As a full-time member of Tomahawk -- with vocalist Mike Patton, drummer John Stanier of Battles and bassist Trevor Dunn of Patton's other band, Mr. Bungle -- guitarist Duane Denison has seen the tides turn over his 15-year career, but says the only thing that's really changed about rock and roll is the technology: listening, recording and distribution. He's also noticed sound quality hasn't improved with new technology.
"It's come full circle, back to the transistor radios I used to listen to as a kid," he says.
After a career of moving around, as he did with The Jesus Lizard from Austin to Chicago, Denison settled in Nashville. He witnessed it become a resurgent hub for rock music, with figures like Jack White and The Black Keys moving in and recording. He also feels among equals in the rich guitarist community. "There are so many overwhelmingly great guitar heroes everywhere you look in this town."
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Tomahawk's last album was 2007's Anonymous (Ipecac Recordings), for which Denison researched Native American music from unsigned transcripts from last century, though he's not eager to visit other cultures' music again. "Where do we go next? Ancient Greek music? Maybe we can make high-tech Inuit music," he joked.
Tomahawk's latest effort, Oddfellows, which will be released early next year, promises to deliver something equally unique. "Some of it is hooks and choruses and some of it is very noisy and uncompromising," Denison says. The name Oddfellows refers to a British "friendly society" (a secret society without the mystery and grim theorizing) whose ranks included George Harrison and Ringo Starr's fathers. Denison says the name matched their vibe.
"We never really fit in tightly anywhere. We're not necessarily metal or punk rock."
Tomahawk plays at Granada Theater tonight, October 31, with openers Pujol.