Burlington's own emo-core band with the all-star line-up prepares to release their debut album and assault the world with their screaming dervish of noise. Chris Parizo makes a whole bunch of phone calls and finally gets Simon Brody to talk rock.
By Chris Parizo
"Uhm... Hey Simon. This is Chris at Good Citizen. Uhm... just calling to see if you were around, I really want to write this article about Drowningman and I know that you told me that weren't going to be home today, but I thought that I would try anyway. Uh... sorry that I didn't call you yesterday like I said I would but I got sidetracked and just forgot about it until around eleven last night... I thought that that would be too late to call but... maybe not. And sorry that I didn't call you on Wednesday, I had to go out of town. Uhm...I really don't want to write one of those lame `What do you think about when you perform?' or `So tell me...who is Drowningman... really?' stories because...honestly...I think they are a pile of shit, so don't worry about it. So I guess that I'm going to write what I know and hope to hear from you. Sorry that I took up so much of your answering machine tape...uh... call me...you know the number...bye."
For a little while, it appeared that hardcore was going to die in the city of Burlington. The big acts were dying out, breaking up or dissolving into other projects and it looked like we were going to be in a drought for awhile. And then, almost from nowhere, Drowningman emerged.
The origin of the band can be traced back to the almost legendary Burlington outfits The Champions and Twelve Times Over.
Drowningman's vocalist, Simon Brody recalls: "The Champions were over so I moved to Boston with Justin (Ballou), we got there and decided to put together a band. We jammed for a while with some guys and did a couple of shows. After that we broke up. I heard that Denny (Donovan) had left Twelve Times Over...I had always wanted to play with him so I moved back to Vermont."
After getting together with Denny, they both agreed to start a project together. Denny was going to write the music and Simon was to write all the lyrics. While working at Tones in Johnson, Todd Tomlinson came in and said "I'm a drummer!" Denny had a feeling that Todd would be a great drummer (he was right) and asked him to join the band. At the same time, Simon had called Justin who was still in Boston and told him to come back to Vermont and jam with the new band. Justin did come back to Burlington, but never got around to playing. He instead recommended Javin Leonard as an excellent guitarist.
"Javin grew (as a guitarist) because he had to keep up with Denny. He is a driven kind of person so he kept up with the challenge, he would sit there and try to figure out what Denny was doing. Denny wrote all the music until Javin began coming to practice with material. After Denny left, Javin took over as songwriter. We spend the first half-hour of practice combing through riffs and keeping what we like and getting rid of what we don't" says Simon.
So why did Denny leave?
"Why does Denny leave any band" jokes Simon? "Actually, Denny just has a different outlook on music. He just enjoys playing and performing around here. He hates traveling."
SImon continues "As the band began to grow, we began to get more out of town shows...he just didn't have the heart to do it. We thought about getting a PlayStation for the van because he loves that shit, and we even thought about getting a replacement guitarist for out of town shows, but that wouldn't be fair to the other guy...so eventually he just left. Somehow Daryl just fell in."
Daryl Rabidoux is a bastard. I say this because I have known him since we were both twelve and we spent high school sticking compass needles into each other's backs. Actually, Daryl is one of those guys that is hard to dislike. He played with Rocketsled through the "glory years" and was asked to fill the hole left by Denny. He fits Drowningman like a glove.
"Band politics are so much easier with Daryl because we just start picking on him" says Simon.
Meanwhile, Dave Barnett was hanging around, watching Drowningman play with another bassist. Simon and the guys knew Dave as a great local bassist (The Champions, Twelve Times Over, late-era Rocketsled, Planet X and Chin Ho!...not at the same time), when the position was open, Dave was invited in.
So here it goes... Drowningman is:
Simon Brody (vocals)
Dave Barnett (bass)
Daryl Rabidoux (guitar)
Javin Leonard (guitar)
Todd Tomlinson (drums)
The music that these men create as Drowningman is...well...hardcore. Heavily distorted guitars, a very ballsy bass sound, a hard hitting drummer, constantly shifting rhythms and lead screams that swing wildly from pain to pleasure without notice. Drowningman shows, locally, are a rarity, and that is because the band is focused on playing out of town more than locally. Keeping their aim on the entire northeast, Drowningman has established themselves as a well known regional act. A recent seven inch release on Hydrahead Records titled Weighted and Weighed Down has been displayed as a "Seven Inch Hot Seller" for two weeks at Newbury Comics (a well known Boston music chain) and Drowningman was recently accepted to play in Boston's Loud Fest music festival this summer.
Due to their hectic touring schedule, Drowningman have established themselves as a well known act in such areas as Buffalo and Syracuse, NY, Providence, RI and New Brunswick, NJ. Recently, the band recorded a new full length album at Joe Egan's Eclipse Studios here in Vermont and mixed and mastered at Trax East in New Jersey. The CD will be released on Hydrahead and will be distributed throughout the nation by Lumberjack Distribution, an exclusive distributor for twelve hardcore and indie labels across the country. Expect the release sometime in late March or early April.
And as soon as the CD is released, Drowningman will hit the road. The future for Drowningman is bright. With a lot of options open to the band, it wouldn't be a shock if this band explodes nationwide. So don't get caught off-guard, see these guys while you can. ~GC~
Chris Parizo thinks that the hokey pokey is what it's all about.