Into Another, Mike Dillon Band, Mike Westcott
815 V St. NW
Washington, DC, 20001
Neil Fallon: Vocals/ Guitar
Jean-Paul Gaster: Drums
Dan Maines: Bass
Tim Sult: Guitar
It's the parabolic motion of projectiles. Or, as Isaac Newton stated, what goes up must come down — that is, everything except Clutch.
Earth Rocker created an insurmountable peak. But Psychic Warfare has altered laws of physics by elevating the smart songwriting and impressive performances of that last album, setting an even higher benchmark as their now-definitive album to date.
The eleventh Clutch studio album Psychic Warfare goes straight for the throat with “X- Ray Visions” and never lets go. Working again with acclaimed producer Machine, this time in Texas, the concise arrangements that made Earth Rocker so assertive is the same harness for the combustible musical energy on Psychic Warfare. Harder, faster... let the rhythm hit 'em.
Formed in 1991, the Maryland-based band's ability to absorb different musical styles and fabricate them into a distinct Clutch sound continues to be their forté. “A Quick Death In Texas,” overstocked with signature “Clutch heavy” Tim Sult riffs and lonesome guitar licks, and the funk undercurrent of “Your Love Is Incarceration,” color Psychic Warfare with articulate musicality and comfortable familiarity.
The overall intensity of Psychic Warfare would be self-consuming without the pressure valve of a canny rhythm section. Drummer Jean-Paul Gaster and bassist Dan Maines have an intuitive sense of dynamics that gives weight and contrast to the forcefulness of the vocals, steering Clutch into the straightaway out of tight, exhilarating corners.
“I listened closely to the rhythm of Neil’s vocals this time around.” Gaster explains. “The rhythms he sings, are very syncopated. It was my goal to articulate these rhythms on the drums while keeping the pulse of the music strong.”
Psychic Warfare is cinematic, a soundtrack to the plot of singer Neil Fallon's imagination. The narrative of “The Affidavit” sets the scene for an album of gunslingers, energy weapons, paranoid neurosis, and the occasional three-legged mule. It's an episodic lyrical landscape populated by abstract characterization, nuance, and clever peculiarity.
“I spent a lot of time doting over the lyrics,” Fallon says. “It was fun because I have a great luxury that I'm a professional liar — that's what a storyteller is. Or at least that’s what I try to be. It's the one socially acceptable way to completely deceive people, and that's what they want. If you sing it with enough conviction, people won't question it. I just love that escapism, the fantasy aspect of it. And fantasy doesn’t necessarily equate to dragons and wizards. It can be seedy hotel rooms and sketchy hitchhikers.”
Gaster says the band knowing Earth Rocker was such a high water mark put them in a position of needing to follow up with an exceptional album. “Looking back on the process, one thing that sticks out in my mind is the amount of rehearsal the band put in. We started each pre-production day by writing out a new album sequence and then playing that sequence straight thru as if it were a set list. I think this allowed us to get inside the songs in a way we had not done before. When it came time to record drum tracks, I had a clear idea of how I wanted to play each song.”
In the past, Clutch consciously made each album conspicuously different from the last one. “We had a sadistic fear of repeating ourselves,” Fallon admits. “But over the last few years, we've realized our strengths and what it is that people like about us. Why deny it? Clutch is Clutch, embrace what you are.”
The bar is set higher, laws of physics be damned. Psychic Warfare is the new adventure, and it has no limit.
For more information, check out the band’s official website:
“Hauntingly ethereal melodies, intricate but memorable hooks, dynamic moods, crunchy riffs and the banshee wail of a metaphor-master lead singer collide within the groundbreaking and steadfastly unique outfit known as INTO ANOTHER, whose skilled musicianship and genre-bending musical wizardry knows no boundaries.
Almost disturbingly defiant of categorization, Into Another’s catalog dabbles in hard rock, alt-rock, grunge, electro-pop and post-hardcore without sounding disjointed or disorganized. Into Another fashioned a sound distinctly their own with one foot deeply planted in the community of friends that comprises the New York Hardcore scene and the other fishing through the creek of Classic Rock.
