Return To Earth is the amalgamation of the musical talents of Ron Scalzo, Brett Aveni, and Chris Pennie; three veteran musicians whose material can’t be easily classified. You’ll hear bits and pieces of their influences and other projects and those bits and pieces come together to form the unique whole that is Return To Earth.
All three members of RTE sport impressive musical resumes. Pennie, in particular, hones his craft as one of the most heralded drummers working today, spending a long stint in Coheed & Cambria and as one of the founding members of The Dillinger Escape Plan . His groundbreaking drum style provides the backbone for RTE’s aggressive brand of rock. In RTE, Pennie doesn’t only flex his drumming muscles, he also writes a lot of the material & contributes heavily to the synth programming & on guitar. “He’s one of those prodigies that make the rest of us wonder why we even bother trying to make music,” says Scalzo.
Native New Yorker Scalzo is no slouch in the music-making department himself, having achieved moderate success as electro-rock singer/songwriter Q*Ball, a long running project with guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (Guns N’ Roses) that spawned three albums and eventually, his own record label, Bald Freak Music.
“You blink your eyes these days & the industry has already shifted another 30 degrees to the left,” says Scalzo. “I was tired of playing ‘the game’ – trying to fashion an image, a look, a musical style that would impress all the wrong people. I wanted to be punk rock & underground. I wanted to make music that I wanted to make, and the only way I was going to do that on my own terms was to release it myself.”
Taking his cues from his inspirations, Faith No More frontman & Ipecac Recordings founder Mike Patton and Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor, Scalzo started the label in late 2005 to release his own material, as well as other acts who didn’t fit the MTV/commercial radio mold, including releases from his friend Bumblefoot, pirate metal band Swashbuckle, NYC indie rock act The Head Set, and ultimately, Return To Earth.
Return To Earth was born in 2006, when Aveni, who had met and worked with Scalzo years earlier in the radio industry, approached him about singing in the band, and also about releasing the material on Bald Freak.
“It was a no-brainer,” says Scalzo. “Brett & I had a long musical history and were good friends, and I had been itching to work with Chris for years, the stars were just never properly aligned. We all love the same bands and we all have the same general attitude about the industry. Y’know – ‘Fuck Everybody’.” ‘Captains of Industry,’ RTE’s debut album, was released at the tail end of 2006 with no expectations.
“I think we all just wanted to make a record together and hear the results,” says Scalzo. “Personally, I was psyched to actually sing over heavy guitars & blast beats for once – it was a new challenge.” Pennie’s time on the road with Coheed & Cambria would make RTE’s evolution a slower-than-normal process, but the band completed work on their second album, ‘Automata’ in 2009 and sent the tracks to Brian Slagel of Metal Blade, who quickly signed the band. ‘Automata’ was released in 2010 to a wider fan base and some critical acclaim, including solid reviews in Metal Hammer, Kerrang!, and many more.
Once again unable to tour due to Pennie’s other commitments, but fired up by the positive response to ‘Automata’, the trio started independently working on ideas for a third album in 2011 with hopes of a 2012 release. “We’re always writing, together and separately, that’s one thing we’re all committed to as individuals & as a band. The other thing we’re committed to do is outdoing ourselves, so we all expect whatever comes next to be more epic. We’re all pretty excited to be working on this new album.”