November 11th, 2009
Owl is a rock band featuring three exceptionally talented rock musicians who have joined together to create something that is more than the sum of its individual parts. The band is a collaboration between bassist/singer Chris Wyse (The Cult), drummer Dan Dinsmore (The Clay People), and guitarist Jason Mezilis (Your Horrible Smile). Wyse and Dinsmore met growing up in New York and have now realized their dream of playing in a band together. Local Los Angeles luminary Mezilis rounds out the line-up.
Owl is the brainchild of Wyse, who wrote and produced the album. It was recorded at Matt Sorum’s DRAC Studios in Los Angeles and produced and mixed in various locations on the east and west coasts. Owl is out now on New York-based indie label Overit Records.
Currently the bassist for The Cult, Wyse has performed with an array of rock’s elite such as one-time roommate Jerry Cantrell, celebrity super group Camp Freddy, producer Bob Rock and as one-half of Ozzy Osbourne’s rhythm section alongside ex-Faith No More drummer Mike Bordin. Wyse’s skills are also on display in the documentary “Some Kind Of Monster” during his Metallica audition. Featuring his patented stand-up bass, unique and almost conjuring-like bowing style and on-stage intensity, Owl is more than just Wyse’s side project. The band is a labor of love.
“Owl is the kind of band I would want to hear,” says Wyse of the band’s blend of song craft and prog-rock musicianship. “We want to deliver and have people be emotionally moved. We try to dazzle with our chops to create a kind of fantasy world as a passage to lure you in.”
Of the band’s synergy, Dinsmore observes, “From the very first time we played together, we felt an incredible vibe.” Mezilis agrees, “The band clicked instantly. The first note we hit felt like a gunshot. It was electric.”
The album boasts an eclectic mix of sounds and themes crafted outside the norms of the traditional modern rock record format. An instrumental piece serves to bookend the songs on the album, thereby encasing the listener inside a musical journey. Mezilis explains, “This record takes you someplace special.”
Owl’s first single, “Pusher” co-written with songwriter/producer Marti Fredriksen (Aerosmith, Eminem) and “More on Drugs,” Wyse’s doom-laden, sometimes apocalyptic visions border on psychedelia, with the former’s insistence that sex can be every bit as powerful an addiction and the latter’s blast at TV ads touting legal pharmaceuticals and their long list of side effects. He rails against society’s dogmas and hypocrisies.
“Our music’s not really that dark,” says Wyse. “We’re just unveiling places you might not want to go. It’s all about the art and provoking discussion. Owl provides a platform for us to share our musical vision.”
“Waves” features Mezilis’ self-described dirt-rock guitar sound and Dinsmore’s tribal percussion with a coda that segues from muezzin-like Middle Eastern chanting and chilling screams into an all-out psychedelic rave-up, recalling Led Zeppelin at its most mystical. “Sky Rocket” is an evocative, dreamy ballad while “Violent Center” creates a truly original sound with its unorthodox compositional form and atonal, mind bending-yet-structured layered approach to 9/4 time signature. The Pink Floyd-influenced art-rock of “Ghost in the Starlight” is a beautiful, epic story about a female spirit from the 1920′s that haunted a house Wyse lived in on Wonderland Avenue, in the famed creative mecca of Laurel Canyon. “Apples” ominously recalls tales from adventures on the Sunset Strip rock scene, “Preacher Man” is a bold-faced critique of organized religion and “No Light” documents the struggle to find meaning in life.
Dinsmore states, “Owl is the culmination of everything I’ve done musically and ever wanted to do. It’s what I’ve been working towards my whole life.”
Wyse concludes, “True artists don’t wait around for the industry to tell them what they’re supposed to play. The artist has to be the hub around which everything else revolves. Owl is all about the music.”