This year marks the fifth and final festival of The Eye of the Stoned Goat. To celebrate this great run of events, organizer Brendan Burns has lined up a fantastic two-day array of bands in Long Island at the Amityville Music Hall. One of its native sons is the five-piece, blue collar stoner-doom outfit Borgo Pass, who have developed quite a following in “Strong Island,” as the locals call it. BillyGoat caught up with the rowdy lot and the two had a friendly exchange of words. Borgo Pass will be playing on opening night of EOTSG. You won’t want to miss this amazing performance!
You five have been playing for a long time, since the 90’s right?
Tommy: You are correct. We’ve outlasted most marriages, and we’re catching up to the Rolling Stones.
Joe: Borgo Pass actually started as a Black Sabbath cover band in the 90’s. After several lineup changes and two CDs, this lineup of Borgo released our first CD in 2001. We’ve been going strong ever since.
Bet there have been a lot of ups and downs during the last couple decades. How have you managed to hang tight as a band?
Jimmy: We are all great friends, adults and respect the fact that we have created a Frankenstein that has stood the test of time. We still have fun and play a lot of relevant shows with the occasional national opening slot. It kinda never is a chore.
Paul Ups and downs definitely sums up the past 20 plus years of Borgo Pass! I prefer to remember the ups, but it’s hard not to remember the downs. The disappointments and mistakes have been learning lessons and we have become a stronger band because of it. I believe that we have survived all of these years because of our love and respect for each other and our universal love of writing, playing and performing music. We literally have music in our veins and bleed Borgo Pass!
Tommy: Hell yea that’s just life in itself, but the ups most definitely outweigh the downs.
You state that Black Sabbath is one of your main influences. What do you think of the relatively recent revival of doom metal and stoner rock on a global scale?
Joe: Black Sabbath was the common denominator that brought the five of us together. We all have different influences, but Sabbath was the one band that we all agree had the strongest effect on us musically.
It’s refreshing to see the stoner-doom scene finally finding it’s place in the U.S. music scene. This scene was already catching on in Europe, but it’s past due to give these bands some recognition over here. In a small way, I kinda miss being able to check out, for example, Weedeater in a small club like CBGB and just chilling with 30 people enjoying the tunes. Now bands like Sleep are selling out every room they play!
With past festivals like the Stoner Hands Of Doom Fest, Emissions Fest, and now Eye Of The Stoned Goat and Psycho California, it’s great to finally see people coming in droves to hear some great bands! Just like Roadburn and DesertFest in Europe, people are supporting the U.S. scene like never before.
Jimmy: Black Sabbath for me is the battery of it all. it just doesn’t get more personal, original, or heavy. It’s almost like it’s magical, listening to Sabbath since I was a child. I think it’s a fresh revival of bands some really good and some trying too hard to play slow with a lack there of vocals and stage presence especially with the singers. That’s just me from what I have seen of the new breed of cadre. I mean, Ozzy was insane and the band looked as angry as a pitbull raging when they played. I like a newer band called Pallbearer from Arkansas, who have a great vibe and sound. I also still love DOWN and Corrosion of Conformity and Crowbar, as well, who have been carrying the baton for many years. I miss Type O Negative a lot.
Tommy: Black Sabbath is THE main reason we ever started this band, there are other reasons but Black Sabbath is number one! I’m happy to see a revival of doom and stoner rock, given all of the forced-fed crap that’s out there. It’s about time the people started thinking for themselves and actually enjoy real music with real emotion and raw feeling. I still like to listen to the heavy local acts. I won’t ever tell them, but I really dig. John Wilkes Booth…ya know what…? F THE BOOTH!!!…They Rock!
What has been the biggest challenge in promoting Borgo Pass to new listeners in t4his brave new world of DIY marketing?
Jimmy: We have a unique, heavy sound with many elements. It’s been tough to sell it to the corporate establishment, as they want something cookie cutter. I call us very original and extremely marketable heavy music that could reach many different sub-genres of fans.
Tommy: God awful pop music is still our biggest enemy. That is our biggest challenge.
