Along with At the Drive-In and Amen, Long Islandís Glassjaw were one of the first bands to hook up with legendary new-metal producer Ross Robinson (Korn, Limp Bizkit) when he decided to move into the more frightening world of high-impact art punk. Robinson got the band signed to Roadrunner for the release of their first album, Everything You Wanted To Know About Silence, but their ride almost ended as soon as it began: not long after the disc hit stores, they grew dissatisfied with the label and threatened to break up. Robinson helped buy them out of their contract, and last year they regained their status as one of the most exciting young bands in rock with their corrosive second album, Worship and Tribute (Warner Bros).
According to Glassjaw frontman Daryl Palumbo, their business troubles proved beneficial to the creative process. "When we were actually writing most of it, we were kind of not even a full-time band anymore. We didnít tour for a year, and we were just like, ĎThis recordís probably never going to come out. Weíre not going to do another record for Roadrunner.í We were just taking it as it came. The writing dynamic was good because we had all the time in the world. We did 21 songs over the course of a year."
Palumbo is calling from the road, which is where Glassjaw will be for the foreseeable future. Right now the band are doing Snocore í03 ó which stops by the Worcester Palladium this Wednesday ó with a gaggle of like-minded punks including former At the Drive-In guys Sparta. Then theyíll hit the European festival circuit; thatíll be followed by a summer-long stint on the main stage of the Warped Tour. The group also just released the second single from Worship and Tribute, "Ape Dos Mil," which explores a softer side of their sound that the first single, "Cosmopolitan Bloodloss," only hinted at.
Careful attention to dynamics sets Glassjaw apart from their peers ó and itís also one of Robinsonís trademarks. "Whatever anger youíre showing, or whatever the emotion is, he has the ability to magnify it 100 times," Palumbo explains. "Thatís the theory of what he does in every aspect of a bandís recording. He makes it explode, he sets the record on fire."
Palumboís impressionistic lyrics are another major selling point: "We are the most impassioned ugly people," from "Cosmopolitan Bloodloss," is the kind of mangled hook that hasnít been heard on rock radio since the heyday of Faith No More. "Iím just totally influenced by Tori Amos and Frank Zappa. When I sit back and read their lyrics, they write the most beautiful shit in the world. But at the same time itís the most sarcastic shit, with little barbs that leak in at every given juncture."
Along with Amos and Zappa, Palumbo cites late-í90s East Coast hardcore faves Earth Crisis and Vision of Disorder as important early influences. And donít forget Vincent Gallo, the enigmatic actor/musician who takes a howlingly confrontational star turn in the "Cosmopolitan Bloodloss" video. "We have a lot of mutual friends with Vincent Gallo, and it was suggested almost in jest. I talked to him on the phone and he said yes. Iím a huge fan of every aspect of his style ó even though itís sometimes over the top, which I guess is the point of it. You take him for what he is because heís so outlandish, and you take what he does as something spiritual."
Snocore í03, with Glassjaw, Sparta, Hot Water Music, and Dredg, arrives this Wednesday, March 19, at the Palladium, 261 Main Street in Worcester. Tickets are $20; call (800) 477-6849.