After a whirlwind
year of non-stop touring following the success of their major
label debut album Welcoming Home the Astronauts, the
Dallas group Flickerstick decided that they weren't quite finished
yet. Flickerstick packed the house at the legendary club Deep
Ellum Live, where they captured the raw energy of their live show
in front of the sold-out hometown crowd on their first live album
and called it Causing A Catastrophe - Live, Now one year
after finding success with that project they embark on a new quest
curiously named To Madagascar and Back - ep/dvd. This
EP is just a peek of what Flickerstick has in store for their
upcoming LP and having an attached DVD that gives fans all the
behind the scenes footage and backstage antics that people loved
watching on VH-1's reality TV series Bands on the Run
While most fledgling bands strive to one day
receive a Grammy, Flickerstick were nominated for an Emmy. As
the winner of the breakthrough VH-1 series Bands on the Run,
the group converted national viewers seemingly overnight to its
style of emotional rock. With their Epic Records debut Welcoming
Home the Astronauts, the band confirmed what Texas-area audiences
had known for years: Flickerstick makes music that matters.
"It took a while for some of us to realize
how much of a commitment music is," says singer Brandin Lea.
"But if you're just trying to do it on the weekends, it doesn’t
work that way. You've got to play rock and roll with no net -
which basically means you cant do it as a hobby and expect it
to work out. You can't do it as a second thing; you have to do
it like there's nothing else in your life. Its gotta be more important
than just about anything."
That passionate attitude has helped Flickerstick
sway audiences and critics alike. The band's indie release from
2000 was given a tune-up while still allowing the strong material
to retain its raw potency on Welcoming Home The Astronauts.
A brief return to the studio provided the band an opportunity
to freshen up some of the vocal arrangements and to overdub a
few guitar and keyboard parts. Flickerstick also added two new
songs, the acoustic ballad "Execution By X-mas Lights"
and the emotional pile driver "Smile," which gained
the band even more exposure through its poignant video.
Veteran sonic mastermind Tom Lord Alge (Weezer,
Blink 182, Marilyn Manson) was enlisted to remix the project.
"He's one of the best at what he does," guitarist Cory
Krieg says. "The record is definitely more rock. Live, we're
just an energetic, sweaty band, and then you listen to our (original)
CD and its like 'Mmmm. That's not very rock.' But when you come
and see us play, you're not going to watch some crazy-ass rock
and roll guys go nuts for an hour. And that’s what we want
our record to sound like. We want kids to be at home in their
bedroom playing air drums and air guitar."
"I'm still a real big fan of 'Beautiful,'"
Kreig reveals. "When Brandin and I wrote that song, we thought
it was going to be super-indie and most people weren’t going
to get it. But come to find out, its one of the most popular songs
we’ve got. I have a sense of pride that this is true - that
we didn’t think anybody was going to be into - turned out
to be such a great song for us."
Flickerstick originated at the University of
North Texas (in Denton), where singer-songwriter Lea first met
guitarist Krieg. In 1997, Lea recruited his brother Fletcher to
play bass, and together with veteran drummer Dominic Weir, the
quartet started to consistently land gigs as Flickerstick. Additional
guitarist Rex "El Dangeroso" Ewing was brought in two
years later to allow the energetic Brandin more freedom as a frontman.
The band spent the ensuing years establishing a name for itself
in the competitive Deep Ellum music scene, performing relentlessly
while anticipating a "big break."
The door of opportunity cracked open when a
VH-1 producer happened across an unsigned band compilation that
featured Flickerstick's "Talk Show Host." Originally,
the network sought Brandin and Fletcher (whose parents are both
professional dancers) for a one-shot program on rock and roll
siblings. The show stalled in pre-production, but Flickerstick
was suggested as a potential act for the inaugural Bands on
"The producers saw a throwback to old-school
rock and roll like the Stones - we're gonna fight, were gonna
drink, and were gonna probably be obnoxious," Lea remembers.
"They really like that end, and they knew we had the music
to back it up. We knew that they kind of put us on the show because
Flickerstick and three other unsigned acts
were then tracked throughout the country for eight weeks, resulting
in a reality-based program that combined the elements of a Survivor
and Road Rules with a bit of Star Search thrown
in. Merchandise and ticket sales determined a portion of the contendors'
success, while live showcases judged by the fans and music experts
decided the rest. After 16 compelling episodes, Flickerstick was
pronounced the victor of VH-1's pioneering series (which scored
an Emmy nod in the Non-Fiction Program [reality] category).
"I have to attribute the show's success
more than just to what goes on in other reality shows, because
it’s not like we were on some island doing some fantasy
crap," Lea says. "We were a band before the show - we
were doing our jobs; somebody just filmed it. It’s not like
The Real World. What’s anybody's job on The
Real World? They don’t have one. Their job is they
want to get on a TV show. Our job is that were a band."
"We were really excited to get back into
the studio again," says Lea. "Especially being able
to record in our hometown, and were proud of what we’ve
done so far with both Welcoming Home the Astronauts and
Causing A Catastrophe - Live, but were anxious and ready
for the people to hear something that’s new and something
that we love."