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  1. #1
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    12.31.69 @ 04:00 PM
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    Here's a small newsbit I ran across a few minutes ago:

    Feature: Echobrain leaves its 'side-project' label behind

    by Don Zulaica
    LiveDaily Contributing Writer,
    FEB 6, 6:34 P.M. ET
    When bassist Jason Newsted departed Metallica last year, his longtime side-project Echobrain quickly became his main gig. The Bay Area trio Echobrain, rounded out by 24-year-old guitarist-vocalist Dylan Donkin and 23-year-old drummer Brian Sagrafena, is set to release its self-titled debut in early March on Chophouse/Surfdog records, with a U.S. club tour to follow.

    The album's sound is shockingly non-Metallica. Even with cameos by guitarists Kirk Hammett (Metallica) and Jim Martin (ex-Faith No More), the music's melodicism, range and ethereal moodiness suggests leanings from Pink Floyd to a wide range of singer-songwriters. Echobrain even employs string players from the San Francisco and National Symphonies. As with a Radiohead album, the listener can't digest everything on the first pass.

    The roots of Echobrain date back to a 1995 Super Bowl party at the home of a mutual friend of Newsted and Sagrafena. One of the party's traditions was that intoxicated revelers would do their best Buddy Rich impression on the house drum kit at halftime.

    "So I went up there and just kind of bashed on the kit a little bit at halftime," Sagrafena told LiveDaily, "and Jason introduced himself and asked me if I wanted to go down to his house and play. And I was like, 'Sure.'"

    In the band's record company biography, Newsted said, "This drum kit, people would come on and do their one drum beat that they know, and them someone else would do the two drumbeats they know. All of a sudden I hear this funky beat with properly used hi-hat, and it's [Sagrafena,] a kid about five-feet tall pulling this stuff out. It was obvious that, for a young person, his chops were beyond developed."

    Strangely enough, Sagrafena never really cared for Metallica: "I feel almost like a little spoiled-punk kid saying this, but I think I only had one Metallica tape, and a friend gave it to me." Before meeting Newsted, Sagrafena's tastes were heavily influenced by his father, who played drums in Sassafrass, a '70s San Francisco funk group. If it wasn't funk, it was jazz.

    "Yeah, jazz has really helped me just relate to everything," Sagrafena said. "It's almost like a translating tool to connect with people and players. I listened to a lot of Miles Davis, Lee Morgan, Joey DeFrancesco, a lot of John Coltrane. And funk: Tower of Power, the Meters, Galactic, the Grey Boy All-Stars. My dad was a big Cold Blood fan. I'm into all that stuff. I've always tried to have an incredibly open mind to everything. I know it maybe sounds cheesy, but I really love everything."

    Sagrafena grew up with Donkin; they met at Taylor Middle School in Millbrae, Calif., and started planning out their musical futures in notebooks. "I saw little Sagrafena walkin' down the hall," Donkin remembered, "lookin' like a little Ralph Maccio look-alike--the kind of guy you wanted to slap around--but it turned out he was really cool. He found out from the music department that I played bass, and he was just starting to play drums and was like, 'Hey, let's get a band together.' I was like, 'Okay, whatever.' From there, that day, the first day we hung out, we didn't know what we were doing ... we took out a notebook and said, 'Okay this is what we need to do to get our band together.' Right from the beginning. It was just a chemical thing."

    While Sagrafena was into jazz, Donkin was weaned on his musical family--his mother writes children's music for the group Magical Music Express--and other very familiar territory. "I guess the Beatles were the first, that's where it really started," Donkin said. "I think the very first musical influence outside of my parents was [the movie] 'Yellow Submarine.' Watching that, hearing the harmonies. And my mom would show me how they did the harmonies, and we'd sing the harmonies together off of the movie. That stuck with me for a long time. Then I bought 'Magical Mystery Tour' and 'Revolver' and was totally f***ed up after that."

    It all adds up to a sound that is a far cry from Metallica's. In Echobrain's label biography, Newsted said that the "musicality" of his new band proved to be his biggest challenge. "In Metallica, there are only so many keys. It was a proven formula and you didn't mess with it. When Dylan and Brian came around, I had to start learning different modes and keys. It's a challenge for my fingers and my brain."

    For Newsted, Echobrain was always a nice relaxing diversion from the rigors of Metallica life. "That's why I did it: to keep myself fresh. When it came to playing 'Enter Sandman' for the 30,000th time, I sounded like I meant it because I spent time with these other people playing different styles."

    Sounds like Jason is where HE wants to be, and doing what HE wants to do, not what some midget drummer and wannabe vocalist wants him to do. The way their musical style has been described, I'm kind of excited to see what it sounds like. I'd like to know how Kirk managed to show up and contribute to Echobrain's project without Lars and James throwing a shit fit about it.
    "Are you the guy with the Van Halen tickets?"<br /><br />"I might be....."

  2. #2
    Good Enough Ian Sane's Avatar
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    05.22.18 @ 02:26 AM
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    I'm really keen to hear this album. It's out March 5 from memory...
    “And what we have at our fingertips is arguably one of the greatest high tenor voices ever – that was in Michael Anthony. In our tiny little corner of the universe, that voice is as identifiable as the high voice in Earth, Wind & Fire, as identifiable as the high voice in the Beach Boys. Van Halen is an indelicate house blend of both – that’s intentionally. So I would always look forward to that reunion.” - David Lee Roth

  3. #3
    Baluchitherium JWS_5150's Avatar
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    05.18.09 @ 10:19 PM
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    Agreed - this should be cool. [img]smile.gif[/img]
    I'm one of those crazies on your block.




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