When Baroness got into a serious bus accident last August while on tour in England, the heavy-rock quartet's ability to move forward with its career was thrown into doubt. At the time, the double-album Yellow & Green had been out for just a month, and the Savannah, Georgia, band had yet to tour the United States to capitalize on the album's momentum. Nine months, two personnel changes and much physical rehabilitation later, Baroness returns to the road to resume its duties to support the album. With a surprising amount of good humor, guitarist Peter Adams recently spoke to The Pitch about the accident and where things go from here.
The Pitch: [Frontman] John Baizley has talked a lot about the accident and the challenges of his physical recovery. Around five months ago, you guys started to get the inkling that it would be possible to go back on the road. What discussions took place?
Adams: It was really early on in it. I would say about two to three weeks after the accident was when John and I started to talk about that. We never really hesitated. We were like, "What are we gonna do about the band?" That was on both of our minds. This is the fear that bands have. The first thing that comes to mind is like, "What the fuck — are we gonna be able to do what we've put everything in our life into?" When we first started to decide, months went by, and we never heard from the rest of the guys on how they felt or what they were going through. And then, worst-case scenario: Our bassist Matt [Maggioni] and our drummer Allen [Blickle] both left the band on the same day. That was the hard pill to swallow. But from there, it was like, "OK, now what? We have to move on." It's definitely a position where nobody wants to be, but you make the best of it.
The groove is an essential component of Baroness' sound. Can you talk about what new drummer Sebastian Thomson brings to the table?
What's amazing is the similarities. Allen has always been an extremely hard-hitting drummer. It was always a little bit of a task getting Allen to quiet down a little bit. [Laughs.] But I'll tell you what, Sebastian's dynamics are quite fitting. I think what everyone's worry would be is, "Oh, how is this gonna change their dynamics?" But he brings a very refreshing dynamic. To be heavy doesn't necessarily have to mean that drummers just plow through the kit every time they sit on it. I mean, we've gotten to this point where, after all these years, we've written a slew of material that has soft parts and heavy parts.
Baizley said in November that he envisioned the band being back on the road in six months. And here we are. How concerned were promoters, your management and label that you would be able to physically handle a trip like this?
Everybody said, "Take your time." The support was there, and we definitely never felt pressure. This was all our decision. It's been so long since we've been off the road for this amount of time, so the excitement's up, and everybody's in it.
Baizley had to have his arm taken apart and put back together. The doctors were initially concerned that they might have to amputate it, and he couldn't walk for a while. How extensive were your injuries?
I was getting my recuperation on the river fishing and in the woods hunting. [Laughs.] That's where I always seek out all my guidance in this life. Out of everyone on that bus, I was the only one not hospitalized. My injuries were mild in comparison to everyone else's. I literally landed on my feet. Somehow I landed standing up straight — after being hit by a flying refrigerator, a slew of broken bottles and gnarled, twisted-up bunks — with only cuts, burns, bruises and some torn muscles. But I've always been athletic, and I've been beat the fuck down before, much worse than that. [Laughs.] So I did my own working out at the house during all that time off.