CD Record Album for Listening
Hello friends. Thompson Hunters here, reporting to you live on a cold and stormy night. Right now it is three o'clock in the morning, I am only half-way through my second bottle of Chivas and, unfortunately, those little plaid pills I took are starting to wear off. The moon is full but lurks out of sight behind a mask of dark storm clouds. Lightning streaks across the black-grey night and the thunder that follows has loosened a filling in one of my teeth. It also frightens my dog, Humphries, who then hides here with me under my desk and then proceeds to fart silently at strategic moments. The wind outside howls through the city streets and through the trees like John Large. He has been singing and writing songs in every conceivable type of band his whole life. He grew up listening to the classic rockers; the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, John Cash, John Denver, Third World, Jimmy Cliff, Billie Holliday, Ella Fitzgerald, the Doors, the Eagles, Jimi Hendrix, Ray Charles, David Bowie, the Stones and Elton John. (+others) As a young man, John started out as a rock vocalist in the band Shadow Ghost, playing out in Boston, Worcester, Providence and New York city. He then sang in Shady Character, who played out in the Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Maryland area. In the late eighties and through the nineties, John was the front man for a number of hard-rock bands, including Valhalla, Hocus Pocus, J D Suicide, Alliance, Dead Penguins, and Skunk. These bands rocked and rolled through-out the Northeast and occasionally the west coast too (L.A., San Diego and San Francisco). But then, he'd had enough. At the advice of his family and Karl J. Etshied, (one of John's very closest friends), John began to write songs and poems geared for a more natural audience, an acoustic audience. John called his song-writing; angry folk-rock. But John needed a partner. "Someone who can really play guitar, because I suck." John is fond of saying that. (Among other, even less printable phrases). And he had a plan. Peter Bates has played guitar and been a song-writer for a number of bands out of Worcester and Boston. He'd played in Talon, Cold Steele, D.A. and the Attorneys and Mental Warfare. All of these were rock bands that let Peter work on his expressiveness on a guitar. His influences reflect this; Randy Rhodes, Donald Fagan (Steely Dan), Stevie Ray Vaughn, Iron Maiden, Queensryche, and Lynard Skynard. He also loved Fleetwood Mac, the Beatles and Crosby, Stills and Nash. He wrote and played music in blues-rock acts as well, such as Last Breathe and 7th Direction. And from time to time Peter would help out the tribute band Thunderstruck. But all along, like John, Peter wrote songs that he could not use in the bands he was in. Then fate intervened. A mutual friend introduced the two when Peter's band, Mental Warfare, needed a front man. John stepped in and helped out. Both guys couldn't help but admire each other's style. After the last show, as the two said goodbye, John told Pete "hey, if you ever feel like doing something totally different, call me when you're ready. I have a plan, and you would be perfect". Pete said "okay". Neither one was sure he'd ever see the other again, and they went their separate ways. Then John's phone rang. It was Peter; "dude, I think I would kind of like to try that plan you had, I think I'm ready." "Good." Earthship Emily Rose was born. In early 2000, the two men met twice a week and began writing the material that would end up being the first album. Once they had twelve workable songs, they began to play out in small coffee houses in and around New England. They then accidentally booked themselves at a bar, with other rock bands. They each knew that their little acoustic guitars were not going to be enough at this place. But John had a plan. Minos Dounias had played the bass guitar with John in the hard rock band Alliance, (later Dead Penguins) for seven rocking years. Schooled in music by his grandmother, (Gertrude had played for years in the symphony orchestra in Athens, Greece), Minos could play guitar, bass, violin, viola and piano, just to name a few. He has played in bands that jammed everywhere in Boston and the surrounding towns, New York city and metro-west. In addition to Dead Penguins and Alliance, he played in Zero Population Growth, Slut, and Full Force. Like his instruments, Minos' influences are varied; Vivaldi and Bach, John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters, Rush and Jimi Hendrix, Sarah McGloughlin and Lorena McKennit, up to, and including African kete drumming. One day after work, Minos got a phone call from John, whom he had not heard from in almost three years. It went a little something like this; John; "Hey dude! I need a favor!" Minos; "Sure man, what's up?" John; "Oh, me and this kid Pete have been jamming out some folk tunes and we need a bassist for a show." Minos; "Cool! Yeah, I'll play it. I'll have to learn the songs first, though." John; "Absolutely no problem! We'll get to work this week." Minos; "So, when's the show?" John; "Ah, this Friday...." (it was already Tuesday) Minos; "Bastard!" And the trap was sprung. John's plan was working well. It only remained now to find a drummer. Because of the nature of the music they were writing, soft, hard, fast, then slow, a sort of moody groove, the drummer was going to have to be special. John and Pete were friends with two talented players who both helped immensely; Ricky Rice and Joe Coppolino. "Joe helped us write and pre-produce the first album material, he was great." says John. "But he owned and operated his own construction company and Joe just couldn't get away to jam with us. So Ricky came in and, in a clutch recording performance over several week-ends, he had laid down the drum tracks we so desperately needed." Ricky plays for a number of hard rock bands in the Boston-Worcester area, and still sits in and jams with the boys from time to time. Those "clutch" drum tracks were used by John, Peter, and Minos to create the bands' first release; "A CD Record Album for Listening". It has been played on college radio stations across the U.S. and also played in Greece, Canada, England, Germany, Japan, France, and by our brave troops in Iraq, too! This is where Donny Mackay came in. After searching high and low the entire world-wide for a drummer, the boys found Donny...next door to their studio! He had played drums for bands throughout the Boston area. From rock to reggae to punk, bands like; Ruff Mix, Wobblies, Perfect Blend, Wise Guise and the Pink Floyd tribute; Crazy Diamond. In addition to Pink Floyd, Donny's influences range from the Stones, Doors, Iggy Pop, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Buddy Rich and Buddy Holly, Zeppelin, X, Bad Brains and David Bowie to the Beatles. "The kid is perfect for us." says Peter Bates. "He puts us right through the goal-posts with his style and writing flair." Donny is the drummer featured on the bands '06 release; Pretty Pilot, due out in May. As the official Dirty Dingo journalist, I shall, of course, keep you posted on any news on the band. In the mean-time, it is sun-rise, and I just found those plaid pills and another bottle of Chivas. They were both hidden under my strangely flatulent dog, which explains his silly grin. Another weird day approaches... -the Earthship Emily Rose web team.