An American LIAR
When I made up my mind to release AudioXposure, I discovered that I had a few difficult truths to face. First, it wasn’t going to be easy to find truly great talent around here. Second, maybe I was just too damn hard to please. And third, even when I finally found an artist or band that truly kicked ass, they were generally far less than willing to get involved with a brand new publication. So, there I was, facing a deadline, getting almost no response from the local artists I contacted, and about ready to throw in the towel.
I checked my e-mail one morning and saw this message from Scott, saying his band was in. I didn’t remember contacting anyone named Scott, so I thought to myself, “Ummm, OK. Who the Hell is this guy?” Then, when I found out Scott was a member of one of the few bands I came across and truly loved, I was like, “Holy Sh*t!” I got up and did a little happy dance, and then sat down and composed myself like the professional that I am … sometimes.
Who was this happy dance-inspiring band, you may ask? Why, none other than Allentown’s An American LIAR™! The members of AAL have been together since early 2002. The band is led by front man Jason Kocis, and features Jay Albright on bass and vocals, Tony Dalmas on drums, and Scott finishes up the roster on lead guitar. Aside from being very gifted musicians, the members of AAL are professional, almost to a fault. Scott put it best when he said, “As a whole, the entire group is comprised of great musicians. We rehearse by strict standards, and it shows in our live performances, because what you hear on the CD is what you’ll hear live as well. We’re in sync with each other on many different levels, and it makes for a very professional band at the end of the day…. I have my eyes on the prize, and we have the goods to get there!” And that they do.
Jason and Scott, both being ever so gracious, took the time to answer a few of my questions in an e-mail interview. The guys definitely each have their own styles and personalities. Jason is casually open and straightforward, while Scott comes across as being more reflective. After reading their responses, I had to wonder how these two seemingly mismatched personalities could join to make music with such a “get up off your ass and come worship us” sound to it. Then it occurred to me. I forgot two essential elements – Jay and Tony. And, it’s the fusion of these four guys that makes AAL’s sound truly explosive.
Here’s some of what the guys had so say:
I wanted to know what drew the guys to creating music and what kind of an image or message they were trying to get across through their work.
Jason: [I create and record my own music], because it’s all I know that I’ve truly wanted since I was weaned from the nipple. [The themes our songs cover can be] anything from inner turmoil to how bad the Mets suck. My music is a direct conveyance of how I’m feeling at any given time. It could be something busy and upbeat, or it could be a dark reflection of trying times or a lack of Xanax. However I feel; that’s how it comes to fruition. I think our message conveys a message of harsh reality with a cynical twist.
So, how does the magic of AAL happen? Who writes the songs? Who’s influenced these guys to be the mind-blowing artists that they are?
Jason: [I] write the material, then come to the band with it. The lyrics then get written. We work out the bugs, and . . . Whamo! The band’s influences are TOOL, Hendrix, Vodka, Yes, Iron Maiden, Chimay, Rage, At the Drive-in, Hash, and The Scorpians (pre Blackout!)
I was curious about the group’s plans for right now and their longer-term goals, so I asked what we can expect of them in the coming years.
Scott: Tour, tour, tour! I’ll still be writing and recording music, no doubt. Speaking long-term, I will always be playing music until I can’t play it anymore, and be involved with it in one way or another. I recently purchased a house, and will be putting in a pro-level studio. Like I said, I’ll be involved with music one way or another. In the meantime, I’m going to strive to hit the top.
Jason: We are not currently signed, but are in search of a major label deal. I plan to have a deal within the next 18 months. I [also] plan to play music for the rest of my natural life. Success is the ability to convey your musical message to your fans. . . AND to be compensated by their approval. Making some dough would also qualify. . . . We do have a demo to be released in stores by the end of January.
There’s something about listening to AAL that brings me back to my college days, sitting in my apartment at 4am, writing that essay that should have been finished weeks ago, conscious only by sheer will, and the ever-present knowledge that if I allow myself to collapse, I may not wake again for a week. I’d throw a little Godsmack or Staind (before they sucked) in my stereo to keep me slightly more alert. And, while I’m not necessarily stating any similarities between the sound of these bands and AAL, it’s the provocative yet pacifying nature of their music that makes for an almost unnatural reminiscence.
I have to admit, I’m no “review writer”. I honestly couldn’t give less of a damn about who a band “sounds” like, and I don’t feel that it’s my place to come in critiquing anyone’s sound or style. So, you won’t find very much of that here. What I’m about, and therefore what AX is about, is highlighting the best, telling you a little bit about the people behind the music, and giving them a place and an opportunity to get the word out.
So, give these guys a chance. Check out their sh*t, catch a show, and just support them any way you can. (You can pick up their current 4-song EP at all Gallery of Sound locations – www.galleryofsound.com.) That’s what local music is. It’s the whole “We knew them when …” factor. And believe me, you’ll be saying that about An American LIAR, and hopefully not too far down the road. These guys are destined for something great. Be there to see it happen. Go check out www.anamericanliar.com. Do it. Now.