, the hypothetical collaboration of Thomas Alva Edison and composer Philip Glass, formed in 1999 when Joshua Silverberg (singer/guitar), brothers Joe (drums) and Mountain (singer/bass) Morin, and James Usher (guitar) came together for a singular cause - making rock music for the kids.
Each member of the Long Island band found music to be their creative outlet at an early age. While some in the band began piano lessons at around the age of 8 years old, Silverberg penned his first song in kindergarten. Being stuck in piano lessons at the same time you are forming a band means that you have dabbled in everything from Nirvana
covers to Bach
, from complex orchestral arrangements to the murkiest depths of punk rock.
"We've grown up together we have been writing and playing music since we met as kids," says Silverberg. "Joe and Mountain grew up next door to me and James was a mutual friend of ours. So we have experienced all kinds of silly things together like puberty, stupid high school drama, college drama and now post college drama." Usher adds, "At home, we all live extremely close to each other and hang out with all of the same friends. I couldn't really imagine life without these people and I really couldn't avoid them if I wanted to. They're like my family except I spend a lot more time with them and I see them naked a lot more often."
Drawing from a soup of Indie rock, smart pop and classical influences, Edison Glass has developed a sound that, while akin to The Police
and The Mars Volta
, is very much all their own. After all, being in a band was never about being cool; creating music has always been a necessary outlet. "I think a lot of bands have a tendency to constantly be looking around at each other sort of waiting for something exciting to happen, waiting for the next cool 'scene' to pop up," says Usher. "I like to think that's what makes us different, we're a little more interested in creatively figuring out ourselves and the world we live in than trying to keep up with any scene. There's way too many contenders out there for the "I'm deep and dark" prize, same can be said for "I'm original and artsy!" The only title we're fighting for is 'most like Edison Glass'."
Back in the winter of 2004 the band's A&R guy sent a CD out to Smashing Pumpkins
and Sunny Day Real Estate
producer Brad Wood, who was impressed with the sound of the early demos. As fans of many Wood-produced projects, the band jumped at the chance to record their acclaimed 2006 debut release, A Burn Or A Shiver
, with Wood in Los Angeles. For their upcoming release, Time Is Fiction
(releasing February 8, 2008), the members of Edison Glass assumed producer responsibilities along with Nathan Dantzler (Lost Ocean, Chasing Victory, Kids In The Way). "We tend to obsessively write, demo, rewrite, re-demo every song," Usher says. "It's great because you have all your ideas worked out before you hit the studio, but it's sucks for the same exact reason. This time in the studio, every once in a while we threw a monkey wrench in things. We decided to record a totally unfinished song, forcing us to fill in a lot of blanks while recording. We left doors open and let things leak in the mix just to make it a little less sterile of a recording session. We left holes in the songs so later we'd have to make up some keyboard part on the spot.
And while the band has spent a substantial amount of time in do-it-yourself studios creating their music and is comfortable behind the boards, an Edison Glass live performance is not to be missed. Immobilized by the visceral sense of life and authenticity that comes blaring through the speakers, onlookers enjoy a show that is equal parts exhibition and experience. On playing live Usher adds, "When I'm performing I get to be someone I can't be anywhere else. I can be wild, I can dance, and I can scream as loud as I want and no one can hear. It's cathartic."
After nine years of constant writing, recording and touring, Edison Glass continues to build songs around tight rhythms, intricate guitar lines, dueling lead vocals as dizzying and frenetic as rock can be. But still there amidst the chaos is the focused and well-articulated musicianship that makes rock and roll compelling in the first place.