Much of what’s toted today as rock music leaves much to be desired in my eyes. Hair gel’d fringes and indie rock sounds aren’t what I consider even remotely close to what rock music is and what it’s about, though most of the youngsters of today seem to dig it. A lot.
Mainstream rock music, let alone heavy metal, has mutated into a different beast altogether, which – though (sadly) inevitable – seems to build up ideas in many young people’s minds of what these genres are and where they’ve come from.
(Happily) inevitable, is that there are and will always be exceptions to this pattern, such as the three youngsters in the heavy rock/doom metal band Pilgrim, signed to Poison Tongue Records (founded and managed by Primordial’s Alan Averill; a man whom mainstream media has begun to recognise as an established name in the heavy metal underground).
It was refreshing in more ways than one when I sat down to talk to singer/guitarist Jon Rossi, otherwise known as “The Wizard”. How often do you come across musicians emerging into their twenties these days, who still revere the legacy and history of their favourite music these days? Well, I haven’t.
It’s impressive how Pilgrim has succeeded in getting signed to a record label after cropping up on MySpace, especially in the Internet’s nature of information overload.
I don’t even know how to describe how lucky we are, that Alan Averill from Primordial heard our music and decided to give us a shot on his label (Poison Tongue). We feel like it was a shot in the dark, since he could have picked any band but chose to go with us instead. We’re totally grateful for that!
Though you totally hit the nail on the head when you said “information overload”; there are so many bands now, and I know a lot of young bands who don’t get the recognition that they should receive. They should be paving the way for new music, but no labels want to give them a chance, because they’re not going to sell many records. If people had a different outlook, then we’d have different music, right now! That’s the total truth!
Whenever it comes to discussing the nature of the music industry, it seems that the conclusion is that you have to put in a lot of love to carry on.
Yeah, that’s what it comes down to: love, patience – a lot of patience – and time.
We started Pilgrim a really long time ago when all of us were still in high school, though at first we went through a lot of different bands, phases and names. Then we took a short little break when we hit a creative lull, but after that I had a bunch of new material that would become Pilgrim.
Together, we tried to put on as many shows as we could, though at the time no one would allow us to play in their venues because they didn’t want to hear our music. So we ended up going to New York where some of our friends (from our home state of Rhode Island) lived, on their suggestion to see if audiences would respond better to us over there. And sure enough, it worked! Pilgrim had spent a whole year going back and forth from New York to play shows. This, coupled with what we had on the Internet, was perhaps why Alan (Averill) was so interested in our band, since we had a little underground following by then (which is cool!)
The rest of that story is now history!
(Click here to read the rest of the interview, at Me(n)tal-Meltdown)
While I'm at it, here's also a review of comedy from esteemed stand-up act Steve Hughes, whose Big Issues tour looks at political correctness:
(Read it at Me(n)tal-Meltdown)