Water, barley, hops, yeast: four distinct ingredients that work in completely different ways to create a great beer. Named after a brewing term, Final Gravity has four musician ingredients each of whom adds his own specific contribution to a unique musical brew.
Reuniting in 2007 after a hiatus, Final Gravity ventured into the cellar and found that its old songs had improved with age. Over the course of two years, new songs were added and the band’s material evolved and melded after being performed at numerous live shows. The resulting songs which compose the band’s eponymous debut album are an eclectic mix with a sound that can only be described as Final Gravity.
The band’s music is not just a mix of new and old, but also of four specific musical sensibilities. With a drummer who started playing after he heard his first KISS song, a guitarist who was once mistaken for Alex Lifeson of Rush, a bassist who loves the angular sounds of progressive metal, and a singer equally influenced by the music of Simon and Garfunkel and Rage Against the Machine, Final Gravity is indeed a heady brew.
Exclusive Magazine had the recent pleasure of chatting with both John Chominsky (drums) and Bill Moore (vocals) of Final Gravity about the band, their favorite beers, inner band secrets, ... and, of course, penguins!
Your music has a clear rock style. Who were your musical influences growing up and how many still factor into your music today? [John]: "Wow, that’s funny….I’m not even sure what our style is ourselves. Most of us grew up digging prog-rock bands like Rush, Dream Theater, Fates Warning, and Queensryche; although, each of us also has a uniquely diversified bunch of influences. It’s mashing up each of our styles in the writing process that helps us try to create an original idea."
Your band is named after a brewing term. So, what is your favorite beer and why? [Bill]: "There isn't much better than plunking your butt down at a table in a German beer garden and downing a liter or three of fine, fresh Pilsner (I'm partial to the Augustiner Brau). That experience is harder to find in this country, so I'll usually order a strong, hoppy IPA: I like Avery's Maharaja, Russian River's Pliny the Elder, and Dogfish Head 120min IPA."
[John]: "It’s really about variety. We’ve each tasted hundreds of different beers from around the world. Band practice often turns into half practice, half beer tasting event."
Final Gravity reunited in 2007 after a hiatus. Why did the band break up in the first place and what brought you back together? [John]: "We were mostly playing cover tunes back then. Everyone got sidetracked with careers, families, etc. We were still best friends and missed playing music. We didn’t even intend to “reunite” the band. It was more like jamming, then writing, then recording those new ideas, then obviously evolving into playing them out. So, it just sort of happened more than we tried to do it. It seems like now we’re playing for the right reasons."
With the history of the band as is, why is this amazingly still only your eponymous debut album? [Bill]: "Our previous incarnation wasn't focused on writing. And I think each of us had very different ideas about where the band was going back then."
[John]: "We had written some originals back in the day, but we never really had a full complement of songs worthy of an album package. Back then the model for putting out a CD required you getting singed. And we weren’t. Now that we’re back together we did revisit some of our old song ideas, but put a new stamp on them. We’ve grown up a bunch, so we needed to get those old ideas up to speed with our new headspace."
Please tell us more about your political anthems on the new album, 'Line 'Em Up' and 'Room 19' and what made you wish to put your beliefs into these songs? [John]: "We’re kind of opinionated. We try to have each song have a message. It just so turns out that some of what we have to say is political. Believe it or not, it’s pretty common for us to hang out in a patio area after rehearsal and smoke cigars, drink scotch (and craft beers) and talk about politics. Yeah, I know, not very rock-and-roll, but that’s kind of who we are. We want our songs to have substance."
Indeed, how easy or hard is it to create a new, vibrant, wanted-by-the-public sound that both builds on and surpasses the musical wonderments and accomplishments that preceded it within the industry? [Bill]: "Well, I think we approached writing in order to create music we ourselves enjoy. Our album is one of my very favorites because every song has something interesting in it -- a lyrical phrase, a certain rhythm, a musical passage -- that I wasn't expecting at first but now find very cool and just perfect for that song. I personally don't spend much time comparing us to anyone else or to what's gone before. What we're doing is brand new and reflects four distinct talents and perspectives and I hope people will appreciate and enjoy the end result."
Please tell us a secret about the band that hasn't been revealed in any other interview! [Bill]: "John and I were roommates for so long that we are married under California law (or were, before common-law marriage was eliminated)."
[John]: "Um… I was going to talk about how I really want to tour Europe soon, not that. LA is a great scene with lots of cool venues, but we want to get out of our backyard. Plus there’s lots of great beer out there to try. We’d love to tag along and be part of a European tour. Anybody out there need an opening act?"
If asked to record one for charity, what '80s (and possibly cheesy!) pop/rock song would you love to cover today...and why? [John]: "Back when we were a cover band we covered Spinal Tap’s “Big Bottom”. We so need to play that again!"
[Bill]: "'Still of the Night' by Whitesnake! Best '80s video ever! Plus killer vocals. That boy could sing!"
Lastly, and throwing you a journalistic curve ball, Exclusive Magazine loves Penguins...do you? [John]: "I’m excited that the Penguins won the Stanley Cup! Is that not the penguins you’re talking about? Well, Bill went on a cruise to Antarctica. He saw a ton of penguins there. I mean really……who doesn’t love penguins? The Taliban, that’s who!"
[Bill]: "Yes! Mario Lemieux is awesome!!"
Interview: Russell A. Trunk
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