Loveless Remains True to its Journey-esque Roots
Loveless singer-guitarist Dave Wanamaker can't help but laugh as he gamely attempts to justify his alleged love for Journey. "I like Journey for the prom value, and for the comedy -- that band was funny," says Wanamaker, addressing a nasty rumor that the songwriter harbors a passion for the stadium-rock titans responsible for such tailgating mega-hits as "Don't Stop Believin' " and "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin' " More than Steve Perry's soaring tenor -- or the lighter-worthy love anthems -- "the thing I liked about them," Wanamaker says, "is the unabashed `rock star' [vibe] that they were all about.
Loveless's just-released debut album, "Gift to the World" (Q Division Records), embraces what we'll call "the Journey era," but mercifully leaves out the bad stuff -- i.e., the actual music of Journey. The album harkens back to the days when smart yet accessible, classically constructed pop songs primed for rock radio were actually heard on rock radio. Loveless celebrates the CD's release with a show at Bill's Bar Friday, headlining a bill that includes Heavy Stud and the Spaceshots.
The disc certainly has its share of grand gestures and lighter-worthy moments ("Cold"), but guitar-stoked, fiendishly effective tracks like "Go" and "Suicide Machines" reveal a fiercely focused rock band that understands the shrewd power of economy and volume. You'd be hard pressed to find a more devilishly lovely chorus than the one Wanamaker wrote for "Beautiful."
"It just felt like everything I heard on the radio sucked," he says. "There was so much bad music out there that you get to feeling like somebody's got to write something good -- or at least what you think is good."
"Gift To The World" is an album Wanamaker wanted to make even before his old '90s alt-rock group, Expanding Man, broke up after a major label deal turned sour. Although he had some misgivings about the split ("I had been playing with them for so long, it was like having a longtime girlfriend. You can't imagine being with anyone else"), he craved a fresh start. "I felt that band had run its course, and I wanted to do something different and try and sing the songs I was writing -- although I had no idea what I was doing when I started this band."
Enlisting ex-Expanding Man bass player Pete Armata, along with drummer Tom Polce, and guitarist Jen Trynin was a brilliant first step. Trynin, a singer-songwriter who had also been signed to a major label and weathered some frustrating experiences (in fact, she's writing a book), had all but quit playing music when her old friend Wanamaker prodded her back onstage.
"By the time I left music, I was sick of it and exhausted, and couldn't remember why I was doing it in the first place," Trynin recalls. "Dave was constantly giving me [a hard time] that I was being a wiener and a baby and that I should pick up my guitar and play. One day, he called and said he was playing at an open mike and wanted me to come and hear his songs. So I went, and I was blown away. And he said, `So why don't you come be in my band?' It was good timing on his part. He could have hit me on a different day, and I would have said no way, go away."
- Jonathan Perry
Copyright © 2003 Loveless. All Rights Reserved.