I've been getting a fair amount of e-mails lately asking me some PG related questions so I figured I would take the time and answer them here for all of you who visit the webpage…
Kay, this turned out to be a VERY LONG drawn out diatribe.
Reader warning.. my rambling gets rather insane at the end!
But, it's all my story and as always I try to be as much of an open book for you as possible.
Question: I was wondering if you've changed your mind about releasing Wicked and can I have a copy of the demos?
Answer: This question came to me in multiple forms to be honest, I'm kind of paraphrasing here for the sake of multiple responses. No, I haven't changed my mind about Wicked just yet. I do listen to the demos often. I love them and really think that it's going to make a great album but, the time isn't right. When Josh left the band it kind of left a bad stigma on that album for me and while it was all written by me… it was written in a very dark place. It's not that the material isn't good or I'm "insecure" of people hearing my emotions.. It's just that.. for this material to be put out there… it needs to be put together perfectly. The major problem with the release was that the first 6 or 7 songs are the best shit I've ever written. But, the last 3 felt a little like filler to me, and I just can't allow that to drag down the rest of the album. As far as letting people have demos. I've put up 3 or 4 tracks on my Virb page www.virb.com/planetgemini you can feel free to check them out there, however I am not ready to post anything quite yet. It's just not ready. Trust me you'll know if/when I'm ready to put it out.
Question: Why did Josh leave the band?
Answer: I've gotten this question a couple of times over the last year or so and always kind of steered clear of it, but I suppose that in the interest of "full disclosure" I can talk about it I do warn you… be prepared for a book.
Josh is…well.. Josh and to understand what I mean you have to know the guy. He bottles a lot of stuff inside and one of the things he was bottling up was the fact that Planet Gemini wasn't as much his dream as it was mine. We all get to a point in our lives where we evaluate what we've done and I feel that Josh decided that Planet Gemini was becoming more of a hassle and wanted to concentrate more on other facets of his life.
Now, to understand the ill-will of the situation is to know that… we started on many new endeavors and he never said anything BEFORE making prior commitments. Example: we started recruiting bands for a record label we were starting. All the while he never said ANYTHING about his discontent with me and music and things in his life that he needed to change. As a result of this I ended up screwing over some good people who made plans to travel to my studio to record. (which I actually still feel guilty about to this day) and well… lost my best friend… which was kind of .. unrecoverable.
On my birthday this year Josh came to my house (the first time I saw him in almost a year) we sat on my front porch and talked/cried/talked for a while. I don't know what the conclusion was to be honest but, Josh and I talk every now and again now. We've actually jammed together once but to be honest I just don't have that connection with him anymore. I love the guy, He was like my family for 10+ years… and like family if he ever needs me I'll be here. With that being said "you can never go home again" and in his defense… he doesn't want to. He's moved on and started his own life that is on a completely different path than mine. He is a very good guy and I will always cherish the times we spent together and the things he did for me. I think it summed it up when we spoke a couple months ago and he was like "There was one point where I would have taken a bullet for you… isn't that kind of screwed up?" and I felt (Shit, I think I still would for you…) but, alas time moves on. Life is different stages, different places that we all leave behind… (I'm sure I can quote a dozen lyrics of mine to summarize my emotions on the matter). All that matters in the end is that Josh is happy.
I think that in the end this was the best for all parties. I always go back to one of the last phone conversations we had when I basically said he should leave the band. He claimed "You were always Planet Gemini" and… he was right. I always kind of thought Planet Gemini was about 2 guys who just loved the music and creating… but the more I thought about it. Josh never really LIKED creating. It was almost a chore for him to learn bass parts. I recently have been working with a friend of mine Greg who plays bass and we sat down and wrote some stuff and he's like "Yeah! Let me try my fretless bass on this… *records it*… okay let me try it again cleaned up a little..etc" and like.. that NEVER happened with Josh. Josh wanted to record and be done. He would never lay down a "temp" bass track and then go back and clean it up… he just wanted the song done and put out. (which is why a lot of my old PG demos have no bass on them). So I guess the old Planet Gemini was one guy pouring his soul and passion into his music… and his best friend hanging out, throwing out ideas, coming up with a few melody lines and whatnot. I'm not understating Josh's purpose in Planet Gemini because.. when he left the band I must admit that I had a very hard time writing in a new totally different way. He did Planet Gemini for me… as a friend… and for that I thank him. Out of that my vision was born.. and he'll always be a part of what this band is. I'll never be able to listen to songs that Josh wrote (Taste the Smoke, My Black Cloud, Holy Father..etc) and not think of how much I enjoyed the time we spent in the studio just being complete goofs. It is a little tainted knowing that he was miserable for the last couple years of PG… but… I have all of these amazing memories of me and my best friend hanging out… almost like a journal… it's all there on 13, CoF, Supergod and COFII. Fact is.. after those albums I started to want the band to sound better/be more professional. I started wanting to tinker with different sounds. Josh was NOT a fan of playing around with things. He said many times "if I had my way we'd have like 10 albums out a year. Everything we wrote we get put out" but, I was very much the buffer. If there was something I wasn't feeling or I thought could be done better. I would axe a song and Josh was be very agitated with that. Josh was miserable during Wizards Blood. I didn't see it at the time but, looking back at it now I understand it. We recorded Wizards Blood twice for the most part. There was a lot of shit going on with Micing the drums. I was basically learning how to play a real kit (because the older stuff was done on an electric drumkit.. and well.. it is much easier to play when you can edit the midi if something goes wrong) and it was driving him nuts that I'd have to play a song 100 times to get the drums right.. hehe
Again, I'm sure Josh could tell you a million more reasons and maybe someday he will… but for right now I will just say this. The Josh era Planet Gemini is and always will be very special to me. It's when I had my brother by my side. It was much easier standing as two than standing as one. I was much easier having someone telling you "That riff is fucking awesome dude!" as opposed to writing by yourself.
