Most people have obviously heard of the psychedelic metal/hard rock band Monster Magnet, who have been an influential part of the scene for many years now. However, two members of the band, drummer Bob Pantella and bassist Jim Baglino, now have a side project called Riotgod and have just released their self-titled debut, which warrants your attention. Sea of Tranquility Staff Writer Jeff B caught up with Bob Pantella recently to talk about the formation of the band and their exciting new CD.
Jeff B: Congratulations on the release of your self titled debut!
How would you describe your sound on this album to anyone who's not familiar?
Bob Pantella: Thanks Jeff, I appreciate the congrats. Let me start by saying that the sound of Riotgod definately reflects our influences that we grew up listening
to. Sabbath, Zep, Purple and there is no denying that. Obviously Monster Magnet is a big influence also, which myself and Jim Baglino (bassist) both play for. Sunshine, the vocalist reminds me of a cross between Chris Cornell and Freddy Mercury. The music is hard rock with a little bit of a psych edge.
JB: Are there any notable experiences in the recording studio you would like to share?
BP: Well all the recording was done at my own studio in New Jersey, which makes writing and the recording process very convenient to say the least. It's nice to be able to wake up at 3 am when you have an idea and be able to hear it within an hour or so. Well at least a rough sketch of it anyway. Oh did I mention it was free......Thats the best part.
JB: How was Riotgod formed? Do you know each other from any past band
BP: Well RG formed in 2007 officially, but initially me and Jim had talked about doing this since about 2005. When Monster Magnet took a little hiatis in 2006, we took the opportunity to find the right guys and get it off the ground. Sunshine was someone I had known for 20 years and he's the first guy I thought of. We had worked together in the past, about 2002 or 2003, so I knew what it was like writing with him. Garrett Sweeny,(guitar), was someone I also had known for 15 years or so and hadn't seen him in a while. I was out one night to go see him play in his cover band and within 2 minutes I knew he was the guy. It was defintely a no brainer. After that the ball stated rolling pretty
JB: Your debut album was released on Metalville Records. Did they approach you, or did you approach them?
BP: Well it's kind of funny we sort of found each other at the same time. I was at our radio promoter's office on the phone with a friend and the radio promtor happened to be on the phone with the guy from Metalville. As you probably know, It's a small world and we all have a lot of mutual friends. So I got on the phone with the guiy from Metalville
and about 3 months later we had a contract. It probably would have been sooner, but the next day I was leaving for a 7 week Euro tour with Monster Magnet.
JB: Do you guys prefer playing in a live or studio setting?
BP: Well it's funny we really love both. Being in the studio is a lot of fun because you get to create and hear the results rather quick. It's a lot of fun experimenting with sounds and trying new mic techniques We all get into all the gear and all the options we have. Trying not get too enveloped in it at the same time, and then there is all the waiting around.......Which brings me to the live thing. Live is a whole other animal. You get to be one. There's nothing like letting it all out in front of thousands of people and they give it right back to you instantly. It's almost like having an orgasm. Let me put it this way, being in the studio is like picking up a woman at a bar, which is a lot of fun. Playing live is like taking her home and doing, well, you know.
JB: Is there a favorite track on the new album?
BP: I would say the first song on the album,(Light of the Sun), is my favorite, because it's the first song we ever wrote. I also like "Crusader" just because it's short, simple and it rocks.
JB: Who would you say are your main musical influences?
BP: Definately Sabbath, Zep(John Bonham.....cmon!!!) Purple, old Aerosmith(73-78). Thats pretty much the meat and potato's of the influences for Riotgod. Personally we all like a wide range of music fom early 70s funk, punk, jazz, motown, prog rock, you name it......
JB: How would you describe Riotgod's songwriting process?
BP:Typically I'll write the music, since I have a recording studio, it's convenient, and the I'll give the music to Sunshine and he'll do his thing,(vocal melody and lyrics), then if it's worth continuing we'll bring in Garrett to do the leads and finishing touches. I wound
up playing most of the guitars and bass on the record exept for a few songs "Crusader, "Time is now" and "Pinata" I didnt play any leads, thats not my specialty. When it comes to that, I'm all thumbs.......For the next record we'll probably try a different approach, just to keep it interesting. Why not.....
JB: What's your favorite thing about Riotgod's music?
BP: My favorite thing about the music is that it can be anything we want it to be. There are no rules. We can experiment as much as we want. I really don't know where it's gonna go next, and I like that.
JB: Thanks for taking the time to do this interview, and I wish you all the best of luck!
BP: Thank you so much for listening. We'll be on tour in Europe in Sept of 2010, so if you're around come and check it out.......
(Click here to read our review of Riotgod