Sublime with Rome, Simple Plan, The All American Rejects...
Sound of Music Festival Kick Off Saturday, June 9th
Sublime With Rome, Simple Plan, The All-American Rejects, Everclear, Rainbow Butt Monkeys, Tonic, Eve 6, Not By Choice
1400 Lakeshore Road
Burlington, ON, L7S 1Y2
Doors 1:00 PM / Show 1:30 PM (event ends at 11:00 PM)
Sublime With Rome
Rome (vocals, guitar): Eric Wilson (bass); Carlos Verdugo (drums)
The wait is over! Sublime With Rome returns long at last with 'Sirens' (July 17, 2015, BMG Chrysalis), the effervescent follow up to the band's 2011 debut, 'Yours Truly.'
"We had more time, we know each other better now, and we're even better musicians," said Rome Ramirez, who was just 20-years-old when he embarked on this journey. Now 27, the singer, guitarist, and songwriter is truly flourishing.
With Sublime bassist and co-founder Eric Wilson anchoring the group, Sublime With Rome are armed with an album that makes a real statement... their statement.
Co-produced by Rome and Paul Leary, who manned the boards for 'Yours Truly,' 'Sirens' is an expression of three musicians who truly get each other and who can communicate seamlessly through their instruments and while in their favorite habitat -- the stage!
The luxury of time had a huge impact on their approach to this all-important sophomore set, especially since the band went into the studio without any demos or songs ready to go! That might sound terrifying to some musicians, but Sublime With Rome were invigorated by the situation.
"We didn't have any songs in our pockets," the frontman said, confessing that while he liked the spontaneity, it also lit a fire under their collective ass. "We showed up to this big studio and we had nothing, so we had to make it grassroots. It felt refreshing to make things on the fly. It really came together with all of us in the room and we loved the result."
He furthered, "Everything was recorded live and together. It's a little tighter and edgier than 'Yours Truly.' We have a lot of influence from Eric and it definitely shows."
Wilson concurred, saying, "It was great to work with Paul again, our chemistry was excellent. We had a great time recording the album in a totally organic way. There was no stress, even though we came up with stuff the fly."
"It is a whole different feeling now," Ramirez admitted. "Josh is such a great guy and he is just as lighthearted, which is great on the road, since touring can be so serious and so tough. It has been more fun, really. It is a lot more relaxed, and that helps with everything. It's like that everywhere. Studio. Stage. Bus. Wherever we are. We've moved forward, musically and on stage. He brings a great element.
And while Ramirez pays the utmost respect to the original Sublime entity, since, as he admitted in the past, they were the first band that made him want to make, as opposed to just listen to, music, he knows Sublime With Rome are worthy of fan's undivided attention. "This summer, I want fans to say, 'I went to see Sublime With Rome and the new album is sick as fuck.' We can do that by continuing to make better and better records," he said.
'Sirens' is overflowing with standout songs, such as the mellow yet buzzed out title track, featuring Dirty Heads. "This was a song where the drums and synths and beat that I did were for Mickey Avalon and I liked it so much that I decided to keep it and save it for Sublime With Rome," Ramirez said. "I had a random idea and asked Jared [Watson] to hop on the track, even though it's not what they do! They are gangster and they can handle anything."
Then there's "Skankin'," which is a Fishbone song that Sublime used to cover in their own unique way back when. It was an unrecorded fan favorite that sounds like an old demo! "We're covering Sublime covering Fishbone!," Ramirez exclaimed.
An instant summer classic, the slow-burning and chill jam "House Party," with a groove that transports listeners within the first few notes, or "Been Losing Sleep," with it's instantly memorable reggae groove.
Ramirez even stated that he isn't so much interested in the endgame or results as much as he is interested in writing music that is honest. And it's Wilson who summed up how Sirens is such an important record for the band. "I'm able play music for the love of music, just like I did back then. I am so fortunate to still be able to do it," he said.
With Sirens, those missions are dually accomplished. The album is seamless and has flow. It plays out like the work of musicians who complete one another's sonic sentences.
Indeed, Sublime With Rome are making their definitive statement with 'Sirens.'
