Article By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker ‡ Edited By: Leanne Ridgeway
This week we find ourselves in Canada, in Toronto, Ontario to be more exact. It was 1999, and bassist Eric Kuthe had formed a new band.
Kuthe was freshly out of the band that bore his last name, Kuthe, and their sole album release of that year, ‘From Out Of Thin Air‘. Kuthe basically had music in his blood, having been around bands and musicians since his youth, as his parents ran a Toronto venue that hosted hard rock acts. Now, Kuthe undertook the creation of his own hard and heavy rock with Kuthe drummer Chris Bender and guitarist/ vocalist Travis Cardinal, as SEA OF GREEN.
Eric already had a leg-up, so to speak; he had roughly five years of stuff written that he had been working on. With a bevy of songs already begun, in various states of progress, or near completion, it wouldn’t be long before SEA OF GREEN needed a record label. Of course, nothing is ever a certainty, so around this time Kuthe, with the help of his wife Melody, launched his own label, 12th Planet Music. However, by early 2000, the band co-produced their debut record, alongside veteran mixing board legend, Nick Blagona (Deep Purple, Nazareth, The Police). It was July 2000, when SEA OF GREEN unleashed the ‘Northern Lights‘ EP through the highly revered label, The Music Cartel.
There was no possible way to avoid the go-to standard of tagging when it came to this effort, as “stoner rock” assuredly applied. It went so much further though, as SEA OF GREEN possessed a harder-edged take in their music, tempered with melodic tints. The EP quickly found favor with fans of underground music, as well as the critic-oriented community, and the band soon invaded America. They embarked upon a U.S. tour in the fall of 2000, one that saw them share stages with YOB, Witch Mountain, Jucifer, and Dixie Witch, among others.
SEA OF GREEN was quick to capitalize on the events that had begun to quickly happen for them. They followed up the EP with their first full-length outing, ‘Time To Fly‘. Though originally released through The Music Cartel, a year later the album was re-issued through Rise Above Records, the label co-founded by Lee Dorrian of Cathedral. Like their debut EP, this album resonated with fans all around the globe, thus SEA OF GREEN had begun touring again. On a support role, SEA OF GREEN conducted tours of Canada and North America with fellow Toronto-based band, Sons Of Otis. While in the U.S., SEA OF GREEN appeared at that year’s Emissions From The Monolith music festival.
‘Time To Fly‘ was a masterfully diverse record, one that thoroughly expanded upon the wide swath of musical capabilities hinted at upon the EP. There are heaping amounts of psychedelia and fuzz rock present, while also subtle punk nuances beneath all of it. Unfortunately, SEA OF GREEN experienced their first membership change near the end of 2001, as Chris Bender exited the band. With Bender’s replacement drummer Matt Dowd in place, the band undertook their first tour of the United Kingdom in 2002.
At that time, SEA OF GREEN was in pre-production for their sophomore full-length album and thought the road trek would be good to test out their new songs. In March of 2003, they released the Nick Blagona-produced ‘Chemical Vacation‘ by way of The Music Cartel. By most accounts, it was a very different record by the trio. With a clearer, more definitive step in a heavier metal musical direction, the band was in the midst of some U.S. live dates when it was released. After returning to Toronto, they played a show at the Phoenix Concert Theater on June 14, 2003… and it turned out to be their last.
It took time for that to be fully revealed, but in August that year, they announced an indefinite hiatus. That essentially became a disbandment announcement, cited as reasons due to conflicts between band members as well as with The Music Cartel label.
Eric Kuthe briefly attempted to reform SEA OF GREEN with a new line-up in 2004, but it was rather short-lived. In the years since, Kuthe continued to play music in acts The Kybosh and Sin Dealer. Mega-producer and all-around studio guru Nick Blagona passed away earlier this year (2020).