FROM THE ASHES OF KYUSS AND SLO BURN RISE THE TIDES OF THE NEXT DESERT ROCK BAND TO BREAK OUT OF THE DESERT!
By Robin Linn
The members of Brave Black Sea are no strangers to desert rock enthusiasts all over the globe. Three of its four members have played in some of the most groundbreaking desert rock bands of our day. Damon Garrison on bass guitar and guitarist Chris Hale joined forces with vocalist John Garcia just after the breakup of Kyuss and formed the band Slo Burn in the mid-nineties. Slo Burn was one of the original psychedelic hard rock bands that came from the same desert that gave birth to such bands as Queens of the Stone Age and featured some of its original members, including Kyuss/QOTSA drummer and founding member, Alfredo Hernandez who joined on just before SB disbanded. Slo Burn recorded their debut record, Amusing The Amazing which was released on artist/producer Frank Kozic’s label, Man’s Ruin, and found some significant success. Then they made the bold move to Hollywood, regrouped, changed their name to Prizefighter and eventually disbanded. But, just as Slo Burn rose from the ashes of Kyuss, now from the ashes of Slo Burn rises Brave Black Sea.
Brave Black Sea is Damon Garrison on vocals, Chris Hale on guitar, Clint Cunningham on bass and Alfredo Hernandez on drums. Their live show is high energy desert rock at its finest. They blend crunchy metallic guitar lines with psychedelic mood altering effects, a thunderous, straight forward rhythm section and riveting hard rock vocal lines that are full of raw emotion and memorable melodies. Together they have created a desert rock band that enlists the spirit of stoner rock, the heaviness of metal and the attitude of punk creating uncompromising rock and roll. Their self-produced debut record, Fragments was picked up by Virgin Records European label V2 Records and is now available on I-Tunes and Amazon.UK. The three tracks I have absorbed from YouTube are all gorgeous examples of the unique and distinctly hard rock compositions that can be found on the new record which I fully intend to make part of my home collection.
RL: I asked Damon Garrison about what inspired his deeply passionate and often haunting lyrics which quite honestly moved me in songs like “The Five Visitors’, “Silence is Golden’ and the first official video release from the album, “Running Away”……
DAMON GARRISON: I like to keep the lyrics open for interpretation. I never say what they’re about. I like to keep that open for the listener. When Brave Black Sea got together we just wanted to make good music, we didn’t really look farther than that. We had no style in mind just wanted to play music we wanted to hear. We recorded this album in our warehouse all on our own. We had it mixed by Mudrock. It’s being released on April 7th in Europe. We are working on a world-wide deal. We will be touring Europe this summer. We are just a rock n roll band, not trying to fit any niche just doing what we love to do.
RL: This June BBS leaves for Europe to tour in support of the brand new record. I asked Bassist Clint Cunningham to fill me in on the details……
CLINT CUNNINGHAM: As far as tours go, Europe will be our first and we are heading out in June. It’s going to be just over 2 weeks playing mainly in the UK and Germany with a couple dates in Italy and Switzerland. We hope to be back to Europe at the end of summer or early fall with a longer tour planned so we can hit a lot more cities over there and some of the festivals. After that I’m sure we will plan a major US tour. We’re just very excited to be getting out on the road and playing in front of live audiences! We are actually supposed to be opening for Simple Minds on one of the last dates of our tour which should be pretty amazing.
RL: I have been a fan of drummer Alfredo Hernandez for as long as I can remember. He has been the driving force behind so many significant music projects including Kyuss and the very first desert jam band, the first authentic desert jam band, Across The River, which featured Mario Lalli and Scott Reeder, the earliest version of Queens Of The Stone Age (whose ground breaking debut self-titled record featured Josh Homme on bass, guitar and vocals, Alfredo on drums), and later Slo Burn, punk rock band Family Butcher, and currently Whiskey & Knives, Hot Beat Pussy Fiend, and Rawbone. Now he has rejoined forces with some of his earliest bandmates from Slo Burn to form Brave Black Sea, a band who is already receiving critical acclaim in the press for their brand new debut album, Fragments. I asked Alfredo about the new premier video, making music in the desert, and where the desert’s music scene here as evolved to since the early days….
ALFREDO HERNANDEZ: The music video for “Running Away” was done by Zack Byer and Mike Arfuso, two film makers from Las Vegas. Byer and Arfuso were very professional and cool to work with, and we thought that the outcome was amazing considering that this was their first ever music video. The video was sponsored by Visions Magazine, a kind of Rolling Stone of Europe, and premiered March 20th on MTV Europe. In the first week alone we had gotten over 4,000 hits!
We’ve all been in different projects over the years and the Coachella Valley, this place we call home, has become a huge mecca for music. I remember when it all started with the punk scene back in the late 70’s – early 80’s. Then, there wasn’t nearly as much out here, and the few bands that were, were underground and played in small environments. Now, there is a tremendous amount of bands in our valley! Coachella, one of the largest music festivals in the world, is in our own back yard, and we now even have a Guitar Center. The desert is one of the most beautiful places and has come a long way. Having been fortunate enough to tour the world over the years, I’ve become more inspired with this valley. We are ready for whatever comes next.
In closing I want to let readers know that this band has been working together and apart developing as players for over two decades and the musicianship is amazing! A live Brave Black Sea show is enthralling, exhilarating, and a world class music experience. They have remained true to themselves, creating their own unique brand of original hard rock. Their love for the music surpasses all and it is clear when you listen to the compositions that make up the new record Fragments. Why Europe is always first to recognize a band as significant as Brave Black Sea is beyond me. I know there have to be tens of thousands of hard rock fans that recognize the music that comes out of the desert is like nowhere else on earth. I want to see Americans buying these records, getting out to these shows and offering bands of this stature the fan support they so richly deserve. The band does plan to play for hometown fans before they take off for the European tour in June. I will keep you well aware of when and where that show takes place.