Black Mountain's Stephen McBean on how Judas Priest and Kiss fed into the stoner-rock vibes on new album, Destroyer

Stephen McBean of Black Mountain
(Image credit: C Brandon/Redferns)

While Black Mountain frontman/guitarist Stephen McBean has been leading the Vancouver-by-way-of-L.A. quintet since their formation in 2004, he hadn’t literally been in the driver’s seat until he got his license in 2017. Yes, the title of Destroyer, the act’s fifth CBD oil-soaked full-length, is a nod to McBean hearing Kiss on the radio in his youth. 

But it’s also an ode to ripping it down the highway in a 1985 Dodge Destroyer, a long-discontinued muscle car model he’s been fixing up since becoming street legal. “It’s similar to taking your pedalboard apart and putting it back together in a new configuration - finding which one of those 15 chords is shorting out, and tightening things up,” McBean says, adding that cranking Black Mountain’s latest while gripping the wheel gave him new insight on his songmanship.

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Gregory Adams

Gregory Adams is a Vancouver-based arts reporter. From metal legends to emerging pop icons to the best of the basement circuit, he’s interviewed musicians across countless genres for nearly two decades, most recently with Guitar World, Bass Player, Revolver, and more – as well as through his independent newsletter, Gut Feeling. This all still blows his mind. He’s a guitar player, generally bouncing hardcore riffs off his ’52 Tele reissue and a dinged-up SG.