Article by Jason Setnyk | Photo by Seth Olenick
Sacramento, California – Brian Posehn is probably best known for his recurring role as Bert on the Emmy-winning television series The Big Bang Theory. He has also recently appeared in the new Star Wars television show The Mandalorian on Disney+.
Now he has a new comedy metal album coming out titled “Grandpa Metal,” scheduled for release on February 13th via Megaforce Records. The new album shows that Brian Posehn “has friends in metal places.” It features many guests including members of Guns N Roses, Slipknot, Anthrax, Slayer, Fall Out Boy, and Soundgarden. Legendary music comedian “Weird Al” Yankovic also makes a cameo appearance on the new record.
The inspiration for the title “Grandpa Metal” came from his bandmate and Anthrax veteran Scott Ian.
“The song is written about Scott Ian, my bandmate and close friend. That’s what I call him, Grandpa Metal. That’s what I’ve called him for a long time. He hasn’t liked any new music since that band The Refused came out, and that was in the 90s. That was the last new band he liked. It’s busting his balls, but it’s a personal song too, because I also call myself Grandpa Metal, and I know a bunch of other Grandpa metals too. I feel it’s a thing people are going to get right away when they hear it, that know any crusty old metal heads set in their ways and don’t think there’s been a good guitar rift since Dimebag (Pantera) wrote one. They are partially right,” Brian Posehn said with a smirk.
The title “Grandpa Metal” is funny and clever. Similar to his previous song title “Metal by Numbers,” it’s humor that resonates well with the metal music community.
“That’s what I’m going for when I’m inspired to write these songs. It’s from a metalhead perspective. I’m always hoping other metalheads will enjoy it, and even non-metal heads that understand music and comedy,” Brian Posehn said.
The album was produced by Jay Ruston (Anthrax), and in addition to Scott Ian also features Anthrax’s Jonathan Donais. Brian Posehn has known members of Anthrax for nearly 20 years, and in 2016 he appeared in their music video “Blood Eagle Wings.” He explains how he met Scott Ian and the rest of Anthrax.
“The whole thing about this record is that it’s been coming for a long time. I met Scott almost 20 years ago. I went to the House of Blues to see Anthrax one time by myself. I was at the bar, and his roadie at the time came up and said he recognized me and asked if I knew the band. I said no, I never met them. He goes, do you want to meet them? I said yes, absolutely. This was a crazy metal dream. So, I go backstage, and the only guys back there are Anthrax and the guys from Slayer. They are all standing in the same room. I’m amazed I even made it through the conversation without crapping my pants. All these metal legends in one room. I remember having to remind myself to unlock my knees, so I didn’t pass out. I started to get lightheaded while talking to all these legends,” Brian Posehn recalled.
I’ve been friends with Scott ever since. We did a Mr. Show movie at the end of the 90s, and he and I wrote a song for that. That was the first time we had written anything together. It was called “Ass Kickin’ Fat Kid.” It was a Korn type song written for that sequence. We had so much fun doing it; we wanted to do more. So, we did “Metal By Numbers” and “More Metal Than You.” There was always the idea of getting together and doing a full record. Jay Ruston is a guy I’ve known for a while through Scott and other people. He produced “The Gambler” and “More Metal Than You.” We’re looking at long relationships with all these people. The record came about when Scott and I said let’s do this thing and Jay being patient with us. We took six years to finish it. So, I’ve been calling it the Chinese Democracy of Comedy Metal record,” Brian Posehn continued.
Gary Holt of Exodus, and who joined Slayer a few years ago, contributed a guitar solo on the second song titled “Satan is kind of a dick”.
