INTERVIEW: The Forty-Fives
Soul-Drenched Rocker Boys Creating Classic Pop (NG Records)
By: Alex Steininger
Memphis-meets-Detroit in a head-on collision. The only survivors decide to take Memphis soul and Detroit rock, add their own twist to each respective sound, and put them together. The outcome is the Atlanta quartet The Forty-Fives, a band who knows their way around a hook, has no problem drenching you with crisp, infectious soul, and still manages to shake you ten times over with potent rock beats. And you thought rock was dead.
"There are plenty of great rock 'n' roll bands out there doing what we do. But, unfortunately, none of us get recognized because the crap that you hear on the radio is atrocious," states Adam, the band's drummer, when the conversation quickly turns to indie rock verses commercial rock. "People keep saying rock is poised to come back and we're waiting."
"Where is that? We've been all over the place and can't find it," asks Bryan, the band's frontman, when asks what he thinks of the current state of rock.
"It ain't in Utah," Adam quickly snaps.
Humor plays as big of a role in the band's music as anything else does, though they are able to combine substance with fun, matching lyrics that matter with melodies that make you want to melt.
When asked what makes the band stand out above and beyond all the other bands out there competing for the listener's attention, the comical drummer quickly blurts out yet another light-hearted poke at the seriousness that is a touring rock band:
"Grooming!" laughs Adam.
"Nobody has a keyboard player like us. That helps us stand out," replies Mark, the somewhat serious bassist of the band.
And right he is. Trey Tidwell, the band's organ player, adds lush, simmering grooves to the band's boiling hot rock 'n' soul sound, furthering the enriched 60's pop that the band delivers so well.
Their debut release, Get It Together, was released in April of 2000, though it was recorded well over a year ago and was in limbo for quite some time while their record label decided just what they were going to do with it.
"It was recorded quite a while ago," informs Adam. "The release was delayed for about a year. The label that we fall under the guise of now - Artemis Records - basically is the parent company of all these smaller labels. And the label we initially signed with, NG Records, got swallowed by Artemis this year. So, everything was put on hold. But we still went on the road full time, any way, to promote a record you couldn't buy except from the band directly or in Canada."
"We were selling the Canadian release for ten months," adds Brian. "It's the same album but with different artwork. We changed the artwork so we could have our keyboard player on it. He wasn't on the first stuff. It's still the same CD, though."
With Get It Together recently released, and a relentless touring schedule ahead of them, The Forty-Fives show no signs of slowing down any time soon. Though, when it comes to other forms of promoting a record, the band doesn't seem to sure about it. They seem to just want to hit the record and keep on going, relying on nothing else but their live performances and word-of-mouth to sell records.
"[Our label] is remixing a song from the album to have that really nice sheen to it and releasing it to modern rock radio on July 10th," says Brian with a very casual voice. "But, we're not holding our breath, because we don't really see our music fitting in with modern rock radio these days."
When the conversation turns to the record being over a year old, and their set being composed of songs that aren't on the debut, the band eagerly discusses their plans for the sophomore release.
"We are ready to put another album in the can," says Adam.
"We'll probably go into the studio in November," adds Mark.
"We don't really play any of the songs on the record anymore. A lot of the songs on the record we've been playing for a couple of years now," furthers Adam. "We'll play the 'hits'... you can't see this on tape, by the way [ADAM making quotation marks with his hands]."
As the interview concludes, Adam apologizes for the interview, laughs, and says "I feel like we should have snappier answers for you. We've been on the road for awhile now and are just tired."
Little did he know the music spoke for itself, just as you will conclude after one listen to Get It Together (NG Records).