ABOUT BRANT BJORK–
Brant Bjork … original desert boogieman decided to find a band to back his trip. Brant and his bros bring it. Organic Rock. It grooves. It Flows. It’s psychedelic. It’s tough. It’s beautiful. It’s Classic. Brant Bjork and his live band are guerrilla rock revolutionaries… taking back the rock and letting it roll.
Brant Bjork hails from Palm Desert, California, where he began gigging at the age of 13. By high school Brant had begun Kyuss with locals Josh Homme, Chris Cockrell, (later Nick Oliveri) and John Garcia. Kyuss was signed to Elektra and became the first desert rock band to achieve international success by spearheading a musical movement that brought heavy and psychedelic sounds back to rock and roll and served as a prototype for all “desert/stoner rock”. In 1993, Brant left Kyuss and moved to Humboldt to flip pizzas and play soccer. Too much rain moved him back to his natural habitat where he started an independent record label, EL CAMINO, played drums in hardcore punk band De-Con; and played guitar with desert legend Mario Lalli in Fatso Jetson. In 1996, Bjork hooked up again with Homme, to begin the DESERT SESSIONS saga and work on what became Queens Of The Stone Age. However, Brant decided to take the road less travelled and rock with his surf buddies Fu Manchu, an adventure that took him into the studio for five records and around the world in four years.
Feeling the need to embark on his own personal musical journey, in 1999 Brant released his first solo record, JALAMANTA, on premier independent label, MAN’s RUIN. (Re-released in 2003 on DUNA RECORDS.) This landscape record certainly has underlying rock elements, but is more of an embodiment of fluidity in motion between cool jazz, break beats and Rasta grooves. Bjork plays all of the instruments on the record and sings with such a quiet soul and conviction it not only confirms Bjork as one of the baddest rock drummers of our time, but also legitimises him as a premier talent on all levels. Bjork’s follow-up and heaviest record, CH’E, was recorded and mixed in three days with Alfredo Hernandez (drums) and Dave Dinsmore (bass), and truly captures Brant’s classic rock & roll roots. In 2002, Brant released his third solo record, BRANT BJORK AND THE OPERATORS on DUNA RECORDS. The Operators record demonstrated Brant’s capabilities indicative of his formative years being spent in the 80’s underground and creates a low-brow, hi-fi approach to traditional new wave. This record convinces us that Cheech & Chong and The Cars must have had a love child… named Brant Bjork.
On Bjork’s fourth solo record, KEEP YOUR COOL, Brant rocks, swings and soars to new heights by cutting through the petty and getting back to the sweaty. This record takes you from insightful, unconcealed testimonials to getting laid in the back seat of a trans-am. With the momentum of these four highly diversified albums under his belt, Brant Bjork takes an even more interesting turn with his latest and most introspective and laid-back record to date, LOCAL ANGEL. With this record we are assured that Brant Bjork is first and foremost a songwriter, with drums taking a quiet backseat on this one. His bittersweet lyrics and warm vulnerability allows us to feel pains and emotions generally untapped in rock music. The first Brant Bjork and the Bros group record, SAVED BY MAGIC, was released in August 2005 on DUNA RECORDS, followed by SOMERA SOL in the Spring of 2007. In 2008 PUNK ROCK GUILT was the first release on Bjork’s new label LOW DESERT PUNK and his sixth solo release to date. Recorded in Dave Raphael’s fully analog basement studio in the outback forests of New Jersey, Punk Rock Guilt clearly expresses his need to make a no-bullshit and full-on rock record.
As a philosophy, artistically and otherwise, Brant Bjork has always stayed true to his Punk Rock roots as the corner-stone of his creative energy. “To do your own thing, your own way, for your own reasons”. Being an independent artist with no shame and a keen sense of humor, Brant Bjork took the term Punk Rock Guilt and simply let it represent his personal Rock-n-Roll freedom.
In March 2010, a new album called GODS AND GODDESSES was released on LOW DESERT PUNK.
Brant Bjork and his band have toured for much of the past years all over Europe, The States, Canada, and Australia. Their live shows are fast becoming recognized as the best live rock and roll going and as Aussie rag put it, “The closest thing we’ll get to seeing the Hendrix Experience.”
