The long history of (die) Pilot is a tale of proving grounds and a stable earth pulled out from under you. It is a history of dirty hotels, unkempt beds and embezzled lots on the black street.
The short history is that, now, Denver is home.
Gene Brown, the frontman and original member of the Denver-based band, (die) Pilot, has a long history of standing on his own feet. But like any good boxer, this fighter has been knocked around, and dropped down to the rough streets more than once. Originally from Midwestern places named Cincinnati and Kentucky, Gene Brown has battled the world with two fists in front of his mouth. And he hasn’t always won. Not even close: Having fought being homeless twice, a jail sentence, a string of lemons bought off used car lots, a series of close friend’s deaths and then having lived with one foot on the ground in a scrubby Kentucky hotel, Brown has sought reasons and means to create a space to write music instead of fighting the unremitting battle of procuring the basic life necessities of food and shelter.
Formed during and after his tumultuous time in Kentucky, (die) Pilot came together as Brown’s unique vision. In concert with a fellow Kentuckian, (die) Pilot found its provenance by swinging some traditional songwriting bats. However, as has been the history of the human sensory filter – even the most traditional of education becomes warped, and made unique, in the hands of every different man. And with (die) Pilot, the story is the same – for while there are evident sounds of familiar notes of history, the idiosyncrasies are overwhelming and authentic. In the end, analogous to (die) Pilot’s final tale: The here and now.
Once he was finally removed from the dramatic and often rough life he led in Kentucky, fate began to smile upon Brown. Immediately after he arrived in Denver, Brown posted an ad looking for musicians to fill his bill. Quickly, Brown’s call was answered by Peter Antypas. That same day the two met downtown and, loaded with ambition, the two set-out to formulate the future of Brown’s infant band.
With years of struggle at his back, meeting Antypas was a surprise. Antypas’ no-nonsense approach, integrity and means provided Brown and (die) Pilot with a gift from the supernatural. On account of Antypas, Brown was afforded a house off South Broadway, as well as a studio. And within the year, (die) Pilot had a full band and, its first full length album, Radiation, Weather, Art.
Radiation, Weather, Art is a stunning work in its eerily precision of all studio elements. From the production to the engineering and musicianship, this freshman effort is going to be a tough hurdle to surpass in their second go around. And while they are set to begin recording their sophomore full-length, Brown and Antypas aren’t quick to let this one go. Even they, critical in their every move and human in their assessment of previous work, are still hanging-on and playing with the material that they have set as a foundation. Due out in April is the band’s first video, “Sideshow” – which was shot on location at the Hotel Newhouse on Grant Street, with a guest appearance by the inimitable Sid Pink.
With a new line-up that should be solidified for their future run (Paul Jansen on violin and Gavin Cassens on drums), Brown and (die) Pilot are geared-up for a new album, a 2006 tour and a new lease on life. With their unwavering work ethic, Brown and the boys will continue to build on their work, blending modes of spirituality and life into a complex web of death, water, love and hope.