Of Mice & Men's Aaron on writing 'cathartic' Game Of War

A picture of Of Mice & Men bass player Aaron Pauley
Aaron Pauley (Image credit: Getty)

Of Mice & Men bassist Aaron Pauley recalls fighting back tears while writing Game Of War on the day of last year’s fatal San Bernardino shootings.

He started writing the song in the hours after the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, on December 2 when 14 people were killed and 22 seriously injured.

The track is the opening song on Of Mice & Men’s upcoming fourth album Cold World and Pauley says the songwriting process helped him deal with the horror of the tragedy that took place so near to his home.

Pauley tells Metal Hammer: “I wrote Game Of War the day of the San Bernardino shooting, which is less than an hour from where we live.

“I was just in tears that day. That day, it sucked. It’s really, really easy, especially now with politics, and with the election, and with Brexit and everything else to get really caught up in the politics of things, and then when suddenly it’s not a political issue any more, but a human issue, it hurts more. It’s more visceral.

“It’s not one side versus the other, it’s this is an attack on humanity. And I think that was my way of dealing with it and feeling better.

“And there’s really not a lot to it. There’s a bass guitar, a cello, a violin and a piano with some drums. For me, it was all about the lyric.”

Once he had finished putting the song together, Pauley breathed a sigh of relief. He adds: “That was my decompression. Because music is cathartic, it’s our therapy, it’s how I deal with things, that’s how I remain calm, because I’m normally not a very calm person.

“I’m very prone to getting hyped in my emotions really quickly. So music is the outlet.”

Cold World is released on September 9 and Of Mice & Men launch a European tour in late September.

Of Mice & Men are the covers stars of issue 287 of Metal Hammer magazine, which is available now in print and via TeamRock+. Find out more about TeamRock+ and sign up here.

Of Mice & Men Cold World album art

Of Mice & Men Cold World album art

Of Mice & Men Cold World tracklist

  1. Game of War
  2. The Lie
  3. Real
  4. Like A Ghost
  5. Contagious
  6. -
  7. Pain
  8. The Hunger
  9. Relentless
  10. Down The Road
  11. +
  12. Away
  13. Transfigured

Of Mice & Men tour dates 2016

Sep 30: Birmingham O2 Academy, UK
Oct 01: Manchester O2 Apollo, UK
Oct 03: Nottingham Rock City, UK
Oct 04: Newcastle O2 Academy, UK
Oct 07: London O2 Forum, UK
Oct 09: Cardiff Great Hall, UK
Oct 11: Paris Trabendo, France
Oct 12: Utrecht Ronda, Netherlands
Oct 13: Cologne Live Music Hall, Germany
Oct 15: Frankfurt Batschkapp, Germany
Oct 16: Munich Kesselhaus, Germany
Oct 17: Stuttgart LKA Longhorn, Germany
Oct 19: Solothurn Kofmehl, Switzerland
Oct 20: Vienna Arena, Austria
Oct 21: Leipzig Taubchenthal, Germany
Oct 23: Berlin Columbia Theater, Germany
Oct 24: Hamburg Grosse Freiheit 36, Germany
Oct 25: Antwerp Trix, Belgium

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Stef wrote close to 5,000 stories during his time as assistant online news editor and later as online news editor between 2014-2016. An accomplished reporter and journalist, Stef has written extensively for a number of UK newspapers and also played bass with UK rock favourites Logan. His favourite bands are Pixies and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Stef left the world of rock'n'roll news behind when he moved to his beloved Canada in 2016, but he started on his next 5000 stories in 2022.