When NOT to cancel a tour, brought to you by Bobby Liebling…

Although Nebula has not yet divulged its reasons for breaking up right before their March/April tour was to begin (in fact, the canceled dates are still listed on their MySpace page), it can be assumed that their recently revolving door of drummers had something to do with it.  According to their wiki, they’ve had no less than three skin-pounders since they last circled North American waters.  My guess is that Jimmy Sweet reneged on his previous touring commitments, and it doesn’t help that bassist Tom Davies is a native of England (although his current residence is unknown to me…)

On the other hand, when faced with the 11th hour departure of axeslinger Russ Strahan, Pentagram decided to honour their touring commitments, enlisting the former bass player–that’s right, bass player–of Maryland doom band Wretched as a last-minute replacement.  (For what it’s worth, he currently plays guitar in a band called Soul.)  The results have been nothing short of disastrous, with negative buzz coming in from Indianapolis (the new capital of true doom) all the way to the stoned deserts of L.A.

(The L.A. link should hopefully work within a day or two, once Stonerrock.com gets its forums back online.  On that note, I was able to score Jerusalem as my avatar over there.  Woulda preferred Holy Mountain, but I’ll take it…)

Apparently bassist-turned-guitarist Johnny Wretched only knows a few Pentagram songs, and isn’t prolific enough on his new instrument to learn any new tunes on the bus.  As a result, the band’s been playing five- or six-song sets, centred around “Bobby’s Boogie,” a lengthy jam session where Bobby plays the harmonica and sings lyrics from “La Grange” and any other southern rock songs he can remember…  Don’t get me wrong, ZZ Top playing “La Grange” for 15 minutes is pretty badass, but Pentagram?  Not so much.

With the band’s checkered past, I can see why Bobby opted for a fill-in rather than canceling a whole string of tour dates.  But one has to wonder whether the disappointing performances nite in and nite out will hurt Pentagram in the long run more than a canceled tour would.  And if they don’t get their shit together in time for their headlining set at MDF, they’re bound to be blown off (if not booed off) the stage.

Will 2010 mark the end of Pentagram?  Probably not, since Bobby’s got a 25-year-old wife with a baby on its way.  I don’t think he’s got any other way to support his family but to keep touring and releasing albums till he finally kicks the bucket.  But if he can’t get a new, professional guitar player on board soon, he might hafta think up some new ways to make money.  Bobby seems to think he’s George Jung (scroll down for it), so I don’t wanna know what else is swirling around his drug-addled brain.  I’m just glad I got to see Pentagram when they still had a stable lineup…

Oh, and as for that interview with Bobby, I think one disgusted fan said it best: “Bags of money, running coke from where, huh!?!? How about buying crack in southeast and taking it home (aka Mom & Dad’s place) in Arlington. I don’t mean to take personal jabs, but seriously- when you insult our intelligence in such ways it has to be said: bullshit.”

Peace,

Greg

P.S.: I don’t plan on playing any Pentagram, but there’ll be plenty of doom on Smokin’ Green tonite from the likes of Saint Vitus, Count Raven, Reverend Bizarre and Apostle of Solitude.  Be sure to tune in from 1 till 3 am at 88.1 fm on yer radio, channel 947 on yer TV or www.ckln.fm on yer computer!

Gruesome Greg

Seahawks/Stamps/Flames/Zags/Jays/Raptors fan and lifelong metal head with a beer gut and a self-deprecating sense of humour. Reviewer/blogger (Yon Senior Doomsayer) for Hellbound.ca.