Hinder & Candlebox, presented by WCCC

Everybody is a freak in one way or another.

We all possess those idiosyncrasies and quirks that make us a little strange, whether it's an odd proclivity or an offbeat fascination. In fact, that's the one thing the entire world shares in common. Hence, the title of Hinder's fourth full-length album for Republic Records, Welcome to the Freakshow.

"It's not just you," affirms drummer Cody Hanson. "We all live this weird shit. There's something strange about everyone's life or situation. If you think about it, it's universally relatable. The freaks make the world interesting though."

The multi-platinum Oklahoma City hard rockers got just freaky enough for their latest offering. Of course they've still got some big panty-dropping rock anthems such as "Ladies Come First," but tracks like the acoustic "Get Me Away From You" boast gritty charm with just the right amount of pop prowess. Welcome to the Freakshow is Hinder at their most diverse and dynamic.

Getting off the road in support of American Nightmare in November 2011, the group—Austin Winkler [Vocals], Joe "Blower" Garvey [Guitar], Mark King [Guitar], Mike Rodden [Bass], and Hanson [Drums]—entered a hometown studio to record what would become Welcome to the Freakshow. Co-produced by Hanson and Marshall Dutton, the musicians made a conscious effort
to explore new avenues this time around. There were no boundaries, and every idea was fair game throughout the process.

Hanson smiles, "We like to think we can do anything. We don't want to be stuck in a rut with one type of sound or formula. One song might have a country influence, while another might have a pop influence. Then, there are some heavy metal moments. We have every element covered on this record. You've got to do what's best for the song."

"We stayed true to our sound, but every track is unique," Winkler goes on. "We intentionally wrote about different subjects for each song. That's something we hadn't really done on a Hinder record. That drove the new direction. We wanted to make the lyrics and the songs as real as possible. We were more honest than ever before."

That spirit comes through loud and clear on the first single, "Save Me." An arena-ready riff roars alongside Winkler's infectious proclamation, "Get out of my face; I don't need you to save me!"

"It's really personal," reveals Hanson. "People will often judge you when they don't know anything about you, and they'll have some kind of bullshit salvation prepared for you. We don't need somebody else to tell us what to do and how to change. We've lived more lives than the majority of the world. If we need to be saved, we can do it ourselves. We've figured that out by now."

For Winkler, the song hits especially close to home. "I had just gotten out of rehab for drugs and alcohol and I revisited the song," he confesses. "To me, it felt like I didn't need anything negative like drugs. Those aren't going to save me. I can save myself though."

On the other end of the spectrum, there's "Is it Just Me." It's a catchy barstool rumination that ponders how crazy the world can get with a massive chorus and soulful strumming.

"It plays on a couple of different emotions at once," continues Hanson. "Picture this. You're sitting in a bar looking around by yourself. You're in that half-drunk state and you ask, 'Is the whole world fucked up or is it just me?' I like to think everyone's been there at one time or another."

Elsewhere, "Shoulda Known Better" vividly recounts a relationship that just won't end over resounding piano keys and a guitar hum. Then, there's "Talk To Me" which examines a communication breakdown with a soft twang and one of their biggest hooks yet.

"You can practically see that song unfold," says Winkler. "That's something everyone goes through, and you can take it from either the male or female perspective. Sometimes, you just can't get through to the person you love."

Hinder's certainly had quite the ride to arrive at this Freakshow. Their 2005 debut, Extreme Behavior, sold over three-million copies in the U.S., while its breakthrough single "Lips of an Angel" hit #1 on the Billboard Pop Chart. The record's follow-up in 2008, Take it to the Limit, surpassed Gold status after debuting at #4 on the Billboard Top 200 with over 80,000 copies sold first week. Meanwhile, their third effort, American Nightmare, dropped in 2010. Along the way, the band has shared the stage on national tours with everyone Mötley Crüe and Nickelback to Papa Roach and Saving Abel.

After nearly a decade, Hinder are stronger than ever. Hanson concludes, "There aren't too many bands that can stick together in the same lineup for an entire career. We all get along so well because we're just five dudes from Oklahoma who like having a good time, laughing, and making music."

That's also a big reason why fans will feel right at home with the new record. "I remember what it's like being a fan," says Winkler. "There's nothing more rewarding than baring your soul and having people connect with you."

Get ready to party with the Freaks. You'll have the time of your life.

It's a miraculous yet familiar tale...Group of friends form a band, work their asses off gigging around town, cut some demos, secure a recording contract, write a hit or two, emerge from local obscurity to global touring and sales success, hit a creative and interpersonal wall, disband, wander in individual obscurity for a few years, get back together, older, wiser, and produces the best effort of their career and does it all over again.

In this brave new, fiercely competitive world of evaporating record companies, digital downloads and MySpace-created rock stars, when artists are given a rare second chance, they know they must rise to the occasion. Candlebox disappeared but they have most definitely returned and this time, it's not the scene or the culture or the media doing the talking. It's the music. And that is miraculous.

Devour the Day

Formed in 2012, DEVOUR THE DAY is born from the brain trust of Joey Chicago (Bass, Vocals, Songwriter) and Blake Allison (Lead singer, Guitar, Songwriter and Producer). Having much success with the band Egypt Central, Blake and Joey sought to break out on their own, writing and producing music without compromise.

