By Sanjeev Selvarajah
The average individual only enters a church for a funeral or a wedding. Hard rock Los Angeles band The North encompasses both—out in front, a funeral for family—or alternatively, a hymnal from a wedding of off-kilter famous couples like Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton. The origins of the band started in Massachusetts with the group playing local spots in Somerville and other areas. They’re returning to Massachusetts on August 1 for an 11 p.m show at Church of Boston.
Even Neil Gaiman, author of the Sandman series and prose fiction American Gods, has to rock out once in a blue moon, and there, at the altar, watched from the pew and priestly intoning the vows that witch and warlock unite to, sings Gaiman’s vessel. Tying the knot never looked so bloody crimson, but aside from royal figures coming together, the typical romance sincerely promises till death do us part.
That’s the key to The North. Each song is a promise, whether it is a funeral march like the poignant track Long Goodbye or a bond of matrimony in one of their tunes like Staring at your Picture. And when that first-born child comes between the romance, it is time to stop thinking of you and me, it is time to “Disengage” annunciates The North. Each member of The North is grabbing the bull by the horns. They flirt with disaster, staring Death in the face, until the wench suddenly pinches their cheeks.
The North identifies themselves with blue-collared bands from the 70s through the 90s. Inspirations include groups from Led Zeppelin to Pearl Jam, says guitarist Jamie Maguire. For their debut album, Disengage, the depth of the vocals and instruments parallel a dark Kings of Leon or a melodic Deftones.
“We all come in and chat about the latest and greatest while we set up. We usually get warmed up with a good ten-minute or so jam session with everyone kind of improvising and playing around with different sounds and dynamics. From there, we’ll get into either the set, working on some new cover tunes, or start writing some new stuff. Kind of depends on what we have coming up. Lately, been a lot of rehearsing of the set and really getting dialed in for the big shows,” said Maguire.
The band includes Jamie Maguire (guitar), Dennis Harris (bass, backup vocals), Ted Kelliher (drums), Ryan Sullivan (vocals), Carlyle Crenshaw (lead guitar). “Dennis, Ted and I all grew up in the West Roxbury/Roslindale area of Boston. We started playing together when we were about fourteen with another friend of ours singing. By around 2000, we started playing out at a lot of local clubs and then spread to other towns in Massachusetts. One of our favorite joints outside of Boston was a place in Somerville called Good Times Emporium. There was a really great scene going there, really thriving. A lot of solid rock bands in Somerville who all wanted to come out and really show off their stuff. It was very impressive,” says Maguire.
Their debut album, Disengage, can be found on Itunes, Amazon, and www.TheNorthLA.com; their web site also includes streaming samples and videos.