Bedemon Interview: Geof O’Keefe Talks New Album Symphony of Shadows, Spontaneity a Decade in the Making, Pentagram’s Legacy and Much More

The band traces their roots back to 1973, when they began as a recording project separate from drummer Geof O’Keefe‘s other band, Pentagram, but it wasn’t until the past decade that Bedemon really came to any sort of prominence. Once fronted by Pentagram‘s legendary vocalist, Bobby Liebling, it was O’Keefe and guitarist Randy Palmer driving the band, and for all intents and purposes, they were done. After being contacted by Metal Maniacs writer Perry Grayson for an interview in 2001 and realizing there was interest in what Bedemon was and still could be, they decided to give it another go.

Four years later, in 2005, the compilation Child of Darkness: From the Original Master Tapes would surface. Sort of an answer to Pentagram‘s First Daze Here — or at least a complementary piece of an admittedly complicated puzzle — the classic ’70s sound of Bedemon won acclaim from doomers and fans of early metal the world over, but what was unknown at the time was that Bedemon — now O’Keefe, Palmer, bassist Mike Matthews and vocalist Craig Junghandel — had begun work on new material three years earlier in April 2002, and recorded most of an album just months prior to Palmer‘s death following a car crash in July of that year.

A full decade has passed since Symphony of Shadows began to take shape, the band writing in O’Keefe‘s living room and recording in his garage, but after years of work and personal triumphs and tragedies, the CD/LP is available through Svart Records and Bedemon managed to capture the ’70s-style heaviness that formed the original roots of the band without sounding like a redundant rehash of past glories. Responsible for the bulk of the vocal arrangements in conjunction with Junghandel and for a decent portion of the guitar solos as well as the two songs he actually wrote on his own, O’Keefe‘s role in making Symphony of Shadows is not to be understated.

His work, however, has paid off. As with the recently-streamed “The Plague” from the album, Symphony of Shadows makes its home in the primordial ooze from which dark and heavy traditional doom emerged, immediately aligning itself to the formative elements and paying homage to influences like Sabbath, Uriah Heep, UFO and others. In the interview that follows, O’Keefe discusses his legacy and Bedemon‘s being permanently intertwined with Pentagram, the years that went into arranging, recording and mixing the nine tracks on the record and how that balances with the spontaneous setting in which they were initially created, his appearance in the Bobby Liebling documentary Last Days Here (review here) and his thoughts on the finished product of that, the potential for another Bedemon album built from riff demos Palmer recorded before his death, and much, much more.

You’ll see that many references are made to the extensive liner notes O’Keefe composed for the album. You can probably pick up on the point without if you want to, but because they factor so heavily into the interview, I asked and have been granted permission to host the liner notes in their entirety for your perusal or further reading. Click here to read them.

Thanks to Nathan Birk for the allowance there, and to O’Keefe for the interview.

You’ll find the complete 6,000-word Q&A after the jump. Please enjoy.

You cover a decade in the liner notes, and you have that part in the middle where it says, “Well, stuff happened.”

Yeah. It kind of goes into what the stuff was, in terms of my dad passing away, and Craig’s mom passing away, and Mike moving, and just lots of things like that sort of were things that were taking the place of time that would’ve been spent working on music if there weren’t these personal-life interferences going on that took precedent on working on the music. That’s why there were some delays on getting back to work after Randy passed away, and of course, there was an emotional reaction to that which took a few years to settle down and get back to it.

One thing I noticed in reading was the idea that the album is spontaneous. It seemed funny to read it, because it’s been a decade, so while the recording was done spontaneously, two or three takes for songs… Is it possible for something to be spontaneous and still be a decade in the making?

