Boston-based band Worshipper cherry-picks the best parts of hard rock and metal from past decades to form a sound that is both classic and contemporary. On their Tee Pee Records debut album, Shadow Hymns, the band which features vocalist/guitarist John Brookhouse, drummer Dave Jarvis, bassist Bob Maloney and guitarist Alejandro Necochea, provide a master class in the art of rocking out, bashing out a bunch of songs that will get your fists pumping, your head banging and have you singing along and maybe even playing some air guitar.
Since they’re coming to 33 Golden Street in New London on December 3 with fellow Boston riff slingers Summoner, along with two of Connecticut’s finest in Buzzard Canyon and Bedroom Rehab Corporation, we decided to send Necochea some questions concerning the band’s origins, their win at the annual Rock N Roll Rumble in Boston this past April, and joys of playing kick ass rock music among other subjects.
This is one show you will not want to miss. It certainly brings the rock.
What made you decide to form the band? How did it come about?
Alejandro Necochea: John and I met at a Black Flag show and quickly figured out we were dating the same girl. Instead of fisticuffs we became friends and formed the Stone Temple Pilots. Or no… I barely remember how this got going but John and I have been floating in and out of the same circles in Boston for years and back in 2012/13 we were both in the market to make something heavy. Bob’s band had just called it quits. He pinged John. I pinged Bob. I think each of us went to Jarvis and told him he was the drummer and he didn’t protest. When it came to finding a singer John volunteered which was just fine. The four of us had worked up a good vibe and bringing in a fifth person didn’t seem appealing. There were no auditions, no long searches for a horn section, we saw a band in each other and it clicked.
What was your writing process for Shadow Hymns?
AN: It was long. We needed a grace period to get to know each other as bandmates to find our way and we wrote and rehearsed the bulk of the material for nearly a year before we played our first gig. Early in the process we would share riffs and jam them out in the rehearsal space but we also didn’t want to get bogged down by “writing in the space” eyeball-to-eyeball so often we form ideas, work on them together, work on them individually at home, then we send John on his way to work up vocals on his own. John has gotten more comfortable bringing us nearly-fleshed out songs which go through the Worshipper-machine and come out sounding like us. We all write. Everything we do is by committee. If any one of us is not feeling something it gets tossed and we try again. The most important part of the creative side of this group is making sure everyone is represented and heard and no one is marginalized. Brothers first. Business second.
What do you think is the allure of playing no nonsense trad metal?
AN: The volume. I’ve been attracted to loud guitars, riffing, solos, huge amps, and deep knee bends all my life. When we got together we had a basic blueprint of Graveyard-meets-Judas Priest with elements of modern riffing but as we got into the material it seemed clear that our vibe would emphasize volume, hooks, and arrangements not unlike records we dig right now. Touchstones like UFO, Rainbow, Priest, DP, Sabbath are obvious but we draw upon influences that are all over the place like 90’s indie rock, 60’s psych, 80’s riffing, 50’s soundtracks, etc. There is no discussion about making “traditional metal.” We simply want to make records we would buy.
What is the loud rock scene like in Boston? How do you fit in? Or Not?
AN: The scene here is great. We have so many great regional bands running in the same social circles. Bands like Gozu, Scissorfight, Roadsaw, Summoner, Rozamov, and Hey Zeus are favorites of mine. There are plenty I’m forgetting. I’m not sure if we fit in so much as we all push in the same direction. The scene is nurturing and we all support each other. It’s a win for all of us when we see our friends getting out of town, traveling, and getting opportunities to play for larger audiences. There’s a real appetite for heavy music all over the world and I’m thrilled to see bands from Boston getting some due.
What was it like winning the Rock n Roll Rumble this past April? Were you surprised?
AN: It was somewhat surreal. The Rock n Roll Rumble is a storied institution in these parts going back nearly 40 years. Just about any band from Boston you can think of has participated so having our moment as this years’ champion is monumental for us. To be honest we were completely surprised. In fact, we didn’t plan on playing beyond the preliminary round. Having won the first night we asked our friend Craig Small (ex-Waltham) to fill in on guitar for me during the competition because I took a job touring Europe with another band. Craig nailed it and the band went on to win without me. It was bittersweet for me but still a great moment for the band.
In addition were you surprised by all the nominations for the Boston Music Awards?
AN: Absolutely. It’s nice to be recognized by our peers. The people running the BMAs put on a great party and have made many changes in recent years to make sure the event is inclusive across all the different scenes here in Boston. They seem to be doing a good job of that. It’s a nice pat on the back and a good excuse to get out there and get drunk with our friends.
What is next for the band?
AN: The road. We are making a handful of regional appearances this Fall in the Northeast and then looking to get farther out of town in 2017 to Europe and parts West in the US. We are also putting the finishing touches on a new EP and plan to continue writing material for the next LP this January. All systems go.
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