Existing from 1999 to 2002, Blue Skies Burning created melodic and emotive hardcore not unlike As Friends Rust, Boysetsfire, and Grade. To celebrate their sonic creations, Dropping Bombs Records released the retrospective Blue Skies Burning vinyl discography in 2019 which featured the Last Leg Of My First Race CDep released on One Day Savior Records and the Embrace To Cure The Wounds demo.
In the summer of 2003, three members of Blue Skies Burning, Danny Garcia (guitar), Ryan Pollauf (drums), and Scott Sheridan (vocals), began a collaboration with Anthony Fussell (bass) and Rob Weber (guitar) who had just finished their tenure in a 90’s emo influenced band, Episode Eight. The five members had equal admiration for their past projects forays into driving melodies and catchy harmonies but were now looking to explore a darker, dissonant, and moodier audio path. Thus a short lived eight month project named Thera was born.
Soaking in the sonic influences of The Bled – Pass The Flask, Norma Jean – Bless The Martyr, and Glassjaw – Worship & Tribute, Thera quickly built upon the emotional hardcore sound established by Blue Skies Burning with a stark expansion into a rawer, murkier, and metallic sound.
Lyrically and vocally, the early 90’s influences of Current and Anasarca continued but emphasized a more desperate and morose tone.
Unfortunately Thera’s time has cut short but Dropping Bombs Records is now honoring this project with a limited edition vinyl lathe run of the Thera 3 song demo. Today, we’re giving you this unique gem, with a special first-hand commentary from members of the band!
Cover art by Sarah Scott
Asked about the lyrical themes on THERA, the band’s composer Scott commented: “Lyrically the Thera demo delved into the topic of domestic violence in Listen To The Needle Skip, underscoring the fear and uncertainty that rack the everyday life of survivors yet also honoring the resolve and courage to exit from such harmful relationships. Build Me Back Up As You Will is an observation in the impermanence of life’s relationships, to acknowledge the inevitable durations of rising, of falling, and of disintegration. To have gratitude for times spent and lessons learned. Of Hope & Anchor comments on the craving of permanence, the unavoidable jealousy, greed, and heartache which spawns from a perpetual act of clinging, and the valuable lessons in learning to let go.”
“One night in January of 2021 I got an email from my old friend Scott Sheridan saying he’d been sent a copy of the original Thera demo and he wanted to pass it along to me.” – adds Eric Scobie of the Dropping Bombs label. “In disbelief and excitement I clicked on the links to open the songs…if my memory serves me correctly I think I had one of them on a mixtape Scott may have sent me many moons ago, but I don’t think I had ever heard them all.”
Eric continues: “As the music emanated from my laptop I was teleported back to the early 2000’s and flooded with memories from that time. The life span of Blue Skies Burning, Scott’s previous band, was cut short, which I had always felt was such a shame, especially because I know they were working on what would have been a full-length LP in their last months as a band.
This material felt similar to BSB and hinted at the promise of what those songs would have been, but also felt darker and more dissonant.”
Speaking about this new release on Dropping Bombs label, Eric admits that it was a no-brainer that I had to help this material take physical form at some point. “I’m excited to finally share that they will be produced at Little Elephant lathes in the band’s hometown of Toledo, Ohio. The members of BSB and Thera were some of my closest friends at that time, and I’m honored to help shed new light on these amazing songs”.
Bassist Anthony Fussell adds: “First off, I’d like to give a huge shout out to our great friends John Edwards, Dan Phillips, Matthew Ruch, and Luke Ellison. If it wasn’t for these gentlemen, we wouldn’t have the photos or the audio to show for, and we are forever grateful for them archiving and documenting these events.
This is a glimpse of our songwriting process for all three songs that are on this demo, as where we’re digging deep to remember how this all went down, as it’s been 18 years. We never expected that these songs would land in the hands of such a terrific label (Dropping Bombs) let alone see the light of day. To be honest, we thought these recordings were lost.”
“We wrote, arranged, and rehearsed in a building downtown Toledo, Oh called The Feltman building.” – says Anthony. “The space housed a number of local bands, as to where approximately 10 rooms were dedicated to each band and everyone would basically compete on who could be the loudest. Our spot was the very last room in the back, it was a little run down. I remember there being a large window in the back that was covered in plywood, which made writing challenging in the winter time as there was virtually no heat.”
“We would all gather 2-3 times a week at “the spot” and share ideas of riffs. Rob and Danny would come to practice with song ideas, to be honest it was pretty fun to watch, as they would feed off of one another’s riff and come up with melodic Melodie’s and harmonies. Scott was sort of like the composer and song arranger. The guys would be riffing out and Scott would hear a melody that he would like and basically cut them off and tell them to record the riff on a tape recorder. Yes. A tape recorder. Ryan and Tony would then listen to the recording and start building a foundation of those riffs with drums and bass. It was pretty much jamming out like a garage band, making noise and playing over one another until we would start meshing the bits and pieces until we found a melody we liked.”