THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)
THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)
13th January, 2011 1
After the Dust is riding high on the mid-Michigan music scene and their enthusiasm and infectiousness registers as distinctly as the music they create, something that is evidenced by their recent selection of top honors by fans & critics in Phoenix Productions Battle of the Bands, which the Midland-based group won through a series of performances at Creative 360. In beating out the competition, this enabled the group to get $1,000 in cash along with substantial amounts of studio time, even though the band is no stranger to studios, having released two EP's and one full length album; their most recent, entitled Bloodshot & Burning, which can be downloaded at I Tunes.
Formed initially in May of 2005, After the Dust describes their blues infused brand of Rock 'n Roll as "a beautiful train wreck of radio friendly melodies, modern grooves, and heavy blues influence." Consisting of Drew Brady on lead vocals; Korey Gillespie on guitar; Travis Evans on bass, Chad Winters on drums; and Chris Crawford on lead guitar & backing vocals, the divergent roots of each member musically combine within their sound to create something unique and distinctly their own, while embracing their wide range of influences that helps them explore the borders of hard rock while occasionally jumping off the edges to explore new terrain.
After the Dust came together largely when Korey quit a former band nearly six years ago and found an old friend to write songs with. "Basically, we were jamming in my basement and because I'm not very good at not being in a band, we brought Chad into the fold and found a singer, booked some shows, and recorded an album," he explains. "Then we brought in Chris as a lead guitarist and went through another incarnation when our former singer wanted to take off for Seattle. At that point we brought Drew in as our lead vocalist and Chris started bringing in a prolific amount of riffs, which has been evolving our sound a bit. A little over a year ago, in November of 2009, our former bass player said he was finished, so we brought Travis into the fold. Things have been coming together in surprising ways ever since."
When asked what they feel distinguishes their sound as a band, Drew notes that before joining After the Dust, he was singing in the cover band Beefy Sloppy Gypsies and had never really done anything original until joining ATD. "It opened a whole new world for me."
The group admits that their style is influenced by the last four decades of music, but as Korey puts it, "We play the material we like at this point and don't really worry about what is being played on the radio."
"Our overall sound is different because all five us have differences stylistically," explains Travis. "If you took us apart and had each of us record a side project the sound would be vastly different from After the Dust. It's funny how collectively it all comes together."
When asked to describe those stylistic distinctions, each member is quick to respond. "I personally have a lot of '80s influences," reflects Drew, "and tend to dress up a little bit and display your average frontman swagger to get the crowd into it. Perhaps the biggest '80s band I was impacted by was Guns 'n Roses, with Motley Crue forming a big second. But mainly, was into the more bluesy influenced rock' n roll bands, so throw that into this pot to reinvent."
Korey states that while he came from a huge 'Metal' background, "I went to anything that got heavier until I wasn't young and angry anymore, at which point I went into more traditional rock 'n roll, Country, and Outlaw Country, along with '70s influenced rock 'n roll."
Travis points to his influences stemming more from obscure '70s material. "My biggest influence was Black Sabbath, by because of the Internet age and the ease at finding more obscure music, I've been following bands like Toad and Orangutan, who put out one record; whereas Chris notes that he moved From Zeppelin to Bob Dylan and then more into heavier melodic '90s bands like Blind Melon and Smashing Pumpkins.
With close to 20 original songs under their collective belt the group notes they always have about six songs brewing on the pot waiting for completion. "We came to an agreement to keep 20 active original songs rotating in our set-list," explains Travis. "Some get retired at a certain point and we definitely have more originals than we actually play; but what I've found with this latest incarnation is that a lot of our older material comes more alive from the new perspective of the band."
Touring the region has augmented the group's popularity, though they admit mainly they perform in Bay City, Saginaw, and Flint, performing in cities such as Mt. Pleasant and Lansing a few times each year. "Rarely do we go towards Detroit because you never know what you're getting down there," adds Korey. "The last show we did in Detroit seven bands were supposed to play and only two showed up. And then the two waitresses working wanted us to stop playing because they wanted to watch Family Guy," he laughs.
As for their recent Battle of the Bands win, Drew explains, "I like to refer to that honor as the best mistake we ever made. Travis signed us up for the Battle and I was against it at first, because most of those contests turn into popularity fights, but in this case, it really turned out in our favor. We won a lot of new fans, got some studio time, some money, and have been getting different press because of it."
Another significant factor is the group's determination to rehearse every Sunday, four times a month, unless they are doing multiple shows. Some immediate goals for the new year include having a professional video of their material shot as well as performing at more independent music festivals, plus they have openings for national acts slotted for the summer.
Although Chris has brought considerable creativity into the mix with the riffs he brings to the table, he is quick to point to the individual contributions of each member. "Many times I will give the group the germ of an idea and they take charge and run with it. Sometimes I'll bring a whole song it and they will play something new into the structure or add their own parts into the layering, but it varies from song-to-song."
"I always try to reach beyond the format and structure of my material and attempt different approaches," he continues," and I'll be doing more of that in this upcoming year. I think we each have a different flavor that we bring yet we all have enough similarities to work well together while bringing our individual strengths into the mix."
"On the last EP Chris brought a whole different taste and a new level of musicianship back into the band," reflects Korey. "He brought more fun back into it and with that last EP each song is different. We found a strong median point."
"We're always throwing new bands and new music at each other. Right now we're listening to this band called The White Suits that is basically a nobody band from Ohio that put out a killer release for free that we stumbled across."
Finally, what about their name? How did the group arrive at the moniker, After the Dust?
"That's a funny story," relates Korey. "We had 30 pages of names and narrowed them down to two that we couldn't agree upon, so we got out the shot glasses and had a drink-off to determine the winner. Then I checked the web for the name everyotherday.com because that's what we were going to call ourselves, only the site that came up had a nude guy with a message for free gay porn every day. Needless to say, After the Dust became our band name. I don't know exactly what it means, but that's what we got and it's who we are."
To glean more of the distinct musical sound created by After The Dust check out their website at afterthedust.com. The band also has several appearances coming up and you can catch them January 22nd at the Prime Event Center opening for Sponge; and February 12th at the Roadside Bar in Pinconning, which will be the group's first 3-set performance. They'll also be performing at Grand Central on February 20th for a Benefit for the Great Lakes Bay Autism Center; and finally, they will be opening on April 1st at The Vault with national recording artists Murder by Death.
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THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)