CAROLINE\'S SPINE: Innovative Band Descends on the Machine Shop

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, National Music, Concert Reviews,   From Issue 633   By: Christina Kababik

08th March, 2007     0

Captured - the act of catching, winning, or gaining control by force, stratagem, or guile and the title of Caroline's Spines new album. I've seen the true meaning of this word recently as Caroline's Spine mesmerized the audience at the Machine Shop on February 3rd in Flint while promoting their new album Captured.

"I've never seen such a personable group of musicians in my life" one fan said at the show as the band kept playing long into the night, long after they had played through the hand written set list on the floor next to the guitarists pedals. 

Those pedals belong to Mark Haugh the lead guitarist and heart of the band. His stunning guitar work prompted Guitar For The Practicing Musician to label his sound a heady mix of almost surreal rock. Drummer Jason Gilardi's pounding beats create the firm backbone which supports front man Jimmy Newquist's brilliant talent for lyrical story telling. Added a little later to the anatomy of Caroline's Spine is Scott Jones smiling bass line and personality.

The band was first started by Jimmy Newquist performing virtually all of the instruments recorded for the Caroline's Spine self-titled debut album in 1993. Caroline's Spine current line up was completed when Jimmy hooked up with his old college buddy Mark, to go on the road with Jason and along the way teaching Scott the songs in the bus. After selling all their furniture and breaking up with their girlfriends they set out to tour.

Caroline's Spine's consistent touring found them on the bill with some major names. Touring with bands like Aerosmith and Kiss was more of a learning opportunity then a popularity contest. Other more public musical achievements include songs on MTVs Varsity Blues and American Werewolf in Paris, ESPN, Germany's ROCK IM RING/PARK headline stage, tours with New Model Army and Catherine Wheel, and performing on the USS Enterprise.

You might be wondering why you've never heard of Caroline's Spine before. Well it is definitely not because their well rounded sing able rock tunes suck. On the contrary, they have an original blend of soft and raw sounds with core rock undertones that satisfies every listener at packed shows everywhere. The reason why they are not well known in the mainstream is something I greatly admire in any musician and that is love. Love of the purity of music, the 'pocket' some musicians call it, and love for their families is why they try to stay under the radar of the media.

As explained in the following quote, their priorities include their love for each other, their families and the music. "We focus on what the Caroline's Spine project is really about: four friends getting together to celebrate music." The band members are also very elusive and prefer a quiet life with their families to the spotlights of Hollywood.

Caroline's Spine enjoys doing their own promotion and toured relentlessly in the beginning of their careers, so much so that they were afraid of a takeover by a large label. They were one of the top five unsigned touring bands for the longest time until finally signing with Hollywood records. This merger resulted in the bands release of their ever popular album Monsoon.
The most popular song on this album, Sullivan, became a minor rock classic almost over night. Packed with Jimmy Newquist's lyrical imagery, Sullivan is about five brothers during World War II whose deaths resulted in the enforcement of the Sole Survivor military policy. The Sullivan brothers, natives of Waterloo Iowa, enlisted in the military with the stipulation that they served together. The sinking of their light crusier USS Juneau, the vessel on which they all served, resulted in their deaths and the enforcement of the policy that separates immediate family members from serving together and also may protect a member of a family from the draft or combat that has already lost immediate family in active duty.

When reviewed for Rolling Stone Jimmy Newquist describes his inspiration for the imagery in Sullivan, "The song was an act of love," Newquist said. "I sleep well at night knowing that I brought attention to something that shouldn't be forgotten."
When talking to him at the Machine Shop Jimmy explained that he comes from a large family and that this little bit of history really hits home for him. By writing songs that are loaded with lyrical imagery and drive home some pretty heavy guitar rock, Caroline's Spine hopes to reinforce some of those "age-old" rock foundations through their music.

Released in 2007, the new album Captured brings Caroline's Spine full circle with more lyrical imagery packed songs for fans to discover from these friendly musicians. This time the album is being released by Jimmy Newquist's own record label, 7thkid Entertainment based out of Phoenix Arizona. The band's large devoted fan base has been starving for new material since their last album was released in 2002. Captured features some of the best material in the band's catalog, ranging from hard-driving rock songs such as "Instrument of Change," "Lost," "Last Goodbye" and "Bang" to softer drawn out tracks such as "Unreal."

Unknown to the main stream but with a loyal fan base, Caroline's Spine continues to play too sold out audiences. Their goal is to share music with each other, their fans, and friends, but mostly to have a good time. If you want to get close and personal with some great musicians, feel like you're at a jam session with the guy next door, or just listen a story or two I suggest checking these guys out at Caorlinespine.com.

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