NEBULA – To The Center
Stoner Rock Mailing List
There’s some debate as to the release date of this album on SUBPOP… as in… ‘if ever’.
If the powers who are debating the issue could just sssssiitt baaack and zzzzonnnne ouuut with this album, some cushy headphones and one’s refreshment of choice-choice-choice-choice-hoice-oice-ce… there would be no questions. Let everything melt away into the tracers and trails of this, one of the best rock albums since “Spine of God”.
It took me a short while to understand what they were shooting for, as with the aforementioned masterpiece. Once I GOT it, I was drawn into it. The first four songs blend into a moment of brilliance… I was destroyed before I knew it. Gravity kicked in at an increased level. “Freedom” opens it all back up with a 60’s jam (replete with their infamous percussion via Ruben) a la demon-Blues. “Antigone” continues with a large and filthy groove… to the STOOGES cover “I Need Somebody” which (from what I hear) has the illustrious Mark Arm of Mudhoney on vocals. Actually, the feel of the best Stooges and MC5 (and Mudhoney, for that matter) albums permeates every song on this recording. “So Low” brings me to a place somewhere between EASY RIDER and SKYNYRD. “Fields of Psilocybin” has enough tension and melody still to make or break your trip. “Between Time” and “You Mean Nothing” bring it all together with The Riffs of The Album, fuckin’ brilliant solos included. The only time that production “tricks” come into play is when they space you right the fuck out. This is raw, even with the acoustic guitar overdubs. The layering serves only to create atmosphere, NOT to polish. In fact, on my first few listens, I was taken aback at what I perceived as a rather rough portrayal of a band I loved. I was worried that they hadn’t taken enough time with the whole record. I now hear what made me love Nebula in the first place… emotional jams with strong riffing and NO money-driven bullshit.
In my opinion, this is the epitome of what this fuzzed out genre has become, and should be. While their contemporaries often border safely on mersh metal, this band chooses the dirt-rock approach every time. Stoned and droning, this record is a fucked up freak out, just like I like it.
NEBULA – To The Center
Alternative Press Magazine
Volume 14, No. 138
Fu Manchu refugees lace their heavy rock with liberal doses of psychedelia. That the bassist and drummer of Nebula can trade their beginnings to Fu Manchu is no surprise. Both bands display an obvious reverence for Blue Cheer and Black Sabbath, cranking out ’70s-style retro rock at full volume. Singer Eddie Glass even exhibits the same “whatever, dude” vocal style as Fu’s Scott Hill. Where Fu Manchu are content to just be heavy, however, Nebula channel their aggression through a psychedelic prism. The result is a trippy spectrum of guitar sounds, from fuzzy, chugging riffs to squealing solo runs. Yes, To The Center is as weighty as a 10-gallon water bong, but it’s decidedly multitextured. Witness the acoustic guitar undercurrent and handclaps in “Clear Light” or the sitar-laced mindfuck of the aptly named “Fields of Psilocybin.” A nasty workout of the Stooges’ “I Need Somebody” alone is worth the price of admission, featuring guest vocals by Mudhoney’s Mark Arm. Near the end of To The Center, Glass declares “I’m in love with this guitar” in “Between Time.” Let’s hope it’s a long and prolific relationship. (Sup Pop)
NEBULA – To The Center
Mean Street – Hype
“Nebula’s music can best be described as rock to the fifth power,” singer/guitarist Eddie Glass says.
That’s no joke. Nebula is truly one of those bands that will definitely get you rocking, as in driving your Camaro too fast kind of rocking. With To The Center, the band’s first full length album and debut for Sup Pop, these guys can back any amount of smack talking with a heavy dose of some sick, straightforward ’70’s rock. With high school buddies, bassist Mark Abshire and drummer Rubin Romano, learning the musical ropes as part of stoner rock legend, Fu Manchu, Glass came aboard in 1997 to complete the Nebula lineup. With the history behind the band, the fans were already there and willing to follow Nebula.
And they should hang on tight. To The Center shows that Nebula isn’t afraid to dabble into unexplored realms. By adding acoustic guitars, sitars and synthesizers. Nebula dabbles in unique sounds that break them out of the same old stoner rock clichés.
Being anything but radio friendly, Nebula is the kind of band that builds their fan base on the road, one person at a time. And they’ve been doing just that over the last few months.
