Ex-Canobliss members resurrected in fire
  • Ex-Canobliss members resurrected in fire
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“Samson Pedroza packed his bags in the middle of a tour and decided to leave the band,” recalls Canobliss drummer Mike Russo, who says he and three other members of the O.B.-based hard-rock band have been forced by their former guitarist to change their name. “Samson claimed that...since he was a founder, he still owned a portion of the name, despite no longer performing with the group. He took control of the band’s website, threatened copyright violations over our emblem and logo, and even filed a personal lawsuit.”

Canobliss was cofounded in the late ’90s by UCSD alumni Samson Pedroza and bassist Chenzo Vidalez. The new band, Psychothermia, includes four former Canobliss members: Vidalez, guitarist Jon Russo, drummer Mike Russo (both joined in 2004), and singer Johan Maldonado (since 2006). “Rather than continue on with the old name and risk never-ending disputes and probable income-sharing,” says Mike Russo, “we decided our best move was to start fresh.”

“Fresh” doesn’t discount leftovers: “Psychothermia” is the title track of a 2008 Canobliss album. “That song is about controlling your mental temperature and responding firmly in the face of adversity,” says Russo. “Well, with months of legal battles over the band name, our mental temperature and dedication was tested to the max. Plus, [the new name] helps connect the dots from the old project.”

Samson Pedroza did not respond to requests for comment. His Canobliss.com website offers recording and media services as well as a new Canobliss compilation, Evolutions: The Collective 1998–2010.

“Negotiations to reach a settlement went nowhere, and it became clear that, as long as we remained Canobliss, these disputes weren’t going to end,” says Russo. “It was an extremely difficult decision. Chenzo was a founder as well, and we worked so hard for so long to get our name out there. But that kind of negative environment is a huge distraction and terrible for making music.”

The foursome now called Psychothermia played their final show as Canobliss (minus Pedroza) March 24 at House of Blues. They just released their debut six-song EP, Slash & Burn, coproduced by Fred Archambault (Avenged Sevenfold). A video for its first single, “Crazy X,” features the band being set on fire, as coordinated by Hollywood stuntman Lane Leavitt (Terminator 2, Fright Night, etc.).

Says Russo, “Legal expenses were taking away from the money we needed to create our art.”

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Rockmama Aug. 9, 2012 @ 9:19 p.m.

This is a great article! I think the Psychothermia guys are stronger and better than ever before! The new EP Slash & Burn is amazing!!! They persevered and have shown us they are here to stay!! What an inspiration to us all! "Ex-Canobliss members resurrected in fire" I love it!!!! And real fire at that!! Love the Crazy X video!! One of the best bands in San Diego!! Looking forward to a lot more from Psychothermia! Two horns up guys!


ejkiser Aug. 10, 2012 @ 5:53 a.m.

This group, whatever they choose to call themselves, are one of the top level groups based out of San Diego at this time. I've personally seen them about half a dozen times at various venues in the region and was impressed by their performance every single show. Wow! To be forced to go back an re-build something you spent years crafting must be frustrating, to put it "kindly". The fact remains, the other members of this group put in just as much effort to build their brand as Pedroza. I would like very much to hear why he choose to take this route and I wish he would have responded to the reporter to go on record with his side of the story. But, glad to see they are getting some good publicity from the READER so they can get their new name out and don't lose any of their fan-base because of this. That would not be cool. I am somewhat torn; do you walk away from all those years of "branding", or do you cut your losses and create something brand new. Tough choice. As artists, getting a chance to re-define yourself can be daunting, but having the opportunity to re-package the group can be extremely energizing and completely liberating. I hope this is what's happening here, this group deserves it.


MPickens Aug. 13, 2012 @ 12:50 p.m.

This band goes hard. I've been a fan for a long time and hope to see more exposure for Psychothermia. They will be HUGE.


TheWalkingDead Aug. 13, 2012 @ 1:34 p.m.

They have a fan from Denmark. That's how awesome they are! And that fan is me ;) I have been with them since december 2008 when Mike found me on MySpace. I really do wonder how he did find me. But I loved their music from the very beginning. Awesome, progressive rock for the gym to get you pumped!

It must be so hard having those issues with a former member. But then again, he did start the band. I kinda understand him, but I support Psychothermia all the way though.

I try telling people to listen to these guys, and I really hope that Denmark/Europe will accept these guys and will be willing to pay to see these guys live when they go abroad ;) They really deserve it!!!


Shewolfy120 Aug. 14, 2012 @ 9:58 a.m.

So wait, this guy walks out in the middle of your tour and then still wants a piece of the band?! WHAT?

Great article. Saw you guys play up in Venice a few weeks ago. We bought your new cd and we haven't stopped playing it. Good luck to you in the future but I don't think you'll need it. You guys KICK ASS!


spedroza Sept. 1, 2012 @ 11:21 a.m.

Hello Fellow San Diegans,

First and foremost best of luck to Psychothermia and their endeavors!!!

Secondly, in fact, I was never contacted or given an opportunity to respond or be interviewed concerning these issues by The Reader. By all means, lets set it up!

Thirdly, I intend to write a full story for The Reader describing in full detail the scope of the circumstances.

The guys clearly DID NOT mention: - Melissa X. McColloch's passing in Dec. of 2009 while we were in the middle of recording our 2010 release. She suffered from breast cancer and as my significant other for 8 years, she required my attention and time above and beyond the bands needs. - Instead of rescheduling some shows and pushing the album date abit, band members committed us to "none paying" shows where extensive travel was required placing the band further in debt. - No mention of how I disapproved of members using hard drugs. Sure they came up with money for their vices but when it was time to invest in the band 3 out of 5 of us had to front 90% of the bill. - how is this one? While on the road band members split from the group to chase tail instead packing up to get to the next gig! Literally, trying to track guys down in a strange town, they have no cell phone, sometimes waiting for hours at a time, it became ridiculous! - Lastly, I am the original founding member, anyone that knows the band personally knows, I did 99% of the work from the get go, I aquired all the musicians to assemble the group, I wrote most of the early music and handle ALL of the business relations until Melissa became and Have to this day maintained all my rights and ownership due to me under U.S. Copyright and Trademark laws. The guys could have easily went on with the name but the problem was they wanted to cut me out completely and NOT pay a dime of what was/and still owed to me. If you re-read the original article you'll see they clearly state they legally would have had to do some future profit-sharing, once again, this is the law not me trying to get over on them, quite the contrary.

Thank you to all the canobliss fans past, present and future !

Keep an eye out for new CANOBLISS music due out soon. Keep an eye out for the whole story.

Perhaps, I'll do a full personal biographical book Psychothermia: The Untold Story After all, fans want to know the stories behind the scenes and man there are some great ones!

Best, sp - samsonpedroza.com - canobliss.com


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