2015 has been a busy year for Josh Eppard aka Weerd Science. As a drummer, his band Coheed & Cambria have been on tour in support of their new album, as a rapper he wraps up a three year project with the release of the third album in the Red Light Juliet series.
Josh Eppard‘s struggles with substance abuse and his split from progressive rockers Coheed & Cambria are well documented across the internet, if you’re so inclined to delve into the past. Indeed, it serves as a fascinating insight – but more importantly – a cautionary tale of the pitfalls of the rock and roll lifestyle that goes a long way to put into perspective how hard Eppard has worked to turn things around. Regret, missed opportunity and an awakening have resulted in a new chapter in Eppard’s career in music and his personal well-being that finds the talented musician and vocalist in arguably the best form of his life, and working harder than ever.
Now living a clean, healthier lifestyle and once more behind the drum kit for Coheed and Cambria since the end of 2011, the drummer has recently been on the road across the U.S. and Europe, touring in support of Coheed’s new release The Color Before The Sun. The album dropped in October and forms the band’s first effort free from a guiding concept. The Amory Wars narrative, spearheaded by lead vocalist and graphic novelist Claudio Sanchez, permeated previous albums.
For most, touring with a hugely popular rock band would be challenge enough, but Eppard has been cultivating another musical journey for some time, a significant part of which also came to a conclusion this month. As his rap persona Weerd Science, Eppard has demonstrated that a drummer’s natural instinct for timing is a devastating tool in the arsenal of a rapper. His 2005 album Friends and Nervous Breakdowns is a raw and hard hitting introduction to Eppard’s gritty vocal style.
The follow up, Sick Kids, spawned from an – retrospectively – unlikely alliance with MC Lars, released via Lars’ own label, Horris Records (This section of MC Lars‘ website is still untouched since the announcement of Weerd Science signing to the label). I had the fortune to see the pair perform a joint headline set alongside MC Chris and Akira The Don in a South Wimbledon pub in May of 2011 to celebrate the release.
Since then Eppard, with production assistance from Dirty Ern and Chris Bittner, has focussed on a trilogy of albums, all brandishing the title – Red Light Juliet. The first of which was released in May of 2013 and boasted a modest eight tracks. The stand-out being 10 Smack Commandments, which found the rapper tackling his past problems with drug addiction head-on with a guide, of sorts, to potential drug addicts that warns of the pitfalls associated with that lifestyle.
Red Light Juliet enjoyed a positive response from fans and Eppard was quick to reveal the potential for a trilogy of albums. February 2014 saw the release of a second installment, Red Light Juliet Broadcast 2: Steady Straight Lights/Sudden Dark Turns which weighed in with three more tracks than it’s predecessor and building on the tone of the first. Now, just sneaking in before the end of 2015 and completing the trilogy with releases in consecutive years, Eppard has somehow found the time to record and release the final instalment.
Red Light Juliet Broadcast 3: The Seer presents a longer track listing again, with fifteen tracks making it a more substantial justification of your hard earned $11.99. The album dropped on Christmas Eve, presumably to coincide with some down-time from promoting all things Coheed & Cambria? Conceived by the trio behind all three Red Light Juliet releases (Josh Eppard, Chris Bittner, and Dirty Ern), this finale introduces the tiniest element of Eppard’s other day job with guest vocals provided by Coheed frontman Claudio Sanchez on penultimate track The Dust of my Dad’s Dreams. Additional vocals are provided elsewhere by Cage, Upgrade, Mazeman, Kyle Lucas and Jillian Kahn. Eppard’s ability to write and deliver raps in a pristine style shines through once more. Every syllable hits exactly the right mark every time. His vocal style coupled with uncomplicated beats that work to emphasise and compliment the rapper creates a truly enjoyable listening experience.
Red Light Juliet Broadcast 3: The Seer is available to stream for free and download for $11.99 via bandcamp now.