Experimental post-hardcore trio Philm, featuring Gerry Nestler (Civil Defiance) on vocals, guitar and piano, bassist Pancho Tomaselli (War, Project N-Fidelikah), and Venezuelan-born drummer, Anderson Quintero will release a 10” vinyl EP to launch the band’s new line-up. You can watch the new lyric video for the single ‘The Seventh Sun’ below:Continue reading
LA avant-garde rockers Philm got the call to open for tonight’s show and while most of the crowd were unfamiliar with their music, they definitely were not unfamiliar with the band’s centerpiece member – drummer Dave Lombardo and his powerhouse drumming style. He along with his bandmates – vocalist/guitarist Gerry Nestler and bassist Pancho Tomaselli throw down some mean riffs surrounded by Lombardo’s jazz/fusion meets punk driven drum sounds that grabbed the crowd immediately. While their music is still new to most people, they definitely won over some fans tonight.
Following a string of LA shows (with alleged appearances by Duff McKagan one night) in Orange County sounded like a tough task, but Faith No More sound ways to impress. The highly anticipated evening started their set around mostly Sol Invictus, their brand new album and disappoint they did not. Each member had their moment to shine in the spotlight, taking turns showcasing themselves to the eager Santa Ana crowd.
Fans knew the word to such tunes as ‘Motherfucker’ and ‘Superhero’ and immediately sang along as if those were longtime favorites. They fused in older favorites such as ‘Surprise! You’re Dead’ and ‘Midlife Crisis,’ with a little crowd pseudo heckling by frontman Mike Patton midway through. Patton varied up his usual stage antics and vocal stylings throughout the evening, while the crowd eating up every moment of their set time and keeping everyone on their feet.
Keyboardist Roddy Bottum and bassist Billy Gould both interacted well throughout the set with Patton, enhancing their already chaotic sound even more. Bottum handles some of the vocal duties as well as playing some acoustic guitars in spots. Gould laid down the low-end alongside drummer Mike Bordin, while guitarist Jon Hudson is quietly riffing away in the corner maintaining a low profile throughout the evening.
The classic tunes were split into two encores, one featuring ‘Epic’ and ‘Ashes To Ashes,’ and the next one covering ‘King For A Day,’ ‘We Care A Lot’ and ‘I Started A Joke,’ and the crowd definitely got their fill of classic Faith No More while hearing much of their newer material.
If this is an indication of what is to come, Faith No More may be taking the next step up that they did not hit before they went on hiatus years ago. They apparently did not miss a step over the years and time will tell if they will continue their streak of bringing high energy shows that audiences have grown to love.
Sunny Side Up
Cone of Shame
From the Dead
Surprise! You’re Dead!
(with Boz Scaggs – ‘Lowdown’ interlude)
Ashes to Ashes
King for a Day
We Care a Lot
I Started a Joke
Over the past few years, Philm has built up a following through word of mouth and attracting a diverse audience who appear out of pure curiosity to their shows. The power trio of drummer Dave Lombardo, vocalist and guitarist Gerry Nestler (also of LA alt rock outfit Civil Defiance) and bassist Francisco “Pancho” Tomaselli (also of WAR) have created an eclectic sound taking avant garde sounding patterns with driving guitar riffs with a punk edge to create their own unique sound.
Lombardo explained where their unusual sounding band moniker with the odd spelling came from.
“We had a name. We had Letter Bomb. We were going to call ourselves Letter Bomb. Then Gerry created a name out of numerology. I think it was called KKLEQ MUZZIL. I think he recorded with another drummer. We were Philm. It was a trio with the same guitar player, same bass player and a different drummer, and they called themselves KKLEQ MUZZIL. We called ourselves Philm because the music was deep. It was very cinematic, in a lot of ways with Gerry’s guitar playing.”
So who came up with the odd name? “It’s the correlation between the music being cinematic in a quirky way to write the word film. Put a ‘ph’ in front of it. There’s Phish….Philm. Phantogasm? There’s a lot of bands with a PH,” he said.
Did any of the KKLEQ MUZZIL tunes make it onto Harmonic? “I believe “Meditation” made it off the KKLEQ MUZZIL record,” he said.
