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Prince Daddy & The Hyena & Drug Church tickets at Wooly's in Des Moines
Sun Mar 5, 2023 - 7:00 PM

Presented By First Fleet Concerts

Prince Daddy & The Hyena & Drug Church

Anxious & Webbed Wing
Wooly's, Des Moines, IA Ages: All Ages
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Presented By First Fleet Concerts

Presented By First Fleet Concerts

Prince Daddy & The Hyena & Drug Church

Anxious & Webbed Wing
Wooly's
504 East Locust Street
Des Moines, IA 50309
Sun Mar 5, 2023 - 7:00 PM
Ages: All Ages
Doors Open: 6:00 PM
Onsale: Fri Dec 16, 2022 - 9:00 AM
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Bio: Prince Daddy & The Hyena

Cosmic Thrill Seekers, the new record from Albany punk rock band Prince Daddy & the Hyena, is many things. It is an odyssey of epic, The Monitor-esque proportions, a great, galloping sonic roadtrip across space and time and Albany, boomeranging around a horn of punk, pop, indie, garage rock, and orchestral, Queen-style arrangements and theatrics; it is an exploration of the fall-out after an acid trip, manic self-destruction, bottoming-out and recovering, and then slipping again; it is a candid, acute documentation of frontperson Kory Gregory’s cyclical mental health states as told through three acts and 14 songs/chapters; it is an existential presentation of eternal return theory, a victory via surrender to impermanence; and perhaps most of all, it is about Dorothy Gale and The Wizard Of Oz.

“Dorothy was the OG cosmic thrill seeker,” Gregory says. “Dorothy kind of encompasses everything I was trying to get at.”

There are three acts in Cosmic Thrill Seekers. Gregory explains, “Act One is The Heart, which is the Tin Man. Act Two is The Brain, which is the Scarecrow, and Act Three is The Roar, which is the Lion.” Each act explores a stage in Gregory’s mental health. “I remember watching the Wizard of Oz one time, and noticing some weird kind of parallels between the cyclical nature of my mental health and that movie,” he says. “My mental health rotates and jumps from one stage to the next, and then repeats itself.” The closing moments of Cosmic Thrill Seekers reflect this, as the outro to the last track, “The Wacky Misadventures of the Passenger,” morphs into the first muted notes of opener “I Lost My Life.”

Gregory’s assessment of his mental health is a process that’s coded into CTS’ DNA. “Observing my mental health for four years kind of gave me enough to work with to write this album,” Gregory continues. He wrote the entire record—music and lyrics—in solitude over a four year period in a closet in his bedroom. No one heard any of it until it was finished and ready to record—not even bandmates Cam, Zak, and Daniel. “When you have OCD like me, you want it to be perfect,” Gregory says of the process. During recording at PonderRosa Studios in Lafayette, New Jersey with producer Nick Dardaris (AKA beloved pal and Albany scene comrade Scoops), Gregory would ask his bandmates to leave before his vocal takes. Even pre-studio practices were held without a PA system, meaning no one else knew any of the words or melodies.

The process and finished product are tributes to the sort of friendship and community supports that define Prince Daddy. Gregory’s bandmates are his best friends, and they encouraged him to pursue the record he needed to make. “It’s very, very, very much a selfish record,” he says. “It wasn’t just the record I wanted to write, but this is for me, this is to help me, and hopefully to look back on when I’m in the more destructive phases of the cycle and realize that it’s not permanent, and that I’ve confronted it before. I’ve put some math to it.”

 

But the calculus of reckoning with mental illness isn’t linear, and neither is Cosmic Thrill Seekers. “I Lost My Life” opens the record with muted acoustic guitar and plinking keys as Gregory wrestles with the catalyzing acid trip. “I hit it one too many times and I lost my life,” he sings before a crescendo that crashes into “Lauren,” a triumphant pop punk gem with scorching leads. “I’m trying to move past this but no such luck/But you drag me the furthest from giving up!” Gregory shouts. “Fuckin’ A” follows suit, a similarly bright, guitar-forward headbanger that sees him in a state of recovery. There are many dialogues and characters on the record; each represent a different piece of Gregory’s mental composition.

 

But none of this first suite of songs is linear; each deviates from its own schematic, swerving gleefully between style and sound as the song sprints onward. “Cosmic Thrill Seeking Forever” is a falsetto-driven Blue Album-waltz that climaxes in duelling Thin Lizzy harmonies underscored with thrilling Brian May-style lines. It’s a bit of Worry., and a bit of escapism (“Dear heart, my vehicle, I will teach you how to fly, and if not, I’ll sit by while you rot”). “Slip” is all Nirvana guitar tones and grunge riffing while “Breather” borrows from the brisk mid-2000s guitar and hyper high hats of Franz Ferdinand and Interpol. The journey ends with “The Wacky Misadventures of the Passenger,” a brilliant, 5-minute+ punk rock ballad that switches time signatures midway through before ending, alongside a brass section, where it began—with Gregory at his lowest point. “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again/I’m bored and need support,” he roars.

 

Cosmic Thrill Seekers is a constant replaying of this cycle, equal parts joyous and challenging; it’s a punk rock, mental health-oriented declaration of, ‘time is a flat circle.’ “The record title is very ambitious and big and grand, but as the first and last song kind of display, the message of the story is almost like, ‘There’s no place like home,’ even though Cosmic Thrill Seekers is the direct opposite of that,” Gregory says. “But it takes a journey to realize that, as it did for me, and as it did for Dorothy.”

To summarize in Gregory’s words: “This has the potential to get semi-dark, if you’re down with that.”

