of Americas most phenomenal, yet somehow underrated progressive
rock bands, IZZ returned in 2015 with another ambitious CD
called Everlasting Instant. The CD is filled
with imaginative, and memorable songs and complex arrangements certain
to intrigue music fans. In the following interview with IZZ cofounders
Tom Galgano and John Galgano, mwe3.com was informed
about the making of Everlasting Instant. Speaking about the
lineup of talented musicians involved in the creation of Everlasting
Instant, John Galgano tells mwe3.com, The lineup of the
band for Everlasting Instant isPaul Bremner: guitar,
Anmarie Byrnes: vocals, Brian Coralian: electronic and
acoustic drums and percussion, Greg DiMiceli: acoustic drums
and percussion, Tom Galgano: keyboards and vocals, Laura
Meade: vocals and me on bass, vocals and the odd bits of keyboards
and guitars. The lineup has changed a few times over the years, but
really since 2002, it is has been fairly consistent. I really think
every member of the band brings in a key component of the sound that
makes up IZZ. The eleven track Everlasting Instant features
key contributions from all the talented IZZ band members, without
any one of the musicians taking the spotlight for long. Commenting
on the unique approach involved in making IZZ a kind of prog big band,
Tom Galgano tells mwe3.com, I think of our band as an orchestra.
Not everyone is on every second of every song. The great thing about
our band is that everyone is comfortable with this scenario. This
allows every instrument to be heard because every instrument has a
specific role. Progressive rock fans will find Everlasting
Instant to be a rewarding listening experience worth repeating.
Clearly, IZZ have hit a spectacular sonic high note with Everlasting
an interview with
TOM GALGANO and JOHN GALGANO of IZZ
Tell us about the IZZ band and how its changed over the years.
Whos in the current lineup and who else is key in getting the
sound on the CD? How has the bands lineup evolved since you
started it and what year did you start the band and what was the first
John: The lineup of the band for Everlasting Instant
is: Paul Bremner: guitar, Anmarie Byrnes: vocals, Brian Coralian:
electronic and acoustic drums and percussion, Greg DiMiceli: acoustic
drums and percussion, Tom Galgano: keyboards and vocals, Laura Meade:
vocals and me on bass, vocals and the odd bits of keyboards and guitars.
The lineup has changed a few times over the years, but really since
2002, it is has been fairly consistent. The early years saw some changes
in personnel but that was probably more a reflection of where we all
were at that stage in life. Once Paul came in on guitar for the I
Move album as a full-time member of the band, the lineup was pretty
much set. The first IZZ album, Sliver Of A Sun, was released
in 1999 and the band first started playing, rehearsing and writing
probably sometime in 1996.
I really think every member of the band brings in a key component
of the sound that makes up IZZ. If I write a song and bring it to
the band, it sounds completely different than if I were to just simply
record the song myself. Each member brings his or her own unique sound
to the music and thats what makes being in this band so special.
Can Tom contrast his role as producer and engineer with being a member
of IZZ that plays keyboards? What is involved in the production part
of IZZ music?
Tom: Well, I've been playing the role of keyboardist/vocalist
and engineer/producer pretty much for the whole career of our band.
So, it comes as second nature. I don't really see the difference in
those four roles because when I'm working on a piece of music, I think
of the piece as a whole. I don't say, "Hmm, what can I do now
to put my stamp on it as a vocalist or a keyboard player or an engineer
or producer. Whatever the song needs, I try to give it. So,
if that means I don't play keyboards, or I don't sing on a piece,
so be it. I think of our band as an orchestra. Not everyone is on
every second of every song. The great thing about our band is that
everyone is comfortable with this scenario. This allows every instrument
to be heard because every instrument has a specific role.
mwe3: How do you share the song writing and vocals as both
brothers also sing lead and what is it like to have a band with four
different lead singers?
Its really a very organic process. We never say You write
5 songs and Ill write 5 songs. When we start to work on
new music, I dont know that we ever really know how it will
end up. For instance, I may write a song and think it is a finished
product, but when I bring it to Tom or Paul, it becomes something
very different. On Everlasting Instant, Cant Feel
The Earth, Part IV is a good example of a song that was written
by the band during a writing session, but was fully realized by Tom
as he arranged it. Its also a great example of the IZZ vocal
talent on display. Its got a very cool combination of Toms,
Anmaries and Lauras vocals. In terms of the vocals, we
really do look to each song to see what vocal arrangement would suit
the song best. This album is a very good example of us doing just
mwe3: Everlasting Instant is part 3 of a trilogy of
music youve released. What is the theme of the trilogy and what
part does EI play in it?
