Band of the Day: Laser Flames on the Great Big News

Today’s Band of the Day formed in 2009, from the ashes of band breakups and other issues. So give a warm welcome to Tennessee’s very own Jack Daniels… Nope, sorry, the other big thing from Tennessee – Laser Flames on the Great Big News.

On June 30th, they celebrate the release of their debut self-titled record. To continue the party, we asked front man/guitarist John Judkins some important questions for our readers to educate themselves on this four piece heavy rock band.

Simple things first – where are you guys from?

Middle Tennessee (Murfreesboro & Nashville).

How did you meet?

Stevie (guitarist/vocalist) and I played in a band together in 2005 called Christine. I’ve known and played music with Brian (bassist) since 1994. Stevie and James (drummer) have been jamming with each other in death metal bands since the late 90’s. Middle Tennessee in the 90’s/2000’s had a very small nucleus of rock/metal going on, so everybody played shows with same 5-10 bands over the same decade or so.

Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?

Stevie used to be a caregiver for an assisted living company. One night, while cooking dinner for one of her clients at his home, she overheard him in the living room blurting out some pretty intense stuff. She went in to check on him, and he was standing in front of the tv, awestruck. He was watching the local news and they were reporting on a fire that had burned down an apartment building nearby. Stevie asked him what was wrong and he looked at her and said, “There it is, right there on the screen. Laser Flames on the Great Big News!!!” When we were discussing band names at practice, we all had a list of the same old riff raff that most metal bands go with. Stevie brought that one up as kind of a silly suggestion, but when she told us where it came from, we all thought it was the winner. We like that the name came from another plane. Almost like a different dimension, since this fella was obviously having a pretty emotional response to this fire on the TV.

What are your influences?

Anything. Everything.

Thin Lizzy, QOTSA, Virus, Deathspell Omega, Metallica, Neurosis, Rwake, Pink Floyd, Johnny Cash, Cat Power, Bill Frisell, Jimi Hendrix, Big Business, Mare, High on Fire, Motorhead, The Beatles, The Melvins, Kyuss, on and on and on.

Describe your music. What makes you unique?

We like to search out the light and the darkness in our lives; create very dissonant tones and dark themes and at the same time form an opposite narrative of beauty, grace, harmony and joy. That’s why we incorporate blast beats, screams and noise along with vocal harmonies and major keys. If it makes us smile or makes us grit our teeth, it makes the cut.

Do you have any particular lyrical themes?

We try to convey something of a positive message. One of pushing through and making a spot for yourself in this world. Sometimes we may give a voice to dark characters with manipulative motives in order to counter the opposite side, which is love and openness. Sometimes we sing of nightmares and dead bodies. Sometimes we sing of enlightenment and trying to attain/maintain it.

If you could describe your music in the form of a fictional character, who would it be?

I don’t have a personal response to that, but a good journalist buddy of mine says we remind him of a William Faulkner story.

What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?

We tend to lay off of the stage banter, just focus on the music. We like to push through the jams and we probably smile more than most metal bands do on stage. We don’t play too many live shows. Maybe a half-dozen a year tops.

What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?

I can’t quite recall anything extremely wild. There are always the super drunks that you deal with before, during and after shows. We had some rednecks in Morristown, Tn. call the cops because a member of a different band we played with had a long black beard and they thought he looked like a terrorist. I had to climb two chain link fences once when I was 16 to play a show on the back dock of a venue because they wouldn’t let me in to play since I wasn’t 18.

 Your self-titled is out on June 30th. Tell us about it, what can we expect?

Loud, heavy, soft, melodic, dynamic songs that shift gears but is always moving in a direction. Hopefully you’ll put the album on and want to let it play until it stops. We spent plenty of time on production and writing the songs, along with lining up the tracks in an order to create a flow that ties the album together.

Who did the artwork for album?

Stevie did the artwork. She has a very haunting, innocent style that I believe mirrors our music well.

What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?

I play a Gibson Les Paul Studio thru an Orange Rockerverb MKIII with an Emperor 2×12 cab. Stevie plays a Gibson SG thru a Marshall JCM 2000 and Marshall 4×12. Brian plays an Epiphone SG Bass thru an Orange Bass Terror 1000 and Ampeg 8×10. James plays on a Mapex 4 piece kit.

What are your plans for the rest of 2017?

We are all very busy folks with other musical and creative projects, along with jobs and families that keep us busy. Hopefully we will play a few shows in the fall and possibly get back in a room to create the next album.

If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!

I would love to open for Queens of the Stone Age or the Melvins. I feel they both have odd yet catchy styles, and I think folks that would come to see them would dig us, too. I don’t think we’re worthy of playing after a band like Virus, but I would kill to see them live, so let’s throw them on the front of the bill!

How come Superman can deflect bullets with his chest, but when a gun is thrown at him, he has to duck?

That gun’s got germs on it, man!

Finally, is there a question, you would put to the next band we speak to?

What’s the deal with trains?

Laser Flames on the Great Big News: facebook | bandcamp

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