Ron Scalzo: Vocals
Brett Aveni: Guitars
Chris Pennie: Drums
Return To Earth is the amalgamation of the musical talents of Ron Scalzo, Brett Aveni, and Chris Pennie; three veteran and visionary musicians whose material can’t be pigeonholed to one genre or easily classified. You’ll hear bits and pieces of their influences and other projects and those bits and pieces come together to form the unique whole that is Return To Earth.
“After self-releasing our first album, Captains of Industry, and discovering a heavier, more intense sound during the recording sessions for Automata, the three of us agreed that the scope of the band’s vision would benefit from the support of a bigger, like-minded record label – one that had similar musical influences and an appreciation for our DIY ‘studio geek’ mentality. Also, a label we felt we could trust and depend upon to promote our songs properly. Metal Blade was always at the top of our very short wish list of potential partners, and so we were thrilled to discover that Brian Slagel and Metal Blade were as enamored with us as we were with them. Signing with Metal Blade is an affirmation of our hard work, and we are psyched to have them in our corner for the release of Automata!”
Captains of Industry, the previous album by Return To Earth, was the aggressive hard rock debut from the Jersey-based trio of Scalzo, guitarist Brett Aveni, and former Dillinger Escape Plan drummer Chris Pennie (now on tour as the newest member of Coheed and Cambria). Highlighted by the awe-inspiring precision of Pennie’s backbeat, Aveni’s catchy rock hooks, and Scalzo’s passionate, harmony-heavy vocals, Return To Earth promises not to disappoint.
All three members of RTE sport impressive musical resumes – Pennie, in particular, hones his craft as one of the most heralded drummers working today. His groundbreaking drum style provides the backbone for RTE‘s aggressive brand of rock. Pennie also wrote a lot of the material & contributed in the form of synth & loop programming. “Brett & I have been itching to work with Chris for years,” admits Scalzo. “He’s one of those prodigies that make the rest of wonder why we even bother trying to make music.”
Brooklyn native Scalzo is no slouch in the music-making department, having achieved moderate success as electro-rock singer/songwriter Q*Ball. With three self-released critically-acclaimed albums under his belt, Scalzo has purveyed that moderate success – and a lot of long hours – into an underground DIY label, Bald Freak Music. The upstart’s growing roster includes Guns N’ Roses guitarist Bumblefoot, who releases his impressive solo work on the label, and buzz-worthy pirate metal band Swashbuckle.
“You blink your eyes these days & the industry has already shifted another 30 degrees to the left,” says Scalzo. “I was tired of playing ‘the game’ – trying to fashion an image, a look, a musical style that would impress all the wrong people. I wanted to make music that I wanted to make, and the only way I was going to do that on my own terms was to release it myself.”
Taking his cues from one of his inspirations, ex-Faith No More frontman & Ipecac Recordings founder Mike Patton, Scalzo staRTEd the label in late 2005 to release his own material, as well as other acts who didn’t fit the MTV/commercial radio mold. Things staRTEd to take shape when longtime friend & collaborator Bumblefoot agreed to release all his material thru Scalzo’s label. “We have a very non-traditional working relationship, and it’s been fruitful,” explains Scalzo. “Bumblefoot engineers, mixes, & masters all of my projects – he brings out the best in my music. And in return, I mail out t-shirts to his fans. No contracts, no empty promises. We help each other out because we have a mutual respect & shared passion for what we do.”
In late ’06, with Aveni & Pennie both on a rare break from their respective musical ventures, Return To Earth was born, as the two got together repeatedly, bouncing off song ideas, jamming, & writing material that would become the vast majority of songs on Captains of Industry. Fast forward a few months later, when the two approached Scalzo about singing, and also about releasing the material on Bald Freak.
“It was a no-brainer,” says Scalzo. “We knew we had some solid stuff, but some of the best music can be misrepresented. No one cares more about this than we do, so why not make sure it makes its way into capable, passionate hands – our own.” Tracking was completed in mid-2007, and the mixes made their way into the able hands of Bumblefoot, whose highly underrated production skills put the finishing touches on 16 songs laced with catchy “big rock” choruses and energetic, cutting-edge hooks.
“I think we all just wanted to make a heavy rock record together,” says Scalzo. “Personally, I was psyched to actually sing over heavy guitars & blast beats for once – it was a challenge & I’d like to think the quality of the music brought out the best in our performances.” Scalzo’s melodic style is reminiscent of Patton and Trent Reznor, and the layered, lush vocal lines in most of the RTE choruses recall bands like Muse and Queen.
Fans of Pennie’s previous project, The Dillinger Escape Plan, shouldn’t be disappointed by Return To Earth‘s “mainstream” style, either. The relentless “math rock” rhythm of DEP is evident in songs like “Edge Of Forever” , “Back Of My Hand” and “The Dots Do Not Connect” showcase the restrained ferocity of Aveni’s guitar playing.
“We’re all passionate about music, and have a shared affinity for bad 80s metal & newer rock with lush production – bands like Radiohead & The Mars Volta,” Scalzo explains. “We’re three guys with three different perspectives – but you can hear the influences in our own tunes, loud & clear.” As with all great bands, when Return To Earth make music together, the disparate influences and personalities coalesce into a single vision.