James Callahan

VIDEO PREMIERE: Before move to Ireland, Wilkes-Barre native experiences ‘Joy and Oblivion’ as Sonny, Dada, and Moloch

VIDEO PREMIERE: Before move to Ireland, Wilkes-Barre native experiences ‘Joy and Oblivion’ as Sonny, Dada, and Moloch
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Michael Kaminski and I first collided one cold Exeter weekend, more than a decade ago at the stationary pirate vessel known as Nak’s by the Tracks. It was the ultimate corner/nuisance bar owned by the best kind of dude. It probably wasn’t a nuisance until I climbed aboard.

3 to Breathe was a feature on what was known at the time as The Disoriented Express – a monthly variety residency hosted by Mr. Terry Childers. The band was a tight, grungy power (with a capital P) trio with a dynamo of a frontkid. He could make you feel it, for sure. They were probably way too loud for the joint… like I said, “nuisance bar.”

Michael and I maintained our friendship, traveling in the same elliptical orbit into the years that The Rattler, my bar in Pittston, was in operation. Mike and the boys were some of a short list of acts to open up that place. Then later, when I took to the road again as a tour manager, whenever we would hit Portland, he never failed to show up to the show with an effortless, rejuvenating energy.

I had the pleasure to catch up with Michael and his partner Bridgette and dog son Odin on his last pass through Northeastern Pennsylvania on his way to permanent residence on the Emerald Isle last month. My wife Kristin and I were privileged to shoot this sad, sweet message of hope and wonder in a dark, lonely world. “Joy and Oblivion (I Don’t Know)” will join an ongoing group of black and white solo artist videos in Camp Rattler’s ongoing project called “Storied.”

Michael is my friend and is welcome in my space always. His art has made me happy and sad over the years. At my age, plus bubbling toxic levels of industrial jadedness, to simply to feel anything is a damned blessing, and I know just how fucking significant it is that he refers to me as “Padre.” I immensely enjoyed our short time collaborating on this and hanging out. The rain helped the day slip past me way, way too fast.

This is “Joy and Oblivion” and some of what Kaminski had to say when we chatted last.

“I grew up in Hanover Green, Pennsylvania, splitting most of my time between there, Ashley, and Wilkes-Barre. The call to the west was facilitated by my good friend Rachel who had moved to Portland, Oregon, and saw it as a great place for me to find some peace of mind.

“For nearly a decade, I was the frontman for Wilkes-Barre grunge rock outfit 3 to Breathe. I even managed to drag the boys out west with me. Life, as it does, had other designs, so we parted ways two or three years into West Coast living. Cameron returned to the slopes of Colorado and Nick is at home with his wonderful family in Wilkes-Barre. We’ve never officially broken up, really. Nick and I talk often about music and have been baby stepping our way through putting together an EP. It’ll be a banger when the stars align just right for us to have some dedicated time to finish it up.

“Now, thanks to the serendipity of the universe and whimsy of love, I’m living in Ireland. Portland served its purpose well. I learned a lot about myself and what I want out of life while living there. Portland was also the foundation that let me begin creating as Sonny, Dada, and Moloch.

“I have a great group of friends in Dublin, and it just so happens to be where my love, Bridgette, and I began our relationship. It just made sense to us to move over here. It feels like home. I’m currently enrolled in a certificate program of Irish Cultural Heritage at Maynooth University. I’m hoping to soak up the folklore and history so that I can build a stronger connection to our new home.

“My musical influences go all over the place, but for Sonny, Dada, and Moloch, I’m tapping into the tender sides of Alice in Chains, Silverchair, Fiona Apple, and The White Stripes, with a healthy dash of Damien Rice.

“Honest minimalism is the key, really. I just want to get the story and the feelings out and not have anything that gets in the way. I’m also currently 100 percent DIY with recording, so I work hard not to get overwhelmed with switching hats between artists and engineer. Being clear and minimal gets me through.”

Kaminski’s latest work can be found on Bandcamp, Patreon, and Spring.