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Joined: March 04 2008
Location: Retirement Home
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Topic: Sleepy Hollow
Posted: July 02 2011 at 11:46
This band hails from New Jersey, USA and were formed in 1999. Since they formed they have released three albums, the last being Legend in 2010. The music can be best described as art rock with some metal influences.
I caught up with Joe Dell for the Sleepy Hollow story.
How was the music scene in your local area when you started ?
It was hard core/punk , we were the only prog band in the area, and we changed things a bit
Over to your three albums..... but let's start with your self titled EP from 2000 first. Please tell us more about this EP.
It was originaly intended for a soundtrack that my friend Erol Kotsev was in. They never used the two too late track, so it became our first release. We were hailed for it's artistic elements and was often told it sounded like 4 different bands. No one has ever done that before or since. I am quite proud of it and my favorite track is Sleepy Hollow, I always felt it showed the story musically and took you there. I believe I helped bring the keyboards back. I have 3 leads and each one is a different root, Destiny (blues), From Above (Jazz), Sleepy Hollow (classical).
Your debut album was Goin' Over from 2004. Please tell us more about this album.
Wow! Goin Over! Ok, it was a very dark time. This was the beginning of the end of the first line-up. Frank was upset that he didn't have full control of the band, Dan was upset he didn't have full control. This was a dark album, compared to the lighter feel of the EP. Dan and Frank would always show up late for rehearsals, so Mole and I wrote the music to the Goin Over epic. It was an idea i had had since the 90's during my Spectrum Green (my first band) days. It is based around a man's journey through drug use. The idea was that each drug was represented by different styles of rock that fit. marijuana (70's prog) acid (60's funk rock) cocaine (80's speed metal), Crack (90's rap metal), heroine (sabbathy riff for the jones part, then Floydish change for the high part). The intro was written by Mole, which signifies the birth. The March was the funeral and then the intro segment reprises at the end in harp form. Which represents the hero making his way into Heaven. The track Bad Reflection includes a keyboard lead played through a voice box pedal, which I believe to be a first. The bonus disc was an idea I had for a "Musie" which would be music and acted out parts. The main character "Tony Peace" was played by a dear friend Tony Desimone. He passed away in 2009 of Hepetitis, due to drug use. The story line was based loosely on events in his and my life. Lenny the Looser was played by Soldier, who has been a hidden member of the band for the past 10 years. He pops up on all our releases since then. He was in Spectrum Green with me. Erol, who was in the movie that was suppose to house 2 too late, played the crack dealer, He is the only professionaly trained actor in the Musie. Nick Otvos played Snow Bob, he was a rodie for the punk band M.O.D. Mark Modine, who played Right arm Ronnie, is related to 2 of the members of the Misfits. The rest of the album were individual tracks. Pay the Price was written by Dan, Under the Ground I wrote with Noodles. 90's Child was co-written by a friend Dom Braico. It was meant as a joke, but the guys in the band really like it so we added it to the album. The intro was very controversial. Mare Crastinum, written by Mole, was my personal favorite. I think the bridge is the best moment on the whole album. I got a kick out of the intro, we used a seagal and it ends up it counts off the intro! LOL the last track was a Parrot written track. Which would be the last ever on a SH album. We never repressed this one and it is an underground classic that actually goes for up to 40 to 50 bucks on E-bay. There was an error in the mix down of Under the Ground. It was suppose to have 2 seperate verses, but they mixed 2 different takes of the second verse.
Your second album was The Lazarus Project from 2008. Please tell us more about this album.
