EMQ’s with RITUAL EARTH
Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Philadelphia, PA based Space Doom Stoner Metal band Ritual Earth. Huge thanks to drummer Chris Turek and vocalist George Chamberlin for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
Chris: I am Chris from Ritual Earth and I smash drums. Ritual Earth evolved from the ashes of our previous band Chimpgrinder. As we developed a more progressive style, George joined on vocals to compliment the band, and we needed a new name, but continued and expanded the ethos of our prior writing subjects.
George: I’m George, I sing. I recall listening to Chimpgrinder’s “Simian Space King” and thinking how much I’d love to add melodic vocals over something similar to that. A year later, they wrote me on Facebook based off a recommendation from Erik Caplan of Thunderbird Divine. We’ve been Ritual Earth now since March-ish of 2018.
How did you come up with your band name?
Chris: Ritual Earth evokes the tribal and rhythm depths of space and time.
George: Our bass player, Chris Scott had originally come up with it. There was a combination of ideas as to what it represented, tying in previous lyrical themes with the new evolution of music and storytelling we were developing.
What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
Chris: We reside in the greater Philadelphia area. Prior to Covid we had a decent local scene, a nice collective of local bands, and touring bands.
George: There are so many great bands in the Philly area as well as venues to choose from. Philly is also a hot spot for touring bands, being between NYC and Baltimore or DC, so a lot of bigger bands come through which helps our local scene out tremendously. There is also a really strong punk rock to metal or doom crossover here as well. It’s not uncommon to meet someone at a doom show only to realize ya met before 10 or 15 years ago at a warehouse punk rock squat.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
Chris: Our latest is an independently recorded and released full length album titled “MMXX”. Available September 1, 2020 at
Who have been your greatest influences?
Chris: You name it, I am influenced by everything, for drums, Don Brewer from early Grand Funk days, Rich Hoak is a drumming hero, and the obvious choices, Bonham, Ward, Baker, Mitch Mitchel, Krupa, etc…
George: Vocally speaking, Ozzy and Chris Cornell are the two big ones that have stuck with me. When I was younger, regardless of how heavy the music was, I always gravitated towards the more melodic singers of their respected genres; Joey Belladonna, Bobby Blitz Ellsworth, Eric Wagner, John Garcia, Eddie Sutton, hell even Vince Neil to name a few. I am also a huge Voivod fan and occasionally I do hear a Snake influence on my vocals as well if not lyrically.
What first got you into music?
Chris: Back in the day, a ZZ Top tape and a Walkman. It’s just grown from there.
George: Music was in my life at an early age. My mother sang in a country band when I was very young, so I grew up thinking that music is just something that what we did. What really hit me though was listening to the Misfits for the first time and watching that “Why Be Something You’re Not” videotape. All of that energy and tension with the band and crowd, that’s when I realized this is what I really wanted to do.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
Chris: For this record we collaborated by introducing keys by Mark Boyce, I would love to do that again and record and develop something really crazy.
George: I always wished I could’ve taken part in one of the Desert Sessions, just seems like a great time and a lot of creativity going on. That being said, I’d love to see or do something similar with any of our local musicians or bands here in the Philly area.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
Chris: Wacken of course. Does it really need explanation?
George: Psycho Las Vegas, it just sounds like an adventure.
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
George: Nothing weird or crazy for me, there was one time someone came to a show and gave me a shirt from my very first band because I had said to a mutual friend that I didn’t have one. I thought that was pretty cool.
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
Chris: Share our music, give it away, spread the word!
George: Music is an art, and a very personal one at that. There is no right or wrong way to go about it.
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
George: I’m not sure I’d want to bring anyone back as I fear it could ruin their legacy, but if I had to choose, I think it’d have to be Randy Rhoades. I’m betting the Ozzy output would have remained consistently stellar and I’d be very curious to see what else Randy could do with a guitar.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
Chris: When you’re playing music, nothing else exists. There is nothing to hate about being a musician.
George: Most, that feeling you get when the band is performing, and everyone locks in and you start to flow together and become one supernatural unit. There is no drug that can give you that feeling. Hate? I dunno, hate’s a strong word. I think what I dislike the most is when our craft isn’t respected.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
Chris: Find the next Led Zeppelin! We need some big talented bands heard again.
George: One thing…I just wish the motivation 100% of the time was for the love of music, nothing more.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
Chris: I can’t speak for the others in the band, and hard to pick favourites, but Brutal Truth’s “Sounds Of The Animal Kingdom” never lets me down.
George: Soundgarden – “Badmotorfinger”
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
Chris: I really like Vinyl, but digital is an obvious choice for ease of consumption.
George: Vinyl sounds the best and it will always remind me of being a kid and going through a layout looking at the pictures, reading the lyrics and notes as the record spins. I feel there is a special connection to a record and band when you have a physical format that a digital download just doesn’t offer. Digital however is easier to travel with, but that’s where it ends for me.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
Chris: I like any gig where we can be loud and make noise. Playing shows with heroes and legends like Corrosion of Conformity, or Wino is always great.
George: The last Ritual Earth show at Century Bar in Philly. It was where everything clicked before we started to record, everything really felt right, we were tight as shit and confidence was at an all-time high. I felt that our set that night was flawless, everything and everyone was “on”.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
Chris: I would be an astronaut, space explorer, surfing the waves of mental impulse and floating further away from myself.
George: I’d probably be playing more “dad softball”, haha. I will say though, playing music keeps me feeling young.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
Chris: No one, I prefer to be a hermit in the mountains or the solitude of outer space.
George: Bret Hart, Randall Cunningham, Henry Rollins, Gary Oldman and Jon Stewart.
What’s next for the band?
Chris: Hunker down and lock into more writing until things open up again.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?
Chris: What the hell are Jaffa cakes?
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Chris: Spread the word, Ritual Fucking Earth!
George: Thank you for all that you do!
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