Mastodon rhythm guitarist Bill Kelliher recently spoke to Classic Rock and reflected on the band’s latest release, ‘Hushed and Grim.’ Kelliher revealed that it has a very deep meaning for him due to its emotional content.

Mastodon released their eighth studio album, ‘Hushed and Grim,’ on October 29, 2021. It was released as a double album and received very well. The album was praised for its high technical quality and also the quality of the songwriting. As Mastodon members revealed before, the album is also a tribute to the band’s late manager Nick John.

Mastodon’s longtime manager Nick John passed away in 2018, following his battle with pancreatic cancer. The band members were devastated by his death as they developed a close relationship over the years. In 2019, Mastodon recorded a cover of Led Zeppelin’s classic ‘Stairway to Heaven’ to honor Nick John as he was a huge Zeppelin fan.

During the interview, Bill Kelliher recalled their late manager and revealed that their latest album is the ‘deepest record’ they have ever done. Kelliher stated that he always had Nick John in his mind during the writing process of the album. John was not just a manager to him but they also had a great friendship. Mastodon guitarist expressed that he always waited for a call from him during his cancer treatment to tell them he was getting better, however, that call never came.

Bill Kelliher speaking on the latest Mastodon record:

“‘Hushed And Grim’ is the deepest record that we’ve written, emotionally and musically. Every time I’d sit down to write, I was always just thinking about Nick. Even before he died he was on my mind constantly. Because not only was he the world’s greatest manager, he was also the world’s greatest friend. We used to talk on the phone every day, for like thirty minutes to two hours, not just about band business but about our lives.

But about a year and a half prior to him passing away, we just stopped communicating, because he was sick and had problems with his voice. It really affected me, it made me really sad. I just kept waiting for the time that he was gonna call and be like: ‘Hey, I’m feeling better, and everything is cool.’ But that call never came.”

You can listen to the full album below.