Ah, the Lazarus Project. We hooked up with Bob Both, who is famous for his work with James Brown and is the best engineer on the planet. Our line-up had changed. We had Mike (triple B) Allen on bass and Gary Rinaldi on drums. Mike was the guitarist in Spectrum Green. Gary joined after Noodles left and then rejoined in 2007. We had taken a 1 1/2 break. My father was dying and was caring for him. We were recording for Legend. relized that there was a great metal album hidden in these recordings, so I wanted to put out a teaser album. Each track is an alternate take. Where there would be an artistic segment, Mole and I would play leads. Night Shift Blues, which was a left over from Goin Over is the track that never made it to Legend. It just wouldn't fit musically. Mike Allen only ended up playin on 2 tracks. He didn't know the music yet and we needed tp record the root tracks before Gary moved to California. Unfortuantely Mike passed away due to a drug and alcohol mixture. He sings the lead vocal on this version of Armageddon. I deeply miss him. Which comes to the bonus tracks. They are 6 instrumental versions of Spectrum Green songs. This practice tape was being bootlegged back in the mid 90s and was being played at parties and dorms. I felt it needed to be cleaned up and would make a good addition. That was my roots and I feel, still the best group of musicians I have played with to date. I am also glad people around the world got a taste of Triple B's lead guitar playing. He should have been up there with the greats! Soldier did the into to that section. It as funny. He asked to introduce that segment. I gave him the ok, expecting something like "ok, now you have heard a teaser of the Legend album, now for a bonus treat. here is Joe Dell's first band, Spectrum Green." but Soldier comes in with 2 pages of writing, I was already enjoying my Whiskey, and got up and was like, OH NO! We can't have you talk that long! Not without music! So, I improved some piano in the background for he to read his intro to!
Your third and most recent album is the double album Legend from last year. Please tell us more about this album.
Legend, yes, that was a monster release! Over 2 hours of new music! 20 songs! No band, professional or underground has ever did that! (jam bands don't count). This was origianly suppose to be 2 or 3 albums. Mole and I were an acoustic duo for a stint and we wrote some acoustic pieces. There were some songs from the early days that wer never recorded that we wanted to record. There were some new pieces as well. Bob Both engineers and help produce it and the cover art is by the legendary Ken Kelly. This one I'll cut down to size for you.
Out of the Mist: this was the very first song written for Sleepy Hollow. I pretty much wrote the music and the Queen Wizard wrote the lyrics. She was a band friend and mentor. She was an old hippie and loved our music. Dan originally sang it, so, Mole and I decided to trade off vocals. The intro was originally written for a warlock friend. I think this influenced the Queen Wizard's lyrics.
The Mirror: this is a Mole composition. He wrote this for our acoustic sets. He claims I am the one who changed it to a Jazz piece!
Cousin katie: was written during the Spectrum Green days for my cousin and was resurected for our acoustic set.
The Wanderer: was written during the EP days and changed emensly by the time it became a part of our acoustic set. A Mole comp again. we love the song, so we recorded it. Very boroque with acoustic guitar and pipe organ.
Come With Me Melina: written during the Going Over era. 3 sections, The Seduction, The Chase, The Battle. tells the story of a newly wed couple who moves into a haunted house. The ghost falls in love with the woman and convinces her to kill herself to be with him. The husband finds her dead body and kills himself so he can find her. He and the ghost Alexander battle and he wins her back. The battle is represented by Mole's guitar (husband) my organd (Alexander). My vocals were presented as a haunting voice rather than proper singing which Noodles originally did.
Too Late: written during the Goin Over era. A love song written as a sequal to 2 too late. There is an alternate version with different lyrics as a bonus track on disc 2 of Goin over. It will never be released again. When we remix Goin Over, we are going to put Taciternity Blues as the hidden track. This one was the crowd favorite at our live acoustic shows. The only time Mole and I double vocals on any track.
Nadia's Song: Ah! This is where the Mrs makes her vocal debute! Shes a dear! I am very proud of her. Ok, another one from the acoustic era. Mole would sing the verses and I sang the chorus, but it came out much better this way, plus the lyrics were written intended for a female voice. Musically, I wanted to do something unique. Most bands would take metal songs and slow them down for acoustic versions. I wrote this to be a Heavy Metal song to be played completely acousticly. Gary played some fantastic double kick on this. Still a progressive piece in a small package. Annie presents agressive vocals for the verses and a beautiful chorus vocal. I always wanted a violin lead over the chorus. I could have easily used a sample, but Mole and I are old fashioned and prefer to go organic when possible. Mole was working with a classical orchestra out in Colorado. He invited miss Jennifer Scott to sit in on the track. He sent me the track via internet. I gave it a listen and went, hmmmm ok, then I gave it another listen, and was like, ok. Then I decided to listen to the whole song in context. By the time I gave it that listen, I was in tears. I called Mole and told him, have her record it proper and dont let her change a thing!
