Pentagram’s Last Rites: A Film and Album Delayed
“Somewhere between Black Sabbath and Judas Priest lives a band you never heard of.” This is the tagline for the trailer of the upcoming documentary film ‘Last Rites: The Fall and Rise of Bobby Liebling’. The band in question is of course Pentagram, founded and fronted by Bobby Liebling. And many consider them to be the fathers of doom and stoner sounds before Sabbath.
Liebling and the current lineup of Pentagram are still touring around the world, and thanks to much of the band’s catalog being re-released by labels like Relapse the crowd’s age is all over the map. “Our audiences are between 16 and 60,” Liebling tells Noisecreep. But these shows are more than just concerts where respect is being given; the crowd is there along with Liebling, celebrating the sheer fact that the man and the music is alive today.
The documentary film, which was done by Liebling’s former manager and photographer, centers around the drug use and self-destructive nature that has plagued his life. Based on accounts of those close to him — and self-described ‘metal historians’ — these were the forces that always kept Pentagram from taking over the word in the ’70s.”Everyone’s always telling me, ‘You ought to write a book,’” Leibling convulsively laughs. “I don’t write books because I sing songs.”
This film has been said to be very raw, holding nothing back. “There’s me all filthy and smoking crack in it,” details Leibling. “And all the dope-smoking years and all the cocaine years — all the years of my life, which is all those. But now I abstain from all that and get high on sex and music. Actually it’s love and music, so scratch that.”
With all the rumors floating around about the film we had to ask when it was going to finally be released. “It’s being edited right now and it has a year in editing as of June,” Liebling says. “But it’s getting side-pocketed for a bit because the company is currently editing a Jennifer Love Hewitt special; and she’s bigger than Pentagram, that’s for God damn sure,” Leibling reveals. “We really don’t know, but I would speculate a year a half.”
More importantly, though, the latest incarnation of Pentagram is ready to contribute its own chapter to the story. “Right now we got the songs we want to work on,” says guitarist Russ Strahan. “Aside from the newer material that we’ve written, there’ll be some older songs on the album as well.” The plan currently is to call the record ‘Last Rites’ and is going to follow the format of all Pentagram albums containing a few new songs and then re-recorded classic songs.
“Each version of Pentagram is unique with each record that comes out, having a different feel for whatever band was there at the time,” explains drummer Gary Isom. “Pretty much, it’s going to be an expression of whatever this Pentagram is about. I think we’re a good mix of the old ’70s Pentagram and some of the ’80s, and then we add our own flavor. It’s gonna be interesting.”
Even though the band is ready to record it looks that they won’t see the inside of a studio for some time, as they are committed to touring well into next year. But all this brings a glow to the whole band. The album will happen when it needs to, but right now the fans — known as Rivethedz — demand the band on stage. With that knowledge, Lebling smiles, cherishing the “serene nature” of his life now. “Without the fans, there is no us,” he exclaims, ready to perform.