John: I think all of the band members have a different take
on the theme of the trilogy. And we would like the listeners to have
the same ability to think about what it means for themselves. So I
dont want to put too much of my own opinion into the minds of
the listener. What I can say, and what it generally symbolizes for
me, is the search and quest for meaning. We all search for it in some
way or another. Even if we dont think life has an ultimate meaning
or purpose, it is impossible for us not to at least think about it.
So the trilogy is the journey of discovering for yourself if that
meaning exists and, if it does, what does it mean for you. I see Everlasting
Instant as one possible culmination of the journey its
our interpretation of the end of the discovery period.
mwe3: How would you compare this latest IZZ CD with the bands
earlier albums? How many CDs and DVDs have come out under the IZZ
IZZ has released 7 seven studio albums, one live DVD and a live CD.
The band is very proud of Everlasting Instant. We think it
is a fitting culmination of the trilogy of albums and yet can certainly
stand on its own as a piece of work in and of itself. We feel that
every album is different in its own way. If you compare My River
Flows, for instance, with this album, I think you may think it
was two different bands! And thats a good thing... we really
strive to keep things fresh and try new musical ideas, sounds and
mwe3: Own The Mystery is a great CD opener. How
do you define the mystery? I think we know there is no escape. The
guitar solo in the middle is great. Who contributed to the writing
of that track? Would you say its one of the great IZZ showcase
tracks with great lyrics and arrangements?
Tom: "Own the Mystery" is my composition, although
the arrangement has much to do with my brother, Paul Bremner and Brian
Coralian. Originally, there was a completely different middle section
to the song. When John heard the middle section he was not convinced
it was right for the song. After initially disagreeing, I decided
to try and write a new middle section. So, the lyrics beginning with
"When I find away alone I can't find the way again" were
added into the song many months after the original version was already
complete. When all is said and done, I'm very happy that John put
his two cents in. At some point, the original version with a completely
different middle section will probably be released. Maybe even on
Ampersand Volume 2.
Every Minute is an instrumental. Do you enjoy writing
instrumentals as much as the prog rock sounds? What place do the instrumentals
play in the IZZ repertoire?
Tom: It is very rare that we purposely write an instrumental
track. When I or John or Brems are coming up with song ideas, we tend
to let the song "write itself". "Every Minute"
was one of those pieces of music that simply felt like it should be
a short instrumental track. It also serves the purpose of being a
sort of prologue even though it is the second song on the album. It
definitely introduces themes later to be heard on the album. Specifically
it introduces themes from "The Everlasting Instant" and
very poignantly the ending instrumental melody of "Like a Straight
mwe3: Is track 3 Start Again about relationships?
It's always a two way street in relationships. Makes you wonder. I
like the line Turn it off, start again, wheres the
wonder my friend?
John: I think you can say that its generally about relationships,
yes. The whole idea of the lyric And all you took from me
was everything, except the blame or accept the blame
is that we sometimes have people in our lives who do not understand
or accept our journey and it makes it hard to have a meaningful relationship
with that person if they do not at least respect your point of view
or where youre coming from about a certain subject. Relationships
are hard enough relationships without respect have a hard time
working. This is a really fun song to play live and I think it includes
one of the best keyboard solos Tom has ever recorded.
Is track 4 If Its True the other side of the coin?
Taking the other side: Then you wouldnt want to hide
if its true.
Tom: The lyrics of this song focus on the question of whether
one can believe without ever knowing for sure how things will turn
out in the end.
mwe3: Track 5 Three Seers sounds like a religious
parable. Is there a religious or spiritual allegory in the music of
IZZ? Is Three Seers something specific you had in mind?
Love the piano work on the track and the powerful ending which ends
the song in a near crescendo of prog sounds.
Tom: In this track, The Three Seers, the lyrics
are an interpretation of the idea of miracles. I was inspired and
intrigued by stories Ive read about unexplainable, seemingly
"The Three Seers" is definitely a turning point in the trilogy.
Musically speaking, the piano middle section is something I very much
enjoyed writing. Not on any other previous track have I written an
extended piano solo. It just seemed that this piece of music needed
something instrumental to help portray something that could not be
explained by words.
Tell us about track six, the title track The Everlasting Instant.
What is the everlasting instant? Is it salvation? Is it that
rare moment that makes everything real? Though the light
blinds our eyes, we cant turn away this time...
Tom: For all of history, many people and cultures have thought
of the afterlife as some realm of timeless existence. This song explores
that thought and asks that if this is true, then the instant you shake
off this mortal coil, do we actually embrace something else
that lasts forever?
I wrote the guitar riff for this song way back when I was in high
school. I'm happy to have found a place for it finally. Even the frenetic
instrumental ending was written all those years ago. The only thing
that was written recently was the verses. Another interesting fact
about the ending of the song is that myself, John and Paul Bremner
all take turns taking guitar solos. We have never done this before.
In fact I have rarely played electric guitar on any is track. The
first solo is John, the second solo is Paul and the last solo is mine.
