Belfast 6 Pack brings the sound and fury to weekend’s Deviant Fest
By Steve Wildsmith (firstname.lastname@example.org)
To fans of the local metal scene, the splintering of the band Crome Molly earlier this year was cause for speculation.
Four members of the group — Rusty “Chief Smokin’ Cloud” Coleman, James “The Mad Pirate” Jameson, Brandon Bane and Anthony “Guns” Gunter — parted ways with Crome Molly front man and founder Jody “Devil” Sparks. And while the four concede there were some musical differences, the main reason they broke away to form the new group Belfast 6 Pack is a simple one, Coleman told The Daily Times this week: They wanted to play.
“We were really wanting to play more, and Jody had taken an out of town job and just couldn’t do it,” Coleman said. “We had booked some shows he couldn’t do, and we wanted to play them. He said that was fine — just not as Crome Molly. So we made a last-minute decision to do them as a new band, and everybody seemed to like it.”
The new name came from Gunter, a Cosby native who moved to the Knoxville area six months ago to play with Crome Molly. When the guys had to come up with a new moniker for the shows to which they’d committed, he remembered something he read several years ago.
“A Belfast 6 Pack is a torture tactic, where they shoot a person in the elbows, the knees and the ankles with a .22 pistol,” he said. “We had three shows booked as Crome Molly, so I said, ‘Let’s just use this name, and we’ll choose another one down the road.’ So we finished the shows out, but we didn’t vote on a new name after that. Everybody thought it was cool, so we kept it.”
It’s an appropriate band name, conjuring up images of speed, debauchery and ferocity all at the same time. Given Belfast 6 Pack’s focus on the music more so than the metal-and-theatricality formula of Crome Molly, it’s a fitting one as well.
“We still do perform, just not in masks or makeup,” said Coleman, a Calfornia native who’s spent most of his adult life in East Tennessee and now lives in Seymour. “We try to bring an aspect of showmanship to the band, and that’s a definite Crome Molly influence. Jody’s the master of being a showman, and we learned from him. But there are some musical differences. It’s the same four people playing the music, and you can tell that, but it sounds different.
“It’s a little less metal and a little more rock. Crome Molly was more on the fence leaning toward metal; we’re on the fence but leaning toward radio-friendly rock. I’ve been at this for 33 years, so I think I’ve learned how to write a hook.”
Explosive drums courtesy of Jameson, a two-guitar attack that blasts the audience with hooks more infectious than the bubonic plague and clean vocals courtesy of Bane — who had never sung before stepping up to the mic for Belfast 6 Pack — has catapulted the band onto the calendar of a number of venues. In addition to performing at this weekend’s Deviant Fest at The Thirsty Turtle in Maryville, the guys will perform Saturday night at The Stage on Chapman Highway and next Thursday at Hottrod’s on Alcoa Highway.
“We’re playing with anybody, any show, any time somebody asks,” said Jameson — the only member to wear a mask, which has become something of a trademark for the guy behind the kit.
“We don’t turn anything down, and we’ve been involved in a lot of benefits,” he added. “These kinds of opportunities weren’t there with Crome Molly, and they’ve led to bigger and better things for us. More doors have been opened. With the other project, it was as much about the theatrics as the music, but with this project, it’s strictly about the music.”
“It’s more of a collaboration of the four of us as musicians,” added Bane, an East Tennessee native raised in South Carolina who returned to Knoxville after four years as a U.S. Marine. “In Crome Molly, we came in and had to learn songs that were already written; with Belfast 6 Pack, we’re just having fun and playing together, and the next thing you know we have a song that’s fun to play. It’s a real representation of who we are.”