Excellent question. The spontaneous part would refer to the fact that we just came up with the idea of, “Let’s record an album” back in 2001 when Perry Grayson expressed the interest in doing an interview with us for Metal Maniacs. We just spontaneously said, “Let’s write an album, let’s put an album together.” That was the spontaneous part. We had no plans to regroup with Bedemon or do anything with Bedemon ever again until this article came out and the interviews were going on and we realized there was interest in this band due to the Pentagram links. And then the spontaneous part was the recording, as you just kind of described, which was literally how it went, which was, we really had no idea how these songs would come together having only heard these rough demos we sent each other over the years, and getting here with a six-day window to record the entire album in my house here, in the garage. It literally was, as it says in the liner notes, sitting in the living room, learning the songs, teaching each other what the parts are, going down to the garage and then, in two to three takes, for the first time me actually hitting the drums playing drums to these songs I had not written any drum parts for or Mike didn’t have any bass lines for or anything. That’s the part that was spontaneous, was we did not have any weeks of pre-recording, rehearsal or anything to work on this material – it was learn it, record it, next song. So that part was genuinely spontaneous and even more than that was the guitar solos part, in that Randy had decided very early on he did not want to play the guitar solos on this album. Lots of people who liked the ‘70s stuff raved about his guitar playing and say he’s like Tony Iommi and things like that and he would laugh at these comments and go, “I’m a terrible guitarist! I’m no good, I can’t believe people think I’m a great guitarist,” and it was like, “Well, Randy, that’s not the point. They like you, they like the music, they enjoy it for whatever reason,” and his response was, “But I want better guitar playing on the album. That’s why you and Mike should do most, if not all, the solos.” So he wanted Mike and I do be doing the solos, but we had no idea, literally, who was going to be doing which songs, where the guitar solos would go within the songs, how long they would last. We had nothing worked out. Randy’s demos were recorded in his living room on a cassette player with a guitar, and that’s it. There was no bass, no drums, no vocal references because he would not sing in front of people, so it would just be a guitar track lasting for three or four minutes of just riffs, and that’s all Mike and I had for the year leading up to the recording session. So when we got to the point of learning these songs and recording the backing tracks in my garage – guitar, bass and drums recorded simultaneously – when the backing track was done in the two or three takes, we’d play it back and Randy would go, “Okay, the guitar solo starts right here, and Geof, why don’t you play that one? Then it goes on like eight bars, and then it stops. Mike and I will go upstairs, and here’s the foot switch where you can use the recorder and go right back to where it comes in with the solo and you can just do it over and over again until you’re happy with it.” He said, “Okay, here’s where it starts, here’s where it ends, and just work something out and let us know when you’ve got something you’re happy with.” So that, you couldn’t be more spontaneous. That’s like taking a session guy into a studio, Larry Carlton or something, and saying, “Okay, the solo goes here, it ends here, let us know when you’re done.” And so the solos on the album with the sole exceptions of “Hopeless” and “Saviour,” which were my two songs that I worked on later on, every other song on the album, the solos were just literally, “Here’s your solo point, do it, let me know when you’re done.” They were totally spontaneous. There was nothing worked out, because me and Mike, as I said, had no idea who was going to play the solos and where they were gonna go in the song. They were spontaneous. The other nine years, yeah, not spontaneous, as far as it took nine years to finish the project after that initial recording in April 2002, but the parts that were spontaneous there were the vocals. I know this is a really long answer. Craig, the vocalist. The real big problem we had after Randy passed away, three months after the recording session, was we were then left with backing tracks, most of which had guitar solos on them, and that was it, and type-written sheets with his lyrics. We didn’t know where the singing was going to go in the songs. We didn’t know where does verse one start, here’s what looks like a chorus, where does it go, there’s a bunch of instrumental sections, where does this fit in? Beyond that, what are the melodies to the songs? What do we do about background vocals? We had no idea what Randy was going to do with these songs, had he been alive to say, “Okay, I wrote the song, here’s what I want to happen in this part.” This kind of fell onto my shoulders, because Mike lives in Montana, and Craig the singer had never met or even spoken to Randy on the phone. Randy passed away. He’d heard demos of Craig’s vocals and thought he was the singer on the album, but Randy never even spoke on one phone call to Randy, so Craig had no idea what Randy wanted, so with me having been a friend to Randy’s since ’71 – for 32 years – I was the one who basically had to sit down with these backing tracks we’d recorded and these sheets of lyrics and figure out, okay, where’s the singing gonna go, what type of melody do we want? I know Randy liked Black Sabbath and Judas Priest and Budgie and all these bands, so what type of vocals would he want in this song? And then the same thing with the background vocals. Okay, we need something going on here, so Craig, why don’t you try doing this? How about going, “Ahhhhhahh” here? I literally – I’m not trying to take too much credit for this – but I also don’t want to dismiss the fact that I literally had to basically finish writing all the tracks of Randy’s, especially because we didn’t know what was gonna happen in them. Craig had no idea what to sing in them, and so I had to make the determination, okay, we’ll start verse one here, that seems to fit, there’s four lines, okay, I think this is where the chorus should go and sing it like this, kind of a Rob Halford-type of way, kind of a Judas Priest-type of melody, and so that was the spontaneous part too. We’d get to the studio to work on the vocals on a particular night and I would’ve been spending three or four days at home and in my car driving around playing these instrumental tracks, thinking, okay, how would this melody go, “Daadaalaadda,” that sounds kind of cool. Then I’d get to the studio with Craig and Shawn [Hafley] the engineer, and say, okay, here’s what I think should happen here, see how this sounds. And then Craig would sing it and say, okay, this sounds terrible and I’d say, okay, back to the drawing board, or they’d be like, yeah, that sounds fantastic. So that was also pretty spontaneous in terms of having to basically finish the songs of his, fix songs that were Randy Palmer compositions that we had no idea what to do with them. So yeah, within the context of 10 years, it doesn’t sound like it would be spontaneous, but in terms of the elements I had to put into it, with the creator of these tracks not being around to tell me what he wanted and what he wanted Craig to sing and everything, what the arrangements were gonna be, that was pretty spontaneous on my part with the help of the engineer and with Craig’s input as well. So it’s not spontaneous over a decade, but the elements going within were definitely lots of spontaneous moments. Hope that makes sense.