“There’s been a lot of rock going on. Chicago was a great show for us”, Glass states. “We started off in Europe and were there for three weeks. Then we started touring in the States from Cleveland and will do another four weeks of touring.”
Although Nebula cannot really see themselves having a hit song on the radio or a video on MTV, they have been getting some good exposure in the college radio market around the globe.
“I don’t even like MTV anymore,” Glass says. “All they seem to play anymore is rap music.”
And a response to the music? Get in any fights about it lately? “Everybody seems to like our CD so far and if they don’t like it, I guess they probably wouldn’t tell me anyway,” Glass chuckles. “And as for Sub Poop, they’ve been treating us really well, too.”
Immediate plans call for a tour of Canada, then some time off to get their heads straight in order to work on new material. As far as their musical future is concerned, Glass says, “We’re not really trying to hit any huge stardom,” says Glass, “but we’d like to see ourselves packing nice size clubs and have comfortable transportation, money and all the good things that come out of it.”
Nebula – To The Center
November 16, 1999
Sweet Nothing (UK)
Load up the trunk with beer, motherf–ers – we’re hitting the desert. Forget techno-metal. We take doom-laden riffs. We take whatever hallucinogens we can find. Hell, we even take the gong. But most of all, we take Nebula. And by the time we’re finished, the desert will look like “the center of the universe”.
For crawling somewhere on the underbelly of southern California, three gaunt men have brought the collision of heavy metal, punk and psychedelia to a shattering conclusion. Their names are Eddie, Mark and Ruben. Their riffs, let us assure you, kick ass. From the Sabbath-defying let’s-get-wasted grind of ‘To The Center’ to the obligatory fuck-you finale ‘You Mean Nothing’, Nebula have mastered rock’s lexicon and spat it back out with taco sauce. And, like all the best metal, Nebula are beyond parody, as the out-of-tune sitars on ‘Fields Of Psilocybin’ loudly proclaim. The catch? Ah, that would be where trash turns to tribute. Stooges cover ‘I Need Somebody’, sung by Mudhoney’s Mark Arm, helps itself to generous portions of Detroit balls and attitude, but is ultimately radio fodder. And though they record in neo-radical Seattle, the closest Nebula get to the front line is their Legalize Cannabis stand.
Yet for a no-bullshit antidote to US agony-rock, for razor-sharp, front-of-car moshing with unashamed hippy antics also on board, you won’t find a handier sub-galaxy than Nebula. Marilyn Manson, you have been warned. 7/10
– Ralph Parfect
SUN CREATURE REVIEWS
NEBULA Sun Creature EP
The Rocket (5/26/99)
by Steve Turner of Mudhoney
Clouds Taste Metallic
Nebula are floating straight into the sun, blue-green smoke trails swirling. Bursting into the heavens brighter than all the stars put together, before raining down shards of white hot molten metal onto the bleached earth below….
Sorry. Let me start over.
Nebula are the one. I’m not so convinced by the new line circulating lately that “Rock is back.” For one thing, I don’t remember it going anywhere for too long, and there’s always the old “been there, done that”/”seen it and heard it” school of thought. My Rock dollars have seen diminishing returns with each successive retread of a retread of etc. But not so with Nebula. They’re this close to perfection (hands very close together).
This four-song Sun Creature (Man’s Ruin) is the latest from Eddie Glass, Ruben Romano and Mark Abshire. All of whom spent considerable time with the once great Fu Manchu, so their Rock credentials are, excuse me, heavy. They continue to mine the same territory a la Black Sabbath, Blue Cheer, Stooges, etc., adding healthy doses of flange, phase, extended space jamming and what sounds like early video game noises. What sets them apart from everyone else is how perfect every piece of the puzzle fits space jamming and what sounds like early video game noises. What sets them apart from everyone else is how perfect every piece of the puzzle fits together. For one person Glass is a great two- (four- or five-) guitar team, with each track dueling with the others like the MC5 at their best. Abshire’s bass wanders around almost aimlessly, but always checks back in with the main riff when necessary. Roman bashes at the drums in perfect cro-mag fashion, and when the headband comes out, you know the drum solo is just around the corner! And it’s all topped with Glass’ valley dude vocals as the perfect filler between solos.
