Band of the Week

Posted March 12, 2009 in Music


MEMBERS AND INSTRUMENTS: Zak (drums); RayRay (vocals, bass); Graham of the Gray Lands (vocals, guitar).

KINDRED SPIRITS: There’s Tool, maybe a little Jane’s Addiction, some psychedelic musings, plus plenty of trips to the library checking out all the Classics and taking copious notes
RECENT RELEASE: Be The Change (2008)


It’s not every day when penning these Band of the Week features that yours truly has to actually research the great tragedians of classic Athens (thank you, Wikipedia!). But, when you’re thrown a loop from a response for which you have no bearing, it’s nice to know you can easily get schooled (in a very good way, mind you) by a Riverside-based psych-rock band like Dionysos.


Enter the explanation of its name, apparently originally sourced from The Bacchae by Euripides—Dionysos is the god of wine (Jim Morrison was intimately familiar with conjuring this god). 


“Dionysos is the irrational energy that inspires humankind, the animal instinct that makes humans one with nature,” says frontman Graham of the Gray Lands (love that name, by the way). “Dionysus is the force that drives men and women to ecstatic heights, in drinking, dancing, hunting, war and sex—and always in praising the God. Properly understood, all these pleasures are forms of devotion, ways of prayer.”


Now, Graham’s perspectives aren’t always so closely derived from Greek greats (he also quoted Gandhi in the interview) and his band’s mission is a simple one: To inspire the creative spirit in people’s everyday lives. Still, his own answers are so deep and eloquent, we thought he’d knocked back a couple brewskis with other enlightened game-changing philosophers just before responding.


“There are things happening around us all the time that we miss,” he says. “If we can stop every once in a while and look inward, the outer world will follow suit and come to us. Then we can better understand what that essence is that we are, and at the same time, are not chasing in this life. That’s what our thing is, I guess—exposing the polarity in everything. It’s one thing to entertain, and another to entertain while provoking a thirst for something deeper in life. Call it spirit, philosophy, art, rock & roll . . . call it what it means to you. The inspiration was given to us, and we pass it on to anyone who wants it for themselves.” 


Bacchanalia at its finest (and most profound), folks.

–Waleed Rashidi


Dionysos at Lake Alice Trading Co., 3616 University Ave., Riverside, 951.686.7343;, Wed., April 1, 8PM


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