During our recent drinking session with him at The Colorado Bar in Pasadena, Harris declines to get into the gory details, claiming he "wants to be a classy broad." Still, it's clear that while he was stuck in L.A. with no band and no money, friends he had made locally while touring over the years helped Harris get on his feet, which allowed him to form his new band, Pasadena-based hard rockers Gypsyhawk.
Revelry & Resilience, the group's sophomore album (and first for new label home Metal Blade Records), is a stunning blend of fantasy and science fiction-inspired lyrics set against a backdrop of booty-shaking Thin Lizzy-inspired heavy rock. Gypsyhawk's musical brew is a far cry from the blackened death-thrash of Harris' previous band.
"I still love extreme metal," bassist-vocalist Harris points out. "But I just got sick of seeing how much of a huge trend it became. I saw that photo of Richard Simmons wearing corpse paint, and it just made me sad. I found myself having fun more and more just going to a friend's house, drinking beers, doing tons of weed, and listening to Uriah Heep records while chilling under the black light."
Gypsyhawk guitarist Andrew Packer is also doing some drinking tonight as well. He had the same revelation after starting work on a heavy prog-rock project rooted in history and politics. "Then one day," Packer says, "I was like...I want to play music that people will listen to in a basement, spilling beer all over each other in clouds of cigarette smoke."
While there are a couple of songs on the new album inspired by tales of partying lore ("1345"), the majority of the group's lyrics are inspired by literature (most notably George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series), as well as other subjects rarely associated with L.A. rock bands.