Aug 15, 2012 07:37 AM WV Sound
Keeping a beat in the Mountain State
WV native and former Zao member returns to rock
Documented through years of touring, hailed releases, and even a documentary, Jesse Smith has seen both types of trajectory as a rock musician. The Parkersburg native was a founding member of seminal metal outfit Zao, an act known for its own evolution through lineup changes, publicized disputes, and genre-pioneering. After leaving Zao in 2004 and moving on to other musical endeavors, Jesse began a recovery from addiction and emotional hardship stemming from his career.
The multi-instrumentalist has now returned with a new act and EP under the moniker Jesse Smith & The Holy Ghost. Playing live again, Jesse’s return has been marked by warmness and excitement. “The reaction so far has been great,” he says. “Lots of love. I’ve seen some familiar faces. But we’ve only played a few shows, so I’m excited to get out on the road and see some old friends and hopefully make some new ones.”
Jesse will return to the studio this month to record new material, and the band is headed for a small September tour and music video shoot in October. Fans may not find the same brand of metal-tinged material in this effort, but Jesse has not abandoned rock. If anything, the scope has become much wider. “There are some hints of classic rock,” he says. “A little ’80s here and there. When I sit down to write, I just go with whatever I’m working with. I’m influenced by my girl, my kids, how much I’ve grown … It was a hard decade of gross behavior from me, so it’s nice to be free from a lot of that stuff and just play music again. I feel very blessed to have the chance to write and play something I believe in.”