Nothing is going to keep the New Jersey crunch-rock trio Shades Apart from its appointment with destiny, not even the flood of the century.
Lead singer-guitarist Mark V. tells a story of just how intent he, drummer Ed Brown and bassist Kevin Lynch are on making it.
“We recorded a demo of four songs out of our friend’s studio called the Blasting Room in Fort Collins, Colo.,” V. said recently. “While we were recording the demo, we were all deeply focused on it. We were putting in 14-, 15-hour days to do this demo within like four days. We were sleeping in the control room; we’d wake up and start tracking, that whole thing.
“So, on the last night, we had the phones shut off and we were finishing up some vocals or something and we finally put the phone back on and calls started coming in. People were saying, ‘It’s raining so hard, there’s a flood out here, don’t go down this road when you drive home.’ Five in the morning rolls around and we go outside and the river had overflowed. Cars were floating around; it was crazy. That shows you how much we were in our own world.
“After that, we had a European tour lined up with Samiam and while we were away our manager was looking around to see if anybody was interested and Universal was the most interested. They were really into it.”
That led to “Eyewitness,” the group’s seventh album but first for a major label. Released April 20, the LP features the electrifying single “Valentine,” now positioned at No. 31 on Billboard’s mainstream rock tracks chart.
Brown said “Eyewitness” wasn’t do or die for the band, but they knew they had to buckle down.
“We’ve done so much work to get to this point that we all felt, ‘Let’s make this record as good as we can make it,’ ” he said. “We put up with a lot to get here. We took advantage of the opportunity with the extra time and resources to make a better record than we probably would have if we had made it five years ago.
“When we were getting ready to record ‘Seeing Things,’ the album before this, it was probably the hardest time to stay focused and make a good record. We were just barely scraping by and morale was low. We were coming off a lot of touring, and we had come at the end of the cycle for the record before it and there wasn’t a lot of money to go around. But we knew that if we could make it through that, we could make a good record, that things would get better.”
It all fell into place when the band hooked up with producer Lou Giordano (Goo Goo Dolls, Live, Husker Du) and engineer Mike Fraser (Metallica, Aerosmith).
“Lou’s a very even-keeled guy, very laid-back and really open-minded,” V. said. “We traded ideas very easily; he wasn’t hard-line about anything, like ‘Try this!’ It went both ways. We respected each other’s ideas.
“When people found out we were working with him, the response was, ‘Oh, yeah, that makes perfect sense.’ And in the end, it did. It worked out great.”
BWF (before we forget): To keep up to date on Shades Apart on the Web @ www.shadesaparthq.com.
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