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Get It When It's Hot

by Nicole Smith

If you own a radio or have been in the vicinity of one over the past year and a half, then you know Crossfade. The South Carolina based quartet of lead vocalist/guitarist, Ed Sloan, bassist Mitch James, DJ, Tony Byroads and drummer, James Branham hold the number one spot for record of the year on active rock radio for 2004. Their hit single, "Cold" was coincidentally also the most played single of the year. With their raw blend of classic rock, southern grit and pleasantly hard riffs, Crossfade have earned their widespread recognition. On the night when they received their first Platinum Record thus far before opening up another night of the Seether tour, Mitch James, was kind enough to include the masses into his exciting achievement.

Are you have a nice summer?
It's been great. We've been touring nonstop. We've maybe had like five days off since May or June, but we love it.

Are you homesick yet?
I have two daughters, so I miss them terribly, but other than that I love what I do and love being out here.

So how difficult was it starting out and emerging as a band in South Carolina? You really don't hear much of anything but hurricanes down there.
Well, there's not much of anything in that town, but I guess it's just like any other band, but we seemed to have a harder time, because there weren't many places to play, so we had to do everything on our own. The main thing was hitting the Internet to get out there and to be able to spread our music to people outside of our hometown. That was our greatest asset and we used the most out of it.

Was there an exact moment that made you decide that you had to be a musician?
I'm not sure. It was pretty much what I always wanted to do back from the time I was 12 and 13 when I was first hearing Metallica and all the bands that came in that age. It was just a matter of hearing those bands and understanding what they were talking about that struck me and as soon as I got a guitar, that was it for me.

Are you surprised at all with how large and how long the success of your debut album has been? That is quite a rare accomplishment.

We've been on tour for over a year and a half, so we've worked really hard to get where we are. We were definitely surprised at the level of success, but not at the success itself. We actually just found out this morning that we are now at Platinum status. We already went Gold.

What was recording Crossfade like at Ed's home?
We ran out of money before we were happy with the lead project, but Ed is very savvy with computers, so we got a small budget and a few mics and made it happen. It was much easier to work at our own pace and our own place. We just decided one day to learn it (the recording process) and we are going to do the same thing on the next album.

Do you have the next record written already?
We have pieces and parts, but no complete songs. It is just a real struggle to find time to sit down and write songs while we're on the road. We've had two years to sit down and think now though, so I don't think it will be hard at all.

'Cold' has had a really strong performance, especially on the radio. What was the inspiration behind that song?
It was actually about a girl, which is hard to believe, right? It's about a girl and really just doing what you love and at the same time you're apologizing because you can't change because we're musicians at heart. There are maybe times when we should be doing something for them, but we have stuff on the brain musically, so basically the point is you either deal with it or get on down the road with it.

What is the main reason you think people are relating to it so much?
I think a lot of the entire album is written from the heart and about life experiences and how to deal with them and experience them all at the same time. All of the things on the record are straightforward lyrics about the things that you need. Musically, we also approach writing the same way.

So with all this touring, have you had a crazy rock and roll tour experience yet?
No, it hasn't been too bad. We're not angels on the road. We party a lot and we hang out too late and sleep too long, but as far as anything nuts going on, it has not been too bad. We all still worry about what our mammas think about us.

I think we all do. So what is next for you guys?
Well, we're done with this tour in the end of September and after that we will probably take close to a month off and then start writing the next record, so we can have something out in the spring. There is never any down time. We have to get it when it's hot. We're going to approach it the same way as last time, but now we don't have to worry about a work schedule and other things that kept us from doing it before. This is our job now.