Band Profile

Flotsam and Jetsam

Flotsam and Jetsam
Hometown: Phoenix, Arizona Current Label: Metal Blade Records Websites: Official Website
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Band Members: Eric 'AK' Knutson - vocals
Edward Carlson - guitar
Michael Gilbert - guitar
Jason Ward - bass
Craig Nielsen - drums

Flotsam and Jetsam Bio:

On a remote pecan farm outside of El Paso, Texas, in a studio built by their friend Tony Rancich, Flotsam And Jetsam gathered with producer Neil Kernon to record the new music they had written for their fifth album, Drift. Collectively, the band had emerged through a reflective and turbulent time, dealing with personal tragedies, difficult decisions and their own evolving style. They took refuge in this isolation, enjoyed the security of their friendship, and courageously became more adventurous as a band. The sonic canvas used for Drift reveals many new and exciting musical elements, yet it is undeniably Flotsam And Jetsam. The signature guitar work of Mike Gilbert and Edward Carlson roars throughout the album, providing dramatic thunder.

The immediately recognizable voice of singer Eric AK is as strong as ever, yet he displays even more versatility. The rhythm section is rock solid as drummer Kelly Smith works in tandem with Jason Ward, the first bassist in Flotsam history to last two full albums. Eric "EB" Braverman, the long-time sixth member of Flotsam, and now their manager, provided some insightful and challenging Iyrics. With Michael Barbiero coming in to mix, Drift also became the best sounding Flotsam record ever.

The album is cocked and loaded full of powerful emotions and messages. The rat gets angrily snuffed out in "Smoked Out." "Empty Air" has a mid-Eastern mysterious melody. The story line is open and universal, yet is specifically cathartic for the band. "Destructive Signs" is full of double-edged one liners, but is painfully real in its depiction of life's vices that subtract such a high cost. The Spanish guitars also provide a moment of clarity among the visuals provided by the words. "12 Year Old With A Gun is poignant and sadly too true a tale these days. For the Flotsam faithful the traditional heaviness is intact, but the band has matured far beyond the days when they would bash it out with the best of them.

The band has grown incredibly through five albums; Doomsday for the Deceiver (Metal Blade- 1986), No Peace For Disgrace (Elektra-1988), When The Storm Comes Down (MCA-1990), Cuatro (MCA-1992) and now Drift in 1995, again on MCA. They survived the loss of Jason Newsted to Metallica nicely and developed a solid core following that has averaged in excess of 250,000 units per album worldwide. But never has Flots made an album as well written, as powerful and creatively diverse as this one, and it's time that they did. After all there is so much more than the sum of the parts to this band. Singer Eric AK is proud to admit that he is a huge Frank Sinatra fan and cites him as a key influence.

Ed and Mike listen to far more than just metal, and Jason has added keyboards to his performing repertoire. On this album many of these 'outside' elements drifted into the mix and it works splendidly. Add to that each member's own journey through life and it's easy to see why Flotsam And Jetsam has expanded the equation and reached a new level of creativity and expression.

"Drift encompasses everything that this band has gone through musically and personally," said bassist Jason Ward when speaking for the band. "We've had success but we've also had to deal with death, divorce, deceit, people playing with your emotions, difficult business decisions, bad timing, yet this band will not die. Kelly said it best, he's never seen a band more resemble its name than we do."

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