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Thursday, July 24, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 58.0° F  Fair
The Paper

TOUR STOP

Baroness keeps it together on the road
Metal travelers


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Baroness doesn't just tour; it leaves other acts in its dust. Since starting up in 2003, the progressive metal band has logged almost 250 shows a year.

When you listen to Baroness' critically acclaimed 2009 album, Blue Record, it becomes clear how these four passionate dudes do it: They love their craft and can bring to mind legendary acts like Fugazi and Thin Lizzy with a few strokes of the guitar.

I went straight to the source, singer and rhythm guitarist John Baizley, to learn how the band created this album and how they put on a great concert night after night.

You guys tour a lot. How do you stay sane on the road?

I think it takes years and years of touring to figure out how to do it without falling apart. It seems like everybody who does it has lost their mind once or twice. Thankfully, we're still as excited to get up on stage as we were eight or nine years ago.

What kinds of things were you listening to when creating Blue Record?

I pretty much live in my studio and listen to music eight hours a day, every day. Many times, in the buildup to recording, I'll listen to records in my collection that don't get stale for me.

I think a lot of Led Zeppelin records have infinite repeat value, and there are a couple of Queen records that have such a scope and comprehension of music that I wanted to emulate them in some way. It led to this belief that if we overwrote a song or if it sounded like another song on the record, it was grounds for dismissal. Each song had to have a different vibe from the other ones [on Blue Record]. The idea was to do a variation on a theme and push it to such a point that each variation becomes its own theme. Queen did this a lot.

Are you working on new songs at the moment?

We're focusing on touring right now, but we're constantly working on new stuff. If I can't be writing something, I'm not happy.

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