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Catching up with Baroness

Band to play three shows at Kung Fu Necktie

Baroness is back on stage after a two-year absence, and will be playing three shows at Kung Fu Necktie Dec. 11-13. Image | Courtesy of Baroness

Baroness, Dec. 11 to 13 at Kung Fu Necktie.

Even though it’s been a minute – two years, to be exact – since Baroness released their “Gold & Grey” album, the band is now ready to tour behind it. The reason for the delay? You know it: the pandemic.

Now Baroness is playing not one but three hometown shows this month. They’ll be at Kung Fu Necktie Dec. 11-13. Get all of the details at kungfunecktie.com.

At the time of release, NPR said: “In its scope, ‘Gold & Grey’ feels like a callback to the heyday of the rock album as art object — that period in the late ’70s when a radio-friendly rock bands like Led Zeppelin released the sprawling ‘Physical Graffiti,’ and their even more heady compatriots in Yes released the monolithic ‘Tales from Topographic Oceans.’”

Baroness’ current lineup consists of John Baizley, Nick Jost, Sebastian Thomson and Gina Gleason. PW recently caught up with Philly’s own Baizley to talk about the band.

 

How long have you lived in Philly? Why do you choose to live here?

I moved back to Philadelphia in 2010, after living mainly in the South for most of my life. My family is originally from here, and I spent several years living here as a child. I’ve always loved the city, and my wife and I thought it would be a great place to move with our daughter, who was 1 at the time.

 

In addition to music, you’re also an accomplished artist. How did you get into art? Do you see a connection between your art and your music?

Ever since I was a child, I’ve had a creative drive that is difficult to ignore. I started making art at a very young age, and I’ve never stopped. I can’t help it; If I’m not creating, I don’t feel right. Visual art, music, writing… it all feels like the same thing when I’m making it. I know myself well enough to understand that I’m a neurotic person, and I live in a state of mild perpetual chaos. I use creativity to help calm myself and to find focus and meaning in the world. In the context of Baroness, I don’t see much of a distinction between the visual work and our music; it’s always seemed obvious to me that the two aspects feed one another to help create a more personal, unique finished piece of art, which can be appreciated in a more three-dimensional way as a result of their synchronization.

 

The current iteration of Baroness has been intact since 2017 when Gina came onboard. Can you talk a little about why this lineup is so successful?

I think it’s simple: We have a beautiful and genuine chemistry. We’ve become a family, whereby the trust and respect we give freely to one another helps drive us all forward personally to create things that we’d be unable to create alone. We love touring and performing live, and take it extremely seriously. Nothing feels better than working with this band to become a better songwriter, musician, artist and performer. I am thrilled after two decades to have some much-needed stability in our lineup.

 

2019’s “Grey and Gold,” the band’s sixth album, drew rave reviews. Unfortunately, you weren’t able to tour in support of it due to the pandemic. How does it feel to be back on the road before live audiences? What will your fans see when they show up for your three shows at Kung Fu Necktie?

 

It feels fantastic. Last year was awful, for all the obvious reasons, but also because the album we spent so long creating, and poured so much time and energy into, was left on the shelf while touring came to a standstill. Playing live again feels like waking up after a two-year nap. We will be playing all the music we possibly can, and most definitely supporting our last record, which didn’t get nearly the stage time it deserves. It wasn’t an easy record to make (not by a long-shot), and it would be a personal tragedy not to play these songs for people. We are going to play every last song we know at KFN, from our early EPs through to “Gold & Grey.” Personally… I can hardly wait.

 

What’s ahead for Baroness? Are there plans for a new album?

New album is in its finishing stages. We’re looking to 2022 for a release date, and (fingers crossed) a whole lot of touring after that.

 

What are the best ways for your fans to stay current with what you’re doing?

We have a website, and an Instagram account, and we probably still have a Facebook account. I’m sure our music is on Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube and a variety of websites but you know what… BUY IT AT A LOCAL INDEPENDENT MUSIC RETAILER!!! I, for one, love Main Street Music (Manayunk) and Creep Records (Philly).

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    • Eugene Zenyatta was raised on old-time Memphis 'rasslin' and strongly prefers the company of dogs to people. His greatest heartbreak came in the 2010 Breeders' Cup Classic.

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