Return to Crossfade

What They Really Mean
S.C. modern rockers Crossfade headline their biggest tour ever
w/ Dark New Day, Ra

To the public, the success of most bands seems to happen overnight. When a band comes out of nowhere, people assume the road to success was a short one, capped off by signing to some prominent record label. What they don’t see are the hours dedicated to crafting killer live shows, the months spent initially practicing in garages just to make the band a cohesive unit, and the years spent touring and sometimes playing to five people a night.

For most young bands this is what goes down before they ever get signed ... if they ever get signed.

Such is the story with South Carolina’s Crossfade, though most wouldn’t guess it. The Columbia-based modern-rock quartet is one of those bands that seemed to come out of nowhere. Their recent success, however, was years in making.

In early 2004, they released their self-titled debut on Columbia/FG Records. The grand, emotive lead single, “Cold,” immediately caught on with modern rock radio — including Charleston’s 98X.

As music critic Johnny Loftus of All Music Guide recently wrote, “Columbia’s signing of the band makes sense, as Crossfade combines the most marketable elements of Nickelback and P.O.D. (check “No Giving Up”), throwing in the brooding aggression of Cold and Disturbed as bonus glue. Its occasional flirtation with synths and sampling is negligible, as discordant guitars dominate the album’s mix.”

Perhaps more dynamic than much of what ends up on contemporary commercial rock playlists, “Cold” is energized by lead singer Ed Sloan’s strong voice, as demonstrated in the big singalong chorus as he croons, “What I really meant to say / Is that I’m sorry for the way I am.”

Propelled by that single and a guitar-driven rock sound in the vein of Nickelback, the album is just shy of platinum status, with around 900,000 copies sold.

But Crossfade didn’t just “happen.” It’s been a steady rise for vocalist-guitarist Ed Sloan, bassist Mitch James, and newly-added drummer James Branham since Crossfade started years ago, first as The Nothing, then aas Sugardaddy Superstar — when no one outside of the mid-state even knew their names. Despite the success of “Cold,” it still took about a year for the album itself to take off.

Due to the steady sales of Crossfade, the guys are still out on the road promoting the album. That puts them out for over 15 months straight, with a few five-day stints back home.

“I think we call our home a big, dark brown tour bus,” jokes Mitch James. “We all have apartments or a house in Columbia, but we’re seldom there.”

Endless months on tour and time spent away from loved ones create the type of experience that inspires a sophomore album, and Crossfade are well aware that a follow-up record looms on the horizon.

For some, writing new songs on tour fits perfectly in the time between playing shows and taking care of band business. The process doesn’t suit the members of Crossfade quite as well.

“We try to [write out on the road] just because we know we’re going to have to write the second album pretty soon,” James admits. “But it’s pretty hard to get into the right mode when you’re bouncing down the road or doing press or doing the shows. I think once we get home and get situated, it’s going to be a whole lot easier just to let it flow.”

With plans to wrap up touring for Crossfade in September, the band will head home and get straight to work on the new album. The guys hope the album will be ready for release in early ’06, but we all know how well things in the music industry run on schedule.

Regardless of when Crossfade’s sophomore attempt finally drops, one thing is for certain: the trio will be back on that dark brown tour bus making friends and bringing the rock across the country for another year or more.