Simple Plan, the multi-platinum, Montreal-based band boasts worldwide sales topping 10 million and the band’s most recent release, Get Your Heart On! has reached Platinum status in Canada and spawned international hits with “Jetlag” and “Summer Paradise”. A testament to their outstanding popularity, the band has been voted Favourite Canadian Band an unprecedented five times by viewers of the MuchMusic Video Awards. Accolades also include a 2005 Teen Choice Award, 2006 JUNO Fan Choice Award, 2012 Allan Waters Humanitarian Award, 2012 Yahoo! Canadian Impact Award, 2012 NRJ award and the 2013 Allan Slaight Humanitarian Spirit Award. Through the Simple Plan Foundation, the JUNO Award-winning band has donated more than $2M to youth-focused charities since December 2005, helping both young people in need and children facing life-threatening illness in Canada and abroad. Most recently, the band has teamed up with producer Howard Benson (My Chemical Romance, All-American Rejects) on their latest album “Taking One For The Team” that was released on February 19th 2016. The band is on their global tour right now celebrating the 15th anniversary of their album “No Pads, No Helmets…Just Balls!”. The band continues their philanthropic initiatives to this day and $1 of every ticket sold on their current “Taking One For The Team” World Tour will benefit the Simple Plan Foundation.
The All-American Rejects
Since the start of their career, alt-rock/power pop titans The All-American Rejects have sold over 10 million albums worldwide and helped define a post-emo sound that was the soundtrack of a decade. With smash hits “Gives You Hell”, "Dirty Little Secret”, “Move Along”, “Swing, Swing” and “It Ends Tonight”, their songs have become an indelible slice of the era. Frontman Tyson Ritter has also added acting to his creative arsenal most recently with credits including Love And Mercy, HBO’s Lewis & Clark, NBC’s Parenthood and Betas.
The All-American Rejects are finalizing new material to be released in the upcoming months.
It’s been 20 years since Everclear released their 1997 multi-platinum smash So Much For The Afterglow, yet the album remains a beloved fan favorite, and continues to inspire new generations of musicians & fans today. Bolstered by the record’s enduring popularity, Everclear are about to embark on a highly anticipated tour celebrating its milestone anniversary, with plans to perform the album front to back, including some tracks the band has never played live.
As the band’s third full-length, So Much For The Afterglow built upon the momentum of 1995’s Sparkle And Fade, with a slew of unforgettable songs that permeated MTV and alternative rock radio. The album—which remains Everclear’s best-selling release to date—quickly won over listeners with its trademark combination of melody, rhythmic energy, evocative lyrics and thundering guitar crunch.
“It makes me feel really good when I read a lot of what people still think about the album, and how many bands have been influenced by it—how much impact it had on them—and I think about how much impact it had on me, in a different way of course,” says singer-guitarist Art Alexakis. “It’s still a thing; it’s still relevant and real 20 years later.”
Formed by Alexakis in 1991 in Portland, Oregon, Everclear has enjoyed a lengthy career spanning 10 studio releases, numerous videos, thousands of shows and accolades that include a 1998 Grammy nomination for Best Rock Instrumental, for the Afterglow track “El Distorto de Melodica.” Like a true survivor, Alexakis has soldiered on through multiple lineup changes over the years: During the Afterglow era, the band also included Craig Montoya on bass and Greg Eklund on drums; the forthcoming anniversary tour features current Everclear members Davey French (guitar), Freddy Herrera (bass) and drummer Jake Margolis. In recent years Alexakis also created and runs the annual Summerland Tour, which features a package of popular ’90s alt rock bands.
Amid all of Everclear’s accomplishments, the Afterglow period remains a pivotal moment. After enjoying a taste of success with Sparkle And Fade and its still-prevalent hit single “Santa Monica,” Everclear returned to the studio in 1996 more determined than ever to perfect their sound. By the end of the year the band had already completed an album, tentatively titled Pure White Evil, but after one particularly blunt conversation with an A&R executive, the singer/guitarist/songwriter Alexakis knew there was more work still ahead.
“He told me, ‘It’s an ok record, but it’s not going to do what you want it to do, and it’s not the best record you can make’,” Alexakis recalls. “He said that, and I just knew he was right. I knew I wasn’t digging deep enough.”
Alexakis spent roughly the next week living in a New York City hotel, contemplating his next move. He walked the city streets and went to multiple showings of the film Jerry Maguire. Inspired, he went back to his hotel room and started anew, while taking close stock of the existing Pure White Evil material. With the band and label on board with the new plan, Everclear continued to write and refine the new material over the spring of 1997 until Evil morphed into what eventually became So Much For The Afterglow.
“Looking back, I remember just how balls-out and brash I was,” Alexakis says. “I just had a vision and after Sparkle I was desperate not to have a sophomore slump and be a one-hit wonder. I was just going forward with my vision and dragging my guys behind me. We just believed that we were on a mission to make a great record. To this day, it’s probably my favorite Everclear album.”
