Black Rainbows Announce European Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 22nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

black rainbows

You know the question I’m about to ask, right? You have to. It’s almost too obvious. Will Pandaemonium — the forthcoming sixth long-player from Italian heavy psychedelic rock forerunners Black Rainbows — be the album that finally brings them to US shores? It is to wonder. One would think that with all of the groups guitarist/vocalist Gabriele Fiori has brought to Europe through the booking wing of his record label Heavy Psych Sounds over the years, there must be plenty of acts with whom they could partner for a run at least of the coasts/major markets, if not all 48 contiguous states.

Especially with the arrival in North America of underground heavy acts like Truckfighters paving the way for Greenleaf and 1000mods and others, it seems like there’s something of a shift happening to make European bands coming to the US to tour a more sustainable prospect. Of course, I don’t know if it’s even on Black Rainbows‘ radar in terms of goals — America isn’t exactly ingratiating itself to the rest of the planet these days, admittedly — but as many times as they’ve crossed back and forth over Europe over the years, they’d seem ripe for striking out into some new territory. At least for a festival or two.

Just a thought on the occasion of Black Rainbows announcing another sizable European run, which they did thusly via the PR wire:

black rainbows tour poster

Italian stoner icons BLACK RAINBOWS announce extensive European tour and festival shows

Italy’s heavy psych fuzzers BLACK RAINBOWS have announced a full European tour in support of their upcoming new album “Pandaemonium”, with special appearances at Desertfest London and Hellfest, plus a support for High On Fire.

The band will be touring Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, France, England and the Netherlands. Their sixth studio album “Pandaemonium” will be released April 6th on all formats via Heavy Psych Sounds Records.

BLACK RAINBOWS ON TOUR

16.03 – Rome (IT) 30 Formiche
22.03 – Martigny (CH) Sunset Bar
23.03 – Torino (IT) Blah Ba
24.03 – Parma (IT) Titty Twister
29.03 – Olten (CH) Coq D’Or
30.03 – Seewen (CH) Gaswerk
31.03 – Strasbourg (FR) Maison Bleue
01.04 – Feldkirch (AT) Graf Hugo
02.04 – Graz (AT) Club Q
03.04 – Wien (AT) Viper Room
04.04 – Salzburg (AT) Rockhouse
05.04 – Augsburg (DE) City Club
06.04 – Innsbruck (AT) PMK
07.04 – Milano (IT) Cox 18
19.04 – Winterthur (CH) Gaswerk
20.04 – Frankfurt (DE) Feinstaub
21.04 – Arlon (BE) L’Entrepot
22.04 – Osnabruck (DE) Bastard Club
23.04 – Mannheim (DE) Kurzbar
24.04 – Stuttgart (DE) Keller Klub
25.04 – Berlin (DE) Jagerklause
26.04 – Dresden (DE) Chemofabrik
27.04 – Leipzig (DE) Geiszer 16
28.04 – Erfurt (DE) Tiko
03.04 – Deventer (NL) Burgerweeshuis w/ High On Fire
05.05 – London (UK) Desertfest
2X.06 – Clisson (FR) Hellfest
30.06 – Alessandria (IT) Bliss Beat Fest

BLACK RAINBOWS is
Gabriele Fiori – Guitar & Vocals
Giuseppe Guglielmino – Bass
Filippo Ragazzoni – Drums

http://www.theblackrainbows.com/
https://www.facebook.com/BLACKRAINBOWSROCK/
https://twitter.com/BLACKRAINBOWSii
http://blackrainbows.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS/
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com/
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com/

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High Reeper Premiere “Chrome Hammer” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 14th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

high reeper

High Reeper mark their first release on Heavy Psych Sounds March 16. Their self-titled debut (review here) was given a sneaky self-release last year, but if you by any chance were feeling crazy and wanted to get a preview of what’s to come with the Heavy Psych Sounds version of the offering, it wouldn’t take anything more than checking out the five-piece’s previous video for “Die Slow” (posted here) and the one below for “Chrome Hammer,” because it just so happens that’s the one-two punch that starts off the album.

