THE BAND MEMBERS – (updated August 2004)
Dave has been long standing on the main drum kit since 1998. Our 2 original percussionists, Shawn Farrell and Todd Wolfe, joined in the spring of 2000 giving the band its 3-drummer identity. Todd had a more intricate syncopated feel to his drumming while Shawn was more about raw power. The combination worked out quite well!
Kevin Petroski joined the band on guitar in the summer of 2001. Kevin is truly an amazing musician and catches on to my riffs faster than anyone I have ever played with. However, due to uncontrollable circumstances, Kevin temporarily left the band. Meanwhile, another very determined and talented guitarist, Aaron Montcalm, joined Scorch to take his place in late 2001. After a few months, Aaron decided to leave Scorch to pursue other music interests. As fate would have it, Aaron & Kevin both re-joined Scorch in 2002. Aaron made a huge sacrifice and switched to bass guitar – a position that been impossible to fill for nearly 3 years!
In November 2002, we picked up the pace and started playing out almost every weekend. At this point in Todd’s life, he was ready to focus on family and other interests and decided to leave the band. He was very cool about everything and agreed to play out all of the shows until the end of 2002. Fortunately, we had a complete line-up for all of the shows that were booked.
Long-time friend, Nik Proper, who was playing the main kit in another band, decided to ‘permanently fill in’ for Todd on percussion at the beginning of 2003. The timing was perfect for Nik because within a month after he joined, we had our first two big breaks – opening for Kittie & Biohazard at Harpos in Detroit. The line-up of Russ, Dave, Shawn, Aaron, Kevin and Nik only lasted a few short months. Half of the band quit, leaving only 3 original members! After the CD release party for “Faces” in March of 2003, Nik decided to pursue his other band full-time. Aaron moved back to Kalamazoo and Kevin took a break from music.
Throughout the history of the band, I have always been fortunate enough to not be forced to cancel any shows due to musicians quitting the band. Immediately, I put ads out at all of the record and music stores, and put an ad in the Metro Times “Musicians Wanted” section. I had never been successful with any of these methods for finding band members from 1997-2000 (in my old bands), but I knew that it was really my only choice. I remained optimistic as I auditioned many people who didn’t work out. To my surprise, I was able to find a 2nd guitarist, Emilio Diaz, and percussionist, John Noteware III, within a month of putting the ad out in the Metro Times. Their first show was our first out-of-state gig – in Pittsburgh! I wasn’t able to find a bassist at the time, but we continued to play shows as a 5-piece for nearly 9 months! Emilio has been very solid on guitar and brings a very unique solo/stylistic approach to the band. His style compliments my classical style solos and adds another dimension to the band. John had just finished serving four years in the US Army and answered my ad within a month of returning home to the states. John had drums and being in a band on his mind the whole time he was away and was eager to join a serious project. John added a positive and wild energy to the band. After playing many shows over the spring/summer of 2003, John decided to leave the band. Due to other musical interests and work/school overload, he wasn’t able to commit (for now).
As fate would have it, Nik’s band broke up the same week that John quit Scorch, so Nik re-joined Scorch on percussion. This was very fortunate since we had Superjoint Ritual, Dimmu Borgir and MTV Headbanger’s Ball shows coming up in the next 2 months! It was funny the way the timing worked out – John had never played any of our shows opening up for national bands, and Nik never played any out-of-state shows.
I always had one eye open, hoping to a find a new bassist. I know that if any record labels are to take us seriously, bass guitar is a must. While promoting at a show at Harpos in late 2003, I met a bassist – Seth Von Dietrick. Seth was very energetic, passionate and determined. We didn’t have any shows for awhile, so this gave Seth a chance to learn all the songs. In early 2004 – after nearly a year – we were a 6-piece with bass guitar once again! Finally, everything seemed to be in place.
Then – to our shocking surprise, only two months later - Seth decided that he wasn’t happy in Detroit after all, and bought a one-way ticket back to California. It was also at this time that Nik decided his percussionist days were over. Nik decided that if he was going to be “up front” and not a main kit drummer, that he wanted to play bass guitar. He wanted to be more mobile instead of being stuck behind his drums (percussion). Nik and I agreed that I needed to audition Nik for bass guitar since this wasn’t his primary instrument. Amazingly, Nik was able to learn bass parts just as fast as percussion parts, and he made the move to a new instrument. Nik had saved the day on many occasions filling in for us on percussion, bass guitar and even main kit! Our whole band sat down to discuss what to do about percussion. We decided that our first choice was to have John re-join the band rather than put an ad out. Again the timing was insane - I received a call from John from out of the blue. Since Nik decided that he was done with drums and John’s hectic schedule had let up, John decided to re-join on percussion.
