Q&A Scene: John Treanor of Tombstones in Their Eyes (Los Angeles)

Tell us about your new release?

This new EP is a bit of a change, in some ways. I Want To Fly, Separate and Fear are sort of different than a lot of the other stuff I’ve written. Trying new sounds, new pedals, new song structures. I wanted a bit more drone, so that’s where the song Fear came from. Always There and Another Day were older songs from the demo stash, but fit in with the newer stuff. It’s another step in the evolution of this band.

What’s your favourite work at this point in time?

Really, the Tombstones In Their Eyes stuff is the most dialed in I’ve ever felt. The other bands I’ve been in have been fun, but these songs are where the real stuff came pouring out. A lot of that has to do with my musical compatriot, James, who doesn’t play with us who provides encouragement, and helps me pick out what’s good and refine it. So, the answer would be: the recent Tombstones stuff – the Bad Clouds EP and the new Fear EP.

Can you share a quick anecdote with us – from on the road or studio?

It’s been a while since I was on the road, but one favorite memory from those days was playing pinball with Sonic Boom in Saarbrucken, Germany back in 1988. I was so out of it I kept banging my head on the glass of the Kiss pinball machine. I was a huge fuck up of a young man, haha! These days, not so much. A more recent memory also involves over-consumption of a different sort. While trying to quit smoking, I didn’t realize that nicotine gum could be a problem, so was chewing the 4MG ones like candy. It created a massive amount of anxiety to where I literally felt like killing myself one day. I went down to the basement and picked up a guitar, out of desperation, and a pretty decent song came out in one fell swoop, complete. (My Head is Fighting Me, from our first record Sleep Forever). It was super healing and got me out of that one.

Who or what inspires your music?

The whole cycle of songs written over the past few years was informed quite heavily by a long bout with depression, something I’d never experienced before. So, during that period, I churned out tons of demos with James. It was really helpful, but the material was dark! During that time I was listening to a lot of Brian Jonestown Massacre, Built To Spill, Dandy Warhols, Love, Electric Wizard, this great, fairly unknown shoe-gazy band Guitaro, Sleepy Sun, Woods, The Black Angels, The Great Northwest, Catherine Wheel. A lot of other stuff, too, of course, but those are some of the mainstays.

Which song do you wish you wrote?

So many! Tough question. Let’s go with Old Man by Neil Young.

How would you describe your sound in food form and why?

Sad potato chips. Haha. No, maybe a morose hamburger. More filling.

What’s next for you?

More recording. We record with a brilliant local musical icon – Paul Roessler. The process is so much more relaxed than anywhere I’ve ever recorded so I want to keep doing it while we’re on a roll!

What’s your scene?

I’m pretty tame these days. As I get older, I don’t spend as much time in clubs, etc. A lot of hanging out with our dogs and cats (we have a lot of ’em). A lot of reading. Work, unfortunately, but I am an IT consultant and work with a lot of very nice, cool people, so that’s not so bad. I listen to a lot of music.

About Tombstones In Their Eyes

“Sounds like slow codeine-laden bliss or drug-numbing love translated into sonic form. It’s astoundingly fresh, slow core perfectly-balanced with alternative rock”Big Takeover Magazine

“Led by John Treanor’s wistful and otherworldly vocals, the track is a druggy and melancholic trip but counterbalanced with a soaring and hopeful chorus. A worthy endeavour”Overblown Magazine

Music so fresh, so expertly produced and melodically sound that it literally takes your breath away after one listen… utterly addictive”Primal Music

Los Angeles’ rock outfit Tombstones in Their Eyes have announced their forthcoming ‘Fear’ EP, to be released via Send Me Your Head Records. To wet your appetite, the band presents the first single, with accompanying video, for ‘Always There’.

With this five-track release, the four-piece manage to embrace a wide range of influences, from the stoner rock of Kyuss to the warped neo- psychedelia of the likes of Spacemen 3 to the cavernous and doom-laden sounds of Electric Wizard and beyond.

Tombstones In Their Eyes’ currently line-up is John Treanor (guitar, vocals, keyboards, songwriter), Josh Drew (guitar, backing vocals), Mike Mason (bass, guitar) and Stephen Striegel (drums). Their musical influences include The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Elliott Smith and The Melvins.

Recorded at L.A.’s Kitten Robot Studio with Paul Roessler (Nina Hagen, The Deadbeats, The Screamers, 45 Grave), this EP follows up their huge sounding ‘Bad Clouds’ EP (2016) and debut album ‘Sleep Forever’ (2014). “Paul knows exactly where I’m coming from and intuitively knows how to make what I’m feeling come through the speakers,” says John Treanor.

The band began life as a demo swapping exercise between John Treanor in L.A. and his childhood friend James Cooper, now in New York, but soon coalesced into a full fledged band. But collectives are always more than what you see on the surface. In John’s case, writing and performing songs is also a way of dealing with severe anxiety and depression, a way of talking about the subject without being the centre of the conversation, and a way of being subliminal rather than direct.

While such a starting point could easily see the music devolve into melancholy and self-absorption, instead Tombstones in Their Eyes move beyond that place and create music laced with celestial grandeur and a fuzzed out psychedelic majesty, whicht looks out into the universe as much as it looks inward toward the soul.

This music is also designed to connect rather than be insular. As Treanor says, “Everybody goes through hard periods in their life, and I hope that these songs make them feel less alone.”

Tombstones create walls of sound, which are simultaneously sonorous and hazy. These are cavernous, stoner lullabies that descend into post-rock soundscapes and are wrapped in dark shoegazing dreamscapes.

The cover design, created by well known psychedelic artist Darren Grealish, brings just the right image to such a mercurial collection.


1. I Want To Fly

2. Separate

3 Always There

4. Another Day

5. Fear


John Treanor – guitar/keyboards/vocals

Josh Drew – guitar

Mike Mason – bass/guitar

Stephen Striegel – drums (Fear, Separate, Always There)

Michael Sanger – drums (I Want To Fly, Another Day)

James Cooper – synth, electronic drums (Separate), musical guidance

Larry Salzman – percussion

Paul Roessler – keyboards

Produced by Paul Roessler and John Treanor

Recorded by Paul Roessler at Kitten Robot Studios

Mastered by Alex DeYoung

Front Cover Art by Darren Grealish

Cover Design by Steve Gerdes

Send Me Your Head Records – SND 005

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