Bang - Best Of Bang (Ripple Music, 2018)
It’s rare that a band will grab me by my throat, and insist that I listen to it. However, that exact thing happened this past April, and it is a group, a trio actually, that made the bulk of their music in the early 70’s; that groups name is Bang, and they are a phenomenal musical act!! Ripple Music recently released The Best of Bang, and I am a Ripple Music fanatic, so obviously I asked Todd Severin, who owns and runs Ripple, to send me a digital copy.
This is easily one of the best releases I have heard in quite some time, and I’m still hooked on the magic these three men, who are Frank Ferrara - Bass & Vocals, Frank Gilcken - Guitars & Harmony, and Tony Diorio - Lyricist, Graphics, Videos & Original Drummer, have created. Every song seethes with the sound of the era, and Bang is one of the earliest groups that doom and stoner metal groups say influenced the genre.
As with every great Best of release, there is a story behind the compiling, track listing, and overall tone of the album. Ripple head, Todd Severin is a long time fan of the band, and I asked him how this all came about, along with asking Frank Ferrara for his input. Todd had this to say, “I really fell in love with Bang way back when the Ripple Effect was first starting as a music review blog. I contacted the band once or twice along the way after the label had started, but it was harder to reach bands back then. Then one day, about 4 years ago, they contacted me and were asking about Ripple. We all met at Psycho California in Anaheim about 3 years ago and talked and hit it off. They had some contractual issues to clear up, but floated the idea to me of doing a Best of BANG; of course I jumped at the chance. Frank, Frankie and Tony got me all the files, and some ideas of what they wanted; then I went about spending several months on what I thought would be the perfect track list and order. The lads provided many rare pictures, and Mark Aceves of ZED did the design and layout for the album cover and gatefold. Meanwhile, I contacted Tony Reed, and asked if he’d like the opportunity to re-master the BANG songs for a Best of; he also jumped at the chance and did an amazing job. I don’t think the songs have ever sounded better. So, you can say I came to it as a fan, who 10 years ago reviewed this amazing album by some relatively unknown American heavy rockers from the 70’s, long before the record label even existed. One thing led to another, and 10 years later I’m blessed to have the opportunity to work with some amazing guys and musicians.”
This is one of the things I love about the Ripple Music label, Todd is first and foremost a music fan, and is very passionate about which projects he takes on. From Foghound to Freedom Hawk to High Priestess to Bang, Todd pours everything he has into the bands he works with.
After getting this information from Todd I also contacted Bang front-man Frank Ferrara, and he had a similar story to share. Frank said that, “We played Psycho Fest in Cali in 2015 and met Todd from Ripple, and he approached us about doing a record; at the time Tony, our original drummer and lyricist, came up with the idea of doing a “best of” . We ran it by Todd and he loved the idea, and the “best of” was born. It took a while to pick the songs but eventually we came up with the final 18, it was tuff having to choose the song list, but we had only 80 minutes and did the best we could. We’re excited about the release and are proud of the music we created. I always thought our music was just as worthy as ANY other band out there and deserved more recognition but the gods of rock and roll had other ideas. We are honored by the love we’ve gotten since we reformed 4 years ago, and look forward to continuing to do what we love.”
The passion of everyone involved with this release is purely amazing to me; especially considering that the original albums came out when Bang was originally active, which was from about 1971 to 1973. The music is melodic, the bass lines thump, they groove, and they lay back when it is called for; then there’s the guitar playing, which, in my opinion, is stunning. The guitars clean tones, and dirty tones, are everything that I love about the era in which they were recorded. They have a great fuzz sound, and the lead sections scream with their high end tone (see the beginning of the track “Lions…Christians” for an example of that screaming lead tone).
So to say that I am a fan of Bang is an understatement at this point. I absolutely love everything that they have put on The Best of Bang, and the re-mastering is incredible. These songs are given new life by the work Tony Reed put into them, making them equally as impressive as anything out right now in 2018. If you love music, and love the 1970’s tone, then this album is a must have for your collection. I want to thank Todd and Frank for their additions to this story, your input is greatly appreciated; as is your musical drive and passion.
- Tom Hanno
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