Though he generally comes off as a happy guy, for the last two decades or so, Rochester musician Eddie Nebula has spewed buckets of beautifully biographical vitriol. Wearing his bleeding black heart on his sleeve, Nebula has accosted the anger head on with punk energy, metal speed, and the jaded insight of a young man who has been angry for a while.
First it was as guitarist in the wisenheimer punk outfit The Al Beaman Band, where Nebula got his ya-ya's out, pogoing like a rabid kangaroo with his feet in the air. Then he ratcheted up the rage in un-muted metal overtones with Eddie Nebula and the Plague. Now it's with Dark Nemesis: a future-primitive concept band that incorporates mythology and foreboding doom. The sound is as seething and intimidating as the band, dressed in armored vests like something out of Thunder Dome or Planet of the Apes. Run.
"It was an idea first," Nebula says. "We did Eddie Nebula and the Plague for 10 years. Then we were frozen in a block of carbonite, under the radar for a while."
While Nebula was absent, Rochester kept rolling. When he returned, it was a new game with new players.
"The music scene changed," Nebula says. "All new bands, all new people, we're strangers in a strange land. If the name Eddie Nebula ever meant anything once upon a time in terms of Rochester music, it's probably worth about four bucks today. Could we rest on our laurels? There's credibility in what we've done, but I'd rather throw it away, actually. I'd rather start over and have something to prove, I'd rather be the contender than the fat heavyweight. It makes you more creative when you're hungry for something."
So now the man was angry and hungry. Look out. It's not the God of Thunder, but...
"It's the stepson of the God of Thunder," Nebula says. "I've had all these horrifically failed relationships. I'm vilified in all these relationships, beneath it is the narcissistic killer, and I thought, 'Can we just parody that? Yes, circle that with a Sharpie.'
"You start imagining yourself the bad guy, the villain," he continues. "I'm the stepson of the God of Thunder; my step-grandfather is Zeus; my stepfather is Thor. So right away in the first song you've got this character that's claiming royalty over authority that isn't his to claim. It's illegitimate ... because nobody really gets any revenge or justice in this life."
"Everybody who posts on Facebook," Nebula says. "It's coming out of their pores how angry they are; they're upset. Some of us have the opportunity to come up with something creative instead. I have the luxury to write songs and be in a rock band. People can take that in their own way, and put their own meaning behind it."
So for the past year, Nebula and the rest of the crew — Jeff Moscow, guitar; Hungus, guitar; Baron Von Wasteland, bass; and Black Lange, drums — have worked on the concept ultimately yielding the debut disc, "Stepson of the God of Thunder," and leading the charge is Nebula's snarl. It's quite remarkable: you can actually hear the sneer on his face. The other members bring elements of metal and hard rock not completely unlike past endeavors.
"I think in this band, everyone is stylistically similar," Nebula says. "With the Plague you had some metal guys in the band, some rock guys, and some punk rock guys. Dark Nemesis, to me is a hard rock, classic metal blend. We're not a punk band so that's a difference."
It's also during this surly quintet's gestation that Nebula had an epiphany: maybe all this anger wasn't necessary. Perhaps a kinder, gentler Nebula is emerging.
"We've straddled the humorous side of anger, pain, and the serious side," he says. "It depends on the day. I listen to the songs and sometimes think, 'That hits a little close to home; Jesus that's rough,' and there are other times when I'm like, 'It's silly to be that pissed off.'"
Nebula doesn't necessarily recommend this theatrical concept-band formula and encourages bands to choose their own path.
"I don't think everyone has got to go out and put on costumes and be that kind of band," he says. "But if there's a message to send to other bands, it's just do whatever you're doing to a 'T,' put 100 percent effort into whatever it is; a T-shirt and jeans rock band, whatever. Don't half-ass anything." And according to the stepson of the God of Thunder, Dark Nemesis ain't no joke despite its dark humor.
"If anything, I think we're trying to disguise how serious it is — the subject matter or the ferocity of the music," he says. "There is something always humorous in rock 'n' roll, even when it's at its most dangerous. I like the alter ego. There isn't a person who doesn't have more than one side to their personality. So there's kind of a Clark Kent versus Superman aspect to it. Why limit yourself anyway? Everyone's into more than one style of music, everyone's got more than one facet to their life."
That's where, according to Nebula, Dark Nemesis comes in.
"Underneath it all people are struggling with poverty, their health, death; it's a wasteland metaphorically. So there's this band from outer space that comes to earth to seek revenge, they're a bit under powered, except for the stepson who has stolen his father's hammer, he's cheated his way to a hopeful victory. It's a survival mode for everybody. He's kidding himself right out of the box; there is no victory. You're always under powered, always held down by the man, there's always an authority that's going to arrest you halfway through. It's just something that's going to flatten you no matter what. You can't win over impossible odds."