Fri. Aug 12th, 2022

Whip it. An interview with J.R. Baries from Love and Death.

Love and Death UptopLove and Death. Two things that every person on earth will experience at some point. In music, whether it be as a band or as a musician, you always love what you are doing, but all things must end as well. That seems to encapsulate the idea of Brian “Head” Welch’s rebranding of his band. Armed with a new album Between Here and Lost, the band is about to hit the road with Thousand Foot Krutch here in the US. With his signature low tuning style, Brian “Head” Welch has been a pioneer in what has been labeled Nu-Metal. His former band, Korn, was one of the top selling artists of the 90’s and early 2000’s. After leaving Korn, Brian became a born-again Christian, kicking his methamphetamine habit and becoming an inspiration to many. Having written books about his life, speaking engagements came quickly and happiness was again in sight. With a solo album under his belt, Brian was looking to separate his speaking engagements from the music, so the band was rebranded as Love and Death. He found his bandmates on Youtube of all places. Including J.R. Bareis, who is a bit of a guitar phenom as he is still only 18 years old.

Listen to the entire JR Bareis below:
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Today, I’m welcoming J.R. Bareis to the Unsung Melody family. J.R. is a guitarist in the band Love & Death. First off JR, thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us today.

Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.

I’ve got a few things to talk about today. I generally start with what you need to discuss and then open it up and have some fun. So, let’s talk about the new Love & Death album a bit. It’s titled Between Here and Lost. Album titles are never an easy decision, so tell us a bit about the story behind the name and the journey to choosing it.

We got together about getting a name for the album. We were trying to come up with a name and it just wasn’t clicking. Our bass player was actually the one that came up with it. We all just love the name. It just really fits the whole album, just the atmosphere of the songs and whatnot. It just really fit the theme of the whole album and we really love it. That was all our bass player that came up with that.

The band released an earlier preview EP of sorts called Chemicals, which featured the single Paralyzed. That song, whoa. I love the ambience and the atmosphere created in the song. The tones are awesome. What was the main guitar you used in the studio for the record?

The main guitar I used was a PRS (Paul Reed Smith) Custom 24 and then we also used and Ibanez Baritone guitar. We really just mixed it up. All the guitar sounds that we got, we were really happy with the way they came out.

There is a song on the record that I’m still scratching my head about. I won’t say it’s a cover, because it’s a complete rework of the classic 80’s tune Whip It by Devo. Don’t get me wrong, I love it, but how on earth did the band decide to cover that one?

It was actually Brian’s idea. He had wanted to do a new wave cover and really just spice something up. He was looking through different songs and whatnot. He didn’t really like any of the choices that he had, but he finally thought of doing Whip It. At first, he didn’t really think it could work. Then, a couple days later he just got the idea, “What if we slowed it down to half-time? What would happen if we did that?” He took it to our producer and it all worked out from there. It came out pretty well. All of us guys in the band weren’t sure at first. We were worried about how it was going to sound and how it was going to come out, but we were pretty surprised when we heard it.

You guys are about to head out with Thousand Foot Krutch. That tour is going to be a great one. Who all else is on that tour and tell us a bit about where all you’re hitting.

It’ll be with Thousand Foot Krutch, The Letter Black and The Wedding. We got to know all those bands over the years, so it’s kind of just like a bunch of friends going on a road trip. We’re mostly doing East Coast stuff on this tour. Some Mid-West stuff as well. Pretty much New York to Texas. Nothing on the other side of the US this trip though.

Now, you’ve been with the band since you were 15 years old. That’s still a difficult thing to grasp. How has working with Brian helped you mature as a musician?

Oh man, it’s been quite a ride. I joined in March of 2011 and I’ll be honest, it was really scary at first. It was my first big thing, especially working with a guy like Brian. He’s been so far in his career and it was really scary. Once I met him and we jammed, he’s just such a nice guy. He’s really down to earth and it was just fun. All those feelings just went away and it was really fun. Ever since then, all the guys have gotten to know each well and we’re just like family now.

Brian’s really helped me mature musically and whatnot. Even on the new record, I wrote some guitar stuff on it. Before I did though, Brian really wanted to know how good I could write. He could easily see that I could pick up songs and learn them for shows and stuff, but he wanted to see how I could write.

I was really afraid to at first, because most musicians you try to write something and it sounds like a song that’s already been made, so you just give up. I was able to come up with some stuff and he really liked it, so we used it on the record. It’s just a good feeling to hear something that you’ve come up with and hear it on the finished product. It’s really exciting.

Being such a young guitar player on the road, you must’ve encountered a few great bands out there. Who are some newer bands that you’ve been spinning of late?

We’ve ran into quite a few bands and we’ve also toured with some. There’s a newer band out, I think maybe a year or two. They’re called Icon For Hire. We’ve done a couple tours with them and really gotten to know them. They’re really cool people and we love hanging out with them. They have awesome music too. They’re one of the new bands out there that are actually really good.

It’s cool to see some of the newer bands to come out, just how good they are. They really mix it up. Taking several music genres and throwing it in one. It’s really cool to hear the outcome.

Alright J.R., I always end on a random question. Today is no different. I hope you are a Will Ferrel fan or this question is gonna bomb. (laughter) I thought I’d ask what your favorite scene from Anchorman is, since they are currently filming Anchorman 2.

Oh man. Anchorman is such a good movie. (laughter) My favorite scene would probably be where, oh man, there’s just so many new scenes. Probably where all the newscasters come to fight each other, there’s like six different teams fighting each other. It’s just so funny.

I was hoping you’d choose that scene, because one of my favorite lines in the movie is, “Brick, where did you get a hand grenade?

(laughter) Oh my gosh. So good. I need to watch that movie again now.

J.R., the site and myself thank you so much for joining us today. We wish you nothing but the best and I hope we can get caught up at a show sometime soon. You guys be safe out there.

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Watch the video for The Abandoning by Love and Death below:

Watch the video for Chemicals by Love and Death below:

Watch the video for Paralyzed by Love And Death below: