Free Fridays: Under Surveillance

under surveillance

Rock band from West Virginia with inspirations such as Foo Fighters, Yes, REM, Novo Combo, Ramones, Clash, The Cure, Cheap Trick, Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Outfield, U2, Kiss, Iron Maiden, Paramore, Halestorm, Rush, Heart, Beatles, Hendrix, Bob Welch, Tom Petty, and many more


From the hills of Appalachia comes Under Surveillance, a rock band from Charleston WV. Their debut recording, "Between the Lines" was released in December 2013, and the follow up, "Savannah Moon" was released in February 2016. A single from Savanna Moon, "99 Reasons" was released on a compilation disc worldwide by Factory Fast Records in March 2016.

Guitarist/songwriter Phil Hatfield; drummer Randy Brown; and bassist Phil "X" Crace, grew up together in rural WV, where they formed a musical bond now spanning three decades. Vocalist Eve Marcum Atkinson of Huntington WV brings the perfect front, with a powerful and dynamic vocal range unmistakably hallmarking US hard edged, hook laden, and modern rock sound. Hatfield and Brown started by practicing together in Brown's garage and their first band performed at parties and area talent shows. X was their sound tech by default, being the only person they knew who owned a PA system, although later became the bass player in one of Hatfield's high school bands. By the end of their school tenure, they were recording original music, with two songs getting regular airplay on regional radio stations. The three lifelong chums worked the regional bar circuit in cover bands, until their first serious band, The Score, formed in 1982.

The Score genesis occurred when a friend in the film industry asked Hatfield to "score" a soundtrack for a B class horror film. Although the film was never released, their self-produced album "Private Ideas" achieved international distribution. Long before the advent of the internet and social media, favorable album reviews in Tentacles Magazine by Jello Biafra and also Flipside Magazine catapulted them onto the national screen, noting them as among the founders of "indie" rock music. Over 7,000 radio stations across the US and UK were then playing their music. The Score album is now a coveted vinyl collector's item worldwide as the first punk/new wave album from West Virginia. When The Score disbanded in 1985, Hatfield and Brown formed the original incarnation of Under Surveillance; the name emerged as a by-product of the late Cold War era culture, when many artists projected a strongly political edge. They pounded the regional club circuit, and recorded a six song EP that drew the attention of IRS Records in Los Angeles, CA, however, was never released as they ultimately disbanded in 1986.

Hatfield attended the Recording Workshop in Chillicothe, Ohio in 1984, and after the original US disbanded left performing to work as a sound tech for several major touring artists including Steve Walsh (Kansas), Bob Welch, Atlanta Rhythm Section, BJ Thomas, and others. X and Brown continued performing, through the mid-1990s. Afterward, their musical pursuits were mostly acoustic sets, occasional jam sessions or recording. X later became a professional race driver and won the Darlington National IHRA Drag Racing Championship in 1999. Hatfield later completed a PhD, and is now also a nationally recognized author/historian with several books and scholarly articles published in academic journals. Brown and his spouse now own one of the largest youth gymnastics centers in West Virginia.

Ultimately, Hatfield, Brown and X reunited in 2012 to again pursue their shared vision of creating music when Hatfield simply appeared on Brown's doorstep, and quickly reformed Under Surveillance. Meanwhile, Eve quietly honed her incredible vocal range and style working in various blues and rock bands and recording projects, looking for that "right" combination for years, until she finally connected with US in January 2015. The results were well worth the wait. US now perform across the southeast and mid-west, and have headlined at several concert venues, clubs and at festivals. They are intensely fun and entertaining to watch live, immersing the crowd in a melodic, but uncompromising rock sonic that leaves listeners craving more. A third CD, "Cold Town" is tentatively scheduled for 2017 release. This is one band decidedly worth keeping "Under Surveillance."

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Under Surveillance is a Charleston, WV based rock band formed in 2012, with a hard-edged, melodic rock sonic. US bring searing guitar sounds, relentless, driving rhythm, and stunning vocal harmonies, that according to Do Savannah Magazine, “sound classic with a modern tilt.” US are disarmingly honest and raw live, with an engaging, intense performance capturing listeners from the first notes.

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