The 'Guitar-ded' Release By Seven Mary Three
ready for the rock," mock-warns Seven Mary Three. In fact, from
the opening salvo of the balls-out "Settle Up" to the aggro
"Bark No Bite" to the emotive first single, "Without You
is indeed "guitar-ded," full of "1970s dirge-y, dirty type of riffs,"
observes singer Jason Ross.
group's fifth outing, scheduled for release on May 11th, captures
the raw power of the literate, universally personal songs of band
founders Ross, Giti Khalsa, Casey Daniel, and
the lineup's "new" guitarist of four years, Thomas Juliano.
Dis/Located's 11 tunes, in fact, represent the most immediate, from-the-gut
collection in a stellar career that began with 1995's platinum-plus
American Standard and its massive radio hit "Cumbersome,"
and was furthered on tours with Aerosmith and Matchbox Twenty and
subsequent albums showcasing the young band's insightful, timeless
take on rock.
2001's Economy of Sound represented a new start in Seven Mary Three's
musical life with the addition of Juliano, Dis/Located
is even more of a fresh beginning. "We didn't reinvent the wheel,
but we reclaimed the reason we started the band by making this record,"
Ross says. "It's brash. The record was made quickly, and we were
forced to make quick decisions, so it became the document of a definitive
time. That time? January 2004.
day we worked on this album it got better, more fun," recalls Ross
of the disc that was trackedčand partially written--in a mere 20
days in the musical mecca of Athens, Georgia.
feel this is a record where we didn't have expectations, ours or
anyone's. We didn't have a label to say, 'well, you know, we want
something that can cross over to multiple formats, why don't you
write 'Cumbersome' part four?"
the band's label, went out of business, the dozen bands on its roster
homeless in late 2002. Seven Mary Three also split with their manager,
signed with new representation (and old friend Steve Balcom), then,
after live gigs that put fresh wind in their sails, inked a joint
venture with DRT Entertainment.
a cursory listen to Dis/Location
will reveal some of the band's state of mind, musically interpreted,
and the title also references the constant touring which kept the
band from home more than six months out of every year. "One of the
other reasons it's called Dis/Location is because it's completely
polar: Makeup songs and breakup songs," says lyricist Ross.
hate songs are really seething, sublime kinds of disconnect, while
the love songs are nuanced, 'I like the flaws' stuff. Then there's
'Made to Be Broken,' which was written when Mammoth was dissolving.
I hate it when people write songs about the music business, because
who gets to enjoy that?" he laughs, adding: "But there was a period
of time when things were so what I didn't want them to be. And I
was getting angrier, so I wrote this song as a reminder."
songs also explore the terrifying vulnerability of deep love ("Oceans
of Envy"), a momentary epiphany when looking into a stranger's
eyes ("Where Are You Calling From"), the perils of a never-ending
party ("Settle Up") and the semi-title track, "Dislocated,"
which Ross terms the "un-'Cumbersome.' If 'Cumbersome' is the call,
then 'Dislocated' is the response."
sometimes-dark topics that will connect with reflective music fans,
Ross notes that Dis/Location, co-produced, engineered and mixed
by Brian Paulson (Beck, Wilco, Son Volt) in Athens' Chase
Park Studios, was a lot of fun to make. He also dispels the band's
sometimes too-serious image. "In Athens, we stayed in this scary
hotelčthey always put you in the 'murder room,' the first-floor
corner by where the chain-link fence has a hole for the killer to
escape," says Ross, he of the vivid imagination. Fortunately, Seven
Mary Three emerged unscathed from the recording process, and unlike
previous records, where the frontman retreated into "monk mode,"
this outing he decided to enjoy himself.
fell in love with this one bar, and after recording from 1p.m. to
1 a.m., we'd hit last call there. We'd have nightly talks with the
bartenders about what the worst songs and best songs ever written.
I wrote a bunch of potential future lyrics while I was there. I
met a really cool poet," Ross furthers. He looked like Hemingway
when he came into the bar at 1:15 every night, and he gave me the
good advice to enjoy myself, to revel a bit."
of that enjoyment was the fast-and-loose vibe that went into the
"I'd written and kept notebooks all year long, so I already had
all the lyrics written down, but not pieced together," Ross explains.
"I'd write a chorus or a verse, but it was more fun for me this
way, as I didn't sit on my couch at home playing the songs until
they were dead. I just took all my words with me, put them on music
stands, and when the music played, I sang. While we were doing the
basic tracks I'd put down a scratch vocal, that's when the song
was really written."
it's been a busy, full-of-change several years for the band. And
Ross, who formed the lineup in 1992 at the College of William and
Mary in Virginia while still a teen, does ruminate on Seven Mary
Three's place in the musical scheme of things: "It takes a lot of
work to survive in this business if you don't have the big machine
behind you - and even if you do have it! I guarantee you, Beyonce
is fucking tired," he laughs.
can never rest in this business. Seven Mary Three have had scant
time to rest in the last decade, and the band, once based in Orlando,
is now spread out from Boston to Florida to North Carolina, making
writing a technological challenge. Still, unlike so many of their
brethren, Seven Mary Three is surviving and thriving. And as to
the loose theme of Dis/Location,
it made itself apparent during the making of the record.
it's more of an unintentional goal than a theme: "Someone saves
you, shows you a way to save yourself from yourself---a lot of these
songs address that," muses Ross. "I'm hoping that's what the songs
will do for someone else - help to enlighten, but not in any high-minded
way. The best art, music and literature is not exclusionary; it's
usually about emotions everyone has."
tapping into those emotions has been the key to Seven Mary Three's
success. That and one other thing: "We've never really caved into
pressure. Win or lose, we've done it all on our own all these years,"
Ross concludes, "and that's the thing I'm most proud of. We've stuck
to our guns. This record is the beginning of the rest."
by the MusicDish
Network. Copyright © Tag
It 2004 - Republished with Permission
to Hybrid Studios MAIN NEWS page