"Being the first to embrace an original band with a unique vision takes balls, because doing so is an exercise in uncertainty and fear of 'What will everyone else think?' Famous Underground is that road test, you're the deer in their headlights, and the impact is a skull-rattling reminder that a stand-alone identity in the here and now overshadows past glories and current blood-sucking music industry trends."
(Carl Begai / BW&BK)
Famous Underground is led by vocalist Nicholas Walsh, formerly frontman of the band Slik Toxik. Folks that remember life before grunge may recall the Canadian hard rock outfit kicking up a proverbial storm in the early '90s. The band achieved Gold status in Canada with their full length debut Doin' The Nasty and took home the 1993 Juno Award (Canada's version of the Grammy) for Best Album of The Year. Sadly, in spite of their success Slik Toxik called it quits in 1995 as grunge tightened its hold on the music scene.
Nick isn't one to simply fade into the background, however. Biding his time, honing his craft, he continued to work as a musician and spent close to 10 years fronting Revolver – a dark and dangerous new take on what Slik Toxik started – with long-time bassist/musical partner Laurie-Anne Green at his side. In the fall of 2011, Nick and Laurie-Anne had several new songs ready to go, which resulted in a new outlook and excitement for the future. They decided to start a new project and recruited musicians to form Famous Underground.
There are so many sub-genres in metal and rock now, our music is a combination of different varieties of hard rock and heavy metal. "I'm a fan of a lot of the metal or rock that's out today," says Nick, also a discerning fan of old school metal bands like Mercyful Fate, Crimson Glory and Iron Maiden. "Out of the 'new' groups out there, we like Avenged Sevenfold, Stone Sour, Disturbed, and part of the reason for that is you can hear elements of some of the stuff that influenced us so much.
Ultimately, Walsh prefers to let the music do the talking. Famous Underground's self-titled debut features 11 songs that run the gamut from up-tempo crushers to groove-stomp-heavy anthems to arena rock ballads, with no apologies offered for being unpredictable.
Nick: "Famous Underground is all-encompassing because we like all kinds of music. Look at Guns N' Roses, who were hailed as one of the most dangerous bands around back in the day. They also put out 'Sweet Child O' Mine' and an album (G'N'R Lies) with a bunch of acoustic stuff on it. We're one of those types of bands. We're not going to paint ourselves into a corner and strictly do one form of rock or metal."
"I think Famous Underground is a band that sings about the human condition," Nick offers. "We're not preaching, but we're pointing things out to people, saying 'Look around at the world you're living in.' There are things going on that need to be brought to people's attention, and if they don't get it in a song they're not going to get it at all."
And class is always in session when Famous Underground is on stage. Focused, uncompromising, even if you go into one of the band's shows without having heard a note beforehand, you'll leave with a lasting impression tattooed on your brain. Famous Underground is as much about drawing the audience in as they are about getting the music out.
Nick: "When we rehearse, we engage each other and get our initial vibes from the music that we perform together, but on the stage that vibe turns into a much larger connection. We really like to create and feel that connection with our audience.
Famous Underground is also a band that gives the fans what they paid for at the door. Rather than indulging in nonsensical mid-set jams, they keep things as close to the album as possible. As Nick puts it, "Even when we have an element of surprise or introduce something a little different on stage, there is always thought put behind our actions."
Laurie-Anne: "We can't wait to get out there and perform this album for everyone." The fans will have the chance to take part in the Famous Underground experience soon enough, and the band is chomping at the bit to bring their one-of-a-kind show to the people.
These musicians have independently garnered critical acclaim supporting such acts as Motley Crue, Def Leppard, Kid Rock, Black Sabbath, Billy Talent, Yngwie Malmsteen, April Wine and many other international acts.