This EP is a perfect place to start your Nebula experience. Smokin’ Woman is an ode to a sexy, smokin’ woman, and who can’t relate to that? Sun Creature is pot-fueled “X-Files” paranoia. Rollin’ My Way to Freedom is just plain pot-fueled, and Fly On is eight-plus minutes of flying guitars and bongo drums. Interestingly, Glass says he prefers the term “acid rock” to their recent media tag of “stoner rock.” Hmmm. Sun Creature was produced in part by Jack Endino, who’s just finished work on their sure-to-be-stellar upcoming LP. Again, Nebula are the one.
Nebula – Sun Creature EP
Man’s Ruin Records, 1999
Clocking in at just under 24 minutes, this new EP from Nebula is more than a just a holdover till the full length LP comes out later this year. These songs are part of Nebula’s creative growth spurt. With a seemingly endless supply of cool riffs, Nebula has been putting out very consistent songs on their recent releases. No weak tracks here either.
“Rolling My Way To Freedom” kicks this EP off a rockin’. A song about being on the road and scoring weed, this song captures the spirit of the infamous tour of the same name. Check out the cool breakdown for the second half of the song. “Sun Creature” is a kickin’ little tune that shows Nebula’s chaotic side. Slowing down the groove is “Smoking Woman”, this has been one of my favorites since I saw them play it last year. With some cool Hendrixesque licks and a totally stone groove, this is one “smokin'” song that really kicks it in at the end.
The album’s centerpiece is undoubtedly “Fly On”, at over 8 min., this has also been a favorite since seeing them play it live. In my opinion this is their master work (so far). Starting with a haunting bass groove from Mark Abshire, it begins a groove that will take you to one of the coolest drum breakdowns ever recorded. One listen and you’ll know why Ruben Romano has been one of my favorite drummers for a while now. While a flurry of toms and congas are hurtling towards a seemingly certain self destruction, Eddie Glass gives us some tasty psychedelic lead work that builds everything into a tornado of swirling rhythms that almost explodes before Mark brings you safely back to earth with his Fender. I listened to this particular track while on mushrooms and I’m not kidding about this song, it will mess you up good.
With great artwork by Frank Kozik, this album is a must for anyone loves good jams, so go buy this now and quit fooling around. If this album is a good indicator of things to come from Nebula, I can only expect magnificent things.
– Dwayne Jones
DOUBLE EP REVIEWS
NEBULA/LOWRIDER Split CD
Apparently, running an on-line stoner-rock record shop wasn’t enough for the fanatics at New Mexico’s MeteorCity. No, they’ve had to go out and recruit artists themselves, starting with the much-lauded Welcome to MeteorCity compilation, and now this international pairing. Please, let this madness continue.
Pressed onto a slab of green vinyl so thick it could double as a serving tray, this outing from Los Angeles‚ Nebula and Sweden’s Lowrider finds both bands ready to take us all into the next millennium on a wave of fuzzed-out guitars and thunderously groovy riffage.
Recorded in Seattle with grunge guru Jack Endino, Nebula’s half shows the colder, brooding side of the band that wasn’t present on their debut album.
Their offering begins with the molasses-thick Anything From You, a track so reminiscent of Mudhoney’s classic Superfuzz Bigmuff album that authorities need not dust to see Endino’s incriminating fingerprints.
More indicative of the trio’s synapse-frying live act are Full Throttle and Fall of Icarus (neither of which would have sounded out of place on Fu Manchu’s In Search Of). Ruben Romano’s drumming is dynamic and ecstatic, and guitarist Eddie Glass continues to prove that he’s the rising young star of the stoner scene. Fu *who*?, you might well ask.
In the opposite corner, Lowrider bounce over-amped 60s psychedelic rock off the reverberating walls of the Grand Canyon. When singer/bassist Peder growls out something involving *fireballs* on leadoff track Shivaree, Lowrider summon up the ghost of early Deep Purple. Elsewhere, Ol Mule Pepe (exclusive to the vinyl edition) finds the Swedes at their most swingingly Sabbath-fried, coasting on a chunky riff that hearkens back to the sound of those masters of reality.
But don’t write them off completely as retro: Upon the Dune begins like Metallica’s Sanitarium (Welcome Home)‚ before coalescing into a swampy groove that brings to mind visions of smiling alligators and rickety bayou shacks. Finally, The Gnome, The Serpent, The Sun‚ is either stunningly heavy or a competent facsimile, depending on your familiarity with Kyuss’ Blues For the Red Sun. Not necessarily a *bad* thing, mind you.
If rock is dead, then nobody bothered to tell the people at MeteorCity.
