Volume 93, Issue 59

Friday, January 14, 2000


Weekend Pass

Stillborn comes to life

Rock in the P.O.M. of your hand

The idiot's guide to good theatre times



Stillborn comes to life

Gazette file photo
ONE OF THESE MEN IS KEYSER SOZE, THE OTHER FOUR ARE SKIPPING BIOLOGY. London teenages Stillborn are celebrating the release of their debut album Saturday at the Embassy.

By Mark Pytlik
Gazette Staff

Let's analyze the teenage male music scene for a sec, shall we?

First off, there's the obvious ones – longhairs like The Moffats and Hanson. Or if you feel like gettin' your freak on, then there's always Usher. And of course, who can mention teenage boys and music without giving mad props to Canadian boy rockers du-jour, Serial Joe?

Unfortunately, once you discard these largely vacuous standbys, you're not actually left with many teenage artists who are accurately representing their peers.

Granted, a lot of teenage angst ultimately ends up sounding contrived or melodramatic, but you can't blame someone for trying. And you certainly can't fault them for striking a chord with their peers.

This, of course, is where London's Stillborn enters the picture. Pushing their own hybrid of melodic yet aggressive hard rock, the band has already come a surprisingly long way, given their ages.

Seventeen year-old bassist Jim Voakes seems pleased with the band's progress, which he describes as a logical evolution of a lot of current and popular metal acts. "We're mainly influenced by Korn, Sepultura, a little bit of Nirvana and a little bit of Marilyn Manson," he intones. The end result, he claims, is something that defies categorization.

The band have parlayed their musical melange into a self-titled full length effort. The release of the album will be commemorated with a CD release party tomorrow at the Embassy. While the project is a strictly independent release, Voakes is quick to note there's a bit of a sixth player in Stillborn's success. "My Dad books for us, promotes us and he's paid for our recording," he says. "He drives us around and he'll even spend a little bit of money on our equipment if we need it."

Don't let that fool you, though – Stillborn is very much an act who are committed to their fans, many of whom also happen to be teenagers. Voakes is outspoken about the band's message and how it pertains to this particular stage in their lives. "We try to talk about how we don't let people tell us what to do," he states. "We stick up for what we think is right – we don't put anyone down."

This attitude is more than likely a direct result from what Voakes says is still a very flawed educational program. Bring up the current controversies surrounding the North American high school system and Voakes has a few things he wants to say. "Teachers are doing a great job but the students aren't working as a whole together," he sighs. "They're singling out people and they're forming their own groups. It's important that students act together as a whole because then people won't be afraid."

The open attitude is reflected even in the band's image, which Voakes claims differs greatly from that of your average band. "Our one guitarist is more Gothic [whereas] our drummer wears glasses and tapered jeans," he shrugs. "All five members in our band are different, so we make our songs different."

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