Interview: How actor-comedian Brian Posehn made an album with Slipknot’s Corey Taylor and Weird Al

ID10T, Brian Posehn

Brian Posehn performs at ID10T Festival at Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View on June 25, 2017. Chloe Catajan/Staff.

You’ve definitely seen Brian Posehn as an actor.

Even if the name doesn’t ring a bell, you’ve seen him in something. He has 119 acting credits on IMDb. In the last decade alone he’s been Bert, the geologist with a crush on Amy, in “The Big Bang Theory;” he’s was Lorenzo the biology teacher on “New Girl;” he was the doomed speeder pilot in the first episode of “The Mandalorian.” And that’s in addition to being a writer for the legendary “Mr. Show” and its Netflix spiritual successor, and one of the best runs of Deadpool comics.

Brian Posehn
April 23, 24 and 25
Cobb’s Comedy Club

But this isn’t about any of that.

Posehn’s got a new endeavor: Grandpa Metal, his comedy metal album.

“I’d done funny songs before with [Anthrax guitarist] Scott Ian on one of my comedy albums. I had so much fun doing them that I wanted to do more,” he said. “We talked about doing a full record and about six years ago we signed a deal with Megaforce to do it. And it took that long.”

About a year ago the label suggested to Posehn and Ian that they should think about wrapping it up and releasing it. According to Posehn, the hold-up was that when they decided to do it, they never got around to deciding how they were going to make it work with their busy schedules. Eventually they cleared everything to make it work.

“We had written most of the songs together but when we realized we were still short, I said, ‘Hey man, I’m just gonna ask Joe [Trohman of Fall Out Boy] to help me finish this record,” he said. “We’re all friends, and [Ian is] in a band [The Damned Things] with Joe. He wasn’t like ‘Hey man, who’s this guy?’ It made sense for all of us.”

Trohman’s involvement led to the final version of the album’s title track, “Grandpa Metal,” about crotchety, aged metalheads.

Well, one in particular.

“We had the song and we had the chorus, but I just didn’t have a version of it that was making me laugh,” he said. “So Joe and I decided to just come up with a bunch of jokes making fun of Scott Ian. And once it just became a bunch of old man jokes about Scott it pretty much just wrote itself.”

Part of what made the album work is that Ian and Trohman aren’t the only heavy metal musicians Posehn counts among his friends. He’s a writer and a comedian, but he’s also a metal fan himself; one who’s been in the scene and met all sorts of people.

“With the exception of one or two, everybody on this record was just me calling in a favor,” he said. “The fact that I got [Slipknot’s] Corey Taylor on here, and Weird Al—they’re all me just going, ‘Hey dude, I’m working on this really dumb thing. Can you send in a solo?’ And it worked.”

And yes, his is the first album to feature both Corey Taylor and Weird Al.

In addition to his own songs, Posehn had a taste of metal comedy writing for Adult Swim series “Metalocalypse.” But for this he wanted to take a different angle. He said that while he would love to have a quarter of the success with his metal career that “Metalocalypse” creator Brendon Small had, his goal is much different.

“Part of the inspiration is, there hasn’t been a record like this in a really long time. But when I was young I loved [Stormtroopers of Death] for having a sense of humor, I loved Scatterbrain for having a sense of humor—for writing metal riffs but also being self-aware.

“I don’t think you have to know every Amon Amarth song to find ‘Quarter Viking’ funny, but it’ll help. If you are a metalhead you’ll like this record even more. I think if you’re a metalhead of a certain age, and you have a sense of humor about it, you’ll like it.”

So what’s next for Brian Posehn? He’s writing a couple comic books, he has an animated pilot, and he just sold the rights to a comic he wrote. But he’s not done with music quite yet.

“I want to do a couple videos for this record and I want to tour to promote it. Scott and I have talked about going out and doing a tour this spring or summer maybe,” he said. “Not what you’re thinking, though—he goes out and does some spoken word, tells funny stories, then I come out and do a half hour of my stuff, then we both come out and do a couple songs from the album. We did that on Megadeth’s cruise and had a blast.”

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