Like the now-defunct roller coaster the band grew up riding which gives them their name, Dexter Freebish's Capitol Records debut, A Life of Saturdays, takes you on a visceral ride, a thrilling rock & roll journey filled with hairpin turns, dramatic ups and downs and the kind of exhilaration which only comes from great songs with lots of energy. From the Cars-meets-U2 of Leaving Town, the first single (and winner of the prestigious John Lennon Songwriting Contest as Song of the Year) to Tomorrow the minor-chord tribute to the friends and relatives who helped them along the way, the fivesome are committed to the art of the song, a tradition that stretches back to the Beatles and incorporates such disparate influences as The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, U2, the Verve, Neil Diamond, Portishead, Led Zeppelin, and Duran Duran.
"People will put us in whatever category they want to", says vocalist Kyle, who originally hooked up with bassist Chris Lowe to write songs and play together acoustically before adding Charles, then Rob and then finally Scott. "We're not afraid to be labeled pop, because we are a rock band. We just want people to enjoy our music and get something out of it."
Recorded in Los Angeles, some in Capitol's famed Studio A, and produced by John Travis [Sugar Ray, Kid Rock, Social Distortion], John Shanks [Melissa Etheridge, Stevie Nicks], Steve Schnur [Abra Moore] and the band, A Life of Saturdays is a throwback to albums that work as a seamless set of songs, one leading into the other, a full palette of sounds leaving their indelible marks–the angular new wave beats and hard-edged guitars of My Madonna, with its tongue-in-cheek tribute to a larger-than-life woman who1s the leader of her own world order... a goddess of her own religion; the psychedelic buzz and techno-beats Higher; the soaring strings and climactic build of What Do You See, a clarion call to follow your dreams and find the transcendent in the everyday; the English art-rock insouciance of Spotlight and its sardonic look at celebrity, featuring some sounds and scratching by Beck's disc jockey, DJ Swamp; the Clash-styled punk-rock verve of Deeper (one of several songs featuring the exaggerated highs and lows of an amusement park ride); the buzz saw pop of the title track, praising a lifestyle based on pure satisfaction; the reggaefied dance-rock wide-screen production of Wonderland; and the final whimper-rather-than-a-bang benediction of the swirling, shimmering Bring Me Water, with its Eastern feel and supplicant chant.
"We try to write lyrics about the things that have happened to us in our lives", explains Kyle. The songs are about what we've gone through and I'm sure other people have gone through, too. And it's all about not feeling so alone because someone else is going through what you are. We want our music to lift people up, to encourage them to go for what they want in life." Dexter Freebish create a world that both harks back to happier times in the past, but looks forward to the future with renewed passion and commitment.
This is no fly-by-night rock & roll band, nor are they burned out before they even get to the first step. The band was signed to Capitol Records in March 1999, then played a triumphant show at that years SxSW conference in Austin, TX. After starting to record their label debut, the bands Leaving Town won Song of the Year in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, sponsored by EMI Music Publishing, Maxell and Yamaha. The track was chosen from over 27,000 entries and voted on by more than 60 celebrities, including Elton John, Wyclef Jean, Foo Fighters, Brooks and Dunn, Barenaked Ladies, Paula Cole and George Clinton, among others. The single received airplay at several Rock stations like KLBJ in Austin, TX, where it attracted #1 phones, and WXDX Pittsburgh. "We were honored because the award was voted on by songwriters we really revered", says Kyle. "What makes this band unique is the fact they're absolutely song-driven", says Steve Schnur, who co-produced the album.
With their songs there is a real sense of familiarity, but at the same time, a newness to their music." "One of our main goals is to create a classic album that will be around forever," says Charles. "I think we achieved that on A Life of Saturdays. We didnt let anything go by without being a hundred percent satisfied." "We dream big, we always have," says Kyle. "If we hadnt, we never would have tried to get signed. We want to impact people. We don't just want to be rock stars. We want millions of people to hear our message and be moved." "I wouldn't mind being the biggest rock band in the world," nods Chris. "I know it's going to take a lot of hard work. Getting signed is the easy part. Now the real hard work begins. It's a long road, but we want to do it." "Its always been about writing great songs, letting people hear them and getting our vibe from that," adds Kyle. "We've come a long ways, and we've still got a long ways to go."
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