The Black Moods have the rock and roll cure. A new album in the works, this Tempe, Arizona, band is ready to take 2018 by storm
Sit back, and I will tell you a story. There was this kid living in a small Missouri town. On the southwest corner of the Midwestern state lies Weaton, a town of approximately 700 people. If the show Hee Haw still existed, they would be saluting this tiny town.
The kid’s favorite band is The Gin Blossoms, and his ambition in life was to play guitar for them. All he wanted to do was to be in a band and play guitar. One night, he discovered that Robin Wilson’s post Gin Blossom’s-pre-2002 Gin Blossoms reunion band, the Gas Giants, was scheduled to play a show nearby. He went out, bought tickets for himself and everyone in his band. They ended up meeting Wilson that unforgettable night. Soon after, this kid packed all of his belongings and moved to Phoenix to join the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences. His friendship with Wilson fulfilled his dream of playing guitar for the Gin Blossoms.
That kid is Josh Kennedy, lead guitarist and vocals for The Black Moods.
“That night I met Wilson, he told us not to get into the music business. I gave him our demo tape which he probably threw away, but said if I am every out in Tempe to look him up. With the Conservatory, I hooked up with the Gin Blossoms and went on the road with them. I played some guitar on tour, as well as worked at their studio. It’s weird when I look back. At the time, it seemed pretty chaotic, and I was never sure what was coming next.
“Coming from a small town there was not a lot of encouragement. My guidance counselor asked what I wanted to do with my life. I was like, well, I want to write songs, play guitar and be in a band. Their response? How about physical therapy.”
Kennedy laughs about it, but at the time his perseverance and determination gave him the fuel to become exactly what he wanted to be—an incredible rock performer. What led him on a journey as a guitarist ended with being a frontman for The Black Moods. As they were developing and trying out lead singers, they could not find that perfect fit. The last guy auditioning stood up to the mic and went through the songs, he suggested to Kennedy that he sing. Knowing the songs best, It was confirmation for Kennedy to assume that roll.
When he met Jordan Hoffman and Chico and formed The Black Moods they would use the Gin Blossoms’ studio to track their own songs. Out of that came a debut album.
“We worked on that record pretty much four songs at a time until we got it done. The album came together over the course of maybe a year. We would go out on the road and then come back, go out on the road and then come back. You don’t burn yourself out that way. Instead of being in a place for two or three months beating the songs to death we do a group of songs and go out and play.”
The Black Moods – Hey You
That also was the mentality for Medicine in 2016.
“We were touring way more during the making of Medicine. We would stay in L.A. for two weeks and then go back on the road for four. While on the road we would write some more and then come back and record. Wound up recording 20 songs total and etched it down to the ones that made it on the record.”
The band signed to the indie label Another Century, who was bought out by Sony. During its transition their album was being made, and it came at a price for the group, falling through the cracks of the system. Staff changes, business dynamics were in limbo, marketing efforts lost in the moment—these things were stacked against them. After the request to be dropped from the label, they were released to become an independent entity. “You don’t need a record label at this point really. If we have another deal on the table that’s good, we will take it. Right now, we have some offers but we are doing pretty well on our own after getting out of that deal. These days anything is possible.
The Black Moods-Paralyzed
“Medicine was a labor of love. We recorded and kept writing and writing. We co-wrote with some other people, and actually one of the songs that did not make it we co-wrote with Max Collins from Eve 6. I love that band. I was such a ‘90s baby.”
The ‘90s rock influence is what draws out the poppy side of the group’s sound. Looking to bands like Eve 6 or The Counting Crows inspired an upbeat element that turns a contrasting element with classic ‘70s rock context into a graceful compliment from the hipshakers.
The band is knee deep into constructing a new album. They plan to release the album (name TBD) next month. They will go out on the road for some festival dates in the Spring then down to Mexico in June. Full of energy and hungry to keep the spirit of rock alive, 2018 will be a busy year.