In talking about the mixing, I read the part in the liner notes about having to take the cymbals out of the drums, bringing the drums up…

It was a nightmare.

It sounded like a nightmare. How long was the album being mixed?

We started working on the vocals in 2006 with Craig, at Shawn’s studio in San Luis Obispo, called Citizen Sound, and we spent probably about the better part of two years, 2006-2008, working on recording the vocals and doing some rough mixing, but the basic hard core, let’s just mix the album now, and all the basic recording is done, is done in 2009, and Shawn and I just spent untold hours going in there and going through all of the multi-tracks that we had now recorded, all these vocals, background vocals, percussions, guitar overdubs and everything else. So it took about a year mixing, then remixing and remixing, because I’m (laughs), as Shawn would gladly tell you, I’m quite challenging to work for in terms of I would take something home that sounded great in the studio and I’d listen to it in my car or on my home stereo or on a boombox, you know, just to get the different feels of how this is going to sound to the average fan/listener, ah, the bass is way too low, you can’t hear the bass drum, the guitars need to be brought up, I hear a clicking noise there, that bass is out of key, it needs to be brought up and tuned up better, so I mean, I would go back in a week and say we gotta redo this whole song, there’s a whole bunch of sound problems in it. So we spent a lot of time fixing and mixing and remixing and refixing to get it right. I’m sure I drove Shawn pretty nuts over it, but he was happy with the final product. I’m pretty much a taskmaster, because I do have an ear for hearing things like the wrong note somewhere and Shawn wouldn’t hear it. Listen to that one part, and he’d go, oh yeah, you’re right, the bass player is flat by a fret, or whatever, and yeah, can you patch in something from a good part? So it took a year of mixing everything we’d recorded to get it to the point where it’s right. I could still go back in now. I still listen to it now and there’s sort of things I wish had been done differently or guitar tone I don’t like or this song could use a bit more bass or something, but at some point you just have to be done with it or you become Neil Young or Boston (laughs) or someone who spends 10 years working on albums, which ironically, we did, but at some point you have to just be done with it and move on. I’m very happy with the end result and knowing the work that went into it and again, how quickly the basic tracks were recorded and learned back in 2002 in that six-day period, I think it turned out pretty awesome.

Was there something in particular that you came up against that you were like, “Okay, we are done now?” What made you decide that was the point where you were finished with the album?

