Then things got kind of weird, professionally, because you went back to Universal.
Universal hired me as an A&R consultant, and I worked signing bands.
Did you enjoy that?
I hated working on the business side of music. I mean, I loved working with the bands, but it was so crazy and political. Everyone was so worried about losing their jobs, and I'm just trying to get my band off the ground.
How did that even come about? Did Universal come to you?
It was the other way around. I had started working with this band called The Astra Heights. I was so passionate about this band. They were superstars. They had a super hit, this song called “Choices.” It could cross over everywhere. So I went to Universal, because that's where I had my relationships with.
But that relationship soured.
It was all the politics. Big labels are just toxic places. When Astra Heights' first album didn't take off, and I read in the press that they blamed me for part of that, it hurt. I loved those guys.
So you were kind of out of things again.
From 2005 to 2007, I just kind of floated around. I was working with dogs again. Then I got a job offer to work as a staff writer with a publishing company. But anything I wrote, they would have the copyright to. So it would basically mean I was done as an artist. I would get my salary, but I wouldn't have any control.
That's a big decision.
It was a lot of money. I was going to take it, then Sophia John from KKDM called, saying that Clown from Slipknot wanted to meet me in LA.
Did you have any idea why?
No. I didn't realize that I was auditioning for his new band, Dirty Little Rabbits. It didn't have a name at the time, but there was this full band, just waiting for me to move to Des Moines.
I talked to Sophia, and she said “it's a really good opportunity, and I'll help you get settled.” I would have to turn this big job down, and go work some minimum wage job and be in this band with (Crahan) and work around his Slipknot schedule.
But eventually you decided that it was worth it.
We toured Eurpoe. We did Warped Tour and toured the US. I think that band was the best band I was ever in. But unfortunately with Rabbits, it came down to disgruntled band mates again. Every time there was a Slipknot album, that meant Shawn was gone for a year and a half. Then, when he came back, he was too tired to go out on tour with Rabbits. On Warped Tour, Sean only played a handful of dates. So Jeff (Karnowski) slid over to drums, and for most of Warped Tour we became a three piece.
It always felt like Dirty Little Rabbits was a band with a ton of potential, but never really found its footing.
Exactly. It was always stop/start, stop/start, stop/start. Then our label dropped us, because we could never get together and get anything done. The whole thing fell apart because of schedules. Sean can't quit Slipknot to be in the Rabbits. That's unreasonable. So we all just got unhappy with the pace that we were going.
Which had to be heart breaking.
Dirty Little Rabbits is tattooed on my arm. I loved that band. I really thought that band would was going to be my second coming. But, it was like 'I can't keep doing this. I'm not going to grow old waiting for this band.' I couldn't imagine doing Dirty Little Rabbits without Sean—I wouldn't—so it ended. It was sad for me, because I think that band could have skyrocketed. “Hello” was a career song. That was a super hit that would have worked everywhere. But we never got a shot.