Look What HE Did: Get Ripped the Barry Donegan Way

Those who enjoy the antics of kaleidoscopic everything-and-the-kitchen-sink chaos metallers Look What I Did may or may not be aware of two things: 1) Zanzibar III: Analog Prison, the band’s long-gestating, much-anticipated rock opera follow-up to the straight-out awesome Atlas Drugged is “perilously close to having a release date” and 2) frontman Barry Donegan is suddenly, insanely fucking ripped.
Obviously, these tantalizing tidbits require a two birds/one stone response. Which is why this morning we’ve packaged together the video for a nutty Zanzibar track entitled “Brigham Young And David Koresh Rally The Troops On The Moon” along with a weightlifting playlist for metalheads curated by Donegan — who, by the way, offers online consulting with custom training plans to anyone, anywhere interested in getting into the other shred. (Hit him up via Facebook.)

By way of introduction, here are some thoughts from Donegan on getting hardcore into physical fitness and weightlifting:

Off-and-on throughout my life I’ve lifted weights and run long distances to stay in shape, starting back in college and continuing on to Look What I Did’s time living in Los Angeles, which ended about 2005. After that, we went on tour forever, often independent-style, which meant years-on-end of dollar menus and sleeping on hardwood floors in random people’s apartments across the country without access to exercise equipment. Eventually, I lost all the muscle mass I had ever gained and seriously injured my back trying to jump off of stage with no core strength. I was in my thirties, and it was starting to affect my ability to perform. I came home from one tour around 2010 weighing 130 pounds at 5’11”. The pain in my lower back from being so weak was so unbearable that it was difficult to get out of bed and the lack of activity consequently resulted in a rapid accumulation of fat, pushing my bodyweight quickly to 225 pounds. I was completely out of shape and could barely move. I was on my way to all those diseases of civilization like coronary artery disease if I didn’t turn things around.

Drawing inspiration from resilient, aging folks like Henry Rollins and CT Fletcher, I took back my health pound-by-pound in the weight room, starting at first struggling with machines and planks, and moving on to heavy weight and compound movements. There was so much more exercise science available this time around that my results were rapid — after working to regain twenty-five pounds of lost muscle mass for a few months, I kicked on an “if it fits your macros” style caloric deficit for four months and shredded off seventy-five pounds of fat. Now, I’m addicted to the iron and think of it as instrumental to my development.

But don’t worry — I do it the all-natural way, steroid-free so don’t expect me to go hiring any hit men any time soon.

The following playlist of heavy workout tunes is certified anabolic, guaranteed to produce “all kinds of gains,” and should probably be banned by all major sports associations as it is a performance enhancer.


1. Mastodon — “Workhorse”

This classic off of Remission has a relentless, sometimes-pushed beat that will keep your blood pumping from the first beat to the last

2. Hatebreed — “Perseverance”

To be completely honest, I don’t really like Hatebreed at all. I would never listen to it, except — and this is a major except — while lifting weights. With those towering, groovy riffs right at the tempo of the bench press and Jamey Jasta screaming in your ear about crushing all limitations and all this… It’s as if a scientist went into a lab to create the ultimate weightlifting music.

3. Botch — “Framce”

This savage jam off An Anthology of Dead Ends opens with the meanest, slowest, hugest riff of all time — and then just gets faster and faster. Slap on some plates and rattle the squat rack to that big long mean riff, right along with the tempo.


4. Snapcase — “Killing Yourself to Live”

This oddly aptly-titled song has properly bone-crushing riffs. And Snapcase’s positive focus is a good vibe match with productive self-destruction.

5. The Jesus Lizard — “Thumbscrews”

I’m not sure if this is a song other people besides me consider heavy, but set a PR on the deadlift while listening to this tune, and see if you don’t feel like David Yow sounds in that song.

6. Converge — “Hell to Pay”

This may seem an odd choice, given its vibe, but try it yourself. It’s a bit ambient at the beginning, but the driving bass and eccentric rep paced drumbeat is perfect for slamming weights.

7. Pantera — “I’m Broken”

This one is an obvious necessity for inclusion. There’s probably a scientific study that could be done to confirm that the sound of Pantera clicks-on a testosterone on-switch to those who hear it.

8. The Melvins — “Honey Bucket”

This is Dale Crover hammering the drums as hard as he can at the Melvins’ heaviest. That is what you want in your ear when you have to pick something heavy up off the ground.


9. Crowpath — “Children of Boredom”

A focused, pummeling offering from Crowpath, normally orchestrators of chaos.

10. Helmet — “Unsung”

Anyone can move weight to the money riff in that song. Anyone.

11. Living Colour — “Cult of Personality”

Get an energy boost towards the end of the workout with a just-tough-enough, riff-centered classic.

Also, others have reported that “Raining Pleasantries” is a good Look What I Did song to listen to while lifting weights.