Staring at the Sun
It really started to pick up when I was in a band called Staring at the Sun. We played regionally in the South East and gained a decent amount of notoriety playing with bands like Today is the Day, Buzzoven, Brainiac, Love Bucket and Slaphappy Superfly, and Buzzkill. It was always kind of hard for me to define what any of my bands were genre-wise, we always did our own thing but pretty much stayed on the heavy side of things. We put out several demos and played a lot of shows mostly locally but some regionally. Song-wise, I know the song, Dejecta, got a lot of local airplay on the radio. If I had to guess, we were a mix of sort of grunge meets Slayer. It was a good time and I had great friends that I cherish to this day. (BTW this is some of us with Tony Read at what I think was "The Jailhouse" in Manchester, TN. And yes that's me in the pink skirt. I have no shame.)
From there me and a few of the members made a band called Starscream (yes, named after the transformer waaaaayyyy before Michael Bay got his hands on the franchise) that band was a freakier more electronic style of heaviness as we loved Trip-Hop at the time. We never saw the light of day show-wise but we did record an album which I probably have floating around a box someplace.
Needing to move forward, we joined up with friends from school and formed Chikara, which was another kooky mix of hardcore and space rock. Chikara was on a "split cassette" with Process is Dead and From Ashes Rise and went on the first leg of a Process is Dead tour that took us from Florida to Georgia, and back into Tennessee and Kentucky. We also played house shows with Dillinger Escape Plan, From Ashes Rise and Trial. That band fell apart a few months after the tour due to certain members that were not impressed by the play anywhere and just have fun philosophy that some of us had. They wanted to play music that would attract girls while we wanted to play whatever made us happy. Funny that not too long later they would be one in the same.
Fall With Me 1.0
So Dave and I (Note that Dave had been with me through all of this.) went out to look for band members that could embrace what we were looking for musically and have the balls to get out and play a ton of shows. Then Dave spoke with Brandon and Jonas from the local band Dragwurm who we all dug and Rick Hanan from the death metal band Embodiment. It seemed an awkward fit to me at first as these guys had very strong and one of a kind personalities but it turns out that these people became some of my best friends to this day. After one demo, we had problems with our drummer and recruited long time friend and Staring at the Sun drummer, Brad Lawson (AKA Granny) to join.
Fall With Me 1.1
With Granny now in the band, Fall With Me put out another demo (Chemical Cathari) and two full length records (The First Days of Forever on Spat! Records) (Rise Phoenix Rise, Spat! Records) and even did a Quicksand cover that sadly never saw the light of day. We traveled extensively in the South East and played with more notable bands than I can name, A few of them including, Dillinger Escape Plan, Jucifer, Mastodon, Shai Hulud, Zao, Milemarker, Buried Inside, Not Waving But Drowning, Converge, Unearth, Blindside, Hopesfall, Nothingface, Norma Jean (which was then called Ludi Kriss), Kylesa, Breather Resist, Drowning Man, and Spitfire. One of the most impressive and nifty things is we hit #14 on the college rock charts and were the #2 most added albums on college radio at some point. Again, it's in a magazine someplace. We had a fire and a swagger and we had some crazy and amazing times all across the East coast. You can hear both albums here on Last FM as well as on Spotify. (Just search Fall With Me) It's really a shame that at our pinnacle we crumbled. After five years of playing around and getting some really fun swagger, some of us wanted to tour and some of didn't... at least not in that "get in the van" sort of way. Half the band had different philosophies on success and shows so we split in half. Dave, Granny and I went on while Beebs and Rick went on to form the metalcore band Nadina Das.
Fall With Me 2.0
Again, Dave and I continued under the Fall With Me name, adapting a slightly more contained sound and getting a new bass player. (Brad Green AKA Blackberry) We recorded an album, called Only from The Cold, My Friend, Spat! Records) and a 7 Inch Vinyl Record. (Spat! Records/Vacant Cage Records) and went on tour again taking us from Florida, Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, New Orleans to Indiana to Manhattan, and Brooklyn. We hit the stage again with some great bands like Mastodon (again), Horse the Band, Between The Buried and Me, Jucifer (again) and Hermatavore. Much to our dismay, we had to change drummers again as Granny opted to go play with the band, Love Bucket in their second short lived incarnation.
Fall With Me 2.1
We found Charlie (AKA Chuck/Chizzle/), and toured regionally playing with bands like Horse the Band, Officer May and The Detachment Kit.This is where we met Clover who became our official photographer and friend for life. We recorded a much heavier EP called, Stitches named after our trials and tribulations as well as our bass player cutting most of his thumb off. Note that he still played in a cast.
Goodbye My Empress
After the departure of our bass player, Blackberry for personal reasons that didn't include his thumb, we were looking to reinvent ourselves and found another bass player, Justin, from the band No Party and formed Goodbye My Empress. Similar to Fall With Me, Goodbye My Empress took on a more noisy sound incorporating influences like Engine Kid and Drive Like Jehu into the music. You can still hear it here. After playing several shows in the area and recording a demo, we fell apart from my doing. For a while I'd been working on writing a few books in my off time. The drama and stress of being in a band began to get to me. I could see the days of touring were starting to narrow as we were getting married, getting houses and moving in a more sedentary lifestyle. There was also drama as Chuck left for a missed opportunity to go on tour with the band, Bone Pony. I didn't want to start over again. Even if we did, I didn't see us touring like we used to and to me, that nearly eliminated our chances of success.
Books and touring again
So I jumped into writing books in my non-day job time. As twisted as this may sound, I used this to tour on my own. I hit the con circuit like I wanted to with a band. Don't get me wrong. I love everyone that I was ever in a band with, we still share something special that I really can't describe. It was a brotherly comradery, a true second family but I had to go to try other things.