Latest updates:

We hope you enjoy your visit here. Please join or login if you have joined before.

MT @ Facebook

Not logged in

Users online

36 guests

Welcome to our newest member, willtravers

Black Tractor's The Reverend Johnny Potatoes: "The original idea for the band was to create a new genre called farm metal. We planned to write songs about hoof disease and milking cows."

Interview with The Reverend Johnny Potatoes from Black Tractor
by Jojo "Rocket Queen" Hamilton at 04 August 2020, 1:21 AM

BLACK TRACTOR released their debut EP back in 2003. Today lead vocalist The Right Reverend Johnny Potatoes takes the time out his schedule to speak to Metal Temple Co-Editor In Chief Jojo Rocket Queen Hamilton about the latest album & more.

Reverend, it’s a pleasure to interview you today & thank you for speaking with me today, I hope your well in these strange days.

Thanks a lot.  It's nice chatting with you as well.  And thanks for the amazing review of the new album! Strange days indeed! The bad news is it's no mystery the states haven't handled the corona thing too terribly well.  The good news is the band and their families are all healthy and well. I hope the same goes for you and yours.  If not Black Tractor is selling corona vaccines online. $99.99.  They come in suppository form, menthol and plain.

How did BLACK TRACTOR come together as a band back when it all started? Who created the band & brought it all together? Give me some history please Reverend.

Black Tractor formed from the ashes of a band called Bagg which dissolved in 2002.  Myself, rhythm guitarist Rock High and drummer Tungsten Steele all came from Bagg. Rock High mixes sound in pretty much every venue in Cincinnati so he knows just about every musician in town.   The rest of the guys were cherry picked from the Cincinnati music scene.  A couple guys have quit and we've fired a few folks, but that's always been our process.  Were fortunate in the fact we’ve been around so long we know just about everyone and most local musicians are familiar with the band.  Some previous bands the guys have played in are the aforementioned Bagg, Arapyma and Helifino.

What’s in a name? Tell us, what does the name BLACK TRACTOR mean? Why was this picked as the band name?

The original idea for the band was to create a new genre called farm metal.  We planned to write songs about hoof disease and milking cows.  We were going to wear carhardts on stage and have chickens roaming throughout the venue while we played.  But alas, the carhardts were too hot under the stage lights and bar owners frowned on the poo the chickens left behind.  So we kept the agricultural name, while the band went in a different direction thematically.

The artwork on the album cover for “The Wonders Of The Invisible World” is captivating, who came up with it & what does it represent?

Lead guitarist El Sid and myself came up with the concept.  The artwork was designed and created by El Sid.  Stylistically we tried to create the look of VHS Horror movies from the 80's.  The golden years of video stores.  The pig image is meant to represent Mary Bradbury.  Mary was jailed and sentenced to die in 1692 for witchcraft in Salem.  She escaped and eluded authorities until the witch trials had been discredited.  Townfolks at the time believed she transformed into a giant blue pig and terrorized the town after nightfall.  They also thought she sunk supply ships en route to Salem via witchcraft.  After the trials she returned home and lived until 1700, when she died at 85 years of age.

When your not playing music with the band, what music do you listen to personally to chillax to?

I really listen to a wide range of stuff.  I can't take too much new country.  I do think heavier music is where a lot of creativity manifests.  I think I'm pretty typical for a music junkie my age.  Lots of Ween, Mr. Bungle…stuff a bit left of centre.  I also really enjoy singer songwriter stuff as well.  John Prine and Townes Van Zandt sorta stuff.  I was super bummed when Covid-19 took John Prine.  Lately I've been digging into Richard and Linda Thompson's catalogue.  “I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight” is an amazing record.

Reverend, you’re the lead vocalist. Just how long have you been singing? Do you play any other instruments or are you strictly a singer?

I've been fiddling around with home recording as long as I can remember.  Endless 4 track cassettes in my closet probably go back to the mid 80's.  I play guitar a bit.  Mainly just chords to sketch out a song.  I'll call the bandmates when it's time to solo.  I can't solo for shit.  My goals on our future albums is to do some more melodic vocals.  Hopefully I can do that and maintain my angry metal vocalist street cred!

You guys are rumoured to be a bunch a criminals posing as heavy metal stars, playing the word of God, is it true you just want to “relieve” us of our money, girlfriends & weed?


In 2003 the band released their debut EP “Skidmark Of The Beast” in 2019 you guys released “The Wonders Of The Invisible World,” How long will it be before you start writing new material again?

We've already got 5 or 6 demos fleshed out for the new album.  Stuff we've recorded at home and emailed the files back and forth during the corona lock down.  I'm pretty excited about the new stuff. I can't wait to record them properly.  It's gonna slam!

When the Coronavirus crisis settles down & gigs & tours start resuming, do you guys have any plans to play shows in either as a tour or local gigs?

For sure.  It seems like a pretty far off thing right now, but when things start up again we'll be in all the shithole clubs that'll have us.  Drinking and causing hearing loss.    Touring can be tough because were all saddled with day jobs.   We've discussed long weekend types of mini tours.  We'll just see what opportunities arise when the Covid stuff passes.

Reverend, you're the vocalist for BLACK TRACTOR, which has been your favourite song to play at a live gig?

That changes all the time.  A few songs seem to consistently go over well with the audience.  The Thief And the Trumpet is always fun.  And Not Now off our 2nd full length LP, "Applaud My Friends, The Comedy Is Over" is always pretty rocking as well.

With regards to the opening track on the album “The Wonders Of The Invisible World,” were you ever able to wake your wife?

That song was inspired by a caller I heard on a radio show.  He claimed he had a demon living in his previous home that his grandfather had invited in via drinking and spousal abuse.  So one night he wakes up and the demon is sitting at the foot of his bed.  He's terrified so he tries to wake his wife up but he can't rouse her. I'm assuming she woke up the next morning completely fine. A funny sidebar to that story is the caller gave the actual address of the house in the call.  I was nearby so I drove past the house.  It was a nice little house with a garden out front.  A grey haired old lady was tending the flowers.  She didn’t look too traumatized by any demon so I'm guessing he moved out.  Ha!

You guys like to make metal biblical in such a way that Sunday Church sounds fun & frantic, who writes these incredible lyrics for BLACK TRACTOR?

I write all the lyrics so thank you!  I put alot of thought into them and it's nice someone appreciates them.  I was jazzed to finally include a lyric sheet on the CD and vinyl editions of the album.  It was the first time we've had enough space to include them..

What would you say are the biggest influences musically for the band? Where do you guys draw inspiration from when writing new material?

People always bring up early CLUTCH so that's always been an influence.  GOJIRA's name has come up a time or two when were writing.  We actually have a few riffs we call SCISSORFIGHT riffs.  SCISSORFIGHT is a band from Portsmouth, New Hampshire who write some giant riffs.   And of course BLACK SABBATH cast a long shadow!.

Where does BLACK TRACTOR go from here? What do you see in the next 5 years for the band?

My hope is we continue to write and record and play shows.  Noone really is trying to be a rock star.  We're truly in it for the creative rewards it allows us.  Hopefully we'll have a nice discography when we throw in the towel. I don't see us stopping anytime soon.  We miss playing shows but love writing and recording as well. Everybody is in the band for the right reasons so I'd imagine we'd just keep playing shows and writing records.  There's no reason for us to stop.

Guys thank you for performing this interview today for Metal Temple, it’s been a pleasure.


You do not have permission to rate
Edited 01 October 2022

Metal Temple © 2000-2014
Yiannis Mitsakos

Designed, Implemented and Hosted by PC Green