Hot Lava Monster
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Hot Lava Monster

Columbia, South Carolina, United States

Columbia, South Carolina, United States
Band Rock Alternative


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"From the Belly of a Whale"

In the biblical story of Jonah, the reluctant prophet had to spend some time inside a whale in order to direct his full attention to warning the people of Nineveh of their impending doom lest they change their sinful ways. Columbia band Hot Lava Monster, likewise, have spent several years between albums rethinking the way they present themselves, both on stage and on their new disc, appropriately titled The Belly of a Whale. The message they’re delivering might not have the life-or-death consequences of Jonah’s, but lead singer Patrick Baxley says they are definitely a more focused band than they were last time out.
“We’ve really paid a lot of attention to melody with this record,” Baxley says. “Having Wes and Andy now, the groove is under control, which allows Mike to do some other things on guitar.”
Baxley’s referring to bassist Wes Pellerin, who joined the group right after the last album was recorded, and drummer Andy Dumiak, who they have been sharing with the Soul Mites for the past year. “Wes played the CD release party for the last record and he picked it up right after we recorded. The idea came from doing the Brown Bomber shows [Led Zep tribute band side project] and how much fun I had just singing and being able to rock out with just the microphone,” Baxley says.
“My heroes weren’t Gene Simmons or Sting, they were Jim Morrison or Chris Robinson of The Black Crowes — it is a lot
easier to tap into that kind of attitude without a bass in my hands.”
The songs inside The Belly of a Whale find Hot Lava Monster in a more song-oriented frame of reference this time out — less Soundgarden and Led Zeppelin riffing, more theatrical rock in the vein of Queen or Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust” era. Like Mercury with Queen, Baxley’s voice is the emotional focal point of the songs. The musical direction, though, came from a couple of unlikely influences, Baxley says.
“Mike wanted a good spaghetti western guitar sound, so he’s doing these swells and fast picking all over the album, which gives it a lot of atmosphere, and more texture, too.”
The other influence was a more typical one, at least for most bands. “I never had a Beatles phase, but since Paul McCartney’s last record I’ve been getting into his work with them,” Baxley says. “There are some bittersweet love songs on [our] new album that needed a lighter approach — I’m not going to stay in that angst ridden phase forever.”
Don’t think that Hot Lava Monster wants to fill the world with silly love songs, however. Even after tinkering with their core sound, the band continues to play plenty of hard rock riffs. It was even that way during the recording process, Baxley says.
“The band practices so ridiculously loud that nobody knows my lyrics until we’re in the studio,” he says. “Once you can hear everything, you kind of miss the ear-bleeding sound levels, but we’ve always tried to have our recordings keep that good live energy.”
One way they accomplished that this time around was through persistence and repetition. “With Andy ... we don’t get the keeper takes from him until he’s played it a dozen times and he’s drenched in sweat,” Baxley says. “You have to get really amped up to play like that in a controlled environment.”
This week’s live debut for the new CD promises to be anything but controlled, a factor that Baxley acknowledges.
“You can always say that live rock ‘n’ roll never claimed to be pretty, or to hit all the perfect notes, and that’s usually true where our shows are concerned.”
Doors open at 8 p.m. The Drownout and The Reverie open. Tickets are $7. Headliners is located at 700 Gervais St.; call 796-2333 for more information. - Kevin Oliver, Free Times (Columbia, SC)

"Various Blurbs"

The Playlist’s Favorite Local Releases of 2006
By PATRICK WALL | Jan. 3, 2007 | Free Times

It’s no secret that we here at Free Times love local music. And when we look back at a year we thought was disappointing in the fields of film, sports and popular music, it’s good to know that Columbia is still alive and rocking as hard as ever. That said, we present you with 10 of our favorite local releases of the year (at least according to Playlist standards):

Hot Lava Monster, The Belly of a Whale
Y’all want some rock ‘n’ roll, don’t ya? Well the Monster is more than happy to dish out nine tracks of guitar-heavy rock frenzy on this solid follow-up to The Way of the Dinosaur EP.  

