Interview organized by Joe Viglione
JV: We’re talking to John Geary of Temple of Karma The self-titled Temple of Karma’s date on Reverb Nation says June 27, 2020. John, when did you launch Temple of Karma?
JG: During the first months of the 2020 pandemic. I had plenty of free time while collecting unemployment and I had just acquired a Tascam digital 8 track recording device. A neighbor in my apartment building moved out and left me his Casio CTK-720 keyboard. So, with all of my gear (guitar, bass, amps, several hand drums) I started recording all of the
tunes I had written during my time in (the Boston band) Mad Painter.
JV: Let’s go deeper with the background info. The Temple of Karma is from Arlington, Mass.
What about you, John?
JG: I am a 1985 graduate of Musicians’ Institute in Hollywood, CA. I am the former bass player for Boston band Mad Painter. The instruments I play on this album: Electric Guitar, Bass, Keys, Congas, Dumbeck,
Maracas, Tambourine and Wood Flute
JV: How did the two albums come about?
JG The debut consisted of material that I had composed when I played bass in Mad Painter from 2015 to 2018. Lady Kryptonite and Mohawk Sunset (the 2nd originally titled Mojave War Path) were performed live at McGann’s Irish Pub and Hennessey’s.
JV: Tell us how you wrote the first track Warrior Maiden 03:33
JG: That piece has a Native American theme just like Mohawk Sunset. It started with a Deep Purple/Smoke On The Water type opening with tom-tom drums (from the keyboard) then into a straight 4/4 easy Rock rhythm.
JV Track 2 Warriors and Wizards, is there a theme? And a reference to a Jimi Hendrix concert/movie/album? The Wizard Of Rainbow Ridge 03:08
JG: Although Ridge sounds like Bridge, it is in no way connected to the Hendrix film Rainbow Bridge. That tune was inspired by the Saturday morning cartoons back in the early 70s.
JVTrack 3: Johnny’s Wit —- Johnny who? Johnny Thunders? Johnny Mathis? Johnny Cash?
JG: Johnny Rotten. He is still a big inspiration to me, even today. I met him at a PiL concert at The Channel(remember that place?) in Boston back in 1982. It was the greatest concert of my youth and I managed to get in under age.
JV Track 4 Neon Corner — Your thoughts on this?
JG: Strange how some tunes turn out. I had an idea for a very Andy Summers/Police style of playing and it just turned into a fun melody without any riffs. Listening to it again I can just hear a bit of Andy Summers.
JV: 5.Cyberman 03:51
JG: Cyberman is like a SUPERHERO Theme song. I actually composed that for my son, Jovan, who has almost completed his studies in Cyber Security at University Of Arizona.
JV: Are all these compositions from the same period, or from different times in your career?
JG: All of the tunes on Solemn Ritual were composed after I returned to work following a three-month furlough. I have to admit that the sophomore album was more rushed than the first. That is why many of the tunes are 2 1/2 to 3 minutes long.
JV Track 6. For Grey Skies and Airports 03:40
JG: My apologies for the, slightly, out of tune melody. This tune is a tribute to all of my travels overseas in the 80s and 90s. UK, Italy, France, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Russia, Ukraine, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Bulgaria. You know that feeling you get when you are about to sojourn into another culture. The anticipation. The excitement. The airports are always the threshold to that experience.
JV: Track 7. Sofie’s Gaze clocking in at two and a quarter: 02:25
JG: This piece is heavily influenced by Soft Machine’s THIRD album. Particularly the track ”Slightly, All The Time.” Composed for a woman from Spain. Her real name is Noemie and she and her husband sail around Mallorca and just enjoy life. I just love the way she stares at the Mediterranean sunset. Don’t we all just want to live like that?
JV: 8. Castles Made Of Sand by Jimi Hendrix 02:52
JG: This cover is my favorite, overlooked, Hendrix tune from the Axis: Bold As Love album.
I decided to make the bass the lead instrument on the recurring melody instead of the guitar.
The riffs were actually intended to be more of a melodic theme but they just ended up being riffs.
JV: 9. Whenever I See Shadows 02:56
JG: This piece was heavily influenced by the late Allan Holdsworth. I composed this tune with
a 7/4 or 7/8 rhythm but it was difficult trying to fit the melody in with that odd time signature.
So, I ended up erasing the drum track.
Thanks for your thoughts on the music, John. I know it can be personal giving us the inside scoop, but our readers like that.
Go to the temple on Reverb Nation https://www.reverbnation.com/thetempleofkarma