Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Interview with Pat from GEEZER

Today on Sludgelord, I am interviewing rising Garage Rock/Stoner Rock/Hard Rock Maestros – Geezer – whose blend of Garage Rock, Psych, Stoner and Hard Rock has won them a considerable fan base within the Stoner Rock community including ourselves.

They have won praise from all the great blogs currently out there and have gained many fans in the process. Want more evidence of Geezer’s quality.

Well they have just signed a deal with our good buds – STB Records – to release their excellent 4-track debut EP – Gage – on limited vinyl.

Soon they will be releasing their debut full-length record – Electrically Recorded Handmade Heavy Blues Before these ace rockers jet off into the big leagues I thought I should catch up with them before fame and fortune beckons.

Pat from Geezer has kindly agreed an interview with me, which I am very grateful for.

1. Hi Pat. Thanks for doing this. How are things with you today. Things are looking good in the Geezer camp at this moment in time.

Thank you Steve! Exciting times indeed! Much to talk about, first on the list, our debut album, Electrically Recorded Handmade Heavy Blues is being released September 10th on Blues Blvd and available virtually everywhere! Just Google that shit…

2. Can you give our readers a brief history on how the band came about.

My wife and I moved to Kingston NY about 3+ years ago after deciding NYC just wasn’t cutting it for us anymore. We met Turco and his wife at a party for a mutual friend. Quickly we both realized that we had grown up on a lot of the same music; Bad Brains, Celtic Frost, COC. Next thing ya know, his drums are in my basement and we’re making noise. At the time, I was infatuated with early pre-war slide guitar blues and was incorporating those techniques into my playing; finger picking, open tunings, etc… So that just kind of became the basis of everything. Freddy and I have been playing together in our other project, Gaggle Of Cocks, for years. Once the sound of Geezer began to take shape, I knew he would be a lock.

3. Where did the name Geezer come from. Was it from a certain legendary musician!!!

Turco came up with it, it seemed to perfectly capture where our head’s were at. The relation to a certain metal god was an added bonus! Unless we get sued…

4. How would you describe Geezer’s overall sound as you guys pack a lot of vibes within your music.

P: Initially it started as trying to make some cool heavy music through the context and technique of slide guitar blues. When I realized how heavy, dark and downright evil the delta blues was from the 20’s and 30’s, I was kind of amazed how soft it had all gotten. Much of the mainstream music scene in the past 40 years or so has just taken the context that has been fed to them through classic rock radio and the blues has become more and more watered down as a result.

So I decided to write and play as if Eric Clapton, Keith Richards and Jimmy Page didn’t exist. I think Jack White and The Black Keys kind of took a similar route, but the heaviness I was looking for wasn’t really there. As much as I love and respect all those artists, I wanted to reinterpret the blues for myself, and from the original sources, just as they had done. It wasn’t until I stumbled upon the “heavy blues” sub-genre of the doom world that I realized I wasn’t the only one who felt this way, which was a very pleasant surprise.

5. Which bands and artists influenced you all as musicians.

P: We all come from a heavy music background; Turco tends to draw more from the American hardcore scene (Bad Brains, Minor Threat), Freddy more of a classic rock vibe (Sabbath, Deep Purple), meanwhile I think I’m more of a combination of the above; throw in some of that old Son House, Charley Patton, Blind Willie Johnson vibe and there you have it.

6. How did you all become involved with music. Was it at an early age or later stage in life.

P: I can only speak for myself, but I was always attracted to music, I can remember listening to music at a very early age. I have a brother whose about 10 years older than me, when I was about 5 or so, he introduced me to Led Zeppelin and The Doors and that took hold right away. By 11 I was playing guitar and by 15 I did my first show, playing Slayer and Celtic Frost covers with my high school buds.

7. Your debut EP – Gage – struck a chord with the Stoner Rock Community. Were you surprised/pleased with the responses so far.

