Having just turned 25 years old, The Glorious Sons’ lead vocalist, Brett Emmons might be considered a tad young to be penning autobiographical lyrics. But Emmons himself admits that the overall concept behind the Kingston Ontario band’s second album, titled `Young Beauties And Fools, is a reflection of the personal trials and tribulations he has endured since the band released their highly successful debut, `The Union’ back in 2014.
Emmons acknowledges that his personal response to the band’s initial success was to go off the rails a bit with drugs and alcohol; extra curricular activities that found their way into song lyrics for the new album.
“It’s not like I’m writing about some crazy stories,” explained Emmons, on the phone from his Kingston home base. “These are stories that kids my age can relate to. They will have experienced similar situations and will recognize what I am talking about.”
Determined not to replicate `The Union’ and write the same old album again, Emmons and band mates (brother) Jay Emmons (guitar), Chris Koster (guitar), Adam Paquette (drums) and Chris Huot (bass), went in the studio about three times and came out with what they thought were pretty good songs but not game-changers.
So Emmons hooked up with the Fast Friends production team in Los Angeles and started mining his iPhone voice notes for lyrical ideas. The inspiration for what followed were all there in his voice notes. “All the ideas came from my voice notes, playing my acoustic guitar when I was hung over in the morning. I had to come to terms with waking up five days a week and not remembering what I did the night before. That can be pretty hard on the mind,” Emmons noted.
Drawing inspiration from those voice notes, Emmons and Co quickly rattled off 17 songs in 15 days. “At that point we were ready to take the next step, digging in on the mixing and deciding what songs belonged on the album,” he explained.
Tracks like “Everything Is Alright”, “So Much Love To Give” and “Thank You For Saying Goodbye” are atypical lyrical themes most young adults can identify with but one track; “Godless, Graceless And Young” strikes at the heart of Emmons’ five-year battle with social excesses.
“That song is all encompassing, it is the start of everything, it’s the introduction to the whole story,” Emmons allowed. “It’s about me looking back over the past three years and talking to myself. When I had no self awareness, no idea where it was all going to go. I had been overtaken by the excitement, the sounds and the colours. I was really naïve about what I was doing to myself.”
Although Emmons dabbled in drugs and alcohol during this period, he was able to maintain some semblance of control. But in the song; “Sawed Off Shotgun”, he does address the destructive nature of people’s chemical dependence on drugs, especially the soaring death count inflicted on those mixing cocaine with fentanyl.
“I’ve had some friends of friends of mine take a line of cocaine mixed with fentanyl and literally drop dead on the spot,” he allowed. “We live in a total drug culture. If you have problems when you are young, they give you Ritalin, mental problems, they give you a prescription for anti-depressants, physical pain, they give you morphine, they give you pills if your dick doesn’t work. Society pumps you full of drugs and then they turn their back on you, so it’s no wonder that kids get hooked on drugs. Our whole culture evolves around drug use.
Emmons admits a period of self doubt following the success of The Union. “We did go through a period where everything seemed a little stale, I was going through a personal rough patch but now I’m in pretty good shape,” he allowed. “I am aware of what is going on and I’m determined not to be such a fuck-up.”
Fortunately, The Glorious Sons’ fan base have stayed supportive and are clamoring to see the band’s upcoming tour which has already sold out four dates at Toronto’s Phoenix Concert Theatre.
“Yes, we’re excited about getting the record out to our fans and getting back on the road again, I feel we have that momentum back again,” Emmons enthused. “I feel like we’re on a train going 100 miles per hour. Things might have gotten a little stagnant at one point but now you can’t replace that feeling you get when you know you’re on the right track.”