“Dwelling in the cave (of the heart), the mind, without form, wanders far and alone. Those who subdue this mind are liberated from the bonds of Mara.”
– The Dhammapada
Mara, the demon who tempted the Buddha, is associated with death, rebirth, and desire. Broadly speaking, Mara is anti-enlightenment, working to keep seekers from pushing forward. To break the “bonds of Mara” requires focus and determination.
BONDS OF MARA, the band, is the perfect soundtrack for that struggle.
This crew has several platinum records and rock radio hits between them, yet the music they make together is fresh, vibrant and electrifying. This is a band that merges experience with fresh enthusiasm and raw urgency. Bonds Of Mara is the best of both worlds, a new force to be reckoned with. Simply put, they are the BOM.
The collective resume shared by Brian Byrne, Sal Costa, Dave Benedict, and Rich Beddoe reads like a well-curated playlist of dark modern rock melody. They spent time learning the ropes, perfecting their craft, and surviving the perils of the music industry in Canadian rock fixtures I Mother Earth, My Darkest Days, Finger Eleven, Default and Saint Asonia. They’ve joined together to forge an organic new sound, propelled by intensity, groove, raw punk energy, and honest, confessional lyrics.
These four men were destined to play together, having crossed paths in their respective bands. Each of them took some time away from the biz only to discover a newfound reinvigoration together. Byrne is best known as the frontman for influential Canadian hitmakers I Mother Earth. Costa’s band My Darkest Days saw their debut album reach platinum status in Canada; it went gold in the United States. Finger Eleven, with Beddoe (later of Saint Asonia) on drums, achieved the same level of success. Benedict also saw platinum success in the reactivated, Juno Award winning Default. Three Days Grace’s former singer introduced two of the guys.
“My initial conversation with Brian was less about music and more about where we were at in our lives,” Sal recalls. “We had all been in the toxic environment of the music industry. It’s hard to find the good ones amongst the sea of cannibals. We talked about people we knew that we respect; people who were also at a point in their lives where they wanted to avoid the darkness and create a new unique thing. When all four of us got on the phone, we talked about some of the bands we all love.”
They quickly realized they shared reference points in terms of what they wanted to do. That collection of crucial influences includes Rage Against The Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Audioslave; bands with a visceral sense of groove and fire. Soon, the guys were jamming together, with producer Danny Craig, who plays with Benedict in the resurgent rock outfit Default. The chemistry was electric and immediate.
“One important thing to note is that we all came into our respective bands after the fact,” Dave explains. “Although we did contribute to the sounds of those projects, this band is completely, one hundred percent us, creatively. It’s our vision, our identity. We aren’t trying to fit into any mold. We are building the mold ourselves.”
Several miles in their respective personal lives separate the four members. But the geographical challenges allowed for a sharper focus; when Bonds Of Mara gets together, they mean business. Time is of the essence and they don’t waste a second.
Chili Peppers cofounder/ex-Pearl Jam drummer Jack Irons is one early believer, lending his talents to some of the group’s early demos. Like those bands, Bonds Of Mara put an emphasis on the spirit and vibe of the performances, ensuring their recordings are as close to how a real band actually sounds, with only a slight polish.
It ties in beautifully with the group’s overall ethos. This isn’t about careerist aspirations or the false promises of a too often vicious industry. Bonds Of Mara put their shared camaraderie and their electrifying songs ahead of everything else. “We’ve all had success,” notes Sal. “We are doing this solely for the love of it again.”