P: We were shocked! That EP just kind of happened, it wasn’t planned at all and those songs literally appeared out of the ether. We did a lot of pre-production for the full length, everything was demo’ed, all the parts had been developed and the songs were all pretty well laid out. This was mainly because we were all just getting used to what we were doing and playing with each other. Especially for me, I was basically re-learning how to play guitar and writing at the same time.

Once that album was recorded, we basically said, “Fuck it!” now we know who we are and we know what we sound like, so let’s just throw all the rules away. Live, we started to become very experimental, changing song arrangements on the fly and even just straight improvisational jamming. “Dude, It’s Molecular” is one of those jams, we’ve never played that song before that recording, haven’t played it since either. So when we went into record, we took more of that approach and those songs mainly came out of free form improvisation.

By this time, the stoner blog community was already digging on what we were doing and I was doing the Electric Beard Of Doom podcast, which exposed me to a world of music I didn’t even know existed. We initially went in to record one song for a Grip Of Delusion Radio Compilation and since we were going in that direction anyway, it was easy for us to show a side of the band that was heavier and more psychedelic. We thought we were onto something, we thought people would dig it, but we never expected the kind of response that we’ve gotten. It’s been an exhilarating trip the last few months for us, without a doubt!

8. How big of a help have BandCamp and the Stoner Rock Blogging Community been getting you are music across to the masses.

It’s been everything! Bill Goodman at the Soda Shop was the first to give us the thumbs up, when that happened, it was like a light went off in my head. THIS is where the market is. THIS is where the cool music is. THIS is where I need to be. Fast forward 6 months or so later and the MIGHTY Sludgelord gives the EP a sick review! Then Heavy Planet!

I was so excited to get the nod from you dudes because I respect what you do and I respect your opinion so much. One of the reasons that you guys are successful is because we trust you. If you say something is worth checking out, then I’m gonna fucking check it out because I know you know your shit.

Meanwhile, the EP is available for free on Bandcamp and everytime we get a review or write up from one of the Stoner Blogs, site traffic goes up, downloads go up, SALES go up! The blog community is one of the pillars that keep this whole underground afloat. Along with the internet radio, the podcasts, the labels and of course all the great bands, we’ve helped create a self sufficient, self-sustaining underground scene that operates as if the mainstream doesn’t exist. THAT is fucking awesome.

9. Congrats, on signing a limited vinyl deal with STB Records. One of our fave record labels. Steve STB doing a heck of job releasing awesome vinyls. How did that come about with you signing with STB Records.

Thank you! Steve and I had gotten to know each other pretty well over the last few months. He’s been a big supporter of the podcast and I’ve been a big fan of STB and all the cool shit they’ve been putting out. It was only a matter of time before we started to talk about working together and we both felt that putting the EP on vinyl was the perfect project for us to collaborate on.

10. Looks a lovely vinyl record as well. Limited supply of 100 copies. How much input did you have with design of the vinyl or have you left that stuff with Steve to fully decide.

Thanks! The concepts are still being refined and ideas are still being developed, but we’re really excited about what Steve has in store for us. He is a visionary! As any of the bands that have worked with him will tell you, give him the ball and let him run with it! Ultimately, STB Records is building its excellent reputation on Steve’s ideas and his devotion to the DIY ethos, we’re just happy to be a part of it.

Electrically Recorded Handmade Heavy Blues cover art

11. Plus you have your debut album coming out soon. Though I will probably of bought it by then and start working on the review. Great title for it. Electrically Recorded Handmade Heavy Blues. What can we expect from the album. Any hidden surprises.

I think for those of you whom have gotten to know us through the EP, it will definitely come across as a bit more traditional. The full length actually came first, therefore is the first step on our journey. At that time, we just thought we were gonna be a bar band playing simple blues tunes, the music reflects that. At the same time, I think the album rings a bell with people because it’s raw as hell. We wanted to turn the blues sideways and re-interpret it through the context of heavy rock, I think we succeeded. It was recorded over a year ago and although we’ve definitely changed as a band, I love the moment it captured and I’m so proud to be able to release it on such a large scale. Much thanks to Alfie and the fine folks at Blues Blvd for giving us that opportunity!

