The end of 2018 marks a significant time for Lubricoma, as the Long Island hard rock quintet releases its second EP, Holy Ghosts, with a Dec. 29th celebration at Amityville, New York’s Revolution Bar & Music Hall. The special “Rock Against Cancer” event will serve as a benefit, with the band donating a portion of ticket sales to the nonprofit 1 in 9 at Hewlett House, a resource center for cancer patients and their families. Tickets are $20.
Lubricoma’s brand of 90s-influenced rock and metal fits most any music scene, having toured with internationally renowned artists including Filter, Bumblefoot from Guns ‘N’ Roses’, Trapt, Alien Ant Farm, Orgy, Disturbed’s John Moyer, SoulFly’s Mark Rizzo and Art of Anarchy. The group is fronted by singer and guitarist Charlie Parks, a native of Oceanside, New York, who still calls the south shore of Long Island home. Parks is something of a gentle giant. With the build of a UFC fighter, the 32-year-old’s demeanor is calm and jovial. Musically though, Parks lets it all loose. Backed by down-tuned rock/metal guitars and precise drumming, the singer’s deep voice finds its way from sanguine to ferocious, reflecting Holy Ghosts’ range. This is best exemplified on the first single, titled “15 Years” and the blisteringly energetic cover of Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence.”
Lubricoma, left to right, Michael Domanico – keyboards; John Rivera – guitar; Charlie Adrianus Parks – singer, guitar; Nick Formont – bass; and Lou Panariello – drums.
An Interview With Lubricoma’s Charlie Parks
What inspired the songs on Holy Ghosts?
The songs are all inspired by my experiences, either first-hand or vicariously. They don’t have to be about me to affect or inspire me. The first single and music video we shot was for “15 Years.” I write in an almost beatnik way. It’s very stream-of-consciousness and sometimes I don’t know what the songs are about until they’re written. This one was very much about the feeling of abandonment and losing something or someone you loved. Then perhaps coming back to it, or having them back in your life and not being able to process it. This was me processing it.
How would you characterize Lubricoma’s sound?
The key to our sound is a rawness that we try and let shine through beyond any production. I’m a child of grunge. We’re a rock band and we sound like a rock band, but within that, there’s so much you can do and so many places you can go. It may be heavy, it may be loud and it may get more intimate and more minimal. My goal for every song is to capture the raw feeling of me alone writing and singing with an acoustic guitar through this massive arrangement that is Lubricoma. The end product is hopefully much more than the sum of the parts.
What is your performing background?
I’m a classically trained actor; music and movement was a lot of it. I graduated from Sanford Meisner Conservatory and also received my Bachelor’s as a theater major at Queens College. I learned to play guitar and sing just from having a guitar in my hands and wanting to play and sing, very poorly for a long time. My dad had an old Martin around the house. I think it was my own musical therapy, regardless of what it sounded like. I am not classically taught, really. I had a few guitar lessons when I was very young, but I did not fully appreciate them and probably could have gotten a lot more out of them if I had been a little more mature. I’ve worked with a vocal coach more recently to preserve my voice and focus on vocal health. That’s been really important to me.
How did local schools or businesses encourage your playing?
The most encouraging musical pieces of my early life were in Oceanside, playing music with friends, covering Bush or the Chili Peppers. I was also lucky to have supportive parents who let me find my own way through a lot of noise. There was this studio in Garden City [New York] called Lyric. I remember going there with friends and playing music on a big stage, with no one else there, mind you. The loudness of those big amps and space definitely had an effect.
What is your impression of the Long Island music scene?
Really cool venues like Revolution, The Space at Westbury and The Paramount are still having good rock bands come out and play. The shame, though, is that there isn’t more of a music scene, especially when it comes to rock music. I think there’s less and less quality music being put out today. It kind of feels like popular music has become the dollar menu. Some bands are still putting out great albums in my opinion, but that’s on a mass scale.
You teamed with 1 in 9 for the record release party, where ticket and raffle sales will directly benefit the organization. How are you connected to 1 in 9?
1 in 9 does amazing things to help women and the families of women with breast cancer. They are also involved with assistance for children and adults with all forms of cancer. We wanted the opportunity to make our album release about something much more important than just the music and we couldn’t have found a better partner. I’ve personally been affected by cancer and specifically breast cancer in my family. It seems almost everyone has been, which makes 1 in 9’s mission that much more important.
How would you define success for Lubricoma?
My vision of success for this band is getting as many people to hear the music as possible and hopefully be somewhat moved by the music, having it mean something to them. It’s meant to be introspective and I think if they can take something I’ve written and apply it personally, then a goal has been reached. That’s why I try to approach the lyrics from an interpretative place. If the experience can be eye-opening or cathartic, that’s really what I consider success. The bigger the platform the better, as long as you maintain the integrity. We’re not a band that wants to be the lowest common denominator. I hope when people listen, whether they like it or not, they can feel the music’s not contrived. I also think it’s important to use whatever movement we can in the music to support something bigger, which is why it was so important for us to pair this album release with the right foundation. I’m excited about the future.
Looking to the future, will there be a full-length follow-up?
We’re itching to get back in the studio when the time is right. We already have a catalog and I constantly write. There’s a lot for us to choose from. Holy Ghosts is its own animal and the next album will not rehash it too much, if at all. This one took a lot of time and was professionally overseen in so many ways. I’d personally like to leave it is because we’re really proud of the album, from the performances down to the sonic quality.