I wasn’t going to say much about this video or my band Odin’s Court but figured I should offer some “closure” to this important chapter in my life. As usual, I will try to be brief but may end up being long-winded. I have mixed emotions; trying to internalize and convey them is difficult. But here goes (as brief as I am able)…
First, about the video. This had the highest production and cost of any video we ever did. It was a tremendous amount of work and coordination, but the final product speaks for itself. Thanks to Angela Michele Walker, Dylan Stern-Courney, and Jason Bartch for the acting and filming. And thanks for my friends and the band’s fans who gave up a Saturday to film on location as the “choir”: Skip Robinson, Michael Popp, MB Sheppard, Sue Sheppard, Lane Miller, Michelle Merson Bekel, Rita Abella, Susan Jones, Jennifer Arnett, Craig Jackson, Scott Adley, John Abella, and Matthew Knight. And an extra special thanks to Michelle Loose Schrotz of the band Brave for not only filming with us but lending her stunning voice to this and other songs on Turtles All the Way Down Vol II!
Next, final thoughts about the band. Despite being the lowest of the lowest tiered “prog metal” bands – and all the hurdles we faced over the years – we accomplished a lot when I think about it. We were on three separate record labels (thanks to Shawn Gordon and Prog Rock Records for some great years, and thanks to Nick Katona and Melodic Revolution Records where we ended it all), not counting my own. We performed at festivals and did mini-tours with other well-known bands around the US. We put out five full-length albums of unique material, plus several other albums of alternate versions, live versions, “rebooted” versions, and other random tracks. We filmed a few “pro-ish” level music videos to thanks to Matt Hardman and Keith Harancher. And we headlined the infamous Jaxx Nightclub (thanks for all your mentoring, Jay Nedry!) where we filmed a DVD and had the place at over half capacity, ending the night with a rocked out version of the best piece of music ever: Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Not too shabby. Some amazing life experiences with all of this. Simply amazing.
I haven’t really listened to or thought much about the band’s music for the past three years (since Nelson Starr finished mastering Turtles Vol II). As Rick Pierpont can attest, occasionally an Odin’s Court song would come on my iPod randomly while I was driving around, and I’d send him a picture. But I really didn’t think about it otherwise. Then for some reason unknown, I decided to listen to Turtles Vol II in its entirety this past weekend. I must say that the songwriting and musical performance by the band on this one (and Vol I) were great. Rick’s solos soared, Dimetrius sounded at home (still a great decision to bring you in on vocals – NEXT LEVEL!), and Gary’s intensity (love your passion!) all collectively added a whole new dimension to the recordings. I think if we continued down this road and did a Vol III (which was almost finished being recorded during Vol II’s sessions, by the way), it would have been a full-on pop-metal or hard rock album – versus the crazy prog we did in our earlier years. I really wish our final lineup had more time together to see where things could go, but such is life.
In reality, I really have grown and changed a lot as a person over the past 18 years since I started the band and even the last 3 years since we were inactive. While I would love to do something with my former band members, if we did it would be a new project and not a continuation of Odin’s Court. I just don’t think another Odin’s Court record would be genuine at this point. I still dabbled in metal with Matthew Knight‘s Eternal Winter (as a drummer), but mostly I am working in different musical areas. Matt Knight and I have been working on a New Wave album. I think our intent was for it to be darker, but it ended up sounding a little more upbeat than anticipated (so far). Still, a lot of work to do on that, and where it ends could change. I had a client (Matthew Elder) in my studio (D2C Studios: Audio Production) a few years ago who recorded some electronic music. I wasn’t really familiar with the style at the time but found it intriguing. Then a year or so ago I found the band M83 by accident. That led me down a road to retrowave and synthwave, and that has become my latest obsession (The Midnight, The 1975, Timecop1983, LeBrock, Gunship, CHVRCHES, Crozet, and FM-84 just to name a few). I have a few musical ideas and plan on making an album in that genre next. I have just been so busy with side businesses (D2C Studios: Beyond the Last 17 and D2C Studios: Custom Arcades), that I need to slow down to concentrate more on music. Either way, I’m rejuvenated to get back in the studio and lay down some synths! I did take the time to participate in The Midnight’s remix contest (link to video in comments) which was fun (thanks to C.s. Brown for mastering the song!).
There are a lot of “negative” things I could write about the music scene and industry, but I really want to keep this “goodbye” positive (plus the “negatives” are a dissertation unto themselves). So I’ll just say, my friends and fans that supported the band made it worth it. And most of all, the friends I had IN the band that went through this journey with me are priceless. What I miss most is hanging with you all and sharing in the bond of creating/making music. Although many of us don’t keep in touch as much as much as I would like given life’s demands, I am forever grateful to our musical and personal friendships. Troy Ribail, Scott Adley, Savino Palumbo, Craig Jackson, Craig Moran, Seth Jackson, Jason Pierpont, Jeff Sauber, Gary Raub, and Dimetrius LaFavors, you all were great cogs in the gears of the band from start to finish. I couldn’t have done it without you. And not to go all Wizard of Oz “I’ll miss you most of all, Scarecrow” on everyone, but Rick Pierpont and John Abella, you two rock. You were there through thick and thin, and were eternally faithful to the band and me. But more than that, you have both been great friends outside of the band as well. I can’t express into words what that means to me. I’ll always cherish our friendships. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. To wrap up this feeling, I’ll quote Ozzy: “I love you all.”
I don’t really expect many people to read all of this. I think it was more for me to come to terms with some feelings I have on the music scene and my band by writing it out for closure. I suspect most people read the first paragraph and got bored, or maybe some were curious enough to skip to the end to see if there’s some epiphany. Well, there isn’t. Sorry to disappoint you. The universe is chaos, and things don’t always turn out how we would like. Odin’s Court is no different. It is a bittersweet goodbye, but I do leave you with this cool video. So there is that.
So I’ll write it one last time…Rock on!
ODIN’S COURT is a Maryland, USA band that was formed by Matt Brookins in 2001. The band is best described as a mixture of metal, progressive, & rock, fusing classic and modern sounds that transcend several genres.
The bands last album Turtles All the Way Down: Volume II was released to rave reviews in 2018
Turtles All The Way Down is a truly exceptional album and certainly Odin’s Court’s best work to date. For the ones who are still not convinced, you should check out the first single of the album …But What’s The Question? on You Tube. Enjoy.
**** Martien Koolen – background Magazine
“Turtles All the Way Down Volume II” is a captivating and accessible album, and great to play nice and loud.
82/100 Esther Kessel-Tamerus – EstherRock Blog