INTERVIEWS

Cosmic Rock

(Photo credit: Dax Melmar)

Tonight we had the cool opportunity to speak with Canadian music scene veteran and music powerhouse the mighty Al Yeti Bones Petrovich. Al has been hard at work with his band mates in Gypsy Chief Goliath on a new record out this year. Al Yeti filled us in on the journey of writing and recording the new album and some news for the fans. Many musicians have a lot of love and respect for Al, it’s always great to hear what he’s been up to and the new music coming down the line. “Masters of Space & Time” the aptly titled the new album is on the way soon.

 

1.Hey bro how have you been and what have you been up to? Always good to catch up with you man.

AL The Yeti Bones: Hey brother, things have been good. As always, very busy and realizing the older I get the more I hate having this many things to do. lol. Between home life with my family, work life, and music I have found very little extra time in my life for anything else. But all in all, things have been good. Trying times... But a positive outlook and the ability to not give a fuck when things are fucked has really helped me prioritize what's important.

 

 

2.You guys have been working on a new record yeah?

 

AL The Yeti Bones: Yes! We just finished tracking everything FINALLY, and on to mixing now. It's been a tough year emotionally and mentally draining. A lot of stuff has happened and making this record was quite difficult in that regard. For instance, the day we completed drum tracks, I got a call from my wife letting me know that our basement was submerged in water. There was a pretty bad flood in Windsor, that took out thousands of basements. I jumped in my van and started driving home. The water level was above the base of my doors and it totally felt like a John Cusak movie about Armageddon or some shit. To a degree it wasn't nearly as bad as anything horrific we'd see on the news or whatever, but this was a Hurricane Harvey remnant storm that we got shortly after Houston took the brunt of it all.... Renovations, insurance war, good friends coming to the rescue (and some fucking us over), selling the house, and buying a house, moving, all played a massive role in the album's delay. After all that had happened I was emotionally spent. Physically drained, but it all turned out ok. We got through it, and looking back it all happened for a reason.

But we completed a new album and moving forward I can honestly say its very different from our previous work, but personally it's my favorite.

 

3.What inspired your songwriting this time around?

 

AL The Yeti Bones: Honestly, I don't think much has changed in terms of inspiration. Only now, I just write when I have time. Recently in my efforts to declutter our house (before moving) I came across a box of old lyric books I wrote probably 20 years ago. I started using those as beginnings to songs, and reading through them really brought me back. As content became revised and hashed out a bit more, I think the city where we live which is Windsor (and Toronto for our drummer Saitti) really played a part in the identity in my mind when writing. I lost a lot of friends this past year, to overdoses, accidental deaths and murder, and for awhile there, I could close my eyes and see ghosts. There's definitely a story there, and the album is a way to get that out. I never really spoke to anyone about these things as life moves so fast these days, there just isn't enough hours in a day to think about my own sanity or problems. I'd drive home from work and reflect, but as soon as I walk into my house, and my kids run up to the door to greet me, all my problems melt away.

 

 

4.For real man. Do you tend to write on guitar and sing alone, as in isolate yourself to write new songs or do you write with the group mostly?

 

AL The Yeti Bones: I write within Pro Tools mostly. Meaning, I'll sit in front of my recording gear, and set up some old drum tracks or click tracks into a session, and then I'll start writing with my electric on that. I'll riff out and add harmonies. Then grab a bass guitar and lay that down, maybe fiddle around with some keys perhaps... Or I'll just do the guitar on a click, and send it out to each of the guys. They'll send me their ideas back... I'll add some harmonies on top, drop a solo here and there, to just give me an idea of how things will sit in a final mixed setting, and then I'll start picking up those old lyric books to not waste any more time, and just find lines in there that maybe fit within the syllables in mind for these demo riffs... Then of course, stuff changes, and gets rearranged...We get into a rehearsal room as a group, start running over some things, new riffs and jams pop up all the time, I make sure we record it all, and then I'll sit with one or two of the guys and we'll hash out those details if they're worth hashing out. Or we put them on deck for another time.. But I'm always writing that way. I have literally hundreds of tunes no one has ever heard other than the band, as I have spindles of discs in the van, that we'll listen to on long drives... I burn everything to CD still, and just let this stuff get into my head so if the idea ever comes up to write more, I try to have some things on tap and ready to go. I know our guitarists Dustin and John are always writing too.

