Interview with Baroness: A Reinvigorating Force

BaronessSince releasing their Red Album in 2007 and becoming underground music’s most praised band of that year, Baroness have been on a mission to “spread the word,” laughs vocalist/guitarist/artist, John Baizley. He and bandmates Summer Welch (bass), Pete Adams (guitar) and Allen Blickle (drums) have, as Baizley commemorates, been “on tour for about the past year, at least that’s what it feels like.” And with the recent departure of guitarist Brian Blickle, and the high-demand of Baizley’s artistic vision for many an album cover (see: Pig Destroyer, Darkest Hour, Torche and Skeletonwitch, among others) there may be some distractions, but nothing seems to slow down these visionaries. As we catch up with Baizley before embarking on another tour, we learn about the philosophies of Baroness, their new guitarist Pete Adams, and what to expect when seeing their free-form vision live.

Tell me about your upcoming tour with Minsk and Coliseum—they’re both Relapse bands as are you—did you choose them or was it commissioned by the label?

It wasn’t commissioned by the label. Both Coliseum and Minsk are old friends of ours from the road. We’ve been playing shows with both bands for the past four or five years and it just came together in a nice way where we get to go out on the road with some familiar faces.

Do you have any expectations or goals for this particular stint?

We try not to go out on tour with too many expectations. But as far as goals are concerned, I think we want what everybody else wants: A good, enthusiastic audience, some cool clubs and just getting around and playing music.

For those who have never seen you live, what can one expect at a Baroness show?

This is actually going to be our second tour with our brand new guitar player, Pete Adams, and even for some people that have seen us before, this should hopefully be sort of a new experience because he brings a broader palette to the table. So we changed up our set a bit. We’re doing a few bits and pieces of some cover songs of some bands that we admire, and we like to turn it up loud and hopefully get everybody moving around.

What artists/songs?

What we’ve done actually is we’ve got a few excerpts of semi-obscure songs by very well-known classic rock artists and we’re not really divulging the names of the performers, nor are we divulging the names of the songs, nor are we giving any warning when we’re playing them. We’ve just kind of slipped them into some key moments in our set.

Will there be a visual aspect to go along with the music?

We’ve tried certain things out in the past, most of which at that time was a little ungainly for the size clubs we were playing and a little unwieldy to be dragging around in a trailer. We still travel in a small van with a small trailer and unfortunately at this time we haven’t fully developed some of the visual stuff, but I would say in the near future, definitely by the time the next record’s out and ready to go, we will have further developed that. But for the time being, we’re just doing a very standard, typical rock band presentation with little other than the musicians and the music.