Come The Mountain (2001)
Homegrown Doom (2000)
Rage of Achilles Records
This Portland-based première Doom band have become a bit of an icon in the Northwest. Having toured with some of the biggest names in Stoner Rock (Spirit Caravan, Weedeater and Bongzilla to name a few) the quartet have built a steady foundation which continues to surge forward. Originally formed as a power-trio from the ashes of Iommi Stubbs and Bronze, Rob Wrong (guitars) and Nate Carson (drums) combined their unique differences to focus on a dark, articulate jam band that breathed serious fire in the depths of Hell. Kip Larson joined on bass for the band's debut EP "Homegrown Doom." The MCD was intended as a demo but once it reached the ears of UK-based Rage of Achilles Records established an underground name for the band.
An ambitious touring schedule followed putting the band on the road for weeks at a time. Wrong's Beatles, Hendrix, Sabbath influence, as well as his years of experience opening for such luminary acts as Urge Overkill, White Zombie, Sleep, Hawkwind and Raging Slab brought a level of skill to the bands live show. By the time the trio booked studio time for their next recording Carson's Candlemass, St. Vitus, Cathedral and Trouble influence was dominating the band’s sound. Johnny Belluzzi, who had recorded demos for Sacred Reich, stepped in as producer and was eventually added to the bands roster as second guitarist.
The band took all five of the demo tracks off "Homegrown Doom" and added another five originals to flesh out the disc to a full-length LP. A number of bass players rotated through eventually stabilizing with Dave Hoopaugh of Iommi Stubbs. The recording was more focused and had a wider range centering around the harmonic fusion of thickly layered doom with the warmth of a settled jam. Rob Wrong took time out of his busy schedule to speak with us about the bands rise to prominence among the underground doom crowd and what the future holds for this exceptional band.
The Cutting Edge: I was first introduced to Witch Mountain at Vyagra Music in Allentown, PA. John, the storeowner, had the EP “Homegrown Doom” cranked one day while I was there. He was shitting bricks saying it was the best thing he ever heard. I snapped up a copy for $11 bucks and through it in the car player for my hour-long drive back to Philly. Never took it out. It’s still there. The beginning of ‘Indian Passage’ still gives me goose bumps.
So I guess the most important question to start off with is…when did you cut your hair?
Thanks for the interview just kidding. Ha! Ha!
TCE: The EP was released on Rage Of Achilles records in England. How did that come about?
Rob Wrong: The Rage of Achilles deal came about after we got a few offers from different labels interested in putting out our debut. ROA was the one label that was very straight forward and our contract didn't involve a lawyer looking over it...it was for 2 albums and pretty cut and dry. The label itself seems to have turned more into a black metal roster so when our contract was complete they weren't really interested in putting out any more WM records. They were great to us and took a chance and we appreciate it!
TCE: It’s obvious your sound is derived from early Sabbath first and foremost. However I hear a similarity to Mountain “Flowers of Evil” era (1972) especially in ‘Foxy Mule.’ Then there is Mountain in your name and “Come The Mountain” as the title of the full-length. Is it me or do the mountain references add up to a big Maintain influence?
Rob: You know I love Mountain, but I have never considered myself a diehard fan of theirs, I definitely love Sabbath on the other hand. Other than that? Hendrix first and foremost, and a lot of metal - all kinds of metal...and punk rock. It's all in there for sure.
TCE: When did the band begin? How did you center on THIS direction? What does your mother think of her son playing scary music called “Stoner Rock”?
Rob: The band began with Nate and myself back in’97. Recently rounded out with Dave who I have played with since ‘94 in Iommi Stubbs, the other band we are both in. Nate and I have been the backbone from the beginning, make no mistake...and the overall style reflects that I think.
TCE: I spoke briefly to Nate (your drummer) at the Halloween show about the artwork on both the EP and CTM. Does he do all the graphic work? Is there a discussion about the art or is it left to him to represent the band.
Rob: Nate works it out.
(Editor’s note: The first Witch Mountain “Homegrown Doom” is out of print. Those with the original “classic” art are few and far between.)
TCE: Whose tits form the Mountain on the cove of CTM?
Rob: A beautiful blonde's.
TCE: Do you do most of the songwriting?
TCE: Who are your influences?
Rob: Everyone from Hendrix to Lennon to McCartney to Bruce Lee to Iommi to Roger Water and so on...the list really does go on and on and on...
TCE: What happened to Kip “Fucking” Larson? How was Dave recruited?
Rob: Kip quit, Dave was an old friend as I explained earlier. He was the right guy for the job and knows the songwriting style to a T. Expert on the matters!
TCE: You also added Johnny on rhythm guitar. However, when you play out you do so as a three-piece or at least you were when I saw you. What fits the current WM sound?
Rob: Johnny moved back to Phoenix last summer. We have been without him ever since, but we have been a 3 piece ultimately anyhow from the get go so it's all good...and good to go now!
TCE: What is the story on “A Power Greater” with Erica Stoltz? How did it come together? It’s killer and her voice totally works! Defiantly my favorite track on the new disc!
Rob: That was the first tune Nate and I jammed, it was a tune I was working out for Stubbs before we stalled. Erika was a long fan of both me and Nate - so it seemed fitting. It seems to work good for the song, and Nate's Lyrics are out of sight!
TCE: Nice riffing on ‘The Scientists’ wide open and completely drench in Sabbath. Very cool! Again written as an opus, a trilogy if you will. Is this your personal method?
Rob: This is a personal song that I won't discuss...next. He,he,he,he...
TCE: You just got off a killer tour that took you down to New Mexico to kick it with other Stoner alums. Care to expand on the build up and the show itself?
Rob: Hey that fest was the best in the west...what's the rest? Good vibes good times - it was great!!!
TCE: What is up next for the band?
Rob: We are touring in April with Lana from Last of the JUanitas filling in on bass while Dave gets a sex change, pictures at 11.
TCE: How is the next record coming together? Care to give us the inside dirt?
Rob: “South of Salem” is the best stuff yet, and as soon as it's recorded the better, because WM has more to record and then we will write more. In other words, “South of Salem” is the start to a two part continual of “Come The Mountain.” All the parts are there and ready to lay down in the studio...but one thing at a time.
TCE: You are one of the originators of Stonerrock.com. How did that come about?
What are you thoughts about how it has grown and now defines a genre?
Rob: I did not start it, that would be El Danno, I am a mere employee, sweeping the isle at Wall Mart, so to speak...he,he,hee..not really. StonerRock.com is one of the greatest things for the scene, and I won't lie to you about that. It's a great resource and in general is a great place to hang.
Special thanks to Rob Wrong for taking the time to do this interview. He is easily one of the busiest guys I know and fully dedicated to Stoner Rock! All Hail the Mountain!!!!
Get both records at: www.meteorcity.com or www.stonerrock.com.