St. Patrick’s Day Guide
By TUG BAKER | March 14, 2007 | Free Times

Official Stages

Budweiser Select/Rock 93.5/FOX 102 Stage
Located on Greene Street

Noon — Hot Lava Monster
I’ve seen lots of bands play St. Patrick’s Day, but none of them rock as hard as Hot Lava Monster. The Monster is one of the few bands that can draw an energetic reaction from a bleary-eyed crowd at noon on a Saturday. It’s impossible to listen and not feel the infectious vibe of its Queens of the Stone Age-meets-classic rock combination that is so well displayed on last year’s Belly of a Whale. It’s the perfect band to kick off a day of debauchery.

Sound Bites
By Kevin Langston | April 25, 2007 | Free Times

Hot Lava Monster — It’s almost petrifying to think that Hot Lava Monster could improve upon its incendiary rock ‘n’ roll recipe, but The Belly of a Whale finds this group at its thunderous best. Frontman Patrick Baxley is proving he can be just as charismatic in the studio as he is on stage, and guitarist Mike Schaming is pulling away as Columbia’s best rock guitarist. Meanwhile, bassist Wes Pellerin and drummer Andy Dumiak are the proverbial offensive lineman whose oft-overlooked contributions help make their bandmates look so dang good.
Headliners: 8 p.m., $7; 796-2333,

Five Points After Five
Five Points Association Website

w/ Madison Fair
May 24, 2007 / 6:30PM

What is that? Godzilla? No, it’s Hot Lava Monster. Hot Lava Monster is Columbia’s answer to the lack of good music in the Midlands. Lead vocalist, Patrick Baxley breathes fire upon the stage with his vintage-rock enthrawled and hauntingly beautiful vocals. Patrick’s band mates, Hot Lava Mike, Wes Pellerin and Andy Dumiak follow suit by bringing down the house in each live show and with it, bringing audiences to their knees. Hot Lava Monster’s enjoyable live shows and professional stage presence have earned this band an intense following around the southeast. Hot Lava Monster has paid their dues and this is why they have been asked to play with such national acts as Shinedown, Three Days Grace, and Cracker. - Various

"‘We’ve got groove now’"

Hot Lava Monster has been reborn, resurrected and reinvented. Let’s throw in rejuvenated, too.
That’s what a new record — “The Belly of a Whale,” which will be released at 8 tonight at Headliners — and two new members will do. Vocalist Patrick Baxley (he’s more than just a singer) and guitarist Mike Schaming, who have been together since the band’s inception, are backed now by Andy Dumiak (drums) and Wes Pellerin (bass).
“We completely reformed our rhythm section,” Baxley says. “We basically gave ourselves a backbone with this record that allows Mike and I a really (good) foundation to stand on.”
It gave Baxley, one of the most spirited frontmen in town who used to carry Hot Lava’s bass duties, a chance to just sing.
“I made the smart, executive decision to hand it off to Hot Lava Monster’s biggest fan,” Baxley says.
That would be Pellerin, whose playing leaves rock-sized dents in the band’s songs, whereas Baxley’s bass lines were like acorn dimples.
“Hot Lava’s never grooved before and we’ve got groove now,” Schaming says.
Pellerin knows that freeing Baxley from the bass made the band better. (How lucky is this guy, to join a band he’s a fan of?)
“Patrick’s presence when he wasn’t tied down to playing an instrument made a huge difference,” Pellerin says. “Him with nothing else to do but entertain the crowd is the best thing for the band.”
Was Baxley happy? You bet.
“When you’re trying to figure out what it is that you do, you look at your heroes,” Baxley says. “Unfortunately, Sting and Gene Simmons (bass players who sing) weren’t my biggest heroes. My biggest heroes were Elvis, Jim Morrison and Chris Robinson.
“As a bassist, I wrote so I could sing. I wrote very simplistic bass lines.”
Schaming was concerned about the band’s momentum being interrupted. As a three piece, HLM had become one of the most recognized bands in town.
“Whenever you bring someone new in, you kind of risk messing up the chemistry,” Schaming says. “Since the first practice, it’s been night and day difference.”
Pellerin, who has been with HLM for two years, says asserting his opinions was tough.
“It was very hard in the beginning — you gotta remember I was a fan of the band,” Pellerin says. “I was just as apprehensive of me messing up the chemistry as them.
“It definitely made it hard to make suggestions because they’ve already done so well on their own.”
But what a difference he has made. So has Dumiak, who joined last December, but after all, it is Pellerin who has made it possible for Baxley to unleash his personality on the audience. And his voice seems to have more strength when he’s just singing.
He’s more engaging and, if you’ve seen it lately, you know HLM puts on a more electrifying performance.
“I feel like you gyp the audience if you don’t sing to them,” Baxley says. “My main goal is to remain sincere but unguarded.”
Pellerin adds: “You got to let them know you want their attention or else they’re going to be in the bar drinking beers.”
As with most bands, you hope it improves with each record. HLM has done that, layering its neo-classic rock with more complex and bombastic melodies. “The Belly of a Whale” is a major accomplishment, but is it ready for major (label) attention?
If that happens, fine, but that’s not what keeps this band going.
“That’s probably one reason why we’re still together, because we’ve redefined success for what it means to us,” Schaming says.
“We’re going to continue to make what we think are the best records that we can make.”
So redefining success is the key to rejuvenation? That’s something to sing about.