– Joshua Sindell
Nebula/Lowrider Split CD
The opening guitar strums of the first song announce Nebula’s arrival from the distant reaches of Alpha Centauri. Different than anything we’ve heard from them thus far… spacey and almost, dare I say it, MELLOW! Track 2 gets us back to form… once you hear Eddie’s “YEEEEEEAHHH!” you know it’s all over. Your foot says “fuck off” to your brain and begins tapping along with a mind of its own. Soon the rest of your body undergoes a similar process of exhumation from the dregs of everyday life as you slowly begin to lose yourself in this amazing music.
I knew Lowrider from their appearance on “Welcome to MeteorCity”, and was eager to hear their half of this disc. Calling this shameless Kyuss worship isn’t quite fair, if not entirely untrue. Coming dangerously close to cloning, both in terms of guitar tone and songwriting, the band still manages to inject a bit of their own flavor into the music. The vocals in particular have an eerie echo to them, and most of the time don’t resemble John Garcia’s at all. (Track #7’s vocals, however, approach the style of “Mondo Generator” from ‘Blues for the Red Sun.’) Even so, being a near clone of Kyuss isn’t a bad thing… the songwriting, while familiar, is very cohesive. The musicianship is tight, and all the members’ rhythms are in sync. Rather than being a detriment to the overall quality of the disc, Lowrider’s half ups the ante, making this CD a definite must-buy.
MeteorCity has been making some very wise moves. Stressing quality over quantity works for them, again. Though they may not be cranking out new titles each month, you can rest assured that their releases are worth the wait. CD’s like this are one of the main reasons why I started this list.
– Lou Rinaldi
LET IT BURN REVIEWS
CMJ New Music Report
NEBULA-Let It Burn
They’ve got that raw, filth-ridden edge straight outta the Sabbath-days (and I mean that in the most flattering way possible). They’re rugged, heavy and ultra-retro with enough 90’s vitality to appeal to both the old-school 70’s rock/metal devotees and the more modern order of listeners. Let It Burn exhibits an inebriating wonder world of inherent ingenuity. The band strays leagues away from the province of processed, microchip generated instrumentals. They’re not even in the same ball park… not even in the same stadium! Nebula are the minimalists of music; the way rock began. No big, expensive effects racks, pop-up-drummers, or voice manipulators. They’re vintage and proud! And it’s through their smoked up, feed backish, overdriven galaxy of coarsely harmonious groove that members, Mark Abshire (bass), Ruben Romano (drums, percussion sitar), and Eddie Glass (guitars, vocals, percussion), have cultivated an organic, carefree flavor like no other. The LP is glazed over with crunchy-yet-clean vocals, a spaced, atmospheric aura and blues-driven undertones that maintain the momentum throughout the disc while the closing ritualistic instrumental will leave you stripped naked in a tribal dance. Don’t miss this.
NEBULA Let It Burn EP – Rating: 8
STONER ROCK RULES
Do you want to know something? I’m happy for the fact that Eddie Glass and Ruben Romano left Fu Manchu and formed Nebula with Mark Abshire, ’cause now we have two great bands with a different approach to the sludge music! In fact, if Fu Manchu’s “The Action Is Go” is more riff-oriented and influenced by the hardcore genre, instead “Let It Burn” re-propose with unchanged power the same huge guitar work (full of incredible solos!) which marked some of the best songs on “In Search Of…”. Plus, all those psychedelic elements that Eddie Glass and Co. love so much.
Do you remember that fabulous psych-ballad from “In Search Of…” titled “Neptune’s Convoy”? Or that delicious blues song called “The Bargain”? Well, both those songs were composed by Eddie Glass, so now you can understand what are the coordinates of Nebula’s stoner rock. For example, “Raga In The Bloodshot Pyramid” is an acoustic and trippy raga impregnated with lysergic vapors, thanks to the use of a sitar: I bet that we will never have the pleasure to listen to a song like this one in a Fu Manchu’s album!
“Dragon Eye” and “Vulcan Bomber” are other great songs, a perfect soundtrack for a ride on the burning asphalt of the American’s highways. But “Down The Highway” remains my favorite track, probably the best one on this EP, and surely a song which brings up-to-date in the best way Blue Cheer’s acid blues. And take a look at the black Nebula’s photo in the booklet: it is a sincere homage to “Vincebus Eruptum”‘s cover (Blue Cheer’s legendary first album), isn’t it?