Soldiers Lament: Ah! Mole, Bob and myself at our best. This was written during the acoustic days. I remember Bob having a heart attack when Mole showed up with like 10 medieval instruments! LOL I had an idea for the middle 8. The song lyrically is about the distain of a soldier who has to kill a person he never met. I told Mole, we should have a battle between acoustic and electric instruments. So Mole and I wrote the sections. The electric were channeled right and acoustic left. then the build up to the big explosion, where all the sounds are intruments. It took Bob 3 hours to mix that 10 seconds of music. Again! a Sleepy Hollow first!
Butterfly Queen: written during the acoustic era. I wrote it for a dear friend of mine Sunshine. The original demo version was of Mole and I singing it, but our friend said it sounded like 2 drunk Irishmen sing at a bar! LOL So Mole got the lovely young Christina Kirk to sing on it. She was in his renaissence band Sarabande.
Sorrow's Might: Ah! The masterpiece of the first disc! Mole's new composition! He took and old Swedish folk song and turned it into a prog masterpiece!!!! I call this the defining Sleepy Hollow song! I love it! The way is sounds, the progression, everything!!!!! The first section is a very heavy section, I actually play a Joey DeMaio, Dawk customized bass here. I had to play most of the bass parts after the passing of Triple B. There are male & female trade of sections. Mole handles the male and the female is a duet of Annie and Christina. The next section breaks down to acoustic guitar and light organ. Then it is bridged by an oboe solo over harp. Now, that is a sample I played, no oboe players to be found. I feel it was a very beautiful section. Then a reprise of the band, which builds up very powerful. Then the final section is an upbeat, driving section. I am very proud of my organ lead here. It took me a couple of hours to lay down. I make it a point of saying, it aint easy! Most of my leads are in 1 to 3 takes. This one was tricky! It isn't in a key. People get very impressed by viruoso leads and such that are fast, but that is easy over a root 4, 5 progression. Then the vocals come in once again to end the song. over 13 minutes and a masterpiece!
Farewell to Wilderness: Another composition written during the EP era. I believe Mole and I wrote the music and Queen Wizard wrote the lyrics. Originally sung by Dan, Mole took over. This starts of the heavy disc. One of the 2 Triple B bass tracks. He was phenominal at guitar, bass or lead! Triple B and I had a magic when we played together. Bob stated that Mole's rhythm here was his favorite. I laid down 2 keyboard leads, allah Randy Rhoads. The first is a VK7 ran through a crybaby and mini Fender amp. The next is a Univox synth. Bob obtained this as payment back in the 70's, I think would have rather had the money though.
Armageddon: this track is a Part 2 to Farewell. The only other Triple B track. again, wonderful bass playing. This was writtem druing the EP era, but, Mole arranged a diffferent end section that builds up, which is much more climactic than the original. I wrote the music for this one and Mole wrote the lyrics. I feel that Mole's best lead on the album is on this track. The lead breaks were played By Tom Catuosco of Vengeful Few. He was the second lead guitarist in Spectrum Green.
Unselfconscious: Written during the EP era. I believe to be my best vocals on the album. Bob helped me through vocally. Very challenging. It is a our build up song. The first section is acoustic, the second is joined by sampled orchastration I laid down. after the bridge, joined by electric instruments, then the end section, very heavy. Soldier pops in on the Joey DeMaio bass to emphesize the heavy. We get a special Bob Both guitar lead here!
Joan: a classical piano piece I wrote in memory of my mother. I wanted to introduce her through music.
Trouble Times: written during the EP era. Originaly titled Unity. Mole felt Fank's origianl lyrics were an atrocity, especially seeing he jumped ship to start a project where he sang and played guitar, bass, keyboards and drums. Mole wrote a new "heavy" middle section where disturbing new reports appear over the first section, then bridged by keyboard harmonies, then haunting song section. Mole took over Frank's vocal duties here. Tony Renda lends a hand here playing the bridge bass for the middle section. I couldn't handle it, my bass chops aren't that advanced.