And a considerable punch it is. The Philly outfit made it clear with the record the first time around that they weren’t screwing around, and yeah, that very much continues to be the case. Even before they get to the drum-sol0-laden eponymous “High Reeper” or the later riff-worship of “Weed and Speed” and “Black Leather (Chose Us),” which would straddle the line between doom, classic metal and heavy rock were it not so busy using its legs to meter out the rhythmic stomp driving all of it, “Die Slow” and “Chrome Hammer” together set up the “Why’s it gotta be NWOBHM or thrash?” central question High Reeper is asking, backing up its argument with a firm reminder that, indeed, Black Sabbath still kicks everyone’s ass.

You can see their classic-minded aesthetic on display in the clip for “Chrome Hammer” below, which I’m thrilled to be able to premiere today. You’ll note the citrus hue of the amplification through which the guitars and bass come, and the occasional upside-down shot here and there as well. All good fun, and plenty of heavy boogie to go with it, so by all means, dive in.

Some comment from the band and PR wire info follows.

Please enjoy:

High Reeper, “Chrome Hammer” official video premiere

High Reeper on “Chrome Hammer”:

When we wrote Chrome Hammer we just had the title as the idea for the song and then we filled in the lyrics and music around the title. When we decided to make the video we wanted something that didn’t relate to the song in a literal way but still captured the idea and then feeling of not just the song but also the band. We gave the director (Dan Dome) free reign to do whatever he wanted and we feel like he fucking nailed it.

High Reeper’s self titled debut is an unapologetic punch to the face for fans of early ‘70s proto-metal. The sound and smell of leather, weed, boozing, gambling and death permeate the record from start to finish. Nine tracks that run from uptempo straight ahead rock, to slowed down, heavy, early doom. With a rhythm section throwing down grooves that are deeper than the darkest abyss and guitars big enough to put a hole in your chest, the record’s finale hits just as hard as its opening track. Vocals that soar above the guitars with laser like precision, while delivering a direct hit to your soul.

Produced, engineered and mixed by bass player Shane Trimble at TTR studios in Philadelphia and at his home studio Delwood sound in Delaware. The production is laced with old school elements while still maintaining the focus of a modern release.

Recorded in the fall of 2017, HIGH REEPER IS MEANT TO BE PLAYED LOUD AND TO BE PLAYED OFTEN.

High Reeper is:
Pat Daly
Zach Thomas
Andrew Price
Napz Mosley
Shane Trimble

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Nebula Interview & Full Album Stream Pt. 2: To the Center

Posted in audiObelisk, Features on February 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

nebula

[Click play above to stream the new reissue of Nebula’s To the Center in its entirety. Album is out Feb. 16 via Heavy Psych Sounds.]

Please note: This interview is part two in a series of three. Part one is here. Part three arrives Feb 27.

Recording with Jack Endino.Road-dogging it on tour so you don’t have to say home and pay rent. Signing to Sub Pop after running into label head Megan Jasper in the produce aisle at a grocery store and winding up signed to of the most influential undergoing imprints of all time as a result. Seeming to consume an entire interstellar mycelial network of mushrooms in the process. To hear original drummer Ruben Romano tell it, it was just all part of being in Nebula around the time of their 1999 debut LP, To the Center.

No wonder it’s one of the best stoner rock records of all time, with a band of laid back electric and acoustic guitars, a bevvy of languid desert grooves and some more driving fare for the punkers in the crowd. Nebula‘s prop=oir debut EP, Let it Burn (discussed here). Still, as Nebula were living out this process of rock and roll daydreams, all was no exactly well in the band, and by the time they got around to releasing 2001’s Charged, their second and final offering for Sub Pop, it would prove to be the final outing for the original Nebula lineup of Romano, guitarist/vocalist Eddie Glass and bassist Mark Abshire as well.

But at this point, with To the Center and its languid blend of more-laid-back-than-thou riffs and acoustic strums, psychedelic sitars and space rocking freakout jams, with its Randyo Holden and Stooges covers — “Between Time” and “I Need Somebody,” respectively — it was a goddamn party and it certainly sounds like one on the album. In the interview that follows, Romano tells a couple quick but choice stories about what it was like to be in Nebula at this time.

You’ll find the Q&A under the player with the complete remaster (including bonus tracks) of To the Center, which again, is out on Heavy Psych Sounds Feb. 16.

Please enjoy:

nebula to the center

To the Center Q&A with Ruben Romano

How did the band change coming off of Let it Burn and moving into To the Center? Was there anything specific you knew you wanted to do from one release to the other?

