Mastodon are known for having a laugh, but did you know that drummer Brann Dailor is a serious clown fanatic? And we don’t mean that he’s got a season pass to the local circus or has seen It a million times, he’s devoted an entire room in his house to the creepy red-nosed pranksters.
We paid a trip to Brann’s house of laughs to check out his collection of toys, pictures and freaky figures to find out where this passion for clowns comes from.
How come you’re not scared of clowns, Brann?
“They’ve never been a scary thing for me at all. When I was really little my grandfather was in The Shrine Circus that have big parades and go to children’s hospitals, and we would have backstage access to see the clowns getting ready and I’ve always gravitated towards them. They were clowns that were supposed to be funny and colourful, a few of them talked using a horn and I loved that. Even my dalmatian dog is an original clown with his white face and his spotty clown outfit. I’m not a fan of evil clowns that are scary on purpose but I have a painting of Pennywise in my room. The actor John C. Reilly is a collector like me and he doesn’t like the evil clowns either. Everybody’s reached out to me after the new It movie but they just don’t get it!”
How do you use this creepy clown room?
“I’ve always wanted a clown-themed room so when we moved into our new house, I dressed up the guest room and my dream came true. Even the walls are orange and pink stripes for the design factor because I love the aesthetic of crazy clown colours. When people come over to crash at our place, I tell them they’ve gotta sleep in the clown room. I’m fully aware of people’s genuine clown phobias but it’s the only phobia that seems to have become trendy. People jumped on the bandwagon even when it’s not necessarily scary for them – there’s a popular ‘I can’t sleep, clowns will eat me’ mentality. Part of me really likes making people a little uncomfortable with the clowns, though.”
Is your collection complete yet?
“My wife keeps telling me there’s no more room for new pieces but there’s always space! As long as I don’t end up on TV buried alive under my hoard, I’ll be fine. It makes me happy to come home from tour and see all my art on the walls, though, so we have a dressing case on the tour bus where we keep a clown wig for some clowning on the road. I love collecting pieces on tour at this time of year because there’s Halloween stores everywhere to buy crazy costumes to make other bands happy… if it freaks anyone out, even better! Maybe clowns will make a comeback in 20 years and people will see them as anything but the ferocious beasts they’ve been painted for years.”
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Do you have any rare pieces in your collection?
“None of these pieces are pricey because nobody else really wants them, but my clown chandelier is a custom piece from my friend who makes cool octopus-like chandeliers. I have another friend I go to with art ideas who showed me this normal Donald Trump painting and I didn’t particularly want him in my house, so he sent it back to the artist who put clown makeup on him. Now I’m fond of it because it’s painted by a Mexican in Mexico and they turned him into a Mexican clown!”
On a scale of 1-10, how metal is owning a clown collection?
“It’s hard to tell! I guess the worlds merge more than once – the make-up ties in with corpsepaint and King Diamond’s visuals… there’s a clown derivative in there somewhere. Of course you’ve got Slipknot which is essentially nine clowns onstage including Shawn Crahan – we’re close so we talk about clowns all the time, he’s a bonafide clown and everything he does onstage is what they teach in clown college.”
Mastodon’s new four-track EP, Cold Dark Place, is out now via Reprise Records.