Featured Artist

Cosmic Rock

On a long rain drenched Saturday night we connected with doom metal icon the great Gary Isom for a new Featured Artist interview. Introductions are needless, Gary is the man and a bad ass musician. These days Gary has been singing and playing guitar in his new band Electropathic. He also rocks in Druids, with the band Weed is Weed and also a new band KOS. Gary’s passion for music is unlimited as he teaches music students, performs live, records and crosses the scene in many great groups. Jump in for a great conversation as The Ice man tells it like it is in all things rock and roll.

 

Hey Gary always good to catch up with you brother. How have you been and what’s going on bro?

Hey Gideon, Great to catch up with you as well and thanks for having me.

Anytime brother, how have you been?

Everything’s going fine thank goodness. I've super busy as usual teaching, Writing, Recording playing out. Seemingly there's just not enough time in the day you know. As we speak I’m working with 4 bands all extremely special to me:  Electropathic, The Druids, Weed is Weed and a Washington DC style GOGO band mixed with subtle hard rock influenced guitar Tentatively called Knowledge of self or KOS.

 

Damn dude you’re rocking all over. Very cool to hear you have some new music and several new bands these days. Electropathic is a new group with your friends Ronnie Kalimon, Zak Suleri and Eli Watson. How did you guys come together and start the band?

Yeah, Electropathic. I finally set out to put together a band of my very own.  At first Initiated contact with bassist Zak Zuleri the " Ambassador of doom" - Doom Fanatic!!! and started turning him on to songs I had written and vice versa. Afterwards I contacted Ronnie "Ronzo"  Kalimon from Asylum / Unorthodox and Ironman to work is magic on drums. Then I met "The Stone Druid” The final piece of the puzzle Eli Watson I met at a gig where i shared some crazy stories with him and bassist for The Druids Jeremy Dinges. It wasn't till Jeremy took a short vacation is when Eli asked me and Zak to sit in with him for a gig. So we started rehearsing Druids material, did the gig and the music felt real good. I really liked Eli's playing style so I decided to ask him to come jam with Electropathic. He agreed and all has been permanent since.

You're playing guitar and singing. I am sure it's fun for you to jam on different instruments in the band. That's really cool. How does it feel to sing in this band? What influences or inspires you as a singer?

  It feels great to be singing. I’ve never sang more than just back up's and I love to challenge myself musically so I decided if we can't find a better singer I'll keep on singing until we do. Zak also shares vocal duties and does a great job. He adds the very traditional doom element to his vocal delivery  whereas I draw inspiration and influence mainly through the styles of Southern rock, Blues and straight up Rock n Roll.

Electropathic has influences like Sabbath, Spirit Caravan, Unorthodox and other but you guys also mention the Allman Brothers. That is very cool. How do you find inspiration in the classic blues southern rock in addition to the metal and doom?

   Yes of course we are influenced by Black Sabbath what heavy band isn't?! Both Ronnie and myself played pretty key points not just playing drums but writing and arranging for Spirit Caravan and Unorthodox so our styles are not much or any different now than they were back then so there's no curve when our motions and emotions are portrayed currently. You know... it's a blessing when your able to do what you truly love to do and for me personally my true love is music that tells a story and can teach you a lesson at the same time. And in my opinion the stories and lessons worthwhile are found mostly in Southern Rock, Blues and Rock n Roll. That’s were I find inspiration.

Are you guys playing any shows or are there any new recordings coming out? How can fans check out Electropathic and Druids?

Absolutely Gideon, Electropathic has 3 possibly 4 festival dates lined up so far. The first in June at the Maryland Doom fest then the Shadow woods metal fest in September and the Days of Darkness festival in October along with club dates in between. Both bands are working on our first full lengths as we speak and so far, I’m very pleased with the way everything is coming along. The initial unmixed tracks sound real good performance wise and overall the production sounds great! I can't wait to start mixing and bringing everything to life!  Both bands have facebook pages as well with music on youtube and bandcamp.

 

Great man. Are you writing lyrics and what inspires you for the new songs?

Yeah, I'm writing lyrics and Zak has also contributes a bit as well. I’m personally trying to keep things positive with the Electropathic lyrics hence the band name. The whole idea behind the name is healing through waves of sound derived by both electrical and acoustic instruments mixed with meaningful lessons and life experiences.

 

That’s a great name man. What can you tell us about your other band Druids? You’re still playing with Dave Sherman in the group Weed is Weed?

The Druids are a great bunch of guys always positive always a blast to hang out with. The music varies from straight heavy rock to long epic voyages of seemingly ever-changing movements sort of like listening to a classical piece but with totally fuzzed out guitars playing off each other and heavy bass tones. The music really gravitates the mind and we've gotten a lot of positive feedback from our live performances. Members include Jeremy Dinges aka "the Weed Warlock" on bass, Danny Alger aka "The Space Hawk" on guitar and Eli Watson "The Stone Druid" guitar and I'm on drums.

