Glassjaw are a five-piece rock band from Long Island, New York. Worship And Tribute is their Warner Bros. Records debut album.
Love it or hate it, there is nothing comfortable, or mundane about Worship And Tribute. Picture Elvis Costello fronting the Bad Brains or Morrissey singing with Fugazi. That may (or may not) clue you in to what Worship And Tribute is all about. Painfully passionate and sonically dense, Worship And Tribute is a unique post hardcore hybrid that should bridge both new and old fans alike.
Frontman Daryl Palumbo, whose bipolar stage antics are playfully flamboyant, yet undeniably sensitive, confesses, "I don't think it's exactly an easy listen. The easier it sticks to you, the easier it will fall off of you. If you can make it through any art without being completely emotionally pushed in one direction, then it hasn't done its job."
Glassjaw formed from the ashes of New York hardcore band Sons Of Abraham and originally existed as a "weekend outlet for the individual members." Both Worship and Tribute as well as their previous release Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Silence were produced by Ross Robinson, who has worked with the likes of At The Drive In and Slipknot, but is most well known as the architect of new metal, having produced albums by Korn and Limp Bizkit. Glassjaw, however, is light years away from new metal (or any sort of simple categorization for that matter), as evidenced by that first record with Ross. "Our goal at the time of that record was too destroy Adidas rock" says Robinson. It contained diary-honest lyrics about failed romantic relationships and Palumbo's personal battle with the intestinal illness Crohn's disease and was fueled by the harmonically distorted assault of guitarists Justin Beck and Todd Weinstock.
Fans of hardcore, metal and emo were drawn to Glassjaw and the band amassed an almost-cult like base of disciples. The band tucked a summer tour with Deftones under its belt and their reputation was built upon their manic live "experience."
In late 2001, Glassjaw eventually resurfaced at its new Warner Bros. home and recently delivered Worship And Tribute, an album erected upon an indie aesthetic and more sophisticated approach towards arrangement. "We're older now and we want to make timeless music," says Weinstock.
"Worship And Tribute references how everything that we do as artists is almost paying homage to something else that influenced us to do it in the first place," reveals Palumbo. "It's a mélange of influences, a collage is what this band is all about. This record pays tribute to everything from Bad Brains to Anthrax to The Cure to Squeeze and so much more." The album's title also has a second meaning. "In loving someone, you worship them like a deity and it hurts, a lot, to the point that in trying to show love and show tribute to someone you're stretching and reaching. It becomes an unhealthy worship and you'll bow out unfaithfully in the end," explains the singer.
For the band, the maturation of the members as both writers and musicians has been the most rewarding process. "On the last album, I was a teenager and things were right before my eyes. On this record, so many other things move me emotionally: sex, relationships, the state of our career and how I feel about this band, and this band becoming a business, and me becoming an adult." offers Palumbo.
The band considers producer Robinson the catalyst that makes them better always pushing them extremely hard. The producer is known for extracting the most from his bands through alternate methods. For Palumbo, Robinson reached deep. He elaborates, "Ross gets into your head and makes you talk about everything in a song. If you feel like you don't want to talk about it and you do not want to "get into" that one part, that's the absolute point at which he makes you talk. It's like the painstaking task of opening yourself up to a room of people who might disagree or laugh at you. It almost makes the lyrics another member of the band, rather than just a riddle that a frontman is saying."
Glassjaw's frenetic live energy and unharnassed emotion are the reasons why fans turn up in droves at gigs. The quintet enjoyed a stint on the 2002 edition of the SnoCore tour and are touring all spring. In June they will head out to be part of this summer's Warped Tour and Ozzfest. The band offers a possible explanation as to why these Glassjaw fanatics are unwavering in their devotion. "We're not the cash cow of underground music. We work at a grassroots level and our fans would take a bullet for us and rightfully so, because we would kill or be killed for anyone who is devoted to our band."