Local Noise: The Motherlode Band

“A home for wayward metal heads…” That’s how The Motherlode Band describes themselves, and with good reason. They profess their allegiance to the rock spectacles of the old days, when a rock concert atMadisonSquareGardenmeant loud, heavy guitars, a larger than life persona, and a touch of the dark side. As the band will often say, “If you were there, or just wish you had been there, then The Motherlode Band is a group you’ll want to check out.”

The band is the combined effort of Freddie Richards on guitar, James Malone on vocals, bassist Brian Patrick and drummer and percussionist Andreas Rebmann. Andreas is a recent addition to the group, having replaced former drummer Steven Johannensen. Freddie, James, and Brian originally played together during the late ‘80s and into ‘90s in the original metal acts Demon Seed and Voyer. James left music behind to pursue other interests, but when metal and hard rock had a resurgence, particularly with the success of VH1 Classic and the high ratings of That Metal Show, he accepted the invitation of his former bandmates to have a reunion, and they were soon writing new material together and reviving and updating their old songs.

In the new formation, they’ve already graced stages aroundNew Jersey, including venues such as The Stone Pony and The Saint in Asbury Park, Bar A in Belmar, the Brighton Bar in Long Branch, and the Root Stock Festival.

The Motherlode Band, or TMB for short, has brought comparisons to groups such as The Cult, Danzig and Alice In Chains. “Freddie writes most of the music or arranges the basic song outlines that I come up with,” says James. “I write all of the lyrics. We record at Shorefire Studios in Long Branch with the capable assistance of our long-time friend, Joey DeMaio.”

While the band harkens back to classic metal, updated to a modern take on the genre, they also have definite leanings toward classic blues artists, much like the original heavy metal bands of the ‘60s and early ‘70s, such as Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, and Led Zeppelin, did. “The influences are all forms of metal and hard rock, from the distant past to the present, along with great American blues artists such as Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters and Sonny Boy Williamson,” James relates. Other artists they’ve listened to over the years include The Doors, Dio, Motörhead, the Scorpions, Thin Lizzy, Van Halen, and Fight, and they also like more modern groups such as Black Country Communion and Five Finger Death Punch.

The music of The Motherlode Band does, indeed, take one back to the time of heavy, riff-oriented sludge rock, with biting guitars and growling harmonic string bends. Some of the growling guitars bring to mind Randy Rhoads from his days with Ozzy Osbourne, as well as the pre-blues heavy rock Gary Moore became known for. The bass often follows the guitar to form a very heavy, unison rhythm track from which they build the songs.

The name of the band comes from one of their most striking songs, and one which always gets a strong reaction at live shows, “Motherlode,” which James describes it as the collision between “good music and bad whiskey.” Other songs that also get that kind of reaction include the show opener, “Ritual,” and another one titled “Demon Seed,” which James particularly likes doing due to the challenge it presents when trying to pull it off vocally.

The members of The Motherlode Band don’t seem motivated by fame and fortune, but rather by the reason they started playing music in the first place, back in the original incarnation of the band. As James exclaims, “To keep recording and distributing our music and to play live for as long as our fans keep showing up!”

The Motherlode Band doesn’t apologize for rocking hard, or flirting with the dark side a bit in their lyrics, music, or image. As they state in their official bio, “If you dare to join them on the journey… then let the ritual begin.”

You can get further information about the band, including their recordings and live shows, at lettheritualbegin.com. You can download their music at iTunes, Amazon and other leading music download sites.