Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Click on the player in the right margin (if it isn't playing already) to hear the third single off THUS II: 'Surface Depth.' Until today, only heard live in acoustic performance at intimate RI venues, 'Surface Depth' is officially released and can be enjoyed in full studio performance! Follow the link below to download the new single FREE along with the previous two singles from the new album: 'Between the Lines' and 'Crime Scene'. 'Surface Depth' breaks new ground within the realm of THUS' often type-cast 'dark' and 'heavy' sound with a respectively lighter touch. Acoustic guitars and -if you listen closely- even a little mellotron accent the flavor of this tune, all without losing the grit THUS has been notable for...download here!
I started writing music as a teenager when my buddy Cameron coaxed me into playing guitar (since I had one) in a band. That night in June 1996, for the first time , I picked up an instrument with the serious intent of playing it...I immediately abandoned sheet music after my first purchase (cause it was time consuming), learned songs by ear and within my first month started writing tunes. The guitar became an appendage. I had the great fortune of getting mixed up with really phenomenal musicians in my formative years. The first drummer I ever jammed with, Tom Grace, is still up in my top two or three drummers. His brother Mike Grace was a great bassist with unusually disciplined chops and a really musical mind, making him a really solid, exemplary musician. Cam continued to be a musical influence on me during the years we on-and-offed a band called 'Dreams of Dawn' which consisted of Cam on vocals (whose unique writing style was already defined and matured, devoid of telltale 17-year-old cliche or malapropism) , myself on lead guitar, Jay Luciano on rhythm, Matt Heffernan on bass, 'Red Ben' Zable drumming originally, and Chad Hugenin on drums later on. For a year or two, we practiced at least once a week at Cam's house or in his garage for the love of music. (I miss the days when that's all it was!) Everyone always showed up and had a good time. No fights (for the most part lol) We played Cam's occasionally out of control pool/keg parties where I was always hoping to get laid, but knowingly deprived myself of any shot in hell since I was spending all my time in the basement with my guitar. Later I learned that guitars are in fact more fun than 90% of girls I've associated with anyway.
I spent the next several years from 1998 to about 2002 shifting from mostly lead guitarist to a singer/songwriter. I entered my first 'real' band called Cries Not Heard (later known as Mirror Studies) with Mike Grace on Bass, Pat Barone (a knowledgeable and clean guitar player), and Ryan Gaumond (up there with Tom Grace) on drums. The band had a cool sound that resonated Tool and The Deftones with a little Chili Peppers. I trained myself to sing outside of my comfortable baritone range to reach high tenor, which I still wish I actually was. When Mirror Studies split, I ventured out on my own and delved into my original sound from when I started playing. I experimented for a few more years, attending school for audio engineering and coming home to finally record my first real album. Audio engineer Toni Maserati advised me to tone down stylistically. I was originally aiming for a Beatles White Album type of disc where you would have songs like Helter Skelter placed right next to songs like Honey Pie. But I went back and wrote with a new approach, kept a couple of the tracks, and kicked the others off for future use. Over the autumn of 2006, I wrote and recorded what would become the first, self titled THUS album. It was a huge landmark for me; 12 tracks, written in mostly a single creative spurt by me, self produced and engineered. I was creatively exhausted and glad when it was done!
Over the past few years, I've assembled and reassembled the band quite a few times, searching for just the right people to bring this band to life in front of an audience. Long time friend and seasoned drummer Pete Parravanno has stood the test of time, playing in various projects with me over the last decade. He is a live THUS staple, as is Cameron Moquin who has played bass and guitar at THUS shows.
Currently, I am writing the second album which is to be released in two formats: a standard format and a gapless format which has sort of a narrative through the songs...should be done by the end of summer 2010...
I love how people feel the need to label to works of original art in an attempt to 'classify' them...really all that does is bring it down to the level of crap art that the piece in question is striving to rise above. Okay...just a little annoyed...let me clarify: THUS II has been called '...a rock opera.' It's not. It has also been referred to as a 'concept' album. If I may be so bold, ALL ALBUMS ARE CONCEPT ALBUMS! All albums have a theme in one way or another. Not all have a unifying narrative but do stand together, on a single tangible medium for one reason or another. Maybe the artist thought they sounded good together...the theme could be as simple and broad as that. Or maybe the songs were written in a single creative burst that seems to urge the artist to release them as a recording of that period. Still, another possibility is that an artist may want to put songs together which collectively express a narrative. That is all that THUS II is. Yes, it is a gapless album. Yes, it has been a big production. And yes, it has a certain narrative to it...but it's not The Wall or a Dream Theater album. I simply wrote songs that reflect elements of my life (just like the first album), organized them into three suites consisting of four songs each, and connected them musically so that the album flows. I feel it necessary to inform that for the mild mannered listener who would rather have an album that is more simply organized that there will be two versions of it: a gapless, and a standard version. For technical and musical reasons, it is taking me an absorbitant amount of time to get both versions to my liking without compromising the integrity of the narrative. Granted, the gapless version will be in the order of the events which occured, so as to accurately project a loose 'story'...I'm not expecting anyone to necessarily say 'wow! That was really enlightening...' The 'plot' points are there simply because I was driven to write it that way. Nobody has to get it. I only want people to enjoy the music. If they're interested in the concept, great! If not, then you've got a pile of good music that I put years of my life into. Much like Brian Wilson's SMiLE album. I don't think lots of people understand that album without an explanation of it's concept. That's why I'm writing this blog about THUS II. If you're totally against 'concept albums' and consider them preachy and long winded, then I urge you to pick up the standard version of the album. It will flow nicely like a well organized collection of songs. If you're into a slightly bigger production, with loose narrative and gapless flow (no pauses between songs), you'll want to pick up my preferred, definitive version. Just don't call it a rock opera. Ugh