Sonny Mayo – Talking Plant-based and Zen With a Metalhead



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It’s rare to have the opportunity to have a candid conversation with someone so open and kind as verified metalhead Sonny Mayo. Between his life on the road, recovery, spirituality, and choosing compassion it’s hard not to be awestruck and inspired.

As a phenomenal guitarist you undoubtedly have heard him play with Snot, Sevendust, or his current band Ugly Kid Joe. After his bout with drugs and alcohol he joined up with fellow musicians to form Rock to Recovery that uses music to aid in the healing for others turning to a life of sobriety. In addition to his music and outreach Sonny spends as much time as he can with other loves, his doGs. I know what you’re saying, “You’ve got a typo there guys!” Nope, Sonny goes into detail about how his doG saved his life, aided in his turn to a plant-based diet, and how he sees doG is goD.

In addition to his doGs Sonny touches on so many aspects of his own struggle and how he overcame them. We can say for certainty his words touched everyone in the room and we know he’ll really speak to you.

Sonny Mayo’s Story

Sonny’s story that lead him to choosing a more compassionate life is also the most difficult two years of his life when his dog, Buckley, was diagnosed with a tumor on his heart. After rushing Buckley to the vet and saving him Sonny was amazed at how impossible it was to break the his best friends spirit. While meditating with Buckley he realized the negativity he was projecting, something that Sonny recognized would do more harm than good, this caused him to change course to a more positive message.

While concentrating on Buckley, Sonny’s dad was diagnosed with bone cancer. Buckley passed in 2013 so Sonny to time to spend with his dad. After some time he dad fell ill with pneumonia and had to be taken to the ICU.  Sonny, being on the road often wasn’t there at the time but flew in the next day and had lunch with his sister. It was a small cafe where he took in the world, had a “spiritual experience”, and decided to stop eating meat.

Not long after this moment his dad passed away and Sonny met with a healer, whom he already had an appointment with prior to his experience. During his appointment they discussed how his body needed to be “lifted” and his personal decision to stop eating meat was part of that “lifting” both physically and emotionally.

Rock to Recovery

In Rock to Recovery Sonny and the other musicians work with treatment centers and wounded veterans to use music as a way to heal. Giving those that are trying to recover and better themselves a feeling of belonging and accomplishment through music is a dramatic boost in their treatment. In their sessions Rock to Recovery brings in multiple instruments, allows people in the treatment center to select what they’d like to play, then helps them write and record an original song which they post to their Soundcloud page. The passion and pride that Sonny expresses about these efforts are nothing short of inspiring.

Our conversation with Sonny was so in depth and his personal experiences are little life lessons inside themselves. This is certainly a conversation that has to be taken in as a whole and not pieces. The only true way to get his whole story and be touched the way we were, is to sit back (or turn your radio up), and listen.

We featured a live cover Ugly Kid Joe’s “Cat’s in the Cradle” at the start of the. Pick up their latest album Uglier Than They Used Ta Be.


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