You know what I’m talking about… that band that you just know had the potential to go places…buuuuut just never stayed together long enough to make it happen.
See, I’ve always had a goal to help inspire people through music. I got a rough start, as a production intern at WFNX dubbing commercials to carts, did a cup of coffee at The Boston Music Awards and NEMO Conference as their Volunteer “Volunteer Coordinator” (among other things over the years), and drove home more than once from the radio promo company The Planetary Group after paying for parking only to be told that they had no postage in their mailing machine for me. The funny thing is, at first I didn’t have many run-ins with local artists, but there was a turning point and after that I was forced to live a curs-ed life where some of my all-time favorite bands would only last a few years…that turning point was when I got a flyer for a “Secret Show” that my friend Will Brierly was putting on. I’ll never forget it as it had a picture of the chef a.k.a. “Barth” from You Can’t Do That on Television haha…. anyway being the guy who knew that networking was in his best interest I offered to help….and from that point on I was sucked into a world where I had to come to grips with the fact that no matter how good a band is, and how you just know that if the right people had access to their tunes they’d be hotter than a Bond Girl Convention held in a Pepper Patch, that they just might not make it!
Here is a list of my top up-and-coming bands that I wish were still around. Although part of my love for these band does come from a position of nostalgia. I think they all could have been really successful. Some in a financial mainstream kind of way, and others in an artistic not-so-starving artist kind of way:
Jupiter Sunrise – I dub them the hardest working band of vegans that I ever met haah! These guys did a couple of show trades with Will. They were a band that new how to connect with fans on a level that really made the fans of the die-hard sorts. I give the band credit as they worked their asses off at it, and in general were just great guys (and a gal for a bit)…I mean what other band have you heard of that hid in some fans garage to surprise her for her birthday, or were likable enough that they pretty much had one of the top A&R guys from the Columbia/Hollywood Records labels (who really wanted to sign them) advise them that the deal they were getting from the labels was a bum one, and that he would get them something better. Their first two main releases “The Purple Album”, and “Under a Killer Blue Sky” are a mix of power pop with a touch of… I dunno Coheed and Cambria maybe. In good news they actually got a deal with Victory Records for “Under a Killer Blue Sky”… in not so good news the producer of their to be third album swindled them out of something like $20,000, and with all the stresses they retired their vegetable oil running tour bus and called it a day. The main man of the band, Mark (now Malek) Houlihan, went on to make more another JS record before starting a new project, and although the record was good it just wasn’t the same.
Here is my favorite song from these guys… I remember when I went to LA for the first time (with Will actually), we visited them and Mark played an rough acoustic demo version of this and I was blown away. It’s called Kaye:
On the Surface (formerly Incident 14)- I just have to say wow to this band… the main writer is this kid Anthony that I met at UMASS and he just knows how to write a pop tune, and make it sound good on a record. Their bonus track “Begging for More” on the last Incident 14 album had me hooked… :: tried to think of a pun to go along with the word hooked as the song had a great one but I’ll leave it at that :: . As a band they rank as one of my favorite bands of all time. Well after 2 albums as I14 they changed their name, moved to LA, recorded an album, and it was around that time rumor has it that David Bowie just happened to walk into a room where someone was mixing some of their stuff, put the headphones on and when the song was over asked to hear it again it was so good. The two singers who had been dating since high school split sometime before their last and only album (which actually fueled some amazing songwriting in that bittersweet way that it does), but eventually the band split. They also had a pretty marketable look and a pretty hot girl who not only knew how to shake it on stage, she also had some chops as a piano player and vocalist.
Here is the official video off of their lead single off of their album The Fall…ironically it’s about not giving up. My take is that it was about their relationship… who knows.
Rocketscience - I honestly don’t know much about these guys. I am pretty sure I saw them at the first NEMO showcase I ever helped out at. It was at the old Linwood. They dominated, I bought their album “A Girl’s Name Here” and still listen to it to this day. That damn thing never gets old. I don’t know what happened to them, but I just found out that they have some sort of youtube page with songs I have never heard on it! Awww yeah… here is one of my faves from the album I own:
Will Brierly (and the Roller Holsters) - Just cause ‘ole Willy Will Will really got me into a local music mindset, doesn’t mean he was guaranteed a spot on this list. Picture a band whose frontman was an amazing classical guitarist fingerpicking machine that was influenced by acts like Gwar, Slayer, Ani DiFranco, Ben Folds, and Ellis Paul. Throw in some Jazz, a little a-tonal and improv and well you get what he dubbed as “Chair Throwing Kill Core” …… one of those genres that leaves your jaw open as you wonder how the hell he pulled it off. We both have a similar mindset and I dug his tunes about video games, getting up the guts to talk to girls, and this one time he saw three more-than-just-female-fans….at the same show haha. His Fishhooks Hung From Trees and Fly Kites In the Dark albums still kick ass every time I hear them. But alas he holstered the rollers and eventually moved on to the simultaneous careers of magician/mentalist, PR guru, and video game developer. He is currently most noted for the finest FPS to hit the gaming scene :: pauses :: First Person Soda haha
To get an idea as to what they were all about, check out this live tune from the Sugar Shack in Lowell from 2003. Be on the lookout for Rob Lynch from Harris on the drums… a band that almost made this list, but they just HAD to get back together haha.
Aubergene – I hate to give these guys an honorable mention, but damn it I only really ever heard a few songs by them, and only ever owned one called Outside. It was actually partially written by one of the band members that died about a year earlier, and the rest of the band finished it. That song makes my top 10 songs of all time! I almost forgot to mention that was is Will’s sister’s band. She has gone solo and is putting out some rad stuff. Check her out at http://www.marybeemusic.com/
Angry Salad – I saw these guys after hearing about them from the Planetary Group. I showed up at their final CD release show, and they just rocked. They had enough of a local following to get signed to Blackbird/Atlantic, but eventually broke up. Believe it or not one of their guitarists is actually in Quiet Riot now. If any of you reading this know Adam Lewis from the Planetary Group… ask him about when he took their followup band Star 69 to China… :: pauses :: or was it Star 64
sameasyou – I actually saw these guys open up for Angry Salad the same night I first saw Angry Salad and bought their album as well. Lots of great songs on it… I go back to that every once and a while…. not sure what ever happened to those guys…. anyone… anyone?
Well that’s it… for my list. What are some of the bands or acts that made your list?