What a crazy 18 months - Kevin, Aaron, Nik and John had all quit the band once (or twice), only to re-join the band. I have been very fortunate to keep good relationships with all of my ex-bandmates. Time and time again they have come back to the band to save the day and keep the Scorch machine marching onward! For the past 6 months, our line-up has been Russ (vocals/guitar), Emilio (guitar), Dave (drums), Shawn (percussion), John (percussion), and Nik (bass guitar). I’ll keep my fingers crossed for no more member changes but I’m prepared to go searching again if need be! Keeping a 6-piece together is quite a challenge! The twisted Scorch family tree saga continues!
SCORCH – Jan 2003 to August 2004
Finally, after 5 years of hard work, including the construction of the recording studio, recording the songs, band member changes, working with artists, complicated contracts, lawyers and many other obstacles along the way, our debut CD “Faces” would be unleashed unto the world. We kicked off 2003 by opening up for Kittie & Biohazard, and hosting our own CD release party. Ironically, we had the CD release party at Paychecks in Hamtramck – the very same club that I had my first guitar performance at ever in 1997! Besides having to manage several band members quitting & re-joining the band, I was quickly engulfed with the challenge of booking and promoting our band. Now that the long task of creating the CD was behind us, we were determined to play out everywhere and anywhere. Believe it or not, the promoting takes up more time than actually preparing for and performing at the shows! As an independent band, it is very hard to draw a large number of people to your performances, especially when you venture out of your normal territory. We teamed up with several other bands and began performing all over the Midwest – including Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Milwaukee. It was fun & exciting to play in new places. However, not all shows had the number of people who attend shows in Detroit. It took a strong will to keep our heads up high after driving 6 hours to play for less than 50 people on more than one occasion. I knew there had to be a better way so I decided to attend a couple of independent music promotion/ music biz conferences – one in Vegas and another in Nashville. I learned about music conferences, festivals, and showcases that we could perform at. I also learned about radio promoters, publicists and how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together in this crazy industry!
In late 2003, I submitted our CD and press kit to many promoters around the US. We were accepted to perform at metalfests in St. Louis, Massachusetts, Chicago and Indiana throughout the first quarter of 2004. The show in St Louis was by far the best. It was at a venue called Pops, where Slayer and tons of other national bands toured. I would highly suggest visiting Pops and the 3 surrounding clubs – they all stay open until 6am on Saturday nights! Plus it didn’t hurt that it was Mardi Gras while we were there. Around midnight, it was so hilarious watching the black shirted metalheads leave as people dressed in flowers, Hawaiian shirts and other preppy flowery outfits came in. It was an interesting mix!
Over the past year, we’ve had offers to work with radio promoters & publicists in the US, and management in Europe, but the right deal hasn’t come along just yet. Now its been nearly a year and a half since our CD release party. We decided that its time to start working on our new songs. Before we release our next full length CD, we are going to record & mix four songs to send out to record labels – both nationally and internationally. This will be a big challenge. Instead of just recording the songs in our own studio and sending the songs out to be mixed, we are going to mix the songs ourselves. I’ve made some upgrades to my studio and attended a couple of Pro Tools /mixing classes this year. I learned so many more new mixing and songwriting techniques since we released the last CD. I am confident that this CD will have an even better production than our debut. While we work on the CD, we are still going to perform a few shows throughout the remainder of 2004 – beginning with the Lamb of God/Fear Factory show on Oct 9th!
We are looking forward to 2005 as every year keeps getting bigger and better. We really appreciate everyone’s support, especially our street teamers! (E-mail me if you’re interested in helping to spread the Scorch word.) The bottom line is that we do what we do because we love it. We work our asses off in the name of metal and keeping the scene alive. We love performing and hanging out with everyone at all the shows. Nothing is better than having the privilege to perform and express our emotions. That’s what it's all about for us: connecting with people and the passion for metal.
See you in the pit!