Texas Hippie Coalition

Texas Hippie Coalition

Kobra and the Lotus, Brand Of Julez, Granny 4 Barrel

Wed, May 9, 2018

6:00 pm

$20.00 - $23.00

Texas Hippie Coalition
Texas Hippie Coalition
There are two paths you can take in life. You can choose to fall in line and be a follower, always fifth or sixth back, lagging behind others. Or you can make your own line and live as you choose, with everyone else landing behind you, while you create your own thing. Want to guess which line Texas Hippie Coalition have chosen?

That's right. The purveyors of their own patented Red Dirt Metal sound are designing their own line in life and in music. For them, there is no other way.

Texas Hippie Coalition are committed to crafting a unique, original and thoroughly raucous brand of music that's born of both life experience and a respect for rock 'n' roll's forefathers. What exactly is Red Dirt Metal? Take outlaw country, toss in a dash of Southern-fried classic rock and mix it with some potent Texas power grooves and you've got a combustible sonic cocktail on your hands. Texas Hippie Coalition's third album Peacemaker is a textbook example of Red Dirt Metal, which is the sound the band has been honing and cultivating for its entire existence.

THC's frontman Big Dad Ritch, known as the "Godfather" of the RDM sound and an individual with a laser-like focus and vision when it comes to his music, believes that the band has hit its stride on Peacemaker, capturing the spirit of rock 'n' roll outlaws like Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. He declares, "The outlaw spirit is still alive today. That is our goal: Bring it back."

THC, who were the first band signed to their label Carved Records back in 2009, want fans of classic rock bands to know that they are carrying the torch and that they want to be the keepers of the genre's keys. There will be no extinction of this beloved genre if THC have anything to say about it. "We want the people that love Molly Hatchet, ZZ Top, .38 Special, the Van Zandts and those bands that are growing older to know that somebody else out there is already waving the flag high," he declared. The band, in essence, is ensuring that the style continues to have new and noteworthy additions, such as itself.

But Texas Hippie Coalition aren't simply about making sure the outlaw rock style that they pretty much worship stays alive. They want it to evolve, infusing it with a modern edge and energy, thanks to the new tools (or is that weapons?) of the trade. Having also been surrounded and influenced by the likes of Black Label Society and Pantera –with Ritch proudly proclaiming to having seen the latter between 50 and 75 times live- Texas Hippie Coalition are turning in something fresh and fierce with Peacemaker. They aren't just paying homage to Southern rock's cultural milemarkers. They are proceeding with the intent to add to its canon.

The process of making the album was at first bolstered by levels of familiarity and comfort. "Me, [bassist] John Exall and [guitarist] Randy Cooper have been together a long time, and we're soldiers always ready to go into battle no matter what," Ritch said about his bandmates. The lineup is now rounded out by [drummer] Timmy Braun and [guitarist] Wes Wallace, who shared a lot of the album's writing duties with Ritch.

But there were also some changes and shifts, which also add to the album's heft and helped the band to expand. Texas Hippie Coalition recruited producer Bob Marlette (Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper) to work his magic and to help the band to further explore what it was capable of with an already established, branded sound. "We have a new producer and we already know who we are and what our brand is, so with this album, we decided that the boundaries we set for ourselves [are] in the past. We would cut that barbed wire and explore beyond those fences" Ritch said.

Exploring beyond those fences and cutting that barbed wire meant creating what the band calls "heart songs." Rather than saddle them with a generic term like "ballad," Texas Hippie Coalition chose to call 'em "heart songs" because they touch the listener's ticker. "They take you even deeper into the heart and soul, and into the deeper darkness," Ritch admitted. He even referenced his biggest musical hero's ability to vacillate between the dark and the light. "Johnny Cash could still let you inside and see the darkness of the man," Ritch pointed out. "Johnny Cash was not just wearing black on the outside. There are parts of him that are black, and that same idea comes across on this album for us."

Even with "heart songs," Ritch issues a Surgeon General's warning of sorts. "This album here takes you on a harder, longer drive, right into a brick wall. Strap yourself in." Isn't that the best type of rock 'n' roll there is?

