Manmade God Biography
Pann - vocals / Craig Locicero - guitar / Steve Jacobs - drums / James Walker - bass
"Unravel new horizons on my search for greater things" - "Search For Greater Things"
The path to potential is charted by he who walks it. Such is the philosophy of Manmade God, a band that is square on the road to realizing theirs.
Guitarist Craig Locicero and drummer Steve Jacobs, called by an insistent muse, founded the Bay Area band straight out of their prior project, Forbidden. Inspiration was instant, realization was distant, but imminent. "Something really clicked," says Locicero, "a bell, that rings inside you, tells you how to write a really great song. I don't know what happened, or how it really came about, but we wanted to follow our hearts to the fullest, not deviate from what brings us to the most emotional, melodic place."
Key to fruition would be vocalist Pann, who'd been Pong-ing between coasts in a frustrating search for a band. He was on the verge of surrender when he hooked up with Manmade God. "I said, I've been doing this for about five years and I've had it. I'm done. Maybe this isn't for me but I'm going to put one more ad out in the paper '"
The ad got bites, one of which was from Locicero, who called but failed to leave a number. Pann immediately dismissed the call, but "he called back a couple minutes later and left his phone number. I went down to the studio because Craig was so persistent. When I sat down and they started playing I was blown away. There was so much power it was really an intense experience."
Locicero was reciprocally awed, saying an immediate and urgent alchemy within MMG manifested at Pann's enlistment. "Before Pann joined, we were more of a fingerpainting experiment; it never felt like a band. Pann just made all the difference, having direction and emotion."
Within two weeks, MMG's predestined lineup debuted at The Boomerang Club in San Francisco. Locicero, "The reactions went from Who the fuck are these guys? to I can't wait to see these guys in the future." Soon after, the band met up with Stone Temple Pilots' Eric Kretz, who was impressed enough to produce MMG's 3-song demo. We were getting a great response from the demo, so we decided to head to LA. and showcase for some labels, says Jacobs. We soon realized that we where not ready for that yet. Pann had only been in the band for 3 months, and we had some more growing to do. So we locked ourselves in our studio, and didnt come out until we knew who we were musically and personally. It was during this period when search for Greater Thinge and Safe Passage were born. We wrote with no inhibitions and reached for higher plains without fear, he continues. The disc subsequently caught the ear of Brian Joseph Dobbs (Echobrain, engineer with renowned producer Bob Rock), with whom the band smithed their next demo at the famed Plant in Sausalito. These demos reached American Recordings and eventually a private showcase was set-up with Rick Rubin. MMG signed to American in October 2002, their debut produced by Dobbs and executive produced by Rubin.
Manmade God draws from wells along rock's originally charted path, spitting out the stones and swallowing the melodic artistry of the Beatles and Pink Floyd, the balls-out rock and roll of Led Zeppelin, the mysticism of The Doors and the heavy duty stomp of Sabbath, Soundgarden and Stone Temple Pilots. Better to call them students, artisans and craftsmen, making music according to their master plan.
Says Pann, "We have common influences, but we have different influences. It's endless." As for the band eschewing recent rock, "The 70s was a very influential time for all of us. The quality of music back then was a lot more than it is today. Rock was mixed with blues, mixed with the creative environment and mixed with the times to create a really genuine sound. It took you to another world. That was lost after the 70s were over."
Accordingly, MMG's American Recordings debut, Manmade God, is an eleven-stage, rocket-fueled wallop rooted in emotion and bereft of contrivance; the most honest, penetrating rock 'n roll you've heard in a long, lonely time. Pann's pipes propel MMG's passionate, panoramic anthems such as first single "Safe Passage" and the pulsating disco-beater "Pulp;" Locicero, Walker and Jacobs churn and surge behind him, seeming to forge glowering grooves but also pluck them from the air. "That's the way we go about writing everything. It's not a concept album," explains Locicero.
Thematically, Manmade God demands change ("Meet My Maker"), perspective and hope ("Search for Greater Things") and poisonous inspiration ("Bad Creation"). It goes to growth, something for which the members of MMG collectively strive, both for themselves, but for those who hear their music. "We know there's a deeper understanding of the problems humans face," says bassist James Walker, "that there's a way out of them. We try to attack and uncover those issues with the truth. Manmade God will always take the negative and turn it into a learning experience."
That's not to say Manmade God is mired in motivational muck. "Our underlying positivity is us being true to the pulse of the world, Locicero clarifies, just trying to look at everything in as positive a light as you can in such a negative, fucked up, just-as-screwed-up-as-it-ever-was, world."
The point then, must be Manmade God is out to dose listeners with perspective, while returning craftsmanship and integrity to rock and roll, help it back onto the tracks after a prolonged derailment. No more white suburbanite bitterness, no more faceless music.
"You can sit there and cry that your mommy beat you and your dad abused you your whole life or you can say, That's in the past. Fuck it. I'm gonna make something out of my life, says Pann.
Bottom line: "I hope we can help people open the doors to their souls. That's what music is."
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