“The way the whole record came together is insane. Gary Holt is not underappreciated, well maybe he is, but now since he’s gotten to play with Slayer, I think more people know just what a badass he is. The first time I saw him with them, I thought they were heavier. To say that about Slayer, that they could get heavier is kind of insane, but he’s one of those players whose picking hand is amazing, but he’s also a badass shredder. He doesn’t get as much credit as I think he should. The solo he did for our record is a song called “Satan’s Kind of a Dick”. One of the themes of the song is how hell isn’t what you think it’s going to be. Hell wouldn’t be fun, and they don’t play Slayer in hell is one of the jokes. To have this guy who played in Slayer do a Slayer like solo, I’m proud of that. It turned out how I had hoped with all the guest, and I couldn’t have planned it any better,” Brian Posehn explained.
“The L.A. people we recorded at Jay’s place. Everyone else sent their stuff in. Most of the guitar solos were sent to us. Rob Cavestany from Death Angel recorded at his home studio. Even some of the vocals came from the Bay. Chuck Billy recorded up there, and Steve Souza from Exodus recorded up there too. With Bumblefoot, I asked him to do it on a Thursday, and he sent it to me the next morning on Friday,” Brian Posehn recalled with amazement.
Another guest on the album is “Weird Al” Yankovic. He makes a cameo on the sixth track titled “My Phone Call with Weird Al.”
“In my stand up, I do a joke about how I was going to play the Weird Al parodies of famous songs to my kid before I played him the originals. So, if he heard “Beat It” he would go what the hell – why is this Michael Jackson guy ripping off Weird Al because it sounds exactly like “Eat It”. I essentially did that. I wrote that joke first, and then with my son, I raised him like that. The first time we were in a grocery store, and he heard “Lola” instead of “Yoda,” he wanted to know what was happening. I was like, oh yeah, I should have told you. That “Yoda” song is based on a very famous song,” Brian Posehn conceded.
“For the record, getting Weird to do it… Yeah, Weird, we’re pals – name dropping. I asked him to do it. He’s the nicest guy. Through comedy, over the years, we’ve been in the same room together. I brought my son to see him at the Hollywood Bowl, and he was so cool with my son. My son is a huge fan. I asked him, but I didn’t want to do a song with him, that would be the obvious thing. He’s so funny, I thought it would be funny to have him turn me down on the record, so I wrote this bit,” Brian Posehn explained.
“It just came to me, and he totally got the joke right away. This proves what a nice guy he is too. He was heading out of town. He was going with his wife the next day to Japan. I’m on the phone at a comedy club in San Francisco, recording him with this app. I’m just trying to figure out how to record phone calls. He is so patient. Before my first show, he’s trying to record it, but it doesn’t work out. I’m like man, I have to call you back in an hour and a half. I do a stand-up set and then I come back in the green room. I call him again. The poor guy was flying to another country in the morning and was so sweet about it. It was so cool. We go it, and once I realized we got the track, I said thanks so much for your time and I’m sorry. He was so patient and nice and funny,” Brian Posehn added.
Talking about Yoda, Brian Posehn appears on the new Star Wars television show The Mandalorian on Disney+ that features baby Yoda. In the first episode, Posehn is a speeder pilot who says the infamous line “Stay off the Ice” in the second scene of the opening sequence. Posehn is a long-time Star Wars fan and is proud to be a part of the official canon.
“I can’t even believe it, and to be in The Mandalorian which is really great. As a Star Wars nerd, I don’t love everything that they’ve done. I kind of famously went after them over the prequels pretty hard, but I love what they’re doing now, especially with that show. So, to be a part of the canon as a Star Wars nerd is pretty insane. I’ve gone to the Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland. I feel like I should charge, hey I’m in this, and stand there in my costume, taking pictures with people,” Brian Posehn said with a laugh.
Also, on the album Grandpa Metal there is a cover of “Take on Me” by A-Ha.
“I have a theory. It’s a simple theory. My theory is that any song is better as heavy metal or done metal style. I rarely do karaoke, but when I do, I always get up and Cookie Monster my way through. I make it metal, even if the backing track isn’t metal, I’ll get up and scream my way through a song. “Take on Me” is a song I’ve done at Karaoke night, and so was “The Gambler.” When I covered The Gambler,” it was a little deeper, because I feel like those lyrics are metal. Saying them in a metal way, you get the song even more. It really sings to you. With “Take One Me” the lyrics are not necessarily metal. The band is from one the places metal comes from. I don’t know why At the Gates, a Swedish death metal band hasn’t covered it, but now I have,” Brian Posehn remarked.
