Official Bio - Blackout

Source: Jive and ABC Public Relations - Amanda Cagan, Publicity 


Jahred - vocals
West - guitar
Sonny - guitar
Mawk - bass
B.C. - drums
DJ Product 1969 - turntables, samples

"It's not the end of the world/ It's just a phase/ They all love to see you fall/ Flat on your face/ As hard I try/ They underestimate" 
---"Suck It Up" 

"That's a credo for me," declares (hed) Planet Earth vocalist Jahred. "The first words of the album are very personal. It's not a story. It's life." BLACKOUT is fourteen tracks worth of life, and it ain't all pretty for Jahred and (hed) Planet Earth. 

"Sometimes there are bands out there, you see the singer singing about how rough his life is, and you wonder if that's made up for the album," notes drummer B.C. "I don't really know. But I know one thing that has been tough is the last few years with this band, and those lyrics are pretty real and true." Nearly a decade after their genesis in Huntington Beach, California, (hed) Planet Earth has spent the last few years on the cusp of success, touring the globe with bands such as P.O.D., Metallica, Slayer, Linkin Park, Korn, Slipknot and Papa Roach, and cracking over 250,000 sales with their second album, BROKE, which continues to sell very well even though it was released almost three years ago (August 2000). Rolling Stone raved about the album, saying, "The missing element in too many rap-metal bands is hip-hop's sense of bravado and celebration. (hed) Planet Earth - like Kid Rock - are the rare rap-metal act willing to admit that good times actually exist." 

A sign of how far the band had come: the single "Bartender" hit the radio airwaves in the summer of 2000, peaking at #17 on the Active Rock charts and #27 on the Alternative charts, outperforming past singles like "Serpent Boy" from their 1997 self-titled debut. 

But while (hed) Planet Earth steadily built a fan base, they continued to toil largely in the underground, even as friends like Korn, Incubus, and System of a Down with whom they first passed through the ranks of the California scene-vaulted to stardom. 

If a gut check was in order with the band's third album on the way, it came when longtime guitarist Chad Benekos left the band shortly after BLACKOUT was completed. What could have been a crushing blow only made them stronger, though, as the band enlisted former Snot and Amen guitarist Sonny Mayo without missing a beat. 

"Chad was the one, he called and said he might be leaving. He recommended Sonny," recalls DJ Product 1969. "We've been friends with Sonny for a long time, and that was the ideal person. I didn't even want to play with anyone else if Sonny wasn't in the band." 

"Like a glove," is how Jahred describes the fit with his new bandmate. "He brought the band up a notch. He's a hardcore player. The music's better, onstage is better, and the positive vibration he puts out helps me." While Sonny has been both a stabilizing and a revitalizing force, there is little doubt that the central figure and driving force in the band remains Jahred. And although songs like "Half The Man," "Getaway," and the acoustic "Other Side" unleash a previously dormant melodic might, that's hardly to say that this is an album fueled by good vibrations. 

It's a thin line that Jahred has walked between self-awareness and self-destruction in the time since BROKE was released in 2000. This precarious balancing act is what provides the fuel for BLACKOUT. "I was going through a lot of turmoil when I was writing the lyrics for this album," says Jahred. "I was feeling really suicidal, felt really double-crossed by so-called friends who turned out to be really evil friends. It brought me to this realization, like an epiphany, to where, oh my goodness, I need to pull myself up out of the muck and mire." 

Behind the veil of an infectious chorus, single and title track "Blackout" captures the suffocating confusion of being pushed to the brink. "The words in the middle breakdown are "I can't breathe/ My heart is freezing/ While we pray/ My soul is packing its bags and leaving," Jahred explains. "You can't take it. Something's going on, and you don't know how to figure it out. And everyone's telling you what to think, what to say, how to do things, how to act. Pressuring you. Pressure, pressure, pressure. You're freaking out." 

Elsewhere, "Crazy Life" is a nod to the hardcore rap-rock of past (hed) Planet Earth cuts, and highlights DJ Product's scratching skills. "Getaway" teases with flourishes of reggae while offering a glimmer of hope amidst its despair, and both "Bury Me" and "Dangerous" crescendo from tight, groove-driven verses to choruses of unrestrained aggression. 

While Jahred is more at peace with himself now than in recent times, BLACKOUT does not so much reflect the catharsis of the past year as it reflects the bitter emotions which accompanied the struggle to achieve that catharsis. When the singer speaks of darkness and personal demons, though, he's not making excuses or looking to shift blame as so many others do. "The songs are about betrayal, and the songs are about a "Beware of a wolf in sheep's clothing" type of thing," Jahred says. "But the positive side of that is that you know you'll come out on the other side better than before. I'm into Buddhism, and the Buddha says demons are sent into your life to help you find enlightenment." 

"That is so _ing true," he adds. "This album is coming out, and I'm in a way better place in my head. There's darkness, but I myself am a little bit untouched, came out unscathed. I can only plunge forward." 

The same can be said for (hed) Planet Earth with Jahred's rejuvenated spirit, the infusion of enthusiasm from Sonny, and an album that features greater musical contributions from all six members than ever before, the band is firing on all cylinders. "It was a real tough year, a real tough cycle. From the time we got off the road with Linkin Park to right now has been the toughest time in my career, I think in any of our careers in music," concludes B.C. "Now things are on the up and up, so we'll take the dice and throw them once again."


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