Question: What is holding Wicked back?
Answer: It's really the setting.. The circumstances where a lot of Wicked was written was very insane.. and it's something I need to.. recapture..
For a while my studio became a very dark, lonely place. So dark in fact that I started going in there with no lights on. I was writing music in complete darkness. For those of you who don't know me you must understand the situations in which I write music. I basically close my eyes and just let whatever comes out.. come out.. I started going into the studio for very long stretches of time. (12-14 hours a day) I would hear sounds of things moving upstairs and just pretend it was someone around me. I called him "Grim" it was my "Josh-replacement" he was my devil on my shoulder. While he never really spoke to me I would imagine him in the corner of my studio (behind a curtain that I have up). I never wanted to look behind the curtain because… if he wasn't there I'd be alone again. My only friend… Grim.. My God of Red. Let me start this story at the beginning so you all have a full understanding of where I'm coming from (so no one comes along and puts me in a padded cell hehehe).
I was recording a song which would be entitled "Minus". This song was basically the first track where I started envisioning "Grim" when I closed my eyes. For those of you who know the story of Cauldron of Fuzz III will understand how I came to envision him (for those who don't.. read the Cauldron 3 discography page.) Minus's lyrics were completely improvised and they were written for me… to me.. by me.. as strange as that sounds. Believe me… this song was one of the most supernatural feeling songs I've ever written. It haunts me to listen to it. Chills me to the bone to hear the devil inside me speaking…
The Lyrics to the song are…
Your mind is fading away, I spin around and I can't control
This world of horror we made, another sinister, afterglow
Toy warrior crumble in fear, You're screaming out no one cares at all
Your bravery drown in your tears, denial of heaven's so beautiful
So let it sweep you away, the movement seems so peaceful but…
It's human nature to betray, We'll come together.. now move along.
This was my acceptance into Josh leaving the band. The last line was "We'll come together now move along…" and it was my mind giving me someone. Someone to lead me down this twisted path.. and I followed. The next song I wrote was "The Beast on Your Back" I wrote this immediately after I "found" Grim. But, it was not what I was expecting. The beast was about every fucking good thing that music has given me. Every empowering thing that Planet Gemini has given me. "This circlet of silver that I behold may be all that's keeping the devil inside me at bay" (Basically saying screaming into this mic and creating this music is what drive me.. keeps me sane.. makes me happy.. and makes me who I am). "My children of fire, unhealthy desire… may the beast on your back never die".. it was me… telling me not to lose this, not to forget what passion I had for this. I needed that "mental" cheerleader.. someone to… encourage me. "Grim" although he just lived in my mind (and I realize this.. I'm not crazy..heheh).. was making me feel like I had someone to share my music with.
Me, personally I don't write music with the thought that hundreds/thousands of people are going to hear it. If I did that I'd probably go crazy and never release anything. I write for me. At the moment.. and when you hear a Planet Gemini song you are hearing moments of my life. When my lyrics and music delve into insanity.. you can believe I am putting myself there as well… But, isn't that what an artist always does? We drive ourselves crazy for our craft, and above everything else. I consider myself an artist. (I won't be cutting off my ear anytime soon but… you get my point). One of my proudest moments was when I got back reviews from Supergod and Wizards blood… and people said "You can feel the soul and passion in this music"… Because.. I mean this 1 million percent. I pour myself into my music. I alter my state of mind to fit the music. I change who I am to sound the way the song is telling me to sound. Am I crazy? I don't think that there is a question about that. But, I have moments of craziness.. controlled insanity. So… okay.. if you're still reading this.. you are officially a true Planet Gemini super fan.. hehe or.. like to see someone deconstructing themselves, either or.
So yeah… Wicked was written under a very crazy veil. One that I must recapture and.. personally Grim isn't talking with me at the moment hehe. I want to become a better musician before finishing this album. There are drum parts on Cauldron of Fuzz V (Which can be downloaded for FREE in my downloads section) that I could have never done on previous albums (especially drum-wise). I really want to incorporate more.. power into Wicked. In the end I feel confident it will be released. It's just a matter of time.. and my state of mind.