See Ya Later: Mondo Braswell Talks Taped Fist’s Last Ride on 3/25 at JBA

Taped Fist shotgunned through Central Georgia’s underground, ax-handling over-the-top-rope tales as the “All American Redneck Punk Rock Band” across two albums of perfectly twisted hardcore rock n’ roll. Though calling it quits nearly two years ago, the band is balling up for one more night of glory on Friday, March 25th at JBA, a final send-off to the music, madness, and frontman & founder Mondo Braswell. In anticipation of Taped Fist’s last ride, Mondo took a few minutes to share some history on the band, what friends and fans can expect when they take the stage for the ultimate performance, and who would be included in his dream “wrestler vs musician” scenario!

AI- Man, I wish we were doin’ this under better circumstances other than the end of a band! This is actually the first time we’ve done it– and I’m embarrassed about that fact! I wish we’d been able to get to this sooner!

MB- Better late than never, huh?

Let’s start at the beginning– how and when did Taped Fist come together?

We started practicin’ probably summer of 2012. This was after me and some of the guys in the band had already had past projects, and those kinda departed after a time. So we were doin’ separate things. In the early 2000s, me and a couple of buddies started our band Pier Six Brawlers. We were doin’ that for a while and that kind of fizzled, and we started another band out of those ashes called Intoxicated. Then when Intoxicated started fizzlin’ out, we started doing Pier Six again– and that was kind of a bad idea, so we just stopped playin’! I didn’t do anything band-wise for about a year or so, and I just got really bored and joined Sugar Virus for about a year and a half and played bass for Sugar Virus. And then me and some of the guys that used to be in Intoxicated and Pier Six started talking about doing another punk band– and that’s how Taped Fist came to be!

Tell me about the lineup now– who has it been and who is it right this minute?

Technically, right now, it’s nobody (laughs) because we broke up! But we’re doin’ one last show! The last time we played two years ago, it was me on vocals, Brandon Hitch on bass, our buddy Clay Moore on guitar, and our buddy Jesse McGouirk playin’ drums. Now for the show comin’ up, there’s gonna be a lot of surprises as far as the lineup goes!

Nothin’ you wanna tease? You want it all to be a surprise?

Yeeeaaahhh… Just come, you’ll find out (laughs)!

You say the last show was two years ago, and I know a lot of outfits have been battered about because of COVID-19 shuttin’ everything down. Is that what contributed to Taped Fist callin’ it a day or was it just general life?

Just general life. I’ve always been the oldest guy in the band, but everybody else is over 30, they have families, some people who were involved in the band were startin’ families and new careers, and it just got to where we really couldn’t do it anymore. I had it in my mind at first to just start somethin’ new, put Taped Fist on bricks, come back to it. Well, with all that going on, I found out that I would be relocating with my job to North Carolina…

Oh really?

Yeah, I’m gonna be moving out to Hickory in about three weeks! So when I found out all of that– and at this point, in my mind, Taped Fist was done– I was just goin’ to do whatever that came along. When you’re in an area and you’re gettin’ ready to move and you have a bunch of friends you’re gonna leave, the first thing you’re gonna say is, “Well, we need to have a party!” I’m like, “Okay, let’s have a party!” I called the guys and I was like, “Hey, let’s do one last show. We can do it like a send-off for the band and send off for us.” The teaser I’ll give is that I called everybody. I called and I talked to everybody that’s ever been involved in Taped Fist, and a couple of guys that have been involved in other bands that I’ve been doin’ here in town. So I’ll just say that!

You put out your first full-length album, Grounded, in 2015. No Respect followed up in 2017. Tell me about making those albums. Where did you record ’em?

We did those with Johnny Davis here in Macon.

Did you? Excellent!