Joey explains, "Our lives got to a point that we had lost trust, we lost our
compassion, feeling and our way." The water was so murky we didn't know which way was up." What we did know is that we should keep writing and keep fighting because that was the truth and our center."

What transpired is a new album scheduled for release May 7, 2013.
Painting a picture in listeners imagination is what this songwriting duo does best. Joey continues, "While our songs are very personal to our experiences we are very aware to keep it open for interpretation. There is nothing more gratifying when a fan explains how our songs help them in their lives. It's humbling."

Giving perspective Blake states, "the process of writing this record is something totally different than what we had done before. The pressure was enormous and we felt that every decision we made needed to be perfect. There was no room for mistakes. We needed to make choices that were sometimes very difficult but once made it felt like the weight we had been carrying got lighter brick by brick."

Look for DEVOUR THE DAY to hit the road in early 2013 in support of their new album.

Open Air Stereo

ev·o·lu·tion /ˌevəˈlo͞oSHən/ Noun 1. The process by which different kinds of living organisms are thought to have developed and diversified from earlier forms 2. The gradual development of something, especially from a simple to a more complex form.

Eleven years is a long time for any band to stay together, let alone for one band to finally see the release of their debut album, but for Open Air Stereo, they wouldn't have wanted it to happen any other way. The band's story is one of evolution, that gradual development from a simple to a more complex form; that gradual development from their humble days as 13-year olds in Laguna Beach to self-assured rock band bursting forth and ready to share their music with the world. Darwin championed his scientific Theory of Evolution, from which we get such trite adages as "survival of the fittest," something that applies as much to the animal world as it does to the music industry.

Many bands never make it eleven years; The Beatles couldn't even manage to stay together for that long. For the two founding members of Open Air Stereo, lead-singer Chase Johnson and drummer Nick Gross, eleven years has been just what the band needed to grow as individuals, to develop as a band, and to perfect their songwriting craft alongside bassist Evan Smith and guitarist Scott Pounds, who were brought on board by Johnson and Gross in order to complete the classic 4-member rock-band lineup.

It's obvious from the first time you hear a song off Open Air Stereo's 10-song debut album Primates that the band know exactly what they are doing; that much is clear from the rush of guitars and explosive percussion that punctuate all three minutes of "Love Is Blind," which gives the impression not of a band just putting out their first record but one that has multiple albums and world-tours under their belt, like perennial festival headliners Foo Fighters. "Living Proof" continues in this same vein, sounding like the best song that Audioslave never wrote, with a guitar lick straight out of the Tom Morello Guide To Awesome Guitar Licks.

Open Air Stereo show they are ready to headline music festivals and sell out stadiums with the slow-burning "Damned," which begins as a simple piano progression with pulsating bass and an insistent kick drum, before the band slowly adds more and more layers to the song, building to a triumphant sing-along chorus. Open Air Stereo change things up and can show their sentimental side on the beautiful, tender "Stuck On You." With so many sure-footed, confident songs on their debut album, one can't help but wonder how the band came to be so fully formed.

The truth is, the band on Primates is the latest form in a long evolutionary chain leading up to this point. Meeting in 2002 in their catechism class at the age of 13, Chase and Nick bonded over a common love of music (Foo Fighters, Rage Against the Machine, Led Zeppelin, and The Doors, to name a few), which resulted in Nick joining Chase's band at the time, known as Stulpigeon. While the name Stulpigeon didn't last, the band name eventually evolved to reflect the thunderous, big, wide-open spaces of their music: Open Air Stereo.

In 2004 and 2005, Open Air Stereo spent their time playing multiple shows in the Orange County and Southern California scene, including shows at The Galaxy and KROQ's Weenie Roast, eventually culminating with nominations in multiple categories at the OC Music Awards as well as the limited release of a self-titled EP.

The next year, MTV's series Laguna Beach came into town. Chase became a main character in the series, which featured Open Air Stereo prominently. The series closed with the band's sold-out performance at The Roxy Theatre. Scott Pounds (guitar) joined the band around this time, and the band marvels to this day over being able to find such a talented guitarist through a Craigslist ad. Things were looking up for the band.

At the same time, Open Air Stereo signed to Sony Epic Records, and were diligently working on recording their debut album. Over a year-and-a-half of writing and recording eventually hit a creative blockade, and the sessions stalled. The band split for about three years, unsure of the future and uncertain that the music they had worked so hard to create would ever see the light of day.

But Chase and Nick knew that they had unfinished business, and this nagging sense of urgency brought them back together with Scott Pounds and new band member Evan Smith (bassist).

The band had grown up and changed over those years, and upon their return to the studio, completed their 10-song debut album Primates. With a mix of songs written by the band and some co-written collaborations, Primates is an exercise in the tight, economical execution of rock-and-roll. The album was produced by an array of producers including Gavin Brown, Mike Plotnikoff, and Peter Stengaard; a large part of the writing on the album is with Marti Fredrikson (Daughtry, Aerosmith, Def Leppard). With Primates, the band has filtered their various influences through their own personal experiences to arrive with a fully realized and confident debut album.

The album's title was inspired by mankind's own evolutionary cousins, giving the band a moment to reflect on their own personal evolution through time, perfecting their craft and going through the growing pains to emerge on the other side as a stronger, leaner, fitter band.

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Hinder & Candlebox, presented by WCCC with Devour the Day, Open Air Stereo

Wednesday, September 25 · Doors 4:30 PM / Show 6:00 PM at The Webster Main Room