The Mystick Krewe of Clearlight

The Mystick Krewe of Clearlight came together in 1996 as an instrumental side project led by guitarist Jimmy Bower and drummer Joe Lacaze of the New Orleans sludge metal group Eyehategod, along with members of Big Easy sludge metal units Crowbar and Down. Bower and Lacaze's inspiration from the start was to get away from the pummeling nihilistic dirge metal of Eyehategod and use their new project as an outlet for the improvisational music that they had absorbed growing up in New Orleans, whether it be jazz, soul, funk, or rock. The group's influences range from the Southern blues-rock of the Allman Brothers, native soul and funk legends the Meters, the Neville Brothers, and Dr. John, and, on the heavier side of things, the groove-heavy riffs of classic Deep Purple. The idea of no barriers frees up these metal heads by trade and has given them the chance to show off their musicians' chops and indulge themselves in lengthy guitar solos and extended jams that have more in common with the festive spirit of Mardi Gras than a headbanging doom rock concert.

After several years of playing out live in their native New Orleans, as well as the occasional out-of-town gig, the group and their enigmatic moniker started to slowly but surely create a huge buzz within the underground metal and hard rock community. Then in 2000, the group released their self-titled LP -- complete with mystical occult cover art -- on Tee Pee Records. The spring and summer of 2001 saw the band on tour with North Carolina thrash metal stalwarts Corrosion of Conformity, Spirit Caravan, Down, and Clutch which in turn exposed the band to an even larger metal and hard rock audience. Unfortunately for the band, it came to an abrupt halt in Dallas when the group's musical equipment was stolen out of the back of their U-Haul trailer.

The group has been on hiatus so the members can concentrate on their bands full-time. Jimmy Bower has also taken over the drummer slot for Corrosion of Conformity, replacing longtime drummer Reed Mullen, as well as playing in the all-star group Down, featuring members of Corrosion of Conformity and Pantera. ~ Rick Kutner

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