From the shadows of Blind Melon emerged what would soon be known as Unified Theory. Locked into a new style, new found energy and amazing dynamics, Christopher Thorn and Dave Krusen combine their musical experiences to bring about a fresh and original sound.
Chris, formerly of Blind Melon, and his new bandmates, Chris Shinn and Brad Smith, set off on a musical journey. They then brought Dave--who played on Pearl Jam's debut album Ten--on board to finally complete their new creation.
Having completed their first album, Unified Theory tried extremely hard to separate themselves from their former band's sounds. Never wanting to compare one to the other. As Chris says , "It's a new project".. They started the band with those thoughts and continued the whole way through. They're hoping to fill whatever gap many feel there is in music today.
Neither Chris nor Dave had down time from music. Through the years, working on projects helped them stay in touch with their passion. But Chris feels since there was some "inbetween" band time, it was an easy transition for him. Having time to heal and recuperate... it had been long enough and he now was excited about being in a band again.
Although Dave rarely contributes lyrically, he works hard at making his drumming accent Unified Theory's lyrics. Loving music just because it "makes him feel good", he loves to share that with a live audience and vice-versa, feeds off their energy. Chris has similar feelings about the bands new sound saying "I think music should be something for people to unify with and share an incredible experience" leaving each person individually to interperet their music however they wish.
Now, with a whole new band and a whole new outlook, both Dave and Chris enjoy every step of making new music and learning new things every single day. Dave's advice for aspring musicians? "Don't take it for granted, music is a real special thing." He feels that in the past, he has taken many things for granted and has now turned his life around and is able to enjoy every second of it. They want their live shows and their album to bring much energy into peoples lives. That's what music is about, that's what Unified Theory is about.
ROL: So how was your
tour with the Counting Crows?
Chris: We had an amazing time. I got a chance to play with Live on a couple of songs and Chris came out and sang. It was totally incredible. I wasn't sure how we would be recieved, but the audience was great to us.
ROL: So how did you
hook up with those guys?
Chris: I played on the Live record... I've been friends with those guys for years. I went on tour with them right before this band started. I keep in touch and I called them up and said "hey...i need a break".
ROL: What do you
think your next tour will be like?
Chris: Well, we played with this band called Vast... that was fun. Then from there we did our own stuff on tour, then we're back in the studio.
ROL: How is it that
members of two great bands got together to form Unified Theory?
Chris: Well, it was just kind of coincidence... you know, in a way it just so happened that I knew dave ... I produced this band he was in after he played on the Pearl Jam record and he just lived in the neighborhood. We were fans of his drumming and he came over to play on the first two tracks of the album.
ROL: Are you trying
your best to separate yourselves from your former bands sound or do you
think this is sort of a continuation of it?
Chris: No...we are trying extremely hard to separate because it's just unfair to even compare the two. You just can't take two guys from one band and say "oh, it's just like that other band". I mean, it's just unfair to the three other guys. It was a conscious effort when i first met chris. Chris said , "hey, you know, i don't want to be the new singer for your band." And I said great, I don't want you to. This was never meant to be the continuation of blind melon. It's a whole new project. We started the band that way and we continue to think that way.
ROL: How difficult
was it to get back into the groove of being in a band?
Chris: I had enough time inbetween. I think it would have been a lot harder if I just jumped into it right after blind melon ended. I felt like i needed some time to heal. It's been long enough that I became excited about being in a band again.
ROL: Has it been
hard starting over as a new band... You know, sort of getting your name
Chris: People think that it really must be weird like "oh, it must be weird playing Woodstock and now playing in front of 30 people." To me it's not that weird. I get to play guitar everyday, I don't care if I have to play at SEARS AND ROBUCK, lol. I mean, I guess I do, it's a little too puppet show. I wake up, I play guitar, I go to bed, I wake up I play guitar. How bad could it be. I'm psyched to just be playing in front of anyone who's willing to listen. To me it's been invigorating and it's like I get to go through it twice. That's pretty exciting.
ROL: Was there a
point after Blind Melon that you actually layed the guitar down?
Chris: I did so much production work that I was always was producing a lot of solo artists where I would play on the record as well. I've been doing music non stop since the end of Blind Melon.