What changed was that we now were total road dogs. Touring was all we did and when we were not on the road we were always in the rehearsal room. The specific thing that we wanted to do from one release to the other was to keep on doing it! All we wanted was to keep Rolling our way to Freedom.

Tell me about writing the album. How did the songs come together and what was that period of time like for you as a band?

We toured so much that we became a super tight band and things happened naturally. Playing with Eddie and Mark came easy. While we were on the road we would be jamming a riff at soundcheck, those brief in between tour moments were spent in rehearsal rooms jamming. Eddie also had a back catalog of four-track demo songs that we pulled from, and one that he wrote with his friend Neil Blender was pulled as well. Then jamming on covers of songs that we all loved, liked The Stooges and Randy Holden started sounding and feeling good. So we included those as well and all of a sudden we had 12 songs that comprised To the Center. At that period of time the band was extremely busy. It kept us from having to pay rent, so the time off the road became shorter and shorter.

You’d already recorded with Jack Endino for Sun Creature and the Lowrider split. What was it about the experience that brought you back to him? What did he capture in Nebula’s sound?

Jack was a cool guy. We worked well with him the first time around and he really dug what we were doing. I think we really impressed him during those To the Center sessions with our knowledge of great obscure underground music, like The Groundhogs. He was the biggest fan of Tony McPhee and The Groundhogs and was stoked when we brought them up in giving him production ideas of what we wanted to achieve. After that he wore his Groundhogs shirt a few times during those sessions. The other thing that he captured for Nebula was clamping the Sub Pop deal. How did that happen? Well, before that session started, we finished a European tour and flew back to New York were we crashed for a good week. That’s when we entered LoHo Studios and recorded the other half of those two EPs. If I recall properly we also just finished a deal and got signed to a label called Zero Hour. So, going into record for them, that’s where the plan to return to Jack came about as we got into the van and toured back across the

US ending in Seattle. That’s where Jack was, so returning to recording with Jack fit perfect. A week after the session started is when Zero Hour just disappeared – no contact at all! The phone was dead. Jack was so cool that he goes, “Let’s finish this anyways and figure it out later.” Now, at the same time we took a food break and, with Jack, we went to a grocery store. In that grocery store we happened to bump into Megan Jasper in the produce department. Head of Sub Pop. Her and Jack spoke a bit and that’s where the spark happened, that’s how we got connected to Sub Pop: a random meeting at a grocery store in Ballard, Washington.

Anything else you’d like to say about it in particular?

I liked Ballard, Washington. What a great memory!

Nebula on Thee Facebooks

Nebula at Heavy Psych Sounds webstore

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Ecstatic Vision and Heavy Psych Sounds Announce New Project

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

I’m not sure what ‘project’ means in this context. Ecstatic Vision, as you in no way need me to tell you, are the ass-kicking, space-rocking troupe on the shortlist of those spearheading heavy psychedelia in their native Philadelphia, PA. They’ve got two full-lengths out via Relapse, the latest of which, Raw Rock Fury (review here), came out in 2017 to blow and expand minds in like measure. Heavy Psych Sounds is the imprint leading the charge for underground heavy in Italy, run by Gabriele Fiori of Black Rainbows and home not only to that band, but others like High Reeper (also from Philly), Duel (from Austin), The Freeks (from CA) and many others.

That the two parties are coming together is nothing but good news, but when Heavy Psych Sounds signs a band outright, that’s what the announcement says. I should know — I’ve posted plenty of those announcements. That’s not what this is. This is “working on a new project.” So what is it? An EP? A tour? A one-off collaborative studio session? A live record? Is it some legal distinction needing to be made for the band to still be a part of Relapse, or have Ecstatic Vision just signed with Heavy Psych Sounds, the announcement’s come through oddly phrased, and I’m reading way, way too much into it?

Time will have to tell, I suppose. Because the details are pretty light here.

New project it is.

From the PR wire:

Ecstatic-Vision-Photo-Michael-Connor

HPS and american psychedelic rockers ECSTATIC VISION working on a new project!!!

We are really proud to announce to have started working on a new project with the american psychedelic rockers Ecstatic Vision !!!

