Fronting a band 101 – Know when to be and not be yourself

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Saturday, March 29, 2014 at 4:49 AM (PST)


All the fuss over Future Islands is cool because it is reminding people there is an art to fronting a band.

There are a lot of limits perceived by singers these days. Everyone wants to fit into a clique or style that seems the most marketable,but what usually makes for the best music is persona. New Kids On The Block was better than half the deathcore bands today, because they had great songs that improved because they were brought out by personalities, even though the music was pretty crap. They didn’t have Chuck Billy, but cut ‘em some slack. I like the old NKOTB production style but I am mad there was never a “skit” off between them and Van Halen, where each member would show a talent like show and tell. I mean, you have to care about the music ALSO. That is crucial.

Our succesful piece on the Sam Black Church reunion movie prompted me to start thinking even more than usual about the types like HR, Karyn Crisis, Dawn Crosby, Benji from Skindred who just wouldn’t take no for an answer and changed the world! I am so excited for the new Bane album. The next Blackguard. Bring on the new era.  Sometimes it is just as much about being yourself as inspiring the crowd, though.

Anyway, there are always iconic vocalists like Maynard, Chino, Patton, Halford. Even Davey Havok from AFI who is a better showman than half the metal bands out there combined. You are better off in rock when you BE yourself (which CAN include being like Marilyn Manson or Jimmy urine from MSI and being able to embrace costumes and satire). Then you have a chameleon Jennifer Herrema who is the queen of giving a fuck while not giving a fuck, capable of production, laying down a great show to big or small crowds and/or free association musical deconstruction of the highest order. The untouchable Peter Dolving. Legends like David Yow still producing great art, music and books. People who are engaged on many levels of the multi media verse chorus verse, tearing down the walls. Lacuna Coil’s multi-vocal attack that defies criticism and manages to subvert by writing great pop even when that side of the band alienates or intimidates “true” metalheads. I agree that the Hottest Chics Tour BS is way played out , though. It is actually holding Lacuna Coil back at this point.Then you have someone like Fernando from Moonspell who is a true poet.

The list goes thankfully on. There are a lot of passionate people, veterans and rookies, back in the scene these days.

Here are a few (6) good bad apples I dig lately. Some you may know well and others might have a new face.

Click HERE to read it.

1.James-Paul Luna (Holy Grail). Effortlessly conjures up the enthusiasm of almost any metal with real conviction based on talent, fandom and the ability to really engage with the crowd on a personal as well as a real “this song fuckin’ rocks, doesn’t it!!???” level. Good dude.

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2.Ole Urk Wik (Jagged Vision). This dude can yell but also has spirit.

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3. Carley Coma (Candiria). Capable of almost any style gruff, street,flow, melodic or even spiritual. Jumping above the “heads”. Able to leap tall verses in a single bound. Doesn’t write just songs. Writes Chapters. A pioneer of the truest order. 718. YouTube Preview Image

4.Benji Webbe (Skindred). There are times when this dude is the best at hyping up a crowd in THE WORLD.

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5.Krysta Martinez (Landmine Marathon). Krysta has a presence and voice that has kept Landmine Marathon alive and well.  YouTube Preview Image


170px-La_Dispute_Logo_flowernewblacklines6. Jordan Dryer (La Dispute) – More of a Dying Scene band than Metal Riot, they make the list anyway! Quality is quality. Post hardcore band that really means it. I always liked stuff like Nation of Ulysses or Rage Against The Machine that could think on multiple platforms/levels at once. This La Dispute group has great aesthetics, a sense of self-discovery and self-awareness in fair measure. Intense in many ways.

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