The guitars had been sitting in their cases collecting dust for several years, but there are some things that have a way of coming back around. Just ask John Treanor, guitarist and songwriter of the Los Angeles based gloomy alt-rock outfit Tombstones In Their Eyes.
It would be a chance encounter with James Cooper, an old friend from childhood, that would reawaken John’s inner force of creativity and pave the road to the writing and recording of the Tombstones 2015 album Sleep Forever and their 2016 EP Bad Clouds. “James and I were friends as kids,” explains Treanor. “We grew up together in Southern California, skateboarding and going to the local punk rock shows while dreaming of having a life like our skate and musician heroes, most of which ended up dead or in rehab.” It’s this nihilistic foundation that brought together the bands celestial blend of dark fuzzed out sounds and mesmerizing melodies.
When they reconnected, James and John collaborated via Dropbox over the course of two years. “Even though James lives in New York, he really brought out the best in me,” explains Treanor. “we got to work and put together close to 30 demos of songs I had written. During much of this time I was going through a long period of depression, and was able to use the creative process to heal and get the feelings out in a healthy way.”
Drawing upon some tough life experiences (both past and present), as well as musical influences such as The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Elliott Smith and The Melvins, it was in 2015 that John decided it was time to take the demos to the studio.
He recruited drummer Samuel Sherwood and bassist Josh Drew to begin the process on the band’s debut album Sleep Forever. After the basic tracks were recorded, he sought out one of his childhood heroes, Paul Roessler (ex-Screamers, 45 Grave), to mix the album to ensure that the proper colors and emotions would be present. This led to a fruitful collaboration between John and Roessler that also spawned the band’s EP Bad Clouds released in May 2016.
“Paul knows exactly where I’m coming from” says John “and intuitively knows how to make what I’m feeling come through the speakers.” The lead off track “I Can’t See the Light” showcases Treanor’s eerie psychedelic vocals and the band’s 90s-influenced song craft. The title track of the effort is atmospheric and ambient, emanating power and emotion.
Treanor says, “Everybody goes through hard periods in their life, and I hope that these songs make them feel less alone.”