Meaning was there a point where we got frustrated and wanted to just quit, or when a song that we were happy with it? We just went through a track at a time and mixed everything, so that point came when we were done with the ninth track. We worked on it as much as we needed to work on it. I didn’t want to be done with it until we were done with it, and obviously we didn’t want to have seven songs well produced and the last two half-assed because we were running out of time or money or anything, so we basically took one track, started with it, and when we were done with it, start on the next track, and I of course would revisit it and sometimes we had to go back to track one when we were three or four tracks into it and say, you know, track one doesn’t sound as crunchy as two, three and four, because Shawn, the engineer, would get better at figuring out the sound we wanted, so as  we moved on to more tracks on the album, we might go back to an earlier track and remix it, add some more bass it or, bring up the guitar or something to make the album sound more consistent. But basically, it was just going through the album one track at a time, one through nine, and just mixing every track until we were happy with it, and then listening to the whole thing as a whole piece, and then I would come back and say, okay, I love eight of the nine tracks, but this track is lacking a low end. It was just worked on until it was done.

Was there a point where you were ready to throw the whole thing down and walk away?

No. Never. Randy was my best friend and we put a lot of work into this and the few people that heard these tracks said, you know, this is kind of a closet masterpiece here, this sounds like a great lost ‘70s album, and just for Randy being my best friend and knowing the work we put into it, there was no doubt this was gonna be finished, somehow, someday, and come out. It took, for a gazillion reasons, but I am so happy it is now finally coming out. I’ve already seen some early reviews on it and they have quite literally moved me to tears when people have really gotten the fact that, when they say it sounds like an album that came out in ’73, that’s one of the reviews I read, it’s like, yes, they get it. That’s exactly what the production was going for, so if you put this on a CD player in shuffle with Black Sabbath and Uriah Heep, Scorpions and UFO, no one would say, oh, that sounds really out of place. They’d say, oh, all those albums are from the ‘70s. That was the effect I wanted, to make a classic ‘70s heavy metal album.

Were you conscious of that at the time you were recording 10 years ago?

Yeah, because that’s the music we grew up on. Randy’s favorite bands were Black Sabbath and Sir Lord Baltimore, and that was the stuff we were influenced by, as was Pentagram, so we knew we wanted to make an album that sounded like that type of music. We were never looking to do an Autotuned album with synthesizer or electric drums (laughs) or anything like that. We wanted to record an album analog, basically, and have it sound like a ‘70s album because that was the music we were into and we knew there’s a market out there, a fanbase that loves that type of music, as did we. We weren’t consciously thinking let’s make a ‘70s album, it’s just the music that came out that fit the band’s style was that type of music, and even more so when I got into the studio with Shawn to mix the thing, that’s where I started even more going into the idea. Because I would relisten to things. I would go back and listen to the first couple Uriah Heep albums, or I’d listen to Captain Beyond, and I’d notice things like where percussion or a cowbell that would come in, and some of the effects, like panning a guitar solo back and forth between the speakers, and I would take this into Shawn and play it for him and say, listen to what they do here on this track. I want that effect on this song, and some of these albums we’re kind of using as a blueprint for the sound, the effects, the production styles and stuff we wanted. More so than when we first started it, obviously, during the production phase is when I was really geared on making this sound like a classic ‘70s album and not sound like something that came out in 2012 with all the modern techniques that are used on albums these days, because they don’t have that warmth, that low end and everything.

In terms of actually assembling the albums, putting the songs in order, was there a significance to “Godless,” “Hopeless” and “Eternally Unhuman” being at the end of the album other than their being the longest songs?

