Phoenix native Josh Graham knows a thing or two about sights and sounds.
The 42-year-old musician and visual artist brings his current band, A Storm of Light, to Yucca Tap Room on Friday, August 26. Graham and his bandmates, Domenic Sita on bass and Billy Graves on drums, are doing a mini West Coast tour centered around their appearance at a Las Vegas psych fest. For Graham, he couldn’t be happier to play a show in his hometown.
“I grew up [in Phoenix]. I went to Thunderbird and Moon Valley high schools. Hopefully, it won’t be another six years before we play in Phoenix again,” Graham shares.
In the early ’90s, Graham played in a local Phoenix band called Grind, which received a little notoriety in the growing industrial scene. Grind opened for Pigface and Skrew, for example, during their years of activity, and played a handful of well-received local shows. Eventually, Graham parted ways with Grind, and a few of his former bandmates would later go on to form local standout industrial band N17.
Music has always been a primary focus for Graham, but frustration with not being able to find the right project led him to look elsewhere for satisfaction, both artistically and geographically.
“I was having a hard time trying to put anything [musically] together. When I left [Phoenix], I was focusing on work, and there was probably about four years where I really didn’t play anything,” Graham says.
Graham began his exodus from the desert in 1998, and wound up in Los Angeles in 2000, where he stayed for about six years. It was during this time, both in Los Angeles at first, and New York (where he now lives) a bit later, that Graham created a niche for himself in the world of heavy rock ’n’ roll, both as a musician and as a visual artist.
From 2000 to 2012, Graham was in charge of the visual aspect of Bay Area heavy (and dark) punk/metal crossover band Neurosis. If you saw Neurosis during this time period, or even before Graham joined the band’s touring schedule, you probably remember the intense visual experience that accompanied the band on a regular basis. During the same time period, Graham also played in the Los Angeles-based band Red Sparowes, which received a fair amount of acclaim.
Graham also remains busy doing visual art, primarily in the form of creating album covers and concert visuals. One of his major clients is Soundgarden, for whom Graham has done both album covers and concert visuals.
“I do a lot of design work for those guys [Soundgarden]. Kim [Thayil, Soundgarden’s guitar player] came and saw A Storm of Light when we played with Shrinebuilder in Seattle [in 2010]. They are very open to what I do, and I have a lot of creative freedom. They [Soundgarden] are really receptive,” Graham says.
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For Graham, though, playing with A Storm of Light is something that has been long overdue. The band, which hasn’t had a new release since 2013, is planning on going into the studio at some point later in 2016 or early 2017 to record their next effort.
“We just started working with some new managers. We’ve been focusing on other projects and now we’re trying to figure out where we [A Storm of Light] want to go from here. We’re talking about putting out an EP or a full-length next spring,” says Graham, which is good news for the band’s very patient fans.
A Storm of Light is scheduled to play Yucca Tap Room in Tempe on Friday, August 26.