More info coming soon…

BIO:
ECSTATIC VISION introduced their brand of heavy primal psych influenced by groups like Hawkwind, Aphrodites Child, Olatunji, Can and early Amon Duul ll in late 2013. Formed in Philadelphia to primarily “play what they wanted to hear,” the band quickly rose to those in the know as a force to be reckoned with. ECSTATIC VISION signed to Relapse Records on the power of a demo and their psychedelic freak out, primal live concerts. Their debut LP, Sonic Praise saw a release by Relapse in June 2015 and during this time the band toured the US with prestigious acts such as Enslaved, YOB and Uncle Acid & The Dead Beats in addition to numerous shows with the likes of Earthless, Red Fang, Acid King and many others. This was followed by a European run that saw them perform at the legendary Roadburn Festival in addition to dates with Bang, Pentagram, and more.

In April 2017, ECSTATIC VISION returned with their 2nd LP Raw Rock Fury, an even more tripped out showcasing of the band’s raucous mix of troglodyte Detroit rock grooves, soothing Krautian motoric sounds, filthy Beefheartian blues and Hawkwindian primal world heavy psych! The addition of multi-instrumentalist Kevin Nickles (Saxophone/Flute/Guitar) has helped the band reach beyond the void and further create a sense of auditory hallucination with Raw Rock Fury. Prepare for one of the dirtiest sounding recordings since MC5’s Kick Out the Jams. Headlining tours of the USA and Europe followed and saw the band share the stage with John Garcia, Dead Meadow, Bongzilla, and the Cosmic Dead and also included a blistering headlining slot on one of Desertfest Berlin’s stages.

Now in 2018 the band started a new collaboration with the italian label Heavy Psych Sounds Records!

ECSTATIC VISION are:
Doug Sabolik
Michael Field Connor
Kevin Nickles

https://www.facebook.com/ecstaticvision
https://twitter.com/ecstaticvision_
https://www.instagram.com/ecstaticvision
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS/
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com/
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com/

Ecstatic Vision, Raw Rock Fury (2017)

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Black Rainbows Reissues Available to Preorder

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 8th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Stop me if I’ve said so before, but I wrote the two paragraph bio below for Italian heavy rockers Black Rainbows and I mean every word of it. I can think of few other bands who’ve done so much to contribute to building their home country’s scene, both in terms of their own creative work and the business practicalities on the back end of running a genuinely forward-thinking label — that being guitarist/vocalist Gabriele Fiori‘s Heavy Psych Sounds imprint — and tour booking agency, bringing bands in and sending bands out and helping genuinely to further creativity every step of the way. Even from across an ocean, it’s been incredible to witness and something I find deeply admirable.

Also, their new album rocks. That one’s called Pandaemonium and it’s out in April (info here), but even as they gear up for that, the three-piece will reissue three prior works — 2012’s Supermothafuzzalicious!! (review here), 2013’s Holy Moon EP (discussed here) and 2015’s Hawkdope (review here) — next month, and like the headline says, preorders are up now. Bonus tracks included with each.

Dig it:

Since the release of their debut album, Twilight in the Desert, in 2007, Roma rockers Black Rainbows have become one of the most essential acts in Europe’s heavy underground. As the spearhead of an entire movement of Italian bands, They’ve issued five full-lengths to-date and are on the precipice of their sixth in 2018, with founding guitarist/vocalist Gabriele Fiori and bassist Giuseppe Guglielmino welcoming new drummer Fillippo Ragazzoni to the fold for the first time.

Across albums like 2010’s Carmina Diablo (recently reissued), 2011’s Supermotherfuzzalicious!!, 2015’s Hawkdope and 2016’s Stellar Prophecy, Black Rainbows’ sound has oozed between classic ‘90s-style stoner fuzz and deep-cosmos psychedelia, drawing on the best of hard-driving space rock to conjure a vibe totally tripped-out and all its own. By bringing Ragazzoni on board, the riffs have gotten tighter and are fuzzed as ever, and two years after their last outing, Black Rainbows enter 2018 refreshed and with well-earned veteran status resulting from countless tours, festival appearances, and their track record of absolutely unstoppable energy.

Today we start with the presale of THREE BLACK RAINBOWS REISSUES !!!

Holy Moon, Hawkdope and Supermotherfuzzalicious!!

All the records will be released in a new 2 panels DIGIPAK CD version with clear tray and will include exclusive BONUS TRACKS !!!