ROL: Do you feel
that maybe this is a second chance at fixing any mistakes you may have
made before as a new band?
Chris: Possibly, but you know what the truth is that this band will make a different mistakes that Blind Melon ever made. So there's a whole new set of mistakes that you're making along the way.
ROL: What's the common
belief you all share in the purpose of your music and your live shows?
Chris: I think the purpose of our shows is to UNIFY people. I think our purpose should be bring people together and share an incredible experience.
ROL: So is that basically
where the name of your band came from?
Chris: No, the name of the band came from an Einstein theory. The last theory he had worked on when he was dying. The theory is unified theory and brad had been inspired reading some books on Einstein and actually wrote a song which never made it to the record.
ROL: How would you
like your fans interpret your music?
Chris: How ever they wish. That's the beauty of art to me, you know, I listen to music.... I don't expect whoever created that art to tell me what to feel or how to experience that music. Each person individually should interpret it however they wish.
ROL: What do you
think attracts people to your music?
Chris: I think we write passionate songs and honest music and I think that people feel they can relate to you and your songs.
ROL: In a lot of
reviews, they talk about how amazing Chris' voice is. What do you think
makes it so unique?
Chris: when i was looking for a singer a couple of years ago, I couldn't say what I was looking for. But when you hear the voice you say "that's the voice". As soon as I heard it I said "that's the guy". Chris sings like an angel. There are good singer and there are great singer and there are exceptional singer and I think Chris is an exceptional singer. I sit behind a glass and watch him do ten vocal takes and they're all amazing.
ROL: How easy was
it for Chris to leave his previous band?
Chris: At that time he had lost his drummer and the guitar player and they went to go play with Everlast. It was perfect timing. He was happy doing what he was doing and he was sort of in a transitional period.
ROL: Do you think
your sound is going to be setting a new pace for others to follow?
Chris: I don't know and to tell you the truth, I don't care. To me, whether were sticking out like sore thumbs because we don't belong in the scene or we are the scene. It really doesn't matter, you find your fans or they find you and you play for them. That's all that matters.
ROL: Are there any
songs you would like to cover in future albums?
Chris: We've been doing Breathe from Pink Floyd.
ROL: So what advice
do you have for bands trying to make it out there?
Chris: Well, you have to be extremely focused and you have to work harder than everbody else. Luck is definately involved. You have to believe in what you do.
ROL: What has been
your high in your whole career?
Chris: The day Shanon (of Blind Melon) peed on the audience... I just felt like wow, we're really living it large. The next day, I eloped and the band didn't even know and I woke up in Paris--woke up to watching french MTV and saw them talking about Shanon. I just sort of felt like wow... we made it. And for this band...the moment we wrote passive for me was such a high because I felt like it was the first time that i felt like i could do this again. I felt that magic again.
would you say inspired you as a guitarist?
Chris: Jimmy page--when i was growing up, I loved all his acoustic stuff and he just to me was a rock god as far as guitar players go. And then as I got older, I liked the way George Harrison played guitar and Willie Nelson. He's an incredible guitar player and people don't even realize it.
ROL: How would you
rate yourself as a guitarist?
Chris: Really , really average. I don't claim to be a great guitar player. I'd rather be a great song writer than a great guitarist. To me it's not important for people to be like "oh look how fast he can play"...Whatever..it's like write me a song... move my heart.
ROL: What bands have
moved you--song writing wise?
Chris: The Beatles, Zepplin--they were great song writers in addition to being great musicians.
ROL: How do you feel
about all this rap/metal going on?
Chris: I think it's really good. I think the Deftones are great. I think some of those bands are better than others, just like anything else. I think right now we're being sort of overloaded by it and i think whenever that happens it's sort of means the end of the scene.
ROL: Do you think
you're going to stir up a lot of Blind Melon fans with Unified theory?
Chris: Yes, obviously, a lot fans that are getting turned on to the band are people who are like "whatever happened to those guys of Blind Melon" and it's been great. We've never said to Blind Melon fans that you automatically should like this band. To me it's this brand new project and if you like it, then come along for the ride.
ROL: What are you
views on Napster?
