JARED WOOSLEY (vocals)
JESSE LACROSS (guitars)
BRAD COLE (guitars)
MATT TURNER (bass)
SHANE ADDINGTON (drums)
Seattle . Athens , Georgia . Detroit . New York . Montreal . In the last two decades, each city has been lauded as the next rock?n?roll capital. But what about Phoenix ? That heated Arizona metropolis is home to one of the most important and prominent rock scenes in the country, starting with platinum rock gods Jimmy Eat World and including such critically lauded acts as Reubens Accomplice and major label newcomers The Format and Authority Zero.
To that list, you can now add Fivespeed. Although the band has spent the past few years developing a strong nation-wide fan base (thanks in part to multiple shows and tours with bands including Finch, Blindside, Jimmy Eat World, Recover, Breaking Benjamin, At the Drive-In, Further Seems Forever, Sparta, From Autumn to Ashes and the 2002 and 2005 Warped Tours, among others), it?s the group?s musically appreciative home town that helped shaped Fivespeed?s sound and style.
?We?ve got a really strong local music scene here in Phoenix ,? explains frontman Jared Woosley. ?I think this is the kind of area where you can really develop as a musician. We released one album (Trade in Your Halo) on our friend?s local label, and that did phenomenally well for us. It allowed us to get a lot of gigs around here, and it really made us confident that things would happen for us when the time was right.?
That confidence shows through brightly on the band?s Virgin Records debut Morning Over Midnight (release date is set for January 24, 2006), which features a rugged blend of power and melody, as well as a musical diversity not heard from today?s hard rock bands. The opening tirade ?Fair Trade? may start off with Woosley moaning ?I lost all the friends I know,? but that?s it for any self-loathing. Suddenly, the screaming guitars of Jesse Lacross and Brad Cole swoop in and take the track in an unexpected new direction, with Woosley closing the song with an upbeat message of ?in the end, we?ll make things right.?
?Everyone in this band is involved in the writing,? says Woosley. ?And we each come at our songs from very different places. When it all comes together, it?s very distinct. Diversity is one of the keys to what we do?no two songs sound the same.?
The experimental mode continues throughout Morning, with hints of punk, metal and even pop surfacing up, often all at once. The album standout, ?Blame It on You,? is a charged rock ballad that easily compares with the Foo Fighters and Green Day in their quieter moments, while ?Vegas? goes completely the other direction, employing an unusual, almost thrashy song structure that never settles in one area or tempo for long. It?s disquieting, yet equally evocative. Then there?s the album?s first single, ?The Mess,? which appears to settle comfortably into a midtempo groove, only to shift into an unexpected and highly charged drum breakdown near the end.
?We like playing with power, but you can?t use volume to disguise a bad melody or a poorly conceived song,? explains Woosley, who cites Jane?s Addiction, the Deftones and even Willie Nelson as major influences in Fivespeed?s sound. ?If there?s power and volume, it has to be there to enhance what you?ve written, and that?s the way we approached the material for this album.? That attitude helps explains the more left-field racks such as ?Touch of One,? which manages to both sound wholly contemporary and a bit like a great, lost soundtrack nugget from an 80s John Hughes flick.
For now, the band is putting together its tour plans in anticipation for the Morning?s release. After years on the road and watching their Arizona-based peers hit the big-time, Woosley thinks its time for his band to share the spotlight. ?I can honestly say that there was never a moment when we questioned if we would eventually get where we wanted to,? Woosley said. ?None of us ever gave a thought to giving up our rock and roll dreams and doing something else. We have supreme confidence in ourselves and in the music we make. I like to think you can hear that on every song we play."