Sometimes the lyrics Bob Forget writes for Albany trio Linear North don’t make much sense.
Everything from horror films to things overheard in conversation can wind up influencing Forget, the band’s guitarist and lead vocalist. Take one of their latest songs, “Fire,” for example. The trio — Forget, bassist Shane Williams and drummer Tom Patrizio — stumbled across an old music video on YouTube by ’60s shock rock pioneer Arthur Brown, for his 1968 single also titled “Fire.”
“It’s classic — it’s the epitome of shock rock. He’s dancing around, he has the fire coming out behind his head — he almost looks like Frank Zappa,” Forget said, while with his bandmates in a diner in Latham a few hours before heading into the recording studio. “So with ‘Fire,’ [I sing], ‘She came out burning and screaming in fright.’ We took the fire from Arthur Brown and personified it in female form.”
opening for Skeletons in the Piano
With: Party Boat, Cosmonaut
Where: Putnam Den, 63A Putnam St., Saratoga Springs
When: 8 p.m. Friday
How Much: $7
More Info: 584-8066, www.putnamden.com
Developing a sound
In just a little under a year, Linear North has honed a sound combining this abstract lyrical imagery with heavy psychedelic riffing a la Black Sabbath and Electric Wizard. The combination makes the group a natural fit for Saratoga Springs rockers Skeletons in the Piano’s fifth annual Halloween show, at Putnam Den on Friday night.
Along with Linear North and Skeletons in the Piano, Saratoga Springs punkers Party Boat and Glens Falls rockers Cosmonauts round out the bill. This year, the show will feature a costume contest with a $100 prize for the winner.
Linear North hinted at a surprise in their set for the show — although they aren’t entirely certain what it will be yet.
“Now we have to live up to that — what’s the surprise?” Williams said. “We’ll dress up like the Arthur Brown band.”
Forget, Williams and Patrizio all met at the same time, through postings on Craigslist. Although Forget and Patrizio are natives of the Capital Region, and all three have been playing music for years, they had never met each other before they came together in this band.
“I emailed Bob — I was originally in a Grateful Dead cover band, and I found his Craigslist posting,” Patrizio said. “I tried a few other people, but eventually Bob, Shane and I got together at Bob’s house. . . . I’ve been playing for 13 years, so I think I have a feel for it all, whether it will work out or not. I just really got that feeling.”
For Williams, a Syracuse native, posting on Craigslist was part of a last-ditch effort to find people to jam with.
“I was posting on Craigslist in an act of desperation,” Williams said. “I moved to the area about two and a half years ago and I didn’t know anyone out here.”
The trio met in November of last year, but didn’t play their first show until May this year (“It was pouring out,” Forget recalled). They used the in-between time to focus on songwriting, recording a four-song demo.
Songwriting is a democratic process in the group, with Forget often bringing in initial riffs that the band will then tweak. Influences range from doom and stoner metal groups like Witch and Om, to classic rock like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones — giving the group a strong sense of melody alongside the crushing, delay-laden riffs.
“I’ve been writing a lot of stuff on acoustic guitar, and when I bring it in the band will add things and change it up,” Forget said. “We all work together. Something to this effect — for ‘Mountains’ [a song on the band’s demo], I had the riff, and then Shane added to it and Tom added to it. Basically, it’s a group process.”
Preparing to record
The band is working on recording three songs, including “Fire” and a re-recording of “Mountains” from the demo, for a possible future single release. The group has played out as far as Rochester and Burlington, Vt., and is looking to continue expanding outward.
“I’ve been in and out of a lot of bands, but I haven’t had one blow up this quick,” Patrizio said. “For me, it’s nice to be around serious musicians.”