In 2019, Mastodon released a cover of the Led Zeppelin classic “Stairway to Heaven” as a tribute to their late manager, Nick John. The band continued to honor John with their new album, Hushed and Grim, which is dedicated to his memory.
In listening to both the “Stairway” cover and Hushed and Grim, you may find that both have a similar, well, hushed quality. When asked whether he thinks any of “Stairway to Heaven” made its way into Hushed and Grim, drummer/vocalist Brann Dailor tells ABC Audio, “I hope it found its way into something.”
“I’d never claim that,” Dailor laughs.
Covering “Stairway” in the first place, was, of course, a daunting task for Mastodon. After all, “No ‘Stairway'” is, as Wayne’s World taught us, one of the few rules of rock n’ roll.
“When you do a cover, especially something so iconic like that, like, who’s covering ‘Stairway to Heaven?'” Dailor says. “It’s, like, a big no-no, you know what I mean?”
Mastodon eventually decided to go through with it as a special tribute to John by performing “Stairway” at his funeral. They later recorded the cover and released it to raise money for cancer research.
In addition to honoring Mastodon’s beloved manager, covering “Stairway” allowed Dailor to dig deeper into the epic rock classic. That exploration of its iconic slow build and massive crescendo, Dailor thinks, may have influenced Hushed and Grim.
“I guess that I would say that there’s some stuff on the record that’s more in-line with something like that than anything we’ve really done previously,” Dailor says. “So maybe it subconsciously made its way into [us thinking], ‘Let’s try to have a vibe like that.'”
Hushed and Grim is out now. It includes the single “Teardrinker.”
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