Music Interview: Bleed the Dream deal with loss

Losing a close friend is a horrible tragedy. Within a close knit group of friends, the impact is much worse, as the constantly touring Bleed the Dream was devastated to find out last year when their friend and drummer Scott Gottlieb was diagnosed with cancer. When it looked like he was getting better, an infection made him turn for the worse. Even in his weakened state, Gottlieb managed to lay down the entire drum track for their new album, Built by Blood.

“I think it meant a lot to us, but I think it meant way more to him,” says Keith Thompson, bassist and vocalist for the band. “While he was tracking all the drums tracks, he was actually getting sick and passing out. It was unbelievable. We were like, ‘Look, you don’t have to do this,’ but he said that he had no choice and this is what he had to do, and he wasn’t accepting anyone else playing on that record.”

Capturing all of the emotion and trials Bleed the Dream have gone through since their last EP, Built by Blood is a powerful album. Illustrating the emotions swirling around the recording process, the result is an introspective, personal affair.

“It’s a roller coaster ride,” says Thompson. “The album takes you up with being crazy and angry and then it just drops you down. With everything that we’ve been through over the past year, you can hear that in the recording. All the music is straight from the heart.”

While the loss of Gottlieb is a heavy one to bear, he will not be forgotten. All of the sweat and energy he put into creating Built by Blood is now available for anyone to hear and acts as a permanent reminder of his contribution to the rest of the group.

“He lives through our music, and the feeling is still so fresh,” notes Thompson. “There is definitely not a day that goes by that we don’t miss him. He specifically told us that we should go on and that we carry the torch. It was pretty heavy.”

Mixing light and heavy guitars with vocals blending harmonies with powerful screaming proves Thompson’s analogy of a roller coaster isn’t far off base.

Made up of Thompson, Gottlieb, Brandon Thomas and Dave Aguilera, Bleed the Dream have been touring tirelessly since being added to the Vans Warped Tour in 2003. This arduous tour schedule has not only increased the band’s exposure but also strengthened their sound towards a tight, muscular unit, even with the absence of Gottlieb.

“Scott got sick a year ago, and we haven’t played very many shows with him in a year,” says Thompson. “We’ve been touring constantly so we’ve used replacement drummers and we’ve found people who can play his drum stuff.”

Having shared the stage with the likes of Yellowcard and Pennywise, Bleed the Dream’s schedule isn’t getting lighter anytime soon. Currently on tour, they will continue throughout the summer as they join the Vans Warped Tour for a third straight year.

“Every show has been better and better,” remarks Thompson. “The kids up here are hungry, they want to come out and see bands that are working, it’s definitely a great showing for us. Toronto and Montreal were awesome.”

As their tour continues through Western Canada, Bleed the Dream is just happy to be playing, considering everything they’ve recently gone through. The positive attitudes the members have adopted will only help them overcome their present hardships and move forward as a band.

“We’re kinda just forced together and we try to be as honest as possible,” says Thompson. “We’re a rock band, and I mean its all really just rock and roll.”

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