The track order was pretty tentatively decided back when Randy was still alive, which was good that he had the input into that. As it does discuss in the liner notes, just so people don’t think I egotistically put “Saviour” as the opening track, when we were learning that track here in the living room, before we had even recorded it – that’s one of my songs, solely written by myself – Randy looked up and said, there’s no question I don’t think, this has to be the opener. It’s really heavy and scary, but it’s also got a certain commercial edge, a hook to it that people will like. He said, I think this should open the album. That really, really touched me, emotionally, that he as the creator of Bedemon, the original founder and with six songs on the album, would then tell me that one of my two tracks would be the album’s opener. That meant a whole lot that he decided that. So “Saviour” was the opening track. As far as the closing track, “Eternally Unhuman,” Randy wanted that as the album closer and “Hopeless” and “Godless,” it did seem better to have the really long songs a bit more towards the end, but it just seemed to fit well. The track order was, like I say, pretty tentatively set back when Randy was alive. I had tweaked around a couple orders of songs, like “Kill You Now” and “The Plague,” and there were some that got moved around a little bit, but it seemed to just close well with “Hopeless” and “Eternally Unhuman.” “Hopeless” might close the album a little better because of the creepy ending and the lyrics and stuff, but I wanted to close it with a Randy track, and the fact that that is kind of an epic number in itself, it just seemed like that was the way to go. The track order just felt right to me and I played the album over and over and over a billion times during the mixing process and the songs seemed to flow in that order really well and the thing I came up with at the end of “Eternally Unhuman,” where “nothing will ever be the same,” that’s one of those examples where, at the end of a song, the original recording we had, there was nothing going on, and I do discuss this in the liner notes, a couple of the tracks, we had this problem with these songs that had nothing happening during the last two minutes of the song. It was just repeating a riff and then it would fade out or whatever. Randy had already said where the guitar solos were gonna go and they’d already been recorded, so we were like, okay, what happens? We now have a song with vocals and a guitar solo and then this end section that goes on for two minutes and nothing happens. What do we do with that? There was the idea of putting additional guitar solos on there, but Mike and I got into a discussion – a rather heated discussion that went on for a while – about adding additional music to Randy’s songs. I thought we should, to make them better, and Mike thought we shouldn’t, because he wanted to leave them pure as the way Randy last heard them, and if Randy planned to do anything else musically with them, we shouldn’t be second-guessing what guitar parts he might have wanted to put in the songs. So, the idea of adding in new guitar solos to these empty two-minute sections was not gonna happen, but Mike said, if you want to do something vocally in those sections, because you’re pretty much arrangeing and working on the vocals with Shawn and Craig, go ahead. So on some of the songs, like “Lord of Desolation,” “Dying Every Day” and “Eternally Unhuman,” there are end vocal sections that go on in these songs, and I put those in there basically to fill up the space, so “Eternally Unhuman” brings back this line from the song, “nothing the same/nothing will ever be the same,” and I thought, with Randy’s passing and how it’s gonna change Bedemon, the band, I thought this was the perfect line, to have Craig re-sing this line as the song is fading out, so I said how about we fill up this section with you going, “nothing will ever be the same,” and then on top of that, do some Ian Gillan-type of screams and stuff and make the album end with this vocal intensity. That seemed like that was the perfect way to end the album. If you play it all the way to the very, very end, you hear Randy at the end saying, “Well, that’s it, that’s the end,” or whatever he says, the exact words he says there, but  there’s a little snippet of Randy coming in there after the song ends. It seemed like the perfect way to tie up the album.

I read that this morning in the liner notes about the arranged vocals at the end of the songs and knew immediately which parts you were talking about.

“Lord of Desolation” is the same thing, and “Dying Every Day,” because those were all things that – again, I’m not trying to toot my own horn here – but those were things I had to come up with because no one had any idea what we were gonna do with the song, either fade it out really early, or just have this song drone on and on with a riff and nothing happening, so I just had to sit down with the songs, and think, okay, I’ll look through the lyrics, what can we do, what can Craig do here to fill this up? In theory, I could realistically take co-writer credit on a lot of the songs, because I did finish writing them, but I’d never do that. They were Randy’s songs and Randy’s lyrics. I’m not gonna do that because of the arrangements, but I did have to do a lot of work. This album would not sound like it sounds if we just stuck it out with some lead vocals on it back in 2003 or 2004. It would not sound like it sounds today.

When you were finally ready to go with it, how did you get hooked up with Svart for the release?

My good friend and cool industry guy, PelletSean “Pellet” Pelletier – he’s the one who was the Pentagram fanatic who first brought us to the attention of Relapse back in 2001, and so he is the one who basically shopped this for us to different labels, and of course in the music business in 2009-2010 was not what it was back in 2004 or 2005, in terms of labels falling apart, labels dissolving, everything turning to digital, so it did take a while to shop it, and the fact that we weren’t an actual active touring band with merchandise possibilities and stuff, out there in the booths and touring the road or whatever, was a bit more challenging as well. It was more of a recording project than an active touring band, so he did have a fair amount of difficulty trying to get label interest. There was interest from a lot of labels, but then they wouldn’t get back to him and who knows if they ever even listened to it, because everyone who heard it raved about it. He eventually had some contacts at Svart and talked to Tomi [Pulkki] over there, and Jarko [Pietarinen], and they really were blown away by it. They also were releasing some Pentagram titles that he was working with them on, and he said, you should check out Bedemon. It’s Pentagram-related and it’s got a built-in market. They said they were definitely interested, so they came along and here we are.

