Music Notes for July 12, 2012

Local swamp rockers re-emerge with familiar faces

For Weekly SurgeJuly 10, 2012 

The rumors are true. Local metal singer and Confliction bandleader Rollin Carver, along with Confliction guitarist Tripp Gaddy, have joined forces with Superswamp Heroes’ remaining core members to form a re-vamped band that’s something altogether new and different, though still flying under the Superswamp banner. Rock act Confliction is no more, though most of its former members are moving on with new or existing projects. After years of personnel shake-ups in both Superswamp Heroes and Confliction, the marriage between remaining members is in the sweet honeymoon phase with moods high, a new record in the planning stages, but the hardest work still ahead.

Understanding the dynamic between these two acts and how their principals came together requires a little back-story.

Stay with me here. Superswamp Heroes, an original Southern rock outfit, formed in Myrtle Beach 2005, recorded a respectable full-length project, “The Truth” in 2008, and did its best to find a niche. The band, with Josh “Jiggy” Pierce on drums and Martin Graham on bass, as its songwriting and musical core, along with singer Rusty Bruton, and Steve Senes on guitar, kind of stuttered professionally. The band played, rehearsed and recorded but did not make tremendous career advances, though it has remained well connected with producer Mike Rogers and a Nashville contingent. Then Senes, who’d been doing double-duty with ‘N-Tranze, left for sunnier skies in Florida, and so veteran guitarist Jeff Mosby came aboard in late 2011 with his slide guitar prowess, and decades of Southern rock experience. But then Bruton decided to move on, leaving the band vocal-less.

Still with me?

Meanwhile, in another part of town, Confliction, which formed in 1999, was facing down the malaise of its founder and lead vocalist Carver, who said, “For me personally it was time to move on. I wanted to do something different.” Years ago Carver had formed a friendship with Superswamp’s Pierce, who performed off and on as Confliction’s drummer. The two bonded and have now banded together mixing elements of both bands. “We talked a couple of years ago,” said Pierce. “Rollin came out to hear the band and heard our CD, and told me ‘If there’s ever an opportunity to sing with you guys, please let me have a shot at it because I love what you guys are doing. At the time we didn’t think there’d ever be an opportunity. But Rusty came to a crossroads and came to a point in his life where there were other things he wanted to do. Rollin brings a new fire to the band.”

“This opportunity came up and the timing and everything else made sense,” said Carver, who doubts any other Confliction shows will be forthcoming. “It’s definitely done,” he said. “I just felt like we did it, did it extremely well, but I’m done – I don’t see any reunions happening. I’m really excited to have Tripp coming with me – we’ve been together since 2000. We know how to work together, we’re close friends – it’s great to have him there. And Jeff Mosby, in my opinion is one of the top slide guitarists on the East Coast. Jiggy and Martin are rock solid. Martin and Jiggy have a great chemistry as songwriters. As far as all-original Southern rock / swamp rock bands go, I think we’re it in Myrtle Beach.”

The band has 12 songs polished and show-ready so far, and hopes to debut the new act this fall. Pierce and Graham already have an album’s worth of new material written, which they hope to be recording in the fall and winter.

“We love Southern music,” added Pierce, “and wanted to put something together that was unique – songs for common people.” Carver feels the same. “I wanted to do something different,” he said, “get back to my roots, the stuff I grew up on in Asheville [N.C.].”

The new record, which will again be produced by award-winning multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Rogers, a member of bluegrass legend Doyle Lawson’s band Quicksilver, is tentatively titled “In Carolina.” “I think we’ll be in excellent hands,” said Carver, who still feels a loyalty to his old fans. “To the people that like Confliction. Joe [Meckley], and Greg [Majewski], and Erin [Anthony-Buckley] are still carrying on in that genre, and we wish nothing but success for them. But I wanted something that Tripp and I could have longevity with – in 20 years it will be hard to be that 58-year-old metal guy, but not as hard to be that guy in a Southern rock band.”

Have a thought, comment or newsworthy item for Weekly Surge Music Notes? Send an email to pgrimshaw@sc.rr.com.

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