Be quick and grab your copy here: https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop.htm

Check also all the new Black Rainbows t-shirts, hoodies and patches here: https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/merch.htm

RELEASE DATE: March 16th
SUPERMOTHAFUZZALICIOUS!! (2011)
Burn Your Nation
Behind The Line
Mastermind
Feel The Beat
Solar System
Lady
Mother Of The Sun
Brain Circles
I Love Rock N’Roll
Cosmic Flower Blues
C’Mon Everybody
+ BONUS TRACKS previously released on the 7″
-C’mon C’mon C’mon
-Look With The Eyes Of Freedom

HOLY MOON (2013)
Holy Moon
Monster Of The Highway
Chakra Temple
The Hunter
If I Was A Bird
Black To Comm
+ BONUS TRACKS previously released on the “4 band split Vol 1”
-Viper Tongue
-Minor Monster Galaxy Message

HAWKDOPE (2015)
The Prophet
Wolf Eyes
Hawkdope
No Fuel No Fun
Hypnotize My Soul With Rock N’ Roll
Waiting For The Sun
Jesusjudge
Killer Killer Fuzz
The Cosmic Picker
+ BONUS TRACK previously released on “HPS Sampler Vol 2”
-The Red Sky Above

http://www.theblackrainbows.com/
https://www.facebook.com/BLACKRAINBOWSROCK/
https://twitter.com/BLACKRAINBOWSii
http://blackrainbows.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS/
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com/
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com/

Black Rainbows, “The Red Sky Above”

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Heavy Psych Sounds Announces Vol. III Label Sampler

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 7th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

You gotta watch out for these. They’re sneaky. Label samplers can be tricky in general — sometimes it’s nothing but rehashed tracks from years ago with one or two new songs from a band somebody’s trying to push, but with Heavy Psych Sounds, their annual sampler series has been a way of sneaking new tracks out for first public showcases. Last year, new Black Rainbows showed up, and sure enough they appear here as well, and there also seems to be some new stuff from The Freeks included, which as far as I’m concerned is reason enough on its own to chase the thing down. Also Tons will have a track on there ahead of their album release in April, and new Killer Boogie, so yeah, plenty to grab onto, and even the stuff that’s already out — Mother Engine, Fvzz Popvli, The Lords of Altamont, Nick Oliveri — is all still current, and righteous. That “Kyuss Dies” song is hilarious.

Full tracklisting follows here, courtesy of the PR wire:

heavy psych sounds sampler iii

As every Year, my little dear, what we have here is: HPS074 ***HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS SAMPLER VOL.3***

We’re so proud to announce the new Sampler, is the third year we are going to release this, and tracklist look awesome!

You will find it in your HPS boxes when you will purchase from the site, or at some good festival in Europe for free at the merch table, or on tour with HPS bands…

RELEASE DATE:
16th MARCH 2018

PRESALE:
8th FEBRUARY 2018

Enjoy the tracklist!

Avon – Red Barn
Black Rainbows – High To Hell
Deadsmoke – Emperor Of Shame
Fvzz Popvli – Lost In Time
High Reeper – Die Slow
House Of Broken Promises – Toranado
Killer Boogie – Atomic Race
Monsternaut – Landslide
Mother Engine – Tokamak
Nebula – Between Time
Nick Oliveri (Kyuss Lives) – Kyuss Dies
The Freeks – American Lighning
The Lords Of Altamont – Going Downtown
Tons – 99 Weed Balloons
Turn Me On Dead Man – Vimana
Wedge – Lucid

https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS/
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com/
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com/

VA, Heavy Psych Sounds Records Sampler Vol. II

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The Freeks Announce New Album Coming Soon

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 31st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Man, who’s gonna argue with a new record from The Freeks? Details are just about nil as yet, but all that’ll come soon enough, and in the meantime, Heavy Psych Sounds brings word that the Los Angeles heavy punk rockers will head back to tour Europe once more support the impending release, whatever it’s called and whenever it’s out. These preliminary announcements have kind of become a pattern for the Italian imprint, and they’re kind of exciting in a way, even if they’re light on actual info, which tends to trickle out in subsequent press releases. What does that mean to you? Probably not a lot. For me it just means a longer time anticipating the record.

Preorders, art, details, tour dates, all that stuff. We’ll get there. Just not there yet.

