Beartooth gigs are not for the faint-hearted. Plastic beer glasses sail through the air as an adolescent horde pogos wildly. But, says frontman Caleb Shomo, that’s just how he likes it.
Shomo has been driving his contemporaries nuts for the last eight years—first with his former metalcore band, Attack Attack!, and then in 2013 when he formed Beartooth in Columbus, Ohio, with the goal of sounding even harder and more extreme.
To celebrate the release of the band’s second album, Aggressive, the 23-year-old reveals five musical energy bombs that get him pumped.
Rage Against The Machine - Guerrilla Radio
“When I was a kid, I mostly listened to classic rock music because that’s what my parents would play at home. But that all changed when I got a Tony Hawk video game with this song on the soundtrack—it blew my mind! The guitar riffs are so heavy, and the energy is mind-blowing. I could feel the adrenaline rush through my body. Every time I sit down to write a song, I try to re-create the energy contained in this tune.”
AC/DC - Whole Lotta Rosie
“When you’re talking about high-energy bands, you have to mention AC/DC. Angus Young is 61 and he’s still running around the stage, head-banging like a madman. His live presence has informed my performance a lot. I’m not sure if Axl Rose [who stepped in to replace singer Brian Johnson on tour] can do justice to classics like ‘Whole Lotta Rosie,’ but I’d still love to see them live. They’re my favorite rock’n’roll band ever.”
Slipknot - People = Shit
[from the album Iowa]
“This song is so pissed off! Super-fast parts alternate with slower head-bang riffs, and in the chorus the whole band yell, ‘People equals shit,’ over and over. Their lyrics are so raw and uncensored. I love it. I’m not sure if we would incorporate masks and fire [two of Slipknot’s trademarks] into our live shows —we’re more about raw energy—but musically and lyrically they’ve been a big inspiration on the Beartooth sound.”
Slayer - Repentless
[from the album of the same name]
“What I admire about Slayer is that they never try anything innovative, they never mess with their formula. For 35 years, these thrash-metal gods have been delivering the most energetic head-bang music ever. Take this masterpiece from their most recent album. It starts with an epic guitar riff, which then powers through the entire song. There’s no letting up, it’s just yelling and musical mayhem. I love it!”
Motörhead - Love Me Like a Reptile
[from the album Ace Of Spades]
“The first time I heard this song was six years ago when we were on tour and our guitar tech played it to me. We ended up listening to the track every night before the show. With Lemmy’s harsh voice and his distorted bass guitar, this song gets you pumped like nothing else. Lemmy was the ultimate rock’n’roll badass, and he played shows right up to his death late last year. He loved what he did, which I find very inspiring.”