Damned, Damned, Damned
Chaos in Tejas, forever extreme
Sat., 10:45pm, Mohawk
Last August in England, on its first dates supporting tour de force third album Yellow & Green, Baroness' bus plunged off a viaduct and nearly killed everyone aboard (www.baronessmusic.com/update-from-baroness). Almost a year later, the Georgia-born heavy rock quartet counts Chaos in Tejas as the seventh of 18 shows on its first U.S. trek in support of the double disc. We spoke to group leader, guitarist, and graphic artist John Dyer Baizley for nearly an hour about the incident, a full transcript of which can be viewed at austinchronicle.com/blogs/music.
AC: Given what you've been through and your continued healing, do you have any trepidation about what will come up naturally in writing again? Like, "Gee, the wounds are just now healing, do I really want to poke back at it?"
JDB: Yeah ... that's, that's who I am. That's who we are, anyway. We've got to poke back at it. That's always what we've done in this band. We've never shied away from the hard truths. I don't think now's the time to shy away from it. If anything, now's the time to really take a look. It wouldn't serve any purpose to push that any further down the road. Who knows? Who knows what will come out in our songwriting? Certainly we've had to take a break – from touring and writing and all that. We're just now getting back to it. I wouldn't say that I'm fearful about what's going to come out of us next. In fact, I'm kinda excited to get to the point where it's time to tackle these subjects. Time to write songs about what we've been through – recently.
AC: What level of post-traumatic stress disorder have you experienced? They use that term for war, but it's likely the same for any cataclysmic event.
JDB: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, look, the short and simple truth of it is that we all came within a microsecond of dying. That's going to change you, if it's through post-traumatic stress or whatever. I can only speak for myself, but there are definitely psychological effects. I'm very aware of them. It's not like I don't understand where they're coming from or why I'm having them, but they're present. They're frustrating. It's almost to the point of dull annoyance – constant annoyance sometimes. And sometimes a little less subtle than that, but it's there. Obviously, it's different from somebody that's been in war, but our guitar player, Pete [Adams], has also been through war. He served in the U.S. military – and was injured. So he's been able to help me have some initial perspective on the way that ball rolls downhill. As such, I've been aware of it. I've been ready for it as much as one can be, but that doesn't mean you can stop it. It's a very strange, unpredictable thing, the PTSD, because you can't pre-envision things in the right way to stop them from happening. You can only accept it as it's happening and try to understand it.