Perhaps the most compelling aspect of Afterglow is its visceral, infinitely relatable lyrics, some of which are autobiographical. Although, according to Alexakis, many people think the majority of his songs are.
”I like storytelling…writing from the first person perspective,” says Alexakis. “’Father of Mine’ (the hit single which expresses the singer’s feelings of estrangement and abandonment by his father) and a couple of others are stories from my life.” While other tracks, meanwhile, offer the singer’s wry observations on the world around him. The common thread, and the message that’s most powerful amid all of Alexakis’ lyrical soul baring, is that no matter how hard things get, there can always be better days ahead.
“From my perspective, the album told stories of an American life that had gone through ups and downs and still wasn’t 100 percent,” Alexakis says. “I still had to deal with issues like parental abandonment, poverty, abuse and drugs. But even though those things are there, there’s still a light at the end of the tunnel, though it’s hard to see sometimes, and even though the record’s dark and heavy at times, it conveys a sense of hope, which is probably why it seemed to connect with a lot of young people at the time, because even though it sucks being a teenager, or in your early 20s…you want to know there’s a chance. I’m an optimist; There’s always an upside somewhere.”
Since the album’s release, the songs have taken on a life of their own through the interpretations of listeners, who’ve made their unique personal connections with record. However some of the tracks still remain deeply personal to Alexakis, and there will likely be emotional onstage moments during the upcoming tour. For this reason, some Afterglow tracks will be performed live for the first time in years, if not ever.
“There are still songs on this record that I have a hard time singing, because I get so emotional,” says Alexakis. “We don’t play them a lot, ever, but we will on this tour; we’re playing all the songs. ‘Why I Don’t Believe in God,’ is an especially hard one to sing. That’s a song about my mom.”
Other tracks promise to be great fun. The kinetic energy of So Much For The Afterglow makes much of it ideal for concert stages, and Alexakis is eager to share and experience the material again in a live setting along with fans. On a personal level for Alexakis, who’s a married father of two daughters, it will undoubtedly be a much different tour here in 2017 than when the band was young and hungry and just promoting the album for the first time. But some things—namely the remarkable quality of the songs and the enthusiasm fans have for the record—not only remain steadfast, they’ve even continued to grow and appreciate over time.
“’California King’ is a blast to play,” he says. “The harder rock songs, like “One Hit Wonder,” are going to be fun to play. We’ve been breaking that one out in rehearsals over the last couple months; it’s tight and sounds really good. I still like playing the hits, too. I love the way people respond and sing along with the songs. That’s something songwriters never get tired of.”
It’s likely that crowds will have plenty to sing about when the So Much For The Afterglow Tour—which also includes ’90s compatriots Fastball and Vertical Horizon—hits a nearby venue later this year. Alexakis says that the roughly 90-minute set will also include other favorites from Everclear’s back catalogue, but will feature So Much For The Afterglow in its glorious entirety, performed with the loving respect it deserves. Beyond his own gratification, Alexakis says the forthcoming Afterglow tour is very much a gift—and a thank you—to fans of the album.
“A lot of people really identified with the songs off this record and it meant something important to them,” Alexakis says. “That means a lot to me, that I’ve had a positive impact in someone’s life. As a dad, and a person who’s constantly trying to do the right thing, that’s big. It just makes me feel really good that people connected to what we were doing, and that it still means something to them. What more can a guy in a rock and roll band ask for?”
With six top 10 singles, over 4 million records sold, multiple Grammy nominations, platinum albums, hit songs around the world including the #1 most-played rock song of 1998, it is safe to say that Tonic is a musical powerhouse. Merging the raw honesty of rock with their unabashed melodies Tonic have helped usher rock n roll into the new millennium.
Many bands would be content with that sort of history. Tonic breaks the mold. The band is back in the studio after a two-year sabbatical, working on new material released in the Fall of 2015.
“When we play music together it feels like going home,” explains singer and guitarist Emerson Hart. “Getting together, playing some rock-n-roll: it’s the best feeling in the world.”
Hart founded Tonic with guitarist Jeff Russo – a childhood friend – adding bassist Dan Lavery shortly after inception. After storming the charts with debut album Lemon Parade and its monster hit “If You Could Only See,” the band released two additional studio albums (Sugar, the twice Grammy-nominated Head On Straight and the self-titled Tonic). With multiple soundtrack features, including the lead single from “American Pie” (“You Wanted More”), Tonic garnered this momentum with the release of their Greatest Hits CD/DVD package in July of 2009.
Tonic, the self-titled fourth studio album, debuted on the Billboard 200 charts, while also appearing in the top 50 on the Billboard Rock Album Charts and top 25 on the Billboard Independent Album Charts. Their single, “Release Me” climbed the charts reaching top 30 at Hot AC.