Speaking about specific songs on Peacemaker, he said that the visceral "'Damn You to Hell' is maybe the heaviest song we've written. It has such drive and intensity that it's like a mixed martial arts event, like UFC pay per view, like someone being grounded and pounded on." You may emerge feeling like you've been administered a beating, but as evidenced in Fight Club, you can come out the other side cleansed and stronger from the catharsis.

"Think Of Me" is admittedly "the closest thing to a love song that this band would ever do. It is a great song. It goes beyond those boundaries." Other songs that typify Red Dirt Metal include "8 Seconds" and "You Ain't Seen Me," which Ritch admits is "as southern-fried as Lynyrd Skynyrd and Molly Hatchet."

The title song is a brilliantly written tune, told from the perspective of a gun. Ritch said, "I thought, 'What would that gun say to people?'" That's not something you come across every day in rock music, and it's further evidence of how Texas Hippie Coalition are rewriting the rule book. The song boasts the lyrics, "I just whooped the devil's ass / And you ain't seen nothing if Jesus asks / It wasn't nothing for him to see / This is all between God and me." See what we mean about the outlaw spirit? It's wholly present in every note, riff and lyric of Peacemaker.

Essentially, Peacemaker, which follows the previous albums The Pride of Texas and Rollin', is like one of those out-of-control parties that will find you without a girlfriend and with pissed off family members the very next day, but you'll be gawking over your killer new tattoo while nursing an awful hangover. It's the stuff of life, the good time ingredient that you can't manufacture or fake. It comes from a very real place, thanks to Texas Hippie Coalition's ability to understand their influences and mine them into something wholly unique.
Kobra and the Lotus
Kobra and the Lotus
Passion…It can move mountains and change lives; ignite the imagination and turn dreams into reality. Canadian rock vocalist Kobra Paige has it and for her anything is possible…
As a student, her passion for singing, piano, guitar and musical theatre would open up a path to metal, a path that would see years of classical training giving way to a heavier genre of music every bit as demanding and expressive in terms of creativity, dedication and applied talent. Kobra has established a lifestyle, a 100 per cent no-compromise commitment to the metal world's way of life.
It was a headline show by Judas Priest at the 22,000-capacity Saddledome in Calgary, Canada, that lit the fuse; a life-defining moment from which there would be no turning back… "It was the first time I'd been to a concert on that scale," recalls Kobra, "and it was quite overwhelming. The atmosphere, the energy, the noise, the bond between the fans, and then of course the band themselves. I loved the twin-guitar set-up, but it was Rob Halford that grabbed my attention the most – he's an iconic frontman, and he's been truly influential in defining what heavy metal has become."
Kobra didn't just get a kick out of seeing Halford live and in the flesh; she now knew what she wanted to do in life. The die was cast...in METAL. So, out with the classical, the operatic and all things symphonic; in with the leather and the studs, and the burning desire to walk, write and sing her way down the metal brick road.
"I became addicted to the whole culture of the music straight away," recalls Kobra. "I love the fantasy side of things, and if I didn't keep a close eye on myself I could easily end up wielding a sword and wearing a suit of armour. Heavy metal has an escapist quality, which is something the fans love. It's larger-than-life, bombastic and full of great imagery, and I'm very comfortable with that tradition. It suits my personality and the way I see the world."
Of course, it's one thing to want to grab said world by the balls and quite another to actually do it. Not an easy task, and certainly not for everybody. Kobra set to work scouring the scene for musicians of equal ambition and intent, the breakthrough arriving when she responded to an advertisement in a local Calgary paper.
The ad wasn't seeking a singer; it was seeking a drummer – but it carried the right tone and reference points. Taking the attitude of nothing ventured, nothing gained, Kobra was bent on challenging whoever happened to be the singer, which turned out to be the guitarist pulling double duty. Microphone and spotlight were hers for the taking, and Kobra didn't hesitate.
The new band sharpened its fangs on classic metal covers such as Iron Maiden's 'Aces High', but from the very beginning – on the first day of rehearsals, in fact – original material began to take shape. Finally, Kobra was on a path that made sense; finding her true voice, working with players committed to the same cause, and choosing a band name that had more to support it than a dictionary and a pin…
