Over the course of over 16 years, half a dozen albums, and more metric shifts than you can shake a stick at, the ever-evolving DREADNAUGHT has carved out a musical niche unlike any other. This is because, very simply, we're totally and utterly deranged.
And I can say this for the equally simple reason that I'm partly to blame.
Today, the perpetually idiosyncratic DREADNAUGHT – bassist BOB LORD (the guy writing this), drummer RICK HABIB , and guitarist JUSTIN WALTON – is working on its first new album in 5 years despite the fact that we’ve continued to perform, compose, and create without pause, in the words that the late great JOHN UPDIKE uttered about us, “the sound of terror.” Utterly uncompromising multi-movement prog-rock opuses, gritty bar-band Americana, experimental electronic music, even music for orchestra... we’ve done just about everything a band can do, and stuck to our guns the whole way.
Our first 10 years were wild ones, morphing from a too-out-there-to-be-enjoyable group of young musicians at the University of New Hampshire in 1996 into an avant-rock battering ram with release of the award-winning, genre-nuking The American Standard in 2001. When I found myself overdubbing flamenco-style clapping onto a track with dance-style drum loops, nylon-string guitar, bass (intentionally, of course) distorted so badly that the actual notes were hard to hear, keyboards that sounded like KERRY MINNEAR busted something in his amp in a satin-laden haze and kept playing, all presented like a 1957-era doo-wop group sucked into 2057 via a heretofore unknown wormhole… that’s when I knew it was magic.
Our subsequent releases were no more normal and just as logically bizarre. From the fully instrumental, fusioned-up Americana- and electronic-inspired Musica En Flagrante to the spastic, unadorned trio-only musical explosions of Live At Mojo to the more vocally-based yet no less outlandish new material on the double-disc semi-retrospective hybrid High heat & Chin Music, we’ve explored every nook and cranny that our collective hearts desired.
In between were some unusual and enjoyable gigs, like a commissioned cover of THE WHO’s “Going Mobile” for an advertising campaign, some music for independent films, a recording of a newly-arranged and orchestrated version of a track from The American Standard by the MORAVIAN PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA, and the theme song for New Hampshire Public Radio's flagship program The Exchange. If nothing else, we know how to have our cake and eat it too.
Dreadnaught with Madeleine Albright
Since 2005, DREADNAUGHT has been the house band for The Music Hall/New Hampshire Public radio series Writers On A New England Stage, and we've composed and arranged music for authors such as DAN BROWN (who sat in on piano with us for a ripping rendition of “Birthday” by the BEATLES), the aforementioned John Updike, STEPHEN KING, MADELEINE ALBRIGHT, KEN BURNS, ALAN ALDA, E.L DOCTOROW, ELMORE LEONARD, BARBARA WALTERS, and NEIL GAIMAN, among others. The program is heard by hundreds of thousands of listeners across New England and has earned us a reputation as a fun, nice, audience-friendly musical group… and how we’ve pulled the wool over everyone’s eyes is way, way beyond me.
Sure, we’ve done our own things over the years too – Justin recently put out a great solo album to wonderful reviews called It Takes A Toll on which he played every single instrument (and there were many!), I’ve produced around a couple hundred albums of orchestral and chamber music (as well as an album called Method Music by LAWRENCE BALL, a LIFEHOUSE-related release I co-produced with PETE TOWNSHEND of The Who) for my company PARMA Recordings, and Rick has drummed in the studio and on stage with a wide variety of acts (including the comedian JUSTON McKINNEY, guitar tech writer DAVE HUNTER, and my very old friend and DREADNAUGHT co-founder ED JURDI of the Austin-based BAND OF HEATHENS) – but the gravitational pull of this project simply will not let us out of its orbit.
Dreadnaught with Tony Levin
We've played in more than half the states of the union and along the way have been privileged to share the stage with artists (and deep band influences) like JOHN ENTWISTLE, TONY LEVIN, NRBQ, and a ton of others. Our records have won awards and we've won acclaim, but nothing interests us as much as just doing what we love to do: make music that confounds every single expectation one could possibly have.
DREADNAUGHT's ProgDay Preshow performance will feature material from the upcoming release Hard Chargin', due out in 2014. The band has been releasing selected tracks available for streaming this summer, and will have collected tracks available as an EP at their show at Local 506.
On The Web:
Music To Check Out:
from the upcoming album Hard Chargin':
from The American Standard:• "Ballbuster"
• "Derby Days"
from Una Vez Mas:
from Musica En Flagrante:
To hear music from all of this year's bands,
"Talk about nuts – who else would have the stones to kick off their CD with a reference to Isaac Asimov ('R. Daneel Olivaw') by bouncing tinkling ivories over a thudding industrial beat? Or to name a song after a feisty freshwater game fish ('Northern Pike'), haul out that industrial beat and layer it over with whimsical harmonica, twangy blues guitar, and zippy strings? Gots to be Dreadnaught."
"This is Art. This is the realization of a dream. This is intention and ambition married to execution and creativity... This is lights-off, lying on your bed, staring into the blackness stuff. Or something to have weird sex by. Your call."
"Country-rock, avant-garde blues, prog-funk, experimental rock – any and all of these labels are accurate, yet each only begins to brush the surface of the band's style."
"[Musica En Flagrante] is a modern masterpiece of progressive rock, no doubt about it,...It just has it all from phenomenal playing, great sesibility, varied instrumentation, out of this world arrangements and just about 5 tons of creativity....5+ stars!!"
"...Introducing the best band you've never heard in your life... This musically insane 3-piece band...has unleashed a sound and style on an unsuspecting prog world that will not just knock your socks off, it will blow them across the room....All killer, no filler. Melody after melody will start to tattoo themselves to your brain. You will hear new things with every listen..."