Bedemon

Bedemon

Bede…what..?!

Bedemon is a band, or recording project if you will, that I’ve been a part of for the past 9 years. As I mentioned on my About page, I’m not only a huge fan of hard rock and metal, but I’ve also been known to rock the mic over the years.

Since many of you (i.e., most of you) have probably never heard of this band before, I’ll give you a quick backstory…

Bedemon was originally formed in 1973 by members ofย Pentagram. Pentagram, who have often been coined as the stateside Black Sabbath, never enjoyed the fame or recognition as that of similar acts, but they’re still recording and gigging to this day. Although the band has seen many lineup changes over the years, one thing has always remained constant — frontman Bobby Liebling.

Bobby’s kept the pulse of the band thumping along throughout four decades now. Pentagram is still cutting new records, touring the country, and Bobby even had a documentary made about him that debuted at SXSW this past spring. It’s taken quite a few years of blood, sweat, tears, sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll… but it looks like Pentagram, and namely Liebling, will finally be getting their due.

The following video clip is a deleted scene from Last days Here, a documentary film about Bobby. The clip offers a pretty revealing glimpse of the self-destructive frontman.

Last Days Here Promo Clip, featuring Bobby Liebling

Apart from his busy schedule with Pentagram, the clip from this video hints at why the other three members of Bedemon maybe chose to work without Bobby on the 2002 sessions. The guy possesses a wealth of creativity, talent, and those certain intangibles that make a great frontman, but for fuck’s sake… he’s a mess.

Alright… so back to Bedemon…

Bedemon began as an offshoot of Pentagram, formed by guitarist Randy Palmer, Geof O’Keefe (Pentagram drummer), Bobby Liebling (Pentagram vocalist) and their friend Mike Matthews (bass). Palmer, who later joined Pentagram, recruited O’Keefe, Liebling and Matthews, to help him record some of his original compositions. Within a few months, they had laid down an album’s worth of music.

When Palmer officially left Pentagram in the late 70s, he and O’Keefe, Liebling and Matthews, got together to record a few more of his songs, including one written by O’Keefe. Seven years later, Bedemon would re-assemble once again — with Pentagram bassist Greg Mayne handling bass duties — to lay down a new song by Palmer, along with newer recordings of some older tracks.

Bedemon was mainly a pet project of Randy’s. It was something that only family and friends were privy to, until… some jackass acquired the tapes and bootlegged them.

The upside to this was… because this material had leaked out to the masses, an underground fan base was starting to gather. Upon discovering the hundreds upon hundreds of search results for Bedemon that were being displayed online, the band decided to get together in 2002 to lay down some new material.

The 70s recordings were pretty lo-fi, and the bootleg versions were complete crap. The band wanted to represent themselves properly, with a higher quality, “official” release.

Palmer and Matthews traveled west in 2002, spending a week out at O’Keefe’s studio in California. Bobby was busy with a new Pentagram project, so the three recorded as an instrumental trio. The result… nearly an hour’s worth of doomy deliciousness.

Not long after the 2002 session, Palmer, O’Keefe and Matthews, went on the hunt for a new Bedemon vocalist.

This is where I come in.

Bedemon
Bedemon 2011: (left to right) O’Keefe, Junghandel, Matthews

O’Keefe, a Central Coast resident, heard about me through a mutual friend. He contacted me one night via telephone and explained the situation to me. I was beside myself, seeing this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work with some seasoned players, in a style of music that I love.

I sent O’Keefe a couple of CDs with my vocals on them, then we met shortly thereafter. He showed me the lyrics and explained a bit about what they were after in terms of a singer. I wanted the gig BAD.

A week or so later, O’Keefe and I were in a friend’s studio with me laying down some rough vocal tracks for the new Bedemon songs.

Within a few short weeks, and after Palmer and Matthews had listened to my demo, I was named as the new singer for Bedemon. Tragically, this came on the heels of a fatal car accident that claimed Palmer’s life. Unfortunately, I never got to meet or even talk with Randy before he passed.

The death of Palmer placed a blanket of sadness over the band, delaying the eventual recording. During this period of grieving, I was recruited by a good friend to try out for a new cover band he had formed. I ended up getting the gig, and the band was to become one of the most popular cover bands on the Central Coast. For the next few years we were actively rehearsing and gigging – greatly limiting my availability for the Bedemon project.

After a successful three year stint, we went our separate ways, now allowing me time to focus on Bedemon. Then… more tragedy struck. O’Keefe’s father passed away, shortly followed by good friend, and former Pentagram guitarist, Vincent McCallister. Not long after Vincent’s death, my mom lost her ten year battle with cancer. This grief-stricken period had us both reeling, thus slowing the recording process even further.

However, in 2007, O’Keefe and I charged forward with the new material. Only problem was, I was again involved with another band, plus my wife was about to have a baby. I had a full plate at the time, but Geof and I knew we had to release the doom.

Craig Junghandel recording vocals for the Bedemon 2002 Sessions
Laying down vocals in 2008 — photo by Cameron Davidson

The vocal sessions began in the second half of 2007, finishing up in late 2009. The bulk of the vocals were done in 2008, but recording continued into 2009, as we just couldn’t leave well enough alone. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Since Palmer had been responsible for the bulk of the album’s lyrics, yet hadn’t shared the melodies with anyone, this left O’Keefe and I to try and interpret what Palmer would have wanted. This resulted in an incredibly fun and artistic journey, with O’Keefe and I crafting melodies and phrasing that would bring Randy’s words to life.

Alright… so it’s 2011 now… what’s going on with Bedemon?!

Well, I’ll tell ya…

Craig Junghandel of Bedemon
photo by Cameron Davidson

It’s sounding as if some sniffing has resulted in a chomp, meaning I think we have a label biting for this material. It’s entirely possible that this album might see the light of day, or dark of night (as that would be more appropriate) – sometime later this year!

I’ll keep you posted as news unfolds…

And by the way… I told you I’d be covering random topics on this blog, including many things you maybe didn’t know about me.

…I’m not just your average computer nerd. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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