With Last Rites, veteran metal band Pentagram finds a new beginning
Liebling was left, as he had been at many times in his career, with a band name, a collection of songs, and not much else. Even his storied voice was beginning to decay, thanks to nearly forty years of heroin and cocaine abuse. It wasn't until he met his now-wife, Hallie — 27 years his junior — in 2006, that he was finally able to get clean. When guitarist Russ Strahan quit a patchwork version of Pentagram the day before the start of the band's 2010 tour, Liebling called Griffin.
Now sober, the guitarist was interested, but skeptical. "I wasn't sure I believed it. I've heard every story Bobby's ever had to tell. I know him as [well] — or better — than most people." Still, Griffin agreed to rejoin the band on the condition that Liebling remain clean.
Since that fateful decision, Pentagram is arguably more secure and more successful than it's ever been. In April 2011, the band released the thunderous studio album Last Rites. On the road, Liebling and Griffin look out for each other, supporting each other's efforts to stay sober. "There's a lot of people out there who would like to screw you up," explains the guitarist. "I think that both of us being on the same page with all this stuff is definitely a help — to know that you've got a brother there with you, who's gonna back you up."
Liebling agrees. "The band is stronger when we are together," he says. "I am so lucky to have him back."
When asked if he thinks Pentagram might finally be getting a second chance, Griffin is cautiously optimistic: "Sometimes it seems like we never really got a first chance. We're trying to take advantage of it now, and make better decisions than we used to make back then. Live better lives."
With Pelican, Alpinist, Masakari, Early Graves, Baptists, and Aeges
Tues/16, 6:30 p.m., $25
444 Jessie, SF