Speaking of the new listener, what song and album would you recommend a person start with if they want to get to know the band?
Jimmy: Our Deadwater album, starting with the first track: “Rotted Chain.”
Paul: If someone were to ask me what song or record of ours to listen to first, I would recommend listening to ‘Slightly Damaged’ (2002), our first recording with Jimmy on vocals and them listen to our following recordings, 'Nervosa’ (2005) and then 'Deadwater’ (2011) so that the listener can hear how we’ve grown and matured as song writers over the years.
Tell us where you see the band at the end of this decade. Hell, why not 20 years from now, too?
Jimmy: Get pumped, start regionally touring again, snag a good Euro tour, then the festival circuit, and then back to the rest of the States. Still jamming as long as it’s fun and people are coming out as they are. Borgo has always been a lost diamond in the rough for me.
Tommy: I think Jimmy had said it best with this pic…
…only kidding, of course. Shitty bars are why we still exist and we still love 'em!!!
Thanks for taking time to share with the readers of Doomed & Stoned! We look forward to meeting you at The Eye of the Stoned Goat in your hometown of Long Island!
Tommy: Borgo Fucking Pass can’t wait to tear it up at EOTSG5 and meeting you all again for the first time. Long Island will never forget THE EYE OF THE STONED GOAT!!!
I am thrilled to introduce Larkspur Bungalow to the Pacific Northwest in June. The book signing venues are intentionally unconventional, as this writer prides herself on marching to the beat of her own drum! You might notice that there is not one bookstore in the bunch. Nope! The locations were hand~picked by me and the owners have been lovely to share their space for a series of unique events.
I also choose to believe that Meredith would regularly scour the stellar collection of treasures in each and every one of these beautiful boutiques. Who’s Meredith? You’ll know once you read Larkspur Bungalow!
Wednesday June 3rd 4~8 pm
Salem’s First Wednesday
Where the Sidewalk Begins
223 Commercial Street NE
20% of the sales from the June 3rd event will be donated to the Salem~Keizer Educational Foundation
One of relatively new face in the festival circuit is the New York band Moon Tooth. Defying classifications, perhaps the one thing you can say about the band is they like to have fun - and a lot of it! - not just on the stage, but with the music they write and record. Our East Coast photographer Des Tröyer recently had the opportunity to snap them live at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, opening for Weedeater and King Parrot. Here, he trades words with Nick Lee (guitar & vocals), Ray Marte (drums & vocals), John Carbone (vocals & percussion) and Vin Romanelli (bass), just four weeks away from their appearance at The Eye of the Stoned Goat V in Long Island. (BillyGoat)
Would you please tell our readers how Moon Tooth was formed?
Nick Lee: Ray and I started playing music together in middle school. By the time we were 15, we were in a dedicated project with our friend Tom Moran called Exemption. We spent the next seven years self-releasing three albums, booking DIY tours, and making friends up and down the East Coast. In 2011 Tom decided he wanted to move on to different styles of music and we played our last show together at The Charleston in Brooklyn. Determined not to waste any time, Ray and I immediately began writing material for what would become the Freaks EP.
John Carbone and Vin Romanelli were two of our good friends who I had played with in other bands and who were fans of Exemption. They quickly came to tell us they wanted in on whatever Ray and I were doing next and before long we were getting together constantly, working on what would become Moon Tooth. We played our first show in December of 2012 and hit the ground running, playing 100 shows in our first year, DIY touring, and writing together non-stop.
Would you mind telling us how you arrived at the name Moon Tooth for the band?
Nick: I wish we had a better story for this question. (laughs) Choosing a name took a long time and most of that process involved reaching an elevated state of consciousness and trying to make each other laugh with the strangest or dumbest thing we could think of. Ultimately Moon Tooth stuck because we felt it reflected both the aggressiveness and spaciness of the music simultaneously. We also knew aesthetically it would look cool in logos.
Can you please tell our readers the Artists that made you decide that you wanted to be a musician and what musicians have influenced your playing style?
