The Loved Ones (12 mars 2006)
Originaire de Philadelphie – berceau de PAINT IT BLACK, KILL THE MAN WHO QUESTIONS, THIS DAY FORWARD, ALL ELSE FAILED et bien d'autres - THE LOVED ONES est un groupe formé d'individus au pedigree impressionnant. Leur chanteur et guitariste Dave Haus a longtemps été roadie pour SICK OF IT ALL et KID DYNAMITE, a organisé une tonne et demie de concerts dont plusieurs pour les BOUNCING SOULS, et a tenu le rôle de guitariste pour PAINT IT BLACK circa CVA; leur bassiste Michael “Spider” Cotterman a pris part à la courte épopée de KID DYNAMITE à l'époque de Shorter, Louder, Faster, et leur batteur Mike Sneeringer quant à lui a fait partie de TRIAL BY FIRE. Que THE LOVED ONES lancent leur premier EP sur l'étiquette Jade Tree n'étonne donc personne.
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“We kind of thought instead of waiting around to land a record deal that pays a bunch of money or whatever, let's just get started and put five songs out as an EP on Jade Tree. It was a way to get started and to get people to know what we were doing. And they were willing to put that out without any strings attached, which was cool. It was sort of a family decision as well, and a way to get started without any of the hassles of like, “now you're signed for five records” or something,” se rappelle Dave.
LA FAMILLE TLO
Il existe autour de son groupe une forte impression de “tricotté serré”, et TLO découpent leur présent dans le moule des fondations de leur passé: ils partageront la scène avec PAINT IT BLACK et ARMALITE lors de leur lancement d'album qui a lieu ce soir au First Unitarian Chruch de Philadelphie; deux de leurs vidéos ont été exécutés sous la direction de Jason Shevchuk [ex-chanteur de KID DYNAMITE et présentement dans les rangs de NONE MORE BLACK]; le groupe a ouvert le bal pour les récents spectacles de réunion de LIFETIME sur la côte Ouest américaine, et Colin McGinnis [PAINT IT BLACK] apparaît en tant que guitariste invité sur le premier album des LOVED ONES.
Une lignée hardcore telle que celle qui figure dans le passé des membres de TLO n'aurait logiquement dû qu'aboutir en un son similaire pour la formation. Pourtant, tant sur leur EP éponyme (Jade Tree, 2005) que sur leur premier long jeu, Keep Your Heart, disponible depuis le 21 février, le groupe nous offre quelque chose qui s'éloigne sensiblement de ce qu'on aurait pu anticiper. Du bon punk rock mélodique à la sauce East Coast, disons. “It's just a band, you know? A rock and roll band, I guess you could call it that. I didn't want to put anything in a pigeonhole sort of way, I just wanted to make music that I was psyched on,” lance Dave, assis sur un banc aux côtés de leur stage manager Ford, au fond de la pièce qui leur tient lieu de loge au Palladium de Worcester (MA). THE LOVED ONES se retrouvent à lancer leur premier album sur Fat Wreck Chords, avec le privilège d'assurer la première partie pour NOFX au courant de leur dernière tournée. Pas trop mal pour un groupe dont la formation date de la fin 2003.
“I think it's positive in that all these great people that we worked with and for over the years have been willing to take a chance on us, put us on their shows and put us on their labels. That part of it is totally invaluable – we've been able to sidestep a lifetime's worth of work and just get right to the point of getting to do all this stuff and play these huge shows.” Mais de se retrouver dans leurs souliers n'a pas seulement que de bons côtés, remarque-t-il. “You're immediately put into the public eye without any time to grow on your own. So, for a band like, say, THE BOUNCING SOULS, it took them years and years and years of just running around New Jersey playing backyards 'til they knew what they sounded like, what they wanted to do and how they wanted to present themselves; There's a lot of the growing pains that they went through that no one saw. With THE LOVED ONES, as we progress, people will see everything because there's a focus on the band. That's certainly nothing to complain about, but something that we have to keep in mind when we play shows and when we do interviews and when we do everything.”
On apprend de ses erreurs, et on bâti à partir de ce qui a réussi. “We've all been in failed bands, and I've worked for successful bands too, so we've learned a lot of what to do and a lot of what not to do, and we've been able to make decisions based on that knowledge [...] [The most important lesson I've learned is] to be yourself, because I think that's what all of those bands encouraged me to do; To play music and do something that was not facilitating someone else's vision but my own.”
