guitar player magazine 1987
Alex Lifeson – Rik Emmett – Liona Boyd – Ed Bickert – BEYOND BORDERS
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The True “Calling” of Alex Band?
Although this article is about a Band, it is not about a Band that’s an actual Band! Confused? OK then~ this ought to clear things up:
Currently, give or take a record or two, 29-year-old Alex Max Band, (a/k/a Alex Band) and his rock group have sold 8 million records. On that same subject, it just so happens that one of Band’s biggest idols; 50-year-old U2 lead vocalist & song writer Paul David Hewson, (a/k/a Bono) has sold a lot of records too~ over 150 million of them!
Truly, that is a colossal sales number; and because of that, Bono’s U2 undoubtedly is “The Most Popular Recording Group in the World Today!” While it is true that the number of Alex Band’s record sales is a number that’s far less than that of Bono’s, the main fact of the matter here is this: you either own one of Band’s songs right now, or else you have recently sang along with one while listening to the radio!
In a few moments, I will tell you the name of Alex Band’s Band, and in addition to that; I will provide you with some of its pertinent history. However, before I do that though, it’s imperative to the theme of this article that you first know this:
In Alex Band’s Biography on alexband.net, Alex states that he is big fan of the music of the rock group U2, and at times during the recent past; he’s even indicated that the lyrics of the iconic Irish rockers 1987 hit song, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” are “inspiring” to him; i.e. the song’s words have a special meaning!
Perhaps it’s just a coincidence or maybe it’s some kind of an omen, but in the Grand Scheme of Things, Band’s fondness for the melodic U2 classic song might ironically turn out to be even more meaningful for him then he realizes!
While you may or may not be familiar with or recognize the name Alex Band, the fact of the matter here is that unless you are a baby; was just born yesterday; or have been living on some other planet up until now, the odds are very good that you are quite familiar with the sound of the voice.
Born June 8th, 1981 in Los Angeles, California, Alex Band is the former lead vocalist, songwriter, and performer from a California-based rock group known throughout the world since 2001 as “The Calling!”
His latest biography informs us of the fact that the inspiring sound of his powerful, emotionally charged voice is often instantly recognizable to millions of music lovers, thanks to The Calling’s modern-day classics like “Adrienne,” “Our Lives” and their chart-topping hit “Wherever You Will Go.” Many of Band’s loyal fans have lovingly nicknamed this modern musical masterpiece “WYWG”, and evidently, Billboard Magazine has another name for “Wherever You Will Go” too, because recently~ its Adult Pop Chart named it this: “The #1 Song of the Decade!”
(Billboard is a popular weekly music publication that has been in existence for 109 years. Record label executives, recording artists, musicians, record producers etc. often refer to it as being “The Bible of the Music Industry.“)
According to an article in Wikipedia, in its debut year “WYWG” spent 27 weeks in the #1 position on Billboard’s Hot AC Charts, and in addition, the catchy tune was awarded a BDS Award for 800,000 spins. That same article also informs us that by the end of 2002, WYWG had become one of the biggest songs in the world, and that it received more than 3 million performances, and held the 2nd place record for staying at number 1 at Adult Top 40 radio the longest amount of time in history, just behind Santana’s “Smooth”.
Now-a-days, the song still gets a lot of daily airplay, and that, combined with the popularity of the song and the impact that it has had on people, totally amazes Alex Band. Perhaps it all has something to do with the song’s meaning? According to Band, who was just 16 when he co-wrote WYWG along with his guitarist & friend, Aaron Kamin; the song’s origin was once explained during an interview with Kiss 92.
“I wrote it at the time when my Grandmother’s best friend had passed away. She had left behind a husband of fifty or more years and I was at the funeral and afterwards, I just started thinking of what it would be like to be him and have your whole life change so dramatically and not for the best in a matter of moments… Somebody that you live and grow with and are one with, just to be gone, is crazy and I figured all he ever thinks about probably is finding a way to get back to her or be with her or make sure she’s alright or something like that. That was the sentiment behind that song.”
There’s no doubt about it: Alex Band’s success with The Calling is phenomenal! Remarkably, “WYWG” still remains a staple in today’s Adult Pop format, while “Our Lives” is often heavily used as a bumper on ESPN and in other sports programming.