John Carbone: Tool, Incubus, Coheed and Cambria, Mars Volta, Pearls and Brass, Queens of the Stone Age, Kings of Leon, Radiohead, Bon Iver, Grizzly Bear, Fleet Foxes, Dirty Projectors, all the classics: Zep, Floyd, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Robert Johnson. Blues and R&B singers really speak to me the most.
Nick: I started playing guitar when I was six years old. My first big influence was Metallica, specifically James Hetfield’s riffs and songwriting. My family also brought me up on plenty of Sabbath, AC/DC, Motörhead, Van Halen, Allman Bros, Stevie Ray Vaughan. My next huge influence was Dimebag Darrell - and Pantera, in general, had a huge effect on the way Ray and I play together. Their ability to groove while still playing incredibly tight was a big deal for us and still is. My biggest influence, though, is Mike Flyntz who had played for Riot since 1988. He was my teacher for ten years and essentially taught me everything I know, from theory to chops. He is a criminally unsung lead guitar player and one of the most versatile players I’ve ever seen.
Does the band have a certain system or routine in the process of writing a Moon Tooth song? Do you start with the music and then add lyrics or vice/versa?
John: Music first. It’ll start with a riff from Nick, sometimes Ray. I’ll sit with it for a while and either write lyrics that feel appropriate for the vibe of the song (and obviously what’s going on in my life) or I’ll go through older poems/bits of writing and see if one of them fits the music.
Nick: Our songwriting process is still evolving. I had most of the music and lyrics to the Freaks EP written before we were even called Moon Tooth. A few of those songs I had started writing before Exemption had broken up. John came in and took my melodies and brought them to a new place that I would never have been able to, but now with this full-length we’re getting prepared to release the process has changed drastically. Ray is also a killer guitar player and bass player and contributed a lot of material to this new album. There are several songs on this album where Ray wrote the entirety of the music, there are a bunch that I wrote, and more that we wrote together.
Typically, one of us will come in with a few riffs or a fully completed song and start jamming it together while someone gets the lyrics and melodies together. We have really let John Carbone loose on this album. The majority of the melodies and lyrics on this new album are of John’s creation. He is an incredibly talented singer and is very passionate about creativity. His contribution has definitely taken this album to a whole new place and we are very excited for people to hear what John can really do.
Since the release of the ‘Freaks’ EP on July 24th, 2013, the band has been traveling and playing live to promote it. Are you happy with the results of the sales of the EP and your merchandise?
Nick: Definitely! It’s such a cool thing to wake up everyday to emails of people all over the world buying downloads or merch from our online store. I truly love walking to the post office with a bag full of orders on my back. Anytime we get off tour or get named on one of the bigger metal blogs, our sales jump up and it makes me extremely proud, not for the few dollars we’re making, but just for knowing that the songs are resonating with people strongly enough to make them want to support us without having met us.
John: Yeah, of course that’s always what you’d want; but going further, I’m happier about the crowds at shows. Seeing a following develop in your home and surrounding towns is awesome. Seeing the crowds in different states multiply every time we run through is even more amazing. And now the most amazing thing yet (from this last tour) was seeing people who’ve never seen us before, but heard about us through Metal Sucks or Metal Injection, come out to see us. Some of them told us they drove two hours to see us. This is in cities we’ve never been to before. We’ve worked our asses off touring and had a blast in the process. Its outstanding to see a national audience developing.
How long have you been working on your debut full-length album?
Nick: We’re coming up on nine months now! We are all just painstakingly attentive to detail and we have not been cutting corners to get what we want. We recorded the drums without a click, never had less than three tube amps going for a single rhythm guitar track, and no auto-tune, copy-and-paste, or any studio tricks whatsoever to get what we wanted. We just wanted to keep the humanity of the musicians alive on this album and it’s been a process but it’s been worth it. It sounds massive and it sounds alive!
You just completed your first Southern Tour, how did that all go down? Do you have any untold funny stories that took place on the tour?
Nick: It started with Metal Injection being cool enough to add us to their SXSW showcase. Jake Zimmerman at the Agency Group and I worked together to book the rest of the two weeks in a circle through the south and back up to New York and it was an incredible experience!