Tonic’s well-earned reputation as a massive live act came at a price. After finding themselves on the road for the better part of a decade, the band was ready to take a breather. “We toured relentlessly,” Lavery admits, “It was a whirlwind.”
“We needed a break,” Hart agrees. “We toured for so long – we were on the road for ten years – and everybody needed the room to do something else, work on other projects, and come back stronger.”
In Hart’s case, that meant releasing a critically acclaimed solo album, 2007’s Cigarettes & Gasoline. The album spawned two Top 20 singles and a follow up Beauty in Disrepair in 2014. While Lavery built a recording studio and recorded/toured with a variety of acts including The Fray and the Revisionists, Russo was focused on composing for film and television, including “CSI:Cyber”, “Power”, and “Fargo” receiving an Emmy-nomination.
All three acknowledge the break was a welcome respite. In addition to exploring other creative outlets, the trio focused on their favorite project to date: fatherhood.
“Now that I’m a father, I see the world a little differently,” Hart says. “It affects my lyrics and my music; I’m inspired to work harder. We’re all more mature now, and much stronger musicians for it.
“Of course,” he adds with a laugh, “We’re in a rock band, so that translates to 60% maturity and 40% nine-year-old.”
It wasn’t long before the band was compelled to get back together and start recording. “Tonic is like my baby,” Russo says. “I know Emerson and Dan feel the same way. My other projects are very important to me, but there’s something both comfortable and exciting about playing together.”
“We’ve been doing this long enough – it feels like it’s what we’re meant to do,” Lavery explains. “And once you find the people that you enjoying doing it with, everything just falls into place.”
Eve 6 weren’t even legal drinking age when they were presented with their first platinum record. Thus, life came hard and fast at the members of SoCal pop-punk trio, whose meteoric success in the late ‘90s and early millennium ingrained their anthemic radio hits into the fabric of the lives of a whole generation. Then, it all sort of ended…until now.
Reunited and re-energized, the band has returned with album Speak In Code eight years after parting ways in 2004. As the fourth full-length release for Eve 6 and their debut on new label Fearless Records, the album heralds not just a return to form for the threesome, but a new chapter in a book that had ended all too abruptly.
“Overall I'm really proud of it, and I think we're doing right by our fans, who’ve waited a long time for us to make another record. I think we're giving them something they'll enjoy,” says singer/bassist Max Collins. “Once we got in the studio there was a lot of energy. There aren't any filler moments; each song has its purpose. This is the strongest collection of songs we've ever had on one record.”
Eve 6—which also includes drummer Tony Fagenson and guitarist Jon Siebels—formed in Southern California in 1995 while the trio were just teenagers, then inked a deal with RCA Records before they’d finished high school. The band issued the self-titled Eve 6 in 1998, attaining platinum success with hit singles “Inside Out” and “Leech,” the former capturing the #1 spot on the Modern Rock charts and crossing over successfully to Top 40 radio. More widespread recognition came with gold-selling sophomore effort Horrorscope (2000), which spawned radio gems “Promise,” “On The Roof Again” and the ubiquitous prom and MTV anthem “Here’s To The Night”.
It seemed like Eve 6 were everywhere—the band made appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Late Show with David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Late Night With Conan O’Brien, and TRL with Carson Daly, with their videos in constant rotation on MTV. The band then released the more experimental It’s All In Your Head in 2003, featuring singles “Think Twice” and “At Least We’re Dreaming,” but parted ways with RCA thereafter. Their rapid rise to prominence at an early age had led to an inevitable mental and physical exhaustion, and in 2004 Eve 6 announced an indefinite hiatus. It was time to turn a new page.
“There were parts which were fucking incredible, and amazing and awesome, and there were aspects that were terrifying and freaky that you don't know how to handle. I feel like we did some growing up in public,” says Collins. “I needed to stop drinking. In order to do that, the wheels had to come off. I don't think I could have done it if the band was still going.”
After a year apart, Collins and Fagenson began writing and producing for other artists, including 2007’s hit ballad “We Don’t Have To Look Back Now” for rock band Puddle of Mudd, and collaborating on a new experimental side project, the Sugi Tap. "It was an inspiring time, going down different musical avenues together and trying things we wouldn't have in Eve 6,” reflects Fagenson. “Ironically, when we did reform Eve 6 a couple years later, those experiments allowed us to progress the sound of the band more freely than if we had been in the band the whole time."
