‘Exploding Pages’ to unveil new album
By BRIAN WIERIMA
It happens every so often when a new band rises up with such a new and unique sound, that a listener can’t quite put a genre label on it.
That kind of sound will be emanating out of Nice Guys Pizza and Wings, at 1334 Cape Coral Parkway East in Cape Coral, when Exploding Pages takes to the stage to unveil their new “Alabama Chrome” album today starting at 8 p.m.
The wide-range of diverse music will be enhanced with local favorites Constellation and John Wayne Gretzky also performing for the album-release party.
But the featured band of the night, Exploding Pages, will be rocking out their own type of diversity, with their new album “Alabama Chrome” coming together after an evolutionary path the two originators of the band took together through the last two decades in music.
Mark Cosden and Marc Davis have been playing together for the last 20 years, ranging from playing in punk rock to Ska bands. The two have formed and played in eight bands, with each and every one of them contributing a piece of variety to Exploding Pages, which is a six-piece conglomeration of different musical backgrounds.
“Mike and I are musical soulmates, we do complete each other,” Davis said. “Mike is more of the let’s get things done personality and I am more of the laid back type. We complement each other well.”
The duo started writing their own music together starting in 2007, after playing in cover bands before, which featured punk and Ska music.
By 2009, they released an album entitled Tambien, which was produced through the first version of Exploding Pages.
“Tambien is much different music than what we are making now,” Davis said. “We wanted to stay away from being genreized and it was our lashing out album. We wanted to do whatever we wanted to do, because original music nowadays, is kind of being painted into a corner.”
As the evolution of the current lineup of Exploding Pages continued, Cosden recruited from where he was very comfortable with – and that was family.
After the release of Tambien, Exploding Pages played their first show, which was at the Calusa Nature Center Planetarium. Cosden asked his father, Gary, to join in and play the live show.
“At first, we only wanted this to be a recording process and we booked only one live show,” Mike Cosden said. “It was a huge undertaking, but we sold out. So we scheduled a second show, and that one sold out, too.”
Gary gave the band one of the most unique sounds, since he was a pedal steel guitar player, which is mostly common with the older country western music.
But playing in a more of an alternative style of band, allowed Gary to broaden his horizons and step out of the country western genre.
“I’ve been playing since I was 12 years old and got into playing the pedal steel guitar for some country western (bands),” Gary said. “Before Mike asked me to play in his band, I didn’t play for a few years. Mike got me back into playing music again, which I am eternally grateful for.
“I still play the pedal steel guitar, but it’s not country western anymore.”
Another Cosden was added to the lineup in Mike’s sister, Jessica, who started her musical life as a 5-year-old piano player.
Jessica added playing skills in which she could sit down at the keyboards and play what was in front of her, which was appealing to Davis.
“We asked the most talented musicians to join because we needed people who were going to come in and know their stuff and be ready to play,” Davis said. “This is how we got our original lineup. Jess has done a fantastic job and has adapted well.”
A Cape Coral city council member, Jessica Cosden, 31, in November became the youngest female ever in the city’s history to be elected to the city council.
She started her term Nov. 9, and has been able to juggle a job, a busy home life with two children, her council duties and adding her keyboard/organ music to the new album.
“Mike and I are totally polar opposites,” Jessica said. “Mike is the creative one, he is the one who will write the songs. I will be the one to just sit down and play what Mike puts in front of me.”
Rounding out the group is Andrew Bernard on lead guitar (who is playing his last show Friday after he moved to Tallahassee) and Doug Smith, who will play a couple of tracks during the album release performance.
Extra help was given to the band during the two-year recording process by Jan O’Donnell on trumpets and Melissa Lorentson on backing vocals.
The process of recording Alabama Chrome was long, which was a big difference from their Tambien album.
“The biggest challenge was we are all older, with jobs and kids,” Davis said. “When we were able to get together, it was awesome.”
The group would try and meet every Thursday for a two-hour recording session and the goal was to have it completed by the end of the year. All the production, playing and recording was held at Davis’ house.
The sound of Alabama Chrome strayed away from anything else that Mike Cosden and Davis ever did. He pushes the limits of any genre, with a bevy of variety which can be pleasing to any ear in actuality, because there isn’t a certain tag which can be put on it.
“It definitely has a poppy feeling to it and it does lean towards being countryish with the pedal steel guitar,” Mike Cosden said. “We realized a lot about songwriting this time around and we feel we took a comfortable leap forward.”
Davis also appreciated the freedom of untying the bonds of playing a certain genre of music and it definitely can be heard in all 13 songs of Alabama Chrome.
“I was super proud of Tambien, but this one has an older style to the record and everything fits better,” Davis added. “It’s more restrained.”
Gary Cosden also is happy he was afforded the freedom to stray away from just a country western style of sound with his pedal steel guitar.
“It’s an entire new genre, which is not easy to do,” Gary said. “I am grateful to be able to play pedal steel guitar and that I don’t have to be a country western guy playing it. It’s been very challenging, but there isn’t really anything to compare it to.”
After the strenuous job of finishing the album, playing it live to an audience is the next exciting step.
“It’s nice having a venue like Nice Guys, because we can play with a different variety of bands,” Jessica Cosden said. “There isn’t many bands which sound like us.”
To listen to and purchase either Alabama Chrome or Tambien, go to Exploding Pages’ website at explodingpages.bandcamp.com/.
If the same ole’, same ole’ doesn’t work for your ears anymore, try a new sound made up from many different genres of music.
And that new music will be coming from Exploding Pages.
The $5 admission price to the Friday, Dec. 11, album release party will include a free digital download of the album for all attendees, as well as other surprises.