Return to Crossfade

By John Kraft

Crossfade is one of those rare rock bands that will admit how much marketing plays a role in their songwriting. The issue arose out of the latest sound bite trend in the music industry. Whereas in past days, a band would bristle if you suggested that they weren’t one hundred percent revolutionary or (gasp) belonged to a genre, today it’s commonplace for musicians to shrug and say straight out that they have no interest in breaking new ground.

A cynic might conclude that bands are finally figuring out that it’s no longer savvy to pretend there’s any new ground to break. According to Crossfade bassist Mitch James, it’s a simple matter of economics.

“We played a lot of off-the-wall stuff, like System of a Down, on previous albums,” he said. “But it wasn’t going to get us anywhere. We needed to write music that was going to get us out of the garage.”

Crossfade’s newest self-titled album, their debut with a major label, strongly reflects the change in philosophy as described by James. Combining soul-screaming vocals with pounding metallic rhythms, it’s the sort of chest-thumping rock that inspires young girls to erupt from their seats, dainty fingers jabbing skyward.

“Sometimes, we throw out old songs here and there onstage,” James said. “The crowd enjoys it. First, they’re trying to figure out what it is, and then they really tune into it.”
Crossfade’s revolutionary problems may coincide with their place of origin, Columbia, South Carolina, a place they themselves have often conceded is no haven for original rock.

“Venues were pretty few and far between and the scene just didn’t support it,” James said. “It was a lot of cover bands and popular music that everyone already knows. It’s hard to get people interested in you, I’m not sure why that is, but I guess it’s because it’s a small town.”

Now, over a decade after the band first formed in the early nineties, they have a single in heavy radio rotation, an album that’s rapidly approaching gold status, and participation in major tours and the late-night talk-show circuit. Now that they’re armed with industry legitimacy, will Crossfade re-release their unappreciated opuses?

“Probably not, they had their place for us and we don’t see any need to rehash it,” James said. “Unless we’re really hard up for cash.”