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Sleep
Sleep
Al Cisneros, Matt Pike, Jason Roeder
Background information
Origin San Jose, California, USA
Genres Doom metal, Stoner Metal
Years active 1990–1997, 2009–present
Labels Tupelo, Earache, Very Small, London Records, Southern Lord Records, Tee Pee Records, The Music Cartel
Associated acts Om, High on Fire, Neurosis, Shrinebuilder, Asbestosdeath, The Sabians, Kalas
Website www.weedian.com
Current members Al Cisneros, Matt Pike, Jason Roeder
Past members Chris Hakius, Justin Marler
Band Logo
Sleep Logo

Sleep are a stoner doom metal band from San Jose, California. Active during the 1990s, Sleep earned critical and record label attention early in their career. However, conflict with their record company had contributed to Sleep's breakup by the end of the decade. The band reformed in 2009, and have played sporadic live dates internationally since.

The band is known for being one of the key bands coining the term "stoner metal" among their extensive worship of the riff, space, marijuana and Tony Iommi (Who is constantly referenced along with Black Sabbath in posters, lyrics and social media.).

HistoryEdit

Asbestosdeath (1989 - 1990)Edit

Sleep evolved in the early 1990s from the band Asbestosdeath, which was established by vocalist/bassist Al Cisneros, drummer Chris Hakius, and guitarist Tom Choi. Asbestosdeath expanded to a quartet with the introduction of Matt Pike on guitar, and recorded two singles - Dejection for Profane Existence and the self released Unclean. Choi departed in December 1990 and would later found Operator Generator, It Is I, Noothgrush, and Las Vegas' Black Jetts. Asbestosdeath recruited Justin Marler as replacement and the band adopted the new name, Sleep. According to Chris Hakius in an interview with Panache, it was Marler who came up with the idea to name the band Sleep.[1]

Recording era (1990 - 1997)Edit

Their debut album Volume One was released in 1991 via Tupelo recording company. Frequently compared to bands like Saint Vitus, Sleep soon gained a devoted fanbase within the developing doom metal scene. After just a handful of shows in the summer of 1991, Marler quit the band soon after to take up life as an orthodox monk. This left the band as a power trio for the recording of their Volume Two EP, which was released officially by Off The Disk Records in 1991. By the fall of 1991 the band started adapting more of the sound they are known for, having worked in new songs like "Evil Gypsy/Solomon's Theme" and "Inside The Sun" by that point.[2]

The band's next album was sent to Earache Records as a demo. Recorded at Razors Edge studios in San Francisco by Billy Anderson and Chris Savino, the tape showcased Sleep's love of all things retro from the blatant Black Sabbath/Blue Cheer influences to their fixation with 1970's-style tube amplification. The label immediately signed the band and released the tape exactly as it was received.

Sleep - Dragonaut - Live06:15

Sleep - Dragonaut - Live

Sleep's Holy Mountain (1992) is widely considered a seminal album in the evolution of stoner metal, with Ozzy Osbourne purportedly calling them "The closest thing to the original Black Sabbath". From 1993 to 1994 the band would start touring in the United States and Europe with the likes of Cathedral, Penance, Cannibal Corpse and Nik Turner's Hawkwind to name a few. The album's release was followed by offers from London Records and Elektra Records, with Sleep ultimately signing with London. Around this time, Earache released its first Black Sabbath Tribute album, and Sleep contributed a cover of "Snowblind".

After legal wrangling with Earache that delayed production they began work on their third album, Dopesmoker, in 1995 (Though the song had been in the works as early as 1994 as indicated by live performances.). Much to the dismay of executives at London Records, Dopesmoker was a single song more than one hour long. London Records declared the album unmarketable and refused to release it. Sleep returned to the studio and then submitted their second attempt at the new album. They had renamed it Jerusalem, re-written some of the lyrics, tracked it in six "parts" and trimmed it down to a "lean" 52 minutes, but it was essentially the same as Dopesmoker. London Records again refused to release it (Though promo CDs and cassettes do exist from the label.). Frustrated and generally unhappy with the situation, Sleep would ultimately disband in 1997 with their last known live shows at the time happening in 1994 (Though some fans have stated the band performed in 1995).

After Sleep (1998 - 2008)Edit

Roughly six months after the dissolution of Sleep according to multiple sources (Including Pike), Matt Pike would form High on Fire. Chris Hakius would briefly retire from playing music (Being inactive for two years with Sleep's inactivity and breakup) and taking up a job as a truck driver before reuniting with former Sleep guitarist Justin Marler to form The Sabians. Al Cisneros would become a chess teacher and stop playing music entirely for years though in 2003 he would reconcile with Hakius to form Om.

In 1998, Sleep and their former manager granted approval to Tony Presedo, head of Tee Pee Records and friend of the band, for the release of Jerusalem posthumously as an "official bootleg". One year later, Jerusalem was given an official legitimate release by The Music Cartel in the US and Rise Above Records in Europe.

