Austin, Texas-based alternative rock group FireWalkWithMe features four talented local musicians including Ricardo Mendez (guitars, vox) and Jason Westbrook (bass), also of High Watt Crucifixers, Christian Kyle (guitar/backing vox), known for his work in Schatzi, and last but not least, drummer Jason Reece of And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead. The band are set to release their new album The Eternal Black Rainbow this Friday, August 16th and today we’re helping to preview things a few days early.
Keeping things low-key, with zero album pre-order that we know of, we were still able to get ya’ll readers som extra dirt and, thanks to Rich Mendez, we’ve included below an extensive album track-by-track to accompany the full stream. So, aside from a hometown show on Thursday, August 29th, 2019, from 9 PM – 2 AM CDT at C-Boy's Heart & Soul, located at 2008 S Congress Ave. (Facebook Event info here), it’s just about time to do some readin’ n’ streamin’...
01.“So This is How It Ends” Guitar Tuning: EBDEBF#
- This song was written in late November/early December 2018. The song itself is an ode to my recovery from a depression I’d been struggling with for the better part of 2018. I wrote the song in two separate parts. I strategically placed them as first and last songs on the album for I felt that they secured a protected the art, emotion, and feelings within. Instruments used on this track (as all the other songs): 1971 Fender Precision, 1976 Gibson Custom Les Paul, 1962 Fender Telecaster, 1977 Epiphone “Scroll”, 1991 Marshall 100watt 30th Anniversary ran through 1980a cab w/Vintage 30’s. The only guitar pedals used on the album: Memory Man Deluxe. This song barely made it onto the album and was learned and tracked at Mosaic Sound Collective in Austin for Scary American via our producer Charles Godfrey. Essentially this song was born in the studio. The drums you hear on this track are Reece’s third take.
Oh you want music? So did we! Check out the full album here:
02.“A Tired God Looks On” Guitar Tuning: AADGAE
- I wrote this song in 2015 while staying with my dad in San Jose, California who had fallen ill a year before. I’d decided to move back to San Jose after fifteen years in Austin (with my one-year-old son) to help my dad. After moving back “home” I quickly remembered the reason I left in the first place: my pops. Anyways in my desperation to escape the shitty reality of being back “home” I developed a deeper relationship with drugs and alcohol. This song was written in that haze of anger, frustration, and sadness. Add a dash of contempt for organized religion for good measure and you have the tune we affectionately refer to as “Tired God.” The song is about how people use religion to escape self-accountability while at the same time placing faith in a God that could very well barely even notice them. Since moving back to Austin in 2016 I stopped abusing drugs and focused on my son, my life and my music. But this song totally makes me think of San Jose whenever we play it.
03.“Before I Disappear” Guitar Tuning: D#A#D#D#A#F / Bass Guitar tuning D#G#C#F#
- I wrote this song in late 2017. I wish I could say this song is my favourite but like ones children, you can’t really love one over the other. However, this song definitely reveals the pop sensibility I struggle to contain. I can write pop to songs in my sleep. This song is about my feelings toward religion in general. I believe in a god. I believe in an afterlife. I’ve seen ghosts and experienced paranormal things I’ve still yet to come to terms with having experienced. I used to despise church, religion, god and all that. Even spray painted on a church once. But when you take a closer look at religion (any religion), you can see that most religious folks are coming from a place of love and compassion. Some find love and forgiveness within religion.
Forgiveness is an important component of life. Whether you’re forgiving your family, friends or yourself. Forgiveness is something the world needs more of more than anything right now and religion is one of those things in life that allows that. Without forgiveness, life is harder to move forward. I’m not a member of any organized religion; however, I no longer view religion as the enemy. Besides, being angry is exhausting. I see religion as the middle man. I can have a relationship with god without religion. I’m grateful for being alive and the things I have. Hence, “Before I Disappear” (die). This song is about counting your blessings regardless of where you find your faith or happiness.
FireWalkWithMe’s The Eternal Black Rainbow comes out August 16th. Check out the artwork:
04.“Song About Death” Guitar Tuning: GGDGBD
- I wrote this song in 2015 and was inspired by a live version of the song “A Perfect Teenhood” by my friends band …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead. The song is loosely based around the death of a close friend who died by drug overdose. Sometimes the only thing that brings me any comfort is knowing that it was purely an accident. We all make mistakes. His was fatal. I miss him terribly. “‘No Illusions. No More Lies’ said the universe to all whom it applies.” Basically, I’m saying that (for me) placing faith in the universe is a better option than subscribing to any religion. The universe being the sun, moon, stars, the sacred design nature reveals within her beauty and the circle of life.
