Rockin’ on Sunshine The Black Moods return to the Tucson stage

Bassist Jordan Hoffman, singer-guitarist Josh Kennedy and drummer Chico Diaz are The Black Moods.
Bassist Jordan Hoffman, singer-guitarist Josh Kennedy and drummer Chico Diaz are The Black Moods.

The Black Moods' 2020 album SUNSHINE spawned four Top 30 hits on the Billboard mainstream rock chart.

Now the Tempe band is ready to do it again.

The trio—singer/guitarist Josh Kennedy, bassist Jordan Hoffman and drummer Chico Diaz—recently wrapped up its next record with producer John Karkazis, better known as Johnny K. He also worked on Sunshine.

The band and Karkazis are listening to the mixes now to determine the song order for the album, which is still unnamed.

"I describe working with Johnny like this: The first record we did with him was a getting-to-know-you period. The new guy at the table at a holiday dinner who just mingled," Kennedy said via telephone from the Ozarks where he was visiting family. "With the second record, it was like Christmas Vacation. You know each other really well now. You don't hold back. I'm just not sure who was Randy Quaid and who was Chevy Chase."

Kennedy said a handful of modern rock bands are "influenced" by classic rock acts. The Black Moods are going for old school, straight-head rock on the new record.

"A lot of other bands are blatantly going after the Zeppelin or Aerosmith sound," he said. "We love it, but we didn't want to do the same thing everyone else is doing. We're going with the Rolling Stones approach. It's a lot looser. That's the best way I can explain it. It's a natural-sounding rock band thing. There are some hard songs and lighter songs. It's a good dynamic."

The same applied to The Black Moods' latest record Sunshine, which featured the hits "Bella Donna," "Bad News," "Whatcha Got" and the title track. Those radio-friendly songs were met with "Home," a love letter to his family and his hometown.

Kennedy, Hoffman and Diaz will bring those songs to The Rock on Friday, May 28.

"We know a lot of people who say, 'Come play Tucson,'" Kennedy said. "We haven't done it in a year. It's a good time. Radio down there has been really good to us for the past two singles. We hang out and play on the air with (KLPX's) Larry Mac."

The Black Moods' tour dates also include a set at the four-day Aftershock festival in Sacramento. Metallica headlines Oct. 8 and Oct. 10. The Black Moods play Oct. 9, when My Chemical Romance was slated to headline. That band postponed its tour in early May. Organizers are expected to announce a headliner by the end of May.

By Aftershock, the band may be playing new tunes. Right now, The Black Moods are still learning them, as they started from scratch writing the songs during the pandemic.

"Normally, we all come in with three or four songs finished and we go from there," he said. "Since the pandemic hit, we'd all been together the whole time. I come in with a chorus or this or that. Most of it was a collaborative effort, which was really fun and challenging. When you come in with a complete song, you get a lot more laid out and you get to hear the song."

The Black Moods are using their shows to pitch their "Sunshine" wine, too. It complements the "Bella Donna" red wine. They celebrated the launch of the "Sunshine" wine at Rockbar in Scottsdale.

"We're so glad to be back and doing it again with the highest of energies," Kennedy said. "I can assure you of that. We've missed it so much. We did the acoustic wine release thing at Rockbar. It was acoustic, but we were still out and live. That felt good. Our first full-on rock show is (Friday) May 21 at the Marquee (in Tempe). That'll give us a little practice before we bring the songs to The Rock."

The Black Moods w/ Joshua Strickland of The Bayou Bandits

7 p.m. Friday, May 28
The Rock, 136 N. Park Ave.
$15; 21 and older

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