Monday Motivation: Iwrestledabearonce

If you’re anything like me, you probably started the day by recognizing the start of a new work week had indeed arrived and then immediately began shaking your fists at the sky in anger. Monday is rarely anyone’s favorite day, and from what I have seen firsthand it feels safe to say it’s the one day of the week some people outright hate. I guess to them the arrival of the work week symbolizes the end of their quote/unquote freedom, and as a result they head into the office/factory/restaurant/store with a negative outlook already on their mind. This leads to bad attitudes, which only makes the experience of being at work worse, and for some reason it also seems to make time slow to a crawl. We’re not about that life, and we hope this post can do the same you that the song contained within it did for us.

I have a long and strange relationship with Iwrestledabearonce (IWABO). It began while I was still in college when, during the dead of winter, my best and I traveled to a snowy Grand Rapids, Michigan to see then popular grindcore band See You Next Tuesday headline at the now defunct venue known as Skeletones. IWABO were the opening band, and at the time the only song I knew from them was the viral hit “Smells Like Kevin Bacon.” I thought it was good, and that the video for the song was hilarious, but I never thought the band would become a group that meant anything more to me than the dozen other heavy bands I would claim to be a fan of at the time.

Thankfully, I was wrong. So, so wrong.

As IWABO began to rise in popularity, I fell more and more and love with their chaotic take on modern metal. It was both overwhelming and spellbinding simultaneously, tearing through my ears into my brain and tearing up every pre-conceived notion I had about what music could be. Their debut album, It’s All Happening, was my favorite album of 2009. Their next record, Ruining It For Everybody, was even better. It’s as if the band continuously found new ways to cause as much musical chaos as possible while still delivering something that could be considered a song. It was bold. It was loud. It was everything I needed at that point in my life.

By the time Late For Nothing was released in 2013 IWABO were a household name. That is, a household name for anyone who subscribed to the world of metal. They had toured the world several times over, including appearances at many major festivals, and had even found time to release their own movie (A Beary Scary Movie). Frontwoman Krysta Cameron decided to step away prior to the album release, which put a lot of pressure on new addition Courtney LaPlante to impress, but she carried the weight of the position with skill and energy to rival any one of her numerous genre peers. If there was anything to say against the record it would be that it sounded a bit too much like what had come before. Not that diehards complained, but when innovation is at the heard of your sound you must continuously progress in order to maintain prominence in the scene.

Two years, hundreds of shows, and many months spent writing later, IWABO have delivered their best and most cohesive release with Hail Mary (out June 16). The chaos that has fueled the band’s sound from day one is as present as ever, only now there is a distinct influence of metal’s darker side running throughout. This isn’t a black metal record or anything or the sort, but it is relentlessly aggressive, bone-crushingly heavy, and littered with gothic themes that linger in the listener’s mind long after the record has stopped playing. It’s also, at times, the most melodic album the band has release. Laplante’s presence seems to have renewed the band’s passion for experimentation, and that has never been more clear than it is on sizzling tracks like “We All Float Down Here,” or the near-perfect “Doomed To Fail” parts one and two.

The reason I chose IWABO for today’s motivation post is because I think we could all benefit from experimenting more with the work we do day in and day out. You might not be able to disprove everyone’s preconceived notions of what metal is and can be, but you can certainly make it known that you’re a unique individual who sees the world in a way slightly different than every other individual on the planet. If there is one lesson to learn from Hail Mary it’s that constant dedication to being yourself and no one else is the best formula for creating something truly great. Hail Mary can and will outlive the members of IWABO, and as far as I am concerned its the greatest creation they have shared with fans to date. Your next experiment may be the best thing you’ve ever done as well. Don’t hesitate any long. Take a deep breath and chase your dreams. I believe in you.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.