As of recent, Los Angeles-based band, Thee Oh Sees have experienced yet another evolution in their ever-changing lineup with drummer Ryan Moutinho’s departure during the tail end of the band’s 2016 tour. Even such, forty-year-old John Dwyer still moves as if tethered to an undying rock god. The man’s unwillingness to play by the rules consistently sets him far ahead of the rest. Like a rifleman attacking some ethereal beast, Dwyer plucks his guitar ferociously, putting together a slop of heavy hitting riffs atop a plethora of psychedelic solos. From the Orinoka Crash Suite days to his present day double drum bash fests, Dwyer continues to prove he’s here to stay. His songs take on drugs, relationships, spirituality, and the storied life of a man who truly encapsulates what it means to be an artist.
As a musician, Dwyer has been touring since the late 90’s. Having grown up in Providence, RI his move to the underground scene of the West Coast resulted in a cross-culmination of different bands, all started and run by Dwyer himself. His label, Castle Face Records, has allowed him to self-produce. For Thee Oh Sees, stripping back the red tape works only to show their tireless effort to develop a constant plethora of new music. Previously working part time as a painter to support his artistic needs, Dwyer appears only to look onward. Towards the next sound. The next show. And the next band.
The band’s live performances reach a whole other level of extraordinary. With a produced energy like none I’ve witnessed in recent memory, Thee Oh Sees are without question a must see. It would be hard to imagine the band playing for more than a few hours as their sets are a non-stop fury through tracks old and new.The few pauses the group does take are short and sweet, their sole purpose, to thank the audience momentarily before careening straight into the next song. Maybe it’s Dwyer’s age that has tuned the band into an all killer no filler machine, or maybe it’s just because the band has no interest in doing anything other than playing music. Merely watching the pair of drummers battle each other on stage can place even the most hardcore headbanger in a state of panting exhaustion. The real fun, however, is watching Dwyer lunge and careen across the stage while effortlessly jamming along with the rest of the band. Like a kid receiving his first six string, Dwyer slips and grooves during each and every song. His guitar, an SG-shaped EGC DS, is hiked all the way up to the shoulder blades making him look like rifleman eager to charge into battle.
Thee Oh Sees proceed to push the boundaries of musical expression in their latest album, An Odd Entrances. Released this past November, their eighteenth album is a psychedelic trip through profound effect riddled rifts and moves further to complete it’ predecessor, A Weird Exits. The symbiosis of tag team drum beats paired with Dwyer and bassist Tim Hellmen’s energetic riffs expand upon the band’s ever-evolving sound. The album moves further into the void of musical expression, which would appear to be the only goal for Dwyer. At just under a half-hour, the album’s combination of instrumental jams, trippy lyrics and flowing guitar laden underbellies, An Odd Entrances is worth checking out.
Where the band goes next? Impossible to know. The real question, though, is how Dwyer will remain the master of his domain. Today artistic freedom grows exponentially due to social media and ‘do it yourself’ mentalities, but it is Dwyer’s ability to juggle tour dates, studio time and his unwillingness to play by the rules and exist on the oversaturated social media outlets that place him far ahead of the rest. For the future musicians, take notes. Ultimately, Dwyer’s outlook on the life is simple, “you’re either gonna be a terrible old man or a really cool old man, so you might as well try to point your way towards cool.” That said, it would appear that Dwyer has no thoughts of slowing down. At forty-two, the musician has returned from yet another U.S. tour and is currently playing a number of shows all along the west coast. If you happen to be nearby, don’t hesitate to jump into the fray that is Thee Oh Sees. Either way, play it loud.
- Block of Ice
- I Come From the Mountain
- Sticky Hulks
- Contraption / Soul Desert
- Turned Out The Light
- You Will Find It Here
- Carrion Crawler
- Poison Finger
- Plastic Plant
- Ruby Go Home
- Almost everything they’ve played live
- The Master’s Bedroom Is Worth Spending A Night In
- Live in San Francisco
- A Weird Exits
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