COMMANDO Announce Debut Album, Share Single “Hotel Essex”

COMMANDO was created as an act of revisionist history: how would the world have been different if that specific cultural moment in the late 1990s that birthed nü metal and its then-ubiquitous musical toolbox had been used to dismantle homophobia, misogyny, racism/white supremacy and heteropatriarchy rather than reinforce them? The self-titled debut album – due out March 4 on Kill Rock Stars — uses tools from the last three decades of rock, metal, punk, hardcore, hip hop, and popular music, delivered in five suites with each quarterbacked by a different vocalist.

Lead single and album opener “Hotel Essex” is released today alongside an official video. An homage to the lifework of Black gay poet, essayist and activist Essex Hemphill (1957-1995) and featuring the legendary Blackberri who passed away last month, “Hotel Essex” is an interpolation of Hemphill’s poem Now We Think. It revisits still-resonating conversations on the intersections of the HIV/AIDS crisis, sexuality, identity, homophobia, anti-Blackness and racism/white supremacy in the lives of Black queer men through the perverse and anachronistic lens of nü metal.

“There was an intentionality that we set about with this project,” Meyerson shares. “There are obvious optics, dynamics and complications attendant to three white cismen–two of them straight–collaborating and supporting a Black and Brown and queer and Trans led project. The question for the three of us as a rhythm section who met at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and have devoted ourselves to the lifelong quasi-academic study of musical performance was: can we be of use to the folks whose voices, stories, perspectives, and creativity deserve the biggest spotlights and the most amplification?”
With an arsenal of blistering guitars, driving percussion and a crucial perspective, COMMANDO use their ferocious energy and lyricism to unite crowds in the struggle to smash racism, queerphobia, transphobia, fascism and all things that close society’s minds, eyes and hearts. 

Photo Courtesy: Devlin Shand