When I was a kid, growing up in a house with Cat Stevens, Neil Diamond, and Simon and Garfunkel, the first time I ever heard Kiss's "Detroit Rock City," it was a moment of musical epiphany. It was just so vicious, aggressive and mean. It changed the way I listened to music. I've had a few minor epiphanies since then, when you come across a band that just brings something new and revolutionary to your ears.
What have been your musical epiphany moments?
Driving in a car with my neighbor and his older brother when I was 12 years old. He played keys and his brother played drums. "Roundabout" by Yes came on the radio and I said I want to play that. Whatever it is making that noise I want to play it.
"That's a bass" his older brother said. Then that's what I'm doing.
Talk to us about the song-writing process for you. What comes first, the idea? A riff? The lyrics? How does it all fall into place?
Definitely the riff. Our guitar player Mike D and I have a very collaborative approach to songwriting. We have known each other for a long time and played together since we were kids. We finish each other's song ideas all of the time and in some cases even each other's riffs. No ego, we don't care who wrote it just that we like it.
Mike D and I sit down with an idea and if he writes the main riff I will come up with a chorus and vice versa. We take them into the rehearsal space and Scott will add his ideas and arrangement. Someone will record it on their phone and send it through the band text thread and the next time we rehearse Kevin will have lyrics for it.
Then as a band we start pulling at a song and adding elements, we call it sprinkling jimmies. Jimmies is Philadelphian for sprinkles on an ice cream cone. Once we have added all the jimmies and everyone knows the parts and changes we take a song out live and see how people react.
Who has influenced you the most?
Musically Geezer Butler, Chris Squire, Steve Harris, Scott Reeder and of course my spiritual leader Lemmy.
Where do you look for continuing inspiration? New ideas, new motivation?
I have always found that my degree of searching for inspiration or new ideas is inversely correlated to actually uncovering them, so I just let things come to me. The motivation part is easy, I love the band I am in and the music we are making. It is my primary creative outlet and never feels like work.
We're all a product of our environment. Tell us about the band's hometown and how that reflects in the music?
We are a pretty gritty, blue collar band and Philly is a pretty gritty, blue collar town.
Where'd the band name come from?
The last thing we wanted was a name that sounds like everyone else. If you are paying attention it's obvious that we are living in the golden age of fraud and it felt appropriate to strive for something better, an age of truth. Hindus call it Satya Yuga, a golden era without the wicked and deceits.
Everyone is holding access to the compendium of the world's knowledge in their hands, the internet has democratized information. Now the powerful are desperately trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube, but we have had a taste and cannot go back. The Age Of Truth is coming one way or the other.
You have one chance, what movie are you going to write the soundtrack for?
You now write for a music publication (The Ripple Effect?). You're going to write a 1,000 word essay on one song. Which would it be and why?
"Achilles Last Stand" by Led Zeppelin. In my opinion this is the pinnacle of their greatness. There are so many elements to fall in love with in this song and as a complete work of art it is so much greater than the sum of the parts. Bonzo's drums are of course superhuman and there are probably three of the ten greatest drum fills in rock in this one song. JPJ's bass pulls you forward like a rope tied to your spine the entire time on a heroic journey. Page's guitar work is a masterful blend of his flair and disparate influences. Plant uses his voice to tell you bloody stories of Greek mythology and conquest and make it sound light as air and sugary sweet.
This word gets used too frequently in modern vernacular, but it truly is a masterpiece.
Come on, share with us a couple of your great, Spinal Tap, rock and roll moments?
Getting electrocuted by my amp right before our set started at Maryland Doom Fest in 2019. I had to hustle to borrow an amp head from Adam Heizemann from Foghound and for the first 10 or 15 minutes of our set I am not sure I was even fully conscious.
Got it tested when we got home and the guy who was repairing it got shocked as well so he broke out the voltmeter and it was 440 volts of now-you-feel-terrible.
Tell us about playing live and the live experience for you and for your fans?
We are a live act and for us that is why we exist as a band. Every show is different and having such a dynamic and completely unpredictable frontman like Kevin makes for an experience. There have been many times where you have to wonder if in his quest to explode onstage if he is actively trying to make things more difficult for the band. He will grab my head in the middle of difficult musical parts and once in a while we even end up in a standoff grinding our heads together pushing at each other like rams. I have been hit with swinging mics, my bass, my face, my back. We used to call him "The Saboteur" but at least he doesn't bear hug Mike D in the middle of solos when he gets excited anymore.
A TAOT show is a combustible event. Imagine if we had pyrotechnics?
What makes a great song?
It catches you no matter what you are doing. It changes your mood no matter what you are feeling. It owns you in the moments it happens.
What one single album do you wish that you'd written or performed on, and why?
None. I am in the band I love and probably couldn't do it in another band the way we do it. Don't get me wrong, you hear great songs or see a great show and you think about it but for me I just want to see the Truth do it as good or better than whatever I momentarily slobber over.
What piece of your music are particularly proud of?
Everything we have written and recorded, quite honestly. I stand behind all of it and that we have been able to do this over two albums is a blessing. I can pick out a few pieces that I love today like the bassline in the opening track from our new album, Palace of Rain. I love the bassline in Threshold from our first album. I love the Eye One breakdown where I drop the octave and it sounds like meteors hitting the earth, a simple thing that sounds so good to my ears and right for the song.
Who today, writes great songs? Who just kicks your ass? Why?
Greenleaf is in my opinion the best act in rock. Their songs are elegant and crushing and supremely well crafted. Tommi Holappa is brilliant and that band had a massive impact on TAOT being formed.
Vinyl, CD, or digital? What's your format of choice?
Vinyl for the collection, CD for the car and digital gets worked out.
Whiskey or beer? And defend your choice
All of the above! Good beer and Irish whiskey are a perfect combination.
We, at the Ripple Effect, are constantly looking for new music. What's your hometown, and when we get there, what's the best record store to lose ourselves in?
Repo Records on South Street is legendary. Philadelphia Record Exchange in Fishtown is right up your alley. Vinyl Altar in South Philly is a great one for everything heavy.
What's next for the band?
We are gearing up for record release shows in a few weeks. The first in Frederick, MD on September 10th and the following week locally in Wilmington, DE on September 18th. Playing both with our friends in Spiral Grave who just released an amazing album "Legacy of the Anointed" which you should check out.
We are looking forward to headlining the opening night of The Maryland Doom Fest on Thursday October 28th which cannot get here soon enough. That one is always the party of the year and we plan on hanging there all four days.
We are also doing a run up north with our brothers in Curse the Son playing Boston and western Massachusetts and finishing at Doom & Brews III in Jewett , CT on November 13th.
We are keeping our options open and just want to get our new record in as many ears as possible.
Any final comments or thoughts you'd like to share with our readers, the waveriders?
We are all part of this scene, it's this cool thing that the rest of the world doesn't really know about. Cherish it because it really is special.
Thank you for reading and we hope you love the new album!facebook.com/TheAgeOfTruth/