Interview with Milwaukee Heavy Rockers Carbellion

By Theron Moore

Milwaukee’s Carbellion have been destroying eardrums for the last 20 years with their heavy rock style and mile wide sound. 2024 not only marks the band’s 20 year anniversary, it will also see the mighty Carbellion playing two music festivals in the UK in June and possibly more shows after that. Rock N Roll be thy name…,

Cosmic Monolith: First, please introduce yourself and what you do in the band?

Carbellion: My name is Cameron Kellenberger and I’m the lead vocalist for Wisconsin based heavy rock band Carbellion.

Cosmic Monolith: You probably get tired of or hate this question but how did the name “Carbellion” come up, how was it chosen?

Carbellion: LOL! I’m not going to lie, it does get asked a lot as it’s a unique name. When we started the band, Brandon “BZR” Bauer and I couldn’t settle on something we both loved. A lot of the song titles on the first album (Villains) were different band names idea originally that didn’t stick like Scarring Card and Wager Cage.

Now, we’ve made up all kinds of bullsh!t over the years about the name coming from stories about Spanish ghost ships, heroic bullfighters, etc., but then there is the truth. In one of our debates on the band name Brandon said in frustration we should combine our two previous band’s names which were Whiskey Rebellion and Carbon Parlor. Whiskey Parlor sounded too much like a bar so we went with mashing Carbon Rebellion into Carbellion.

Cosmic Monolith: How long has the band been around what full length albums and EPs do you currently have out? For the fans, what label are you currently on?

Carbellion:  It’s been a long journey as 2024 marks our 20-year anniversary! Our first demo called “American Heavy Rock” came out in early 2005 followed by our first full length record called “Villains in 2006. We released a split EP with Sweden’s Outshine on Dead Tree Music in early 2009 and then our second full length record called “The Horse” in late 2009 on Indie 500 Records.

We toured a ton around the US before recording an EP called “Headliner” in 2013 also released on Indie 500 Records. In 2019 we released another EP appropriated called “In Due Time” on Dead Tree Music. We then released our most successful record to date called “Weapons of Choice” in Spring of 2023 on Eclipse Records (digitally) and Qumran Records (Vinyl). It’s been a ride and it’s not slowing down!

Cosmic Monolith: With the last question any local WI bands that just blew you away and might’ve been a driving influence behind the formation or creative direction of Carbellion?

Carbellion:  Not in particularly from Wisconsin to be honest. There has always been great music in the area and we certainly always want to celebrate our peers. When I first got into bands way back there was a Milwaukee band called Sludgehead that gave my old bands our first gigs and I’ll always appreciate that. We got out of state initially with bands like Leven out of Iowa, Swampp Gass from Minneapolis, and Sabbath Crow out of Austin, Texas.

More recently we’ve been digging doing shows with our local area-based friends in Black Belt Theatre, Subatomic/Electromag, Spillage, 20 Watt Tombstone, Sons of Kong, etc. We did some great shows with Outshine from Sweden and Diggeth from the Netherlands in the US during 2023 too.

Cosmic Monolith:  Aside from metal, what other styles of music have factored into Carbellion’s sound over the years? I can hear hints of both TAD and Zeke in your music. Does alternative or punk factor into your sound?

Carbellion: Yeah, we are pull influence from all over the place. Thrash, Classic Rock, Grunge, Punk, Stoner, Garage, and so on. When you start talking music with each of us it ranges from love for bands like WASP, Kiss, Metallica, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Clutch, and COC over to ACDC, Zeke, Hives, Junkyard, Rival Sons, QOTSA, Suicidal Tendencies, Iggy Pop, and so on.

Cosmic Monolith: In terms of gigs you saw in Wisconsin, what shows might’ve got in your blood and motivated you to forming a band prior to putting Carbellion together?

Carbellion: For me, I remember seeing a show Summer of 1993 with the Butthole Surfers and Stone Temple Pilots when they were a new band that really impressed me. When I saw Pantera in 1994 at the Eagles Ballroom during the Far Beyond Driven tour, a life without being bands was over for me!

Cosmic Monolith: After all the questions I’ve asked so far, more importantly, how do you look at or refer to your music? Do you feel like labels might box you in?

