Out of Utah comes yet another fantastic rock band, ready to captivate the audience with its classic and yet perfect music – Spirit Machines. I first heard about this band when someone shared their video of “Zober” – a mashup of Tool’s “Sober” and Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” – with me. I was blown away. Apparently, so was Tool – who linked it to their Instagram account! The band was suddenly thrust into the spotlight of social media overnight.
Sure, die-hard Tool fans were pissy about it, but Tool’s own guitarist/video director, Adam Jones, acknowledged the video as “A very tasty tribute of Led Zeppelin and Tool” – and I’ll agree with that completely. Because of licensing issues, the band can’t reap any monetary benefits, and the video is rarely seen, but it definitely played its part to boost Spirit Machines into the spotlight they deserved.
I kept watching their covers and became a fan. “Lazarus” (A David Bowie original) is also on my playlist, now. They’ve also released an original album, and it happened right before Covid-19 hit the world. I hope their original music is going to be around for a very long time. So, I’m sharing it with you!
PERSONAL/ PROFESSIONAL HISTORY
Pepper Rose has music in her blood. She is the daughter of an elite bassist in the highly competitive Gospel Music circuit. Everyone expected her to be a great musician. She didn’t begin learning to play the guitar until 2011 at the same time she attended MIT for chemistry. After getting her master’s degree, Rose returned to Salt Lake City, where she is trying to cure cancer during the day in a brand new chemistry lab at the University of Utah while moonlighting as a rock diva at night.
Michael Collins has started companies in Texas, jammed with members of The Roots in Colorado, and managed a cutthroat business in China. Michael has won multiple awards in both business and music, including a mention by the Percussive Arts Society of Utah. All of this has happened over the last decade, and now he’s the drummer for Spirit Machines.
The bassist for Spirit Machines is Sergio Marticorena. He learned guitar after joining the skateboard scene and has been playing in rock, punk, and ska bands ever since. Sergio is a lifelong musician, joining his first rock band in the 8th grade. He is also a master cocktail maker, Star Wars lover (“original, not the Disney crap”), and facial hair enthusiast. When Sergio is not tearing a stage down or getting a new tattoo, he enjoys long moonlit walks on the beach or spending time with his cats and python.
Dave Crespo’s first band won the “Rock of Boston” competition – and he was only 13! His acts were regularly featured on the cover of The Boston Globe and opened for bands like Buckcherry, Ozzy, and Amanda Palmer. He started two local radio stations, UNregular Radio and WEMF Radio, which won the 2014 NORML cannabis advocacy award. In 2018, he moved to Salt Lake City, where he met Pepper Rose and wrote the beginnings of songs that would become part of the lineup for Spirit Machines. He is now their guitarist.
Everything started coming together for the band in 2018 when Dave Crespo saw Pepper Rose perform at an open mic in Utah. They both had previous ties to Boston and so their conversation picked up from there. Soon, they were writing songs together.
Crespo met Michael Collins soon after and Rose had jammed with the drummer on her own music and was considering starting a band. But they all realized that the drummer was more into rock than the country-swing-gospel songs Pepper Rose had written. So Spirit Machines was on its way to becoming.
I love how the band describes getting Sergio Marticorena for their band in The Salt Lake Tribune:
They lured Sergio Marticorena, whom Crespo knew as a guitarist, to play bass. “I said, ‘I’ll come jam and try it out.’ And I fell in love with the music immediately,” said Marticorena, 32. “And I actually started off on bass before guitar, so it just felt natural.”
After they put together the listing of songs they all wanted, the band went back to Boston – where Crespo knew folks that would let them record for 3 days in a studio they could afford. They released their album Feel Again in April of 2020 and filmed their first original video that same year – “Watch It Burn”.
From there, because of the epidemic, they began a steady growth on the internet and in small venues that continues to swell. They were really surprised at the CD sales and the success during the pandemic.
The band chalks it up to being a small band with a small following that was set for steady growth. And now that the pandemic is settling and venues are carrying fewer restrictions, it’s their time to shine.
STYLE AND INFLUENCE
Everyone in this rock band has the potential to be a star on their own. So getting them all together is a special kind of zenith, if you ask me. Pepper is especially perfect as a lead singer. She is a welcome sight in a genre dominated by men – but also the fact that she is a person of color on top of being a lead female vocalist is refreshing!
“Spirit Machines is the most exciting band to come out of Utah in decades. They’re the antithesis to the last major rock band that came from the state, Imagine Dragons. Where Imagine Dragons steered rock into a more produced and pop direction, Spirit Machines goes in the opposite. They bring back the energy of classic rock with a modern twist. To me, that is incredibly refreshing.“Zack F. The Salt Lake Review
Because Pepper’s voice is sultry and she’s a fan of rock, like Zeppelin, but also grew up singing in gospel choirs, her style is unique to the genre. So they are not alternative rock and yet they aren’t grunge or ska either.
Though the songs come from all of the musicians adding their marks to the music, the primary songwriters are Pepper Rose and Dave Crespo. They all have deep emotions and are meant to feel natural growing from your soul as you listen. I believe the band has achieved this goal.
ORIGINAL SONGS or DISCOGRAPHY
- Feel Again – 2020
As of this article, Spirit Machines is promoting their Feel Again album released in 2021. According to them, “There are ZERO filler songs on this album. This album was not written for people with the attention span of a goldfish, but for those who love to experience a quality work of music.”
The very first track is a highly relatable song full of lyrics that ask the listener about their own scars and what they do to their life in the present. It’s a song of empowerment over the past.
I was taken by it.
If you want to keep track of them, they keep their social media up to date, especially Facebook, so I linked that below!
FIND OUT MORE:
SOURCES: I used the band’s own social media and website for most information
AND – If you are looking for more great artists to learn about and support then be sure to check out my other articles here.