John starting a sword fight with dollar store foam swords during our first song at SXSW and nearly getting banned from a venue in SC for jumping over the bar with a sword, Ray getting pulled over in Texas and proceeding to talk to the cop about the benefits and drawbacks of Protools Vs. Fruity Loops for recording software, John shaving his head in the streets of Austin during our second show at SX, and our friend Paul discovering a seriously fucked up SXSW patron in the back seat of his car at a parking garage in the wee hours of the morning… All moments I will remember forever.
John: I have a lot of mid song antics I do to get the crowd involved, laughing and having fun. For the SXSW Metal Injection showcase, I got a bunch of foam swords and led the crowd in a giant sword fight. We got on another official SXSW show a day later so to change it up for that one, I ran out into the street and started to shave my head, yelling for everyone to come and see the greatest show on earth. The following four shows/cities, I had people in the crowd come up and shave another part of my head, mid song. The goal is to give people a show they wont forget. I think the music and energy in the performance do that well enough, but I have the luxury of not having to worry about an instrument. And when there’s a part with no vocals, I’d rather do something fun and engaging than stand there and play air guitar.
SNEAK PEEK! :) I’m in cartoon fever! I sketching my new MARSart in cartoon style with @jaredleto and his cute billy goat hat! ;) I love it! It’s coming #SOON! XD Are you curious? :D #MARSart #inprocess #sketch #jaredleto #ECHELON #scribble #thirtysecondstomars #30SecondsToMars #cute #chibi #cartoon #secret #nonsense #sneakpeek #hat #billygoat #curious
I stated last week in my Hyperwulff review that 2015 will be remembered for many things, musically speaking, such as the prolific range of doom metal coming out of Italy, just as Sweden has had prominence in producing great bands in year’s past. I dubbed this phenomenon “Italy’s Revenge.”
Today, I’m seeing another trend that cannot be denied and shows no less signs of slowing down: let’s call it The Brazilian Invasion!“ We’ve seen stellar offerings from Saturndust and Space Guerrilla, along with Red Mess, just to name a few (there are many, many more!).
QUARTO ASTRAL is the latest in a number of very talented, passionate, and groovy stoner-psycho rock and grunge-doom metal bands that have emerged from all across the lush green land of Brasil (in particular, Candeias and Pernambuco). I dig this EP so much because the band is so skills, so tight, in handling a very difficult genre. Singing in both English and Portuguese (reminding me vocally, in the first song, of Silver Chair’s Daniel Jones) and playing with a improvisational flair (no doubt rooted in the musician’s jazz backgrounds), these three deliver the new album ‘Quinta Dimensao’ without a hitch. Great psychedelic and space rock to lift your spirits and take you to very high places.
From “World’s of Wonder” Poor Billy. That hypodermic is the size of a Nevada! Ahhh Piedmont Unified school District… #worldsofwonder #billygoat #oldschooltextbooks #piedmontcalifornia #beachelementary #egbertwbeach #houghtonmifflinharcourt
#new to our #wallet range is this #purse for #women. Lots of space inside for cards, cash, makeup, keys, #iphone or #mobile. It’s secured with a magnetic clip and made from our signature #goatleather #leather #billygoat #billygoatleather #billygoatdesigns @billygoatdesigns
Didn’t realize it til 5 minutes ago, but the random parking garage I parked in this morning is next door to a #BillyGoat. If this isn’t #winning, I don’t know what is! And since it’s post #halfmarathon, it’s guilt free!!! #ChicagoLove (at Billy Goat)
My friends Kathy & Paola with their matching @billygoatdesigns satchels… each about 6 months old. They’ve already aged beautifully and they both love them. #leatherbag #vintage #satchel #handbag #bff #leather #goatleather #baglady #bagladies #billygoat #billygoatleather #twins #twoofakind (at Thy Thy 1 Vietnamese Restaurant)
“A nice way to see where a #relationship is going is to let it #unfold & #blossom as it is meant to – not as it will if we are obsessing over every move and detail.” #birdofparadise #billygoat #svargaDvidasana #nomakeup #natural #light #yoga #balance #yogaoutside #yogainside 💕