Orgy
Orgy
MichellexStar Photography

Jay Gordon's Orgy Won't Quit

It was 24 years ago that Orgy formed right here in Los Angeles. It was the mid-1990s, and nu-metal was the hip new thing for lovers of music on the heavier end of the spectrum. Simultaneously, industrial-tinged metal bands with a penchant for the experimental, such as Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails and Fear Factory, were at their commercial zenith.

Orgy, led by Jay Gordon, married those two things together seamlessly and consequently found themselves signed to Korn’s Elementree Records. Gordon and original guitarist Amir Derakh (the latter formerly of hair rock band Rough Cutt) produced the debut Coal Chamber album, and Orgy found themselves on Korn’s Family Values tour in ’98. It was all very “of its time.”

But pretty much by the end of that decade, the age of nu-metal was over. Korn continued to flourish, as did bands such as Deftones who wanted to stretch their creative legs. Others have continued to tread water. Orgy are a tough band to nail down, though. On one hand, they never bettered the debut album, Candyass, from an artistic and certainly from a commercial standpoint. On the other, Gordon has continued to play this game by his rules.

Band members have come and gone; Gordon is the only remaining original member and, in fact, no other current member was in Orgy prior to 2011. The last full-length album, Punk Statik Paranoia, was released in 2004, though an EP, Talk Slick, came out in 2015. The fourth album, tentatively called Entropy but recently rechristened #newmusic, is on its way. But again, this is Gordon’s band. He’ll release new music when he’s good and ready.

“I think we’re calling the record #newmusic,” he says. “That’s for obvious reasons. Everybody hashtags. I was wondering what the most popular hashtags are, and you have to find ways to get yourself up in the searches, to let people know you have a record out. I think it’s a smarter move to call the record #newmusic. Every title has been done. I can come up with something astronomical and crazy as hell, but fuck it. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do sometimes. Might as well get a jump on the competition.”

That might sound insanely cynical, but the title suits both Gordon’s pragmatism and his wry sense of satire, which touches on the Orwellian. There’s truth in the idea that he seriously contemplates the business side of his art, but he’s also aware that, if he doesn’t keep his creative fires burning, it’ll all fade away anyway.

“I don’t want to rush a bunch of stuff,” Gordon says. “I’m writing with other people too, to throw some different flavors into the record, and learning a lot as I go along. I’m a single dad, so I have to keep the lights on and raise a daughter at the same time. That cuts into my Orgy time as well. We’re very capable of making very good music and we’re doing that. But I want to make sure it’s the right time. I don’t want to rush into something and just be like, ‘Here’s another record — big deal.’”

Yeah, a lot has changed in Orgy’s world since ’94. Losing key members like Derakh and guitarist Ryan Shuck was bound to impact the sound and overall vibe of the group. In Gordon, though, Orgy have a frontman and band leader who embraces change.

“I work with a lot of really talented electronic artists, DJs and stuff like that,” he says. “I learn a lot from these kids. Just watching them do their thing is really inspiring. I really get into that. They do things a different way than we used to do them. And I’m cool with that. I think our sound is evolving by way of that.”

Of course, Gordon’s personal life is very different now, too. He has a 4-year-old daughter, London Presley, and a son, Jax, who’s 13. Consequently, the subject matter that he covers on his lyrics has changed.

“I pull from different sources,” he says. “Definitely what’s currently going on in my life."

His family recently suffered a terrible tragedy, when London lost her mother to a drug overdose. Naturally, that's had a huge impact on father and daughter.

"It’s really, really tragic. That’s been a huge, horrible thing to happen. Life throws these curve balls at you and you have to overcome it and get to the next level," he says. "My focus has been on her mental stability and things like that, and that gives you some inspiration. Maybe not in the right way, but however you have to get it. There’s no shortage of drama in my life, just like anyone else. Shit happens.”

On Friday, Orgy play at the Whisky, a venue that Gordon is no stranger to.

“We’re like the Whisky house band,” he says. “I like playing wherever. It just always seems to work out with them schedule-wise. We do really well there, and it’s a cool place to play. It’s got its own vibe. Whenever we do a gig in L.A., they ask us to play the Whisky, and why not?”

Orgy will perform a mix of the old and new at the famous Sunset Strip club, and they’ll be getting ready to go on tour while preparing the new album for release. Twenty-four years might have passed since Candyass, but this Orgy shows no signs of dying down.

Orgy play with Slum Love, Slant, Octobrists, I Am Demure, Cinematica and Crackerman at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 11, at the Whisky a Go Go.

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