Interview

Baroness Returns to Pittsburgh in Triumph at Mr. Smalls

On August 15th of last year, Baroness fans were not so sure the band would ever return to touring or playing music ever again.  In a bus crash near Bath, England the band and crew members of Baroness’ lives were forever changed and their fans held their breath and hoped that it would turn out well for all involved.  Nearly a year later, Baroness is back out on the road in the U.S. supporting ‘Yellow & Green’, a bit changed, a bit scarred, but not broken.  I had the great pleasure to meet with guitarist/backup vocalist Peter Adams before their show in Pittsburgh on June 14, 2013 and was met with great welcome and complete openness about the experiences of the past year.

Hanging out with Pete is somewhat akin to being around one of your best buds.  He’s  your typical guy from a blue collar background and he has that Matthew McConaughey southern drawl, sort of like McConaughey’s character Wooderson in Dazed and Confused.  When he’s not playing guitar with Baroness or with Valkyrie (with brother Jake), Pete can be found in the hills of Lexington, Virginia hunting, fishing, helping at his friends farm and basically living off the land.  He’s very down to earth, humble, and friendly, as all the guys in the band are, and we wound up spending a good two hours talking about both of our lives and a lot of what has gone of in the Baroness camp.

I met Pete about 4:30 outside of the tour bus at the venue, Mr. Smalls in Millvalle, just outside of downtown Pittsburgh.  We decided since it was a beautiful day in the ‘Burgh to just hang in the open air and conduct our interview.  Afterwards Pete asked me a bit about Pittsburgh Music Magazine and my life.  It was great to find our common bond in that he has a family full of teachers and I myself am a teacher.  Beyond the dreadful experience that he had and how Pete still feels a bit of trepidation every time the engine fires up on the bus, he would go on to let me in on the fact that Baroness would probably not make any money on the tour due to paying top money for the safest bus and the best driver; a driver which has driven for many of the greatest rock and country stars who will relate his many stories to Pete while he sits up front with him watching the road drone on.  Singer/guitar player/founder John Baizley used to sit up front, but ever since the accident in Bath, he has taken to being in the back, which is where Pete was when the crash happened , creating in effect a role reversal.

Pete and John have obviously seen a lot on the road besides their accident in their decade long career.  Some of things Pete talked at length about were the time he and John suddenly got called upon to fill in on guitar for Mastodon for a brief stretch on tour.  How scary riding in a ‘Bandwagon’ can be, especially when you have to load in at the House of Blues in L.A. (see any flattened signs there anyone?). How much respect he gained for Metallica after opening for them, especially experiencing firsthand how humble they actually are, how supportive of their openers they can be, and how they practice every night for an hour before ever going onstage.  Baroness was recently invited to the Orion Fest for the second year in a row by The Metallica guys only to be told a bit later that they had to be dropped because they were on the Fest last year and there are not supposed to be back-to-back repeats.  Undaunted, Baroness booked a pre-Orion show in Detroit and lo and behold who shows up to introduce them and hang out for the show?  You guessed it, Metallica.  Pete also talked about driving through the devastation in Oklahoma recently and how mind blowing it was, even bringing back memories of when his childhood home was destroyed by a hurricane back in South Carolina.

Listen to the following audio interview in which Pete speaks about the new guys in the band, the song writing process, ‘Yellow &Green’, working with John Baizley, going back to Europe in the fall, and whether Baroness is working on new material…

That night after the interview, Baroness let the music do the talking.  Opening up with “Take My Bones Away”, the band never, ever let up.  The beautifully combined vocals of John and Pete and their amazingly intertwined guitar patterns are truly something to behold live.  New members Sebastian Thomson on drums and Nick Jost on bass fit like a glove and seem like they have been with the band for years rather than months.  The crowd ate up every morsel being thrown at them and regularly cheered at the recognition of the first notes of each song.  Baizley was sure to thank all for the support, well wishes, cards, and phone calls in their darkest of times.  The emotion in the room was palpable, the crowd and band were overjoyed at the return of Baroness to where they belong…

(If you missed Baroness and would like to catch them in the area again you might be able to catch them on a double bill with Ghost B.C. in Cleveland at The House of Blues in Cleveland…but I don’t think those tickets will last long!)

Highlights: “Take My Bones Away”, “Eula”, “Cocainium”, “Board Up The House”

All photos © 2013 AWeldingphoto and Pittsburgh Music Magazine

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