Reach Taylor at (803) 771-8362

Hot Lava Monster, The Drownout and The Reverie
WHEN: 8 tonight
WHERE: Headliners, 700 Gervais St.
INFORMATION: - Otis Taylor, The State Newspaper (Columbia, SC)


"Hot Lava Monster Live" - 2009
Atlantis Music Conference Sampler-2008
"The Belly of a Whale" 2007
Atlantis Music Conference Sampler-2005
"The Way of the Dinosaur" 2004, EP
Atlantis Music Conference Sampler- 2003
"firstbreathofwater" 2001

• Selected as a showcasing artist at Atlantis Music Conference 2008. Also appeared on the official artist compilation.

• Selected by Billboard Magazine to be featured on their website's Billboard Underground video series. The piece was filmed in Billboard's offices in New York in the summer of 2007.

• The Belly of a Whale was #2 Most Sold at Manifest Discs (Columbia, SC) the week it was released. It moved to #3 in the second week.

• “Blister,” the band’s first single, received an abundance of airplay across the country. It was also added to rotation on WARQ 93.5 in Columbia, SC.

• “Blister” was featured in the Top Five at Five on WARQ 93.5 during the first week of March.

• The Belly of a Whale was selected to be added to PumpAudio's, HumanFactor's and Audiosocket's library of potentially licensed material.

WARQ - Columbia, SC
WAVF - Charleston, SC
WKZQ - Myrtle Beach, SC
WUSC - Columbia, SC
KACV - Amarillo, TX
KSWI - Atlantic, IA
WQXA - York, PA
WKGB - Binghamton, NY
KTCL - Denver, CO
and more!

Sony Connect
Music Net
Manifest Discs (Columbia, SC)
Sounds Familiar (Columbia, SC)
Monster Music (Charleston, SC)

"The Belly of a Whale" 2006, LP
Atlantis Music Conference Sampler-2005
"The Way of the Dinosaur" 2004, EP
Atlantis Music Conference Sampler- 2003
"firstbreathofwater" 2001, LP
Breakneck Punk Rock Comp- 2000,
Breakneck Punk Rock Comp #2, Uniting Them Asses- 2002
Sin in the City, A Columbia Rock Sampler- 2003
Free Times Colossal Music Crawl Comp- 2003
Step Out Of The Line Comp #1- 2003
The Jam Room Comp #2- 2002
The Jam Room Christmas Comp- 2001
The Jam Room Christmas Comp- 2003



Look, don’t let Hot Lava Monster fool you: Being in a rock band is totally easy.
All you need is a singer with an absolutely perfect rock ‘n’ roll voice, as much Jeff Buckley grace as it is Robert Plant swagger. Then, match him with a guitar player who’s the embodiment of pure, molten rock, capable of everything from searing leads to subtle jazz phrasings. Next, add a rhythm section that plays with the power of sledgehammers with the precision of infinite decimals. After that, the riffs will flow like water, encompassing everything from vintage British hard rock to modern American grunge.
OK, maybe we lied. Maybe being in a band that rocks as hard as Hot Lava Monster — easily as close as this town’s ever going to get to Led Zeppelin — isn’t easy. But the Columbia, S.C. quartet certainly makes it look easy.

