Since forming in 2008, Akron’s Mockingbird, made up of Chadd Beverlin (drums), Mike Gilpatrick (bass) and Andy Strickland (guitar, vocals), having been shredding the scene in the Rubber City with its heavy hybrid of stoner rock and progressive metal. Since releasing its self-titled debut record in 2010, the band has been through a few changes.
Fans of the band will notice than they are back down to a three-piece, as bassist Gilpatrick explained: “We were working with a few guitar players, looking for a bigger sound, but it just wasn’t working out like we thought it would.” Accordingly, the band isn’t actively looking for another guitarist, though they are open to the idea if someone comes along who meshes well with the group.
The band has also taken time since its first release to begin pruning new material, but they don’t anticipate its release until sometime next year. The group considered going down South to where they recorded the first record, but reconsidered.
“We originally wanted to go back down to the studio in South Carolina earlier in the year, but then we decided we wanted to go out and tour,” said Gilpatrick. “It’s not really that we wanted to postpone the record. The way that we write is really picky. We’re not just about throwing something together just to have something.”
The Akron boys will be heading out three times this year, for about 10 days each stretch. Starting in April, they’ll be hitting the road with Lo-Pan. They’ll follow that up with a string of dates along the East Coast, as well as a tour of the South and West for a few weeks near the end of summer.
The end-of-summer tour will be the band’s first time playing those regions, Gilpatrick explained, adding that music fans there aren’t too familiar with the band outside airplay on college radio.
Along the way, they will continue to put the new record together. “A lot of people that come to see the shows notice that we’ll throw a lot of songs in that we don’t normally play,” he said. “We have a normal rotation of songs, but then we’re always throwing something new in. Sometimes it’s because we’re trying something out to see how it feels live. Sometimes we’re just jamming.”
Jamming is a big part of the band’s writing process, Gilpatrick said, adding that most of the material is well-rehearsed before they enter the studio. He said that the new material will be similar to the old, in that it will replicate their live sound closely, with a few exceptions. The group also doesn’t plan to rely on studio wizardry or a mashed, processed sound in the new songs.
“Just keep your ears open,” Gilpatrick said. “Keep your ears open. Our new shit is going to be fierce.”
Check out the band before they hit the road on April 5 at Annabell’s.