Full Album show
Last Featured on this show April 16, 2017

NIt was in 1997 when three hotshot upstarts with something to prove accidentally crossed paths at a Phoenix, Arizona rehearsal studio and had an instant musical connection. And thus COSMOSQUAD was born. New axe in town, Jeff Kollman, had just moved out West after a successful run with his Midwest-based prog metal band Edwin Dare and two solo albums already under his belt, ready to take on a new challenge and expand his horizons. Canadian drummer Shane Gaalaas and bassist Barry Sparks had first met while playing with Yngwie Malmsteen and were now in the employ of German guitar great, Michael Schenker, but eager to prove their mettle with a project of their own. Kollman had some tunes ready to go and the newly minted trio quickly worked up enough material to start tracking an album, with recordings taking place in Los Angeles, CA.
COSMOSQUAD's eponymous '97 debut release was a bold first statement embodying a kaleidoscope of influences ranging from heavy rock and outright metal, to flurries of funk and Latin-tinged elegance, interwoven with elements of classic 70's fusion. Early gems such as 'El Perro Vaila', '3 AM', 'I.N.S. Conspiracy' and 'Stretch Hog' have endured and remain in the band's live set to this day.
Gaalaas and Sparks would both guest on Kollman's 1999 solo album, 'Shedding Skin', before COSMOSQUAD became the focus once again, with the band contributing a wicked cover of the Paul DiAnno era Iron Maiden classic 'Murders in the Rue Morgue' (with guest vocals by Fates Warning frontman Ray Alder) to the 'Slave To The Power' tribute album as well as a brilliant new original, the specially written 'A Jam For Jason' to 'Warmth in the Wilderness: A Tribute to Jason Becker'. The latter featured guitar guest spots from Chris Poland, Vinnie Moore, Jeff Watson and Steve Morse. An edited version of 'Jam For Jason' would also find its way on to the trio's sophomore album, 2002's 'Squadrophenia', a heavier, darker, moodier and more focused effort that saw the band sneak in traces of electronica amidst tribal rhythms ('Road to Tanzania'/'Tribal Trance'), fleet fingered, near impossible prog workouts ('Creepy Spider Pt. II'), and Far Eastern vibes ('Chinese Eyes'). By then, COSMOSQUAD had also established themselves as a top draw at L.A.'s legendary venue, The Baked Potato, commemorated in 2001 with 'Live at the Baked Potato', a 70-minute tour-de-force of 'Squad highlights interspersed with tunes off the aforementioned 'Shedding Skin'. A Japan-only 'Best of Cosmosquad' album saw the light of day in 2003 in conjunction with the band's live activities in the Land of the Rising Sun that same year.
While COSMOSQUAD kept the home fires burning with steady local gigs and occasional forays into Kollman's old Midwest stomping grounds, it would be another 5 years before a new studio album surfaced. With the often M.I.A. Barry Sparks bowing out for good, Kollman and Gaalaas went about recording 'Acid Test' with a cast of guest bass players, calling on live stand-ins Paul Shihadeh, Kollman's old Edwin Dare mate, Kevin Chown, and the Dweezil Zappa battle tested Christopher Maloney who would become the band's permanent new bassist. "Epic songs with lots of movement, heaviness, some greasiness", is how Gaalaas described the overall vibe on 'Acid Test', kicked off by the ominous Tool-esque double of 'NuMena' and 'The Spy That Ate Her', highlighted by the sparkling 'Hindenberg', and juxtaposed by the jarring and bizarre 'Bedbucket', all of whom would
become mainstays in the band's live set. 'Acid Test' was supported with two tours of Japan in March and September 2008, respectively. That same year, COSMOSQUAD would also release their first ever live DVD, 'Lights... Camera... SQUAD!', filmed in the fall of 2007 at Hollywood, CA's world-renowned Musicians Institute in front of a captivated student audience which saw the trio tear through an intense 12-song set of old and new 'Squad and select 'Shedding Skin' cuts.
With Maloney's relocation to the East Coast, Kollman and Gaalaas would once again tap a revolving cast of world class bass players, including Ric Fierabracci (Chick Corea, Planet X), Pete Griffin (Zappa Plays Zappa, Giraffe Tongue Orchestra) and Kevin Chown, also Kollman's band mate in the Chad Smith led Bombastic Meatbats. The latter would eventually become COSMOSQUAD's new full-time bassist and official band member, a full circle moment as Chown had played on the demos that sparked the self-titled COSMOSQUAD debut two decades earlier. With Chown firmly entrenched, the group set about creating a new album in early 2016 and after a 6-month process of jamming, writing, arranging, recording and mixing emerged with 'The Morbid Tango', possibly the trio's finest studio hour in their 20-year band history. Guitar legend Steve Lukather of Toto fame praised the album as "some of the best, most inspiring stuff I have heard in a long time! Incredible playing and just gorgeous melodic composition.", while former LA Times writer Greg Burk raved: "What Cosmosquad presents here is magic -- rabbits from hats, ladies sawed in half, impossible transportations. Only it isn't done with mirrors. One of the best fusion albums ever."
As COSMOSQUAD resident philosopher, Kevin Chown, puts it: "In the big picture, there is a long history in instrumental music, especially classical, of conveyed meaning without words. This all together, was our inspiration for creating 'The Morbid Tango', that I can honestly say is one that each of us worked harder on that any of us could have ever imagined when we started doing it. And it became that way for the same reason it is connecting with listeners now: it took on a meaning to US. It stood for everything we are…. As people and musicians. It’s us having the courage to take the greatest, most unfair challenges that each of us has faced…… and turn those challenges into inspiration, first for ourselves. And now hopefully others. It's the story of our lives!! Of the demons we face. Of the blessings we have. Of the adventure. And the gratitude that we all have for our deep friendships and how, despite all of the complications of our lives, MUSIC is the thing that has always, and will always, keep us focused on why we are here."
Album: The Morbid Tango (2017)
Los Angeles, CA fusioneers, COSMOSQUAD, featuring guitarist Jeff Kollman (Chad's Smith's Bombastic Meatbats, Glenn Hughes, Mogg/Way), Canadian drummer Shane Gaalaas (B'z, Diesel Machine, MSG), and new addition, bassist Kevin Chown (Chad Smith's Bombastic Meatbats, Tarja, Paul Gilbert), are back with 'The Morbid Tango', their first new album in almost a decade.
A tour-de-force of all things COSMOSQUAD, 'The Morbid Tango', is an ambitious concept album about the circle and meaning of life itself, from birth, through the journeys of youth, of love and loss, of wisdom and how no matter what, we all do ascend through death's door itself. 'The Morbid Tango' is a musical and visual adventure, told in vivid sonic colors, viciously visceral one moment, fragile and intimate the next, just as much as COSMOSQUAD is a band like no other, on a mission to redefine and re-inspire people to swing for the fences in life.

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# (PST) Name length Rating
1 9:00 Morbid Tango 06:23 4
2 9:06 Cyclops 05:40 4
3 9:12 The Ballad of Rick James 06:22 4
4 9:18 Anatomy of a Beatdown 01:52 4
5 9:20 Recollection Epilogue 03:50 4
6 9:24 Always Remember the Love 05:12 4
7 9:29 The Crosses 05:55 4
8 9:35 Still Life 06:51 4
9 9:42 Sangfroid 05:12 4
10 9:48 Beyond Death's Door 04:48 4
11 9:52 Beyond Death's Door Reprise 03:46 4