From the PR wire:

the freeks

HPS NEW ANNOUNCEMENT: coming back of the screaming fuzzed psychedelic rockers The Freeks with the NEW ALBUM !!!

Heavy Psych Sounds Records & Booking is really proud to announce the coming back of the screaming fuzzed psychedelic rockers The Freeks!!!

The band has a new record ready to be released via Heavy Psych Sounds and will tour Europe this spring.

More info coming soon!!!

BIOGRAPHY
Everything has a beginning, whether it by accident or by design. A journey consists of trials and errors until finally reaching a full circle…ever evolving, revolving over and over again. Set in constant motion, the gathering of speed reaching ultimate vibrations until it’s all “SHATTERED!” This can also be said in regards to Los Angeles, CA based quintet “The FREEKS” as they return from yet another complete orbit with their third full length LP, “SHATTERED”. What started as an accident, brought on a thought, which then began a project that grew into a solidified unit of sonic purification! The FREEKS, led by Ruben Romano, has consistently moved upward since its conception in 2007 and have gracefully matured since their first Self-Titled LP release in 2008 on CARGO GERMANY RECORDS. While the initial project collaborated with players from around world, in 2010 Romano gathered together a more local unit of musicians, all baked under the L.A. heat, to achieve a consistent flow of creation. This was followed by The FREEKS critically acclaimed 2013 Sophomore LP “FULL ON”, released on the band’s very own label “FREEK FLAG RECORDS”.

In 2016,The FREEKS prepared to sling shot and extend the trajectory of their already existing orbital path by joining forces with “HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS RECORDS” and released this latest revolution! The FREEKS are fully ready to shake it until it’s all “SHATTERED.”

THE FREEKS are
Ruben Romano – guitar/vocals
Bob Lee – drums
Esteban Chavez – keys
Jonathan Hall – guitars

https://www.facebook.com/TheFreeks/
https://twitter.com/The_Freeks
http://www.thefreeks.com/
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop.htm#HPS044

The Freeks, Shattered (2016)

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Nebula Interview & Full Album Stream Pt. 1: Let it Burn

Posted in audiObelisk, Features on January 23rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

nebula

[Click play above to stream the new reissue of Nebula’s Let it Burn in its entirety. Album is out Jan. 26 via Heavy Psych Sounds.]

Later this week, Heavy Psych Sounds begins an exploration of Nebula‘s early works by reissuing the California fuzz-psych innovators’ 1998 debut EP, Let it Burn. It is the first of a three-part series of bonus-track-inclusive versions the label will put out from Nebula on CD and LP, and will be followed in the coming weeks by their 1999 debut full-length, To the Center (previously discussed here) and the 2002 compilation Dos EPs, covering the sum total of the output the trio released with its original lineup of guitarist/vocalist Eddie Glass, bassist Mark Abshire and drummer Ruben Romano.

Accordingly, as each new offering arrives, I’ll be hosting a full stream of the new version and a corresponding three-part interview with Romano about the making of that given release, what life was like in Nebula at the time, the band’s enduring legacy, what he recalls from the recording sessions, and much more. Today the discussion begins with recollections from the Let it Burn era.

Nebula‘s origin story is fairly well known, with Romano and Abshire departing Fu Manchu and joining on with Glass in the then-new power trio, thereby setting in motion the beginnings of a legacy that, 20 years later, is nothing if not worthy of the attention these reissues are paying it. From the rolling nod of “Down the Highway” to the already-gone-far-out shift from “Raga in the Bloodshot Pyramid” into the scorching, later-added “Sonic Titan,” Let it Burn remains the nexus point of Nebula‘s enduring and international influence.

The new version’s bonus tracks come in the form of a performance of the title-cut from Roskilde Festival in 2000 and a 1997 Glass-recorded home demo of “Devil’s Liquid” that’s as effective in capturing the urgency of the three-piece in their nascence as it is raw sounding. The Stooges would hear it and be jealous. Together, they emphasize different aspects of the force that Nebula were from their outset, and I could not be more thrilled to have Romano telling that story across this and the other two interview chapters to follow. Really. Keep an eye out for the others on Feb. 13 and Feb. 27, respectively, because this is whole thing awesome.

Please enjoy:

nebula let it burn

Let it Burn Q&A with Ruben Romano

Tell me about being in the band at this point. What was the vibe like in Nebula when you first got going?

