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April 17, 2014

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All swine, no flu

Metal outfit A Pig Named Jodi returns from limbo

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Corlene Byrd

In the 1990s, “doom groove” quintet A Pig Named Jodi was a fixture on the Las Vegas metal circuit, playing just about every venue in the area and opening for national headliners such as Suicidal Tendencies, Social Distortion and Fuel. Its last scheduled appearance in 1999, supporting Papa Roach, could have been a breakthrough gig. But the band broke up before that show’s date. So what happened to cause the Pig to croak so suddenly?

“There was a lot of drama going on in the band,” says Mike Crist, one of A Pig Named Jodi’s two guitarists. “We had just finished with a recording we spent a lot of money on. The producer gave us the runaround, and the product came out substandard.”

“It took the wind out of our sails,” adds Mark “Water” Kiburis, the band’s singer, who moved upstate to Tonopah eight years ago.

The five members parted ways but stayed in touch. Drummer Larry Dolan did a stint as a percussionist in a Strip musical. Crist and bassist Derek Grierson played together in a grunge metal band. Second guitarist Mark Otto spent five years in Europe on military duty.

From the Calendar
A Pig Named Jodi plays the Cheyenne Saloon on June 19
Beyond the Weekly
A Pig Named Jodi MySpace

But this February, Crist started thinking that the time might be ripe for the return of a certain swine to the Vegas music scene. “The stuff we wrote 10 years ago was ahead of its time,” he says. “Lyrically, it talks about a lot of things going on today.”

Crist first called up Otto, Grierson and Dolan with the idea of reconvening. Then they contacted Water. Everyone responded favorably.

Things moved quickly after that. What at first was supposed to be a one-off reunion snowballed into something bigger. Promoter Mark Hornsby, a longtime friend of the band, booked A Pig Named Jodi for a local metal showcase at the House of Blues on April 17.

“We weren’t prepared for [the] gig,” says Dolan, who reveals the band had barely a month to rehearse. “[But] it went over way better than expected. I can’t believe the people who showed up.”

Now the band is polishing off unreleased material written more than a decade ago—and writing new songs. The members are recording at Dolan’s home studio, a relaxing change of scenery for the industry-wary band.

“The technology we have in place today didn’t exist before,” Water says. “The quality you can produce in your own studio has come so far. Now we can experiment, have fun with it—get the sound that we want without feeling rushed.”

And if the clear and powerful raw tracks Crist played for me on his car stereo are any indication, the sound A Pig Named Jodi wants is heavy, textured and rhythmic. The world’s in store for a hell of a return album from these reassembled doom groovers.

“We’re not trying to sell the act,” says Dolan of the band’s recharged focus. “We’re using the talent in the correct way—just having fun doing it.”

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