Last updated: 11/08/2002 03:16:56 AM
The story so far .....
St. John's NL: Its hard to believe it, but sHeavy has been around for more than 10 years now. In fact, its probably fair to say that no one ever believed that Dan and Ren's little side project would last this long. Five albums and 10 years later, the band has come a long way and if you ask them they'll probably say they've got a lot left to do. To make a long story short, sHeavy was born out of a basement jam in 1993. The rest, as they say, is history.
In the summer of 93' the band consisted of Ren on drums, Dan on lead guitar, Paul Grouchy on bass, Sterling Robertson on rhythm guitar and Steve Hennessey on vocals. The bands repitoire consisted of a sampling of Kyuss covers and an assortment of originals that would eventually make their way onto the Reproduction E.P, Slaves To Fashion and ultimately Blue Sky Mind. The band gigged a little in and around St. John's during those days playing small clubs and few shows at the LSPU Hall. They were having a blast but they also knew that no one would take them seriously with just a couple of 4 track demos under their belts.
The band's first trip to the studio was a learning experience. Recorded and mixed over a single weekend, Blue Sky Mind has always been a source of pride and a persistant thorn in the proverbial side. To this day they'll tell you that the cassette masters blew the cd master to bits. Left with a thousand or so bad sounding cd's to sell the band was more than a little surprised to learn that plenty of people actually liked it. On the strength of that recording, Rise Above Records in the U.K signed them to a three album deal. Suffice to say they went into the studio much better prepared for the second album.
The Electric Sleep was recorded in St. Johns' in the summer of 1997. With Don Ellis behind the knobs and switches, and Keith Foley coming on board for the low end, the band set out to capture the simple but powerful sound they'd been searching for. The result was an album one British reviewer deemed "the best Black Sabbath album in 25 years". Now Sabbath comparisons were nothing new, but for every review filled with praise another came along that maintained they were little more than clones. The albums doomy title track could even be found on the web described as a lost Sabbath track. After a short tour of the U.K and an invitiation to play the Dynamo Open Air in Belgium, the band headed back to the studio. More than ever, the search for the sHeavy sound was on and would find itself some two years later firmly rooted in the celestial skies.
Recorded in the summer of 1999 in the workshop of Rens' parents home, Celestial Hi-Fi, showcased the diversity of the sHeavy sound. The delicate nuances of "Persona" gave way to the doom of "Tales From The Afterburner", while tracks like "What's Up Mr. Zero" and "Strange Gods Strange Altars" illustrated the bands ability to throw hooks into the mix. Reviews of the album were generally positive but as is often the case with small bands, economic reality began to strike home. Keith left for work in Alberta and Steve headed out west in search of a calendar model named Jackie Kash with whom he had become obsessed. With the band making no money and the NFLD economy doing poorly, it was the only thing they could do. While the distance between them made live shows and rehearsals an impossibility, it didn't stop them from making albums.
In October 2001 the band converged on Keith's home in Edmonton, AB to write and rehearse for what would become the "Synchronized" sessions. Recorded in November 2001 with former Sabbath producer/engineer Mike Butcher at the helm, Synchronized once again saw the band diversify its sound with the addition of synthesizer, piano and even drum loops. Despite, and perhaps because of the addition of Butcher, the album has been described as the bands least Sabbath like release and nothing less than a sincere tribute to 70's rock. Written largely in the studio due to time constraints, the albums rock solid production showcased a raw power unseen on the band's previous releases.
In September 2004 the band reunited in St. John's to begin writing songs for a new album. Due to a number of outside obligations, consumate band leader and drummer Ren Squires stepped quietly out of the spotlight. Kevin Dominic, a longtime friend of the band, was brought in to keep the rock n' roll machine running. By November the band emerged with 11 new tracks. Over the next month, with the help of friend and producer Rick Hollett, the band tracked the new album above a Duckworth street club called The Republic. Mixed by doom master Billy Anderson in San Francisco, CA and once again released by Rise Above, Republic? will surely serve notice that sHEAVY-metal is still a force to be reckoned with.
Thanks to Ken Squirts for submitting the biography.