Across a handful of albums on Revelation Records and a solitary major label outing, the world of subculture came to know Into Another as an intriguingly soulful artistic vehicle capable of transporting listeners through adventurous soundscapes and the band’s nuanced, other-worldly approach to guitar-based rock & roll.
Into Another came together in 1990. Richie Birkenhead, one-time guitar player for seminal straightedge flag bearers Youth of Today and vocalist for the reggae-tinged hardcore band Underdog hooked up with drummer Drew Thomas, himself a veteran of old-school youth crew bands Crippled Youth and Bold. Both men shared a desire to abandon the restrictive musical and cosmetic limitations of the scene without sacrificing its sense of community or spirit.
The pair found exactly what they were looking for in Lower East Side musician Peter Moses, a longhaired guitar player who had never performed in a band before. His virtuosic and uninhibited playing style greatly impressed Thomas and Birkenhead, who next recruited incredibly fluid bassist Tony Bono. Bono had done a tour of duty in proto-speed metal act Whiplash, who once lent a member to Slayer.
Into Another performed their first show at New York’s Pyramid, sharing the stage with a budding White Zombie. They were soon after offered a recording contract by Revelation. The following year, they released their debut, a self-titled album displaying Into Another’s sharp musical chops and tripped-out spiritual vision, encapsulated by the band’s multi-pointed star logo which adorned the album’s cover artwork. “Underlord” quickly became a fan favorite. Birkenhead brought zero macho pretension with him from punk as he began to document his troubled childhood on record.
In 1992, Into Another released the playfully titled Creepy Eepy – four songs that reflected their increasing range. One of them was a mournful ballad for a fallen friend laced with beautiful acoustic guitars and heart wrenchingly honest and poetic lyrical prose.
Into Another grew in popularity as the press, fans and major labels took an interest in this odd band comprised of a shorthaired hardcore singer with a high-pitched range, a mod-looking drummer and two longhaired guys in bell-bottom pants. 1994 saw the release of what many consider to be their masterstroke – the epic Ignaurus album, filled to the brim with spectacular songs that venture into deep, dark, and progressive rock territory while still being firmly anchored in melody, groove, and abrasive angst. This album catapulted Into Another into the ranks of much-heralded “buzz” bands. Many proclaimed them to be the proverbial “next big thing” to arise out of the hardcore scene alongside one-time label mates Quicksand, Orange 9mm and Civ – all of whom had gone on to sign major label deals and tour the world with bands like No Doubt.
Into Another signed a major label deal of their own in 1995 with the Disney-owned label Hollywood Records, at the time best known for releasing the gargantuan alt-rock filled soundtrack to “The Crow.” The mix of vegetarians and vegans gave an EP to Revelation, which included the track “Herbivore” (some proceeds went to PeTA).
Into Another entered Seattle’s London Bridge Studios with Rick Parashar, who had produced Pearl Jam’s cultural mile marker, Ten, as well as the Temple of the Dog album and Alice In Chain’s Sap EP. The band emerged with Seemless, which reigned in some of their excesses in favor of shorter compositions and straightforward lyrics without sacrificing Into Another’s well-established musical identity.
The band set off on tour with groups like L7 and Seaweed. The video for “Mutate Me” received some airplay and “T.A.I.L.,” which spawned an EP of the same name, was a Top 40 rock radio track.
Even as Into Another’s relationship with Hollywood (and with one another) began to unravel, they managed to record another album’s worth of material: meditative, trippy songs steeped in electronica and drenched in effects that strayed far away from the band’s barn-storming guitar rock. The record was never released and the band parted ways with their record label and eventually with one another.
During the decade-and-a-half that followed, Thomas enjoyed a short stint with the band New Rising Sons (together with the singer / guitarist from Texas Is The Reason) whose studio work for Virgin Records never quite materialized in the shape of a finished album. He later played with Walking Concert. Birkenhead reformed Underdog for a series of reunion shows, occasionally playing solo.