Next month the band will enter in the studio to record its debut album, but since now “Let It Burn” doesn’t leave any doubts: Nebula shine with their own light, and it is the light of a solar blast, which will swallow all your mental and physical resistance. Let yourself be blinded by it.
– Luciano Gaglio
NEBULA – Let It Burn (Tee Pee Records)
Once it’s made clear that the three members of Nebula all did time in the bong smoke-clouded van of acid-metal faves Fu Manchu, the rest, as they say, all makes sense. Let It Burn, the six-song debut from this Southern California band, is a blues-soaked trip through psychedelic guitar rave-ups and fat-bottomed grooves. Black Sabbath and the Stooges are the operative influences here, with guitarist/vocalist Eddie Glass managing to pull off the drugged-out histrionics of Sabbath’s headier moments while sticking to the low-end, muscular riffage that both outfits worked to their own benefit. The band’s obvious interest in the mysticism of ’60s hippiedom is made apparent in the sitar-laced closing track, “Raga In The Bloodshot Pyramid,” while the remainder of the album kicks up a technicolor duststorm of acid-blues licks, bad-ass vocals and pummeling rhythms. We recommend consuming your favorite recreational substance to the driving grooves of “Let It Burn,” “Elevation” and “Vulcan Bomber.”
– Colin Helms
NEBULA “LET IT BURN” – KKKK
from KERRANG! (UK) no. 688 FEBRUARY 28TH 1998
What is it with stoner outfits? Do they smoke so much hash that they forget which bands they’re supposed to be in or what? Nebula are made up of three original members of Fu Manchu (guitarist Eddie Glass, drummer Ruben Romano and bassist Mark Abshire), the former pair having woke up one morning to find that some of Kyuss had joined their then-band, and the latter having realized that he hadn’t actually been in Fu Manchu for ages. Like, bummer, man! Whatever, Nebula – as you might expect – sound very similar to Fu Manchu, with a more cosmic vibe replacing the latter’s obsession with big cars. As such, this six-track mini-album is a damn fine start, and if they can keep it together, we can expect great things for them. Write them at Nebula, PO Box 3837, Wittier, CA 90605-3837, USA, and remind them they’re in a band once in a while.
“NEBULA: COSMIC VOLCANO”
from ROCKERILLA (ITALY) no. 213 MAY 1998
Let It Burn! … Nebula, a name full of sidereal omens to identify a trio of ex-Fu Manchu’s “dissidents”. As the split for two of them from the “In search of …” band was less than happy, with vitriolic comments from each part, we were eager to verify the consistency of this new group , which, considering their six-track release “Let it burn”, is a first rate one. The band members consider this EP as just a “demo” put on CD, but I think that their humility is totally out of place! Actually “Let it Burn” is the other face of Fu Manchu’s evolution; and if Scott Hill’s “supporters” followed a more hardcore and spontaneous style with “The Action is Go”, Nebula prefer the cosmic side of music, turning to trippy sounds close to Monster Magnet’s ones, as well as molding in a similar way the late sixties’ garage rock heritage. It is pointless to emphasize that the result is nonetheless powerful, but in my opinion it is more imaginative: just listen to the swirls created in the deep space by Eddie Glass, who’s really a stirring guitarist, in “Elevation” and “Vulcan Bomber”. That the launching pad is the same as in the early Fu Manchu, also in the vocal approach, is clear from “Down the Highway” and the title track, but their interest towards new experimentations is well declared in the last piece, ” Raga in the Bloodshot Pyramid”, an ultrapsychedelic and “Indian” raga rock (as the title says!), with its wonderfully oscillating acoustic guitar and sitar.
– Beppe Riva
NEBULA, Thumlock, Rollerball and Warped
Melbourne, Australia @ Corner Hotel
November 24, 2000
Warped got things warmed up with their brand of high-octane rock. Plenty of guitar slinging and good time energy music was soaked up by the keen who had arrived early. Warped displayed a crisp, dirty style of pub rock with an edge of garage punk in convincing fashion, something this band has been doing for some years now.
Rollerball were the next cab off the rank and launched into a bass heavy rumble with crunching guitar. The vocals were like sandpaper to the ears and came from an animated frontman who managed to make use of the entire stage. Slowed down in parts with repeated riffary Rollerball delivered a sound that was raw and rough. What they may have lacked in heaviness was overcome with commitment to playing with much energy and gusto.
