Hey, Greg here, starting up a band blog today as another avenue to share Anti-Social Club happenings, updates, thoughts, ideas, etc. As the current summer rolls on, my first thought is that it's been a pretty amazing last couple of years for us! It was around July 2017 that we "officially" got back together (quietly at first) after a nearly 9-year hiatus and began work on our 2nd album, Dark Before the Light (DBTL), released in Nov. 2018. And there was much rejoicing!
From L to R: Mike, Rachael, Greg, Jer, and Peter at our DBTL release party, Nov. 2018.
A little more backstory. Peter, Mike, and I have been friends forever, and it's not like we stopped talking after our debut album, Otherwise Bleak eXistence (OBX), was released in Nov. 2008. For various reasons, we just ran out of steam to keep the A-SC train rolling at that time. That said, the three of us remained musically active in other ways, and would occasionally (albeit very infrequently) get together to jam and otherwise dream of one day getting the band going again. But during that period the idea of developing future A-SC material remained mostly just a fantasy.
Then, in fall 2015 (shortly after the passing of my good friend Jim Slakie), my dear friend and brother-in-law Pat Clarke was diagnosed with brain cancer, and after a long and difficult struggle he passed away in Nov. 2016. Needless to say, for me (and many others) the grief was deep and long-lasting. But losing friends so young also brought into stark relief the fact that life is short and we really don't know how much time we have left. As the months passed I began to feel not just a growing desire, but an overwhelming need to create a new A-SC album. And I very much wanted to dedicate it to Pat, who had been such a key and lasting influence in my life.
In the years leading up to and following OBX I had been writing other songs, which were in various rough stages of development. I felt that with a sustained effort they could be refined and pulled together into a really strong new A-SC production. So in July 2017 I sat down with Mike and Peter and asked them if they would commit to making a new album with me. They both agreed without hesitation, and so we spent the next year-plus writing, recording, and producing DBTL -- adding my daughter (and Pat's niece) Rachael into the mix with her beautiful accompanying vocals, and our mastering engineer Jer who put a final professional polish on the songs. We also decided to switch to programmed drums, which Peter handled with incredible expertise and innovation.
On Nov. 17, 2018, almost exactly 10 years after the release of our first album and two years after Pat's passing, we held an album release party at Jammin Java in Vienna, VA, with proceeds going in Pat's honor to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital. And once again, there was much rejoicing.
A-SC 2.0 on stage at Jammin Java, Nov. 17, 2018.
Since then we've been keeping busy and engaged with the music -- at least as best as we can in between day jobs, family commitments, etc. Our bassist Mike has had to step back again for now due to a new job commitment, but we've managed to carry on in his absence. In Feb. 2019 Peter, Rachael, and I played a show at The Sidebar in Baltimore opening for Sorry, Marshall and Stars and the Sea -- this was our first-ever Baltimore show and our first time playing live with just me on guitar/vox, Rachael on keys/vox, and Peter on keys/programming. Peter worked Mike's bass into the programming, and Rachael picked up a number of keyboard parts as well as expanding her vocal work across our catalog. While we missed having Mike with us on stage, the sound and performance seemed to translate well for a live show.
A-SC (minus Mike, but still with his bass in the mix!) rocking The Sidebar, Feb. 2019.
The three of us also played another show in May at a private farm festival in the beautiful Virginia countryside. Within our 90-minute set, which included a number of A-SC "classics" as well as a few select covers, for the first time we also performed the album Dark Before the Light live in its entirety. This was a very special moment for us, and the crowd really seemed to embrace it as well.
Outside of the new album and the occasional gig, we've kept busy in the studio as well. In February we released our first-ever remix of an A-SC song, Winter (Heat Mix), bringing out a heavier dose of Peter's EDM influence and advanced production skills. And in July -- as a small tribute to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission -- we released our Spacewalker Maxi Single, containing three new versions of our song Spacewalker: the Radio Edit (a 4-min take on the 6-min original), the Rocket Mix (a dance-ready remix produced by our very talented friend Peat Biby), and the Lunar Mix (a darker, more mellow remix expertly produced by Peter).
Over this two-year period we've also established social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube), a Bandcamp page, and a web site, along with expanding our online music catalog. (We have CDs and stickers for sale too!) All of this work has also garnered us some attention, including two appearances on the Holy Crap Records podcast (episode 29 and episode 62), and a slow but steady increase in listeners and followers who seem to really dig the A-SC sound and vibe.
So, as the summertime continues to roll, I'm feeling extremely grateful to have the opportunity to keep making music with this band. I'm also grateful for our families, friends, and fans who have provided us with so much love and support over the years. We have plenty more cool stuff coming down the road, and while we may have to go slower than we'd like, one way or another we intend to keep creating and working and playing for as long as the spirits will allow us.
Cheers, thanks, and stay tuned for future posts!