 

5.Psyched to hear it man. How do you feel life events play into your songwriting and if so what events have been influential in this writing period?

 

AL The Yeti Bones: Well it's kind of funny, there was a point recently where I thought I was totally losing my mind... Last year, we had a pretty bad flood here in Windsor, and the year before that we had a Tornado. This past week we just had an Earthquake. And then just the other day, I thought I saw a locust. Turned out it was just a grasshopper. To make matters even worse, I turned on the radio for the first time in God knows when, and it was playing Four Horsemen by Metallica lol...I figured the end was near...Just a real bizarre series of events that turned out to be only minor levels of catastrophe's, and those other two things were basically flukes.

But I'd be lying if I didn't say that this past year was a massive influential time for the latest album. We took a big break this year between recording sessions as we all had to get our shit straight, and figure out our personal crap. But all the while, every little detail played a small part forming the bigger picture of the album. 

 

6.Yeah for sure. You said this album has a theme story to it, what exactly would you tell listeners?

 

AL The Yeti Bones: Yea the album is going to be called "Masters of Space & Time". I think there is a story there, most definitely. While stringing all the songs together was easy, I still am a firm believer that listeners should always draw their own conclusions to story lines. I hate telling someone or dictating what people should get out of the songs. I hope people feel what I feel, but so be it if they don't. The main theme though, would have to be travelling. Whether it's physically moving or just in your mind, travelling is a big component to this. I incorporated lyrical content that helped me deal with the stress of losing people around me. I've had a few friends locally here pass away, and as well as Jim Forrester from Baltimore. He was in Foghound and Serpents of Secrecy. He was also the bassist in Sixty Watt Shaman. It came as a total shock when we all heard the news of his passing. I was in disbelief. Nothing could make matters worse, but I had lost several friends those months, and recording an album was very therapeutic. It was an opportunity to not have to talk to anyone about what's been going on, and just put it down into the album. Now of course, I'd always recommend talking to people when you're going through some rough shit. Keeping quiet don't really help. You become the King of ruminating. And that shit leads to neurosis and whatever else...

 

7.Man Jim was a great musician and awesome friend. I was really saddened when I heard and I am still adjusting to the news. I can’t believe it happened. We all loved Jim very much. I really miss Jim man, he was a genuine stand up friend. Sorry for your loss in all ways man. Yeah man for sure bro. It’s good you have music and your creative activities, family and friends. What music have you been listening to that helps you along as a music fan and writer?

 

AL The Yeti Bones: I have trouble listening to a lot of music these days. It's been pretty diverse though.  I've just been running over old demos too. If I had to list some stuff that's been in the player lately, I'd say a lot of Soundgarden, The Sword, Entombed, Faith No More, Sleep and High On Fire. Also soundtracks like: Jesus Christ Super Star, Little Orphan ANNIE, Moana, Frozen, and How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Oh and the Trolls soundtrack. A lot of Trolls. But it's funny, cause I hear stuff like that and totally think to myself, "fuck some of this shit is seriously heavy as fuck."

 

 

8.If you had one song that stands out on your journey what would it be and in what way?

 

AL The Yeti Bones: I've been listening to the mixes from the new album from the ground - up. In terms of music or songs that stuck with me on this journey, It would be difficult to name something other than the band material we've been working on. If i had to, it would be The Swords' Used Future album, or Soundgarden's By Crooked Steps. That tune rules. But I haven't really been listening to too much music outside of our own stuff. Nothing too iconic in terms of being in tandem with the journey of the album.

 

9.Great bro. Are you guys playing any live gigs?

 

AL The Yeti Bones: We'll be playing June 20th in Windsor with The Native Howl. We have a few more shows to be announced, and closer to the point of the album release we'll head out for a little tour. Also we'll be announcing a new label perhaps. Once things are set in stone, we'll let everyone know what's going on.

 

 

10.Cool man. How do you feel the new material is similar or different to your previous work?

 

AL The Yeti Bones: Well we still sound like the same band, that's for sure. It's a fresh new batch of songs. They do differ from previous stuff, as we've added keys to the album. We decided to part ways with Harmonica, as we were no longer writing music with harmonica parts being forced into the fray. Keys are on par with our evolution. I wanted to give the listener an adventure in sonic sound, and bring  more harmonic content to the fold. This new album really grooves. It's heavy, it's soft, it's fast, it's slow.

 

Awesome bro always great to talk with you, keep us updated on your news. Rock on G