?
Adum: Yeah, we get that a lot.
Jack: So many bands have the name bong in the title (Bong Cauldron, Goblin, Ripper, Zilla to name a few). What is it that makes weed accessories such a draw when creating the name of a band?
Adum: Weed is tight. Having a weed reference in your band name can be both a blessing and a curse. And we believe in weed magic so we take that shit seriously!
Jack: Are you into sludge, stoner and doom music?
Adum: I can dig some sick riffs and shit like that but even though I smoke a ton of weed I still don’t have the attention span for slow music and long songs. Alex gets down with some heavier shit and he’s one of my best friends.
Jack: Who came up with the name Bong Mountain? Is there a meaning or reference behind it?
Adum: It was just one of those ‘had to be there’ moments but basically the name came to us while we were on a group vision quest. We were in Chris and Matt’s basement after practice one day and somebody said something like “borng mortian” or something like that and then we recorded Matt saying that backwards (standard band name test) and played it back forward and it sounded like “bong mountain” and we were like “that’s it!” I started smoking weed the next day.
Jack: You’re releasing You’re Doing Great For The Record in September which is a collection of the group’s recorded output, containing a demo and two split cassette releases. Why are you releasing this?
Adum: Our friend Andy Slania (Stonewalled Records) presented us with the opportunity to put out a vinyl LP and we like Andy and we like records so it seemed like an obvious choice. The LP will have the five songs from our first tape EP on the A side and four songs, from two different split tapes, on the B side. It’ll be nine songs total that will also be available for free download via the website bandcamp.com. So really the music is free and the record is a cool physical version of the thing and will have an insert with lyrics and pictures and stuff and we think it’s pretty rad.
Jack: How do you approach the writing process for Bong Mountain?
Adum: Most of our songs are born in the practice space. Typically we will start with a guitar riff from Alex, or maybe Chris but usually Alex, and build off that until we have the basic structure of a song. We’ll try playing different things and sometimes we’ll be like “yeah, that’s tight” and other times we’ll be like “I dunno, not quite”. When the music is mostly figured out Chris writes the lyrics and then we adjust the music to fit the lyrics.
Jack: The album is being released by Stonewalled. What do you like about this label?
Adum: Stonewalled is operated by our friend Andy Slania. Matt knew of Andy from his band Galactic Cannibal, the rest of us met Andy when we played with his current project, Eradicator. Andy has been super easy to work with and really on the same page with us throughout the record releasing process. He has also been very patient with us as we (mostly me) continue to miss deadlines for the artwork, etc. We couldn’t have asked for a better bud to work with on this first vinyl release and we’re very lucky to count Andy among the bestest of bong buds.
Jack: When can we hear new music from Bong Mountain?
Adum: We’ve been working on new material since Spring time and we hope to be in a cabin/studio with our bud Rick Johnson sometime this fall/Winter.
Jack: How will it be different to your previous material or is it too early to think about that?
Adum: It’s hard to say at this point but I feel like we’re really hitting our stride as a band, both in terms of music and inside jokes, and I think that will be evident in the new stuff.
Jack: Do you plan to come to Europe at all?
Adum: We would absolutely love to come to Europe and really anywhere else that will have us. We love to play music for people and party with new buds wherever and whenever we can. We just need to be sure that there is somewhere for Matt to play pinball.
Jack: What other plans do you have coming up?
Adum: We’re very stoked to be playing The Fest in Gainesville, Florida this October. It will be our first time there as a band and we’re gonna see so many buds and cool bands and it’s gonna be great!
Jack: Finally, what is the best Bad Religion album?
Adum: I have no idea but my personal faves are Stranger Than Fiction, The Process of Belief, and The Empire Strikes First. Can you believe they did a Christmas album? What will they think of next?