La famille TLO s'étend même jusqu'au concepteur graphique
Dave Klug, qui est responsable de leurs deux pochettes d'album ainsi que de leur ancien site web. “Dave is an old friend of Mike our drummer, and he was willing to do all that stuff for next to nothing. For the cover concept for the EP and for the album, I had this specific thing in my head that I wanted to see, but I'm not that visually artistic, so it was painstaking – I was like, “No, not that... No, not that,” he'd keep bring in these covers... I'm sure it was frustrating for him. But he did an awesome job on both of those releases and definitely on the old website. He brings his own flair to it as well, he's a really talented guy. I hope he gets lots of business, or some business, from doing our artwork because we definitely weren't able to pay him at the time. And even still now, there's not a lot of money when you're in a band unless you're huge, and he did a lot of that stuff for free which is telling you of his heart – he's a good guy.”
Ça donne une drôle d'impression que de s'entretenir avec quelqu'un dont le groupe n'en est encore qu'à ses débuts mais dont les propos trahissent une maturité évidente. Il est d'autant plus impossible de ne pas comprendre que Dave Haus a un plan en tête et l'a mis en oeuvre dès les premières démos de son groupe. Au sujet de leur apparition chez Fat Wreck Chords, il raconte: “I know Fat Mike from touring with the BOUNCING SOULS, [Fat] asked for the demo and we sent it to him and they said, can you send us more demos? So it was kind of like, if he's not willing to just sign us based on this demo, then is he ever going to be willing to sign us? And we needed to just get started. So we decided to make that EP [on Jade Tree]. Then, when it came time to make the record, we had played a show with NOFX and he said, can you please just send me the demos of what the album is going to sound like? So once we did that, he said, I love them and I want to put out the record. So to some degree, Fat Wreck was always in the mix, but I guess Mike wasn't quite ready 'til he was ready – which is fine. We got started anyways, and I think it was a good move.”
Maintenant que la machine commence à rouler, dans le camp TLO, on prend tout de même les choses au jour le jour. “Mike and Michael have their situations set up a little bit more condusive to touring because they don't own houses or anything like that, they're a little bit smarter in terms of just making things simple so that they can tour. I don't have a simple life [laughs] – I'm married with a kid and a house and I have a construction business that I started in order to facilitate doing music. Keeping all those things afloat is hard, it's really hard. And yeah, we are putting on records, and we should go on tour, but we don't have to do anything. And I think that's kind of the point of headlining, to say “these are LOVED ONES shows and they'll happen when we want them to happen.” I think a lot of bands are trying to just open shows – and that's fine, that's one way to go – but you're always sort of playing on someone else's schedule.”
Et bien que tout semble pointer dans la bonne direction pour le groupe, les attentes sont humbles. “To some degree, I think we're already hugely successful - people know who we are, and that's cool. I think though, realistically, you set new goals over time [...] The ultimate goal I guess to be successful would be to be a band that people would want to come see regardless of who we're playing with, to be the band at the top of the bill, to put on LOVED ONES shows where people come and experience what we're about and I guess just get touched by what we do.”
Vous aurez l'occasion de voir THE LOVED ONES en sol canadien pour la deuxième fois – ils étaient aux côtés de THE EXPLOSION l'an dernier – lorsqu'ils seront de passage à Montréal pour la tournée Grind Tour en compagnie de THE MAD CADDIES, SATANIC SURFERS et SUBB, qui s'arrête au Spectrum le 20 mai prochain.
“I like Canada, I like Eastern Canada a lot more than Western Canada cause the drives are way shorter – I look at everything from a touring perspective. But I love Canada, it's great, people are really supportive of American music and music in general, and certainly of our record label. It should be fun – I'm a little bit weirded out by that tour to be honest with you. I'm psyched to be on it, but... the SATANIC SURFERS? What the hell is that?! [laughs] I don't even know what that is. THE MAD CADDIES are a ska band, right?”
Ça y est, il est définitivement grand temps qu'ils sortent de leur petit cercle à Philly...
Merci à Dave d'avoir pris le temps de discuter avec nous, à Rob chez Fat Wreck Chords ainsi qu'à Vanessa pour son aide.