Interview with Brian Desveaux of Nine Days: How They Escaped a Musical Deathtrap
(Sony / 550)
By: Chris Celauro - ModernRock.com
Long Island (LI), New York, is known for sapping the life out of original musicians trying to make a dent in the music industry. Why? Top-40 cover bands have a strong hold on all of the popular clubs. Normally, this is not too bad of a thing; we all enjoy going out and hearing our favorite songs. But for LI artists (and there are some great ones) who want to play their own music for a club full of 500 new listeners, it’s not going to happen.
This void makes it nearly impossible to break out of LI and get a major label deal. But Nine Days just did it. And now they’re about to release a monster of a pop album, The Madding Crowd, that has crossover written all over it.
Vocalist-Guitarist-Songwriter Brian Desveaux talks about Nine Days’ escape from a regional deathtrap for original music.
Shop ‘til you drop
"We started recording the moment we formed the band in ’95," says Desveaux. "We didn’t want to wait for a record deal." Was it the same lineup as today? "No. It was just John Hampson (vocals, guitar), Nick Dimichino (Bass) and me. We recorded the first group of songs with a different drummer." With Nine Days’ imminent success, that first drummer must be kicking himself in the ass. "Yea," chuckles Desveaux. "He actually quit the band. And then we got Vinny Tatanelli (drums) and Jeremy Dean (piano, keyboards) at the same time, and finished the first record."
What next? "Three CDs later we got a production deal with a producer who wanted to put our best songs on a CD and, along with our lawyer, shop it to labels." So did it happen? "Yes. But it took about a year to complete, which was very frustrating and creatively stumped me and John for that year." Did any labels express interest? "We must’ve showcased for every label and were passed up twice by each. They all said, ‘you guys are great but you don’t have that one hit’" That must have sucked. "Yea," agrees Desveaux. "We basically put everything aside and started writing from scratch. And that’s when John wrote "Absolutely (story of a girl)."
One song, one deal, one great album
"After ‘Absolutely’ was written everything fell into place, creatively, and we recorded a three-song demo," excitingly states Desveaux. So the labels dug the new stuff? "Yes. Especially Columbia. We did three different showcases for them." So what happened (they’re now signed to Sony 550)? "The entire Columbia staff was into it, except for the top guy, who said he would do it anyway. We knew that if the top brass wasn’t fully behind it, we couldn’t be at Columbia; we’d just get lost in a company that large." How did the Sony 550 thing take place? "They loved ‘Absolutely’ so much that they wanted to sign us without even seeing the band. This guy just flew in from California, and came to a few rehearsals; we signed a deal, and then we went to Atlanta to record the album."
Their Sony 550 debut, The Madding Crowd, is packed with song after song of pop hits that are not too heavy, and not too soft. It’s similar to Matchbox 20, but the melodies pack a harder punch—not bad for a bunch of guys who grew up on KISS (Hampson and Desveaux idolized Paul Stanley) and Dokken, and were part of Long Island’s 80s-rock scene. Not anymore. "Absolutely (Story of a Girl)" is all over the FM frequencies. And every song on the CD reeks of airplay. If you own a radio, there will be no escaping Nine Days. And this is a good thing—especially for Long Island, New York.
Check out the band's website at www.nine-days.com
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