Me And That Man Gets Its Feet Wet In Americana, Blues For Second Record

Decades ago, when Adam Nergal Darski formed metal group Behemoth, he did not realize he would also go on to head an Americana-blues inspired project, well kind-of. 

After spending years fronting Behemoth, Darski better known as Nergal, needed an outlet, a counterpart to his ever evolving, never-slowing metal project, so he visualized Me And That Man, a blues, rock’n’roll, americana, folk, goth project.  It’s hard to describe but it is absolutely riveting and pulls from some of the best genres and includes a number of established guest artists to create a one-of-a-kind ear-catching record.  

The sophomore Me And That Man record, out now is titled New Man, New Songs, Same Shit Vol. 1 and features an array of material written by Nergal and other collaborators. Nearly every song showcases one or more guest artists. 

“Me And That Man is a project that I navigate, I curate,” Nergal told American Songwriter. “But I’m pretty flexible and open.  In Behemoth I wrote most of the music. But with this it’s different. I needed a balance in my life, my artistic life. Behemoth just felt like an ever-growing project, like a balloon just getting bigger and bigger. I was thinking if I don’t do something on the opposite pole, I will burst one day.  So, I had this idea for a minimalistic, just rock ‘n’ roll, blues based americana thing. This new record is just all over genres, it’s really diverse.”

“I really look up to people that are versatile. And that is one of my main goals with Me And That Man” he said. “I don’t want to be thrown into any category. There’s some blues influences and there’s some folk, but are we really a blues or folk band?  It’s hard to be labeled and it’s a huge compliment if people cannot find words.  Some of the artists I look up to are Nick Cave, Jack White and Iggy Pop, because those are the artists that can flirt with different genres and what comes out is unique.”

Every track on the 11-song album is a success and half of the album presented itself as singles.  “How Come” featured vocals by Stone Sour and Slipknot vocalist Corey Taylor and guitar work by Volbeat’s Rob Caggiano. Nine other songs included stylings of many other established metal and rock artists looking for something different. Nergal wrote much of the material and recorded the song foundations with his band but he always welcomed the improvement and suggestions from the album’s guest artists, which included names like Brent Hinds of Mastodon, Ihsahn of Emperor, Corey Taylor of Slipknot and Stone Sour, Rob Caggiano of Volbeat and Matt Heafy of Trivium.     

“Most of the music and about half of the lyrics I wrote, but I’m cool with other people rearranging, mixing or changing it,” Nergal explained. “Like, Corey Taylor wouldn’t change anything, he would just sing, while Niklas (Kvarforth) who was on “Confession”- I would send him finished lyrics and he would leave one line of the lyrics.  If you’re a vocalist you know you need to get into those words and stand behind them, so for most of these guys they have to write their own lyrics. And I need to feel connected to what I am singing.  But frankly, his version was better. And I know when things are for the good of the song. That’s the reason why I picked up so many other talented people because together it will be better than just me.”

The greatest thing about the record is that every song has a different story and a different way it came to be.  Nothing was repeated and the songwriting was 100 percent organic.  Nergal recalled sometimes he would be riding his bike and listening to music when suddenly a story would come to mind at which point, he quickly pedaled to the nearest coffee shop so he could note the words in his iPhone.  And other times, he would get a good riff or verse in his head that he thought was killer and would build it up from there. Although Nergal originally wrote many of the songs, he rarely sang his own material.  He said it was for the good of the album.  

“Frankly all these people are way better singers than myself. And I really only became a singer on the first record a few years ago,” Nergal said. “And I’m almost 43 now so I’m pretty late into my career to realize ‘hey I don’t really need to scream to convince you of my story’. But even so I am learning and developing.  I just thought let’s not spoil the record. Let’s let the other guys sing. The whole thing with this album is to put these extreme metal guys into something outside of their comfort zone and do something outstanding. It’s a game changer.”

Arguably the most recognizable singer on the record is Corey Taylor, who Nergal knew from years of touring and sharing the same stages.  They connected further when Taylor began playing some of Me And That Man’s songs on his podcast and expressing his adoration for the project. Nergal was flattered and quickly reached out to thank Taylor. Nergal recalled their collaboration on “How Come” definitely taking some time, often unsure if it would happen. But backstage at a mutual gig, the two met at catering and Taylor confronted Nergal asking “Hey what’s the deadline to do that song, I really want to do it?” A few weeks before wrapping up the masters, Taylor sent over his tracks for “How Come”, just in time to make it onto the record. And to accompany Taylor’s vocal performance was Volbeat guitarist Rob Caggiano and Mastodon’s Brent Hinds, who Nergal described as some of the “coolest and nicest dudes in the business.”

 “It was never like ‘talk to my manager’ and none of these guys were like ‘how much?’ We just had fun, Nergal said. “The bottom line is Me And That Man was supposed to be a kind of gang vibe-just gather the coolest dudes you know and nail it and have fun.”

If you are apprehensive about checking out this record- don’t be. It’s a medley of fun and inquisitive tracks, rooted in blues, and rock n roll, presented by the likes of some of the best metal performers in the scene. And as songwriters and collaborators you have to tip your hat to them for stepping miles outside of their norms and killing it.   

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