Members of Slipknot, Dokken, Testament and more guest on the comedy-metal album of the same name.
Brian Posehn figures that his new album, Grandpa Metal, took about six years to become reality. And it was the title track, premiering exclusively today on Billboard.com, that helped the actor-comedian-writer bring the project into focus.
“We had the title,” explains Posehn, who wrote the song with longtime friend and collaborator Scott Ian of Anthrax. “The idea is that all guys my age  are kind of grandpa metal, stuck in the ’80s or whenever they liked heavy metal. Their opinions have not changed since then.”
At first, the idea didn’t seem that funny to him. But then, “I came on the idea of just making fun of Scott, ’cause he literally hasn’t liked a new band since Refused, and I find that funny,” says Posehn. “Once I decided it would just be me busting his balls, I started filling the song with as many old-guy jokes as I could.” After that happened, Posehn “got onto this thread commenting on all the different things I love about heavy metal and having a sense of humor about all these different genres of music and commenting on them.”
Once he found that path, he saw that Grandpa Metal (arriving Feb. 14 on Megaforce Records) could be more than just the “funny metal record” he initially envisioned. “I started to realize how cool it could be,” says Posehn, whose credits include TV series Mission Hill and The Big Bang Theory, Rob Zombie’s The Devil’s Rejects, Deadpool comics and voices for the animated films Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra-Doo and Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie. “I really wanted to make a record where people could sit down and listen to the whole thing from front to back — and if you don’t, that’s fine, too. The songs can work by themselves. But they’re even better together, back to back, I think.”
The comic had plenty of help in the endeavor besides Ian. The 14-track set features appearances by members of Soundgarden, Slayer, Dethklok, Amon Amarth, Machine Head, Dokken and more. The album was introduced in November 2019 with a cover of a-ha’s synth-pop classic “Take On Me” that includes performances by Death Angel’s Rob Cavestany and his son, Aiden; Testament’s Chuck Billy; Exodus’ Steve “Zetro” Souza; and the late Jill Janus of Huntress. Steel Panther’s Michael Starr and Slipknot’s/Stone Sour’s Corey Taylor lend a hand on another cover, Ylvis’ “The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?).” The rest of the material is original, including the surreal conversation Posehn has with “Weird Al” Yankovic on “My Phone Call With Weird Al.”
“Working with those people really elevated it,” says Posehn. “I always wanted to fill it with guests — that was always my intention. I was always going to fill the songs with my favorite guitar players, and the singers … well, there’s a reason I tell jokes and haven’t been a singer my whole life, and some of these songs needed real singers. Now that it’s all done and I’m sitting back and looking at it, that all these people said yes is mind-blowing. And the fact that it took as long as it did makes sense because it had so many moving parts.”
Grandpa Metal also contains barbs about artists and genres Posehn doesn’t like — with Fall Out Boy’s Joe Trohman and Patrick Stump gleefully playing along with the diss. However, Posehn does feel bad about taking shots at Huey Lewis in the track “Scary Nightmare” after learning about the Meniere’s disease that has forced Lewis to cease performing live. “I had no idea,” he says. “I’m not that guy; I’m the comic who’s accidentally mean. I don’t enjoy some of his music from back in the ’80s, but I’ve worked with the man. He’s a Bay Area man and so am I. That makes me sad. That’ll be my one regret — ‘Why did I have to go so hard on Huey?’”
Posehn is planning to make videos for the title song and the track “New Music Sucks,” and he’ll take Grandpa Metal on the road via joint spoken-word and music shows with Ian. “The idea of me singing more than one or two songs terrifies me,” says Posehn, who recently sold the pilot for an animated series to Nickelodeon and has “some comic books in the pipe” as well. “[Singing] is really not my wheelhouse. So Scott and I plan on doing these limited tours where we do spoken word and standup, and at the end of the show, I bring him back out and we do ‘Grandpa Metal’ and one or two other songs, striped-down versions of ’em. That’s about the most you’ll get out of me. I didn’t do this record to get out there for two years of touring.”