"After the Hangover" begins with a strange synthetic bugle call—an eerie, compressed series of tones that sounds like Gabriel's trumpet coming out of a space-time wormhole. "I was trying to write a biblical song that doesn't get a big head, that maintains a grounded, stupid-guy mentality, but talking about these very heavy things: a Christian Apocalypse on the verge."
Mallman, it should be known, is the latest in a patrilineal succession of stamina-stretching athletes. His grandfather, he tells me, boxed professionally; and his father (known as the Kingfish—alter-egos must run in the family) is a longtime marathon runner. He wears their legacy proudly, and one hopes it will protect him while on tour. After all, his fearlessness and intensity aside, Mallman is hitting the road without the standard rockstar armor of ironic detachment or youthful ignorance. It's already been two years since the sleepless Labor Day weekend when he set up residence at the Turf Club, where he sang one epic song for 52 straight hours. But he remains optimistic: "It's very cool to start an insane project like some postponed adolescent vision of being a rock guy, and then have it come to fruition after all the sacrifices you made. And then see something good come out of it. That's what I see when I go to these other cities."