Thumlock hit the stage without a mixer but quickly overcame a slightly messy start to deliver a tight set. Drawing on tracks from their recently released album, Thumlock got heads nodding in unison via slick riff changes and a soundscape feel. “Rocking Course” and “Etheral Blue” were jammed out in fine style to a quickly filling Corner.
Smoke machine on overdrive and splash of gong saw Nebula stroll onto stage and launch into “Elevation” from “Let it Burn”. The lead guitar of Eddie Glass is the driving force of Nebula. His antics of ducking and weaving 360 donuts whilst not missing a break or riff was quickly on show. The sound from the three piece was best received up front as the band played tracks from all their ep’s and this years album “To The Center”. The band also included some tracks from a yet to be released new album that were well received. “Full Throttle” was a highlight as the guitar scorch/wail seemed to build with every track. The crowd response and enthusiasm also seemed to build as the gig progressed. As this was the bands first visit, Ruben Romano chose to share a drink with the crowd to spread the good vibe. The band played most of their high-energy tracks and delivered them with conviction and spirit. At times the vocals of Eddie were a little under-done, but this failed to detract from a masterly performance. An effortless display of guitar fueled insanity. Playing and switching from lead to rhythm, his performance had heads straining for a glimpse. Using two floor toms, Ruben’s drumming was fluid and heavy, and when combined with solid and tight bass lines the platform for elevation was firmly in place. Last song, after two encores was “Fly On” and with a highlight on drumming was the perfect close to a huge set of high energy tunes. Nebula delivered their music with sincerity and sweat to a satisfied crowd that would dearly love to see more bands of this caliber tour this country.
– Dieter Kraus
London WC2 Borderline/King’s Cross Water Rats
October 14, 1999
Formed by Fu Manchu’s lead guitarist Eddie Glass, Nebula are currently riding high in the US underground rock charts under the dubious ‘stoner rock’ banner. That tag, though, will have to go, because Nebula’s sound is more akin to a night ripped to the tits on acid and angel dust. It’s frightening.
Blending the raw power of The Stooges, MC5 and Black Sabbath with the frazzled prog bongo of, oh yes, Santana, the southern Californian trio make an awesome, frazzled racket tonight. The old stuff – ‘Let It Burn’, ‘Rolling My Way To Freedom’ – sounds incredible, but the new songs, such as ‘Clearlight’, are even better. Really, you have to see them.
– Andy Capper
NEBULA, Archie Bunker
Tattoo Bar 11/20/98
What better night to have your head relentlessly slammed by sheer musical onslaught than on a beautiful fall evening in Fort Worth? Archie Bunker proved a hard act to follow, after dealing out a set of knuckle-scraping originals in a performance that can best be described as manic and fanatically intense. Catch them wherever, whenever, or you are a sorry loser.
The members of Nebula, who were obviously feeling no pain, seemed agitated and perhaps a little intimidated by the former proceedings, but rose to the occasion by blasting out their stoney, groove-heavy tales of interstellar mindf#@k at warp ten. Singer/guitarist Eddie Glass tore out riffs from his vintage SG like Iommi after eating Hendrix’s acid. The dose was further administered by the frantically wild drumming of Ruben Romano, who looked like Keith Moon with a wig. At times the band was reminiscent of Fu Manchu, which should come as no surprise, since two-thirds of the group are former members. Songs like “Vulcan Bomber”, “Elevation” and the title track to their latest disc “Let It Burn”, however, showed that they improved upon the formula, without straying too far from their acid-stoner rock roots. The trippy liquid lava projections that usually accompany their performances were not used, perhaps due to the fact that there simply wasn’t enough room in the club for this to be feasible. The overall effect, however, was not diminished, and proved to be one of the most enjoyable shows to throttle my senses in quite a long time. I needed that. (Thanks, Homer!)
NEBULA + Demonspeed
NY The Bank
Terrorizer (Issue 56, July 1998)
Retro seemed to be the mood in the air, but not for the Neo-Thrash, bullet-belt-wearing kind. Rather, we were treated to the dynamic duo of Nebula and Demonspeed, a smoldering stoner Rock trio and a Slayer-loving swing band with a penchant for vintage Fifties suits. First up were the California-based Nebula, whose powerful, guitar-heavy sound filled the room with their intense grooves and Fu Manchu-style vocals. The latter comparison not being too far a reach considering that two-thirds of the band were once members of the aforementioned group. One of the veterans, drummer Ruben Romano, subsequently wowed the crowd with a seven-minute-plus drum solo; now when was the last time you saw that? Ultimately, they won the crowd over with their laid-back, rich tones and hypnotic rhythms.
