After much time off the road due to the ongoing pandemic, Morgan Wallen’s bandmates decided they wanted to “get together and do something creative,” so they formed a metal band, called Mechanics Wanted.
Mechanics Wanted includes Wallen’s bandmate’s Mark Taco Annino (Drums), Luke Cowboy Rice (Bass/Guitar), Tyler Tomlinson (Guitar) and Dominic Frost (Guitar/Vocals). Taco, Luke and Dom first met back in 2015 when joining Wallen’s band. Then, Tyler joined the group in 2018 and in 2020 they decided to get creative and form a metal band during their downtime off the road. The band’s name comes as a play off the Morgan Wallen MW acronym, and the Mechanics part of their name stems from their onstage uniforms that they wear while performing with Wallen.
“We realized we had something really cool, that we wanted to share to the world, but with any great project we needed a name,” Frost said. “We thought doing a double entendre on the ‘MW’ along with our mechanics stage shirts that we wear for Morgan, we landed on “Mechanics Wanted”
The 4-piece band made their debut in late August with their metal cover of Diplo and Wallen’s collaborative single “Heartless.” The cover song came alongside a stunning music video, which you can watch below. The music video was created by other Wallen team members including their Lighting Director, Zac Coren and their Content Creator, David Lehr, who filmed and edited the video.
Their choice to release “Heartless” as their first cover came as they thought it’d be a perfect debut release, as they are the same live band that plays it live with Wallen each night on the road and they figured it would be them covering Wallen’s song in a new way.
When being asked if Wallen heard their cover, they told Music Mayhem that they actually were going to try and get Morgan on the metal version of the song but the country superstar felt that it was important for it to be solely the band so that they can showcase more of their own talents.
“I know Morgan has heard it and him having a love for rock himself absolutely loved it,” Taco said. “Originally we were gonna try and get Morgan on the song. But he actually felt that it was important for it to solely be us, not for anything other than that. To showcase more of our talent. And see it stand on its own.”
“We aren’t sure if Diplo has ever heard it or not but we know Morgan has,” Tyler added. “He’s always been a rock guy, and I know he’s got a lot of appreciation for that genre. We obviously spend a lot of time on the road, just hanging out and need to find ways to kill time. We started playing around with “Heartless” and turning it into a metal version on the bus. It just started as a time killer and then seemed to grow, and has turned into what you see now!
The band’s cover of “Heartless” was so well received that the group decided to move forward and release another cover in late December 2020, which was an impressive cover of Ariana Grande’s “Positions” with some assistance from country riser Ashland Craft. Luke arranged this entire cover out of “sheer boredom one day” and after getting the green light from the rest of the team to cover this popular Grande track, they went to the studio to begin working on it. While working on the song, they thought the cover needed some strong female vocals and immediately of Craft.
“I came home one day and Luke had done a complete arrangement of “Positions” out of boredom and showed me what he’d done,” Taco explained of their Craft collaboration. “I thought this might be a great second release for us to do, and we sent it out the rest of the guys to get their thoughts, which we all signed off on. I had the idea of featuring a female vocal on this record, and we had just gotten off the road with Ashland Craft earlier in the year. So we reached out to her camp to see if he would be interested in doing this with us, and she graciously said yes. And the rest is history.”
Stay tuned for what is to come from Mechanics Wanted as they have plans to continue releasing metal covers while they toy with several original songs that they have written. The group also may even put out “a full record or EP of both original songs and covers” in the future.
You can read our full Q&A with Mechanics Wanted below.
Names of guys in the band and their role in the band.
We are the backing band for country artist, Morgan Wallen. But it extends beyond just the 4 of us playing in front of the camera. Our Morgan Wallen road family helps Mechanics Wanted possible from, production, video, content and so much more.
Mark “Taco” Annino- Drums
Luke Rice- Bass
Tyler Tomlinson- Guitar
Dominic Frost- Vocals / Guitar
What led you guys to form Mechanics Wanted and will this be solely a cover band or do you have plans to release original music?
Dominic Frost: This all came together as most new projects do, somewhat organically. We had been working on a metal cover of Morgan’s song with Diplo, “Heartless” on the bus towards the end of 2019 for fun. And with touring being shut down for 2020, we thought it would be fun to get together with some of our road family and shoot a music video for it. Zac Coren, our Lighting Director on the road, designed a full production rig for us, and David Lehr who shoots all Morgan’s great content on the road, said he’d shoot and edit the video for us. After we finished the video, we realized we had something really cool, that we wanted to share to the world, but with any great project we needed a name. We thought doing a double entendre on the “MW” along with our mechanics stage shirts that we wear for Morgan, we landed on “Mechanics Wanted”
We have been toying with the idea of putting out some original songs, but we are primarily focused on covers and having fun reimagining those songs.
How did you guys meet to form the band? I am assuming just from all being a part of Morgan Wallen’s touring band?
Mark “Taco” Annino: The 4 of us have been together since 2018 playing for Morgan Wallen. Dom, Luke and myself (TACO) have been with Morgan since day one (2015) and Luke and I have been playing together even longer (2010).
Being that you are all a part of a touring country band, what made you decide to launch a band in the metal genre?
Luke Rice: When we say this project has come together somewhat organically, we really do mean that. We all come from some type of metal/rock background. Taco and I (LUKE) were originally in a band called Atom Smash signed to Jive Records back in the day. We got a chance to tour with Drowning Pool, Buckcherry, Filter and a ton other hard rock bands.
So for us to choose a musical direction to do these covers, it’s a natural and authentic direction for us to take. Its also such an opposite end of the spectrum to take a pop or country record as well.
What did Morgan Wallen and Diplo think of your “Heartless” cover if they heard it and what inspired you guys to cover that song?
Tyler Tomlinson: We aren’t sure if Diplo has ever heard it or not but we know Morgan has! He’s always been a rock guy, and I know he’s got a lot of appreciation for that genre. We obviously spend a lot of time on the road, just hanging out and need to find ways to kill time. We started playing around with “Heartless” and turning it into a metal version on the bus. It just started as a time killer and then seemed to grow, and has turned into what you see now!
“Heartless” was a great introduction for us, as it’s a song we play every night with Morgan and changing it into something of our own.
How did the collaboration with Ashland Craft come about to cover Ariana Grande’s song “Positions”?
Mark “Taco” Annino: I came home one day and Luke had done a complete arrangement of “Positions” out of boredom and showed me what he’d done. I thought this might be a great second release for us to do, and we sent it out the rest of the guys to get their thoughts, which we all signed off on. I had the idea of featuring a female vocal on this record, and we had just gotten off the road with Ashland Craft earlier in the year. So we reached out to her camp to see if he would be interested in doing this with us, and she graciously said yes. And the rest is history.
What can fans expect from the band in 2021?
Luke Rice: We are going to try and increase our content output and consistency. With the growing uncertainty of the touring industry this year (2021), we are hoping to get back out on the road with Morgan but who knows. So with more down time from the road means more Mechanics Wanted in 2021!