Every now and then some shit happens in the music industry that just makes me laugh. Such is the case with this particular incident which should have been the beginning of a great story of narrow minded industry execs getting what they deserve, but unfortunately will probably be forgotten amidst the volumes of unheard stories about great bands who never quite made it to the next level.
The band I’m speaking of this time around is called Rustic Overtones and was comprised of a group of 7 high school friends from Portland, Maine who apparently had a knack for getting together and jamming down on whatever type of groove they felt like getting down with that day. After gaining a local fanbase the band started to tour, sometimes putting on as many as 200 shows a year. After a coupleof acclaimed albums and EP’s on smaller indie imprints the band was given the opportunity to record an album with major label Arista Records.
It’s rumored that the execs over at Arista put forward a budget of a million dollars to record Viva Nueva under the pretense that they’d found the next Dave Matthews band. A couple of special guest were pulled in for the recording sessions including David Bowie, Funkmaster Flex, and Imogen Heap. The boys in Rustic Overtones had other ideas about what they wanted to sound like though and decided to thrash it out hardcore.
Rustic Overtones – Combustible
After hearing the masters the higher-ups at the label wanted nothing to do with it and told them to leave, taking the million dollar masters with them. Unfazed by the reaction of the shirts at Arista the band got the album over to pioneering hip-hop label Tommy Boy Records who agreed to put it out in 2001.
I’m not even going to try and describe the sound to you, but I personally think the album is great. Unfortunately a lot of other stuff was going on in 2001 and having been released the summer before September 11th it was kind of hard to get too much promotion behind singles such as Crash Landing.
Rustic Overtones – Crash Landing
The album’s actually rather eclectic and as I stated before, I get the feeling that these guys just kind of got together and just played whatever they were in the mood for as opposed to trying to define a particular type of sound. When you’ve known and played with your bandmates forever not only can this work but the results can be quite astounding.
Rustic Overtones – Baby Blue
The band decided to part ways in 2002, but several former members can be heard kicking up dust on some other projects. I for one would like to have seen what would have become of the original band had they kept at it. They definitely deserve more recognition then they achieved in their short time with major label backing.
It was hard deciding what tracks to sample for this post. One day when I’m feeling particularly brokenhearted it’s mandatory that I let you hear Valentine’s Day Massacre but this will have to do for now. Or you can go and hunt down this gem for yourselves because if I tried to list all of the highlights I’d just be giving you complete track listing.