Meet Darth Vader’s House Band, Galactic Empire

Galactic Empire: Star Wars Heavy Metal Band.

If Darth Vader decided to hire a house band, his first choice might be Galactic Empire, the most reviled band in the galaxy, a description which would certainly appeal to the uber-villain. The heavy metal band, made up of the universe’s most sinister villains, performs classic works from the Star Wars soundtracks composed by John Williams. Their album, which consists of a variety of the themes heard in the first six Star War movies, is adapted from the films’ original orchestra recordings. Ruling the galaxy by playing live shows in support of its debut full-length album is a feat of musical conquest that Galactic Empire, whose first music video receive eight million total views, takes as their due. With Darth Vader as the front man (and lead guitarist), the band also includes Boba Fett, a Storm Trooper, a Shadow Trooper and a Royal Guard.

Galactic Empire’s Kickstarter Crowdfunding Campaign.

Already successful as video musicians, the group now wants to perform live. That ambition has led them to initiate a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to raise $60,000. They’re already almost a third of the way to meeting that goal with a deadline of July 3 coming up. If the Kickstarter campaign proves to be a successful one, the band is hoping to move forward with a tour of the United States as well as international sites. Galactic Empire needs the funding so that the members of the group can acquire the amps, speaker cabinets, in-ear monitors, lighting rig, cases, merchandise, costume modifications, and transportation that they need in order to put on a live show that’s worthy of the Death Star. Fans can understand this ambition; how else can these villains of the cosmos achieve their goal of sonic annihilation?

Galactic Empire’s Heavy Metal Performances.

They’ve received press coverage from a variety of media including MSBC, Huffington Post, and Entertainment Weekly. They also were seen on E! Entertainment during the coverage of the 2016 Academy Awards, when they presented a live network television performance. The band enjoyed their live performance on the E! Entertainment network. The invitation to perform came from a producer who saw the video and decided that the band should be part of the Oscar coverage. A week later, they were playing next to a pool while a Star Wars fashion show was taking place on a runway, an experience that band member Carson Slovak describes as “definitely surreal.” In order to perform in costumes, the band decided to wear Sith robes because the network’s legal department was opposed to Galactic Empire appearing without clearances from Lucasfilm.

The music of the Star Wars franchise is something of a phenomenon; the film scores composed by John Williams for the film series are some of the most widely known musical pieces of all film soundtracks. Star Wars is the best-selling score-only soundtrack of all time. Galactic Empire band member Carson Slovak admits the challenge of adapting the original score to heavy metal music, in part because of the complexity of Williams’ songwriting style. As Slovak explains it, “We wrote drum and bass parts to the guitar arrangement and then went through the painstaking process of tracking real drums and guitars and bass in detail and in tune.”

Galactic Empire and the Star Wars Challenge.

As you might have already guessed, performing music live in the costumes that made their debut on the George Lucas runway is not easy. In fact, it presents its own level of challenge. Seeing and playing instruments while garbed with the helmets and armor of the Star Wars line is more than a challenge; one band member describes it as “incredibly hard.” Although the costumes themselves are licensed, the characters portrayed by the band members are actually the intellectual property of Disney/Lucasfilm LTD.

In order to make the live performance a success, and to keep it legal, Galactic Empire will be working with a team of artists, designers, and legal professionals. They need to adapt the costumes so that they can move more and play their instruments more readily and with less difficulty; they must also alter the characters sufficiently so that they avoid any potential legal consequences from appearing as licensed characters in a live setting. These situations would be minor if Darth Vader were ruling the galaxy, but as he’s not, the band intends to be in compliance with regulations. The revised costumes are currently in the design phase.

Fans need not worry about any of these details and can freely support the campaign out of an appreciation for the music itself. They’ll find that the support is worthwhile. Incentives for supporters of the campaign include VIP access to the shows; merchandise designs; signed paraphernalia; your name printed on the album credits; and a signed PRS guitar.

Join the campaign to bring Galactic Empire to an Earth site. Unless, of course, you’re a member of the Rebel Alliance . . .