For the World Is Hollow (and I have touched the sky): Yes, this one is for the Trekkies! Influenced by the Star Trek episode and a date gone bad! It was written during the Goin Over era. Heavy blues based riff that leads into a classical based ending, a medieval style chorus. Mole feels this song came out the best, sound and he like my vocals! He plays wonderful lead breaks and the end has a classic Mole/Bop lead section. I think the flute reprise is genius! Go Mole!
La Femme Arme: Ah! another fantastic Mole comp! Featuring another of the lovely women he played with in Sarabande, miss Anna LaBella. Very progressive!! can't even put into words! Gotta hear!
I'm Insane: this one was written during the acoustic era, sorta. I wrote it while mixing down Goin Over, which was driving me crazy! This one is for the roots prog people. acoustic piano and acoustic guitar and a touch of mellotron.
Aristotle's lantern: Yes, Mole is at it again! I believe Mole wrote this pre Sleepy Hollow and scared the original line-up when he introduced it to them. I love this track! SOOOOO prog! Erie intro with flute and dissenent piano. Then breaks into an odd timing verse section. Then bridged by a jig, back to the odd timing section. Then a guitar break, followed by the VERY FIRST rock cannon. Guitar, bass, pipe organ & synth. Then the end section. a prog masterpiece!
Hall of Voices (including Ursula's Nightmare) Ok, this is the one you want playing when you are peaking! This is the newest track on the album, Composed by Mole, C, Bob and myself. It started off as an experimental piece. Actually I rolled an 8th doob. We all smoked, accept Mole, who abtained a wonderful contact! Now, Bob is very professional. He never smokes before or during a session. But, I made a particular request. It was the Jack Herrera! We were freakin rocked! We laid down around 14 minutes of avangarde music. This was Ursula's Nightmare. I had an idea for Hall of Voices. I wanted a track of people speaking in different languages, telling odd stories and such. Now, Mole suggested that we mix the tracks, sorta like on Goin Over's Musie section. Genius! Now, Bob and I had to sit down and pains takingly work out were. We flipped the first section to the end and BINGO! Magic! Mixed is the footsteps of a person walking down the hall. The listener hears the talking in a left or right channel, then it is panned center as if the listener has turned facing the person talking. The first is the story of an Iraq soldier. The second is in Italian about a feast in Italy. The third is a black man telling a street gang story, the forth is in spanish, a women telling a romantic story (is is actually Soldier's girlfriend Tehe), The fifth is in arabic about the land of the pharohs.
The album took 3 1/2 years to record, mix and release!
For those of us unknown with your music; how would you describe you music and which bands would you compare yourself with ?
Well, we created a new genre Progressive Acid Metal. Nobody and everybody! We can not be pigeon holed. We are the most diverse band in the history of rock. You can find everything from Tull, to Purple, to Genesis, to Floyd, Sabbath, Rush, Misfits, Iced Earth, Metallica, Rainbow, Beatles, Eloy, Yes, Guns n Roses, Tori Amos, ELP, King Crimson, Marillion, Iron Maiden etc. But nothing of ours sounds like any of that at all. Very original!
What is your current status and plans for this year and beyond ?
Well, we are in another hiatus. I was in a near fatal car accident on March 27th of this year. My C2 neck bone was broken. I could have dies or been paralized, but thanks be to God I am still here! My hands were damaged. I need to heal and it will take time. I was in a halo vest, which is drilled into the skull, but now I am in a collar and healing well. When I am healed we are going into the studio to record our next album. We have written some material already and will finish of in the studio. We will be working with Bob Both again. I am very excited to annouce for the first time here. Mr Pat Gesualdo will be on the drum! yes famous for the D.A.D. program. He is a true virtuoso and dear friend. The next album will be another Sleepy Hollow masterpiece.
To wrap up this interview, is there anything you want to add to this interview ?
Yes, first off, thank you so much for this opportunity to share our music and history there of. This band has been through its trials and tribulations. I feel that the holes of uniqueness are becoming smaller and smaller through time. I feel that we found one and created Sleepy Hollow, we break boundaries most would never even discover. Our write ups have stated such thing as we cover 40 years of rock music on one album. We stand alone musically. We are a lost art form etc. I would like to say, come on by the web site and have a listen and discover something new and different. Thank you so much and God bless.
Thank you to Joe Dell for this interview
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