SABBATH CROW

Coined by producer Leon Oehlers, by a question of “What do ya’ll dream about at night after playing this wacky shit?”, “The Psycho-sin-chronic” that is Sabbath Crow takes you into the depths of something dark and strange where the sound is electric and vibrates with a buzz like that of a “Demon Hive”! Hailing from the musical inspirations of Jimi Hendrix, Robbie Krieger, Dick Dale, Jerry Garcia to that of Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Mike Watt, Phil Lynett among other genres as country, jazz, punk, classic rock and bluegrass, Sabbath Crow has truly become a unique blend of its own. “When I was a kid, I could have really cared less if it was called heavy metal, if it was crazy, if it was punk rock, disco, whatever, if it was good I liked it.”, explained singer/guitarist J. Bybee.

                Beginning about 12 years ago in California after disagreements with a former band, guitarist J. Bybee felt the need to write the music he wanted to write, to do what was in his heart and be original. Teaming up with wife/bassist Kristin Bybee, and a drummer, a band had begun. Originally going under a different name, the trio relocated to New Orleans, and over the next 5 to 6 years, played throughout the south, including some dates in Texas. Onto a good start, the band was side tracked in 2003, by an 11 car pileup, where much of their gear had been destroyed as well as totaling their car. Taking time off for two years, healing themselves the members of the group fell into a slump, but were soon fired up again, as describes J, “Our friend Rhodes Diablo, who we kind of met sometime before, found us and said “maybe you should get the band back together”. Kristin came up with the name Sabbath Crow and we liked it. That’s how the band started, so we have to give Rhodes credit for he was the one who got us out of our slump, back playing shows again, back on the road again, back to doing something.”            

                We talked of many elements spanning across various music scene’s from that of Seattle and San Francisco to New Orleans and Austin. Performing in a town such as New Orleans, the band didn’t seem to go over well, considering the Jazz and Blues history the city had to uphold to. As quoted by J. Bybee, “You’re not really allowed to mess with it too much. It’s like you kind of got to stick to the masters.”

                As described, the decision to move to Austin had been talked about for a while and was made for various reasons, the biggest being the band sought a change of scenery, to a more low key and laid back town, similar in its own right to New Orleans being that of a small college town, but also, being the hub of many different music styles. As a precursor to their decision, the arrival of Hurricane Katrina, only enforced their decision to say, ‘Now’s the time!’ Kristin explained, “When we played here a couple times in Texas we felt like we got a better response than other areas. We just kind of liked the whole idea. We hadn’t been to Austin, and so after Katrina, we actually came and visited and we looked for a place and loved it. We were like Yeah, let’s do it!”

While the band didn’t receive the blunt of the hurricane itself, other than a loss of power, they did witness the turmoil that had engulfed the people and its city, psychologically, from neighbors threatening to shoot fellow neighbors to the government’s overall treatment of the entire situation. “It was just one of those things that really pissed me off. But days went by and we started seeing neighbors come together all of a sudden. All the people in town came together. It was like, ‘If we couldn’t rely on anyone but ourselves, we might as well take care of ourselves and each other because that’s all we got!’ That started making me feel good to be human and American again and then coming out here, meeting people in Texas, I was just taken aback by how nice everyone was in welcoming.” J. Bybee

                “Coming here, being able to play with the bands and musicians that we have, and meeting the people that we have. We’ve never met as good of friends, than the friends we have met here. It’s given me more hope, because it seems like, people actually give a shit, and to me, that makes a big difference, because it’s good when people give. I mean people try to come out and see bands as often as they can, and try to be supportive and I see that here. I couldn’t be happier with the decision that we made to actually come here.” K. Bybee

Once arriving in Texas, Sabbath Crow brought in new drummer Ric Furley, who originally was going to fill in for demo purposes only, but low and behold, ended up becoming a permanent mainstay. By 2008, Sabbath Crow released an EP entitled Seasons In Hell, which in their words was kind of “bum rushed”. They pressed on, doing numerous gigs throughout Austin and central Texas and have now, in 2009, released a follow up, Psychosynchronic Demon Hive. “This last time around, we all bought new gear, got the songs we wanted to record tightened down. It’s still 100% live. We could have done the over production thing, but we liked the raw liveliness we got out of it. Being able to interact while we were recording was a really big deal as Leon set it up, by having a relaxed studio environment to make us comfortable and happy while we were there.” J. Bybee

Psychosynchronic Demon Hive delivers with power; a musical mind-trip to a dark and strange place where creativity crosses the threshold of nightmare and reality and takes you to something even deeper! Sabbath Crow are worthy of a listen and though not all may get it the first time, you cannot deny that there is something genuinely present. Currently, Sabbath Crow are in the midst of taking a break, prepping for a tour of Spain in 2010. However, they will be performing at The Austin420 Magazine Release Party on July 16th at the Creekside Lounge. They are also currently in the process of putting together a DVD,  “That’s one thing about our band is that we are definitely a live experience and we know that we need to put something out there that people can actually pop in their DVD players and see.” K. Bybee

There was plenty to cover as we just talked into the night. Not like I didn’t have respect for them already, but as we talked, my respect for them grew even greater. In some odd and enlightening way, it made it much clearer to see, how a band can survive adversity, only to keep plowing through it all and find their way. With a positive philosophy on life by way of Doing what you love, doing what you do and not compromising, mentality”, Sabbath Crow are sure to reach great new heights! “We’re live musicians first and foremost and so hopefully with our drunken brilliant minds we’ll be put something together that’s not the norm, because it’s the live show, the live music with what we do onstage, which is what the band is about. It’s all about entertainment and rock and roll and having fun! That’s what we do.” J. Bybee ~