The world “Perpetual” is defined as “never ending or changing” or “everlasting.” For Perpetual Groove and their catalog of music over the past decade plus, this is exactly the mantra that always prevailed in light of the challenge at hand…until now. They’ve experienced the highest of the proverbial highs, and in more cases than they probably care to admit, the grueling lows of lows. Even their favorite venue, The Georgia Theatre, where the band has played so many of their shows over the years represents the band and its lineup shift and other problems, having burned to the ground and eventually having been rebuilt bigger and better than ever. So, it is fitting that they will properly say goodbye on that very stage this Friday at their home base in Athens, Georgia.
[Photo by kfishphotography]
After original member Matt McDonald left the band and was replaced in mid-2008 by John Hruby, PGroove changed and continued to duke it out on the road, before McDonald eventually reclaimed his seat at the end of 2011. McDonald chatted with me then, and did so again this past week, about life, the end of PGroove and what is next for him and some of his current and future band mates. So, in typical bittersweet fashion, while one chapter ends, another begins with the trio of McDonald, Adam Perry and Albert Suttle in their new venture, Ghost Owl – who will in a way be ”opening” the show for themselves this Friday before PGroove bids a proper farewell. “I know some people who have been surprised by it. I guess that’s funny from my perspective because I couldn’t think of a better way to introduce what’s new than saying: ‘Hey, before we wrap this up proper, we hope to see a lot of you, and we hope you dig this too and give this a shot,’” exclaimed McDonald.
McDonald, to me, always represented the X factor in PGroove. He is a master of sorcery on the keys, making the notes and knobs bend like a cosmic swirling of sound, with sonic titty-twisters, arcs and crescendos that always complimented front man Brock Butler’s emotional vocals and guitar playing, while the backbone of the band laid squarely on the shoulders of cool-cat bassist Perry and the driving force of rock-solid Suttle on the drums. It’s sad to see them go, as I’ve been lucky enough to call the band friends, but is also something I can genuinely feel in McDonald’s voice as he talks about the next steps for him and his mates, including Ghost Owl. “I feel like we made what our intentions were very clear to each other, the four of us, that this was for the fans and we wanted to go out on a high note. And I feel like musically we’ve done that and feel like we are going to do that,” McDonald excitedly conveys. “But, every day, Ghost Owl has been something that takes up my time, and my mind, and my family’s mind, and everyone around the three of us and it’s been nothing short of amazing.”