Are you comfortable with Bedemon being so tied to Pentagram, as part of that overarching legacy?

I’m more than comfortable with it. I’m very (laughs) happy about it. I co-founded Pentagram with Bobby [Liebling], so I’m very happy with my legacy in Pentagram for the first five years of the band from ’71-’76 and the work I put into them that is on the First Daze Here albums, and Bedemon was started as a recording project around ’73 or so. The bands are absolutely linked, because Bobby and I were on the ‘70s Bedemon stuff, and Randy was in Pentagram for two brief periods, so there’s no question that Pentagram and Bedemon are linked for a  number of reasons, and it would be denying reality to say that the link to Pentagram does not help Bedemon – it obviously does, because fans of one band will more than likely like stuff by the other – so I think I’m very happy to be linked to Pentagram. I’m proud of the legacy of the band, and like I said, Randy was in the band as well, so I find no problem linking those two bands quite openly.

What did you think of the finished product of Last Days Here?

Last Days Here I thought was amazing. It blew me away. I know how many hundreds of hours of footage they had to work with and to whittle it down to a 90-minute movie. There are 40 minutes of outtakes on the DVD that just came out, which blew me away, and there’s a pretty cool scene where Bobby and I meet for the first time in 25 years at the House of Blues back in 2009, that was actually captured on video of us literally meeting for the first time in 25 years, which is one of the bonus scenes. I thought the movie turned out really, really well. It’s an emotional movie. It’s hard in parts for me to watch. The scene where Murray Krugman – who was the producer at Columbia Records and the manager of Blue Öyster Cult and other bands – the scene where basically he says, we would’ve gotten signed, we would’ve been touring, we would’ve been a recording act with Columbia if Bobby hadn’t had his hissy fit in the studio – that particular scene really tears me up every time I watch it. It’s hard not to realize how my live could have changed had Bobby not gotten into his infamous argument in the studio. So it’s a tough movie to watch for me, because it is my life being portrayed, including having the recreations of our practice sessions played by actors, which is kind of bizarre, until you read the final credits people might honestly think those are home videos of us rehearsing, because it’s only in the end credits where it says, Bobby Liebling as a young boy played by so-and-so or whatever and it has the credits at the end. So it’s strange to watch your life being portrayed in a documentary, but I think it’s a very well done film. It does show people both the brilliant talent and the challenges of working with Bobby, so it kind of captured a lot of the essence of it. They could’ve made a 10-hour mini-series and you still would have the details that were left out that would be very interesting to watch, but I think it turned out really, really well, considering how much material they had to work with and how they had to whittle it down.

Ken Burns’ Pentagram – the 10-hour documentary?

If he was doing a PBS mini-series of Pentagram, I would love for him to pick that up, do a long version of the story, because there’s a lot of details and a lot of details and anecdotes that were captured on film and not used. I’m glad they got some bonus footage on there, but I know they shot so much stuff, and I heard about, they did some interviews with Dickie Peterson of Blue Cheer, but apparently there was audio problems with them or something, and that’s ironic, because they’re Bobby’s idols and Dickie Peterson died, so those scenes did not make it in the DVD bonus footage, but like I say, you can quibble over what did or didn’t get used, but it’s a very entertaining movie. The people I know who’ve watched it have said it’s one of the most disturbing movies they’ve ever seen. I know people who’ve said they watched it once and will never watch it again, not because it’s bad, but because it is so disturbing. A lot of people have had emotional reactions to it. I’ve had an number of friends say it’s the best music documentary they’ve ever seen, it’s so raw and so real and so emotional in parts. I’ve heard pretty much mostly raves about the film, from reviews as well. People that didn’t have to rave about it, they could’ve been critical, but I’ve seen pretty much good feedback on the movie, so job well done.

