Hunter Briley– Vocals
Michael Dale– Drums
Erik Lundquist– Guitar
Albert Zampino– Guitar
Jeremy Brashears– Bass
Jon Denney– Keys
November, a rock ‘n’ roll six-piece from Nashville, had a unique inception. Michael Dale, who, along with Jeremy Brashears, used to play in Capricorn/Mercury Records band The Honeyrods, was in a local bar in 2004 when Hunter Briley, the bartender, yelled for more beer. Dale, seeking a singer for a band he was forming with Albert Zampino, formally of The Billy Goats, swore Briley hit a perfect high C and immediately asked him if he could sing. It turned Briley could not only sing but he could sing well. The trio called in Brashears and began writing songs and rehearsing together, eventually rounding out their sound with Erik Lundquist and Jon Denney. Zampino scored the group an opening slot for local band Horse a few months later, and November was officially solidified as a hard-working, ego-free rock band whose members believe music is a career not a hobby.
The group followed an initial EP with their debut full-length, Superstar Parades, in 2008, which the band self-recorded and funded with help from their family and friends. In 2009, Niko Bolas and Richard Dodd re-mixed and re-mastered the record, and November released an updated version of the record (with a few additional tracks), entitling it Superstar Parades- In the Middle. The songs began to get noticed: “The Grind” found its onto NBC drama Friday Night Lights and Carson Daly TV while “New Years Day” was featured as the theme song for the 2009 Indy 500 and as the theme for MMA Champion Fighter Dustin West in 2010. The band has toured all over the U.S., finding eager fans in cities like Detroit, Chicago, New York and Cleveland. They’ve open for Janus, Three Days Grace, Pop Evil, and in December of 2009 had the honor of setting the stage for DMC (of Run DMC)’s performance at the Nashville Hard Rock Café.
“That record was a foot in the door for us to get to where we are right now,” Briley says. “With that record we wanted to get a management deal and some placements, and we got a management deal and we placed several songs. It taught us that we could get the things we wanted if we worked hard and put our minds to it.”
Between all this touring and excitement, Dale, the band’s primary songwriter and lyricist, began conceiving ideas for a new album, entitled Sugar Free. He penned several songs a week for nearly two years, formulating them on a single guitar string before taking them to the rest of the group to be fleshed out into the dynamic rock songs for which the band has become known.
“If I can make it great with one string and a voice, at the simplest level, then it has to be a good song,” Dale explains. “Our songs stand up whether you play them on one string or acoustic or with full production. I think that’s important for any song, and it’s something we aspire to.”
The album was recorded in two separate bouts to accommodate the band’s busy schedule. The first session, in [what month?] of 2009, took place at Cleveland studio the Lava Room, an 18-hour workday fit between tour dates during which the band tracked instruments for six songs. Dale and Denney spent the next four months sculpting those tracks into song in their home studio. Then in October musician Lee Davis offered the band a weekend of free recording time at his studio in Maysville, GA, where November tracked eight more songs in two days. Dale and Denney took the new tracks home and spent three months refining the album, which they finally sent to be mixed [and mastered?] by Mills Logan (Toby Keith, Sister Hazel, Collective Soul) in early 2010.
The resulting eleven-song album represents massive growth for the musicians, both individually and collectively. The disc is a complete narrative, reflecting what Dale and his bandmates have learned—and now want to convey— over the past several years. The grandiose nature of it themes are mirrored by the grand nature of the music, which surges with propulsive layers and is driven by compelling melodies, recalling bands like Soundgarden and The Stone Temple Pilots. It’s a cohesive collection of massive rock songs penned by a musician who has only recently found his true voice. The disc’s first single, the raucous “Plain View,” encompasses that central theme, centering on what Dale explains are his two contrasting addictions—music and alcohol.
“A lot of this record is me feeling comfortable in my own skin,” Dale says. “It’s about the complete uphill battle of being in your 30s and feeling like you have something valid to say, working through that self-doubt and being sober and standing on my own two feet. It has a lot of self-realization on it. It’s about feeling comfortable with who you are and realizing you have something to say and hoping people want to hear it.”
Like Superstar Parades- In the Middle, the band hopes this new album ascends them to the next level, providing fresh opportunities to share their music and message with the masses. And not only do they craft infectious songs that bring you back to the heyday of ‘90s rock, but November also backs up every note they write with engaging, energized live performances.
“We believe in the whole package,” Briley says. “We always put on a show. I want people to understand the uniqueness of November. Our music is unique. I don’t think there’s a lot of people out there doing what we’re doing. It’s a wall of sound. The new record is big but we didn’t put anything on the record that we can’t pull off live. It belongs in an arena and if we can get there, we will fill it.”
Best Live Rock Performance
Artist of the Year