Chris: It's tough...I mean the weirdest part about Napster is that they don't ask. It would be one thing if they called up and said "You know, we want to give one of your songs away for free". You know, like give me the choice... maybe I'll say, "yeah, you can have that song... no problem". They literally rob you of your art. That's where I have a problem with it.
ROL: Is there anything
you miss about your career?
Chris: Maybe I do miss the music explosion in the 90's. I definately miss that we didn't have a chance to sort of be responsible for ending our career. It was a tragic ending... It would have been nice to go "the band's breaking up because we hate each other" that would have been a lot better. Because then I could at least call and say "hey, I hated you last year, I like you again... let's go make a record."
ROL: How did you
come into Unified Theory?
Dave: I had just done Candlebox's last record and was getting ready to go out on the road. Brad gave me a call and asked me to lay down some drums real quick. So I did. Then I left to go on tour for about eight months. I left candlebox and went home and they still hadn't found a permanent drummer yet. So I had kept in touch with them while I was on the road to see how the record was coming and things like that. I did a little bit more drums for them here and there. From there it turned into another five or six songs and then the record was done. So that was kind of how i came into it.
ROL: What made you
want to be part of Unified Theory?
Dave: There was definately good chemistry. The band sounded really good. I really like the music. It was really easy to play with these guys. I was into Candlebox... the drummer had left and I came into it and they treated me like a member and it was really cool that way. In fact, I'm still good friends with the bass player. But since it was their thing and it had gotten to the point where a couple of them wanted to go in different directions, so it just felt a little bit like they were at the end of being a band.
ROL: What was it
about Unified theory's music that you like?
Dave: The music struck me as really original. I thought they were great players. I had worked with him on a couple of other things, but when i went in to do songs with those guys i thought "wow, this is really cool". It's really different.
ROL: Shinn's vocal
style is sort of Jane's Addiction...They're very similar
Dave: Yeah, we've heard that reference before. Shinn's vocal style is along that line. In recording the record, they really tried a lot of things which is an other thing I thought was really cool.
ROL: What were some
of the things they did?
Dave: I'm not sure...I'm not sure if they even know. They did a lot of things where they were like--because they produced records before--and when the record was done it was like... this is the record. And they were like "we want to put you in the studio with this guy and that guy. It would be like 4 in the morning and they would plug something in...and halfway, they would plug something in, knock something over. In a way it's sort of a curse because you don't know what you did to recapture that sound. But that's part of the beauty too because it's kind of by chance.
ROL: What was the
creative process like in putting together a lot of the songs and what did
you personally contribute?
Dave: Personally, i feel like i contributed a lot to some things. Shinn had a song and he wanted to do something that was a drum loop sounding thing. So what you hear is not a drum loop...they wanted like a bass and drum groove. Like almost tribal sounding type of thing. I got the drum groove going and then brad got a baseline going and we sort of started from there. He had already written the song, but musically it comes from a whole different place than chris originally wrote it. I was things like that. I came into it and looked at the artwork when it was all done and realized that i didn't contribute (laughs)...it's not big deal...you just look at it and go, "well"...
ROL: Was it that
you were so busy doing other things?
Dave: I think that they were so busy working on it until all hours... and I would go home to my family and they would be working on it, but my only regret was that things weren't a little more out in the open the whole time. It was kind of their baby and I don't know if they wanted somebody else to be--i feel they were really protective of their baby.
ROL: Do you feel
you were in the backdrop almost??
Dave: In a sense...I mean, I wasn't when I was there working , but what happened was in between the time the lighter notes were written, the artwork was done. Between the last take of the last song, they moved to LA and i lived in seattle. Shinn still lives in Seattle but has bought a house in LA.... But I'm staying in seattle so we're all going to be in different locations.
ROL: How important
do you think that packaging is, in terms of bands and music?
Dave: I think it's very important because i remember being a kid and getting a record. You know it just listening to it while you're listening to it the first time or few times. It's just another aspect which I think is like something you can utilize.
ROL: What would you
have done differently?
Dave: I guess discuss things more going into it. Like are we a full unit band or am I a session guy.
ROL: How do you feel
right now today?
Dave: I definately feel a part of it. I think it's something that's evolved. They used--I don't know how many drummers. They had used another four or five guys that they had done tracking with.
ROL: What were they
excited about to have you in the band?
Dave: That they finally had a drummer (laughs).