Louisiana band, Watermox, is ready to breath new life into Rock N’ Roll with their unique blend of classic rock and thrash. Now, Imagine honing in on that sound and having THE Dave Mustaine as a mentor… Well, it’s beyond reality for Watermox. Bassist, Mark Michell, shares what he learned from Mustaine and what you can expect to see from Watermox during their festival debut at Exit 111!
Tell us a little about who you are + how the band came to be…
We’re Watermox! Three of us grew up in the same hometown with a shared love for rock and metal. Not too many people our age were into the same music we were, so we really banded together early on. We honed our chops covering our favorite songs together as early as 2004, and really found a sound we all identify with. We’ve had an amazing chemistry from the start, and after going our separate ways in the music industry with other bands over the years, we’ve since come full circle and reunited in 2017 with a fourth added member from our home state. We’re now firing on all cylinders and are ready to get this show on the road!
Watermox has been working closely with Dave Mustaine of Megadeth. How did that relationship start?
After our time spent playing together in high school, we briefly went our separate ways and dove into the music industry headfirst. We spent the better part of 10 years recording and touring the globe with other established bands and began carving out our own careers. Along the way, I (Mark Michell, bass) briefly worked with Dave’s son, Justis, for another band I was slated to tour with in 2016. I only imagined Justis’ love for rock and metal was something that ran deep, so when Watermox came out of hibernation in 2017, he was the first person on my list that I wanted to hear our music. Long story short – he loved it, and naturally, it made its way to Dave’s ears! Dave took us under his wing and we hit it off quickly after he asked to produce a few of our songs. Working at that level with Justis and Dave was a dream come true for us, and is still surreal!
What’s one thing you’ve learned from him?
Dave Mustaine is an icon and a legend in his own right for all things rock and metal. The guy has seen it all, and he’s been very open and candid with sharing his wisdom while working with us. Among the countless pieces of advice he’s shared with us, he constantly emphasizes the importance of enjoying the journey and not the destination. The journey IS the success, and the destination is simply a point in time along the journey. He’s reminded us to enjoy the process, to enjoy the work, and to always be in the moment. If you’re always chasing the “next best thing” as a band, you’ll never get to live out your passion the same way you do when you’re playing music. When you’re playing on stage, everything else moves to the sidelines and you get to be in the moment – treat all aspects of your music career this way.
Where did the name come from?
The band was under a different name when we first started, and when we began working with Dave, one of the first questions he asked is “Do you trust me?”, and his very next question was “Would you be willing to change your band name?” This came as a shock to us, as we’d gone by the same name since high school. Dave really wanted us to embrace our authenticity and brand ourselves with something a little more tangible and honest. Water moccasins are quick, fast, mean, and unrelenting – being from Louisiana, and having a name that really described the vibe and aesthetic of the music, was something he felt strongly about. He first suggested ‘Watermox’ and we had to give it some thought for a few days, and it was during that time that he and his wife encountered a water moccasin infestation on a property they were looking at. It resulted in an interesting string of epiphanies we both shared, and knew it was a sign. The rest is history, as they say.
What is the band currently up to? Any new music we can look forward to?
We worked on two songs with Dave last year, and we just finished shooting a music video for each back in June. They’ll be released as two singles this Fall around our festival debut at Exit 111. We’re entering the studio with producer Marti Frederiksen (Aerosmith, Mötley Crüe) in August to wrap up more music for release soon as well!
How would you describe your live show? – What can people look forward to at Exit 111?
We go HARD! As I was saying…fast, mean and unrelenting, right? We’re here to put on a show and get the blood pumping. We love to connect and engage with audiences and really share this experience together. We believe that live music is all about bringing people together and escaping everyday life, and we want to bring you into our world. We don’t want to put on a show for you – we want to put on a show WITH you. We’re kicking off Exit 111 with one of the first performances on Day 1, and we want to get the energy level for the weekend started off right!
Who are you most excited to see at Exit 111?
While it’s an honor for us to play anywhere we go, having Exit 111 be the official debut for Watermox is very, very special to us. As I mentioned earlier, we got our footing covering songs in the early 2000’s, and you could find songs on our setlists back then comprising of almost a dozen of the bands on the Exit 111 bill. This bill is stacked with rock royalty and many of our favorite bands. We’re excited to see everyone, but most excited to see Slash with Guns N’ Roses, Myles Kennedy with Alter Bridge, Coheed & Cambria, Slayer, Seether, Mastodon, and- wait, I better stop myself before I type out the whole bill!
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Get tickets to Exit 111 here.