Back in 1994, a group of Santa Barbarans came together over their love of metal, punk, and anything loud to form what would go on to become one of the big deal, hard rockin’ acts of the mid-to-late ’90s. The nu metal collective known as Snot, led by singer Lynn Strait and guitarist Mikey Doling, went on to tour the globe and share stage time with fellow noisemakers Incubus and Soulfly. They also made waves when they took to the main stage at 1998’s notoriously rowdy Ozzfest. But just months after the Ozzy-fueled bus came to a halt, tragedy struck the band in a way that was both horrific and unforeseeable.
On Friday, December 11 of 1998, Snot frontman Lynn Strait was killed in a car accident during a routine drive from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles. Mourning the loss of the just 30-year-old Strait came by way of an overwhelming emotional outpouring from fans, as well as a touching and star-filled tribute album (2000’s Strait Up) and, ultimately, the disbanding of Snot.
Ten years after Strait’s passing, the hard working folks at blabbermouth.net leaked a little story confirming rumors that the band was gettin’ back together. And not long after, guitarist Mikey Doling phoned into the Indy to give us the full story. “After Lynn passed away in ’98 we all got hired in other bands,” Doling explained. “But in the last year or so we all became free from our other projects and we started playing [together] again.” For Doling in particular, the post-Snot years brought with them a turbulent series of musical ventures. He first replaced guitarist Logan Mader in Soulfly, then left that band to form Abloom with former members of both Soulfly and Onesidezero. Most recently, Doling put in time with a new project called Invitro.
So how did the Snot reunion finally come to be? “We were in Anaheim [playing] at the House of Blues,” Doling recalled of a recent Invitro show. “We brought Sonny [Mayo], and Jamie [Miller], and John [Fahnestock] on stage and the place went ballistic.” The feedback from the audience coupled with the excitement the guys got from playing together and the rest, as they say, was history. Lead singer Tommy Vext (formerly of Divine Heresy) was brought on to take over vocal duties, and Snot ’08 quickly headed into the studio. “Tommy is an old school fan,” explained Doling of the frontman selection process. “We met him in 1996 or 1997 at the Roseland Ballroom. We signed picks and gave him some autographs. And when he came in [to audition] he just killed it, just jammed.”
When we spoke, Doling’s plans for Snot’s immediate future were still in the works, though he made mention of an October tour with DevilDriver and an upcoming stop at L.A.’s famous Key Club. But just as fans are curious to see what happens next, so too are the old school Snot fanatics a bit up in arms about the reunion. Following the posting of Doling’s original interview on blabbermouth.net, readers were none so shy in expressing their contempt for this new amalgamation of their beloved band. Comments ranged from the skeptical (“I don’t know about this shit. It feels weird. I understand the desire and they do have the right. It just feels weird. I’ll keep an open mind on this but…. weird.”) to the downright infuriated (“Snot has far too good of a legacy to be recruiting this schmuck.”). But the feedback, positive or negative, gives Doling hope.
“We mourned our bro for a decade: If there’s a group that’s pissed off at us, that just means that they love Lynn and they love Snot.” The newly reformed Snot, featuring Doling on guitar and original members Jaimie Miller on drums, John “Tumor” Fahnestock on bass, and Sonny Mayo on guitar, plus the addition of Tommy Vext on vocals, will play their first show in ten years tonight at 8 p.m. at Velvet Jones (423 State St.). The first 100 people at the door will get in for free. Admission is $10 for all others. Call 965-8676 for details.