"The original name was just Lotus, because it has a mystical feel," explains Kobra. "I like the symbolism that it conjures up, with the lotus being a flower that grows in muddy water then rises above the surface to bloom. That really ties in with the lyrics I write, which are generally to do with light shining out of dark places, but by and large the theme is one of hope, of the purity of heart and mind as represented by the lotus.
"Later, we extended the name to Kobra And The Lotus because I also like the idea of a fearless and powerful creature, and now I'm happy with the balance. We're Kobra And The Lotus, and it feels right."
If success is measured by the number of tours under an artist's belt, Kobra And The Lotus are already near the top of the mountain. And climbing. Since 2012, the band has logged several thousand kilometres of travel, playing club, arena and festival stages around the world. They have torn up the main stages at major international festivals, including Sonisphere (Spain), Download (UK), Bloodstock (UK), Hellfest (France), Graspop (Netherlands), Gods Of Metal (Italy) and many more, and opened up for Judas Priest at the legendary Hammersmith Apollo (London, UK).
"It was surreal opening for Judas Priest in London," recalls Kobra. "It felt like me coming full circle to where this whole story started. It was another launch point, and now I'm ready to take my story forward as part of the next generation of metal musicians…"
All of this roadwork has prepared them for what promises to be the most intense touring cycle of their career, once their new album, 'High Priestess', is unleashed. "We've been going non-stop, but it's the way it has to be," reflects Kobra. "I love playing live. It's a crucial form of enjoyment for us, and that feeling has to be there if you're going to make this work. I've only known one thing and that's touring. Performing live is what makes us able to sustain ourselves."
Following their North American tour in August 2013, Kobra and guitarist Jasio Kulakowski made a beeline for Groovemaster Recording Studio in Chicago, spending the next two months with Grammy Award nominated producer Johnny K (Megadeth, Three Doors Down, Disturbed, etc.), hammering out the songs that would become the 'High Priestess' album. "It was exhausting," admits Kobra, "but it was certainly a challenge, and the best studio experience I've had so far."
Simply, 'High Priestess' showcases Kobra And The Lotus' ongoing rise as a hungry, no-nonsense metal band founded on classic values. Kobra's vocal evolution includes a flooring new mid-range voice now highlighted alongside her signature highs and lows. Kulakowski, meanwhile, dominates as a riff-heavy shredder with progressive undertones, turning in songs steeped in the realms of classic Judas Priest, Megadeth, Blind Guardian, Death Angel and Metallica. 'High Priestess' is a high-energy assault, dynamic and original, with anthems such as 'Battle Of Wrath', 'Hold On' (both revealing fresh vocal territory), lead metal radio / lyric video track 'I Am, I Am', and the over-the-top theatrical show-stopper, 'Lost In The Shadows', making it clear just how high the bar has been raised.
Kobra declares, "'High Priestess' is a straight-up expression of the music coming out of us. We wrote from the soul. Jasio and I came up with half of the album together, I wrote the title track alone, and there was material that was already there that I'd written with other people. I also wrote some material with Johnny in the studio ('I Am I Am', 'Battle Of Wrath') because I felt so inspired working with him. The album is a collaborative mix."
The band took the 'all killer, no filler' approach to piecing 'High Priestess' together, keeping the final track-list to a lean 'n' mean 10 songs rather than trying to bludgeon the listener with 75-plus minutes of music. Kobra avows, "If you have 13 or 14 tracks on an album you run the risk of watering it down with weaker material. We try to avoid that as much as possible."
On top of releasing their strongest album to date, Kobra And The Lotus are kicking off what looks set to be their loudest 'n' proudest era yet by supporting KISS and Def Leppard across North America this summer. Having already shared stages with a wide variety of acts over the past two years, including Sonata Arctica, Fear Factory, Black Label Society, Steel Panther and Buckcherry, Kobra And The Lotus are confident about converting audiences every night…
"The mix of bands we've toured with is crazy, but it's been awesome," concludes Kobra. "I think it's really important to get out of your niche and play to people who might not normally be exposed to your music. This is a really exciting time for us and I'm stoked by the challenge of playing to the KISS and Def Leppard faithful."
Venue Information:
Montage Music Hall
50 Chestnut St.
Rochester, NY, 14604
http://www.themontagemusichall.com/