The song is about being open to signs from love ones who have passed. Just because they left their body behind doesn’t mean they’re gone. They’ll give you signs that they are ok and that they are forever with you. Even looking out for you in a certain situation and can end up being your guardian angel. It’s up to us as humans to see the signs. Sometimes they communicate with you in dreams. Sometimes they knock a cup off the shelf. Whatever the sign is, more than likely it’s a sign from someone who’s trying to get your attention. Most of the time they have a message to share.
05.“Ships of Antikthera” Guitar Tuning: AADGAE
- This song was written while on a two-month world tour I did with Trail of Dead as guitar tech in fall of 2012. “Ships” was one of the first songs I’d written in a drop tuning. Antikythera is an island off the coast of Greece where a shipwreck took place in the Aegean Sea in 87 BC (approximately). 1900 some odd years later the ship was found by accident by sponge divers. In the wreckage, divers found the famed “Antikythera Mechanism” which is considered the world’s first analog computer. The song is written from the perspective of the remaining survivors floating on planks of the wreckage praying to god to save them while coming to terms with the inevitable. Of course, they are concerned that God isn’t answering. This song is about desperation and loss of faith and how maybe it was all for nothing.
A cool clip of a new song that’s not quite done...
06.“Still Life in Photography” Guitar Tuning: CGCGBE
- “Photography” was written in 2014. This is a favourite for the band to play since the middle section allows for lots of experimentation and improvisation. A tune we can just “jam out on, man.” The vocal register is a bit higher than the other songs but sits well within the vocal structure. The vocal sits up there in the higher keys just long enough for me gas out. The middle jam out session allows me to recharge my voice through for the ending of the song. It’s a very hard song to sing. I usually try and keep this tune as third or fourth in the set list. This song is about overcoming the odds, picking up the pieces of failed relationships, almost losing my son and my role as a father. It’s about family and my friends (my band).
07.“My Roots Deep Within the Earth” Guitar Tuning: AADGAE
- The music was written in 2013. Lyrics were written in 2017. My family is Native American. We are federally recognized by the U.S. Government. My ancestors (as I) belong to the Tigua Nation in West Texas just outside El Paso. Native Americans generally worship the four elements of the earth and see animals as spirits of the earth. We give thanks to the universe, the sun, the moon and stars. “Roots” is based around my ancestors and my everlasting respect and love I have for the universe, which of course is within us all.
08.“Swallowed by The Sea” Guitar Tuning: CGDEGE
- This song was written in 2015 while I was in San Jose. It’s a song about a man who’s being forced to walk the plank off a ship. He’s being executed for whatever reason, but I get the sense he’s guilty. Before falling off the edge of the boat into a cold and dark sea, he’s reminded of having always wondered what it would be like to die and how he has always had this curiosity. I feel we are all little curious of death. Some are afraid while others aren’t. Either way not one person alive will ever escape this transition. As this man falls into the ocean, he becomes afraid. His hands are tied behind his back. Salty waves prevent him from taking in any air. In the distance, he hears angels calling out to him, and he’s relieved because he knows this isn’t the end for he is off to see the truth that’s been kept so long from him. The song is loosely based off the Iron Maiden song “Hollowed By Thy Name” from the album Number of the Beast.
Don’t forget to check out the show on Thursday, August 29th, 2019:
09.“So This Is How It Ends (Outro)” Guitar Tuning: EBDEBF#
- And here we come to the end of the forty minute journey of the album. I’m glad you’ve managed to stay with me this far. I’m impressed. The Eternal Black Rainbow ends with this song and appropriately so. The effort we put into this album is bookended by these two songs as a sign of love and respect we have for one another as bandmates and friends. Jason Reece, Jason Westbrook and Christian Kyle have been with me through thick and thin and have seen and helped me when I was at my lowest. The fact that they’ve stood by me to help me bring my band and music to life is what this album really is all about. The final song ends the album in a celebration of hope and recovery from mental illness. In my case, it was depression. I’m still plagued with anxiety, but thats just an obstacle I’ve learned to navigate. The ending lyric is “One must believe,” meaning, we must believe that we will be ok no matter what the circumstances are. One must believe we’ll overcome and not succumb to the darkness.
I am not a victim. You are not a victim. Life is ours. It belongs to us. It’s up to us to change bad situations and make them better. It’s up to us to take the steps necessary to recover from things like depression. Whatever those steps you feel fit as long as they aren’t destructive, dangerous or hurtful. Suicide should never be considered and option. The moment you start rationalizing suicide is the moment you need to pick up a phone and call a friend. The phone number for the Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255, 24 hours a day.
Thanks for reading. Hope you like the album. We have another coming out hopefully fall but more than likely by Spring 2020. Be well, take care and be kind to yourself and others.