Life after near-death
Yob’s frontman survived a deadly disease. Now the doom metal band thrives with new music.
For YOB, one of the most revered names in doom metal, playing a Sacramento show with CHRCH and Acid King might seem like a retread; happened before, feels like it should happen again. But as guitarist, vocalist and composer Mike Scheidt knows, every tour develops in ways unique to itself.
“You end up in environments that may be familiar—maybe it’s a club you’ve played before, but it’s a new moment, it’s a new time, we’re playing new music,” Scheidt told SN&R in a recent phone interview.
Scheidt looks ahead as he prepares to carry new perspectives, and a new album into old settings. On it’s West Coast tour, YOB brings with it two doom heavyweights: San Francisco’s Acid King and CHRCH, from Sacramento. The tour launches in Sacramento at Harlow’s Restaurant & Nightclub on September 6.
Much of the tour’s freshness will come from the band’s recent release, Our Raw Heart, a seven-track album that evolves YOB’s transcendental, hypnotic style of doom metal. Through over 73 minutes, crushing heaviness loops, weaves and gracefully opens into stretches of delicate minimalism.
The album further asserts the band’s ethos sonically as much as it does nearly literally. Scheidt suffered a near-deadly bout of acute diverticulitis in 2017. The disease left him, bassist Aaron Rieseberg and drummer Travis Foster wondering if the band would survive.
Once the good news came that Scheidt would live, it changed everything, he said, and the new record can’t help but reflect a newly charged perspective.
“We just kind of hung our asses out there and put something out that we really felt and meant,” Scheidt said. “So when the praise comes, it feels really good, and when the arrows come, it’s arrows into our hearts, versus something surface. But that’s OK. That’s what you sign up for when you put music out into the world.”
A YOB show in Sacramento doesn’t come often, despite the band calling somewhat-close Eugene, Oregon, home. The band last came through in 2015 for a Press Club show with CHRCH and local legends Will Haven.
“We’re looking forward to getting down to the southwest and being able to play this new music,” Scheidt said.
Scheidt promised new tracks as well as gems for the true heads.
“We’re going to be playing at least one very deep cut, like a song that’s old that maybe a lot of people don’t even know of,” he said. “I don’t want to spoil anything there, but it’s one of the very first ballad-y things we ever wrote.”
And just like that, the band rebounds from what looked like death, intermingling the new and the old on tour to discover growth waiting ahead.
“Being on stage and talking to people and taking in music—hell, you know, having a beer or a cup of coffee—everything’s different,” Scheidt said. “It’s hard to quantify in words, but nobody knows when their last good day is before their time on this planet may reach the final scene.”