Since parting ways with The Calling 5 years ago and opting to go solo, Alex has been in Musical Exile for the most part. However, between trying to have some sort of a private life; doing an occasional small tour here and there; charity work; writing songs; sorting out legal issues pertaining to his relationships with the Recording Industry; and doing his best to maintain his sanity, he certainly has had an awful lot on his plate to keep himself busy while being out of the limelight!
Speaking about being out of the limelight, there was a short period during that time when Band had momentarily felt unsure of his musical future. He wrote a song about what he was feeling back then too; here are some of its lyrics:
“Last Goodbye!” By: Alex Band
“I turn the page, my story ends, I say goodbye to all my friends,
I know it’s getting late… well the light is on my face.
I changed the clocks back again, and ask forgiveness for all my sins,
Cause I don’t know where I’ll go, well this is all that I really know…
I’ll keep holding on, I’ll keep singing my song,
It gets me through it; I’ve got the scars to prove it.
I know the road is long, but I’m staying strong,
So don’t cry, this is not my last goodbye…
Let me play for you… Let this heart ring true…
One more time… Just one more time!”
During an April, 2010 radio promo in Princeton, New Jersey; I had the pleasure of watching Band perform 5 of his awesome songs. Seeing and hearing him live is an incredible experience, and when he sings; he truly does let his heart ring true. Afterwards, the smiling green-eyed artist was quite sincere when he talked to me about himself, his music, and his fans. As we conversed, I sensed an obvious aurora about him too; an aurora that immediately made me feel comfortable in his presence.
From the moment when we first met, it was quite obvious to me that Alex Band is a person of class, and that he’s someone who treasures true friendships and has the deepest of respect for others. To sum up his persona in a nutshell, people that meet him might likely be very much inclined to say this: Alex Max Band is an extremely polite, charming, charismatic, caring, and down-to-earth but yet professional, easily and very likable individual.”
With all of that being the case, it’s no wonder then that millions of his dedicated fans often attest to his loyalty; to the tight bond that exists between them. Numerous world-wide Fan Club board postings, Chat Room discussions, MySpace blogs, Facebook comments, and Twitter “Tweets” all display an almost countless number of “positive” testimonies and other good things to say from fans everywhere.
The artist/fan love relationship that Band and his fans share and enjoy seems incredible in itself; especially when one takes it into consideration that he has managed to maintain and even add to his undeniably huge world-wide fan base regardless of the fact that he’s been out of the mainstream media for the past 5 years.
At the age of 29 now, Alex still maintains his youthful boyish good looks; but after growing tired of going through the salon ordeal just to dye his hair blond, he chose to allow it to grow back to his natural chestnut brown color. It’s evident too, that he has matured somewhat, both musically and personally; and this adult maturity seems to suit him well. Evidence of this is perfectly demonstrated through his meaningful song lyrics, and also by the deep compassion that he has for mankind’s well-being.
Throughout most of his career, Band has worked with several charities. However, after an illness his ex-wife dealt with, he seems to have zeroed in on one in particular because he has became a huge supporter of organ donation, working closely with the charity Donate Life America.
In October of 2007, the singer performed at his first “Alex Band’s Donate Life Rocks Concert” to raise money and awareness for the cause, and he has continued to do so annually ever since.
Each year Debbie Hagerman, who runs his official fan site, organizes a birthday charity project in Band’s name asking in lieu of gifts that fans donate to his favorite charity instead. In addition, a calendar is produced each year too; one showcasing Alex in concert and all proceeds from its sales go to The Alex Band Education Fund for Donate Life. To date, these projects have risen over $30,000 in honor of the singer. Recently, Donate Life Hollywood proudly awarded Alex Band the #2 spot in its “2010 Hollywood Person of the Year Award!”
Band’s first full-length Solo CD entitled, “We’ve All Been There,” will be released in the USA on June 29th, 2010, and then world-wide soon thereafter. The14 song CD was co-produced by Band, along with Matt Serletic (Rob Thomas, Collective Soul); John Fields (Switchfoot, Jonas Brothers); and Tal Herzberg (Black Eyes Peas, Christina Aguilera).
After leaving RCA/BMG 5 years ago, Alex signed with Ron Fair at Interscope/Geffen Records as a solo artist. However, due to a rapidly changing music business, he recently decided to leave Geffen and major labels in general and instead, to release his music here in the United States on his very own label called AMB Records.
