Formed in 1999, Tomahawk is primarily the songwriting vehicle for Patton and guitarist Duane Denison (The Jesus Lizard). The group is rounded out by drummer John Stanier (Battles, ex-Helmet) and bassist Trevor Dunn (who plays with Patton in Mr. Bungle).
Known for their mysterious and evocative alt-rock sound, Tomahawk previewed Tonic Immobility with the singles “Business Casual” and “Dog Eat Dog”. Like the expansive desert scene on the album cover, the songs pair a heavy melodicism with the right amount of musical restraint and adventurousness.
A “Covid record,” per say, Tonic Immobility was recorded in 2020 and refracts a bizarre year through Patton’s obtuse lyricism and Denison’s deliberate musical ideas. From spaghetti-western allusions to hard rock FM gold, Tomahawk’s inimitable personality shines through from track to track. It’s all held together by the airtight Stanier-Dunn rhythm section.
“Hopefully, we push all of the buttons of what you want from a modern hard rock band,” Denison said in the initial press announcement. “When you get different groups of people together, they bring out different things from each other. With musicians, it’s the same thing. We all knew each other back in the nineties and never really got a chance to do these things. So, now we do.”
He continued: “For me, Tomahawk has always been this special place where we can play hard, heavy music and mix in expressionism with a vocalist who can do anything. Tonic Immobility is a statement we’re still around and still doing it. We’re not kids anymore. This isn’t some rich Rockstar thing. We do this because we like it, and we like each other. You can take life at your own pace. Sometimes, you just have to wait until the time is right. Maybe now is it.”