Weed is Weed is still crankin’. We put out our latest EP a while back called "The Bong Remains The Same" other tracks include "Reign in Bud"  "Drop the Wax"  "Puff" and "Cleptious Buhtaneous"  these songs are some of my very favorite W$W songs to date. Although it's an EP it's got it all ... Straight up metal !!! Swinging grooves wrapped in Heavy Dirty Rock!!! I really love It. Members Include Lifelong Friends bassist Mark Ammen who was in Pentagram With me 2009 line up. We were also in Unorthodox together. We did the Unorthodox "Awaken" Record together along with Mastermind Dale Flood. Also in W$W Of course my man Dave Sherman on vocals, and guitar. We were in Spirit Caravan together back in the hay day of the band. We've all been playing music together for ages.  Weed is Weed also has life long friend and bandmate Rob Portillo on guitar... Dude can really shred!!! And last but not least, The recent addition of Sean Saley on drums who also served time with Pentagram No pun Intended lol !!!!   and then later with The Skull...  And my favorite Classic Rockers BANG !!!.. We've been Having a blast together playing local Maryland gigs and writing new material. Although our music hasn’t been properly promoted I think it’s some of the best we've ever put out...People can find our music on cd baby and on youtube.

Really cool bro. How do your current musical projects differ and also from your past bands?

The difference from my current musical projects from past projects is my Washington, D.C style GOGO band "KOS" It's Funk mixed with R&B, Latin, Jazz, Blues and Swing with a little bit of subtle Heavy guitar. The rest of my current projects pretty much follow protocol for what I’ve been doing for the last I don't know hmm..40 years lol !!! Geez I’m getting old lol !!!!

What music have you been listening to these days, any new music you'd suggest people check out?

I'm so so so  stuck in the past when it comes to listening to music. I listen to 95% old school D.C GoGo bands like Chuck Brown, Rare Essence, Trouble Funk along With Classic Rock like Grand Funk, AC/DC, old  KISS, Alice Cooper, Hendrix, Zeppelin, Johnny Winter  and the Stones  and Southern Rock like the Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd And Bad Company ... I also listen too and absolutely adore music from the fifties like Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, The Temptations, The Coasters. Plus I listen to Big Band Swing Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington, Fats Waller and Blues .. I love blues Delta blues... So I can't really suggest any new music these days but go ahead and check out any of these artist if you feel inclined to do so...

Thats awesome bro. I listen to all kinds of styles, whatever makes me happy. Yeah man those classic founding fathers of rock n roll like that are such greats. Excellent songwriting and often musicianship and singing. Some of the popular metal over the years is just a way louder version of that same architype and sometimes metal fans don’t see it. Yeah man I listen to jazz and old blues all the time. Any new movies or books you have been enjoying?

I usually watch old world war 2 movies, comedies or old Biker B movies...lol

 

Aside from music talk, what is one life skill you think everyone should have?

One life skill everyone should have.... Should be the confidence to achieve whatever you put your mind to. Be polite, courteous and Respectful towards each other and especially Mother Earth. And a quote from Dave Sherman's father Mr. Arnold Sherman (RIP) "ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO, ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST" !!!!

 

Great advice man. In your years as a musician how do you see the music scene now and how has it changed? What do you feel most bands are missing today in their music or perspective as a musician?

Hmmm How do I see the music scene and how has it changed and what is it missing in my perspective  ?...To be honest, I think it's kinda gone downhill a bit. I think a majority of it has lost and lacks a lot of creativity in my opinion .... I guess it's just me... I have pretty high standards for good music... I guess most of it is just the natural way that music progresses but when I go out to shows there just seems to be so many bands that get up there turn up as loud as possible and start screaming their fucking heads off...Personally I guess maybe I get it but ...C'mon man !!! That shit is fucking ridiculous. I'd like to see more true musicianship put back into music....put it this way... I’ve been playing drums for 40 years and to this day I don't consider myself to be a true drummer ok? Yeah, I can play different styles, Time signatures... I can play Slayer I can play Captain Beyond... But a true drummer is a wizard of time and space, Someone who know every rudiment like the back of his or her  God given hands with zero hesitation at any given moment.. knows every style every feel that's applies to all TRUE musicians and that's how high my standards are when it comes to music... It's gotta move you deeply to the point where it’s so fucking good it makes your eyes get misty and goose bumps turn up your arms to the point where you are truly amazed !!! That's the true POWER of music and musical energy ... So i guess lol I wish people would refine their talent more and present it in a more positive manner. like I said just my opinion and u know what people say about opinions.. So take as is....

 

Great man, well said for sure. When you are not jamming what are some of you non musical interests or past times?

When I'm not jamming I Just like to chill.... Alot!!!! lol   I like to eat lol i like family time... I love Nature.. I have a deep interest in all that is artistic and historic.  I really like to BBQ and cook for friends and family.

 

Right on bro. Looking back from your first band to today's music, what has been the one key motivation that has kept you going?

I just love music that's what motivates me. I just love music. Music and I are best friends forever!!!

 

Thanks Gary man always good to hear from you and looking forward to checking out the new stuff bro.

 Thanks Gideon so much it means the world to me that you have given me the opportunity to express myself.  I'd also like to thank my beautiful one of a kind southern belle wife Bonnie, my family, all of my bandmates, my manager Scott Harrington at 313 Productions, Orange Amps, BnB Musicworld and all who supported me and my endeavors. Cheers Brother, your friend, Gary

 

You too brother, anytime and big thanks for making time for us tonight. Always cool to hear your news man. Cheers my friend.