The vibe was exciting, it was a no-holds-barred, in-your-face-type vibe with a lot of energy. We were free and ready to roll with nothing holding us back and there was nothing getting in our way. At least that was how I was feeling at the time. My ears were open, my eyes were open and my mind was open. I yelled bring it on at the top of my lungs and Eddie was right there beside me. Charge, Blitz, Attack and Kick Ass! Elevate! That was the vibe I wanted to exhibit and include everybody into. That’s the kind of record Let it Burn was and why “Elevation” was a great track to start it off with!

What do you remember about the recording process? These years later, what most stands out about the experience, and how does it feel to revisit these songs now?

We spent three days if I recall up at Rancho de la Luna with Fred Drake. It was a typical recording session in a not so typical place. Man, listening to them again brings it all back. We tracked drums with guitars together live then overdubbed all the spice on top. Eddie played his ripping leads, I played the sitar. When we did percussions, Eddie and I did it all together and live. We totally collaborated on this record.

Eddie wrote the tunes and I wrote a lot of the lyrics on that one. “Let it Burn,” “Down the Highway,” “Dragon Eye” were all majority my words and Eddie throwing in on a verse and chorus here and there. “Dragon Eye” was my favorite as it was about my hunt for the elusive Quaalude or Mandrax in the UK that disappeared around 1985. It had all the references in there like “When you hear the lion RORER, pass the 714″ — Rorer 714 was the inscription on the pill — “the sky is
lemon” (methaqualone), “yellow” (L.S.D.), “got a rainbow outside my door” (barbituates). Like I said, I opened my mind plenty at that time in my life and always had a pad of paper with a pencil in my pocket. It was cool having older cousins who told me stories about the good ones, ya know.

Back to recording, Eddie played bass on it. That’s how the Tee Pee Records version is, (the tracklisting on that version is also wrong, got “Dragon Eye” and “Vulcan Bomber” mixed up). Mark joined the band after we recorded it and then later we recorded “Sonic Titan” and “Devil’s Liquid” with him and that got added to the Relapse version of Let it Burn. At first, It was initially just a six-song demo and we actually duped about 50/100 cassettes, I cant remember how many, maybe even as little as 25, as we were broke. I drew up a silly logo and xeroxed it to make a cover for it and passed it to people looking for a label to release it.

We hooked up with Steve Kutcher and Rob Gill, whom we met at a CMJ conference while we were still in Fu Manchu, and sent them the tape. They were the only ones who would even talk to us, They wanted to manage us so we agreed and then we met Tony Presedo. I was asked to pick him up at the airport in L.A. and when I did, he had no real place to stay so I invited him to crash at our pad and that’s how it happened. Eddie and I were roommates then, subleasing a sweet condo off Alan Glass, Eddie‘s brother. We had some killer times at that place. When the leasing office found out we were evicted so fast!!

How was the response when it was first released, and what do you think has allowed Let it Burn to stay relevant 20 years later?

Our immediate friends either loved it or didn’t know how to tell us that it sucked. People weren’t fully ready for it I guess. We got that “Well, um yeah,” reaction by some and, “F’Yeah! This is INSANE!” reactions by others. As I said before, it was an in-your-face record that took a lot of chances. I mean, we had a sitar instrumental on it!!

Funny story about that: My old high school friend Tommy, who I bought the sitar from, was hanging around a lot at that time, just drifting in L.A. He’s the only one who caught the naive notion that the tune’s title was so geographically wrong! He said, “Funny that you call it a raga, from India, but include a pyramid from Egypt — that’s two totally different continents.” I responded, “Well, its got the sitar and I’ve been reading a lot of Robert Anton Wilson books about the Illuminatus, so for me it fits.” At least I had a response, right?

Anything else you’d like to say about Let it Burn in particular?

With Let it Burn we knew we had to come out of the gate kicking ass with something. The Fu thing kind of beat us down, at least it tried to, as it taught me that typical chewed up and spat out music industry thing. However, mentally we were in full motion still with so much pent up energy that Fu Manchu did not allow us to emit. We, at least I was, “C’mon already!” and when we freed up from all that, we really came on with it! It was definitely an exciting moment in my life! Definitely proud of my involvement with Eddie and this release, no doubt.

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