Pentagram’s Bobby Liebling Is Repenting for His Sins
Fresh off stage from a sound check, Pentagram began to relax. The 55-year-old Bobby Liebling is sliding jokes across the room to his bandmates. “I can’t grow up,” Liebling tells Noisecreep. “That’s part of rock ‘n’ roll. Rock ‘n’ roll is young. It’s always for the young at heart, the young spirited.” For Liebling it’s taken some time to get that spirit back, he had to crawl out of some places-needles, bags, and bottles.
Liebling is considered a legend in many ways. For some, it’s for forming Pentagram and starting doom metal. For others, he’s a walking miracle that has survived a life of doing more drugs than Scarface and celebrating an ego larger than his, as well.
“When I started Pentagram, I had such a megalomania about myself that I thought I was gonna own Atlantic City,” Liebling recalls of his younger self. “Not the Trump hotel — but the whole city.” The reality of the bad deals and bad luck in the music industry crushed much of that attitude, though. “In two years, I found out you take it more often without the Vaseline, and you reap those benefits. Now I’m realistic about that and happy to just have a roof over my head, and have the proper nourishment, and I eat everyday.”
On stage, Liebling is a classic frontman; newer generations of vocalist comfortable with just looking sullen and angry would do well to study from him. Liebling uses every part of the stage as a prop, and if there is a trademark to his performance, it’s his hypnotic stare. Back in the dressing room, a more serious tone is brought in, and it has to be. Liebling’s life depends on it. “Now that I’m in retrospect, I can see more years behind me than what is in front,” he confesses. “I guess that’s the way the man upstairs planned it.
“I messed up a lot of people’s lives. I have to repent for my sins. You gotta pay for all your sins. Who knows what will happen. I’m still here and I know that in of itself is a miracle with what I’ve done and been through.” Lieblong pauses looking at his band, who he calls family. “The fact that I wake up everyday is a blessing. I thank God, ‘This is the same room, and it’s all here.’”
For Leibling his savior through all the years of self-destruction has been his connection to a spiritual side. “Karma is a b—-, what goes around comes around,” he laments. “I believe in a higher power, that someone must be running this ball because it sure ain’t me. I’ve been blessed to be alive. With what I’ve been through, you can fill a novel and not an interview. It would be big like ‘War and Peace.’
“I’m very inner-soul oriented. I believe things come from the soul and the heart much more than they come from the impulse, which is brain,” he adds.
The talk of godlike powers over the past year or so has brought up questions about whether Liebling will ever stop playing certain songs; we’re talking about a band called Pentagram here, after all. Liebling sees no contention with this fact. “If you look real deep into all the Pentagram songs, they are all denoting both sides and describing both sides and showing you existence of good and evil. And you have to make a choice,” he explains.
It’s not about one side over the other when it comes to Pentagram, either. “I don’t believe I advocate, or have advocated any, good or evil really,” says Liebling. “Of course I express some joys in some things in songs, and I express some disgruntled employee kind of thing with a little bit of bulls— thrown in ’cause I’m an artist. I’m a little bit cuckoo like most of us. But for the most part, I’m a pretty straight-up guy.”
But back in ’71, when the band took it’s first form, the image and historical views of a Pentagram had a clear message to Liebling. “It meant that you believed in darker things that we shan’t believe in anymore, likewise many years. I was into the occult when I was a dumb kid. When I was a dumb naïve, son of a b—-. I’m still a self-indulgent son of a b—-, but I’m a little wiser about how I do it. And Satan ain’t where it’s at,” Liebling preaches. “Believe that, because I can tell you first f—ing hand.”