Oh, how we miss the days of deceptively titled bulletins, pc4pc, and hours of pimping your profile with just the right visuals and accompanying music (only to change it all again within a day or two). Myspace dominated the bulk of our high school years much like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram do today. Apart from filling out superfluous surveys and trying to get the best possible angles in my self pics, finding new music was an immense part of what Myspace was for myself, and millions of other users I’m sure.
I’ll likely look back on Facebook in 10 years and think this very same thing, but there was a inundation of musical endowment on Myspace – amongst the much larger flood of bullshit scene acts and talentless hacks – that either never got the recognition they deserved, or ended so quickly that they didn’t get the chance. I’m here to draw attention, in a retrospective manner, to some noteworthy acts from that era (the early to mid 2000s) that I feel may have slipped past the radar for the most part due to their brief careers and or lack of representation. Here you may find an act that you vaguely recall and can reminisce happily with their sweet sounds included — or you may come across a band that you had unfortunately never discovered in which you may find a “new” love to listen to as well.
Regardless of the outcome, after the break you can (finally) explore the second set of bands I’ve chosen in a multi-part feature, entitled ‘Revisiting Esoteric Acts From “The Myspace Daze” (Part 2).’ Feel free to converse in our comments section and share some bands that you miss from the same era, and be sure to stay tuned in the next couple weeks for Part 3!
The Beautiful Mistake
San Diego band, The Beautiful Mistake, may not entirely fit the criteria here as they likely had the biggest following of the five acts in this installment. They do, however, fit in the sense that their career was short-lived for a band with so much to offer. Two full-lengths (the latter of which topped at No. 22 on the Billboard Top Independent chart) and three EPs in a 6-year career obviously makes for a more substantial résumé than the other bands we’ve covered here, but I still feel that they went relatively unnoticed in the scope of it all as there was an overwhelming slew of similar bands out at the time. The Beautiful Mistake was one that just happened to stand out for me.
I first started listening to TBM in 2002 when Light a Match, For I Deserve to Burn released. That album was in pretty constant rotation for me. It combined a lot of the emo/rock/screamo elements that I was into at the time — much like Finch, Funeral For A Friend, and Thursday — but with a polished sound that trumped the majority of the other lesser-known acts doing the same thing. I had the chance to see them live in San Francisco at the beginning of 2004 with a great bill consisting of Boys Night Out, Moneen, and Senses Fail. The Beautiful Mistake absolutely killed it, playing all my favorite tracks from Light A Match and introducing us to a couple new ones from their follow-up, This Is Who You Are, which was to release a couple months later.
Apart from vocalist/guitarist, Josh Hagquist, the other original members of TBM left the band at various times due to “differences” and Hagquist recruited new members. Despite his attempts to carry on, The Beautiful Mistake eventually faded out some time in 2006 after a final acoustic reunion set at Tomfest with a few members.
I just spoke with founding member and vocalist, Josh Hagquist who divulged the following information regarding TBM:
I remember touring in 2004 in support of our record This Is Who You Are and I thought things were going well. We had had an awesome year the year before and we had an upcoming tour with Andrew W.K., then 3 weeks on the Vans Warped Tour. We got home from our headlining tour and Shawn Grover (Guitar) and Josh Quesada (Drums) quit pretty much out of the blue. Jon Berndtson (Bass) ended up quitting a few weeks later. We lost our label, our manager, our booking agent. Everything.
Now I never thought I was the most important person in the band, or the most creative. Far from it…but I did start it with Shawn and felt like I really wanted to pull things back together and get touring again. I found some new band members and headed back out on the road just 2 months later. That line-up was a different vibe live, but I still felt good about playing, and for the most part I loved it. We were able to tour with Anberlin, As Cities Burn, Brandtson and Dead Poetic during that time…all of which were a lot of fun. With the original members quitting it was hard…people forget about you quickly and I think it really showed. Places we sold out prior to the massive exodus were half as full when we came back through town. Kids are fickle. It’s the flavor of the month and TBM was no longer that. We ended up writing new songs in 2005 and we released a split EP with our friends from Michigan, Ettison Clio, on Reignition Records. Those songs I’m most proud of from the TBM catalog. I felt like I had hit my stride as a songwriter and I was happy to have things out there for our fans. In 2005 we started talking to Equal Vision and they had come out to see our shows. Near the end of the summer we played some shows for them, then (in hindsight) we ended up playing this huge festival in Pennsylvania called Purple Door. I didn’t know it at the time but that would be the last “full-band” TBM show. August 22, 2005. We played a massive stage in between Haste The Day and Norma Jean. Thousands of kids going nuts. I remember that show just being so awesome…playing outdoors on this ridiculous stage.
