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Progressive metal band comes to the V Club on Saturday

Jun. 14, 2013 @ 07:40 AM

The group Baroness, who will perform at the V Club Saturday, June 15, was almost famous for the wrong reasons.

Last summer, the progressive heavy metal band had released its most acclaimed work yet, the ambitious “Yellow and Green” album, when its tour bus flew off of a 30-foot high viaduct in England. Nine people were hurt including guitarist and lead singer John Baizley, who broke many bones. So, the tour was canceled.

Lead guitarist Peter Adams fared better, as he crawled from the wreckage not as injured as the others. Yet, when you are waiting for impact on a runaway bus on a 12 degree incline, it isn’t fun.

While driving in a hard rain, the bus brakes gave way and for the next couple of miles, all onboard knew that they were in trouble as the driver held on to the wheel for what seemed like minutes before going over the edge.

“We were cresting the top of a hill and I heard the brakes go and then I felt the bus pick up speed,” said Adams. “It was as simple as that. And then, at that point, it was obvious that nothing was going to stop this and we were going to crash. I knew instantly that there was not going to be a happy ending to it. So, for two miles, as we rocketed down this hill, I knew for a fact that we were going to crash. And, with the speed that we were gathering, I knew it was going to be a bad one. I curled up and got in a fetal position in my bunk and just said my last little, ‘It’s been real.’”

Adams was able to react with a fairly clear head after the crash as he was luckier than Baizley and the bus driver, who were up front taking on the full brunt of the collision.

“There is no survivor’s guilt whatsoever,” said Adams. “I mean, we all are survivors. But, the fact of the matter is, I’ve been through this stuff before. I’ve been beat down and I’ve gone through life when it was like a bus crash every day. So, I was the only one not in shock, and I was the only one that had this awareness during the whole thing. I’m glad to be alive. I can’t even believe that I made it to 30.

On that one, yes, I feel great. I have another day to live. Bring it on. I have music to play.”

So, here was Baroness, having just released an album and the tour canceled. Yet, the new recording continued to gather a head of steam over the fall and winter months. ”Yellow & Green” was different from past efforts as the music was layered and atmospheric yet still had the power of heavy metal.

Plus, Baroness felt free to let some of its other musical influences in the mix.

“I don’t think we’ve ever been this straight forward as human beings in terms of saying, ‘We want to play punk rock,’ or ‘We want to play metal,’ or ‘We want to play rock and roll,’” said Adams. “We listen to a lot of music. We play a lot of music. We were raised up with a lot of different music. So, this is the way we get it out. None of us are classically trained or anything like that. It’s just that this is the only way we know how to do it. I guess this is just the way we translate our own music. The first music that I ever connected with (while growing up) was by Chuck Berry. I remember listening to Roger Miller and loving Roger Miller, and I still love Roger Miller. The Stray Cats have always been one of my favorite bands. I always listened to a lot of rockabilly growing up, and all of the classics because my parents had an awesome record collection so there was a lot of classic rock.

“You name it, my parents had it; every Zeppelin record, every Black Sabbath record, every Allman Brothers Band record,” Adams continued. “I got to go through those records and find out what I liked and what I didn’t like, listening to everything from Sly and the Family Stone to Grand Funk Railroad. What I took away from the Allman Brothers was the guitar harmonies, and the ability to groove. The Allman Brothers was that band I connected with as a child because they would lay down that groove and that resonated with me when I was younger.”

After months of healing, Adams and Baizley have brought two new members into Baroness and last month they began to tour again. The band has walked through to the other side and is ready to rock the V Club a day before it heads to Tennessee to play one of the world’s largest music festivals, Bonnaroo.

“Like anything, (bringing in two new band members) is nerve-racking at first,” said Adams. “You don’t know what to expect and you hope to get a couple of guys that can handle the daunting task of learning a bunch of tunes that they have never played before, and you hope that everyone can handle it and hang in there. But, so far, so good. These guys are bringing it and that is a good thing. I’m stoked. I feel fortunate that we are able to be out doing this. This has been a dream for me since day one so it’s all good.”