That was a lot of fun to record.
Track 7, Keep Away is one of the heavier tracks on the
CD. The subject matter of the lyrics is very heavy. Is it about nonbelievers
as the song has some very deep near religious overtones. For
how can one be blamed if we all share the shame?
Tom: Keep Away expresses the many internal struggles
of our human condition and the journey to rediscover the lost meaning
of our common humanity. Do our words and actions have a ripple effect
that continues through time? All of us make mistakes. The lyrics you
quoted are simply the need for hope and forgiveness.
This piece of music is my favorite one on the album. It has a very
thorough composed feel to it. A song that is thoroughly composed basically
never repeats itself. It has no chorus. While there are repeats in
this song, it does seem to have a very organic flow to it. I wrote
most of "Keep Away" in the same month that I wrote "Swallow
Our Pride". I did not know the melodic similarities between the
two before John brought it to my attention. The opening line in "Swallow
Our Pride" and the opening line in "Keep Away" are
very similar. The tempo is also very similar. That is why we decided
to begin "Keep Away" with the electronic drum groove from
"Swallow Our Pride".
mwe3: Track 8 is Cant Feel The Earth Part IV.
Is that track part of an ongoing part I to IV parts? Find the
answer, find forgiveness is another religious kind of parable
We decided that this should be part 4 because the rhythm of the organ
during the verses is exactly the rhythm from Can't Feel The
Earth Part 2. Although there is obviously a brand-new song on
top of that rhythm, it bears more than enough resemblance to warrant
the Part IV label. Lyrically, this is the culmination
of the storyline in the trilogy. These lyrics represent the swallowing
of one's pride. But at the same time it is also the realization that
any belief in a higher power cannot be forced upon anyone. There must
be some sort of an inner and personal revelation.
mwe3: Track 9, Illuminata is a good way to look
back on life... all you do is immortalized... "Illuminata"
is a good way to find the light to look back on it all. I like the
instrumental bridged ending, with some great piano / moog work, which
serves as a great part 2 to the song. Kind of an epitaph sort of track.
John: This track was mainly written by Paul Bremner and I just
think his lyrics are perfectly suited to where this track is on the
album. It is really what its all about. The moment of clarity
when we see everything and realize what our life has been about or
where its been pointing to. The middle section was written by
Tom and you can hear echoes of whats to come on Like A
Straight Line with the piano melody and rhythm.
mwe3: Track 10, Sincerest Life is very sincerely
felt and it kind of reminds me a little of Gentle Giant, with the
tempo changes and shifting dynamics. Were you writing a song about
hope here? The guitar parts are great. The sincerest life is
like a melody... nice metaphors in this song. Basically
a song about hope.
Yes I think hope is certainly one of the themes in this song. As I
was writing the lyrics for this song, I was thinking about what it
means to live a life well lived. At the end of your life,
what is the thing youd want people to say about you. Its
a really difficult question to answer, but I kept coming back to the
idea that youd want people to say that you lived a life that
was true to your conscience, true to what you believe family,
friends, spirituality, justice whatever it is. And I thought
if a person could say this at the end of his or her life that
they lived sincerely then it was a life well lived.
The music is very chordal that happened really
by accident. I suppose my subconscious mind was thinking about the
subject matter and this is how it manifested itself in the music.
I like the Gentle Giant reference because I agree that the song is
a little schizophrenic in that the structure is a bit strange. There
really is no chorus per se the song moves from
section to section, recalling bits here and there. Its one of
the songs Im most proud to have written.
mwe3: Track 11, Like A Straight Line starts off
slow and really builds. Its a great way to end the CD. I
guess the ocean is deep and so are the lyrics here. Like a straight
line through the ocean, if you want you will be found. The
CD ends on a great upbeat kind of sound.
Tom: Yes, uplifting is what we were going for. The symbol of
the ocean and the lyrics represent a reaching out to that destination
or unknown shore, dreamed of and desired for by our deepest longings.
All of us will find that destination in our own way.
mwe3: What are the plans for IZZ into 2015? Are you always
writing and what other music projects is the band and various members
involved with. Five years to 20/20!
John: Yes, we truly are always writing, whether it is alone
or in a group. We really have a lot of material that is in various
stages of recording. Some songs are finished, some are halfway done
and some are just started,
but we have a lot of material. And the great thing about IZZ is that
the next album will be nothing like Everlasting Instant. We
have gone through the trilogy and have used certain themes to recall
other songs on the three albums and now we can focus on those pieces
of music that have not been connected to the trilogy at all. We are
excited to finish these recordings and release something new in the
not too distant future. Paul Bremner is also very close to being finished
with his second solo album, so you can look for news about that very
soon. Lots of new IZZ music on the horizon!
Thanks to John Galgano and Tom Galgano @ www.izzmusic.com