For starters, the band began in the mid-1990s where Lombardo and Nestler began writing music together. Nestler brought into the fold that driving, 70s rock-esque guitar sound that distinctly stands out within their music.
“That’s Gerry’s style, which is a lot of that. I think the guitars he uses calls for that sound. If he were playing maybe an ESP model, that would lean more towards metal, as well as Ibanez. So he uses a Gibson and other specialty guitars,” said Lombardo, explaining how that side shaped out.
Plus Nestler’s vocal delivery comes across more like poetry than lyrics. “That’s what I like about him. The lyrics are on the record now. We know what he’s saying. He has a very unique approach. Like I said, that’s what I like about him. It’s not your traditional approach to heavy music.”
He says the 70s rock aspect within Philm’s sound is something Nestler brought into the band, but overall is something the entire band are huge fans of and their approach on creating music is heavily inspired by.
“A lot. It was so organic. It was very, very organic at that time. Computers changed not only our methods of recording but also our perception of music and what drums are supposed to sound like. You get samples and replacing your existing drum sounds, which is good but there’s been a lot of abuse of technology, where we really don’t know what we’re listening to. When you listen to a record and go see the band live, the band live does not deliver next to the record. It’s kind of discouraging and disappointing, but it takes some musicians to strip it down and record on tape, and eliminate all of the editing engineers like to do. They like to over work it.”
Aside from that is the aggressive punk/metal side that becomes the ying to their yang in creating Philm’s unique sound. Being no strangers to heavy music, Lombardo does not shy away from that side of his playing. “It’s well documented. Jeff [Hanneman] turned me onto punk rock music. We were a typical metal band covering Judas Priest and Iron Maiden songs. Once punk rock came into the picture, then the music turned violent and angry. That was the turning point.”
Lombardo’s approach on the drums with Philm is a stripped down approach, where he plays on a smaller sized drum kit and challenging himself to create different sounds than what he was used to working with.
“Having a four piece drum set to create this music to record this album, you tend to strip yourself down and you have to refocus on only three or four instruments, or three or four drums. So you don’t have that extra bass drum where you can go into this double bass section that we’re always familiar with. That rhythm is out and I have to figure out other ways to try to capture that double bass feel. I think having these limitations really helps you kind of evolve as a musician because there are demands. The music is demanding a certain rhythm so you have to find some kind of rhythm on a four piece drum set that will fit the song,” he explained.
The final piece was Tomaselli, who they found by accident. He talked about the day the two had met at a drum clinic Lombardo was conducting.
“He approached me at a drum clinic I was doing at West LA Music. He approached me and said ‘hey Dave I heard you’re a fan of the band WAR. I sad yeah man. I love that album. There’s that one particular album Why Can’t We Be Friends? “Cisco Kid,” “Low Rider…” all of those songs – they’re classics. As a child I used to listen to them.”
“So he said ‘my name is Pancho and I play bass.’ He gave me his number. When I couldn’t find the original bass player, I was thinking who was going to be in this band. I racked my brain and kept thinking to myself ‘what the hell am I going to do?’ He came to mind. I called West LA Music and said you need to get a hold of this guy named Pancho Tomaselli.”
“I saw a video on YouTube and he was going into a solo. It was an amazing solo and when he went into “Sunshine Of Your Love” by Cream, I said that’s it. That’s the guy. I knew what he was capable of. Sure enough, he’s the man.”
Both of their records involved Lombardo’s eldest son David, who engineered the recording sessions. The father and son team worked on both recording sessions and what is now publicly released.
“He was the recording engineer on the record. He’s the one who’s available to record. He’s always there. If we need to record something, we usually tell him ‘hey can you take time off work?’ He usually can.”
“For the most part it is easy. He has his own opinions and I have mine. Sometimes we have to find middle ground to work with, so it’s good. It’s a good relationship,” he said.
Interview By Rei Nishimoto
Entering the musical adventures of Dave Lombardo will take listeners on quite a journey very few expected. He has built up his then-side project Philm into something unique and created sounds that longtime fans may have found to be out of this world.
