Musician John Perez has been at it for longer than Ke$ha has been alive. His musical career started as the guitarist for Rotting Corpse in 1985, and in 1987 he helped found Solitude Aeturnus, a crushingly heavy doom metal band that, at press time, has no equal.
The band went on hiatus in 2011 but Perez hasn’t being sitting on the couch eating donuts and playing Fallout 4 in its absence. He’s run the independent label and music seller Brainticket Records since 1995, he’s been the tour manager for such bands as Orange Goblin, Saint Vitus and Electric Wizard, and he also plays in Liquid Sound Company, a psychedelic band that’s more 13th Floor Elevators than Candlemass.
John sat down with us and answered five of our 60 Minutes-worthy questions, and also made us a playlist of his current psychedelic favorites, which appears at the end of the interview. So eat a whole sheet of acid, put on your Nehru jacket and beads and read what the man himself has to say.
TZR: When did you first start playing music and who were your earliest influences?
JP: I started playing piano in fifth grade, so that would have been in 1976. I took lessons for several years before the rock bug completely took over and I started playing guitar in 1979. I kept up piano for another few years and then went exclusively guitar. As far back as I can remember, I’ve been completely absorbed by the sounds of music. I listened to my parents’ records when I was very young, 1974-ish, and those were my earliest influences in terms of making me want to play music. So the bands were the Beatles, Beach Boys and Elvis Presley, as far as my earliest influences on music.
TZR: Do you have pleasant memories of performing and recording during the 1980s and 1990s, and was there an ideal period in that time that you’re the most fond of?
JP: Absolutely fond memories from the 80s and 90s. I loved the mid-80s when my first band, Rotting Corpse, was starting out. We organized and played shows all over Texas and it was just exciting to be a part of the developing underground metal movement of the early to mid 80s. Networking, making lasting friendships, youthful energy, beer and lots of records! That was definitely a special and ideal time for me, but probably my most fond memory was from 1994 to 1995 with Solitude Aeturnus.
We were really pushing it hard at that time. Recording Through The Darkest Hour in the spring of 1994 in England was one of my most fond memories with Solitude Aeturnus. We really bonded together as a band, worked hard, played hard and we were all going through a creative streak. Recording that album overseas at Rhythm Studios was such a blast! Gloomy weather, out in the country, local pubs at night, work all day on doom metal — just perfect time. The year after we would tour the States as direct support to Mercyful Fate. Need I say more? Totally insane for me to be on the road with an all-time favorite metal band! So, yeah, ’94 to ’95. Those were the days my friend, those were the days.
TZR: What are you working on now?
JP: I am currently doing the Liquid Sound Company band that I started back in 1996. It was merely meant as a side project to Solitude Aeturnus over the years so that I could fulfill my love for pure psychedelic rock music. I always would inject some of the darker aspects of psychedelic music and sounds into Solitude Aeturnus, but with the Liquid Sound Company I’m able to pursue a pure vision of mind opening music.
Liquid Sound Company has done three records and some odds and ends over the years, and we are currently working on new material for a new album by the end of the year. We will also be doing some long overdue live presentations, and I cannot wait for that! At least in our area, Dallas-Fort Worth, there hasn’t been a band that sounds like Liquid Sound Company, and I love the idea of blowing people’s minds locally, as I don’t know what the locals will think about this! Maybe they’ll hate it! Ha ha! Please check us out at https://liquidsoundcompany.ban
TZR: What new-ish bands are you listening to now that you really enjoy?
JP: I’m listening to a lot of new psychedelic rock recently. Well, I always have actually but now more than ever it seems. My current favorite band is Triptides, amazing psychedelic rock. So good, killer vocals, pop psych maneuvers, acid guitar… their new album, Visitors, is amazing. Also jamming the new Wooden Shjips V LP. Shadowgraphs is another great new psych/pop band. Asteroid #4 needs to be mentioned as well, new-ish with a brand new album out as well. Heilung is also a recent find for me. The live show on YouTube is one the greatest live shows I’ve ever seen! So much good music out there right now in all genres, just have a to look a little harder as it’s more crowded than ever these days.
TZR: Are there any musical genres you haven’t worked in yet that you’d like to try?
JP: Not so much as I’m still, to this day, enamored with heavy metal and psychedelic rock. I never get bored of it. However, I’ve always wanted to try a really experimental, post-punk, weird new wave type of thing. I’ve listened to a lot of stuff like Zoviet France, Factrix, SPK, Dead Can Dance, Tuxedomoon and Nocturnal Emissions.