Concert Preview: Behead the Prophet

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Behead the Prophet No Lord Shall Live has returned, at least for the time being. The Olympia hardcore punk band, often considered at the forefront of the noise queercore movement, toured the country multiple times in the mid-1990s, while releasing material on Outpunk, Sound Pollution and K Records. Since the demise of the band some 13 years ago, some its members went on to other bands – Tight Bros, Lords of Lightseed, Yogoman Burning Band and Nudity, to name a few – while others became a touring vegan chef, budding lawyer, reggae jam band god and producer to many of Olympia’s latest crop of bands. Sadly, the band also lost founding member and noise-violin player, Michael Griffen.

The return of Behead the Prophet is not a reunion, but a happening – allowing the collective members to have closure. “It is definitely a ‘happening,’” notes singer Joshua Ploeg. “It’s the perfect way to describe it. For me, (it) is a way to provide some closure to and acknowledgment of the period of time when Michael died, in a very personal way.”

The loss of Griffen reverberated not only throughout the band’s immediate circle, but also throughout a greater noise/experimental scene in general. His presence in and outside the band was unique. While adapting to the loss, the band feels comfortable going forward with Griffen’s close collaborator, Eric Ostrowski.

“It is different to not have Michael around at practice,” says guitar player Dave Harvey. “He always added a lot to the mix, and I mean beyond just sonically, but of course his inspiration is there. Eric was his closest musical partner and I love all the racket he’s managing to add to the songs.”

“I’m excited to play with Eric,” adds Ploeg. “And since Michael and all of our other friends will be there in essence, it will be more about addition than loss.”

In some ways the return of Behead can be viewed as a celebration of love and loss, a vehicle for closure and moving forward circa now.

“Also, this is a way to celebrate together everything that happened before and since, together,” says Ploeg. “We really haven’t had a chance to do – all of us in the band and our friends and fans as well. To me it feels like there is unfinished business on a lot of levels and this is the best way to deal with it. That was a rough period, for a lot of reasons. For me this will be a big help, and of course Michael and all of our other friends and family that have passed away will be at these shows as well.”

So what is it like for a band to come back together after more than a decade working on other projects?

“I don’t know what the band means in 2013. I’m hoping our friends and audience will communicate that in some way when they see us play,” says Harvey. And the audience will have the opportunity to do so, as Behead the Prophet brings its happening to Olympia’s Northern Thursday, March 21. The show, which will be packed to the gills, also features The Need, Thrones and Hysterics.

The following piece originally ran in the Weekly Volcano, March 21, 2013.

Photo courtesy of: BTPNLSL by Joe Denardo

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