According to Band’s official Bio, International Releases of the CD will be on the EMI Records Label because of their excellent marketing capabilities. In addition, EMI will also solely be in charge of the handling of the CD’s distribution world-wide.
Alex is now touring throughout the United States & Europe with some awesome new musicians; performing old favorites from “The Calling” days and lots of great new songs as well. Northeastern US area shows scheduled include Sayreville, New Jersey at the Starland Ballroom on July 9th; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on August 3rd at World Café Live; and in New York City on August 6th at the HighLine Ballroom. New shows are being added almost daily too, so if you wish to check to see if any will be in your area, you can do that by logging onto Alex’s website. The link to it is listed near the end of one of the paragraphs below.
In addition to touring, Alex also continues to do some occasional acoustic radio promotions in order to help promote his new awesome first single, “Tonight!” The track has also been used in the CW series The Vampire Diaries and can be heard in the TV campaign for this summer’s World Cup (just as “Our Lives” was played over the closing ceremonies of the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics).
Working with the production crew from the Twilight series of feature films, the striking video for the song features Alex doing his own stunts, including jumping—or even more accurately flying—off the top of a cliff. The video was filmed at a friend’s mansion in the Hollywood Hills, and it was directed by TV veteran David Barrett (The Vampire Diaries, CSI NY, and NCIS: Los Angeles). You can check it out on YouTube; on MySpace; on alexband.net; and on the Vampire Diaries Fan site too.
As the video reveals, the song describes a supernatural love story. “I didn’t want to write a conventional love song,” explains Band. “I wanted it to have some weirder meaning—and this was before the resurgence of the vampire love story, but I’d just seen the movie Underworld, and I thought it would be cool and different to write about a vampire trying to win over this girl and to be able to have her for one night. So that led to lines like, ‘Let the music take us over/we’ll fall into forever, all is right/’Cause I got you where I want you/Tonight.'” (The video also features Band’s current beautiful fiancée, Kristin Blanford. Alex & Kristin became engaged during this past February, 2010.)
The melodic song itself, displays a slightly more mature & bigger sound when compared that of The Calling era, but the vocals in it are typical of Alex: strong~ compassionate~ and pleasantly haunting.
The musicianship is of excellent quality too; sounds outstanding! Playing alongside Band, who plays guitars and several of the bass lines, were some of the best musicians on the planet, including drummers Abe Laboriel Jr., Dorian Crozier and Kenny Aronoff, keyboard player Jamie Muhoberac and guitarist Tim Pierce. The renowned Paul Buckmaster (Elton John’s ’70s classics) contributed string arrangements to several tracks, and Chris Lord-Alge mixed the album, as he’d done with The Calling.
The single was officially released to radio in the United States on March 22nd, 2010, and both the single and the video to it are available for purchase on iTunes. For additional information about Alex Band and for his latest updates, visit his brand new official website at www.alexband.net. You can also follow him on Twitter, on Facebook, and on MySpace too at: www.myspace.com/alexbandmusic.
Alex Band: Will he finally find what he’s looking for? Will he succeed as a solo recording artist… and are there really ironic connections between him and U2’s music?
Only time knows those answers! However~ If you recall back to the beginning of this article, you will remember that I had mentioned that Alex Band has previously hinted that the U2 song, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” has a “special meaning” to him; and in addition to that, you more than likely will recall that I stated that, that in itself, may just turn out to be ironic!
Well… I will now explain what I meant by saying that, and moreover, I’ll also show you that it’s quite possible that some of the answers to the questions concerning Alex Band’s future may lay within the lyrics of that “special meaning” song by quoting actual lyrics from it in my closing paragraphs below.
Alex Band has already “run through the fields” of music; he had done that when he “crawled” and “scaled” his way through LA’s “city walls… only to be with you” so that he could obtain success via The Calling. It’s also true too, that when he scored The Number One Song of the Decade on Billboards Charts, he had “climbed the highest mountain” musically. With that having been said, one cannot help but to wonder this: Will Alex Band’s belief in himself and in his musical “Kingdome Come” solo career pay off and come to bear fruit as “all the colors” of his music “bleed into one”?
Finally, could it be that the reality of all of this is that this new endeavor by Band is his actual true “Calling” in life? Obviously, and once again; only time will tell. One thing is certain though: Alex Band’s Last Goodbye appears to be a very, very long way off as his complex career continues onward with his simple phrase, “We’ve All Been There!”
guitar player magazine 1987