After that show we headed home and Equal Vision sent us a contract for a new 3-record deal. I finally thought, “yeah…someone believes in us” and we’re going to be able to make records.” I sat on that contract for a few weeks, wanting to sign it and make another go of it but I just didn’t have the will to do it–or the love to want to do it anymore. I was burned out…tired of band members leaving…tired of being broke most of the time. I just didn’t have any more “hustle” left in me. TBM quietly stopped in 2006 with no fanfare. Just a “on hiatus” post on our website.
In 2009 Shawn G., Armin Tchami (drummer on Light A Match) and I played an acoustic TBM set at Tomfest in Washington State. It was the first time any of us had been on stage together since April of 2003. I had a lot of fun with those guys and it was cool to see Shawn screaming away while he pounded on his acoustic.
I’ve thought that maybe TBM could reunite one of these days but we either live far away from each other or we aren’t close for one reason or another. Or we might not want to play that style of music. I think if we lived in Southern California that it could happen but I won’t hold my breath! I still write songs that could be TBM jams…and I probably have a record of material ready to go but I’ve reached a point where I’d either do it with Shawn Grover only, or if I found some amazing guys to play with here in San Diego I’d dust off the old tunes and play locally/record. I don’t have any delusions…we were popular from 2000 to 2005. That seems eons ago and we never reached the level of popularity where I think people these days would come out in droves to see us play. I miss playing…touring…doing TBM 100%. Those were good times regardless of member changes or drama. That all went away when I was on stage. It was always about the music for me…not girls or beer or anything else. I loved doing TBM because, regardless of who I was playing with, I always believed in our music and our lyrics. That’s what I remember…being able to play music I loved to people who cared. I can honestly say I cared the entire time I did it…rough times and good times. Hopefully that came through.
I also recently spoke with former TBM bassist, Jon Berndtson, who is now working in the healthcare field but also does vocals in two excellent hardcore bands, Years Spent and Get Young. Regarding his new career path, he said, “I’m actually about to start PA school, so one day you may have a guy with a bunch of tattoos saving your life [laughs].” He originally left The Beautiful Mistake in 2004, after the band’s tour with Emery, to move home and help with family that had fallen very ill. “I left ’cause my family needed me and I didn’t have it in me mentally to even deal with the band anymore,” said Berndtson.
“Stavesail” from the band’s 2002 LP Light a Match, For I Deserve to Burn
“This Is Who You Are” from the band’s 2004 LP This Is Who You Are
Red Fox Grey Fox
I was turned on to Red Fox Grey Fox by a mutual musician friend of vocalist Peter Miller sometime in 2006. The first song I heard, “Bring Back The Coast,” was everything I needed to hear that particular day. Between beautiful, stellar instrumentation and Miller’s angelic, choir-boy falsetto, the song was pretty much on repeat for hours on end, at full blast no less. I knew all the words by the end of the day. I hadn’t even listened to the rest of the album before I ordered a physical copy. While I didn’t necessarily love every song on From The Land Of Bears, Ice And Rock, the ones I did love were enough for me to consider it a great album at the time.
RFGF released a follow-up EP in 2009, entitled A Snake, A Scoundrel, This Man Is Cursed, that I was unaware of for quite some time. I honestly never got around to giving it the time it likely deserves but to this day I still listen to “Bring Back The Coast” and “Up With Mittens, Down With Gloves” from their debut album.
