What does the future hold for Black Tusk?
When Black Tusk lost their brother Athon in a motorcycle accident, their whole world came crashing down. Now, they're striving onwards to honour his spirit
Black Tusk drummer James May was pulling pints in Savannah rock bar The Jinx when he got the call. The band’s bassist, Jonathan Athon, had been involved in a motorcycle crash, and was in a coma.
“I took the call from Andrew [Fidler, Black Tusk guitarist] and then I dipped the fuck out, of course. I didn’t know how serious it was, you know? Not everyone that gets involved in an automobile accident or a motorcycle accident dies. You don’t think that’s gonna happen. I knew he was in the hospital, but I didn’t know how bad it was until I got there. Before I got to the hospital, Andrew told me, ‘Man, it’s bad... be prepared for what you’re about to see.’ And then I saw him, and I was like, ‘Holy fuck...’”
Unless you are among the fortunate ones selling out arenas, the life of a hard-working heavy metal band is seldom a smooth ride. James knows this better than most. Along with buddies Andrew and Athon (known by his surname), he dedicated the last 10 years to pushing his band’s music, spending months on the road each year as Black Tusk steadily built a reputation as the next great band to emerge from Savannah, Georgia – home to the mighty Baroness and Kylesa, among many other underground notables. With a sound they jokingly refer to as “swamp metal” (actually a supremely energetic hybrid of stoner rock, primitive thrash and nuts-out hardcore punk), they have been growing in stature for some time now, particularly since signing with Relapse for 2010’s widely acclaimed Taste The Sin album. Athon’s tragic accident is not the only shitty break the band have experienced, but it was certainly the most devastating.