Pantera to Power Trip: Spirit Adrift's Nate Garrett Picks 5 Favorite Texas Bands | Revolver

Pantera to Power Trip: Spirit Adrift's Nate Garrett Picks 5 Favorite Texas Bands

Recent Lone Star State transplant hails acts that shaped his trad-metal outfit's sound and vision
spirit-adrift-nate-solo-by-valerie_littlejohn-web-crop.jpeg, Valerie Littlejohn
Spirit Adrift's Nate Garrett
photograph by Valerie Littlejohn

Revolver has teamed with Spirit Adrift for an exclusive "fuego" vinyl variant of their new EP, Forge Your Future. It's limited to 300 copies worldwide — order yours now.

The last time Revolver talked with Spirit Adrift mainman Nate Garrett, in the fall of 2020, the trad-metal musician was just getting settled after a period of big change. He had worked through the tragic loss of his beloved seven-year-old pit bull/lab mix — the pain from which he channeled into the creation of Spirit Adrift's epic album Enlightened in Eternity — and he and his wife had recently relocated to Bastrop, Texas, from their longtime home base of Phoenix. 

"We moved here March 1st … like 10 days before the lockdown started!" he told us with a laugh. While the coronavirus pandemic obviously added an unexpected wrinkle to their plans to get to know their community, Garrett was still definitely digging his new locale.

"Our house is really rural," he continued. "We're in the country and the closest town, Bastrop, is a pretty small town, [and it's] like 30 - 40 minutes southeast of Austin. … I grew up in the South and I love the South. I'm proud of the South for the good things that it offers. [But] even I had some negative stereotypes and pre-conceived notions about people from the South. But I will say that in our area people have been wearing masks the whole time and are really nice about it. Helping each other and looking out for each other."

Garrett also has deep love and respect for the Lone Star State's many influential musical acts. 

"I've always loved the music that comes out of Texas," he tells Revolver today. "From George Jones and Waylon Jennings to Rigor Mortis and Iron Age."

Spirit Adrift just announced that they will be releasing a new three-song EP, Forge Your Future, on August 27th (via Century Media) and shared the record's soaring title-track. (Pre-orders are available now in a variety of formats including a Revolver-exclusive "fuego" vinyl variant). While we wait for their latest batch of trad-metal crushers to drop, we caught up with Garrett to chat more about the Texas artists that most influenced his own musical expressions.

"As a new resident of the Lone Star State, I want to talk about my top five favorite Texas bands — at the moment," he continues. "This list changes every other day, but here's where it stands today."

5. Solitude Aeturnus 

I'm ashamed to admit that I wasn't familiar with this band until people started comparing Spirit Adrift to them around the time we released Curse of Conception. I checked them out, and, man, what a band. A lot of bands in the doom genre have a severe shortage of riffs. These guys have a surplus. They utilize a lot of odd time signatures and angular, interesting guitar riffs. Obviously the vocals are top-tier as well. Solitude Aeturnus is a big influence on me now. 

4. Roky Erickson and the Aliens 

I love everything Roky Erickson has done. But this band — and particularly the album The Evil One — is special. Sanford Parker and I listened to this one a lot while recording Divided By Darkness, and Duane Aslaksen's leads rubbed off on me big time. Duane was only supposed to produce, but something happened with the guy who was supposed to play lead guitar, so Duane stepped up. I'm glad he did, because his lead playing is about as cool and tasteful as it gets. They got Stu [Cook] from Creedence Clearwater Revival to produce instead. The music this group of guys made together is totally singular, it could never be reproduced or mimicked. Roky was a special guy, and this band made some special music. There's a reason this stuff has been covered by so many metal bands, from Entombed to Ghost. 

3. Power Trip 

The last time I saw Power Trip, I distinctly remember feeling like I could relate to older guys who say stuff like, "I saw Metallica in '84 right after Ride the Lightning came out." Power Trip is that band for an entire generation. No matter what happens, they always will be. 

2. Pantera 

The thing about Pantera that must be acknowledged is that in the midst of flannel, metal bands going softer, trends and experts pulling them in certain directions, and all kinds of other forces that could have compromised their vision — they only got heavier and more artistically extreme with each album. Vulgar Display of Power spit in the face of every band that was going more commercial at the time. To follow an album like that with Far Beyond Driven — which was even more abrasive, violent and extreme — is a shining example of staying true to yourself and your art. At one point in time, I would argue that Pantera was simultaneously the heaviest and most popular metal band in the world, which is a feat that only they can claim. These guys are living proof that we musicians should ignore every fad that's going on around us and make something we believe in and feel in our hearts. It always pays off in the long run. 

1. ZZ Top 

This is obvious and not really debatable. I've seen ZZ Top quite a few times live and they still bring it harder than bands who are a quarter their age. They are masters of the time-honored Southern tradition of playing yourself down and not letting anyone know just how intelligent you really are. This is reflected in both their playing and their attitude. The last band I was in before I moved away from Arkansas did a whole set as ZZ Top for Halloween. I went so far as to get a book of guitar transcriptions and learn the stuff note by note. No one thing has ever improved and expanded my playing as radically as studying the style of [guitarist] Billy Gibbons that closely.