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Stars That Died

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Who is Brent Hinds?

Who is Brent Hinds? The music world knows him as a guitarist/singer for the Atlanta, Georgia metal band Mastodon, in which he shares guitar duties with Bill Kelliher and vocal duties with Troy Sanders.

In Mastodon's early years, Hinds would work as a full-time carpenter when not touring to promote the band. Hinds is also lead guitarist/singer for the Surfabilly band Fiend Without A Face, and is involved in other projects, including classic rock band The Blood Vessels, West End Motel, Four Hour Fogger and The Last of the Blue Eyed Devils.

Early life

Brent was born in Pelham, Alabama  in 1974. He first asked his father for a guitar at age 13. His father agreed to buy him one, on the condition that Brent first learn the banjo, take lessons and learn to read music. Brent reluctantly agreed, attending the Alabama School of Fine Arts for several years.

Musical career

Hinds subsequently left Alabama for Atlanta, Georgia in pursuit of a music career. It was at this time that he met Troy Sanders, a future member of Mastodon. According to Troy, he "lived in his van for the next five years", becoming a member of Troy's then band Four Hour Fogger. The first practice he attended with this band he allegedly "showed up so wasted he couldn't even play".
Once Four Hour Fogger fell apart, the two stuck together, eventually meeting Brann Dailor and Bill Kelliher at a High on Fire concert in "their friend's basement".

The four began a new musical venture with then singer Eric Saner, touring the southern USA, working 40-hour weeks and committing to the band in their spare time. The band's mainstream success would ensue after Saner left the band, pushing Brent to the forefront not just as a guitarist, but as a vocalist also, the duties of which he would share with Sanders.
Hinds continues to concentrate on Mastodon, with the majority of his time spent touring or in the studio. He also enjoys promoting his lesser-known psychedelic rockabilly band Fiend Without A Face and his classic rock band The Blood Vessels. Hinds composed the score to Jonah Hex.

MTV VMAs incident

In 2007 Hinds attended a MTV music video awards after-party, where he partied and drank heavily with members of Motörhead, Queens of the Stone Age, and Foo Fighters. Hinds left the party in an inebriated and drugged state, reportedly swinging his shirt at pedestrians on the sidewalk, where System of a Down bassist Shavo Odadjian and singer-songwriter Rev. William Hudson were walking back from the VMA's to their hotel. According to a police report the Las Vegas Weekly cites:
Hinds was the instigator and allegedly took off his shirt and hit Odadjian with it, then punched Hudson in the face and chest. 
Hinds concedes that he struck Hudson in the head, who then returned the hit back to Hinds. Hinds wound up with a broken nose, two black eyes, and a brain hemorrhage as a result of falling and having his head hit the floor.
Following the incident, Hinds revealed that his doctors advised him to moderate his drinking and drug-use while he recuperated, but that he ignored the advice, saying "I was back doing drugs and everything by 28 days. But I don't drink as much as I used to, I don't smoke crack anymore, and I don't do tons of fucking pain pills."


Hinds favours Gibson Flying V's, typically in silver burst finishes, but also owns a wide variety of guitars including a Goldtop Les Paul, a Les Paul Florentine, a Lucite Flying V built by the Electrical Guitar Company, a Gibson SG,a Gibson sg custom, Gibson Explorers and a Michael Kelly Phoenix Hollowbody.

He also has two custom First Act guitars: a 6-string used in the video for Colony of Birchmen (which has asymmetrical horns such as those seen on a Mosrite guitar, a Bigsby vibrato, silverburst finish and a Mastodon logo inlaid on the headstock) and a 12-string dc lola, also with a silverburst finish, used on the Unholy Alliance 3 tour to capture a fuller sound while guitarist Bill Kelliher was too ill to perform.

Bill Kelliher owns a guitar similar to this one, though Kelliher's has only 9 strings. He also used a '64 Fender Stratocaster and a '52 Fender Telecaster while recording "Crack the Skye".
During live performances, Hinds favors his various Silverburst Flying V's. He often performs the solos and more melodic parts, whereas Bill Kelliher takes rhythm duties.

As revealed in the "TUNE-UPS" section of the October 2007 issue of Guitar World, the two guitarists use three tunings: D Standard (E standard down one whole step, D G C F A D), Drop C tuning (Drop D tuning down one whole step, C G C F A D), and a third tuning similar to Drop C, but with the low E string tuned down to A (A G C F A D). The tunings are so low, the guitarists have to use heavy gauge strings.

Regarding amplifiers, Hinds was featured in the Marshall magazine as a JCM 800 2203 player. In his pedal board he currently uses a Boss Compressor CS-3, Boss Tuner TU-2, Monster Effects Mastortion, Ibanez Tubescreamer TS-9, Voodoo Labs Pedal Power and the Enema FX Mingebox.

Influence and style

Originally playing the banjo, Hinds learned his "signature style" of fast hybrid picking by emulating banjo fingerings on guitar. He frequently utilizes the minor pentatonic, natural minor, and the harmonic minor scales in his playing as well as many hammer-ons, pull-offs and legato slides.

Hinds grew up listening to country, but when he entered his late teens he started listening to Neurosis and Melvins, bands that would have a profound influence on his musicianship. Hinds has also stated that he is a big fan of the progressive and psychedelic rock genres, especially from the '70s.
On June 12, 2007, Hinds and bandmate Bill Kelliher won the Metal Hammer Golden Gods award for best shredders, the first time the Mastodon guitarists had been awarded for their guitar virtuosity.
Hinds was featured along with Kelliher on the cover of Guitar World's 300th issue alongside guitar legends like Jimi Hendrix, Angus Young, and Kirk Hammett.

Hinds' vocal style is reminscent of a more extreme Ozzy Osbourne voice. Hinds performs clean and harsh vocals in Mastodon, where he shares lead vocal duties with Troy Sanders.

Guest appearance(s)

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