Philm is his longtime project he had started with guitarist/vocalist Gerry Nestler in 1998. Much of their earlier material were included on their debut CD Harmonic were longtime songs they had been performing at shows around the Southern California area, and giving audiences a taste of what they are about. Bassist Francisco “Pancho” Tomaselli (also of WAR) joined the band in 2010 and slowly worked his way into the fold.
Fire From The Evening Sun is their second full length release (out now via UDR Music), and they spent much of 2013 working on newer material and building upon their ideas that they had set into place.
“Like half of the songs that we recorded on the first album, or recorded pre-year 2000. So when Pancho came into the picture we had to write some more songs. The band was really getting comfortable playing with each other. We decided to create some of those improvisation movements on there. On this album, the band had more time to create songs that are more cohesive and…not say radio friendly but for your average radio listener friendly. Avant-garde music, experimentation and improvisations are a little left field for most,” explained Lombardo, about how the album came together.
“That’s how our improvisations are. We were determined to write music in the beginning, when we were creating songs. There were a lot of songs on Harmonic that were created between 1995 and 1998.”
For those unfamiliar with Philm, their free form, avant garde style sound shapes them into something music lover can easily nibble on. The songs on Fire From The Evening Sun became a gradual evolution of the band’s sound, where they began to find their voice within the music.
“I think this album is more from the source and from the three musicians, so we didn’t have other songs that were inspired by another bass player in the band. All of these songs were inspired by our own improvisations and then we elaborated after we improvised with all three of us in a room by ourselves. Then we’d take those parts and create songs around them. That’s how we get the complete songs. This album is definitely a band effort,” he said.
With his split from his longtime band Slayer being a thing of the past, he has been able to place all of his focus upon Philm. “I mean time helps with band’s evolution and how they gel together. They mix, especially with music and personalities. It takes time. I think the first album was inhibited by the fact that I was playing in Slayer. Slayer does take up a portion of your time. But now there’s no stopping this band.”
Unlike other bands, Philm creates music based on improvisations and gradually building the music into what eventually becomes a song. The three members bring their ideas in and their writing sessions slowly evolve into songs for their full length releases.
“All the songs recorded came from improvisations. Then later as we’re adding parts to them, then Gerry will come up with a riff, because he has to. But the initial idea or the initial body or the embryo of the song, for example “Train”, that song opens with the drums. That all started with that drum beat, because it felt like a freight train or a steam engine. Not so much a freight train, but that drum pattern came from just soloing. It felt really different and that’s how they created that kind of a rhythm and the guitar work around it.”
This writing process is quite the opposite of how he wrote with Slayer. Compared to how Philm writes their material, Slayer worked better individually and piecing songs together once they are done forming their ideas to present.
“They would have the riffs. They would work on the riffs at home, and then show up at rehearsal. Then I would create over those riffs. It’s whatever I felt. One guitar riff has six to eight different variations. With those different variations, what direction do you want to go in? Upbeat, downbeat, synch pated, half time – there’s so many different directions you could go. So it’s up to the guitar player or the band to figure out which is the best drum movement to add to that musical melody.”
Lombardo says improvisations and free jams are fun, but is easy to get lost within the music. In many ways, time flies when you’re having fun, in their case. “It’s not that you don’t know when to stop, you don’t realize you’ve gone on that long. You get lost in the moment. You get lost in the zone. You’re in the rhythm. You’re in the tornado. So the rhythm’s going and you’re in the middle of it, and 20 minutes could go by, and when you stop and look at your watch or a fellow musician comes up – ‘we just did 20 minutes!’, like what John Zorn did. We played in Chicago and he comes back and goes ‘we just did 20 minutes. That’s a third of our set. We’re almost done.’ All we had to play was 60 minutes. It was kind of cool. I was like ‘really? That sucks. I really want to continue to play.’ It just happens that way. You just get lost in the music.”
While Fire From The Evening Sun is relatively still a new release, this does not stop them from working on another release. “We have another new album probably in March or April. We’re almost done wrapping up the vocals. We have a couple more songs to record on. We already have six pieces.”
Interview By Rei Nishimoto