Any hope of a reunion seemed to disappear with the tragic death of Tony Bono in 2002. The remaining members drifted further apart as the years rolled on. Peter vanished into rural upstate New York, withholding his otherworldly gift from the world’s ears.
Then, in 2012, as plans came together for a series of shows to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of Revelation Records, one of the guys from a later generation of Rev bands reached out. Longtime Into Another fan and supporter Brian Balchack (Ignite) and his good friend Reid Black (Innaway) videotaped themselves playing guitar and bass on several Into Another songs, which inspired Richie and Drew to get back onstage for the Rev shows. Once Peter got wind of the developing plans he was happy to come onboard, as well.
Now a quintet united by the alchemy of the past and the chemistry of the present, Into Another’s eleven-pointed star rises again.
- Ryan J. Downey
Mike Dillon Band
Mike Dillon (b. 1965, American) is one of the most dynamic and multifaceted percussionists in the country, best known for his unforgettable live performances, unorthodox percussion rig and distinct original sound. After emerging in late 1980’s as the first to lead a rock/funk band as a vocalist and vibraphone player, contributing to its evolution by his use of effects, Dillon has become well-known for producing genre-bending music that transcends categorization. Over the last 27 years, his creative song-writing and the repertoire of artists he has worked with - - on tour, stage or in the studio - - reveal his eclectic musical inspiration and skillful versatility. Artists such as: Les Claypool, Ani DiFranco, Polyphonic Spree, Brave Combo, Sex Mob, Galactic, Secret Chief’s 3, Karl Denson, Steven Bernstein, Charlie Hunter, James Singleton, George Porter Jr., Johnny Vidocavich and Bob Schneider. His individual projects include: Critter’s Buggin’, Garage A Trois, Billy Goat, Mike Dillon’s Go-Go Jungle, Hairy Apes BMX, Malachy Papers, the Dead Kenny G’s, who regularly open for Primus, and his latest, The Mike Dillon Band.
As a touring musician and prolific song-writer, Mike Dillon has continuously pushed his distinct sound in new and inventive directions. On stage, Dillon is a powerful force, with boundless energy that hails a punk rock/hardcore edge and the seamless ability to play multiple percussive instruments at once. For nearly three decades, fans have been draw to Dillon’s organic style, creative musicianship and the way his music never fails to stir the crowd into a big dance party from start to finish. After taking a brief hiatus from solo projects, Dillon is back at the helm with his latest quartet, The Mike Dillon Band, which delivers a cache of his new songs, infuses fresh life into his classics, and features Mike Dillon (vibraphone, percussion, lead vocals), Adam Gertner (drums), Patrick McDevitt (bass), and Carly Meyers (trombone, vocals), whose raw talent, enthusiasm and infectious dance moves have created quite a stir among music goers in the past year.
Mike's childhood, adolescence and young adulthood was spent entirely on a backdrop of music in Rockville, MD. The child of working musician parents, his muse and voice began with their passion for music. He spent countless hours spinning 45s and LPs from his parents record collection; listening to Rock, Soul, Country and Jazz and everything in between. Filled with music, he began collecting skills like bottlecaps; playing drums, piano, saxophone, bass and guitar, performing in jazz band, marching band, concert band, and orchestra simultaneously. His mother continued to encourage him and see that he had the instruments he needed to keep progressing, but it was the guitar that stole his heart with it's dynamic and expressive voice; from soft and sweet to nasty and raw. Thoroughly steeped in the sounds of the 60's & 70's guitar royalty, Mike learned to spin great guitar chops into fresh, solidly written songs.
His new 2012 CD release "Justice Road" will be going out to press this winter as the band's performance schedule continues to ramp up. The songs on "Justice Road" are, for the most part, deeply personal and confessional, coming to terms with major disappointments experienced in the first half of his life. Mike's voice is rough and golden, ageless and vulnerable. His guitar playing is wonderfully dynamic and truly expressive; forging troughs of anger and resentment and then lifting sweetly, soulfully and tenderly. Both are the perfect vehicle to carry the emotional weight of "Justice Road".