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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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By Julie Garisto firstname.lastname@example.org
Published May 24, 2007
The band: Bruce Reed, guitars, keyboards and vocals; Mark Freeman, bass; T.J. Burke, drums and programming; Samantha Christine, guitars and noise; and Alexis Hamlin-Vogler, keyboards and vocals. Reed, Freeman and Burke answer questions by e-mail.
Formed: 2004 in Winter Park (Orlando area).
CDs: The Open Sea (EP, 2005, self-released) and The Great Compromise (LP, 2007, Post Records).
Their sound: Melancholic but powerful. Songs can go from gentle to soaring and back again, held steady by a solid rhythmic backbone and healthy respect for balance.
Audio time travel: Influences of the past include Pink Floyd, June of 44, Depeche Mode, The Church, Talk Talk, The Cure, Nick Cave and Radiohead.
Background check: "I was in a few non-serious bands, " Freeman recalls. "I got a degree in international relations from the University of Central Florida, and I'm getting a master's degree in environmental politics from there as well."
Reed: "I was in a band called Venusian Skyline that toured heavily and existed for about 2 years. Our record was called Twilight Songs and was released in 2002. I also have a degree in music production technology, and I record all the Kingsbury records, as well as other bands from the Central Florida area."
Burke: "I also took classes for music production, but stopped since Kingsbury got so busy. I'm also recording a band from Orlando called Calusa."
In Vero Veritas: "Bruce, T.J. and I all grew up in the same town, Vero Beach, Fla., and have known each other for a number of years, T.J. and Bruce since early childhood, " Freeman says. "The music scene in Vero during our teenage years was very vibrant and exciting. Vero was an aberration. Many legendary punk, indie and hardcore bands made Vero a regular tour stop. We all sort of became friends in this environment because there wasn't anything else to do in Vero but go to shows. It also helped shape our musical direction I feel. Having that shared experience of growing up in a small town that had a great scene was inspiring and I think it helps us in many aspects of this band."
Why The Great Compromise?
"It just felt right, " Reed says. "It's the song on the record that feels the most like a title track. It also sounds like a slogan."
The ego has landed: Burke expresses pet peeves about conceited musicians: "We've encountered other small-scale touring bands that are delusional about their importance. They will have super nice gear, forced rock star attitudes, and hang out backstage while all the other bands play. Then they come out and play for nobody, but have perfect hair. It's a ridiculous parody of VH-1 Behind the Music, and it's happened more then once."
Good connections: The Great Compromise was recorded by the production company run by T.J. Lipple of Aloha and Chad Clark of Beauty Pill. D.C.-area Silver Sonya operates alongside Inner Ear Studios and recorded Fugazi and the Dismemberment Plan.
Reed: "My previous band Venusian Skyline mastered our record with Silver Sonya. I met T.J. Lipple at a show Aloha played in Orlando, and gave him a copy of our unfinished record. He liked it, so we went from there."
Bruce writes the songs: "I write all the lyrics, " Reed says, "and typically they come out of personal experience with love, life, death, art, nature, etc."
Boss man: Speaking of Bruces - "I'm a huge Bruce Springsteen fan, " Freeman says. "Seriously, it's more of an obsession I've had since I was a little kid."
Check 'em out: Sunday with the Dark Romantics, Military Junior and Air Ministry at New World Brewery, 1313 E. Eighth Ave., Ybor City. $7. (813) 248-4969. kingsburymusic.net.