For a musician, giving up an instrument due to a debilitating injury can be devastating. Not career ending, however, for Californian prog metal musician Troy Tipton, who was forced to hang up his bass guitar several years ago due to a serious arm injury. Now on vocals, Troy is joined by brother Jasun (guitar), Marco Bicca (drums) and Brian Hart (bass) in a new band, A Dying Planet. Overdrive spoke to the Tipton brothers about overcoming loss, forming the band, and their debut album, ‘Facing The Incurable’.
Jasun says his brother was a gifted singer in his youth, and after he realised his bass days were over, decided to develop this path by taking vocal lessons. “Troy had a very good voice at a young age and always receive positive feedback. When he no longer could play bass he decided to start taking vocal lessons with Luda Arno, who sang some lines on Facing The Incurable and Missing. From there, his confidence was growing and it came together perfectly with the timing of Facing The Incurable.”
The song Resist addresses his injury head on. “Resist is about the struggles I personally went through after having my left arm unsuccessfully operated on,” Troy says. “I had been playing the bass guitar for 25 years before I was forced to hang it up. So many changes have occurred in my life since the day of my surgery. I am so grateful for the years of emotional support I’ve received from my twin brother, my father, and my wife.”
Troy says the track Facing The Incurable is more open to interpretation by the listener. “Facing the Incurable is about a few different people who are facing an incurable disease, and how they are coping with the process. It’s a very emotional track, and it’s not only about one particular incurable disease. Jasun was the one who came up with the concept of an astronaut traveling in space who had witnessed the destruction of planet Earth. I ran with this idea and added that the astronaut was holding the blame for the event that had taken place. However, we’re not sure if he’s truly to blame for what has happened. We can only tell that he is carrying the burden of this tragedy.”
Troy then addresses one of the more potent lyrics in the song: ‘There is nothing painless about living every moment inside your head.’ “There are many ailing diseases that these words can be tied to. I’d like to say that whichever disease the listener has imagined for the song, is just as valid as the one I had chosen to write about. All that I’m willing to give away is that this particular incurable disease, is when someone is being trapped in their own body, with their mind fully intact. These words come from someone who has this disease.”
The band’s origins can be traced to the fifth song, Missing, which Jasun had written. “The idea of Missing was introduced to me by Jasun,” Troy says. “He told me that he was thinking about a parent who was trying to deal with the abduction of his or her child. I quickly replied, ‘say no more, I’ve got you covered.’ Missing is about the different kinds of emotions a parent experiences after having their child abducted from them.” As more new material was created, Jasun reached out to Bicca and Hart to create a rhythm section, and the line up was complete. The four members then headed to the studio and self-tracked what would become their debut album.
Jasun says he starts the music writing process by putting together the click tracks followed by guitars or keyboards. “Once I have that idea recorded in the computer I start working with some drum software to get a vibe. Once I have that completed I’ll send the ideas to Marco and Brian to workout their ideas. Once we have a song working cohesively together musically I’ll send the files over to my brother to start writing lyrics.” Troy wrote all the lyrics and melodies to Resist, Facing the Incurable, Human Obsolescence and Missing, while Erik Rosvold wrote the lyrics and melodies to Poisoning the Well.
Citing influences such as Rainbow, Pink Floyd, Tesseract, Anathema, Tool, Dream Theater and Porcupine Tree, it’s only fitting that the band’s debut contains six tracks at nearly fifty-three minutes of material. “Progressive metal music speaks to me because I have a lot of freedom when writing in this style,” Jasun says. “I love blending heavy, clean lush sounds to the formula. I don’t have to worry about making a song three minutes or 15 minutes. I like that I can interact elements of metal, rock, jazz, new age, classical and fusion into one song. The music is very free with exploring your creative side.”
When it came time to share their record with listeners, A Dying Planet considered the traditional record label path, but their eagerness took them in a different direction. “There was some very positive interest in regards to the release,” Jasun says. “The problem was we could be waiting a long time for the CD to be released. We could sign a multiple deal with a company that we didn’t see a long-term relationship with. We thought instead of waiting any longer let’s just get the material out there to build a buzz with the listeners.”
Grab your copy of ‘Facing The Incurable’, out now, HERE!