Co-founded by dynamic frontman Patrick Baxley and crackerjack guitarist Michael Schaming and filled
out by the thunderous rhythm section of bassist Wes Pellerin and drummer Andy Dumiak, Hot Lava Monster has been scorching Southeastern ears for nigh on a decade, and the band’s volcanic rock has won it laud from Billboard magazine and such prestigious musical congresses as the Atlantis Music Conference.
But Hot Lava Monster’s success certainly hasn’t come overnight. Indeed, no band lands primo opening slots for the likes of Three Days Grace, Shinedown, Buckcherry, Cracker and Seven Mary Three without putting in a little blood, sweat and tears. And no band gets to record with such respected producers as John Briglevich and Sylvia Massy without having a keen drive and energy. And that protestant work ethic is something the band is known for.
That, and one killer live show.
“That’s what we do best,” says Dumiak. “Rock the fuck out and melt faces.”
It’s that reputation that caught the eye of Billboard magazine — the national music trade magazine
featured the band as part of its Billboard Underground online video series in the summer of 2007.
“And then we proceeded to play an acoustic set,” Baxley laughs. “But it was huge for us to be on such a huge web site and get that exposure.”
Veterans of the Atlantis Music Conference, the premier showcase for unsigned talent in the Southeast, the band was selected as a showcase artist at the 2008 conference and was included on the official artist compilation.
“We were the only band that didn’t play along with some sort of backing track,” Schaming says.
“We were the only band that sounded like the instruments we were playing,” Baxley adds with a laugh.
Hot Lava Monster’s also enjoyed success outside of the Southeast. Copies of the band’s 2007 full-length, The Belly of a Whale, recorded with John Briglevich (Sevendust, Goo Goo Dolls) at Atlanta’s Sonica Studios, were distributed to radio stations across the United States to great success, particularly in Amarillo, Texas, where it charted over records by U2, Green Day, Cake and more.
“It was cool seeing my favorite bands on these top thirty lists,” Baxley says. “And then we were above
these bands.”

Indeed, since the release of Belly of a Whale in 2007, Hot Lava Monster has been one of the fastest rising bands in the Southeast. And the band notched another notable accomplishment in the summer of
2009, when it spent 10 days at RadioStar Studios with noted engineer and producer Sylvia Massy.
“It was like rock ‘n’ roll summer camp,” Schaming says of the experience in Weed, Calif.
Massy’s best known for her work with Tool; she engineered and produced the band’s seminal debut
Undertow. She’s also worked on Grammy-winning records with Rick Rubin (she engineered Johnny
Cash’s Unchained), and she’s worked with rock ‘n’ roll heavyweights System of a Down, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Slayer.
Perhaps most impressively, Massy personally responded to the band’s initial request to work with
her. In less than a couple of hours Massy was asking Hot Lava Monster to come out to Weed to record.
“I was surprised how quickly she got back to us,” Schaming says. “She said, ‘Yeah, I want to work with
you guys. Let’s make this happen.’”
“We basically told her we wanted to get more of a live sound,” Schaming says. “We said, let’s focus on strengths — and that’s cranking it up and rocking with a lot of energy.”
“And she definitely captured that for us,” Dumiak adds. Indeed, most tracks were captured in one or two takes.
“I was a little uneasy,” Baxley admits. “As someone who likes to get things perfect on record, I kind of felt like, ‘Well, are you sure you don’t want another vocal take?”
“I think it’s the best thing Hot Lava Monster’s ever done, and it’s the best thing I’ve ever been a part of,” Dumiak adds. “We’ve tapped into something that all four of us are excited about.”