Mastodon guitarist Bill Kelliher opened up about sharing their songs’ publishing rights equally by explaining the main reason behind it during his latest interview with FM99 WNOR Backstage Pass.
Unlike many other bands that reveal the band member’s name who wrote the lyrics in their songs, Mastodon decided to say ‘all lyrics are written by Mastodon’ in every album that they have released so far. Bill Kelliher stated that they agreed to follow this policy in their early years.
The band’s policy was to equally divide songwriting credits between all band members, even though some didn’t contribute to the writing of the lyrics. Kelliher unveiled that they wanted to share the money coming from publishing rights to prevent any possible competition or problem between the band members.
The Mastodon guitarist added that sometimes their bassist Troy Sanders doesn’t compose any riffs but writes the songs’ lyrics along with the drummer Brann Dailor who has been working on new records’ lyrics more than anyone for a while. It looks like their decision can be considered the secret formula of the band’s longevity and success.
Kelliher stated in his interview that:
“In our band, when we first started, I remember when signing a record deal… We got a lawyer, and he wanted to know, ‘How do you wanna divvy all your publishing up?’ And, ‘Who writes what?’ — music and stuff like that. I thought about it long and hard, and I said everybody in the band has a job and everybody does something.
It might not always be this person that writes every song, and I just think it’d be silly if it’s, like, well, the guys that write the most get paid the most. ‘Cause, that’s gonna be like a competition now in our band. So many bands break up over that. Bands that have one guy that does all the writing tend to kind of sound very similar on every song.
I said, ‘You know what? Just divvy everything up 25 percent for each member. So, no matter what people do in the band… Everyone always has a job. Sometimes Troy doesn’t write that many riffs, but he writes lyrics. Brann, plays drums but he writes most of the lyrical content lately.”
You can check out the interview below.