12. Will there be a vinyl release for that record. Maybe STB Records could do a future release or even another cool record label.

We hope so, I’ve become a bit of a vinyl junkie so I definitely want to see/hear it on wax. We’ve already even had it mastered for vinyl so we’ll see…

13. What is the local gig scene in your hometown. Do you perform regularly in your hometown or do you have to travel further afield to perform live.

We actually have some great live venues in Kingston and the surrounding area and some great bands as well! A new spot is opening up called The Anchor and I think this venue will become the perfect spot for bands to come through on their way up and down the east coast. It’s Not Night: It’s Space, who recently signed to Small Stone Records, is also from our area and we are doing a show together in November at The Anchor, we’re even bringing up Wasted Theory from Delaware for the gig! Hopefully we can set the tone and make Kingston a friendly place for all the regional doom/stoner bands to come through and play. We are also doing a gig next week at a great bar in Hudson, NY called The Half Moon and down in Brooklyn with Borracho, Moon Tooth and Thinning The Herd! We’re excited to be playing with such great bands and there are a lot of them in the North East.

14. Have you performed with any famous bands. If so, who have been you are favourite.

We’ve all been around the block a few times, so in earlier projects, we’ve all rubbed elbows with some pretty heavy hitters. As far as Geezer goes, The Eye Of The Stoned Goat 3 has been our biggest show to date. It was a fuckin blast! They may not be that famous, but bands like Gozu, Borracho, Wizard Eye & Lo Pan (who were all on that bill) are some of the best American bands I’ve ever had the honor of sharing the stage with! All the bands from that gig were incredible!

15. What are your views of bands and artists using fundraising sites to fund their next record. Some people are for it and some people are for against it. And would you ever go down that route.

I’d prefer not to have to go that route. There are so many excellent independent labels out there so I like the idea of partnering up with those kinds of people. However, I don’t have anything against crowd-funding, I’ve even contributed to a few. Whatever people do to get their music out there is their business and it’s not for me to judge which way is best.

16. Which albums are you all currently digging. Any recommendations would you like to tell our readers to check out.

Fuckin LOVE Brutus’ new album! The Egypt/Wo Fat split from Totem Cat is outstanding! Weedpecker is another great one. Also looking forward to Red Desert coming out on vinyl through Easy Rider Records and you gotta check out Doctor Doom’s EP coming out on STB Records in the very near future! My suggestion is for everyone to checkout the Doom Charts from Paranoid Hitsophrenic for all the skinny on the new heavy goodness! I’m proud to be a contributor and Lucas, who puts it all together, is a solid fuckin dude!

17. Obviously being in a band can be very stressful at times. How do you relax in your spare time. As we, all need time away to do other things with our lives.

The music is the relaxation! I have a wife, house (with a mortgage) and an 8 month old son, there is no downtime! Writing and playing music, doing the podcast, being creative… these are the things that get me through the everyday stresses that life in 21st Century America keeps throwing my way.

18. Do you have any plans to tour Europe or is this too soon and expensive to at this moment in time.

Blues Blvd is based in Belgium so the full length album is being heavily marketed in Europe. The idea is to build a buzz big enough to sustain a proper European tour, hopefully in 2014!

19. Finally, Do you have anything to say to you are fans.

Thank you! Thank you!! THANK YOU!!! We are really shocked at all the support we’ve gotten this year and are so excited to find so many like minded people who dig our music! If you haven’t done so, buy Electrically Recorded Handmade Heavy Blues, it’s available everywhere! Download the EP for FREE on Bandcamp! Buy a t-shirt! Every little bit helps us survive another day, record another song, play another show. As long as people keep pickin up what we’re laying down, we’re gonna keep on bringin ya that good ole heavy blues! Ya dig?

Well Geezer thanks for doing this interview. Best of luck with the Vinyl Release of Gage and your forthcoming debut album. Hope to see a lot more of you in the next 12 months or so. All the best from Sludgelord.

Thank you, sir!

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