The roots of Carol Blaze, the one-man rock project by A.T. Vish, date back to his days as the drummer of Lowsunday. He pins it to around the year 2000, when he started recording atmospheric interludes to be played between songs or as pre-show loops at their gigs. Lowsunday ended in 2001, but Vish continued to compose in that vein, accumulating a mass of projects under the name Carol Blaze.
In June, Vish self-released The Wolf of Vienna, a collection of rock songs built on the spacey foundations of his earlier projects. The finished songs are far from what you might consider “atmospheric,” but Vish’s aesthetic is all about that clash of ambience and structure.
“I’m a huge Peter Gabriel fan. If you strip out all the rock stuff in Peter Gabriel’s songs, you always get down to this atmospheric dreamscape,” says Vish. “That’s sort of what my stuff is like. If you took off the guitars and the drums, it would just be something you could stare at the lights [to] for an hour.”
This week, Vish is rehearsing for a line of upcoming shows, including a date at Club Café on Feb. 23. He’s performing solo with a backing track, which can be tricky when you’re working with songs this layered, and even trickier when the songs were written and rewritten over 16 years.
“It’s so hard to fit 16 years into one interview,” says Vish.
Agreed. Vish has quietly and not-so-quietly maintained a prolific output throughout his career. He played drums for local productions of Hedwig and The Angry Inch and Without You; performed with Thickhead Grin, in addition to Lowsunday; and his songs have a consistent presence on the soundtracks of TV shows, including Pawn Stars and Pros vs. Joes.
But for 2016, Vish’s main focus is Carol Blaze and sharing The Wolf of Vienna with the world.
“At this point in my life, I’m done wanting to be a rock star. I don’t care about that,” he says. “For me now, it’s about sharing the music and just having some kind of feedback, feeling some connectedness, feeling relevant.”