The circus is coming back to town as Three Points of Madness release their third album, Circus of Madness, with a rager at Dusk this Saturday. Don’t worry, there will be no elephants! On Circus of Madness, Three Points of Madness bring it with a Tool meets Alice in Chains style alt-rock on nuggets like “Devil’s Face” and “My Sanctuary My Home.” “Nightmares” reminds me of …And Justice For All-era Metallica with an added prog-rock chaser. My favorite is “Evermore” because the chorus this one has takes me back to the early Kilgore Smudge of my misspent youth. I caught up with George Petrus from the band to learn about creating this Circus of Madness and to hear some of his inspiring story of overcoming addiction.
Marc Clarkin (Motif): I hear many things in your sound from metal to prog-rock stuff to alt-rock. How would you describe the band to someone who has never heard you?
George Petrus: I tell people we are a hard rock /metal act. If Tool, Alice in Chains, and Dream Theater had a love child together, we would be the offspring.
MC: Circus of Madness is your third album. Was there anything you tried to different this time around? Or anything in particular you hoped to achieve?
GP: We really took our time with this one. We tried a lot of new amp sounds and effects. We knew if we didn’t up the game on this one we were just chasing our tails. So we dove in and made sure we were happy with the mixes and didn’t rush the process. This is the first album we did completely by ourselves and we are really proud of the end product. We needed to evolve and attract more fans and so far, we have been getting a great response from a couple singles we previewed on the social platforms.
MC: I love the tune “Evermore” with its grinding riff that goes and bursts into this huge chorus. What is that one about?
GP: Basically, it is about how we treat immigrants now and how divided we are. Yes, we cannot have criminals coming into the country unchecked, but it is way beyond that. It has brought hatred to people just looking for a better life like our ancestors, and hatred toward immigrants who are new citizens just because they are not white. There used to be a middle ground; now it is one side or the other. So much hate, it is beyond sad.
MC: “Medusa’s Stare” is another one I like. It has a real Iron Maiden vibe. What inspired that? The Legend?
GP: Definitely the Legend inspired it and I put a little relationship twist in the chorus with “turned to stone for your love.” Our bass player is a huge Maiden fan as well. That is funny you caught the Maiden thing. We have shared the stage with Maiden New England, a great Iron Maiden Tribute Band, many times, and their vocalist, Adriana Solorzano, always told us how much she loved this song live so we asked her to sing on it. She also brings in that Maiden vibe with her amazing voice and vocal vibrato.
MC: When I listen to the intro into the album, it reminds me a little of the beginning of KISS’ Psycho Circus record. Was that an inspiration?
GP: Well the album is called Circus of Madness and it is the title track, so I had to add that little circus theme in there. We are truly living in a circus of madness right now.
MC: You’ve shared with me in the past about overcoming drug addiction. How has music helped you in recovery?
GP: It has saved my life. I started with weed, cocaine, LSD and pills at age 15. I was a heroin addict for over 10 years in my 20s, sometimes living on the streets. I became an all-out thief and junkie as a young adult. It came to a head when I robbed the Sung’s Jewelers on Washington and Eddy right downtown, making the front page of the metro edition of The Providence Journal. I was living a life of evil. I knew I would be dead or in jail for a very long time. I did not care if I lived or died. I found music again and dove in headfirst. It gave me hope like nothing else. It also kept me busy; idle time is the devil’s workshop. We just need to find something we love and live it. Anyone ready to give up, know that there is hope and light at the end of the tunnel!
MC: Obviously opioid addiction is still a massive problem. Have you seen any changes especially with the prominence of fentanyl?
GP: I would be dead if I did not get clean when I did. It is far worse now and people are overdosing at a rate never seen before. It is truly a crisis. I know too many people who have died from drugs. I have lost many of my closest friends; it is beyond sad. I count my blessings every day and try to share my story of surviving as much as I can.
Three Points of Madness will host a release show for Circle of Madness with Galvanized and Oxblood Forge at Dusk on Fri, Nov 22.
Robyn Hitchcock has been making music for more than 40 years and has released more than 20 records, whether under his name or as a member of the ’70s neo-psychedelia band the Soft Boys. It has probably been close to 20 years since I last saw Hitchcock, but he hasn’t really changed. Hitchcock was kind of Matthew Sweet before Matthew Sweet as far as taking ’60s Brit Pop harmony and sculpting it into song. Hitchcock has penned numbers like “The Ghost in You” and “Balloon Man” that seem like side B of a ’60s Kinks anthology. Most recently, he was commissioned for the soundtrack of the 2018 romantic comedy Juliet, Naked, and teamed up with English pop legend Andy Partridge (XTC) for the EP PLANET ENGLAND.
Robyn Hitchcock will be at the Columbus Theatre on Sat, Nov 23. The doors are at 7pm; the shows starts promptly at 8pm.
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