What are your plans going forward? Can there be a Bedemon without Randy?

That’s an interesting question. I was just discussing with Mike via email this morning an idea we’ve had. The short, obvious answer would be no, of course not. But the more detailed answer and just to touch on it briefly without going into too much detail is that there could be, in theory, another Bedemon album, for the simple fact that Randy was working on new song demos after we recorded this album. Again, it’s just a cassette of him playing guitar, where he announces, okay, today’s June whatever, and in one case, it actually was his birthday, June 8, 2002, a month after he was out here, and he’s, I’ve got a new song idea, and he’d play a riff, or he’d play a three-minute-long song with multiple parts in it. I have this cassette of these Randy Palmer demos of new riffs and new song ideas, and I have talked to Mike about it, and the idea of us possibly taking these songs ideas and fleshing them out into full-fledged songs. We’d be co-writing the songs, but they would be based on his riffs. And so, there is a possibility we could take that, if the interest and reaction to this album continues to be as strong as it is right now, then I would feel there’s a pretty decent chance we might decide to do a third album. There’s a few other older Randy songs, one called “Night of the Demon,” that was recorded back in the mid-‘80s – it’s one of those bootlegs – the track has floated around. I’ve seen people saying it was released in the ‘80s, it was never released in any form legitimately by anyone, but it is a demo of his that we recorded in the ‘80s with a different bass player, and we could obviously re-record that song in addition to these other, new demos he was working on after we finished this album, so the short answer is yes, there could be a third album, but it would involve a lot of pre-production on finishing the songs and being happy with new material, but yeah, there are some unheard Randy demos of material that we could work with and put another album out, if we chose to do it.

And Mike lives in Montana, you said?

Mike lives in Missoula, Montana, now. He moved from Arizona to Montana about three years ago with his wife.

I would think that would somewhat complicate the process of writing new material.

We would have to work on it by internet and him making visits out here, because my drums are out here, so we would have to work on it on our own. I would obviously send him the CD I have of the demos, and we would go through them and see which ones we thought had song ideas and work on them and come up with what we thought – that’s why I say it would be a long, involved process, but when it came down to record, he would definitely take a few weeks off and drive out here and we would work on them here in the studio. It could be done. Lots of bands are recording across the continent and across the oceans by having the guitar solos overdubbed in Ireland, the band lives in D.C. or lives in Washington or New York or California and you’ll notice it says guitar solos recorded in the UK because they live in different parts of the world Obviously it’s pretty much done these days that way, not everyone lives a few blocks from each other. We could do it. I would like for this to not be the last, or if it is, I’m proud of this album and I’m blown away that Randy’s legacy, people finally get to hear an actual, intended-for-release album for Symphony of Shadows. I’m glad if this is the last word, but if there’s an additional album to come out of it, which would be a surprise to a lot of people, then I would be willing to work on that as well. We’ll see how people react to this album. So far it’s been pretty amazing.

Bedemon on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records

Tags: , , , ,

5 Responses to “Bedemon Interview: Geof O’Keefe Talks New Album Symphony of Shadows, Spontaneity a Decade in the Making, Pentagram’s Legacy and Much More”

  1. Geof says:

    attn: JJ koczan

    Great post of our interview! I wanted to point out one lil’ error in the section where it talks about putting the songs in order. There’s a number of mentions of my opening track composition “Saviour” but it appears as “Savior.” Not a huge deal, but if the correct spelling “Saviour” could be inserted, that would be awesome.

    Will an actual review of the album be appearing in the review section at some point?

    Thanks so much!


  2. SabbathJeff says:

    Fun fact about the metal maniacs article mentioned, I was the 17-18 y/o burgeoning bedemon fan that perry was talking about. :) Can’t wait to hear this record. For real.

  3. SkillitArt says:

    killer interview, thanks!

  4. Stephen says:

    Great interview, Geoff is the man! The cover art is awesome, as is what I’ve heard so far and I can’t wait to pick this up. I do want to point out though that many of Neil Young’s albums were made over a matter of weeks or even days – a far cry from Boston for sure. It sounds like the time spent on Symphony was worth it though. Kudos to these guys.

Leave a Reply