Brian Posehn has indicated he would like to do a music video for “Take On Me” but to do the animation would be pricey.
“I have two videos coming. I would love to eventually do one for “Take on Me” but since it was the first single. Since we didn’t have a video ready yet, we’re going to do a “Grandpa Metal” video and at least one other song from that album. I talked to some animators and that would be surprisingly expensive for a low budget metal video,” Brian Posehn disclosed.
“We’re probably going to shoot the “Grandpa Metal” music video in a couple of weeks. The idea is for it to be up in February when the album comes out, and I do the real push. Jack Bennett is going to be the director. He did the Anthrax music video “Blood Eagle Wings” that I was in. It’s going to be silly and probably feature Scott Ian doing physical comedy. We’ll see how that goes,” Brian Posehn went on.
There are no immediate plans to tour exclusively for the Grandpa Metal album.
“I’m not touring Grandpa Metal yet. The shows I have on the books are regular stand-up shows. This year, I’ll start to be doing these hybrid shows. You’ll know it’s the Grandpa Metal show because Scott and I will be together. We did it on the MegaCruise, where he comes out and does about 20 minutes to half an hour of spoken word and funny stories. Then he brings me out. I come out, and I do half an hour of comedy, then I bring him back out and perform a couple of songs together. We did “Grandpa Metal” and “The Gambler” on the MegaCruise,” Brian Posehn replied.
“The idea is as the record comes out, bring the band out, and do a couple more songs from that. The idea of me doing a full tour with the band. That’s not in the cards right now. That’s not what I plan to do, nor would I ever do with this record. The record was really for fun. I’m not going to try and be Chris Jericho and front a metal band also. It seems like a lot of work. Fozzy has worked out for him, but that’s not what I want to do,” Brian Posehn added.
Would Brian Poshen be willing to revise the role of geologist Bert Kibbler on The Big Bang Theory if the show ever had a re-boot in 10 or 20 years?
“Whenever. If it’s two years from now, twenty years from now, I had a blast. Not everybody loves sitcoms, and even, in particular, that sitcom. I did, I had a great experience doing The Big Bang Theory. I love that style of comedy. I love a lot of different types of comedy, but the sitcom format is so classic. I feel like it can still be funny. I enjoyed doing that show. I would do that show or shows like it again,” Brian Posehn responded.
Brian Posehn is also working on a new comedy special.
“This year, I’m working on a new stand up special, that I want to get done sooner than later. I’m probably going to record it during the spring and try to get something out by the summer or fall,” Brian Posehn stated.
Lastly, Brian Poshen hopes to write more Deadpool comics for Marvel before the end of this year.
“I’m planning to do more comic book writing. I have stuff to present to Marvel. I’m hoping by the end of the year to have some Marvel stuff out, but that process takes a little while,” Brian Posehn said.
“For Marvel, I’m going to go back to Deadpool. I want to do some more Deadpool stuff because I had such a blast with that character. When it ended, it ended kind of organically for me, but I miss writing there. I did a one-pager for the Marvel 80th Anniversary. I wrote it with Scott Koblish, who did some of the Deadpool art for some of my favorite issues. My favorite stuff with Deadpool are the ones that have less story and straight-up comedy. I love the storytelling too. The ones where we went joke, joke, joke, joke, joke – those were so fun! I want to do more of that,” Brian Posehn concluded.
Brian Posehn has also appeared in several films, including Rob Zombie’s “The Devil’s Rejects,” he starred in Comedy Central’s “The Sarah Silverman Program,” he appeared in episodes of “Seinfeld,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” and “Californication.” Also, he was a voice actor in Kevin Smith’s “Clerks: The Animated Series, “American Dad!”, “Bob’s Burgers,” and “The Simpsons.”