Traverse City Record-Eagle

August 24, 2012

Project blends musicians, sound


TRAVERSE CITY — What's the old adage about 1,000 monkeys and 1,000 typewriters?

Instead, Angel Bartolotta decided to try 26 songs and over 50 different musicians.

What he ended up with wasn't exactly Shakespeare, but it was some pretty good rock 'n' roll music.

Bartolotta's project, Team Cybergeist, makes its northern Michigan debut Saturday, Aug. 25 at the Southside Festival Grounds for an all-ages show. Tickets are only $5. The opening acts are As Empires Decay and Machine Gun Logic.

Bartolotta, best known as the drummer from industrial metal band Dope, constructed Cybergeist as another avenue of expression.

"We started in 2006 with a studio production thing, when I wasn't touring with Dope," Bartolotta said. "We'd work with different people and put stuff online."

He plays the drums on most tracks and also writes much of the lyrics.

Bartolotta started playing drums professionally in 2001, and has performed with numerous bands over the years as sort of a sticks-for-hire guy. Since 2001, he's been with 15 bands at one time or another as a touring drummer.

Right around the time he became Dope's permanent drummer in 2006 is when Cybergeist came about.

"People started getting into it and the fan base started growing," Bartolotta said. "People started saying they wanted live shows, so I put a band together. The main reason I did it is to do my own thing. I love playing for Dope. And I still do the hired gun thing every now and again for other bands, but this is my own thing. I write the songs, I put it together. It's me. After so many years of playing other people's stuff, I wanted to do my own thing."

Members of Shinedown, Stone Sour, Morbid Angel, Kittie, Adema, Static-X, Coal Chamber, Stabbing Westward, Dark New Day, Godhead, The Dreaming, Eye Empire, Lords Of Acid, Soil, KMFDM and many others have all contributed to the project.

The live band consists of bassist Sally Debauchery, guitarists Jason Schmidt and Rick Ace and singer Cassandra Calo, in addition to Bartolotta.

The resulting double disc of 26 songs is titled "How To Destroy Something Beautiful," and features more than 50 musicians. Each track has a different singer, guitarist and bass player.

"Every song is different," Bartolotta said. "It goes from rock to metal to industrial. Electronic rock is kind of our main thing, but it crosses a whole bunch of different borders."

The only constant is Bartolotta.

"And I'll have the drummer from Stone Sour — a platinum-selling band — playing on the same song as a guy from a local band," Bartolotta said. "I know there's other bands out there doing the collaboration thing, but I don't know anybody who has done it at this level with big-name people and locals. It basically puts everybody at the same level. We're all doing it because we love music."