Up next were local heroes Demonspeed who crooned and frolicked through a swinging, powerchord intense set and despite my unfamiliarity with their recorded material, they found an instant fan in me. Overall, this gig was one flashback I didn’t mind going through.
by Dieter Kraus (November 2000)
Nebula are blasting in from the States for one show at the Corner Hotel and two gigs in Sydney. With them they bring a brand of high energy psychedelic guitar flavor to transport the punter into and beyond the outer reaches. Mark Abshire (bass) fills us in on what to expect from a Nebula live show and how cold it is in New York.
Taking a break from the recording studio the band are wandering around New York’s East Village in search of food. “It’s really fucking cold here… we’re not used to this…. we’re from California.” NYC is the place where the band have just finished the recording of a new album and now await mixing sessions. After pressing for a title of the new record (background voices “no don’t tell him, it’s too early”) the official line is that “we haven’t decided on a title yet.” To The Center was released this year and recorded year previous in Seattle. When asked if the location of recording has effected the vibe of the new material Mark responds with, “Each release sees us getting better as a band and I hope the new recording will demonstrate this. We have taken a little longer with the process this time and developed our techniques in the studio somewhat also.” Add to that the amount of gigs the band have been doing in the US and Europe, the outcome of these factors should see the band in fine form for gigs in Oz. “I think playing a lot of gigs is making us a better band and our sound is developing.” Mark goes on to say that Nebula are not making a departure from the style of music found on To The Center, “there are still the acoustic bits on the new album”, a feature of all Nebula’s previous releases. “We have been playing a few of the new songs live already and it’s the faster more high energy tracks that we like to play live the most.”
The vibe the band generate live is an unknown quantity to punters in Oz and I asked what we could expect from the live deal. “The live show is all electric, we prefer to play the high energy stuff live and we do songs from pretty much all of our releases.” There have been some stories that Ruben Romano(drums) has set his gong on fire at some gigs in the States and I posed the question if there was a chance of the “rock” drum solo for the gig at the Corner. (laughing) “I’m sure Ruben will be pulling something out for the show.” The band are also renowned for high levels of intensity and sweat soaked live shows. “We tend to put everything into a performance and by the end we are exhausted and drained.” It’s a physical effort and a release of energy/frustration for the members to play live. “It’s a great thing to be able to release all the bullshit that you pick up when just walking around or on a day to day basis. It’s a form of escapism from the real world I guess. I don’t know how else I would get that… maybe from surfing.” A pursuit that the band hope to be able to realize when they come here for the tour. “How is the weather there in November?”, asks Mark. The impossible question to answer, the only assurance I could give is that it would be warmer than NYC.
The term “stoner rock” is often bantered around in relation to Nebula, but Mark thinks it a “dumb term” and one that fails to truly describe the nature of music that the band plays and other bands that they draw much inspiration from. Bands that have been influential to Nebula are broad and diverse, the likes of Led Zep, Black Flag and Dinosaur Jr are but a few. “There are good bands from every generation I guess.”
Nebula feature former members of Fu Manchu and there have been many stories in the past about the gulf that exists between the two groups. But Mark maintains that it all seems a long time ago that the split occurred and that it had to happen. There is no bad blood between bands and the situation developed because of differences in creative ideas. On the creative front for Nebula it’s front man lead guitarist Eddie Glass that’s responsible for the majority of the writing.
“We try to live as cheaply as possible to avoid working day jobs, it’s awesome to play as many gigs as possible to get by, but it’s not like we have heaps of cash or anything.” The band are planning to bring a bunch of merchandise with them for the tour including cd’s and shirts. Also available at the gigs will be a six color silk screen limited edition poster that’s been published by local company Beyond the Pale and is designed by local artist Leigh Jenner.
The interest in heavy psychedelic music may be on the way up at the moment, but it’s something that has always been there. Mark reasons this to the fact that, “There are a lot of good bands playing that type of music at the moment, and interest becomes focused on guitar music again. I think people always want to hear it but when there are no good bands playing it they start listening to other stuff.”
After the band complete the recording process they start a two week tour of the east coast of the States, Canada and the mid-west, playing some shows with Roadsaw and The Monkeywrench. Then the long journey to these shores for the first time takes place. Be sure to catch Nebula in full flight, for a sweat soaked night of high energy rock.