Yeah, it’s called Symmetry [Studios]. Johnny’s a really cool dude. He’s a wizard when it comes to recordin’, and plus for us, it was just awesome experience ’cause we went there and he’s like, “Hey, what do y’all wanna do?” At first, we’re like, “Well, you’re the guy that’s recordin’ us!” And he’s like, “Do what you normally do!” We would go in and record the drums live, do scratch tracks, and stuff like that. It was just a comfortable environment. We recorded both of those with him. Actually, before that. We did like some home recordings for a demo– and for home recording, it wasn’t too bad, but it doesn’t nearly hold a candle to the stuff Johnny did for us!

I keep waitin’ to hear some new stuff from the Choir of Babble album, but I haven’t heard anything new yet. I plan on gettin’ Johnny on the phone to talk to him as soon as that stuff’s ready.

Yeah, me too, man! They’ve been workin’ on it for like two years!

I know you are a massive professional wrestling fan, I can only assume that the rest of the guys that have been in and outta the band over the years are as well? You have songs like “Gourd Buster” and “Jobber”, and I feel like that passion is an undercurrent running through the music anyway.

Well, I’m the resident wrestlin’ dork! Everybody else kinda likes wrestlin’– like when they were younger, they watched wrestlin’, and every now and then we’ll go to events and stuff like that. Now, me and Clay Moore, who is one of the current guitar players, me and him are both into wrestlin’ heavily. We’re wrestlin’ buddies, we go to all different kinds of events and stuff. Pretty much everybody else, they just dabble in it. But yeah, I’m the dork! I’m the collector and the person who spends literally all his money on in three thrings– music, wrestlin’, and food!

Let me ask you this– you know, professional wrestling and music have gone together since the Freebirds walked out to Skynyrd, since Sergeant Slaughter walked out to the “Marine’s Hymn”… You had Cyndi Lauper and Roddy Piper, Jerry Only versus Dr. Death– and I can’t believe this is even gonna come outta my mouth, but Toby Keith and Jeff Jarrett, and so many, many more! If you could book your ultimate musician versus wrestler main event, who would it be, where would it be, and what would be the stipulation, if any?

Oh, man… Live, dead, or indifferent?

Oh, let’s open it up completely! Anybody!

I would like to see Liberace and Adam Lambert versus “Exotic” Adrian Street and “Adorable” Adrian Adonis in a “Loser Has To Wear Cowboy Boots & Wranglers Match”. That’s how my mind works (laughs)!

You say you’re moving for work to Hickory, North Carolina, so that leads me to ask the question– is this an actual end for Taped Fist, or is this like a Terry Funk retirement? Like, there’s always the possibility that there’s gonna be one more?

As far as we’re looking at it right now, it’s absolutely positively gonna be the last Taped Fist show.

Do you think you’ll try to play some music when you’re up in North Carolina?

Oh yeah! Hickory is probably about 40 minutes away from Charlotte, and I got tons of friends that are in bands in the Charlotte area. I’ve actually had a couple of people– and I’ll have to call those people on their shit ’cause they’re always like, “Man if you lived up here, we’d start a band today!” So I’m gonna move up there, I’m gonna unload all my wrestlin’ shit, and I’m gonna start givin’ people calls! But you never know! Right at the end of Taped Fist, I talked about doin’ a side project called– one of my ultra egos– Mondo Severe. We were gonna do a side project called Mondo Severe & The Haters, so I may end up doin’ some of that stuff with some of the guys in Taped Fist– but as far as Taped Fist goes, it’s gonna be done, son!

I’m sure you’re gonna have some CDs and some merch for sale at the show at JBA, but for the folks that can’t make the show, where’s the best place to find Taped Fist albums?

We have all our stuff on Spotify, there’s stuff on YouTube, and if you come out to the show, we have a whole bunch of merch just waiting! I don’t wanna leave the show with any merch! We’ve got t-shirts, we’ve got CDs, we’ve got all sorts of stuff! We have a Bandcamp too!

FREE SHOW! Don’t miss See Ya Later: The Life & Crimes of Taped Fist 9pm at JBA on Friday, March 25th!