Finally, in 2003 the original version of Dopesmoker was officially released by Tee Pee Records with a bonus live track of unrecorded song "Sonic Titan". It is generally considered the definitive version of the album. An excerpted version can be heard on Jim Jarmusch's Broken Flowers original soundtrack. In 2012, Southern Lord Records would re-release Dopesmoker with a new mix by Brad Boatright from the original tapes, new artwork by Arik Roper and a bonus live version of "Holy Mountain" from 1994. This version of the album reached number 14 on the Top Heatseekers chart.

In 2007 a CD compilation of both 7" releases of the pre-Sleep band, Asbestosdeath, was released on Southern Lord Records on CD and 10" as Dejection, Unclean.

Reunion (2009 - Present)Edit

In May 2009, Sleep reformed to perform two exclusive reunion sets in England as part of the All Tomorrow's Parties music festival. These shows would be notable as Chris Hakius' final performances with the band, the band performing Sleep's Holy Mountain in it's entirety for the first time and introducing an unreleased song entitled "Antartican's Thawed".

Sleep - The Clarity09:52

Sleep - The Clarity

After their initial reunion performance, original drummer Chris Hakius decided to retire from music to raise a family, and he was replaced on drums by Jason Roeder of Neurosis fame. This would lead to the Marijuanaut's Return tour as Roeder's first performances with the band, mainly echoing the ATP shows performing all of Holy Mountain, excerpts from Dopesmoker and Antartican's Thawed.

From 2010 forward, Sleep performed similar sporadic festival and touring engagements, when the member's otherwise busy touring schedules permitted. In late 2012, in conjunction with an upcoming appearance at Maryland Deathfest, the band stated that they consider Sleep to be a "full, reunited band". In 2014 Al Cisneros announced in an interview that the band were working on a new record. On July 21, 2014, a new song titled The Clarity by Sleep was released via Adult Swim Singles, their first new recording in nearly twenty years. In April 2014, it was announced that Sleep are set to headline the 2015 edition of DesertFest London.[3][4] A European tour around the time of their DesertFest performance was also set. In February of 2015, the magazine Guitar World named Dopesmoker the heaviest album ever recorded.[5]

In January of 2016 The New York Times wrote a letter of recommendation on "Dopesmoker" and it's impact on the music world in general.[6] Around the same time the band would announce a tour with Windhand among a string of European appearances.

On May 24, Southern Lord Records announced a new Sleep release was in the works with the following statement: "Not entirely new but we will have a Sleep release coming soon. Keep it here for more info."[7] This would prove to be a Southern Lord re-release of The Clarity with a new mix and glow-in-the-dark polyvinyl sleeves.

On 19 September 2016 in an interview with CBS San Fransisco, Matt Pike stated that Sleep have tentative plans to record their new album in March 2017.[8] A tour of the United States is planned in between the proposed recording sessions including headlining spots at DesertFest Berlin, DesertFest London and Primavera Sound.

On 12 April 2017, Sleep posted on their homepage a message in morse code confirming a new album is close to completion with Noah Landis as engineer, translating to the following: "INITIALIZE NEW TRANSMISSION 2017 CE SLEEP NEARING COMPLETION OF NEW ALBUM ENGINEERING ACCOMPLICE: NOAH LANDIS LOCATION: 37.8044 N, 122.2711 W RELEASE DATE: UNDETERMINED RECORD LABEL: UNDETERMINED".[9][10]

DiscographyEdit

Studio AlbumsEdit

Extended PlaysEdit

SinglesEdit

MembersEdit

Current MembersEdit

Former MembersEdit

ToursEdit

NOTE: Only the tours from 2010 on up are documented officially. More information on touring from 1991 - 1994 will be added when it is found.

External LinksEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Humboldt Music/PanacheAccessed 2 September 2016
  2. Setlist.fmAccessed 2 September 2016
  3. The DesertFest STONER METAL PIONEERS SLEEP TO HEADLINE DESERTFEST 2015!
  4. The Obelisk Sleep to Headline London Desertfest 2015
  5. Guitar World Sleep's Dopesmoker is the Heaviest Album ever Recorded
  6. New York TimesLetter of Recommendation: Sleep, ‘Dopesmoker’, accessed 20 April 2016
  7. Southern Lord FacebookAccessed 25 May 2016
  8. CBS SF Bay AreaAccessed 23 September 2016
  9. Vitriol Inc.Accessed 15 April 2017
  10. Weedian, accessed 15 April 2017Accessed 15 April 2017
  11. Action-PRAccessed March 8, 2016.
  12. CvltnationAccessed March 8, 2016.
  13. Undercover.Fm
  14. BrooklynVeganAccessed March 8, 2016.
  15. The PRPAccessed March 8, 2016.
  V·T·E  Sleep
Current Members  Al CisnerosMatt PikeJason Roeder
Past Members Chris HakiusJustin Marler
Albums Volume OneSleep's Holy MountainJerusalemDopesmoker
Extended Plays Volume Two
Singles The Clarity
Associated Bands and Artists AsbestosdeathDejection, UncleanOmHigh on FireNeurosisKalasThe SabiansShrinebuilderBilly AndersonArik RoperDavid V. D'Andrea

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