By JACI WEBB
Of The Gazette Staff
Crossfade bassist Mitch James's favorite quip when someone asks about
his band's Top 40 status is, "We call it the 13-year over-night
In a telephone interview with The Gazette last week from a stop in Oshkosh,
Wis., James was in high spirits after just finding out the band's 2004
self-titled CD has gone platinum. Laid-back, refreshingly candid and
ever-so-modest, James talked about the band's resident heartthrob vocalist
and guitarist Ed Sloan and the band's fame after years of barely eking
out a living.
"I'm 32; kind of old for this," James said. "But we're
finally in the black and this tour with Seether has been great."
Crossfade's story is one of American ingenuity and a youthful passion
for rock. Their album was self-produced and recorded in their garage
studio in Columbia, S.C. James said the Internet was a big help in getting
their music to the right ears. He encouraged other bands who really
want to make it to do the same.
"You can't just plan on being a rock star," James said. "You
can stay home and play to the same 200 people all your life or go to
the Internet and start spreading your music. That was a big part of
us being signed. Put your music out there to sites that cater to underage
listeners; taxi.com was a good one, that's where I found my manager."
In the past year, Crossfade has been signed to Columbia/FG Records,
and celebrated three hit singles off the CD, including "Colors,"
"So Far Away" and "Cold," which made history as
radio's most played rock song in 2004. They've played the "Tonight
Show with Jay Leno" and "Late Night with Conan O'Brien,"
along with county fairs, stadium shows and clubs. Their signature sound
of muscular rock and heartfelt lyrics enhanced by Sloan's clear vocals
has gained them a wide following. James said at their shows fans run
the gamut from the teenagers up front to their middle-aged dads pumping
their fists in the back.
"Our fans include all these young girls who think Ed's hot and
their dads who like our music. The rest of the place is 14 to 49-year-olds."
James said he grew up a big Metallica fan, but he also listened to Alice
in Chains and Faith No More. He and Sloan were in rival bands in Columbia,
but they respected each other's music.
"The first band that I was in, I did all the stuff to try to impress
the two musicians in the crowd. We figured out you can copy all the
other bands, or make something on your own."
The CD features 10 original songs, penned after Sloan left his first
band, Darkchilde, and hooked up with James in the mid 1990s. All the
inspired experimentation that Crossfade used making their album remained
after Columbia/FG signed the band and turned the album over to Randy
Staub (of Metallica and Nickelback fame) for post-production work.
James said life on the road is hectic but it's been entertaining hanging
out with the guys from Seether and Dark New Day, who are also on tour
"We play four to seven shows a week, depending on the routing.
We try to see some sights in the towns we're in. We've got XBox and
PlayStation 2, but I'm not a huge gamer. I would love to play golf every
day if I had the time."
James is a divorced father of two girls - ages 11 and 7 - who he said
have grown up with the band. "They love our music and coming to
our shows. Every chance I get I bring them along. The rest of the band
treats them like gold; they have to or they'll have me to deal with
me. My daughters are my whole life; all my success I attribute to my