Black Snake Moan (band)

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Black Snake Moan
Origin San Francisco, California, United States
Genres Industrial rock, industrial metal, nu metal
Years active 1997–present
Labels Dreamcatcher, indie
Members Thomas Harrington
Gavin Price
Paige Lawrence
Past members Aaron Rusch
Adam Rusch
Akira Sasaki
Angel Alvarez
Bill Hanson
Ed Clare
J. Brendon Williams
Rob Hanson
Scott Reese
Todd Collins

Black Snake Moan is an American industrial rock band formed in 1997 in the San Francisco Bay Area by singer, songwriter Paige Lawrence. Named after the blues song, “That Black Snake Moan” by country blues artist Blind Lemon Jefferson the band began its career playing blues-influenced industrial music. Lawrence's lyrics, influenced heavily by authors Carlos Castaneda, Anne Rice, and Frank Herbert, focus on introspection, indigenous spirituality, unexplainable phenomenon and personal development. Lawrence, the only permanent member of the group has recruited completely new musicians to play live for each of the two Black Snake Moan albums, Rattle In The Sand (1999) and Tension (2005). The majority of the band's live performances have been held in the San Francisco bay area, where they have a strong local following.[1]

Band members[edit]

  • Thomas Harrington
    • Guitar
  • Badger
    • Bass
  • Gavin Price
    • Drums
  • Paige Lawrence
    • Vocals, Guitar, Sequencing


Early years[edit]

Black Snake Moan started in 1997 after the breakup of the wildly popular San Francisco bay area industrial band “Murder Death Kill” (a.k.a. MDK) for which Lawrence was lead guitarist. Together with his songwriting partner, production auteur Ed Clare, Lawrence took the reins and began producing his own music and lyrics in an attempt to develop on the success enjoyed by MDK. Influenced by such divergent artists as Dead Can Dance, Nine Inch Nails, Metallica, Ministry, Johnny Cash, Massive Attack and Muddy Waters, the band's early work was met with mixed reactions and remained primarily a local phenomenon.

Black Snake Moan played its first live show at the Maritime Hall in San Francisco, CA on April 4, 1998. Despite its immature sound, the band's energy and catchiness [2] quickly earned it slots playing at some of the most well known venues in San Francisco, opening for national acts such as Spahn Ranch and Hate Department. After testing the material on live audiences throughout 1998, Lawrence went into the studio with Clare and recorded the group's debut EP, Rattle In The Sand.

Rattle In The Sand[edit]

An energetic mix of industrial, metal and gothic sounds in a catchy, accessible pop format, Rattle In The Sand included five original tracks and a cover song, inspired by Johnny Cash's rendition of the traditional song Delia's Gone. Rattle In The Sand was very much a freshman effort. Packaged individually by Lawrence in his Berkeley, California apartment, Rattle In The Sand had a production run of no more than 300 copies. The CD was released in August 1999 and the band's CD release show was attended by a sold-out audience.

Despite its sonic shortcomings Rattle In The Sand enjoyed a cult following on online file sharing programs in the intervening years and the band is still asked to perform Delia's Gone at its live shows. The band continued to play live in support of Rattle In The Sand until early 2000 when the band was approached by a major label to discuss a possible recording contract. The deal ultimately fell through. After the buildup and ensuing let down following this incident, Lawrence chose to break up the live band and return to the studio.


After a lengthy period of personal redefinition and technical education, Lawrence began the process of rebuilding Black Snake Moan and recording a new album. Lawrence spent the years following the release of Rattle In The Sand honing his craft and developing his technical abilities in the studio. Recruiting guitarist Scott Reese, drummer Bill Hanson, and eventually Hanson's older brother Rob as second guitarist and keyboardist, Lawrence began the rehearsal and songwriting process in earnest. The new lineup had a more aggressive, metal based industrial sound, in the tradition of Ministry.

The band began the rehearsal process with two songs from Rattle In The Sand, “Obsidian” and “Caterpillar.” While the band was preparing for live performance, Lawrence began turning out new songs such as “Faces,” “Static,” “Curtains” and the title track to its follow-up CD, “Tension.” As with Rattle In The Sand, the band performed the new material live for a little over a year before going into the studio to record. The band's live shows were generally well received, and it was with this lineup's 2004 summer tour that Black Snake Moan first played outside of both the Bay Area and the state of California.[3]

In late 2004, the band built its own recording space: Black Snake Studios. Guitarist Rob Hanson who worked by day as a technical writer and reporter for Mix, ReMix and Electronic Musician magazines served as producer, contributing a wealth of technical know-how and high-end gear. The result was 2005's Tension; a hooky, caustic mix of industrial, rock and metal that combined the band's early influences with the influence of new voices such as A Perfect Circle, Tool, The Deftones and Marilyn Manson. Sonically Tension was a marked improvement over Rattle In The Sand, and was technically on par with the major label releases of the day.[4]

Both singles from the album, “Faces” and “Tension” received heavy airplay on local and national college radio stations as well as in nightclubs throughout the U.S. and overseas.[5] The Tension CD was also the band's first to be sold in both local record stores and online at the iTunes Store.

After the release of Tension, the band members parted ways. Guitarist Scott Reese went on to form the heavy metal band Hex. Bill Hanson briefly tried his hand as a filmmaker and ultimately became the rhythm guitarist for the band Triple Cobra. Rob Hanson left the San Francisco Bay Area to continue his journalism career in Los Angeles.


  • Rattle in the Sand (1999)
  • Tension (2005)

External links[edit]