When somebody tells you that his new album is divided into four musical acts with Roman numerals and movements, well, you run, quite frankly. But when it's Eddie Kelly of Blessedbethyname, you sit and listen. Because when it comes to manufacturing personal drama and overcoming it, Kelly's already on his third or fourth second act. And while he'd rather be talking about his band's third and finest album, Phallus in Viscera, and the upcoming "Return of the Ritual" show at the Venue of Scottsdale, his built-in PR man instinct tells him that everyone loves a guy who's been to hell and back because it saves them the trip.
In 2003, Kelly was spared doing jail time for shooting himself. But ever the wild child, he decided he couldn't mentally hack the severe probation ("They call it absconding," he says). While Johnny Law wasn't actively chasing Kelly with hounds and torches, there was a warrant issued for his arrest, and he realized his band couldn't reach any of its goals as long as he was a fugitive.
Kelly wound up in the county jail for six months and did his last 40 days in the hole for questioning his jailers' policy of shutting off the phones on Christmas Day in retaliation for someone else's acting up in the yard. What is "the hole"? "It's a three-by-eight-foot bathroom with three bunks stacked," Kelly says. "You can barely stretch your arms in the width of the room, and you're in there with two other guys. That puts your senses to the test."
"Whatever spiritual reason I was put through all this, it was the best thing that ever happened to me," Kelly continues. "For the first six months, I couldn't go anywhere between work and home." Being under house arrest with so much time on his hands forced Kelly to buy the necessary musical equipment he needed to compose the new record.
"The one thing that I came to with this album is pure freedom. Of course we're a goth/industrial/thrash band. But I've always had the metal rock 'n' roll heart. I wanted to make sure I was pleasing whatever entity gave me the ability to do this."
And to please Blessed's fans, Kelly's giving out a free teaser CD to the first 300 people through the Venue of Scottsdale door at the show on Saturday, October 29. The disc has one song from each of Phallus' four acts, including "Riddles," which Kelly describes as "what Danny Elfman would do if he was in an industrial band. Real Nightmare Before Christmas. The second verse is so Michael Jackson, but heavy." You might have to squint real hard to hear the Jacko, but it is anthemic and creepy. Like a Neverland sleepover!
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