Frontman Jackson Phibes dishes on the spooky and not-so spooky aspects of the horror-rock legends’ latest album.
They are one of Calgary’s longest-running rock band’s and arguably one of its best.
Next year local horror-rock crew Forbidden Dimension, led by undead frontman Jackson Phibes, will celebrate 30 years of cool, creepy, cryptic, B-movie tunes and they show no signs that they’re ready to stay six feet under anytime soon.
In fact, this Saturday they’ll celebrate the release of their eighth proper album It’s a Morbid, Morbid, Morbid World with a show at the Oak Tree Tavern.
Prior to Phibes and his bandmates Virginia Dentata and P.T. Bonham releasing the new album, the head ghoul spoke with theYYSCENE about the morbid and not-so morbid world of Forbidden Dimension.
The title of the album
“What is not morbid is where I got that title from. The name is from a little comic book that my two sons have drawn for me for the last seven years for my birthday — they collaborate on this thing. They might have got the title from me because I was kind of joking about it, but every year they give me a comic book called A Morbid World — they each do a story. One guy’s in college now but he still does it … I decided it was a cool title for the album, itself, Morbid, Morbid, Morbid World, like (the film) It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. I think there’s already some black metal band with an album called A Morbid World out there, I’m sure. (Laughs) This is not a black metal album, although there are some of the same sentiments, definitely.”
How long it’s been in the works
“A morbidly long time. It’s one of those things when you start working on new tunes as you’re finishing the record prior to it. So there are a couple of these ones from when The Golden Age of Lasers came out, in 2011 I guess, so some of them are from around that time and most of them are since then. I’d go through writing spurts … And Trilobite Lady is on another record (his side-project The Agnostic-Phibes Rhythm & Blood Conspiracy) — it’s the same chord structure but a completely different riff. This is almost like a freedom rock riff on it and the other one, I wasn’t really happy with it. So, yeah, most of the stuff is from the last five years. It takes about five years for me to write a record these days. I’m not in any rush. (Laughs) … And another thing, too, in the genre, the horror-rock genre, there’s so many more bands out there then there were when we started, so you’ve really got to take a different angle on a lot of stuff, just to sort of be more original. You can’t just blast out some horror lyrics, it’s kind of cool to make sure it’s funny and nobody else has done it before.”
The tone of the record and the inspiration
“It has the same kind of feel to it as when I released my book (2012’s I Paint In Flesh Colour). I was drawing a lot more stuff about being out in the woods and things like that. And a lot of the lyrics on this record and ones we’re still working on for a possible next record all have a bit more of that feel to it. In the old days, I used to walk through the graveyard on my lunch breaks and write songs. (Laughs) That’s why they all had that same tempo. Nowadays some are really fast and some are lurchingly slow and … from when I’m wandering around walking my dog down at the creek and that’s when I start thinking of stuff. So I’m in this real happy place, but I always, for some reason, just twist everything into some depressing situation. It’s like being a horror writer, I’m not a depressed person or anything like that, but everything just goes down that twisted path for some reason. Especially this time of year, everything’s grey and dead, and there’s lots of twisted trees — it sets a mood for sure.”
The least morbid thing about Forbidden Dimension
“The band is sent home with baked goods at the end of band practise. Virginia Dentata always makes sure that everyone goes home supplied with baked goods and pickled goods and stuff. It’s pretty good. It’s like going to practise at Suzie Homemaker’s house and you get sent home with all this stuff. It’s really nice.”
Forbidden Dimension release It’s A Morbid, Morbid, Morbid World Saturday at the Oak Tree Tavern.
Mike Bell has been covering the Calgary music scene for the past 25 years with publications such as VOX, Fast Forward, the Calgary Sun and, most recently, the Calgary Herald. He is currently the music writer and content editor for theYYSCENE.ca, and the co-host of the show Saved By the Bell, which airs Wednesdays from 4-6 p.m. on CJSW 90.9 FM. Follow him on Twitter/@mrbell_23 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He likes beer. Buy him one.