Bill Kelliher

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Bill Kelliher
Mastodon-Rock im Park 2014 by 2eight DSC7631.jpg
Kelliher performing live in 2014
Background information
Birth name William Breen Kelliher
Born (1971-03-23) March 23, 1971 (age 45)
Genres Heavy metal, progressive metal, sludge metal, stoner metal, groove metal, alternative metal, technical death metal, noisecore
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter
Instruments Guitar, bass, vocals
Years active 1995-present
Associated acts Mastodon, Lethargy, Today is the Day, Butterslax, Lunchlady, Wake, Primate
Notable instruments
Gibson Les Paul Custom
Gibson Explorer
First Act Guitars
ESP Bill Kelliher and LTD BK-600

Bill Kelliher (born March 23, 1971) is a musician from Atlanta, Georgia, best known as rhythm guitarist of heavy metal band Mastodon. He is a native of Victor, New York.

Influence and style[edit]

Kelliher only performs backing vocals in Mastodon. His harsh vocalism was largely applied in Mastodon’s earlier recordings, Remission, Leviathan and Call of the Mastodon, which he utilizes death growls. He shares guitar duties with Brent Hinds, playing mainly complex rhythm parts, although he occasionally plays solos, such as on "Sleeping Giant", or harmonized dual leads with Hinds, such as on "Black Tongue".

On June 12, 2007, Hinds and Kelliher won the Metal Hammer Golden Gods award for best shredders,[1] Mastodon's first ever award.

Equipment and style[edit]

Bill Kelliher, Burgerweeshuis, Deventer 2007

Kelliher uses several guitars in Mastodon: his main guitar for a long time was a Gibson Les Paul Custom in a Silverburst finish. He used other Les Paul Customs in Ebony and Alpine White during the band's 2009 tour with Dethklok. He has also used three Gibson Explorers: a vintage Explorer CMT in tobacco burst and two more modern models in black and white. Kelliher has also used two custom Yamaha SBGs and a First Act custom 9-string Silverburst DC Lola, which was built for usage on Mastodon's album Crack the Skye. He also recently (02/2010) took delivery of a Morgan Guitar Works Bird of Prey - a silver futuristic Flying V. Kelliher used Laney amplification at one time (specifically, the VH100R head). After that, he played a Marshall JCM 800 Kerry King signature. Since 2010, Bill and his bandmate Brent Hinds went on playing the Orange Thunderverb series. He can also be seen playing through a Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier in the bonus features of the Aqua Teen Hunger Horse Colon Movie Film for Theaters DVD. In 2013, Kelliher got a signature Gibson explorer, named "The Golden Axe". It has a mahogany body and neck, rosewood fretboard with figured acrylic trapezoid inlays, a gold burst finish and Lace Nitro Hemi humbucker pickups.[1]

Kelliher's pedal board includes an Ibanez Tube King, a Boss TU-2 Tuner, an MXR M-135 Smart Noise Gate, and a Digitech Jamman Looper Pedal. Kelliher also uses an Audiotech Guitar Products Source Selector 1X6 Rack Mount Audio Switcher.

Like his bandmate Hinds, Kelliher also uses three tunings in Mastodon: D Standard on the Les Paul (E Standard down one whole step, D G C F A D), Drop C on the Yamaha SGB (Drop D down one whole step, C G C F A D), and another tuning similar to D standard, but with the sixth string tuned down to A (A G C F A D), on the Explorer.

In 2013 Kelliher collaborated with Lace Pickups on his own signature guitar pickups. Kelliher came to Lace to realize his vision of a sonically versatile humbucker pickup set with superior dynamic response, unparalleled sustain and impeccable tone. The resultant creation is called “Dissonant Aggressors”.[2]

At NAMM 2016 Friedman Amplification launched a signature amp for Bill called the Butterslax.[3]

In June 2016 ESP Guitars announced that Kelliher had started endorsing their guitars and that they would be releasing 2 signature models for him, the high end ESP Bill Kelliher and the more affordable LTD BK-600. The guitars are both of the Eclipse body style with full thickness mahogany bodies with no waist cut, 3 piece mahogany set through necks with 22 fret ebony fretboards and 24.75 scale lengths. Hardware wise they feature locking tuners and Tone Pros tunomatic and stoptail locking bridges. They use Bills signature Lace Dissonant Aggressor pickups wired with a 3 way switch and single volume and tone knobs. They will be available in Military Green Sunburst Satin finishes with bound bodies and headstocks and ESP flag inlays.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Kelliher is a dual citizen of the United States and Ireland; his father moved to the U.S from Killorglin, County Kerry, Ireland, at 15 or 16 years of age.[5]

Game of Thrones appearance[edit]

Kelliher along with Brann Dailor and Brent Hinds portrayed "wildlings" on season five, episode eight of Game of Thrones, which was filmed in Belfast in Northern Ireland. As previously reported, the band's original song "White Walker" is featured on the Game of Thrones mixtape Catch the Throne Vol. 2, but in the instance of their physical appearance, a press release from Reprise Records reports that the band was personally invited to participate in the show by Game of Thrones executive producer Dan Weiss, who is a fan of the band.[6]


Bill Kelliher performing in 2011.


Main article: Lethargy (band)

Today is the Day[edit]


Main article: Mastodon discography

In an appearance on Loudwire's YouTube show Wikipedia: Fact or Fiction?, Bill expressed his incredulity that he has ever provided any vocals on any of Mastodon's studio albums.[7]