Sam Kooby on Bishop's 2011 Breakup: "Everyone Was Just Kind of Spent"
Courtesy of Bishop
Straight-edge hardcore band Bishop should have broken up for good in 2011. It was the first Bringin' It Back for the Kids fest — a hardcore, drug-free music festival — and supposedly the band's final show.
Bringin' It Back went down at Rocketown, a since-closed church in Pompano Beach that also doubled as a music venue and featured bands like Terror, Stick to Your Guns, and Trapped Under Ice.
"I was obviously bummed," remembers the band's guitarist, Sam Kooby. "The band was technically dead."
Bishop had been together since 2004 and put out five releases, including 2008's Drugs. But Kooby knew the breakup was right at the time: "Sometimes, it's best to take breaks. Everyone was just kind of spent."
So Bishop vocalist Pete Kowalsky turned his focus to his other band, Remembering Never, and Kooby went on to the metal band Beastplague.
But after two years apart, Bishop came together again. "Eventually, our heads all were back in the same place," Kooby says. "We recruited Shane [Nerenberg] on bass, and we decided to just sporadically start writing music again."
This past July, Bishop put out its sixth release and third full-length, Everything in Vein.
"What was most fun about writing this record was that it's the most spontaneous we've ever been with the music," Kooby says. "The songs are shorter but have more to them now... We don't really care about what is hyped or what is the cool thing to play. We have a lot of different musical influences, from death metal to sludge, and even in a 50-second-long song, it's prevalent."
Though the band keeps true to its straight-edge roots (three of its four members are also vegan), Kooby says there's more to the music now than before: "Pete probably had the most to say on this record out of any that Bishop has ever recorded; [he] touched on a lot of important subjects, instead of just run-of-the-mill songs about being straight-edge."
Topics on the album range from racism, homophobia, and animal cruelty to police brutality and religious tyranny. "It's definitely the most proud of a recording I've been, probably in my entire life," says Kooby.
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Bishop has also embraced new ways of releasing music, distributing its latest via BandCamp, a streaming and networking site for musicians that wasn't around back in '06.
"I honestly don't even remember how people were able to hear Drugs when it came out before the physical copies got sent out," Kooby says, noting how things have already progressed in Bishop's lifetime. "I think maybe we had one or two songs on our MySpace?"
Bishop plans on showing the locals it's still got it at its upcoming show at Solid Sound Studios with Tampa/South Florida-based Blistered, Miami's Guilty Conscience, and Texas-based Die Young — one of Kooby's favorites.
"I was privileged enough to have gotten to see them a bunch of times when I was in high school and spoken to them," Kooby remembers. "Awesome dudes and one of the best bands around."
Bishop with Die Young, Blistered, and Guilty Conscience. 7 p.m. Sunday, October 11, at Solid Sound Studios, 4616 N. Powerline Road, Pompano Beach. Tickets cost $12.
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