GLASSJAW with Christiansen at the Opera House (735 Queen East), tonight (Thursday, September 19). $15 advance. 416-466-0313. Rating: NNNNN
at the drive-in may have been best positioned to hit the emo/nu-metal crossover jackpot, but since they imploded, it's Long Island's Glassjaw who are now the most likely skater punks. Fronted by Björk-fan Daryl Palumbo -- who has the most impressive scream outside of Norwegian death metal -- Glassjaw have amassed a large and loyal following with their wildly energetic shows in the nine years since they first met as 14-year-olds at summer camp.
However, it was really only after hooking up with nu-metal architect Ross Robinson -- the production guru behind Limp Bizkit, KoRn and Slipknot -- that Glassjaw became a serious threat.
Not only did Robinson shape Glassjaw's Roadrunner debut, Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Silence, he bought out the group's contract when they ran into label difficulty. He then produced their current Worship And Tribute disc, which Warner released, for his own I AM Recordings imprint.
It's little wonder that Glassjaw consider Robinson the band's sixth member. Yet that doesn't stop Robinson from hurling light bulbs at them during his notorious performance-enhancing studio rituals.
"On the first record he was doing a lot of that," says Palumbo. "He would throw us around and freak out, y'know, shaking shit up to help us get a degree of spontaneity in what we were doing. That's his whole thing.
"But that didn't happen recording the new one. We knew each other so fucking well that there was no need for games, and the sessions tended to be much less dramatic.
"This time we talked more, y'know, just me and him sitting in the vocal booth discussing what the songs were about and shit. We understand what we want from each other now and we know how to get it. Becoming like a family changes everything."
Glassjaw's relationship with Robinson is unusually close. It was Robinson who introduced the band to his good friend, Rodney Afshari, who now represents Glassjaw for Freeze Artist Management, the same company that manages Robinson.
While some artists might be concerned about the potential for a conflict of interest in such a cozy situation, Palumbo doesn't see any downside to the set-up, which has worked to their benefit so far.
"We're not dealing with industry-style people, like some Hollywood producer who spends his time at the Rainbow Room. Ross is a friend. He's a member of my family. What's in our interest is also in his interest. He doesn't make money off our band and he doesn't need money anyway.
"You have to understand that Ross is the head of this whole universe. There aren't two camps being managed by one entity, where there could be a conflict of interest. Glassjaw and Ross Robinson are part of one team -- he's a member of the band."
As a non-playing member, Robinson is in the privileged position of not having to sleep on buses or appear in lame videos with Vincent Gallo, such as Glassjaw's clip for Cosmopolitan Bloodloss.
Evidently the original version had a much more thrilling Sam Peckinpah-style climax where Gallo shoots up the group, but don't count on seeing it on MuchMusic.
"That was the first ending we filmed and the one we really wanted to use. There's some award-winning cinematography, but MTV doesn't even allow guns to be shown, so they definitely wouldn't stand for kids getting shot. And obviously, the label was against the idea.
"So we decided to film an alternate ending. But the original version will leak out eventually. You'll probably be able to find it on the Internet soon, if it's not there already."firstname.lastname@example.org