Deist Requiem’s new album was a decade in the making.
By Mike Holtzclaw firstname.lastname@example.org
Deist Requiem’s new album was more than a decade in the making. Call it Hampton Roads’ version of Dylan’s basement tapes.
“The Happiness Delusion” comes out next Tuesday. The industrial metal band will have a release party this Saturday, Feb. 28, at Pancho & Luigi’s in Norfolk. But the basic instumental tracks for the album were recorded 12 years ago, when Kooper was working with an earlier incarnation of his hard-rockin’ Southside band.
Back then, Kooper was backed by drummer Jodi Joy, bassist Brian Powers and guitarist Brance Arnold. The band went into GWAR’s Slave Pit studio in Richmond and began working on a set of songs that had everyone excited. But Deist Requiem broke up before it could be completed.
So what happened?
“That’s a loaded question,” Kooper says. “We were trying to do some different things, with a lot of variety. It sounds like Deist, but we were going for some new things, too. Really going for it. And in the end, we didn’t have everyone on the same page with where we wanted to go.”
People went their separate ways, started new projects. Kooper put together a new lineup of Deist Requiem. He assumed those old recordings from 2003 would never see the light of day. In fact, he says, he didn’t even know where they were until relatively recently, when Slave Pit engineer Jerry Smith acknowledged that he still had them.
Kooper was intrigued by the possibilities. He hooked up with h3, front man for the Norfolk industrial rock band hERETICS IN THE lAB, and started working with those old tracks. Kooper added the vocals, and h3 played a bit, and pretty soon “The Happiness Delusion” was taking shape.
“I think it sounds great,” Kooper says. “I’ve got to say, it was like hooking up with an old friend. We were really on point when we were recording these songs.”
Kooper has stayed in touch with his former band mates and says they are all happy with what they’re heard of the new CD. Some of them even plan to be at the release party, where Kooper will be playing these songs with the current incarnation of Deist Requiem – bassist Rod Burke, drummer Mike Gotte and guitarist Lucky Riggs.
That quartet has been together since 2010, and it’s the latest lineup for a band that started 25 years ago in Tennessee. Kooper and the band relocated to Hampton Roads in the late 1990s after – believe it or not – their tour bus broke down in the parking lot of the Hampton Coliseum. They spent the better part of a week living on the bus in the parking lot before resuming the tour – but for a variety of reasons decided that they liked the region enough to make it their new home.
“If our bus had never broken down, who knows?” Kooper says with a laugh.
Kooper is also happy to say that the current lineup has been recording as well, and that Deist Requiem could have another new album out later this year. But right now, he’s focused on “The Happiness Delusion,” and he’s excited.
“I think there’s some closure now that we really needed,” Kooper says. “It was a terrible feeling to know that we had left this album unfinished. It just made sense to finish what we started.”
DETAILS: Deist Requiem will have a release party for its new album “The Happiness Delusion” at 8 p.m. Saturday at Pancho & Luigi’s, 4012 Colley Avenue, Norfolk. Cover is $5. The party will also feature Stuck Backwards, The Pestilence Choir and Eye of the Green Mojo. For details, call 757-351-3380 or go to the event’s Facebook page.