MOODRING FEATURES GUEST SPOTS FROM JOHN "RABBIT" BUNDRICK OF THE WHO AND DENNIS DIKEN OF THE SMITHEREENS---
AN INTERNATIONAL INCIDENT: The debut album from THIRD OF NEVER had it's start as a script. Guitarist Jon Dawson, who had grown frustrated with the musician pool in his native North Carolina, was working on a project that would incorporate live rock and roll, film, and a stage play. " I was having a hard time finding musicians that would dedicate themselves to the usual amount of work that it takes for a band to work, so I wanted to devise a new way to put the songs on display, so the original idea was to create a story that could be told through a song cycle. The performance would take place in a theatre with actors putting on a play, and between scenes the band would play a song that moved the story along, and at the same time transitional films relating to the play would be projected. The songs were recorded in demo form and a rough script was drafted. It actually made it to the workshop stage through the efforts of friends in New York, but a chance meeting with Kurt Reil of the Grip Weeds turned my attention back to the idea of a traditional band situation."
Dawson saw Reil perform with the Grip Weeds at a music festival in North Carolina, and was smitten with the bands approach to music. "I was envious of what they were doing, as I had tried to find musicians like that to form a band around, but had been having great difficulty." As the months progressed, Dawson continued working on the idea of the rock band/play/film project. He contacted Smithereens drummer Dennis Diken about being involved in the project, and during their conversation Dennis suggested recording at the House Of Vibes in New Jersey. "Dennis spoke highly of this studio, so I went online and lo and behold it was owned and operated by the Grip Weeds! I saw this as a sign and immediately approached Kurt about forming a band. After a few days of discussions Kurt was on board, and that got us going."
To flesh out the band, Dawson went after a pair of brothers who had already made their mark on the indie rock scene. "I was a big fan of a record that Kurt and Dennis had worked on with Jim Babjak of The Smithereens, and the bass player was Vince Grogan. Kurt said that he was still living in the area, so I went after him, and was lucky enough to get him. Now what I was looking for was a multi-instrumentalist....someone who could handle guitar and keyboard duties, along with vocal support. "Kurt had played me a few tracks from this album that he co-produced and played on by CJ Grogan, and it was fantastic. I just got the urge to call him out of the blue and pleaded my case, and yet again I lucked out and brought him in to the fold. I now had the absolute dream line-up that I'd been looking for. It was like going from despair to jubilation in a matter of weeks."
The next step was to finish the songs. "I turned over my demos and lyric ideas and we just took it from there. It was really a situation of everybody throwing in their ideas into a pot and seeing what worked the best. Writing with Kurt and CJ was a real education and alot of fun." While the songs were being fleshed out, Jon got an email from one of his musical heroes, John "Rabbit" Bundrick of The Who. "I'd contacted Rabbit several months earlier about being involved in the project, but he was in the midst of recording the latest Who album in England, and was unavailable. Luckily for me, the sessions were soon over and Rabbit was now available. I originally contacted Rab about playing on the Pete Townshend cover that we do on the album, as he'd played on the original. However, he asked me to send all of the tracks, which I did. A few days later he contacted me and said that he'd be glad to play on the whole album, as he was a big fan of what we were doing, which absolutely floored me. I'd gone from not being able to get a band together at all to having some of the top musicians in the world at my disposal. We had a nice little trail of music strewn from Carolina to Jersey to England."
The songs that make up MOODRING follow the story of the original script idea. "It's about a guy who has had enough of reality, and the lengths that he goes to in order to avoid it. There is a neat little story there to follow if people want it, but the songs work on their own also. If you want to sit down and listen to the whole thing and have a little movie for your ears you'll be able to...if you just want a bouncy little number to listen to while you do the dishes, then it'll work on that level too."
The band will be promoting the record through live shows, radio, internet, and film projects.