Interview by Brian Aberback
Jimmy Schulman’s fluid bass work was the perfect complement to and anchor of Dan Lorenzo’s monster riffs in HADES in the mid-80s and again pm the band’s 2001 reunion-era album. Now, Schulman is at it again, adding his bass prowess to Lorenzo’s latest band, VESSEL OF LIGHT.
The group’s stellar new release, “Thy Serpent Rise”, is the first to feature Schulman and fellow former Hades drummer Ron Lipnicki, joining founding members Lorenzo and singer Nathan Opposition. It’s Vessel of Light’s second full-length disc (in addition to a debut EP). The disc is out now on CDbaby.com and and will be available on all platforms Nov. 1. U.S. distributors are All That Is Heavy and Cobraside. The album can also be ordered at DanLorenzo.net
Schulman shines on tracks such as “Meet and Bone” and “Rush of Blood”. On the latter he takes the spotlight during the solo section. Even a short clip of the band performing new song “Abandon Light” at a recent show in Brooklyn (watch here) is evidence that Vessel of Light is a live force not to be missed.
We recently spoke to Schulman about Vessel of Light and reflected on the Hades days.
How did you come to join Vessel of Light?
They were happy being a studio project originally and then the next thing you know a gig popped up and Dan asked me and (drummer Ron Lipnicki) to play the show. It seems Ron and Dan and I are like family. I’ve been playing on and off with Dan for 35 years and he’s a riff monster. I love the challenge of playing bass to his riffs. We started rehearsing some of the tunes. When Dan gave me the EP, I thought it was genius. It was especially cool listening to him with a different singer. I really like the tone of Nathan’s voice and I loved his vocals. They wrote some really good songs together. They were catchy but still heavy. We played and it was unbelievable, a lot of fun. Talks of Ron and I joining the band started really happening then.
What are your responsibilities as the bass player in Vessel of Light?
I’m the same player no matter what. You give me a riff, you give me a song and I can work around that either by playing along or adding something to the song. I can do a lot. It depends on what is needed but it’s always based on the riff.
Tell us about “Meet and Bone”, the first single from “Thy Serpent Rise”
“Meet and Bone” is Lorenzo riffing at its finest. It’s an exciting song to play. The riffs don’t stop. His riffs just roll over one into the next into the next and the fact that Nathan can find space in there to sing and have a hook just amazes me. Nathan is such a talent. I think they were meant to write music together.
On “Rush of Blood” you get some spotlight in the middle solo section which only features lead guitar and bass, with no rhythm guitar track.
I came in thinking less is more and Dan was mentioning Non-Fiction was the only project where there was never a rhythm guitar track. I heard the rhythm track behind the solo on “Rush of Blood” and then I asked Dan to consider pulling the rhythm track and leaving in the lead guitar and bass. I thought it would sound like a groovy, bluesy sort of thing.
In late September the band played a weekend of shows. How has Vessel of Light progressed as a live act over the past year?
It really clicked from the start. For the first show last year we had never rehearsed with Nathan and he flew in that morning before the show. We got onstage and it was as if we’d been playing together for a long time. That goes to prove that Dan, Ron and myself really know each other and are a tight trio and then with Nathan coming in, it was like, ‘wow, this is amazing.’ We’ve done weekends worth of shows and as we do more of them the more addicting they become. Its’ all great, whether we’re paying before 15 people or 600. We’ll never turn down an opportunity to play before a headliner. We’d love to play before a large audience before a national act.
What lies ahead for Vessel of Light?
Dan is already writing the next album. In 2020 we’ll continue to play and see what happens. We’re all already very excited about that.
Let’s talk about your history with Dan Lorenzo starting back with Hades. Dark Symphonies just rereleased the band’s first two albums, “Resisting Success” and “If At First You Don’t Succeed,” each with a second disc of rarities. What do you remember about joining the band?
I remember listening to all the older songs. “The Cross” was great. Then Dan played me demos of “The Leaders” and “Nightstalker” and I was like, I’m all in. This is it. The music was ahead of its time, a sign of things to come, and I wanted to be a part of it. It was interesting to be in the studio back then. “Resisting Success” was a raw album that was indicative of the time.
The band made a huge leap musically with sophomore effort “If At First You Don’t Succeed”
The band was coming together as a live act and we had all new songs and they were all tremendous songs. Everybody was bringing their talent and ambitions to the table.
Any favorite rarities on the bonus discs?
“Bete Noir.” I pushed for that to be included. It was exciting to have a song of mine that was never heard see the light of day. Everybody gave a great performance. I’m definitely proud of.
Check out the band’s new single “Meet & Bone”, taken from the upcoming album “Thy Serpent Rise”. Stream and buy ‘Meet and Bone’ at this location.