When reflecting on their music and remembering that they had in fact continued on after their debut, I got in touch with the guys to see what their status was. Knowing that most of the members were involved with another project, I was curious if they would still make music as Red Fox Grey Fox since their last effort roughly 4 years ago. Bassist/keyboardist Ben Pien had this to say in regards to the band:
“We are still a band, but taking a break from writing and playing while Peter, Jer and Stephen finish a record with their other band, We Are The Willows. We will be playing a few shows here and there but do not have any plans for major touring.”
It’s nice to know that they may still be active as I’m curious to hear their progression after such a long time of being rather dormant as RFGF.
Ever We Fall
The first time I ever heard Ever We Fall was on a demo version of their song “Three Wires In” which landed on their debut EP, Endura, on Rise Records. I had the song on nearly every mix I made at the time in 2004. The entire EP was great but I only had that one song for awhile. Once I got the actual EP, all six tracks were in regular rotation for me. “River City Ransom,” “Aria,” and “Broadcast” started finding their way onto all my mixes as well.
The band eventually moved to Hopeless Records and released their debut full-length, We Are But Human, which admittedly had snuck past me in the flood of similar music in 2006 but I finally got around to listening to it, and although they took it in a far poppier direction, it’s still a solid release. After “Youth Like Tigers” was featured on the soundtrack for TMNT in 2007 nothing else surfaced from the band before they announced their departure in 2008.
I was recently able to catch up with Ever We Fall’s vocalist/guitarist Adam Brazie about what led to the end of EWF and what the former members are doing nowadays. Check out his details below.
Oh boy, the big question; Why did we break up? I suppose the easiest way to answer this of course would be to say “personal issues.” But I also suppose that’s most everyone’s excuse, so I don’t mind delving into some further detail. The moment I knew it was starting to go south wasn’t after years on the road. Heck, even after the first 2 national tours it was more and more exciting and still felt we were making great progress. The third and most dreadful tour was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
If I’m remembering correctly we were in Virginia heading down to the Carolina’s when we stayed in some random college dorm for the night. Matt (our drummer) and I got into a little verbal argument for a variety of reasons (I should note that this wasn’t the first time). I was frustrated with how he would handle situations, or rather his annoyances that he ultimately dealt with by being passive-aggressive. Matt was not someone who was comfortable with being up-front and blunt, so when I confronted him about all the stressors that I had built up over the months, he didn’t take it very well. It pretty much ended up in a shoving match and we grew more and more distant after that. That night we almost called it quits on the tour — we called up our booking agent and discussed options. In the end we decided that we owed it to our fans that we would suck it up and finish the tour since we were already 3/4s of the way through it. After that whole charade, making our way through North Carolina (or was it Tennessee? It’s tough to remember now-a-days) our van finally gave up the ghost and the axle broke in half; when it rains it pours! And finally then, with our pockets and our spirits empty, we were forced to call the tour quits. After that tour is when Ryan and I told Matt we were continuing without him. We attempted to keep it going, Ryan and I eventually tried out a couple drummers and settled on a good friend we met along the way (Eric Ehlers) who ultimately played a couple gigs with us.
It’s not my intention to paint Matt as the bad guy — I love the guy with all my heart, but this is obviously a one-sided view. Ryan, Matt and I grew up together personally and musically. We were a musical trifecta so-to-speak, but without Matt it just wasn’t the same. Writing wasn’t coming as naturally as it had, and that’s when I knew if we wanted to continue without Matt, we couldn’t keep going as Ever We Fall.
Do I miss it? My heart aches writing this. I painfully miss it…at the time I didn’t want anything to do with music and I decided to follow a career path in my other skill set of computer repair and network administration. But alas, the grass is always greener on the other side.
As far as Matt and Ryan, Matt now lives in Minneapolis, MN and is still playing drums for another band called American Youth. Ryan is still here in Portland and has built his own in-home studio (quite professional I might add) and records, produces, and mixes for a living. As for our previous bassists, Ben Klenz is now overseas in Asia as an English instructor. Ian Fike is the lead vocalist of the band It Prevails. Jay Turk is a DJ for a local radio station, KPSU. And last but not least, Aaron James pretty much fell off the face of the earth — last I heard he knocked up a random girl as soon as we got back and is now, I would assume, a family man.
Conceptualized and written by: Brian Lion – Follow him on Twitter