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Bio: Drug Church

Drug Church is a band without fear. For the past ten years, the Albany and Los Angeles-based five-piece have been staunchly creating their own singular path in making distinctly outsider music that’s somehow at once welcoming and instantly satisfying. The band’s songs revel in sonic contradictions, seamlessly combining crushing aggression with bulletproof hooks, while the lyrics unflinchingly explore life’s darkness and discomfort with sardonic wit—and without judgement. On Hygiene, their impending fourth full-length, Drug Church is as uncompromising as ever, and it has resulted in their boldest set of songs to date. Drug Church are still demanding that the listener comes to them, not the other way around, and with Hygiene, they just might. With each successive release Drug Church—vocalist Patrick Kindlon, guitarists Nick Cogan and Cory Galusha, bassist Pat Wynne, and drummer Chris Villeneuve—have been pushing the seemingly intractable elements of their sound further and further. Where their critically acclaimed 2018 album, Cheer, brought more melody into the band’s combustible music, Hygiene doubles down without losing an ounce of bite in the execution. “Sometimes I say we make radio music that can’t be played on the radio,” Kindlon laughs. “I think it’s likeable but it’s also just not designed for mass appeal.” Hygiene is in fact an incredibly appealing album despite being difficult to categorize—or perhaps because of it. Recorded with producer/engineer Jon Markson and clocking in at a lean 26 minutes, the record makes it abundantly clear that Drug Church aren’t content to rest on their laurels. Across ten strikingly dynamic songs, Cogan and Galusha alternate between massive riffs and some of the most unexpectedly melodic guitar playing that has ever touched Drug Church’s music, while Villeneuve and Wynne’s rhythm section unflaggingly shakes the ground. The band’s foundation in hardcore still provides plenty of stagedive-inspiring energy, but even Kindlon’s signature roar has taken a tuneful turn with layered vocals, raw harmonies, and cadences hooky enough to have listeners shouting along after one listen. While Hygiene is an undeniable leap forward for Drug Church, it’s not one made by some grand design. In fact, band’s writing process is refreshingly mystique-free: the instrumentalists simply hone the songs until they’re ready to show them to Kindlon, who offers “intentionally unhelpful notes” before writing most of his lyrics under the gun in the studio. “The beauty that happens here is accidental,” he explains. “It’s not that musicians have some insight into the world, it’s just that by doing something in art you can trip over these transcendent moments—but you can’t endeavour to make them.” It’s a fitting approach that’s also reflected in Kindlon’s lyrics, many of which deal with the relationship between art and the people consuming it. There’s a blunt-yet-affecting quality that appears throughout Hygiene, as he walks a tightrope between observation, honesty, absurdity, frustration, and humor—all with a willingness to question the messier parts of modern life that many would prefer to simply ignore. “Whatever milieu we’re living in right now is not one I was intended for,” he says. “The conversation is not asking us to personally challenge ourselves or try to better ourselves. It’s a push to be in other people’s business and judge each other all the time. And I have no interest in judging strangers.” Hygiene’s opening salvo of “Fun’s Over,” a sub-two minute blast of stomping punk, and “Super Saturated,” a towering rock song led by one of the album’s most jaw-dropping riffs, finds Kindlon cautioning against the lure of compromising one’s art for the sake of success, but then prodding at the very idea of art made by a perfect person. On “Piss & Quiet,” he is quick to reject the role of the artist themselves as any kind of meaningful spokesperson. “You can get a lot out of a song, you can get a lot out of music, but you can’t go to music for the answers in life,” he says, and while this might suggest some kind of remove, it wouldn’t be a Drug Church record without more nuance than that. This is evident on “Detective Lieutenant,” a mid-album standout that finds Kindlon examining the unbreakable connection between art and the person it has moved. “My relationship with a song is the song, period,” he explains. “For me, if I look at a piece of art, and it’s enriched me, it’s hard for me to care about anything else.” It’s perhaps the most downright pretty sounding song that Drug Church has ever written, with interwoven shimmering guitars that build to Kindlon’s explosive refrain of “we don’t toss away what we love.” While there’s a clear point of view running throughout Hygiene, Drug Church is here to move you, not to lecture you. On “Premium Offer,” Kindlon directly rebuffs the desire to dictate anyone else’s life (with help from guest vocalist Carina Zachary of Husbandry). “It’s a pointless endeavor to let people into your life who do nothing but tell you how to conduct yours,” he says. “A lot of people would tell you how to live but they don’t actually care if you live or not.” Instead Kindlon seems occupied by the finite time we have and how best to spend it. Tracks like “Plucked,” “Tiresome,” or colossal highlight “Million Miles of Fun” mark a refusal to get wrapped up in inherently broken political constructs, self-pity, or the endless deluge of useless information coming at us at all times. “As you get older you realize you wasted a lot of time,” he says. “You cared about dumb shit and by the time you realize this, you have less time.” Hygiene feels less like it’s kicking against the clock and more like it’s embracing the reality of it. “At some point you have to admit to yourself that all your plans and goals are subject to the randomness of life,” Kindlon says. “But on the flipside, if you don’t have goals, how do you know where you’re going?” On closing track “Athlete on Bench,” Kindlon sings “I’m living between shrinking margins,” turning an acknowledgement of niche passions into an anthemic finale. That’s the quiet aspiration in Drug Church’s uncompromising nature:it’s ambition on their own terms, a desire to simply be the absolute best at what they do. “There’s value in trying to be exceptional, at least in your own mind,” Kindlon says. “I’m exceptional at virtually nothing, but striving for it has given my life some purpose. Or at least it’s led me to this hotel room in Denver on tour."

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