Black Mountain Symphony- The Hiatus is over
Written by Rob Smittix on March 13, 2019
Black Mountain Symphony is a 6 piece, genre-bending band that has been a staple in the Capital Region music culture for at least 16 years. The original idea for the band came about nearly 20 years ago and eventually transformed into the group we know today. However, this is a fresh lineup. After taking a break for the last 4 years Bill Palinski has decided to return to his post behind the drums. “A lot of things have changed for the better and a lot of things are exactly the same, just how I imagined it.” says Palinski.
The newest addition to the band is electric and stand-up bassist Nick Graziade, who had this to say about joining the band: “I never realized how big it was, I was used to playing local stuff, where if I didn’t get into a fight or have something stolen, it wasn’t really a show I was at. Now I’m looking at these gigs we’re playing and I’m thinking to myself, geez there’s gonna be an actual audience here that is going to participate and care about what we’re doing.”
Long time guitarist Chris Peppe aka Rollz is still a crucial part of this dream team alongside original founding members, the Campo siblings Bear (Piano/Keys) and Annie (Violin). Last but certainly not least Annie’s husband Charlie Burgess (Guitar/Cedar Flute) completes this eclectic collection of talented musicians.
Bear: “Everybody’s jiving now, throughout the years there’s been like this negative energy that we had to deal with and overcome.” Annie: “It’s a nice happy, chill line-up.”
RRX: “Black Mountain Symphony is literally a family band.”
Bear: “The family is getting bigger!”
RRX: “Oh that’s right! How’s parenthood?” (Directed at new parents Annie and Charlie)
Annie: “Awesome, it’s been 5 months already.”
RRX: “This is your first child, are you finding yourself being overprotective?”
Annie: “I don’t think so. We used to have him upstairs while we practiced; he’d be screaming. I said let’s bring him downstairs so he can listen to us play music in the headset. As soon as he comes down, he passes out. He just wants to be with music all the time.”
Charlie: “It’s really cool to be raising him around music. I wasn’t really raised that way, around lively jam sessions. It’s pretty awesome to be able to give him that upbringing.”
RRX: So speaking of family life, Bear I understand that you are getting married later this year. Is it sinking in?
Bear: “It’s different, I am the last one out of most of my friends that isn’t married.”
Charlie: “Bear, how does your future wife feel about you being up there on stage like a piece of meat before all of these ravenous ladies?
Bear: “She doesn’t mind it. I’ve had problems with all these other girls in the past.”
Bill: “All one-hundred of them.”
Bear: “You know what I mean. (Bad female voice impression) Oh, you’re in a band? Cool, oh my God you guys are real good. Then I tell them I travel playing music a lot, at first they’re cool with it but after a month they’re like I can’t do this, you’re never around. She (fiancé) has never once said that to me. We’ve left for a while, she calls me up once a day and we talked once a day, that’s it.
RRX: “So she must be very understanding. I’ll be expecting an invitation to your wedding by the way.
RRX: “Something that intrigues me about your group is that you do not have a front-person, you share lead vocals, even with your drummer; whom I feel compelled to call Phil Collins.”
Bill: “It’s been like that since as long as I can remember.”
Bear: “Everybody is a songwriter.”
Bill: “We all write songs, for each other too.”
Charlie: “I don’t think any of us would stick with it, if we weren’t able to each have our own creative input.”
RRX: (Directed to Annie) “Do you ever find that you are assumed to be the front-person?” Annie: (Laughs) “Nobody really recognizes me anyway, unless I am with Bear.”
Charlie: “Everybody recognizes her brother Bear out in public.”
Bear: “I used to always get this in the mall (another impersonation voice) “You’re that guy from that violin band.”
RRX: “Yes, violin is a big part of your sound. Do you ever play the fiddle?”
Annie: “I touch upon fiddle.”
RRX: “Yes, me too.” (Laughter)
RRX: “So let’s discuss the music scene.”
Bill: “The scene has changed a lot since I have been out of it, the music scene all together in Albany. I feel like coming back into it, it’s different but comfortable now.” Charlie: “One of the things we have found is that the brewery circuit has been kind to us. It seems like people who like good beer are into original music as well.
Bear: “We’ve played a lot in Woodstock for the past 5 or 6 years, so we have a nice fan-base down there too. “
Charlie: “We love the scene in Woodstock. Every time they dance for everything, the slow ones, the fast ones, the weird ones, they dance to the normal ones.”
Bear: “They dance to songs, I don’t even know how you can dance to.”
RRX: “Anything to add about the scene?”
Bill: “Shout out to Mother Judge who helped us out a lot.”
Charlie: “She was definitely how I got introduced to the whole Albany music scene. She set the tone for what Albany music is all about.”
Bill: “She made it a community.”
Bear: “I met a lot of people through her…”
Charlie: “Her and her open-mic. I hope somebody steps into that leadership role that she played, whoever does has big shoes to fill.”
Charlie: “Here’s to Mother Judge.”
RRX: “So I realize you are all just coming back from taking some time off, anything in the works?”
Charlie: “Well we finished our EP just before our hiatus and the plan is to turn that into a full length album as soon as we can.”
Bear: “We still have some new stuff that hasn’t been recorded yet and I’m sure there’s going to be newer stuff, so we’re just going to be writing.”
Charlie: “And we’ve got some great shows that we’re looking forward to.”
To learn more about Black Mountain Symphony and their music you can visit their page online at www.blackmountainsymphony.com Upcoming Events: March 16 6pm Helderberg Brewery Rensselaerville NY & April 13th at 8pm Station Bar & Curio –Woodstock, NY May 18th at 12pm Gardiner Cupcake Festival –Gardiner, NY
By Rob Smittix -See Rob and his band SMITTIX March 16 -2pm Pauly’s Hotel Albany