ABOUT ROYAL THUNDER–
ROYAL THUNDER are a four-piece rock band based out of Atlanta, Georgia that seamlessly blend the elements of heavy classic rock, 90’s grunge, and forward-thinking progressive rock. Propelled by the powerfully emotional voice of frontwoman Mlny Parsonz, the guitar heroics of Josh Weaver, and the dynamic drums of Evan Diprima, ROYAL THUNDER have been described by NPR as “a revved-up Southern hard-rock that howls like Led Zeppelin astride a psychedelic unicorn” and as “magnificently compelling rock music” by Decibel Magazine. Formed in 2004 by Weaver, his brother, and his best friend, the band went through several lineup changes over the years before settling on their current lineup, which also incorporated second guitarist Will Fiore as of 2015.
In 2007, ROYAL THUNDER self-released their debut EP and started touring with Jesse Stuber on drums. By 2010, Relapse Records took notice and signed the band, beginning with an official re-release of their self-titled EP then later releasing their 2012 full-length debut, CVI. Stuber left the band after CVI was complete, replaced by drummer Lee Smith. The band toured with Lee Smith and Josh Coleman (who also joined during the making of CVI on second guitar) for a few US tours. CVI was widely praised by critics, including Rolling Stone’s David Fricke, who said that Weaver’s playing has “the meaty, base elements of early-Seventies British blues” and Metal Hammer Magazine, who stated, “through the powerhouse vocals of Mlny Parsonz and a refusal to keep their sound boxed, Royal Thunder look set to be the underground’s next big breakout stars”. Other publications such as SPIN called the album “stunning” while Revolver Magazine described it as “essential” and The Guardian called the band “elegantly powerful,” and compared them to prime Led Zeppelin.
Since current drummer Diprima joined in October 2012, the band have been heavily touring the world, including full North American and European Tours with Baroness as well as prominent US tours alongside Monster Magnet, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Pallbearer, Enslaved, Corrosion of Conformity, O’Brother and many more. The group have also played high-profile festivals including SXSW, Bonnaroo, Scion Rock Fest, Bragg Jam, Roadburn, and numerous others. In a gap in their heavy touring schedule in 2013, the band recorded CVI: A, a set of acoustic renditions of three songs from CVI. ROYAL THUNDER then entered the studio once more in January of 2014 to begin their sophomore LP, Crooked Doors which was once again recorded, produced, and engineered by Joey Jones of Aria Recording Studio, with whom the band has a long standing working and personal relationship. Crooked Doors was released worldwide in April of 2015 via Relapse Records and has been praised by dozens of high-profile publications including Stereogum, The Guardian, and NPR, the latter of which called the Atlanta band “a modern master of hard-rock.” Though they’ve been around for ten years, ROYAL THUNDER seem to have only just hit their stride — the future stands to be even more uproarious than the band’s exciting early development.
ABOUT BLACK WIZARD–
Black Wizard is a heavy metal and hard rock band from Vancouver BC, formed in 2009 between four high school friends. Founding members Adam Grant and Eugene Parkomenko – still part of the original line-up – were both working less than desirable construction jobs at the time, cranking the likes of Thin Lizzy, Deep Purple, Witch, or Electric Wizard as loud as possible to get through the days on site. Heavily motivated by Vancouver’s thick and heavy scene, full of bands like Bison and 3 Inches of Blood ruling at the time, “The Wiz” was born. Having always followed a true DIY aesthetic, Black Wizard has independently released two full length LPs and a 7″ single, selling over 5000 copies worldwide. In 2015, Black Wizard signed with Listenable Records, a label based in France, which released their third LP titled “New Waste”.
In the last few years the band has toured extensively across North America and Europe. Most recently Black Wizard spent last summer touring the US and Canada in support of Volbeat and Killswitch Engage and ended 2016 in Europe with San Francisco-based band Joy. Having shared the stage with the likes of Sleep, Uncle Acid and The Deadbeats, Red Fang, Corrosion of Conformity, The Shrine, Mos Generator, Kylesa, Weedeater, Witch, Black Mountain, Zeke, Black Breath, Yob, Pierced Arrows, Saviours, close friends in Anciients and many more over the course of seven years, there show no signs of them stopping in the near future. Currently, the band is working on their fourth LP with Bully’s Studios in New Westminster, BC, set for release through Listenable Records in September 2017.
Black Wizard is Adam Grant (Vocals / Guitar), Eugene Parkomenko (Drums), Evan Joel (Bass) and Danny Stokes (Guitar).