Empty Grave / H2&Flame

“We fight with our friends in a beautiful way.”
Starts simple, becomes beautiful, grows epic.

Jim LaPietra (vocals & guitar), Eric “the” Taylor (drums), Brian Barrett (bass, keyboards)

We were all once in a group called Empty Grave. The band was a regular fixture in Rochester, NY live rock venue scene, and played throughout western and central New York from the late 1980s to late ’90s.

I first met Jim LaPietra in 1989 when the band, with his brother John on bass and their high school friend Andy A. on drums, performed on a live radio and cable access show called Uncle Kong’s Thud Factory. Their sound was “the Cure meets U2.”

At the time, I was a camera operator for the show and then became their camera operator. It was a good excuse to get into clubs and shows for free – especially since I was seventeen years old.

Over the years I would design, and often physically produce, their t-shirts (most of which were bad – just, just horrible – until the later years, when they became just “kinda bad.”), tape covers (technical design and production), and posters (a few were featured in a local collector’s exhibit at The Record Archive in 2013-ish, which is cool). I also handled the mailing list with a database of 1,000 physical addresses, constantly updated with returned postcards (1990-1995).

The band was plagued by countless line-up changes, and during one of these transitions, “the” Taylor joined the band and I started playing keyboards. I barely knew what I was doing as far as notes, and what gear I could scrounge from others’ kindness had limited amounts of soundscape possibilities. My second show was opening for A Flock of Seagulls.

Many shows and years later, as well as numerous bassists, and after a hiatus of almost a decade, we got a shout-out in an article in Spin Magazine. Also, and we didn’t know it at the time, a syndicated conservative radio talk-show used one of our songs as a bumper for over two years.

We got back together with a couple attempted name changes for a reunion stint in 2010 which included performing at the Taste of Rochester, Infringement Festival in Buffalo, and Rochester’s Park Ave Fest three times. We also recorded an EP with Rupert Greenall, the keyboardist from the Fixx, and I got to edit some live videos together from several amateur sources.