Carbellion: Yeah, we are tough to specifically categorize I think. Our newest record, ‘Weapons of Choice’, has some hook driven hard rock, action rock that borders on punk n’ roll, grunge-influenced stoner metal, touches of thrash in the few parts of some of the songs, a doom ‘sabbathy song, etc. We’ve always just said we play American Heavy Rock from the beginning to avoid being locked into something too specific.

Cosmic Monolith: The band is gearing up to go overseas and perform at a music festival. Tell us about that.

Carbellion: We are super stoked to be crossing the pond to the UK in June to play two music festivals- Love Rock Festival in Dorset, England ( and Wildfire Festival in Wanlockhead, Scotland ( on sequential weekends.

Cosmic Monolith: Is the plan right now to just do that one music festival or book a small tour while you’re over there?

Carbellion: We are going to tour for a few weeks while there around the two festival weekends to hit some other areas in the UK. London, Edinburgh, Newcastle, and Glasgow are all in the works already with others to come. We are talking about hitting Reykjavik, Iceland on the way there too!

Cosmic Monolith: What about stateside, any plans to tour the states or regions of the U.S. in ’24?

Carbellion:  Yeah, we’re in the process of adding a bunch of dates around the Midwest leading up to the June UK tour. I don’t suspect a full tour, but you never know!

Cosmic Monolith: Is it still realistic to stage a DIY tour at this point in your life or do family and financial obligations outweigh it?

Carbellion: Yeah, it’s tougher than ever though with fuel and lodging prices continuing to climb in today’s America. We’ve done it and will continue to look at continuing to tour but we rely heavily on merch sales and great club/venue partnerships to make it possible. We are all very fortunate to have the support of family and friends as the cornerstone that keeps us forging ahead.

Cosmic Monolith: What’s the coolest thing about being a band in Wisconsin and what’s the worst?

Carbellion: It’s a love/hate thing really. We hate the cold weather and how tough it can be to function in, but it also drives people into bars and clubs during the long Winter to support shows. The Summer is great but cover and tribute bands really own most of the desired fan attention on the weekends outside.

Cosmic Monolith: We’re living in the digital age of social media, websites, especially digital music. Is Carbellion old school in the sense that it’s all about vinyl and physical products or is there a happy medium with digital music / downloads? 

Carbellion: Great question! We feel that you need to diversify the channels to which you get your music to the people. I look at all the music streaming and digital means to get new music as a great way to advertise and build awareness but there is no money in it. It’s a great way to make new fans and gain attention though.

The goal would be to get those new and existing fans we make digitally to buy our physical products like vinyl records, CDs, t-shirts/apparel, etc. and to come out to shows. That’s why we worked a joint label deal with our last record “Weapons of Choice” on Eclipse Records and Qumran Records. Eclipse is super savvy and focused on digital and brand building while Qumran is dialed into vinyl, touring, and physical distribution.

Cosmic Monolith: What does 2024 hold for the band? Let’s hear it all, don’t hold back.

Carbellion: The first half of 2024 is fully focused on building up the live set and doing shows to get battle tested for the UK tour and the two festivals we are doing over there. The second half starting in July is where we are going to shift gears into songwriting mode to finish the roughly 8 songs we have in various states of completion and write a few more to release another record in early 2025 hopefully.

Like I said earlier in this interview, this is our 20th anniversary as Carbellion. It’s crazy that we aren’t slowing down losing ground at this point but instead are gaining speed and turning over new opportunities all over the place!

Author: Theron Moore

Theron Moore Biography: Moore’s first writing gig was SLAM Magazine (Stateline Area Magazine, Northern IL / Southern WI) in 1989. A year later he launched the zine, Louder Than God followed by For Those About To Rock and The Saint Vitus Press & Poetry Review (print). Moore has contributed poetry to Red Fez, The Saint Vitus Press & Poetry Review, Poetry Motel, Poesy Magazine, Tree Killer Ink, and Criminal Class Review. He’s contributed interviews, movie, news, and music reviews to Yahoo,, Wormwood Chronicles (2015 to the present), The Sludgelord, Metal Forces, and New Noise Magazine (2017 to present).