Collins and Fagenson eventually reignited Eve 6 in 2008, with guitarist Matt Bair temporarily replacing Siebels who was occupied with his project Monsters Are Waiting. The band spent the next two-plus years touring, writing and reconnecting with fans, then in 2011, armed with new material and management, signed with Fearless Records. A month within inking the deal Collins and Fagenson finally convinced Siebels to return to the fold.
“After going down some different paths it hit me that there was this thing out there that people wanted and wanted to hear,” explains Siebels. “It just clicked and made sense to me. After such a long break I was so happy to be playing with these guys again.” Continues Fagenson, "The way [Siebels] hits the strings and puts that muscle into the chords is very distinctive to our band, and that was a welcome piece of the sound that we had missed. Songs that had been kicking around for a couple years got new life with his playing put into them.”
Eve 6 then re-enlisted Don Gilmore (Linkin Park, Dashboard Confessional, Good Charlotte, Pearl Jam)—who produced the first two Eve 6 full-lengths—to helm the sessions for Speak In Code. With all the lead time, the album contains a mix of compositions that began as far back as the side project, as well as recent works written in the months leading up to the recording process. “We were really taking a ‘best of everything’ sort of approach, almost like a band's first album, in which there's a lot of material to choose from,” Fagenson notes. “About half the songs were standouts from what Max and I had been working on and demoing over the years, and the other half were newer ideas that came with the inspiration of Jon's return and all that was happening to us at the time. We have a unique process, where each song is sort of its own animal. Don was crucial in helping us tighten everything up, and inspiring Max to dig really deep lyrically and get to some root emotion down there.” Explains Collins, “Neil Finn [of Crowded House] once said, ‘A great producer is someone whom you admire musically and otherwise, who you feel compelled to show up and show off for.’ I feel like Don is that figure for me and the band.”
In many ways, Speak In Code is a work with deep personal significance for Collins, who has weathered his share of personal adversity. The album is a testament to coming out okay on the other side, with friendships still intact, but it’s within the journey that the story truly lies. Whether it’s romantic relationships or dealings with his bandmates, communication—and its barriers—is a central theme underpinning the release.
“In some of the songs frustration is a theme. I was sort of looking at difficult personal relationships with a humorous spin in some places, and with more earnestness in others,” explains Collins. “The title [Speak In Code] is a lyric from ‘Curtain,’ and there was something kind of evocative about it. In that song, I'm referring to being newly sober and just feeling like an open nerve, feeling freaked out, having people and life being sort of overwhelming. It's almost like people are speaking a language you don't understand.”
Opening track “Curtain” is a pivotal moment for several reasons—not only does it provide a title concept, but it also speaks to the group’s return from hiatus, drawing on the relations between the notoriously volatile Gallagher brothers from Britpop icons Oasis. “There was a lot that I could identify with there,” Collins says. “Being in a band is like a marriage; it's like a family. You're in the trenches with these guys, and sometimes it's easy and awesome, and sometimes it's not so easy.”
First single “Victoria” lyrically weaves a tale that draws the listener into a hook-laden, 80‘s-influenced anthem, putting a contemporary spin on the classic Eve 6 sound. “[‘Victoria’] indulges this paranoid what-if fantasy that kind of has a foot in the truth: My wife went on this girl’s vacation to Mexico, and when I was looking through the photos, I saw my imagination start to go, and wrote that song,” Collins recalls. “I'm convinced in my mind that something’s going on that really isn't.”
Far from being just some nefarious nostalgia cash-in, Speak In Code is a genuine example of triumphing over one’s obstacles, both professionally and personally, seven years in the making. Eve 6 say the time rebuilding was essential to regaining their footing, which seems more solid in 2012 than ever. "In a lot of ways, the years leading up to this album release was a bit of a ‘paying our dues’ situation. We certainly had to earn the right to have this opportunity again,” says Fagenson. “This time around I think we realized just how hard it is to really get a rock band going and just when you think you're near the finish line you realize there's another hundred miles to go. But all that work and time simply strengthened our belief in what we were doing, and it was a crucial aspect of our development. It really taught us about stick-with-it-ness and perseverance."
"The time we spent apart really made us appreciate what we have in each other. It's a chemistry you can't manufacture,” adds Collins. “We literally grew up playing music together. The bond that we have as a result of so much shared experience infuses the sound of the band."
In support of Speak In Code, Eve 6 recently took to the road with The All-American Rejects and with Everclear. Diehards who caught the band live in prior years will undoubtedly be thrilled to see the trio once again on stage, but it will be a somewhat older, definitely wiser group that greets them. According to Collins, it’s all good.
Not By Choice
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